Welcome To Reality

Welcome to reality. Those entering must agree to check (as honestly as possible) all presuppositions at the door.
Today we are continuing our look into “1 John” to see how we can know, can we really know, and should we even care if we know that we truly posses eternal life? Let’s do it!

1 John 3: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps owelcome to reality picsn sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

“For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

“By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.”

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Can I Know? How Do I Know? Why Should I Care?

So, we’re going through the book of 1John, chapter by chapter, to see how we can know, can we really know, and should we even care if we know that we truly posses eternal life?  We agreed that we would check our presuppositions at the door ( It’s hard to do, I know.), and that I would keep my mouth shut, offering no commentary. I hope you’re writing down any thoughts you may have. If discussion ensues, we can all lovingly and respectfully go there together. (Remember, you can like us on Face Book and join the discussion there.)  Let’s go to chapter two!

1John 2: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

“Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him[b] there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkneesher 2ss, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

“I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

“Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.

“And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.”

Fool’s Gold?

We here it all the time, from actors, musicians, athletes, politicians and nobodies like me, “I’d like to thank my Savior Jesus Christ for…” Christians will hear a performer, let’s say on a show like “American Idol,” utilize this “mantra” and be overjoyed that the person saying it must be a Christian because after all 1 John 4:2 says, ” By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.” I think perhaps we should dig a little deeper as to what John is saying. Perhaps it’s more than just saying some words, for after all, Matthew recalls: “And, behold, they [demons] cried out, saying, ‘What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?’ “
The book of 1 John flies in the face of a culture that insists we can’t really “know” anything. Great day, over & over John says stuff like, “By this we know….” “I write this so that you may know…” It goes on. Please take the time to prayerfully read 1 John. You don’t have to be a preacher or a Bible scholar to understand it; you have the Holy Spirit! If you do want to dig deeper, there is so much available on line to keep you busy for a long time! You can KNOW!fools gold
I’ll leave you with this: “I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it…the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.”

The Realio

Quite often, when my daughters and I phone each other and leave a voice mail, the message we leave is only three words, “You don’t see.” For us, this has come to be an inside joke whereby we are telling each other, “You don’t see what’s really going on.” or “You don’t understand how cool I am.” Basically though, it simply means that you are failing to comprehend the “realio.” You just aint gettin’ it! I think that’s what Jesus was saying to the disciples in Mark 8 when he said, “Don’t you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear…Don’t you understand yet?” (Mark 8:17-21)

It’s sobering to realize that Jesus was speaking to a group that earlier he had referred to as insiders who had been given the secret of the Kingdom of God. Now, these insiders are acting like outsiders that don’t yet truly understand who Jesus is at all. They had seen miracles. They had seen him calm the storm. They had seen him cast out demons, but still did not grasp the fact that the guy they were dealing with was the promised Messiah, the Son of God. These guys had intimate, regular interaction with Jesus, and yet were slow to comprehend who he is. Are we any different? We go to church, sing the songs, hear the sermons, and even (God forbid) have emotional outbursts. But who do we say that he is? Do we love and worship Jesus because he is God or simply for what he can do for us, or because he makes us feel good about ourselves? If Jesus is God, then how can I respond to him as if he is simply a hobby? Do we who call ourselves Christians, who are to be the light of the world really know who Jesus is?

The religious leaders of the day thought they knew how Messiah would be, how he would act and what he would do. King Herod thought Jesus was John the Baptist, back from the dead to haunt him. Some said Jesus was Elijah or some Old Testament prophet. Even those closest to him had trouble fitting Jesus into their preconceived concept of Messiah. And we who make up the church today are guilty of trying to make Jesus fit into our boxes as well. We are very much like the blind man at Bethsaida who, after coming in contact with Jesus, said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.”(Mark 8:22-26)  He needed Jesus to touch him again in order for his sight to be fully restored. Perhaps we too need a “fresh touch” so that we can see more clearly. The problem is that we think we know everything. We think that our little group is the only one that really sees.

