Quilt Show – Today & Tomorrow in Monroe

Today I walked into our church lobby and fellowship hall and was blown away by the incredible, very well-put-together, display of beautiful and creative quilts.
 
I was taking people into these areas and saying… “Look at these!!!”
 
The Monroe County Quilt Guild 2008 ‘Celebration of Quilts’ Show is going on now, today and tomorrow, at Redeemer Fellowship Church in Monroe.
 
Friday, Sept. 12, 2008: Noon – 7 PM
Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008: 9 AM – 5 PM
Donation to enter: $3
Quilts of all sizes, wall hangings, vendors, people’s choice ribbons.

I encourage all of you to come and see this!!!

Lovelessness

(Lake Erie)

“A loveless life is essentially unhappy, frustrated, and destructive.” (Thomas Merton, Contemplation In a World of Action)

There are too many songs about love and too little real love in the hearts of people. Real love is found in the being of God. God IS love.

One of my very favorite verses about love is 1 John 4:18, which says: “There is no fear in love; perfect love casts out fear.”

Real God-love is in inverse proportion to fear. Which means: the more fear in, e.g., a relationship, the less actual love. The more real love, the less fear. In any relationship where fear predominates love vanishes. When you’re afraid to be truthful with someone because you’re afraid they will dismiss you or abuse you or mock you, love’s lacking in that relationship. And that, to remember what Merton said, is an unhappy and destructive situation.

Oh No – Is Sarah Palin “Pentecostal”???!!!

(Monroe)

Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s Christian background is in the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination. Some GOP leaders are trying to downplay this. Why? Because Pentecostals believe in things like “speaking in tongues” and divine healing. Horrible things, aren’t they; viz., the idea that God can speak to and communicate through someone who believes in him, and that God both is willing to heal people and has the power to do so.

I’ve met “Christians” who downplay those things, too. Or, rather, who take things like tongues and healing right off the playing field, saying God used to do that kind of stuff but doesn’t do it anymore. Which I find absurd.

In I Corinthians 14:39 Paul instructs Christians to “not forbid speaking in tongues.” Hmmm… sounds like God himself doesn’t want to downplay the gift of tongues.

In James 5:14 we read that if we are sick we should call the leaders of the church, and they will come to us, anoint us with oil, and “the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well.” I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody over a period of 38 years as a pastor who’s been sick who would want me to downplay my praying for them for healing.

Have you ever seen anyone healed as a result of praying for them? I have, many times. And I’ve documented a number of these events in 3000 pages of journal entries over many years. Have I ever prayed for someone who has not gotten healed? Yes. But I refuse to bring the teachings of Jesus down to the level of my personal experience. That is, I cannot “downplay” what Jesus says and does and instructs that we can do in his name.

Palin’s former Pentecostal pastor Tim McGraw says her Pentecostal roots may be being downplayed for a reason: “I think there could be issues of belief that could be misunderstood or played upon by people that don’t know.”

McGraw goes on to say: “Everyone has a way of viewing the world and Sarah does too and hers would be shaped by the common-sense practicality of how she’s been shaped by the Bible — which is basically the world view that says God loves people, people can access him and he’s given us wisdom for living,”

Of course. Everyone has a worldview. No one’s life is uninfluenced by that worldview. There are worldview issues going on here. Having lived in a religious environment that’s closer to practical atheism than living-God-theism, I’m not thrilled about those who want to downplay the latter into the secularism of the former.

(I have many Pentecostal friends here in Monroe and am myself indebted to Pentecostal teachings on the Bible. Pentecostalism has helped me in my desire to find the Real Jesus.)

Article in Today’s “The Hindu” on Persecution of Christians in India

(Sterling State Park)

Here’s an article from today’s Indian newspaper The Hindu. It reads: “The Supreme Court will hear on Wednesday a writ petition filed by the Archbishop of Cuttack for a CBI probe into the killings of Christians and damage caused to churches and other institutions in Kandhamal district of Orissa.”

This is about the real persecution of Christians going on now, as I write. “Hundreds of homes were burnt down, and many churches and institutions were completely destroyed. Thousands were rendered homeless.”

Pray and Fast Over the Violence in India

(Sterling State Park)
Here’s an article in Charisma magazine on the violence against Christians in India.
“I have seen a lot of violence against Christians in my more than 30 years of sharing the Gospel with the people of Asia,” said K.P. Yohannan, founder of Gospel for Asia. “I have even been on the receiving end of some of those attacks. But the events in Orissa are by far the most orchestrated and horrifying atrocities I have ever witnessed.”
Christian leaders called for a day of prayer and fasting for India on Sept. 7.

My Ultimate (Non-Political) Hope

(Sunset over Big Lots)

Barack Obama is coming to Monroe today, and to me it’s exciting when any presidential candidate does this. But as an alien I’m looking at this from the outside. I very much like the way Greg Boyd puts it – followers of Jesus, pay attention! Boyd writes: “I’m a citizen of a different empire (Phil 1:27; 3:20) and therefore a foreigner in this one (Heb. 11:13; 1 Pet 1:17; 2:11). I’m only here as an ambassador and soldier sent to defend and advance the interests of my own homeland while being careful not to get too involved in civilian affairs (2 Cor 5:20; 2 Tim. 2:4).”

If you are a follower of the Real Jesus, then listen to Boyd’s Jesus-perspective: “Whatever good [Barack] Obama, [John] McCain or any other politician may or may not be able to accomplish, the ultimate hope and allegiance of all Kingdom citizens must remain in Jesus Christ and in the mustard seed Kingdom he established. Our call as ambassadors of Christ is to individually and corporately look like Jesus in how we love and serve people, including the poor, the marginalized, the judged — and women with unwanted pregnancies. And our call is to trust that God will use the foolishness of this humble, servant activity to advance his Kingdom and ultimately transform the world. This is the audacious hope we foreigners are to embrace and passionately work for.”