MOTIVATION

December 9, 2017

  “Keep on seeking the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God (Col. 3:7)

  When the Spirit of Christ has the hungry heart prepared, there will be surrender. No struggle; no questions. “We reason when we ought to repose; we doubt when we ought to depend. Confidence in our Father’s love is the true corrective in all things.” “For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him” (2 Tim. 1:12).

  “If a believer surrenders or lays aside anything without an adequate divine motive, he will either secretly hanker after it, and probably long to return to it, or he will take credit to himself for having given it up, and will thus reveal self-righteousness and spiritual pride.

 A certain school of religious teachers make much of ‘surrender’ as the way to attain blessing, but it ends in self-sufficiency, because the only motive that is presented for it is the acquisition of a better spiritual state, or power for service, or something of that kind. A divine motive and attraction is needed if souls are to be drawn into the race and prepared to surrender in a truly spiritual way, and this divine motive and attraction is our risen Lord in Glory.

  Communion with the Lord Jesus requires our coming to Him in the Word. Meditating upon His person and His work requires the prayerful study of His Word. Many fail to abide in Him because they habitually fast instead of feast.

  “Lord, Thou wilt ordain peace for us; for Thou also hast wrought all our works in us. O Lord our God, other lords beside Thee have had dominion over us; but by Thee only will we make mention of Thy name” (Isa. 26:12, 13).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

KEEP  MON ANGE IN PRAYER AS SHE RECOVERS FROM SURGERY.

MORE RED MEAT

December 1, 2017

Fluff or Stuff

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,

Romans 5:12-19 On account of this, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death entered by means of sin, and so death spread into all men, because all sinned. 13 For until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 But death reigned from Adam until Moses, even upon the ones who had not sinned in the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 And the gift is not like what resulted through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment from one transgression resulted in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift from many transgressions resulted in justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more the ones who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 18 So then, as through one transgression condemnation came to all men, even so through one righteous act came justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

Having described how God has provided His righteousness to sinful man through faith in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ (5:1-11), Paul begins in 5:12-19 to contrast that work of redemption with the work of the sin of Adam which created the need for redemption. In commenting on this passage, Jonathan Edwards wrote that Paul . . .

. . . had particularly spoken of the depravity and ruin of mankind in their natural state, in the foregoing part of this chapter; representing them as being sinners, ungodly, enemies, exposed to divine wrath, and without strength. This naturally leads him to observe, how this so great and deplorable an event came to pass; how this universal sin and ruin came into the world. . . [the Jews] were prejudiced against the doctrine of universal sinfulness, and exposedness to wrath by nature, looking on themselves as by nature holy, and favourites of God, because they were the children of Abraham . . . it was therefore exceeding proper, and what the apostle’s design most naturally led him to, that they should take off their eyes from their father Abraham, their father in distinction from other nations, and direct them to their father Adam, who was the common father of mankind, equally of Jews and Gentiles.

“. . . something has been accomplished by Christ which is as universal in its effectiveness as was the sin of the first man. Paul is no longer speaking just about the Church: his vision now includes the whole of humanity.” Christ is described in another letter as the “Last Adam” and is thus, by inference, God’s ideal Man fulfilling what Adam did not fulfill and yet was designed to fulfill. Christ ruled “. . . over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth,” and He thus demonstrated that He fulfilled God’s purpose for man as man. Christ also lived a life of obedience that Adam did not. This is seen dramatically portrayed in the two garden scenes. The garden of Eden provided Adam a choice to submit to the Father’s will or to die because of His sin. Adam willingly chose to sin, and this brought eternal ramifications for the whole human race. The garden of Gethsemene provided Christ a “choice” to submit to the Father’s will to die to pay for the sin of mankind in Adam, yet there was no other choice for Him, because as God’s ideal Man, Christ would obey the Father’s will above His own. Christ willingly chose to die, and this brought eternal ramifications for the whole human race. The two gardens and the two choices brought two results which are the topics of a theological comparison and contrast in Paul’s discussion in Romans 5:12-19.

The “Natural Headship” view. This view squares with the principle that each person pays for his own sins because each person was not only represented in Adam, but was actually present in Adam when He sinned. Paul said in v. 12 that death spread into all men because all sinned, each a sinner for his own sin. Calvin concurs:

Hence, even infants bringing their condemnation with them from their mother’s womb, suffer not for another’s, but for their own defect. For although they have not yet produced the fruits of their own unrighteousness, they have the seed implanted in them. Nay, their whole nature is, as it were, a seed-bed of sin, and therefore cannot but be odious and abominable to God. Hence it follows, that it is properly deemed sinful in the sight of God; for there could be no condemnation without guilt.

(this is the simple version, which I guess I should have put first)

The results of Adam’s sin and Christ’s righteous act have given the human race, all under condemnation in Adam, the potential for all to be righteous in Jesus Christ for those “who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness.”