At the end of Mark 8 we see (no pun intended) Peter finally comprehending and confessing that Jesus is the Christ, but he still suffers from blurred vision. Jesus tells the disciples that he must go to Jerusalem where he will be rejected, killed and after three days rise again. “As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things.” Peter still didn’t quite get it. He had his ideas about how it should all play out, but Jesus would have none of it. Further clarity was needed. There was no easy path for the Lord to take; he must lay down his life. And what’s more, so must we. Jesus wanted the disciples (and us) to first see who he really is, and then they must be made to understand that to follow him, they too would be required to lay down their lives. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”(Mark 8:34, 35)

The realio is that Jesus is God, and as God deserves my all. I don’t know everything, and need continued fellowship with Jesus as well as the body of Christ to ensure that I am seeing properly. One of the ways I can be sure that my vision is okay is when what I’m seeing moves me to deny myself and give all I am to the One who denied himself and gave all he is for me. Do you see?

Body Life

“He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (Ephesians 4:16)

Sometimes I wonder how it can be that even though I have been invited into this relationship with the living God, there are times when I feel so distant from the Lord. There are times when it is so hard to pray, so difficult to go into the prayer closet and seek His face. I mean really, here I am, involved with God almighty, and all I can muster up is a few measly moments of communion with him. He who deserves my every thought, my undivided attention, my absolute loyalty and devotion, so often finds me distracted and frigid. Dear Lord, how can I minister to others when it’s me who stands in need?

I think something we often forget is that fact that we so desperately need each other. I’ll even go so far as to say that you can’t truly grow and mature properly in Christ without consistent fellowship with the saints. As I sat in church this morning, after leading the congregation in worship with my fellow worship leaders, listening to my pastor preach; I was reminded of the reality of the fact that “…As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Just being with my brothers and sisters this morning brought refreshing to my soul, and strengthened my heart. Another verse that comes to mind is Colossians 3:16 where Paul said, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Oh, make no mistake my friend, we are inextricably bound together.

For too long, we here in the West have turned inward and made the Christian walk a solo affair in which the body of Christ is just a fact of life we acknowledge as true, but impacts us  hardly at all. Let me just come on out and say it, “You wont make it alone” Yes, each of us are called as individuals who are to have that one on one relationship with Jesus. But while we are indeed called as individuals, we live as a body. We are not like a body, or similar to a body, but rather we are the body of Christ, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Listen preachers, pastors, teachers, whatever; you need the body just like everyone else-perhaps more. Just because someone is called as the “professional, full-time minister” does not make them exempt from the ups and downs of the Christian walk. We all get tired, we all struggle, and the Body is that which the Lord has created to strengthen us and build us up in love. It’s sad, but for many, pride gets in the way and we put up walls keeping out the very ones who are to be our help. “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!”

Are you tired? Has your heart gotten a little cold? Pastor, are trying your best to hide the fact that you’re struggling? We don’t have to play games with each other. Each of us was saved by grace, through the faith that we received as a gift from God. What reason do we have to be proud? I brought nothing to the table, and if He didn’t keep me I’d surely fall away. The thing is, it is His people that He so often uses that helps keep us together. If you’re in need of a nice cool refreshing drink of living water, it may very well be in fellowship with your brothers and sisters that you’ll find it.

“The Bible” History Channel Style

“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.” John 5:39,40)

Tonight marks the airing of the first episode of the History Channel’s “The Bible,” and it seems as if a lot of folks are awfully excited about it. Me, I don’t know. I’m not in the loop as they say, and while “faith celebrities” like Warren and Osteen were privy to a sneak preview, like you; I’ll have to watch it like normal folks. As I have not seen the series, it would be foolish and presumptuous for me to comment on it; however, I will venture some preliminary thoughts.

I do frequently watch the History Channel, that is, when they actually air something reputed to be of historical relevance and not the so called “reality- TV” they seem to be promoting these days ( by the way, “The Bible” is produced by the reality-TV heavyweight Mark Burnett and his wife, the actress Roma Downey). On a number of occasions, when the History Channel has televised programs which utilize the Bible, I have observed gross mishandling of the scriptural texts. So, I suggest that if you watch this mini-series,  check out your Bible as to accuracy. The problem is, we live in a biblically illiterate culture. Many (even Christians) will accept the History Channel’s version of the Bible as “reality,” without having read the Bible themselves.

