Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Bible is Boring

I was talking with an individual the other day who identifies themself as a Christian . In the course of the conversation, she made the comment: "I get bored reading the Bible." The rest of the conversatoin went something like:

Me : "Really?!"

She: "Yeah, just to sit and read the Bible-- that's boring to me."

Me :"How can you say that? What about Hebrews 4:12, 'the Word of God is living and powerful'. What about that?!"

She: "What about it? I didn't say I don't believe it...I just get bored trying to read the Bible. I think my preacher's boring, too. I usually don't listen to the sermon."

Me : "Well, if you don't read the Bible and you don't listen to your preacher, WHAT do you read and WHO do you listen to?" (At this point, you might be wondering why this person EVEN BOTHERS to go to church. Are you ready?...her husband is the Music Minister! She pretty much HAS to attend.)

She: "I like Jesse Duplantis. I went and seen (yes, she said seen) him a couple of months ago. I like him--he's funny. And I like the way he talks."

Me : "What does funny have to do with preaching?! Don't you remember when Ezra brought out the Book and read to the people for EIGHT HOURS and they STOOD and listened as he read and explained the Scriptures to them? They weren't bored. In fact, when he finished, they were weeping- confessing their sin- and worshiping God. Preaching isn't about being funny--it's about hearing from God through His word. It's how people are saved (1 Corinthians 11:21)."

She: "All I'm saying is, if it doesn't hold my attention, I'm not going to listen."
I think I passed out about this time.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Is this a Cult? *UPDATED*

It's been several days since I've posted-- my mind and time has been occupied with a situation that I am at a loss as to how (if even how) I should respond. In a nutshell, the 18-year-old daughter of some friends has decided to "join" a group known as Smith's Friends. I've been able to find a little bit on the internet about the group. On the surface, they sound like a "christian group"--they refer to themselves as The Christian Church (no association with the Restoration Movement churches, some having the same "name"). But some of the teachings I've read about don't ring true with my understanding of Scripture. Here are some links that I've read:

Some of the teachings (according to one website) are that Jesus was not God and He sinned unconsciously when He was on the earth. The site also claims the group teaches that Christ died for His own sins, as well as the sins of man. Current day leader, Sigurd Bratlie's teachings are accepted by Smith's Friends as infallible.

Several things concern me about this situation (NOTE: I'm speaking from information I've been told by the parents and close friends of the family). First, is how quickly the group was able to convince this girl to join them-- telling her, in essence, that the church she belonged to was not a true church and the things she had been taught by the church and her parents were not right. Second, they convinced the girl to move into their home, out of her dorm where she recently began attending college on a full scholarship. This girl is VERY intelligent-- she graduated at the top of her class; the scholarship was to a well known, private university. Yet, somehow...

The most disturbing thing to me is that the person that lulled her into this group is one that should be a trusted individual in our community. It appears that he has been "grooming" this girl for some time by giving her literature, etc. to help indoctrinate her. I spoke with another parent who said their son brought home some of the literature; that boy did not join the group.

The parents are devastated. Please pray for John and Joanie. Also pray that their daughter will have her eyes opened to this deception.

UPDATE 08-21-09 : Updated broken or dead links

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

You're Outa Here!

Sunday School teacher, 81-year-old Mary Lambert, has been "fired for being female" according to an ABC News report. The report states that Mrs. Lambert has been a member of the First Baptist Church in Watertown, N.Y., for 60 years and has taught Sunday School there for more than 50 years. In recent days, the church board sent her a letter, citing 1 Timothy 2:12 as their basis for dismissing her from her teaching duties.

I have a few thoughts here:

  • Why in the world is ABC or any other news agency reporting this? And, how did they find out about a situation that, in my opinion, is stricly a church/congregational matter?
  • The report quotes the Watertown mayor as saying it's "fundamentally wrong" to go after a woman teaching Sunday school and use a passage from the Bible as your rationale. If the church shouldn't use the Bible as their "rationale" (authority), then what should they use?
  • Why do we care about the MAYOR'S opinion? Is he a member of the congregation? Does he have some kind of information about this situation?
  • It's amazing to me how many people who DON'T attend church ANYWHERE have an opinion about this situation and/or what the Bible has to say about women in church.(Google "Sunday School Teacher Fired" or check out for an absolutely eye-opening look into the thoughts of some "internet theologians." WARNING: There is some crude and very stupid language contained in some of the comments. Some people just don't have a very large vocabulary.)

In general--and keep in mind, I don't know all of the details of this particular situation--I would most likely side with the church board on this one. I'm not comfortable with women pastors/evangelists; I have no problem with women teaching children, but based on my understanding of the aforementioned Scripture, I think God has established His plan for teaching within the church and I believe the responsibility of teaching adults in a coed situation falls on the shoulders of men.