An important application to the church today is to preach the gospel to all men in fulfillment of the Great Commission. All men being sinners in the one man, Adam, constitute the need for them to hear also of the righteousness provided through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Thank God for the Gift of Jesus Christ. The real reason for the Christmas season.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Ruby I, a very young 77, she fell today for the first time and is more devastated mentally than physically. (she kept saying this is what old women do).

Pray Jack P, needs to decide if the military is a career and a calling.

 

BUTT RUBBERS

November 29, 2017

audrey

BUTT RUBBERS

WAIT, IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK!

So K9’s have been a big part of my life. Dogs, I like them more than people. Dogs outnumber the people in my house.

So back when I did dog placement of pups for the military I always told people please lavish all the attention you want on a dog, BUT DO NOT RUB THEIR BUTTS.

But people do it because their so needy for affection and attention so they start rubbing the dog’s butt and because dogs like that and act all goofy and happy, it almost ruins a dog for training.

Almost.

Butt rubbing increases a dog’s carnal nature, when I want a dog that will save a life I need it facing me, not backing up and sticking its butt on my leg wanting a butt rub.

The dog has to be deprogramed to a different reward system, that doesn’t include butt rubbing.

Well there, I said butt rubbing as much a possible. Here’s the flip side for us humans.

According to the Greek dictionary, it means to have the nature and characteristics of the flesh (or more simply, it means “fleshly”). What, then , is the flesh? Sometimes it refers to the whole material part of man (1 Corinthians 15:39; Hebrews 5:7), and based on this meaning, carnal sometimes relates to material things like money (Romans 15:27) or to the opposite of our weapons of spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10:4). But the word flesh also has a metaphorical sense when it refers to our disposition to sin and to oppose or omit God in our lives. The flesh is characterized by works that include lusts and passions (Galatians 5:19-24; I John 2:16); it can enslave (Romans 7:25); and in it is nothing good (Romans 7:18). Based on this meaning of the word flesh, to be carnal means to be characterized by things that belong to the unsaved life (Ephesians 2:3).

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:1–4).

You want to be a super Christian? That’s it, tame carnality, stop the fleshly part, the carnal, craving, lusting, fallen, screwed up part of your life. For men it means stop letting your little head rule your big head.

So that’s the secret to a victorious Christian life, no butt rubbing.

Hopefully you see the serious part of this and haven’t fallen out of your chair laughing and hurt yourself.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 And if your offended by this post have someone rub your butt.

oh yes you are

November 25, 2017

Bring back solid biblical thinking, stop apple picking, you know where you get to ignore the bible truths you want and pick the ones you do. Making all kinds of excuses. It’s either all the bible or none at all.

I argue that one of the most important truths that needs to be re-emphasized in our day is the doctrine of the total depravity of the human heart. If we do not properly understand the Bible on this matter, we cannot fully understand the gospel for ourselves, let alone make it plain to others. Nor will we understand what the Bible teaches about sanctification (growth in holiness) if we are not clear on the evil that lurks within our hearts, even as regenerate people.

That doctrine could hardly be stated more emphatically than it is in Genesis 6:5: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” We are not basically good, decent folks who will do what is right if we’re only given the chance. The very core of our being–”every intent of the thoughts of our hearts” is “only evil continually.” It’s not just that people have a mean streak or that we occasionally sin. God’s declaration is that “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” In case we missed it or are inclined to apply it only to the Hitler’s of the world, God repeats the assessment after the flood with reference to the most godly man on earth, Noah, and his descendents, “the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (8:21).

Because the doctrine of total depravity is often misunderstood, I first will define it. Because it is often disbelieved, minimized, or attacked, I then will defend it biblically. Finally, because we live in a day that often despises doctrine as boring and impractical, I will apply it.

Total depravity defined:

  1. WHAT TOTAL DEPRAVITY IS NOT:

Total depravity does not mean that people are as wicked and sinful as they could be. Nor does it mean that people are incapable of doing good deeds. Even those who have never heard of Jesus Christ are able to love their children and even sacrifice their own lives for the sake of family, friends, or sometimes even for strangers. Many people who do not know Christ are honest, even when it costs them.

  1. WHAT TOTAL DEPRAVITY MEANS:

Total depravity refers to the nature of fallen persons, not to their deeds. The word “total” refers to the total person–that every aspect of the person–mind, will, emotions, body–is corrupted by sin; and to the total human race, that every person since Adam and Eve, except for Jesus Christ, has been born with a nature that is alienated from God and in rebellion against God. Also, depravity must be viewed in relation to God, not by comparing men with men. With reference to God, total depravity means that no one is able in and of himself to do anything to choose God, to seek God, to please God, to love God, to glorify God, or to merit His salvation. Left to himself, every person will seek the things of self and sin. We are as unable to seek God as a corpse can choose to get up and walk (Eph. 2:1-3). The Westminster Confession states it clearly. Speaking of Adam and Eve it says (VI:II, III, IV),

By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the parts and faculties of soul and body. They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed; and the same death in sin, and corrupted nature, conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.