Most importantly, when the series moves into the New Testament, be discerning as to the way in which Jesus is portrayed. Watch to see if the History Channel’s Jesus is depicted as God. The Bible says that although Jesus is indeed fully man, he is also God the Son, the logos who is life itself. The Bible teaches that no one can “understand” God, come to him, or have any relationship with him, accept through Jesus. Jesus himself said in the book of John, “All who hear from the Father come to me.” I think the most important thing to watch for in this mini-series will be the way in which Jesus is depicted.

Regardless, of how it turns out, at least the series may prove to be a means by which the believer can enter into conversation with others about the Bible, in particular the Jesus of the Bible. So, if you watch “The Bible,” watch it with your Bible in your lap, be discerning as to how Jesus is portrayed, and be prepared to discuss it with those God brings across your path.

Cut & Paste

Have you ever heard of the term epistemology? Well, in case you haven’t; epistemology is the means by which we come to know truth. In our postmodern society or post post modern society if you will, the “new” thing is to question our epistemology. How do you know the truth? Can you know the truth? Are you sure you know the truth? There are no absolute truths. Actually, this is nothing new. It’s been going on since the beginning.

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, He instructed man as to how he was to understand the world in which he found himself. The Creator was clear (“crystal”) as he provided man with the truth as to his position in creation. It wasn’t long though before man was questioned about his epistemology. Remember? ““Did God say? Did God really say? You surely will not die!” (Genesis 3:3, 4) Man began to wonder if God was being straight with him. “Perhaps God is holding out on us because He doesn’t want us to be like Him. Do I really need God to provide me with my world view? I don’t need you God; I can be you!” Then it happened, the first “cut & paste” in history. The serpent provided man with a world view we aspired to; so voila, cut & paste and we called it our own.

Our new cut & paste reality insisted that the eating of the fruit would result in enlightenment. We began to think that maybe God didn’t provide us with all we need to function at our optimum level. Our new world view ensured us the means by which we could see and know more. Today, we still opt for “the apple”: religion, spirituality philosophy, drugs, and the list goes on. The world view we have adopted plays upon man’s innate longing to know the spiritual. Man was created to glorify God and enjoy the presence of his creator; but, our adopted world view perverted the way we seek to comprehend spiritual matters. Our “truth” places man in the position of God, with his eyes opened and knowing good from evil where there is no supernatural answer to be sought. Man is the solution; therefore, there is no reason to covet relationship with God.

Here’s the skinny: If you want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; come to Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life.” Eternal life, enlightenment, optimum functionality, and a proper world view are to be found in Jesus. There’s no need to “cut & paste” because in Christ, you can actually “interface” with God as His Spirit takes residence within you. Jesus is the Original “thought.” He is the eternal Word (Logos) of God. You were created to know God, to glorify him, and thoroughly enjoy His presence forever. Don’t settle for a cut & paste world view. Come to Jesus and know reality.

To Tell The Truth

For those of you who have pursued in depth Bible study, the term exegesis is one that you are familiar with. When applied to interpreting biblical text, exegesis is the means by which we “draw out of the text” what is contained within it, or, the way we are led through a text into an accurate understanding of its meaning. Exegetical interpretation involves seeking to understand the original intentions of the author and the meaning he attached to those things he has written. In short, exegesis is intended to get us to the truth.  Okay, now before I lose you and you “click” out of here; let me tell you something cool about this exegesis thing: Jesus is the only one who can give us an accurate exegesis of God. John tells us, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” (John 1:18) Interestingly enough, the “has made him known” part is the Greek word ἐξηγήσατο or exēgēsato  Do you see it?

