“God is like…really cool.”

We just get together, and we laugh and we cry and we talk about spiritual things and what we can do for the earth to make it a better place.post-hippie-church by alyourpal

Sometimes Mike palys the guitar and sings some Christian songs he’s written about how God makes him feel… and stuff like that.

Sometimes we read from the Bible as long as it is something uplifting and positive and that helps us in our life’s journey.

We always want to be supportive and allow everyone during the meeting (service) to speak their minds and tell people what is bothering them and how they are feeling at the time.

We do share communion. Sometimes Alice will bake cookies that we use instead of bread (the children like it better) and sometimes we will have orange juice or even natual goats milk from the Jim and Teresa’s farm.

Our community is so loving and it is so different than the outside world that we believe that God is at work among us to promote His goodness and tolerance for all people.

We never let people feel as though there is just one way to God because we believe that he wants everyone to believe in Him in whatever way they feel is right for them.

Our community is so open and accepting of everyone and so loving that we know that God is doing a great work.

We really have a very cool church.

 

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There’s a blog site that I look at once in awhile that reminds me of the above.

Just blowin’ off steam…that’s all.

 

 

 

The Word

Proclaim it.  Announce it.  Hand it over.Wheat by Bern@t

It is a two-edged sword.  It kills.  It gives new life.

It is Christ Himself.

The Word has power. We can spend time defending it, but it’s power is in itself, not in our ability, or the ability of the hearer.

Personally, I wouldn’t spend a whole lot of time trying to convince atheists of anything.

I’d tell them that Christ Jesus loves them, He has died for them, He forgives them their sin and that one day they will be facing death and they will need the new life that only Christ Jesus can give. And that they can count on Him to keep His promises.

You can discuss evolution with them, and the pros and cons of scientific discovery and of human progression, or degradation.

But I think it’s far better to hand over the Word.

Share the cross and the resurrection… freely. Make no demands. Just give it to them in love.

And don’t expect them to thank you for it. They might.  But more than likely, they will not be too pleased.

That’s tough.

But that’s life.

And, then you can move on…”for the harvest is great and the workers are few”.

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No?

Got a better idea?

I think this is just insane

From Jihad Watch:

UK: Christian couple charged withSurreptitious photo taken inside the Chester Beatty Library by olive witch criminal offense after offending Muslims during discussion of religion

Yet another indication of the walking-on-eggshells that British authorities (and plenty of non-British authorities) are doing around Muslims these days. Absurd Britannia Update: “Christian hotel owners hauled before court after defending their beliefs in discussion with Muslim guest,” by Jonathan Petre for the Daily Mail, September 20 (thanks to all who sent this in):

A Christian couple have been charged with a criminal offence after taking part in what they regarded as a reasonable discussion about religion with guests at their hotel.

Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang were arrested after a Muslim woman complained to police that she had been offended by their comments.

They have been charged under public order laws with using ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words’ that were ‘religiously aggravated’.

The couple, whose trial has been set for December, face a fine of up to £5,000 and a criminal record if they are convicted.

Although the facts are disputed, it is thought that during the conversation the couple were challenged over their Christian beliefs.It is understood that they suggested that Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was a warlord and that traditional Muslim dress for women was a form of bondage. (cont.)  Christian-couple-charged-with-offending-Muslims

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This kind of baloney is headed here t o the U.S. as well.

This type of thing is already going on in Canada.

I guess it is here already, but it will get much worse.

Should Christians be allowed to speak the truth to Muslims, or anyone else for that matter?

Or, should Christians hold their tongues?

 

 

 

 

 

The Law

[23] Luther’s proof, Thesis 23:

 

The law brings the wrath of God, kills, reviles, accuses, judges, and condemns everything that is not in Christ [Rom. 4:15].  

Thus Gal. 3[:13] states, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law;” and: “For all who rely on works of the law are under the curse” [Gal. 3:10]; and Rom. 4[:15]: “For the law brings wrath;” and Rom. 7[:10]: “The very commandment which promised life proved to be the death of me;” Rom. 2[:12]: “All who have sinned without the law will also perish without law.” Therefore he who boasts that he is wise and learned in the law boasts in his confusion, his damnation, the wrath of God, in death. As Rom. 2[:23] puts it: “You who boast in the law.”

 

The law does not work the love of God — it works His wrath; it does not give life — it kills; it does not bless — it reviles; it does not comfort — it accuses; it does not pardon — it judges; it does not save — it condemns. In our active efforts to strive to righteousness through our own works, we stray, ironically, farther from our goal. Only in passive rest in Christ, through His grace, can we achieve it.

 

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How then, are we to love the Law?

 

 

 

From The Heidelberg Disputation

[26] Luther’s proof, Thesis 26:

The law says, “Do this,” and it is never done. Grace says, “believe in this,” and everything is already done.

