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  1. JoelG says:

    “It is a world of magic and mystery, of deep darkness and flickering starlight. It is a world where terrible things happen and wonderful things too. It is a world where goodness is pitted against evil, love against hate, order against chaos, in a great struggle where often it is hard to be sure who belongs to which side because appearances are endlessly deceptive. Yet for all its confusion and wildness, it is a world where the battle goes ultimately to the good, who live happily ever after, and where in the long run everybody, good and evil alike, becomes known by his true name….That is the fairy tale of the Gospel with, of course, one crucial difference from all other fairy tales, which is that the claim made for it is that it is true, that it not only happened once upon a time but has kept on happening ever since and is happening still.”

    -Frederick Buechner, Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale

  2. Duane Arnold says:

    “The catholicism, therefore, which sprang from the Gospel of God is a faith wherein the visible and ordered Church fills an important place. But this Church is understood less as an institution founded upon the rules laid down by Christ and the Apostles than as an organism which grew inevitably through Christ’s death and resurrection. The Church, therefore, is defined not in terms of itself, but in terms of Christ, whose Gospel created it and whose life is its indwelling life.”

    Michael Ramsey

  3. JoelG says:

    Great story bob1….

    The Ramsey quote reminds me of C.S. Lewis’ description of Christianity as being a “good infection” that turns men and women into “little Christs”.

  4. Linnea says:

    A hard teaching from Oswald Chambers’ devotional today…https://utmost.org/# June 29.

  5. bob1 says:

    JoelG,

    Do you know which Lewis book that’s from?

    I’d love to look it up.

    Thanks!

  6. JoelG says:

    Bob,

    It’s from Mere Christianity. I read it years ago but it’s come to mind with the Ramsey quote. It goes with Duane’s articles, Michaels thoughts from Monday and Linnea’s Chambers’ teaching.

    He ends his “little Christ” thought with:

    “The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.”

    It’s very interesting and has me thinking…

  7. JoelG says:

    Here’s more:

    “The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were ‘gods’ and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him – for we can prevent Him, if we choose – He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.”

    This is quite challenging to my “can’t do” pessimistic self.

  8. JoelG says:

    I want to clarify one thing. What I mean by challenging is that I’m very aware of my own sins on a daily basis and therefore I fall back on the idea that we are “positionally” righteous in Christ through faith but will remain as sinners until we die…. “Simul Justus et Peccator.”

    Perhaps I’m not giving God enough credit to transform us in the here and now.

  9. Linnea says:

    JoelG…the Chambers devotional in my #5 comment references Matthew 5 and the Sermon on the Mount. With what I’ve been through these last few months, God worked those readings in concert to lead me to a renewed understanding of Romans 7 and the law and sin, especially 7:21-25.

    Our western thinking has a tendency to be linear and places truths in either supporting or opposing positions, resulting in us thinking that we need to believe one or the other. It’s what is driving the oppositional positions in this country today. I love that God says that He holds both truths, the law and sin with the resurrection life, in Romans 7. And goes on to say that we feel that tension in our bodies and our lives, but He has delivered from this body of death through Jesus.

  10. Linnea says:

    Michael et al, I think I have a comment stuck in moderation because it has linked verses…

  11. Dan from Georgia says:

    Hey all! I don’t have a pithy or not-so-pithy quote today, but just wanted to say “Hi” and remember to take a break from social media hostility and have some good fun!

  12. JoelG says:

    Thank you Linnea. That is very helpful.

    Tension indeed….

    Whatever transformation we go through I believe it has to be His doing in us and not our “trying harder”. Theosis by grace, if you will.

    Perhaps the more we go to Him in repentance and prayer….spending time in His Presence and reading His Word the more He will transform us without us noticing.

    I’m thankful for this invitation from Jesus:

    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

  13. JoelG says:

    Hi Dan good to hear from you! Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  14. Michael says:

    The Bible is chock full of tension and paradox..and the church is full of groups that emphasize one side of the tensions and ignore the other… 🙂

  15. Michael says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about transformation lately as I’ve been walking through hell without any sunscreen.

    The transformation I was taught was sudden…one day I was bad and then I did something religious and I was good.

    Never happened to me…I was bad and thirty some years later, I’m not as bad.

    That’s still transformation…

  16. JoelG says:

    Amen Michael. I like how Merton puts it:

    “Hurry ruins saints as well as artists.”

  17. Dan from Georgia says:

    Amen Michael (#16)! Hey JoelG! I need that reminder too!

  18. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    Yes, it does.

    Transformation is often a marketing ploy…buy some Jesus and (fill in the blank) will go away.
    Sometimes it works that way…sometimes…

  19. Michael says:

    A lot of what gets labeled transformation is simply an exchange of addictions…

  20. Em says:

    One thing that can get lost in “how to do Christianity” is that God isn’t at all interested in transforming us into little cookie cutter saintly automatons… He just wants us to come alive and grow… real life in Christ is an adventure, but not a mindless one… i like to remember the fact that when our Lord was here choosing His 12, they were all unique AND they didn’t lose that uniqueness as they grew spiritually AND they all seemed to progress at different rates… Saul got knocked off his horse and turned around in his thinking pretty fast, becoming dear Paul, so it does happen – but not to every single person who finds their life in Christ… or so it has seemed to me as i think on it 🙂

  21. JoelG says:

    I think if we focus on the truth that we are hidden in Christ… that He is our identity… He will bring us home no matter where we are theologically and no matter how transformed we become.