So total depravity refers to the extent of the damage, not necessarily to the degree. To illustrate, if you put a drop of deadly bacteria in a glass of water, it contaminates the entire glass. You may add a spoonful of bacteria, which makes it more potent, but the little drop is enough to pollute it all. Adam’s transgression was imputed to his posterity, so that all are polluted by sin.

Adam was the representative of the human race, so that his sin was charged to all who followed. Some will protest, “That’s not fair!” But several things must be said. First, there is nothing unfair about the concept of representation. Our entire government is built on it. The decisions our elected officials make affect us. But you may still protest, “I didn’t vote for Adam to represent me.” But, God did! God determined that Adam’s choice would represent the human race. We have no reason to believe that we would have acted any differently had we been there ourselves. When our representative fell into sin, the human race was linked to him, so that all are born in sin. We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because by nature we are sinners. This is what total depravity means.

Total depravity defended:

We can only look at a few of the many verses in both the Old and New Testaments which defend this doctrine:

In Psalm 51:5, David laments, “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” We are born in sin.

Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” The word “sick” is used of an incurable wound; here, the meaning is metaphorical of sin that is beyond human hope of fixing. We’re terminal!

The doctrine is also inherent in Ezekiel 36:25-27, when the Lord promises, “I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from al your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” The sinner cannot follow God unless God performs a heart transplant and gives him His Spirit.

Jesus taught the depravity of our hearts in Mark 7:20-23: “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

In John 8:34, Jesus taught that “everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin,” and that only He could set us free.

Paul, quoting from the Old Testament, spells it out forcefully in Romans 3:10-18 (citing only 10-13 here): “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.”

In Romans 8:7-8, he emphasizes the inability of the sinner to follow God: “… the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

In 1 Corinthians 2:14 Paul states that the natural man not only does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, but cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 he explains that Satan, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, …”

In Ephesians 2:1-3, he says that we were all dead in our trespasses and sins and that by nature we are children of wrath. In Ephesians 4:18, he states that unbelievers are “darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their hearts.”

While believers are freed from sin’s penalty and from sin’s power, so that we can now live to please God, our sin nature (or, “the flesh”) is not eradicated until we are with the Lord. Romans 7 clearly teaches this, as do many other verses, such as 1 John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

If you compile all these and many other verses, we see that fallen man is incurably wounded; blind; ignorant and unable and unwilling to know; born in sin and with a nature oriented to sin; hard-hearted; enslaved to sin; polluted at the very core of his being; and, dead. The Westminster Confession (IX:III) sums it up: “Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.”

In spite of the overwhelming biblical evidence of man’s total inability to do anything about his state of alienation from God, man’s proud flesh keeps inventing ways around this doctrine. Many deny it outright and insist that people are basically good at heart. Others deny it by insisting that fallen men have the “free will” to choose God, and thus be saved. But this gives man a part in God’s work of salvation and a ground for boasting, which contradicts many Scriptures:

John 1:13: “Who were born [spiritually] not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Romans 9:16: “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”

Philippians 2:13: “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

1 Corinthians 1:27-31, where three times Paul stresses that salvation rests on the fact that “God has chosen,” so “that no man should boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus…”

Those who argue in favor of so-called “free will” say that it is pointless, absurd, and a sham for God to command men to believe in Christ if they are not able by their own free will to believe. This objection was soundly refuted by Martin Luther in his diatribe against the Roman Catholic scholar, Erasmus, The Bondage of the Will [Revell], where he argues, rather, that by commanding us to do what no fallen sinner can do, God brings us to something we proud sinners deny, namely, the knowledge of our utter impotence, pride, and independence from God. In his words, “by thus breaking him down, and confounding him in his self-knowledge, he may make him ready for grace, and send him to Christ to be saved” (p. 162). Or, in the words of Augustine (1,000 years before Luther), “God bids us do what we cannot, that we may know what we ought to seek from him” (cited by Calvin, Institutes [II:V:7]).

Of course, before Augustine the Apostle Paul dealt with this same objection. In Romans 9, after arguing that man cannot choose God by his free will, but that salvation depends on God’s choosing men according to His sovereign mercy, he states (9:19), “You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?’” Note carefully Paul’s inspired answer, because it strikes at the very root of human depravity: “On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God?” (9:20). In other words, our very question shows the arrogance of our sinful hearts! If the righteous God chooses to damn the entire race of rebellious sinners, that is His just prerogative. If He chooses to save some who otherwise would helplessly perish in their sin, that is His right. But no one can boast by saying, “I chose God by my own free will.” Scripture is clear that if God had not rescued us by His sovereign grace, we all would have perished in our willful, proud rebellion against Him.