The first part is clear from what has been stated by the Apostle and his interpreter, St. Augustine, in many places. And it has been stated often enough above that the law works wrath and keeps all men under the curse. The second part is clear from the same sources, for faith justifies. “And the law (says St. Augustine) commands what faith obtains.” For through faith Christ is in us, indeed, one with us. Christ is just and has fulfilled all the commands of God, wherefore we also fulfill everything through him since he was made ours through faith.

The law cannot bring into being that which it commands. Paul wrote, “By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” (Rom. 3:20) And: “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:3-4) And: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Rom. 10:4) Paradoxically, what the law requires is freedom from the law.

Christ has fulfilled all things and, through faith, we are at one with Him. “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38-39) Paul wrote, “A man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” (Gal. 2:16)

 

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Is there any wiggle room here, for what ‘we do’?

Should there be, when it comes to righteousness?

 

 

 

Finger Pointers

“Well, you just can’t live anyway you want!”

Is that right? 

Funny, you seem to be doing exactly that. You say that Christians can’t live anyway they want, but then you go right on committing the same sins over and over again, and omitting the same works for the neighbor over and over again.

So which is it? Can you, or can’t you just live anyway you want? And if not, then when are you going to get with the program?

And don’t you think your time would be better spent focusing on yourself, rather than worrying so much about Joe and Mary in the pew in front of you?

  

  

Just a few questions  :D

 

 

 

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I’d rather have my teeth pulled out…

than have to sit through this stuff for an hour, or 5 minutes.

 

 

HT to http://badvestments.blogspot.com/

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Once again, I am speechless.

You?

 

Grace Trumps the Law

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s true.

We are inveterate ‘doers’. The law is wri tten upon our hearts. We want to justify ourselves if it kills us.

Ignorance of, or inability to distinguish God’s law from God’s gospel is a plague in the church.

“Well, it says right here in 2nd Macedonians 11 that we really ought to be doing good works to please God.”

So, then why aren’t you?

Why are we so consumed with what the Bible has to say about good works and then utterly ignore them unless it is to tell our neighbor to do them?

Have you noticed that?   The do’s and don’ts of the law are never really taken seriously by the one who speaks of them. But the accusing finger is wagged in every direction but back at the self.

There is law language all over that Book. And there is gospel language all over that Book.

Should we, as Christians, ignore the law and ignore the needs of our neighbors?

Of course not!  We ought jump in with both feet! We ought do all we can!

But not to aqcuire anything at all for ourselves. We already have all that is needful…in Christ. We have put on Christ in our baptisms! (Gal.3:27)

How can doing good works make you any better of a Christian than that?  They can’t!

But if you mix up doing good works for the neighbor and doing good works to gain some elevated status in God’s eyes, then you may be a  modern day Pharisee, and you may be in the process of cutting yourself off from God’s grace.

“We’ll then, how am I to know that I’m really a Christian?”

Remember 4/4 …  Romans 4:4&5 ,  that is.  “Now to one who works, his wages are not reckoned as a gift but his due. And to one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.”

Grace trumps Law… and it trumps it every time.

By the way, you are now free (because of Christ) to go out and do all the good works you want, without having to fear messing up in any way.

  Your friends, family, neighbors, homeless people, old folks in nursing homes, young people in cancer wards…they could all benefit from your desire to do good works.

So…have at it!

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Are you a godly worker?  Or are you an ungodly truster?

Sometimes it is a hard thing to admit. But when he hung on that cross and asked the Father to “forgive them, for they know not what they do”, he was speaking about you and me, also. Not just those there in front of him.

 

 

Oldie but Goodie

This is from a few years ago at the height of ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ stuff.

It is by Frank Marron and it was posted on Beggars-All-reformation-and-apologetics-blog

 

Summary: Although the book The Purpose Driven Life (TP DL) begins well by insisting the purpose of life is not about man but rather God, author Rick Warren devotes the entire book on how to improve the spiritual life of people, similar to any self-help book. Rather than emphasizing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what God has accomplished in His Son, Warren presents over 160 legalistic rules by which men can obtain and live a victorious “purpose-driven” Christian life. In reality, TPDL offers nothing more than the repetition of ancient heresies and false teachings which sparked the 16th century Reformation. St Paul addressed similar heresies when he wrote his letter to the Galatians and which have continued to plague the Christian faith throughout history. The book is written from an Arminian or semi-Pelagian theological viewpoint, rather than orthodox Christianity as found in the bible. The author illustrates the system of theology known as Theology of Glory(TG), which is the exact opposite of the Christocentric system referred to as Theology of the Cross(TC). The bible is centered in the works of God as shown in the perfect life, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ, not the works of man. However, author Rick Warren devotes his entire treatise on convincing readers that they need to perform good works in order to ensure their status in heaven. Warren maintains that all men have free will and our acceptance by God is based upon our choices and obedience to God’s will. This is a throwback to the heresies of Medieval Roman Catholicism confronted by Martin Luther. Readers of TPDL are not pointed to Christ as their Righteousness, but instead are directed to dedicating themselves to “40 days of purpose”.