In a culture that is all inclusive and proclaims that all religions are the same, leading to the same God, and so forth; John’s assertion that Jesus is the only means by which we can gain the correct “interpretation” of who God is stands in complete contrast. Now we may not agree with what John states in the prologue of his gospel, but there is no doubt as to his meaning: Jesus alone reveals who God is. Like a Bible student “exegeting” a biblical text, Jesus is the one who explains God and leads us to the proper understanding of who God is.

The common euphemisms of, “Well, if that’s the way you see it, it’s true for you.” and “There are all kinds of truth, great that you have found yours.” are the battle cries of both subjectivism and contemporary existentialism. According to these mindsets, one does not  have to remain fixed upon any reality or even his own personal reality. “One must be willing to declare himself against his previous opinions”, as Nietzsche has stated. Or, as Kierkegaard said, “The thing is to understand myself… to find a truth that works for me… the highest truth attainable for an Existing individual [is simply] an objective uncertainty held fast in the most passionate personal experience.” Well, this may sound attractive and truly liberating, but how do these mindsets stand up against John’s claim that only Jesus reveals God?

It is also popular today, in our postmodern society, to claim that we do not even have the capacity to comprehend truth, reality or much less God himself. Before a person can be made to accept  John’s claim that Jesus is the only one who reveals God, he must first be convinced that the truth about God and reality (including morality and religion) can be known and that reality itself is not subject to one’s own personal perception. C.S. Lewis said, “The consequences of subjectivism and relativism of truth are destructive… to intellectual honesty and to life. For if truth is objective, if we live in a world we did not create and cannot change by merely thinking, if the world is not really a dream of our own, then the most destructive belief we could possibly believe would be the denial of this primary fact.”

Beginning in grade school, facts and figures are communicated through teachers that are, for the most part, accepted without question as truth. In their book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be An Atheist, Norm Geisler and Fran Turek insist, “We also expect to be told the truth when we pick up a reference book, read an article, or watch a news story; we want the truth from advertisers and politicians; we assume road signs, medicine bottles, and food labels reveal the truth.” It seems that in every area of life, truth and reality are looked for and expected. We accept as truth that one plus one equals two, Columbus discovered America, and so on; however, when it comes to God, truth is defined as relative or even unknowable. Why this contradiction?    If a consistent paradigm is to be maintained one would have to acknowledge that just as the reality of mathematical equations and historical facts are knowable, the broader scope of reality, religion, morals, and even God can also be truly comprehended. Perhaps Augustine was right when he said that we love the truth when it enlightens us, but we hate it when it convicts us.

The gospel of John claims that Jesus is the only way to truly know who God is and come into relationship with him. As I previously said, we may not agree with John’s assertions, but it is indeed what he says. John’s statements are either true or false. There is no middle ground. So, what do we do about it? Come to Jesus, receive him, believe on his name, and you will know the truth about who God is. I like how the Apostle Paul put it, “See to it that no one takes you captive by means of philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells in bodily form…”

Down and Out in Israeli Hills

I usually chuckle to myself when I ask a fellow Christian how they’re doing and they reply with, “Oh, I’m blessed and highly favored! I am the head and not the tail, above and not beneath! I am more than a conqueror.” You probably know people like this, believers who always seem to be on top of the world, and insist that you should be as well. I understand (for the most part) where these guys are coming from; however, the reality I find in the Bible is a little different from all of that. Sometimes, even if you know the Lord; things can get you down. Christians are not immune to depression.

In Psalm 42/43 (most likely these were originally one Psalm), we see the Psalmist in a state of depression. He remembers how things use to be (42:4), and as he considers where he is at the present time; it seems like God has abandoned him. He asks, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? O God my rock, I cry, Why have you forgotten me? Why have you tossed me aside? Why must I wander around in grief” (42: 5, 9; 43:2) Have you ever felt like that? Has it ever seemed like all hope is gone, and just when you need him most; the Lord has left the building? You are not alone; so did the author of Psalm 42/43.

I read recently that in a given year, between 13-14million people will experience a depressive disorder. Approximately 7 million women in the United States are clinically depressed. Up to 2.5 percent of American children suffer from depression (http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/depression-there-cure-0/). Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 18 and 65 years in the U.S., with approximately 25,000 suicides. Currently, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the  U.S (http://www.christianliferesources.com/article/suicide-facts-and-statistics-114). These are indeed sobering statistics, and Christians are right there in the mix. Let’s look back into Psalm 42/43.