In the same vein, the Lord Jesus Christ stated (Matt. 11:25-27) that God had hidden spiritual truth from the “wise and intelligent,” and that no one knows God except “anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” Then He proceeded to command men to do what He just stated they cannot do: “Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

Total depravity applied:

The doctrine of total depravity is at the very heart of the gospel, and thus the applications are many. But I must limit myself to four:

  1. THE DOCTRINE OF TOTAL DEPRAVITY SHOULD CAUSE ME TO DESPAIR COMPLETELY OF MYSELF, MY ABILITY, MY MERIT, AND MY WILL, AND TO CAST MYSELF COMPLETELY UPON CHRIST ALONE FOR SALVATION.

If my salvation depends upon my choosing Christ, it is most shaky, because I may decide to walk away from Christ and go my own way. But, if it depends upon Christ’s choice of me, wretched in my sin, with absolutely no merit of my own, then it is as certain as the promise of God who cannot lie. Scripture is abundantly clear, you can do nothing to save yourself from God’s rightful judgment. Only Christ can save, and He has promised to save all who trust in Him. If you say, “But I cannot even trust in Him,” you are right! Call out to Him for mercy and faith, with the man who said to Jesus, “I do believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Or again, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” (Luke 18:13).

  1. THE DOCTRINE OF TOTAL DEPRAVITY HUMBLES MY PRIDE.

Ever since Eve thought that she could be like God, the human race has been infected with pride. Even many who profess Christ dislike this doctrine, because it removes every ground for boasting. Luther said it well (Bondage of the Will, p. 100, 101),

God has surely promised His grace to the humbled: that is, to those who mourn over and despair of themselves. But a man cannot be thoroughly humbled till he realizes that his salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsels, efforts, will and works, and depends absolutely on the will, counsel, pleasure and work of Another–God alone. As long as he is persuaded that he can make even the smallest contribution to his salvation, he remains self-confident and does not utterly despair of himself, and so is not humbled before God; but plans out for himself (or at least hopes and longs for) a position, an occasion, a work, which shall bring him final salvation. But he who is out of doubt that his destiny depends entirely on the will of God despairs entirely of himself, chooses nothing for himself, but waits for God to work in him; and such a man is very near to grace for his salvation.

So these truths are published for the sake of the elect, that they may be humbled and brought down to nothing, and so saved. The rest of men resist this humiliation; indeed, they condemn the teaching of self-despair; they want a little something left that they can do for themselves. Secretly they continue proud, and enemies of the grace of God.

  1. THE DOCTRINE OF TOTAL DEPRAVITY CAUSES ME TO FEAR TRUSTING IN MYSELF.

As I grow to know my own heart, and the sin that still indwells me, I realize that if I am to know victory over sin, I must not trust in myself at all, but only in the Savior who said, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). The Apostle Paul warned, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). He affirmed from his own experience, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10), because when he was aware of his own weakness, he relied totally upon God’s grace and power, not at all on himself.

  1. THE DOCTRINE OF TOTAL DEPRAVITY MOVES ME TO GREATER LOVE AND DEVOTION TO GOD FOR HIS AMAZING GRACE.

One of the problems of the weak gospel being preached today, the gospel that does not wound and totally disable the proud sinner from thinking that he has anything he can bring to God, is that those who profess faith in Christ have no idea of the awful pit from which He rescued them, and of that fact that He did it in spite of their sin, not because they were “worthy.” The truth is, even the best of us were worthy a million times over of spending eternity in the lake of fire! Forgiven little, such “Christians” love little!

The Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, said, “Too many think lightly of sin, and therefore think lightly of the Saviour. He who has stood before his God, convicted and condemned, with the rope about his neck, is the man to weep for joy when he is pardoned, to hate the evil which has been forgiven him, and to live to the honour of the Redeemer by whose blood he has been cleansed.” (C. H. Spurgeon Autobiography [Banner of Truth], 1:54). When we see the utter depravity of our sinful hearts, and then realize the abundant grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior, we will be caught up in wonder, love, and praise to Him for His glorious, sovereign grace! I pray that God will impress on each of us the biblical doctrine of total depravity.

Thanks for wading through this long devotional post.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Lydia, she fell and broke her hip, she’s 88

Pray for Robert C, 32, and told he has prostate cancer (and yes that is the correct spelling).

Praise from Jorge, he just finished his 100th bible correspondence class, that’s every single class, Congrats.

MY DEAR SON

November 24, 2017

My Dear Son;

I’m not sure how to write this letter or to talk about the burden in my heart in such a way that you are encouraged to repent because of your relation to Christ and not based on your relation to me. In that I have failed to be the godly role model that should have guided you to a deeper walk with Christ.

You are correct in that when I took a hiatus from the church pulpit and left the ministry for a while I became very carnal and course in my speech and habits. I know that for both of us leaving a very strict Pentecostal culture, we were in uncharted territory in both of our lives.

