Nov 302015

wmns_gfaWarren Throckmorton has two new stories that deserve your attention.

In the first, he’s asking anyone who carried money into India for GFA to tell him your story.

The second story tells of Calvary Chapel Auckland, NZ ceasing support for GFA.

In the letter to their membership, the church details why they are doing so…and that they will not change that decision even after correspondence with K.P. Yohannon.


It is been heartbreaking to see so many people still supporting this charity in the face of all the evidence.

We very much need other churches and leaders to follow the example of CC Auckland…and get the word out.

There are many in this country with much information that have been vocal supporters of GFA…and now that they know the truth, still refuse to speak.

They will be accountable before God for every loss they could have prevented.


Nov 302015

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. I read the excellent biography of Sam Phillips by Peter Guralnick last week. Phillips, (for the uninitiated), was the owner of Sun Records in the 1950’s and “discovered” Elvis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

He was a man of singular vision and undeniable genius.He was also extremely complex and sinful.

To understand and appreciate the man one must hold the vision, genius, complexity, and sin in honest tension.

Such, I believe, is the case with all men….and why I reject hagiography.

When I read the “biographies” of “great” people in the Bible I read of redeemed sinners, not sinless saints.

Our expectations of leaders in the church should be of what has gone on before.

The mark of a godly and righteous person isn’t a lack of sin, but a willingness to repent where sin has happened.

Perhaps if our expectations were biblical, our actions and the actions of those who lead would be too…

2. Pondering whether my cat wonders if humans go to heaven…

3. I’m completely disgusted that every tragedy that happens in this country is now utilized for partisan political purposes…

4. I’m further disgusted by those who think there is some equivalence between a wicked man shooting up an abortion clinic and Muslim terrorists. Last time I checked, there weren’t armed groups of Christians terrorizing entire countries and taking the heads off those who wouldn’t convert…

5. There has been no doctrine responsible for more mischief in the church than the one that declares pastors and worship leaders as more “anointed” than the flock…

6. If your priority as a pastor is growth in numbers instead of growth in grace, you’re a manager, not a pastor…

7. To be successful in the kingdom of God you must be willing to be an abject failure in the kingdoms of men. This is much easier to say than to live…

8. Whatever happened to statesmen?

9. You have a better chance of winning the lottery than finding a Christian loving their “enemies” on Facebook. Remember the difference between Christians and the world is supposed to be love…

10. May God deliver us from the need to be right and deliver us onto a thirst for righteousness…



Nov 302015


MYOA Book2 Cover-1

Reader Hill is proud to announce the debut of a new non-fiction book series from Michael Newnham, a dad, cat-lover, and small-town pastor. Michael is best known for his Phoenix Preacher blog, which is one of the top 200 Christian websites in the USA.

Make Your Own Application is a series of unique 40-day devotionals that will challenge you, encourage you, and cause you to think.


In Book 2- WORK, WOES, and WISDOM– you will discover the spiritual lessons to be found in every-day life, from your job to your church community, from hard times and financial setback to experiencing intimacy with our Lord. Explore this very different devotional and, of course, make your own application…


Available in Print ($9.95) and E-book ($4.99) formats. Book sold by major retailers worldwide, including:


Barnes and Noble

Amazon UK

Also available from many independent bookstores nationwide.

Foreign Countries: Available from Amazon Germany, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon France, Amazon Italy, Amazon Spain, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon MexicoAmazon Brazil, and Amazon Netherlands.


Nov 282015

thumbnail.aspxFather, I want to know Thee, but my coward heart fears to give up its toys.

I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting.

I come trembling, but I do come.

Please root from my heart all Those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival.

Then shalt Thou make the place of Thy feet glorious.

Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it, for Thyself wilt be the light of it, and there shall be no night there.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Nov 282015

bible-word-of-god_thumbHebrews 8:8-10

But God found fault with the people and said:

  • One of the longer OT quotes in the NT
  • Usually we get just a short passage – a verse or two quotation to make a point.
  • Here we have a long quote that is here for no other reason than to say God had a plan for a new covenant – because the old one was flawed.
  • Just as the old priesthood Aaronic / Levitical need to be replaced – by Jesus in the order of Melchezidek

“The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah”.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 – making the point that the old covenant under which Israel had its religious experience is now superseded by a new covenant. The writer’s interest is in the fact that under the new covenant forgiveness of sins is brought about. As soon as he comes to the words about forgiveness – he breaks off the quotation.

It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.

  • This covenant will be different
  • The Mosaic covenant was not just Law and Judgment – we also see compassion – “when I took them by the hand”
  • The new covenant is different – how?
  • By which way the blood goes – watch this closely.
  • Old Covenant the blood was delivered by us to God
  • Now the blood is delivered to us, by Jesus. Where do we see this best? (forget best, where do we see it at all?)
  • Of course, in the Lord’s Supper where instead of us bring our blood sacrifice to God; Jesus brings his blood, his real blood to us. Matt 26:26-29
  • “26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
  • Note – this new covenant is ‘written’ in the blood of Jesus.
  • Note – it has a purpose and it is efficacious in doing what it claims to do – forgive sin.
  • Note – Jesus delivers that forgiveness in real time at the table. Some groups have difficulty with this part.