Several years ago, I was involved in a very similar situation; a church that I used to attend had a woman teaching a coed adult class and had been for 30+ years. She was/is very intelligent, possesses a vast knowledge of the Bible, and does a tremendous job shepherding her class. In the midst of reaccessing some of the church's policies/positions, a conversation among the leadership (of which I was part) ensued as to how we should handle the removal of this woman from her teaching position. I'm embarrassed to say that, in the end and in spite of our agreement that "that passage means what it says", no one--including myself-- had the guts to "rock the boat"...and boy would it have ROCKED! She's still teaching the class and I wonder from time to time if anyone thinks about that New Testament passage AND thinks: "Yeah, that's what it says, but I'M not getting in the middle of that one!"

I don't think this kind of thing belongs in the secular arena. I hope Mrs. Lambert isn't the one that alerted the press. And one last thing: the report states that "she already has five offers to teach in other communities." I can't imagine a church that would immediately place an individual in a teaching position THAT quickly, without know anything about them, interviewing them, observing them for the type of spiritual fruit that is consistent with a Godly teacher of God's Word. I can't imagine it...but I guess they do exist.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Sweet Mary, mother of God?

Saw this at this morning. I'm speechless.

Workers at a chocolate company have discovered a 2-inch-tall (5-centimeter-tall) column of chocolate drippings that they believe bears a striking resemblance to traditional depictions of the Virgin Mary.

Since the discovery of the drippings under a vat on Monday, employees of Bodega Chocolates have spent much of their time hovering over the tiny figure, praying and placing rose petals and candles around it.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sweating in the Spirit

While going through my daily "blog roll", I stopped by Purgatorio's latest post which features some of the finest aircraft currently owned by the likes of Benny Hinn and Jesse Duplantis. The TV "preachin' bidness" must be a pretty good gig! Good grief...Benny and Joyce Meyers are "flying the friendly skies" in $4.5 MILLION jets! That's quite a ride. More here.

After swallowing my tongue over the airplane story, my ADHD kicked in and my eye caught a link to Paula White's website (she owns a jet too, but it's not as nice as Benny's). Paula, whose "ministry" I'm not very familiar with, obviously does pretty well. Describing herself as a "Rich Woman", Paula offers the following tips:

A Rich Woman’s Keys To Being a Successful Investor
1. Education
2. Start Small
3. Stay Close to Home
4. Put Little Money Down
5. Set Yourself Up To Win
6. Choose Your Circle Wisely
7. Remember that Investing Is A Process
8. Always Keep Learning
9. Have Fun!

But the thing that really caught my eye was the ad on the right side of the website for Donna Richardson Joyner's Sweating in the Spirit (I'm not making this up!) workout video. If I'm lyin', I'm dyin'!

My head just exploded...where's the duct tape?!

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Word

Hanging on a wall of my office, I have an Ephesians "title page" from a pre-1650 King James Bible. A title page is a single two-sided page or sheet taken from an ancient Bible which could not be sold as a complete Bible, because it was already missing many pages. Sellers of antique Bibles don't tear Bibles apart just to sell individual pages (at least the one I dealt with doesn't).

I chose Ephesians because it is one of my favorite books in the New Testament, mainly because of its numerous references to God's choosing us for salvation. I find comfort in that particular doctrine of grace in that, before the foundation of the world, God chose to set me (and many others) apart for salvation-- not because of anything we had done or would do. Simply because of His grace. But that's not the point of this post. Back to the title page.


The paper has yellowed over time. The font is similar to "Old English" but is not so ornate as to render it undreadable. One of the interesting things about the page is the way certain words are spelled. For instance, the word "be" is spelled "bee" (like the insect); also, anywhere the letter "s" appears in the middle of a word, it appears as a lower case "f"; words ending in "s", the letter rmains the word "Ephesians" acutally reads "Ephefians." It takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of the "f" vs. "s" spelling/style, the text flows pretty well. Which brings me to the most amazing part of the page.

As I mentioned, the page is from a pre-1650 Bible, making it over 300 years old! That's older than the Declaration of Independance! And yet, if you compare the text to a modern printing...there is virtually NO CHANGE in the wording. God's Word is unchanging. People have tried to destroy it (without success), many dismiss it, others ignore it, some of us neglect it...but the Word of God stands. The same words that were "dictated" to the Apostle Paul by the Holy Spirit almost 2000 years ago, then printed onto a page some 1600+ years later have stood the test of time and the assaults of men and demons. This Word has not and will not fail to accomplish ALL that God has determined it will do.

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

NOTE: I realize the page pictured above is from the Book of Galatians. I couldn't get a picture of the actual page I own. Also, if you are interested in purchasing an antique Bible or title page, visit

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Church Silliness

I found this photo on Tom Ascol's blog. It doesn't need a caption.