And I’m so sorry that it took me as long as it did to get back to that well spring of holiness and sanctification that God was renewing in my life. And that my waywardness has affected you more deeply than I feared. It is my most fervent wish that you would renew your walk in leading a life pleasing to Christ in every area of your life. That specifically your choice of entertainment was filtered by asking yourself if this would be pleasing to the Lord.

You are the best son a father could have, you are like me in so many areas that is why I am warning you not to repeat the same mistakes I’ve made in my life. I am so proud of you and wish only the best for you. But please consider a godlier walk in every area of your life and not use me as an excuse to be vulgar.

It may not be a great failing, but it is a failing none the less and the sorrow I feel that my example would be the root of this is so painful to my heart. Especially now in the midst of this great trial I’ve been enduring for so long, and my renewed closeness to God and the deep restoration of a truly faithful walk with Him, I feel the blame more keenly as I’ve grown close again to God.

I love you so much and you are a great son but please take this to heart.

DAD.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

TOUCHED

November 20, 2017

THE NEED FOR TOUCH

I’m always amazed by how unloved people in the church feel. In one church we mentioned in the bulletin that on Thursdays you could come to my office from 9am to 9pm and just be hugged. There would be two other people in the room, usually my wife and I.

I was amazed at how many people “snuck” in for a hug and a prayer. Now I’m a big hugger, you gonna know you were hugged. No sissy, barely held you, nope you’re gonna get the works. What amazed is how many people just wept when embraced.

The other comment was “thank you for hugging me like a real man.” That puzzled me at first, but I always ask, “what do you mean?”

The most common answer was from married women who said how their husbands barely touched them any more and if they did they felt like they were being hugged by their sister not their husband.

Well the church all on its own started a hugging revolution. All the services had everyone hugging, before during and after. And then it spread outside of church. How did I know that? People started coming to our church to be hugged. We actually roped off two front pews with a sign that said “need hugs.”

Those two pews began to fill up with the threshold crowd, mentally ill, homeless, broken, and they sat there with a childlike presence waiting for someone to reach out and hug them. We actually had some parolees with warrants and one escaped mental patient call and said they would turn themselves in at the church if they could get a hug first. The police were shocked, but they cooperated, and I’ve lost count of the people that came in to be arrested if they were hugged first. And never a problem.

I try to stop by my son’s business at least once a week, we always hug and he kisses me on the cheek and we say “we love you.” Clients there will ask if we will hug them as well. And then so many ask or say about how loving every one there is. Or that they haven’t seen an adult son and father hug and kiss in forever.

When I leave my son and daughter in law will shout out again; “we love you Pop.” And the whole place goes silent waiting for my heart felt and loud, “we love you too.”

Friends, it might take you a while to get used to invading someone’s space but start hugging. And spouses start hugging.

People are surprised but filled with joy over a hug.

I have a big Aryan ex-con friend, all tatted up and everything pierced, he never wears a shirt just his biker vest. This guy is a muscled bound steroid abuser (ex) we meet every other month at a nice restaurant. He always gets there first so he can sit in their real fancy bar. And when I come in the door he rushes at me like he’s going to kill me. (a few people actually screamed a few times) but we give these huge bear killer hugs and he picks me up off the floor and always says. “I love you man.”

People need the Lord, and everybody needs touched. That was the hallmark of Jesus’s ministry he touched the unwanted. We need to touch everyone.

So spread the love.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

the fortress of solitude

November 14, 2017

I was going through a stack of old bibles that I’ve collected over the years and I’m always interested in the old sermons I find in them or notes scribbled on church bulletins, sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn’t. The same with sermons, I’ll read an old sermon of mine and think “oh my poor congregation” they sat there so feigning interest. This time the bible is one I bought from a collection and this sermon was in it. after reading it several times I thought I would share this gem that I found today.

“Beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. Instead, grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (II Peter 3:17-18)

Is there a path of steady growth in the presence and power of God for the one who has placed their confidence in Jesus? Should we assume that it is God’s intention our lives would be increasingly pervaded by the action of his hand, until “all we do in word or deed” would be done “in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”? (Col. 3:11) Is this something we can arrange for, so that the command to grow in grace makes sense?

We are told repeatedly by Paul to put off the old person and to put on the new. How does one do that?

The answer is actually rather simple. One must intend to do it, and then one must sensibly implement the means. Putting on the new person, growing in grace, is something we must do. Appropriate action is the key. True, as Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) But it is also true that if we do nothing it will be without him.

The path of spiritual growth in the riches of Christ is not a passive one. Grace is not opposed to effort. It is opposed to earning. Effort is action. Earning is attitude. You have never seen people more active than those who have been set on fire by the grace of God. Paul, who perhaps understood grace better than any other mere human being, looked back at what had happened to him and said: “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” (I Cor. 15:10)

As to “means of grace” placed in our hands, well-directed action is the key. The disciplines of the spiritual life are simply practices that prove to be effectual in enabling us to increase the grace of God in our lives.