10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

  • Here is the big issue. Who is this new covenant for? In our LCMS church we teach that it is for the people of God – us, today called the Church. That God promises in this to do a new thing – a game changer as we have said.
  • Some see “the people of Israel” and can see only ethnic / geographic Israel – that somehow this covenant already took place with the return to the land after the captivity OR and this is big today in America and particularly here where we are in Orange County – that this new covenant will take effect in the ‘last days’ after the Church has been removed in the rapture.
  • That this is not a new covenant that involves the Church, but at best the Church gains some benefits that rub off by being friendly to the nation Israel.
  • In other words, the promise of Jeremiah for a new covenant is the way God will save Israel at a later date. Oddly this is claimed even though the writer of Hebrews is using the Jeremiah “new covenant” passage to show that Jesus is the great high priest of this very same new covenant.
  • This is totally false, so we will move on.
  • After what time? After the time of failure
  • Heart & mind – why both? – It is inward and dynamic
  • We should not make a big distinction between mind & heart here. I have heard the saying “he missed heaven by 18 inches” meaning he had it in his head but not in his heart. God puts it both places and it is just as effective in either.
  • Part of the failure of the Old Covenant was its outwardness.
  • Laws were good, but they were written on tablets of stone.
  • A promise of a close relationship. “I will be … they will be.”
  • Not totally new – but stated with a new emphasis
  • Exodus 6:7 “I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
Nov 272015

IMG_0027When Miss Kitty first fell ill, I almost lost her.

Not lost her as in she almost died,( though that would have happened) but as in I couldn’t find her.

When outside cats are sick or injured they often try to find a place to hide where they often suffer alone and die.

They can’t be found…seemingly do not want to be found… and cut themselves off from that which can save them.

My cat had found an opening to get under the house behind some shrubbery, but the pain from her injury prevented her from getting all the way in the opening.

When I extracted her from the hole I could feel the resignation and fear as I carried her inside, then to the doctor.

I would not let her out of my site again until I knew she was well.

It took a team that loved her to restore her to health.

A wonderful veterinarian, myself, and a bunch of people who weren’t ashamed to pray for a broken cat.

She’s fine now.

I don’t know why cats try to separate from us when they are sick or injured in some way.

I don’t know if it’s feline pride, or shame, or just a way to keep a modicum of dignity.

Perhaps it’s the only way they feel safe.

I only know it’s deadly…and I do the same thing.

So do many of you.

We get a bad report, we are injured physically, emotionally, or spiritually and we find a metaphorical hole under the house to hide in.

We don’t want anyone to know, we want no one to see.

We try to protect what’s left of our pride and dignity, we feel shame over our wounds…because sometimes they are self inflicted.

Even when they are not, we do not want someone or something to wound us there again.

We try desperately to carve out someplace safe.

It doesn’t work…the healing doesn’t come.

At best we keep the wounds from getting deeper, we just grow a scar to cover us.

What healed Miss Kitty was the love of many doing what they could.

People loved her enough to pray for her and I loved her enough to care for her until she didn’t need a place to hide anymore.

She would have died under the house.

So will you.

We need each other…we were created that way.

There is no shame in that.

God rescued us that we might be rescuers of others in His name.

Only love can heal some wounds.

Our job is to get what we need so we can give it away to someone else who needs it too.

Make your own application…


Nov 252015

History_BYDK_Thanksgiving_SF_still_624x352You’re already inundated by now with pastors telling you to be sure to be thankful and sometimes even telling you what you should be thankful for.

As I am not the Holy Spirit, I will not be joining that choir.

One of the things I’m thankful for is that God delivered me from the need to tell the people I pastor how to think or feel about things…they are quite capable of doing so on their own.

My job is to just give people good things to think about.

I digress…

For many folks Thanksgiving is the beginning of yearly sorrow that doesn’t end until Jan 2.

They not only have to deal with their own sorrow and depression, but the guilt laid upon them for not fully participating in the “happiest time of the year”.

I’m one of those people.

I participate for the sake of others, not myself.

I endure the season like one endures a dental appointment.

My challenge is to “rejoice with those who rejoice”… a challenge I’m just now mastering with the help of Jesus and kids.

It’s worth the effort… because I’m thankful for those kids and the people I know who love this season.

I’m thankful for a lot of things.

Every day.

Being thankful or joyful isn’t something that should be contrived to satisfy the religious sensibilities of other people… people express their joys and thankfulness in different ways.

All those ways are received by God as praise.

So, I’m thankful for those who are excited about this season and I’m thankful for those who endure it like me.

Whichever side you fall on, I’m thankful for you.

I’m thankful to the God who has sustained us all for His many blessings.

May Thanksgiving and the season to come be the best it can be for you and yours.


Nov 252015

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aOn Wednesdays we encourage people to advocate for the release of Saeed Abedini.

We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like”  the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause.

We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release.

We will continue to do so until he is released.

I never though this campaign would ever be controversial, but in the light of Naghmah Abedinis accusations of domestic abuse it has become just that.

Because victims of spousal abuse and child abuse have so often been marginalized or ignored (especially in the church) the expectation now is that all accusations of such acts be accepted without question and without any due process.

I have much sympathy with this stance.

I’ve seen victims ignored or worse, revictimized by those in authority.

I’ve seen more cover ups than I can count.

However…I’ve also been lied to.

More than once.

There have been allegations sent to me with the hope of my advocacy that upon minimal scrutiny have collapsed like a house of cards.

The necessity to hear both sides of a matter is both a Christian and democratic ethic.

I do not disbelieve Mrs. Abedini, but I believe Saeed Abedini has the right to answer these charges before we convict him.

He has to be home to do so.

Remember Saeed…