The Willow Creek Leadership Conference (sorry no link, I just can't make myself do it) is in full swing. Rock star, Bono of U2 fame, is/was one of the guest speakers. "The main thrust of the Scriptures is to meet Christ in working with the poor," the U2 front man told his viewers. REALLY!? So what's all this stuff I'm reading in the Bible about my sin, my need for a Savior, and God sending His Son to earth to pay the price for my sin? Filler?!

In a recent interview, another Leadership Conference speaker- Jim Collins, author of Good to Great- responded to a Christianity Today interview:

CT: How does a good church bgegin moving toward greatness?
Jim Collins: By getting the right people in the key seats...
"Jesus said, '...upon this rock I will build my church.'" (Matthew 16:18) I guess Jesus wasn't reading the right leadership books. Interestingly, Mr. Collins doesn't mention Jesus Christ, the Cross, repentance, or obedience to the Word of God-- yet he is a featured speaker at a "leadership conference" for CHURCH leaders. Read the article.

I see lots of "churches" that say they cater to "the unchurched." So I'm wondering: What happens when the unchurched become CHURCHED?! Are they asked to leave to make room for more "unchurched" people?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Gas Prices

Here in Oklahoma, specifically the Tulsa area, we're paying around $2.95 per gallon for gas. Nationwide, Houston residents can find gas for $2.91, while the folks in Los Angeles are shelling out $3.23 per gallon. A year ago, we were paying around $2.00 a gallon nationwide. I don't like it - not one bit. I work for a manufacturing firm that builds refinery equipment and we are seeing record sales. Currently, we are quoting 40 - 52 weeks for orders. We are booking hours at 2.5 times the normal rate in some cases. This should be a banner year...but I still don't like paying $3.00 for a gallon of gas. And, with BP shutting down their pipeline in the Prudhoe Bay oil field (Alaska), who knows where the price will go.

So how did we get to this point? I don't claim to be an authority on the subject, but I have to believe that the fact that we haven't built a new refinery in this country in over 20 years has a LOT to do with it. We are WAY too dependent on foreign oil imports in this country. According to a Washington Post article: "The United States imports 58 percent of the oil it consumes. Federal officials project that by 2025, the country will have to import 68 percent of its oil to meet demand." What we need to do is build reineries, expand existing ones and look for alternative fuels. One such fuel, synfuel, is not only a cleaner burning fuel, it can be produced from coal for about $1.00 a gallon. The process to accomplish this is known as the
Fischer-Tropsch Process and it provided fuel for 90 per cent of Hitler's planes during WWII, so the technology is already there. Montana's Governor, Brian Schweitzer aka "Montana's Coal Cowboy" pitched the process on CBS's 60 Minutes. Montana has 120 billion tons of state and federal coal reserves under its surface, mostly in Eastern Montana. Schweitzer said 115 billion tons of that coal is recoverable. Schweitzer said using the Fischer-Tropsch method, one ton of coal would produce 1.5 barrels of diesel fuel. A barrel is 42 gallons. That's one alternative. Then there's the "tar sands" or "oil sands" in Canada. I won't go into the details here, but it's definetly worth checking out.

So what are we waiting for?

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Variety of Things on Friday

Number 1
Cal Thomas probably said it best (commenting on Mel Gibson's recent arrest for DUI and the anti-semetic comments made by the actor during the incident):

Maybe I'll sound like an old fogy or some reincarnated Puritan by asking this, but what was a married man with seven children doing in a bar until 2 a.m. with young women hanging all over him? Why do people who get caught doing something wrong - we used to have standards for determining such things - always blame alcohol, or abuse as a child, or temporary insanity, or a mental lapse that is not indicative of "who I really am," or a force beyond them ("the devil made me do it") to absolve themselves of personal moral guilt? Commentators seem to care more about the offense to Jews than Gibson's offense to his wife and children and to the idea of what it means to be married ("forsaking all others"). (Taken from )
I think it's a pretty good question.

Number 2
I am NOT an OU (Oklahoma Sooners) fan- but my hat's off to Head Coach, Bob Stoops. He made the tough decision and he isn't backing down.

Number 3
Parents of small children, especially little girls, need to read Mike Adams latest column. In his usual, no-holds-barred style, Adams makes some interesting observations about his neighbor's children:

On my daily jog though my neighborhood I ran by the house of a man I know fairly well. His garage door was open and music was blaring out of a jam box inside - in fact, the music was so loud it was barely recognizable. But I could tell the song was “These boots are made for walking,” which was popularized by Nancy Sinatra in the 1960s. His two grandchildren were dancing in the driveway to the recent remake of the tune, sung by Jessica Simpson.

As my neighbor’s two grandchildren were standing in the driveway - while gyrating their hips like a couple of prostitutes - I noticed they were both wearing cutoff “Daisy Duke” style short and halter tops. The oldest girl looked like she was wearing mascara. She is 11 years old, by the way. Her younger sister is nine. (Read the entire column here.)