That grace is, of course, “unmerited favor.” But the form it takes is the action of God in our lives and with our actions. If we wish to know more of this and see the deliverance it works in and around us, we must do the things that will bring it to pass. These things are spiritual disciplines or the disciplines for the spiritual life.

A discipline in any area is something in my power that I do to enable me to do what I cannot do by direct effort. This is the general nature of discipline, and there is simply no area of human attainment–from playing a musical instrument, to sports, to speaking a language or being friendly–that does not require discipline.

The need for discipline does not change when we come to all that is involved in walking in the holiness and power of Christ. Would we do the things that Jesus himself did and taught? Then there is a way. It is the way of disciplined grace: discipline under grace and grace in the midst of discipline.

What are some of these disciplines? A primary one is solitude, which must go hand in hand with silence to be complete. In solitude I arrange to be alone, out of human contact, for lengthy periods of time. This allows my inner compass to stop whirling in response to the demands of others. The elasticity and wholeness of my soul is restored as I grow “still and know that God is God.” (Ps. 46:10)

Only solitude and silence, extensively practiced at wisely allotted intervals, can take the world off my back and forever release me from both hurry and loneliness. They open the door to productive engagement with other disciplines. I begin to find myself increasingly before God in such a way that he can safely fill me with himself.

Study and worship, fasting and sacrifice (of time, energy, money), journaling and prayer, confession and service are also among the disciplines. Some disciplines may be freely chosen. But often our circumstances will impose activities on us which, if taken as such, can be marvelous disciplines enabling us to receive extraordinary grace. “Tribulation works patience” is only one illustration of this principle.

But there is no such thing as a complete list of spiritual disciplines, chosen or imposed. Many different activities might be entered into with the aim of finding the manifest grace of God which enables us to do what we cannot do–and be what we cannot be–by direct effort. But the ones that emerge as most beneficial in Christian history should all be considered very seriously.

And of course “what we cannot do by direct effort” covers all that Jesus taught us. We cannot keep his teachings on our own. He never intended it. But by whole life training in the well-known disciplines of the spiritual life we can become inwardly the kinds of persons who naturally (supernaturally of course) do what he said and did. That is how the gift of a holy and powerful life comes to us.

Now disciplines are not law, they are wisdom. We have to learn how to do them, and we always fail at the outset. But to fail here is not to sin. The sin would be in not adopting and following up on a wise program of disciplines under grace. For then we are not really intending to do what Jesus said. We are planning to fail.

Also, disciplines are for disciples–apprentices–of Jesus, not for dabblers or mere consumers of religious services. They are for people who intend to learn from Jesus how to live their whole lives in the kingdom of God as he would live their lives if he were they. Such people are serious about this and will not be denied.

Thus they are prepared to experiment and learn from their failures until, under their constant teacher, they find that disciplines truly are full of grace and strength.

Fasting becomes feasting on God, meditation on scripture becomes celebration. Religion is no longer an additional burden to be carried in an already overburdened life, but is replaced by a joyous confidence that God is present and prevailing in every situation of life and death.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Jennifer she has her second eye surgery at 7am Tuesday morning.

Bond Servant

November 7, 2017

shackles

  THE BOND SERVANT

  “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Tim. 2:4).

  God has a unique plan concerning each one of us. The secret of realizing our personal calling is not to look at others, but simply to walk in close fellowship with the Father. “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him” (Ps. 62:5).

  “No one Christian has a right to stop on his way for another; he must go forward himself in individual faithfulness. The effort to drag others along with us is in reality but a device of Satan to keep ourselves back. Note Jehovah’s word to Jeremiah, ‘Let them return unto thee; but return not thou to them’ (Jer. 15:19). Are any desirous of going forward, let them not stop to carry along with them ‘the men of Ephraim.’ Far better is it to go on with but a few to follow, than to get numbers with us who are only halfhearted.”

  “You may say, ‘Show me a pattern man.’ We all like to copy; but there is no gain in copying. You have to learn the Lord for yourself. All you learn for yourself will remain, and nothing else. Every one has his own history.”

It is plain enough that every believer is called of God to something definite. The real difficulty is to ascertain the specialty, and this I do not think can be discovered but in nearness to the Lord, and when you are interested in His interests. We first learn that He is interested in us, and then we gradually become interested in His interests. It is then you apprehend your mission in life.

  “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Tim. 2:5).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

RINNNNNG! RRRRIINNNNNGGGGG!

November 4, 2017

Okay first thing to remember is that this is not a crash course on demonology or even theology it’s just a story; although it’s a true story and even though my theology has changed (matured), none of that is relevant.

So it’s one of those oh my God I’ve answered the phone again, and a little old lady says, “pastor would you come over to my house I think it’s possessed.”