In this Psalm, the ups and downs of depression are vividly described for us. While we do indeed find our Psalmist in a state of depression, he appears to transition out of it, not because his circumstances change, but rather; he himself changes as he places his hope in the Lord. We see that the depression has produced a deep, spiritual thirst in the author, and he longs to be with God. He compares himself to a deer that is in the slow agony of water deprivation. (42:1, 2) Then, in the midst of the struggle; he tells himself to hope in God, for he will praise him again. Once more in 42:6, he reflects back into the past and again becomes discouraged. He reminds himself that “…each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me…” Down into the pits he goes again in 42: 9, 10:

“O God my rock,” I cry,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I wander around in grief,
oppressed by my enemies?”
Their taunts break my bones.
They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”

42:11 finds him questioning himself as to why he feels this way. Once again, he says, “I will hope in God.” In 43:2, he asks God why he has been forgotten. Can’t we see ourselves in this Psalm? Up one moment and down the next, our emotions are all messed up. It seems like we’ll never recover, but then; we remember that our hope is in God. And, that’s the game changer!

“Send out your light and your truth;
let them guide me.
Let them lead me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God,
to God—the source of all my joy.
I will praise you with my harp,
O God, my God!” (43: 3, 4)

Our Psalmist understands that it is only in God’s presence that he can “get his mind right.” He asks for God’s light and truth so that he can find his way back to where his heart longs to be, in the presence of God. The answer is not in the past, in what use to be, but rather in communing with the Lord right there in the midst of his trouble. He understands that it is God who is the source of his joy, and this realization prompts him to break out into a song of praise!

It may seem like all hope is gone. You may even feel forgotten and abandoned by God. You are not alone! As we have seen, depression was even a part of the lives of those whom God’s Spirit used to pen the Bible. Run to Jesus; pour out your heart to him. He cares about your trouble and wants to heal you of your depression. He himself is the peace you seek. What’s so cool is, even though your circumstances may not immediately change; you will! He said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” In the presence of the Lord, there is fullness of joy, and depression cannot stand before him.

OZmosis

Walking down the old “Roman Road” just wont do for those who have taken the yellow-brick road to Oz, and now reside somewhere over the rainbow.

In an ever undulating culture, only the Wind of the Spirit can communicate the steadfast reality of life in the Son.

Reciting a list of God’s attributes does little for those who, having seen through the sterilized facade of our dead religion, attribute to us no relevance at all.

Is it because we do not truly know Him ourselves that we doom a generation to invent heresies which provide them with the communion and intimacy they so desperately seek?  It’s so hard to tell them about Someone we don’t really know.

Have the “Cross” and the “Blood” become mere nails we use to secure our institutions against the intruding winds of change? It’s the Cross and the Blood which are to reveal the very love and life of God, not provide a manual by which we construct impenetrable religious strongholds where we hide safe from the chaos of the world.

Aunty Em is standing on the front porch pleading for Dorothy to come back home, but Dorothy Gale has been mystified by Professor Marvel and his crystal ball.

In a world inundated with parlor tricks, only the Power of the Spirit can demonstrate the reality of an almighty God.

Repeating the sinner’s prayer does little for those who, having seen through the hypocritical veil with which we cover our own sin, pray that we simply go away.

Is it the preoccupation we have with the lust of our own flesh that will doom this generation to a hell which we ourselves will barely escape? It’s so hard to tell the world about the beauty of holiness when we’re no different than they are.

Have “Sanctification” and “Righteousness” become nothing more than pharisaical labels used to keep out those “undesirables”? It’s the Church clothed in garments of white that is to invite an on looking world to glorify God, not push them away as if we’re afraid they might get us dirty.

“Better get under cover, Sylvester. There’s a storm blowin’ up – a whopper, to speak in the vernacular of the peasantry. Poor little kid, I hope she gets home all right.”