 

One of the most popular books in Christian bookstores is The Purpose Driven Life (TPDL) by author Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, California. Even secular authorities, including President George Bush, have praised the insights of author Rick Warren. Many news reporters have seen fit to interview this highly successful writer. After all, TPDL has sold upwards of 25 million copies worldwide, an incredible accomplishment by any standard. I will attempt to provide insights as to why this book is so successful and whether it is in conflict or harmony with basic Christian doctrine as found in the Scriptures, as rediscovered during the 16th century Reformation in Germany.

Merely reading through TPDL shows it’s appeal to the masses. It is well written and appeals to the logic and common sense of the average person. All well written self-help books are always successful in the marketplace and Zondervan Publishing is certainly capitalizing on this fact in their sponsorship of TPDL. Basic Christian doctrine asserts that everyone is born in spiritual depravity having absolutely no inclination to love, trust, and obey the true God as revealed in Holy Scripture(Ps 51:5;Rom 3:23;5:12). St Paul refers to this basic degenerate nature within each of us as the “Old Man” or “Old Adam”, inherited from the original Adam(Col 3:9;Eph 4:22;Rom 6:6). This sinful, prideful, and arrogant nature remains within all men throughout their earthly lives. The reason for the overwhelming success of TPDL is that it appeals to the Old Adam within each of us. The Old Adam is delighted in hearing that there is a purpose to his life and that by focusing on finding and fulfilling that purpose he can have fellowship with God. This book is a repetition of the Galatian heresy, where St Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia and lamented:

Galatians 3:1-3
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. [2] Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? [3] Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

The basic human nature in Adam is to believe that man has to do something to please God. The fifth century heresy of Pelagius taught that man is not totally corrupt and can be saved by an act of his will. This theological error continued throughout history with notable adherents such as Jacob Arminius, Charles Finney, and modern Evangelicals such as Billy Graham and Rick Warren. Arminian theology rejects the total depravity of natural man and this is the underlying assumption throughout TPDL. This book is written to everyone, not just Christians.Christian theology derived from Holy Scripture teaches that by the Grace of God through the vehicle of Faith, natural degenerate man can become a temple of the Holy Spirit. The perfect life, suffering, and death of Jesus of Nazareth resulted in the New Covenant in His blood, enabling saving faith and the grafting of men into the body of Christ through Word and Sacrament. This regenerated man is referred to as a New Creation or “born again”(John 3:3ff;2Cor 5:7;Gal 6:15). The biblical message is that the Old Adam cannot be corrected and improved, as suggested in TPDL, but instead must be crucified and buried so that an entirely new life emerges in the waters of baptism. (cont.)

Read-the-full-article-here

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I thought  Mr. Marron did a nice job of explaining the theology of glory as opposed to the theology of the cross vis-a-vis Rick Warren’s book.

Have you read the book? Do you think this article was a fair critique?

Thanks to Pastor Pat Thurmer for sending me the article.

 

Why Lutheran?

From the good folks at Living Faith Church, Cape Coral, FL and Pastor Patrick Thurmer.

This page is a collection of thoughts to answer the question… “Why Lutheran?”
If you have some helpful answers to this question, please email them to us at
livingfaithchurch@gmail.com

 

  • Lutherans know that God comes down the ladder. We are not able to climb up any ladder of righteousness or spirituality or piety or goodness to reach God and attain some status of holiness or purity. We are not able to climb up some ladder to achieve happiness, fulfillment, contentment. Though we constantly struggle to get up the ladder, to get above others, the ladders we climb just lead us further and further from God and true community. Rather, God comes down the ladder to us, blesses us, graces us, loves us. What did I do to deserve this? Nothing. That’s just the nature of God.
  • Lutherans know that God dwells where we least expect God to dwell. We know that God is most clearly seen in odd, out-of-the-way places such as the suffering on the cross, or the shame of the animal stable, or among the outcasts. Or with people who can’t climb a ladder to save themselves. When we humans draw lines dividing us from them, good from bad, righteous from unrighteous, God is on the other side of the line. And the Cross forces us to the other side of the line, the other side of the train tracks, the other side of life, to look at and experience God’s presence amidst suffering and brokenness.
  • Lutherans take sin seriously. In our liturgy many of our churches proclaim, “We confess that we are in bondage to sin, and we cannot free ourselves.” Lutherans admit that on our own we cannot escape the power of sin. We do not have a free will – our will and our whole being is bound to sin. Lutherans are, frankly, quite pessimistic about human nature. (cont.)
  • Read the rest of ‘Why Lutheran’ http://www.livingfaithcapecoral.com/WhyLutheran.html

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 (I’m fully aware that the recent ELCA vote on Human Sexuality throws a monkey wrench into this for many. But let’s try and keep the revisionists within the ELCA and elsewhere in Lutheranism out of this discussion of traditional Lutheran theology. Living Faith Church is affiliated with the Luthren Brethren denomination.)

 

For Lutherans- Is there anything that you think ought be added, or taken out?

For Non-Lutherans- Is there anything that needs further clarification, or that you think is theologically unfounded?

 

 

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