So what the heck, yes ma’am, I will come over. So this is a lady that does not go to my church, I’ve never heard of her before, oh yeah and she says she talked to the pastor next door and he says; I’m just some crazy old lady”.

So that’s all the information that I had, so I’m  going to visit a possible crazy woman who thinks her home is possessed. So first of all it is a nice neighborhood, and she does have a lovely home And Everything Is well kept.

I knock on the door, and this woman answers the door and she looks perfectly sane and in her right mind. And she is all “you must be the pastor, please come in” (cue creepy music). So I go in the house it is very well kept, very clean, no weird smells everything appears to be normal.

So she says, “well pastor let me tell you there is some kind of ghost living in my basement and at night when I’m asleep he comes up bothers me, then my bottom dresser draw slides open and all these little naked people come out and dance all around me. Would you go down in the basement and do whatever it is you do and get it out of here?”

So I go to the door that leads down to the basement and I flicked the light switch, and just like every good horror movie, the light does not does not come on. I look at her and she says oh he always does that he unscrews the light bulb. You will have to go down the steps and open the door reach out screw in the light bulb and pull on the cord”.

Okay is it just me or is my heart hammering like a 12 air hammer?

I asked her do you have a flashlight, you already know what the answer is, “no the batteries are dead.”

So, here I am walking down the stairs and I am praying, “sweet Jesus do not let there be anybody down here, demonic or otherwise.” (you also have to remember tactical flashlights have not been invented, just the giant cop mag light that I don’t have.)

I push open the door, it is pitch black, I cannot see a thing. I look over my shoulder and see that the lady is standing there at the top of the stairs wringing her hands. And you know what I’m thinking of right now, you just know something is going to happen.

So I’m trying to keep the door open with my right foot, and reach out with my left hand and try to find this light bulb that’s hanging from the ceiling so I can screw it in and pull on the cord and oh sweet Jesus let there really be light down here and nothing else not even a mouse.

Well what I did not know is that it was a swinging door because right then when I found the light bulb the door swings shut. At least I thought it was swinging shut, actually it was swinging towards me, and as I rushed back toward it, it was at the apex of its swing and bam I get slammed in the head like a sledge hammer as whacked me. I thought I was attacked by whatever was down in the basement; and man I am freaking out.

Forget about spiritual warfare, calling the name of Jesus, I’m in fight mode, out comes the Emerson combat knife and I looking for something to cut. I hear the lady at the top of stairs calling out; “are you okay, you have to watch out for the door it swings both ways.”

Foolishly I realize what has happened and I calm down and realize how glad I am she didn’t see the very unspiritual, totally freaked out Holy Roller going all Rambo.

I turn on the light and you guessed it, nothing down there. I’m praying to calm down, relax, take a deep breath and somebody taps me on the shoulder, I can instantly tell you it’s not the lady, its someone taller and bigger than her and I’m thinking you already freaked out once is it time to do it again?

The problem in most fights if you are not the attacker you are behind the power curve and catching up will usually get you cut, shot, or worse. But I think that moment I just felt calm and settled just long enough to not just lash out. Good thing it was the pastor from next door, he was worried because I’d been in the house a long time and remember he thinks his neighbor is crazy.

He sees the goose egg on my forehead and is asking if I’m alright and did she throw me down the stairs, is there somebody really down here. I tell him what happens and we both have a good laugh.

So we go back upstairs and I tell this lady there is nothing down there. Her response “maybe you should go there at night because that’s when they come out.” Guess what I said, “sure thing.” (Maybe I do need to have my head examined.)

Well no suspense, went back at her bedtime, sat in the basement with all the lights on and two flashlights and nothing.

So is she crazy who knows, is her house possessed, not that night. I never heard from her again. Hopefully she’s alright.

Do I still answer the phone and get sucked into crazy situations, yes I do. Moral of the story I don’t go into strange houses by myself. And I always have a flashlight.

Some time I’ll have to you about the time I was asked to do a cult abduction from a vampire cult. See I still answer the phone.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

SIGN POST

November 3, 2017

Godly parents, who to the best of their ability seek to raise their children in the faith, can still have children who turn away. This will be the exception, not the rule. But it can and does happen. We have wrongly interpreted Proverbs 22:6, ”Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,” to mean that if you train them properly, then it is guaranteed that they will follow the Lord. Thus if the child goes astray, the parent must be to blame. But the Proverbs are not ironclad promises. Rather, they state general maxims about life. It is generally true that if you train up children properly, they will follow the Lord as adults. But it is not a guaranteed promise, and therefore it is not necessarily a sign of parental failure when a child rebels. If there has been obvious parental failure, then we, as the church, should help a hurting parent to deal biblically with the area of failure. But it is wrong for us to be judgmental.

Ok, this may be way to much info but to be thorough here we go

This verse is a key to the whole responsibility of training children, but there is a particular focus in this verse that shows us a parent’s training must be based on knowing his or her child. This emphasis is not apparent in the English as it is in the Hebrew text. As seen previously, the word “train,” the Hebrew chanak, has as it primary meaning, “train, instruct, initiate,” and it can also mean, “to dedicate, throttle or discipline.” In this verb we see the primary responsibility. Parents are to train and so teach their children that it brings God’s control into the child’s life. And certainly, since their children are trusts from God, they need to dedicate these little ones to God and be dedicated themselves to the training process.

But what is the standard for the process? God’s Word is the standard, of course, but there is something else that must guide the process and this is seen in the words, “in the way he should go.” The Hebrew text is actually much stronger than this and literally reads, “according the measure of his way.” “According to,” the Hebrew ‘al pi, is literally according to the mouth of. This carries the ideas of “according to the command of, the evidence or sentence of, or according to the measure of.” The preposition ‘al denotes the norm, standard, or rule by which something is to be done. The noun pi is from pe, “mouth, opening, orifice.” Since mouths or apertures vary in size, it developed the concept of “measure” or “portion.” With this in mind, pe was often used with prepositions to mean “in proportion to.” A small child normally has a much smaller mouth than an adult and can’t begin to take in as large a portion as a man. The principle here should be obvious. Training should be done according to the measure, the capacity, or ability of something. But what is that? It is spelled out for us with the words “his way.”

Again, maybe a little to much info, but if you want to go from A to Z on the topic here we go;

The Hebrew text has the personal pronoun attached to the noun “way.” It reads, “his way” and not simply “in the way he should go.” “Way” is the Hebrew derek, “way, road, journey, manner.” It was used of (1) a way, path, journey, course of action, (2) mode, habit, manner as a customary experience or condition, and (3) of duty and moral action and character both good and bad. From the knowledge of Scripture and from an observation of our children, we know certain things about their way. First, we know that God, in His sovereignty, has a plan, a course He wants each child to follow—an orbit for him or her. Second, we know that every child has a specific make up as an individual with certain abilities, talents, and tendencies—a particular bent. Derek is from the verb darak, “to tread, march,” but it was often used metaphorically of launching something as in the bending of a bow in order to launch an arrow, or an assault, or bitter speech, or judgments in a certain direction (cf. Ps. 7:13; La. 2:4; 3:12; Ps. 57:7; 64:3; 1 Chron. 5:18; 8:40; Isa. 21:15). While darak does not have this specific meaning, the use of the verb form provides us with an interesting illustration considering the nature of children according to inheritance factors and as God has designed them.

With this in mind, let’s consider a few key ideas in training a child according to his way:

(1) Parents need to know their children as the unique individuals they are. To do this, they must prayerfully observe, study, and recognize the individual characteristics (or bent) of each of their children and train them accordingly.

(2) Parents should never think that seeing that a child gets plenty of Bible training or gets to church will be enough. Bible teaching, church, and growing up in a Bible-teaching home are all vital and a necessary part of the process, but each child needs to be dealt with as a unique individual and nothing should be taken for granted. Parents need to take special note of what is happening in each child’s life—responses, weaknesses, habits, attitudes, etc. The same environment does not mean that each child will respond in the same way. A blanket approach may not work. Some biblical illustrations of the different ways children will respond to the same environment and teaching within the same home are Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, and Absolom and Solomon.

(3) Parents should never try to force their children into the way they want their children to go. By this I mean parents often try to pour a child into some preconceived mold they’ve dreamed of for their child. This is often nothing more than a parent’s attempt, through the accomplishments of their child, to attain the applause or praise or whatever it was they wanted for themselves, but never received. For instance, a parent may have a dream of seeing their child become a great athlete or artist and do everything they can to manipulate and push their child in that direction when that may not at all be in keeping with the child’s aptitude, talents, abilities, or desire—let alone what God wants for that child.

(4) A bow is made by its designer to bend in one direction, according to its bent. We saw that the verb form of “way” was used of bending a bow to launch something. If the person using the bow does not recognize the way the bow is bent and tries to bend it differently, he will not only face a difficult task, but he may break the bow. In like manner, parents need to recognize the way their child is bent, both by the way God has designed them and by the way sin has affected them. If a parent fails to recognize this, they may also fail to help their child get launched into God’s orbit or plan for their life. This would suggest that children are not like a pliable piece of clay that may be molded anyway the parent chooses. Rather, they are unique individuals with a way already established that needs to be recognized, acknowledged, and reckoned with by means of the truth of Scripture and a parent’s careful observation.

So training a child in the way he should go really means helping them discover their temperament and uniqueness of character and going in a way that compliments their gifts and abilities, the verse should be interpreted “according to his (the child’s way)” that they should live a life that complements their strengths and talents and not be forced into a mold. So if you have two kids you may have to raise each one differently according to their temperaments.

I hope this helps those parents that have used this verse to beat themselves up because their child was “wayward” in the faith and they feel they have failed. That’s not what this verse has ever meant, not in its literal sense.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com