  22. Duane Arnold says:

    Going back to Ramsey – “The Church, therefore, is defined not in terms of itself, but in terms of Christ, whose Gospel created it and whose life is its indwelling life.”

    We can all put our names in place of “The Church”, and it still holds true…

    For our Moderator… “Michael, therefore, is defined not in terms of himself, but in terms of Christ, whose Gospel created him and whose life is its indwelling life…”

  23. Michael says:

    Duane,

    Amen and amen…I’m held by a Person,not a theology…

  24. Michael says:

    Chester and I have listened to this in excess of a dozen times this morning…it ain’t Anglican, but it’s good…

  25. Michael says:

    Now you know why we don’t have company… 🙂

  26. Michael says:

    Hundreds of folks marching for the kids at the border in my home town…I’m surprised and grateful.

  27. Linnea says:

    Michael @ 16…we are all in that same soup. It’s just that some of us thought we were not as bad, and as we grow in Him, He lets us see how bad we really are, how short of the mark we are, and how good the Father is.

    Lots of great encouragement on this thread today! Thank you!

  28. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael (19)…that’s often the goods that are sold in many churches…that if you have Jesus, you will no longer have any problems (or you shouldn’t have any problems). Wasn’t it the Campus Crusade for Christ tracts or the Billy Graham tracts that said “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”? Man it took me years to unwind that teaching from my life. Still wish the Lord could just wave His hands or I could say one simple prayer and my addiction could just wither away. But then what and why would I need Jesus?

  29. Dan from Georgia says:

    Em (21). Good thoughts. Am involved in a conversation with someone on another blog and they stated they are having trouble being a Christian because so many churches and believers have a cookie-cutter view of how we should be (believe/think/behave/vote/etc). It is good to know that God doesn’t eliminate our uniqueness and personalities.

    One of the few heroes of the faith for me is the late musician Rich Mullins. I saw him in concert in the spring of 1997 a few short months before his passing (I believe he was in his early 40s) and, although he radiated a real deep love for God and people in his last few years, he was still a very honest, raw, and upfront individual who didn’t fit the cookie-cutter version of the “good boy Christian musician” – you know, the usually tepid “yeah, I have my faults and we all sin” testimony that so many CCM artists give in interviews. I would be remiss to note that in this concert I believe he upset more than a few fans when he spoke out against big corporations/greed/etc.

  30. Em says:

    #29- that was Bill Bright and Campus Crusade…. 😏
    God does love us and does have a wonderful plan, but God’s definition of “wonderful” is a bit different than ours… What is truly wondrous in my book is that Philippians 4 works, but it depends on our focus … or our willingness to be focused, perhaps 😇

  31. Dan from Georgia says:

    Em, that is what I thought. True that God’s plan is wonderful. I think the human mindset teachings of “glory” and “victory” are what led me astray for so long.

  32. Em says:

    #30 – i dont know how i came across him as Rich Mullins wasn’t exactly a contemporary of mine… But i wrote a book the summer after my husband passed – a romance novel for my two prepubescent granddaughters
    one of the central characters was a WW2 PBY – the girls have a strange gramma LOL
    I was looking for a suitable ending and i came across this quote:
    “I said I did not make it, no it is making me
    It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man
    I believe it, I believe
    I believe it, I believe
    I believe it, I believe……” From Rich Mullins’ Creed 😊. It was a perfect end

  33. Em says:

    #32 – totally agree…. Bright was in sales before he turned his talent to bringing people to Christ… he was a good man, but only Christ, Himself can accomplish this and too many people IMO got the sales pitch, but not the reality then … dunno … But i know that God always gets the job done….. i think…. when there’s good soil … even if some folks’ root in faster than others….. 😊

  34. bob1 says:

    Somewhere I read over 2,000 just in Portland.

  35. bob1 says:

    2,000 in Portland is what I read.

  36. London says:

    Albuquerque had 5,000 according to one of the speakers I heard when I was there. I was surprised at the make up of the group. It seemed to be mostly white, middle age, middle class folks. Not sure if it was the area where I was standing, of it was that way all across the plaza.
    The speaker variety was good though. In the short time I was there, I heard a Native American woman, a black man, a muslim woman, a new citizen who was from Columbia and young Mexican-American woman. The mayor (white guy) spoke earlier and the whole thing was opened with prayer from a white female pastor.
    The diversity of our state is one of the things I most love about it and I felt like the organizers did a good job having representatives from as many areas as possible.
    My hope in the future of our country was renewed by attending. I felt like, at least in my city, people would stand up and come together to speak out against injustice when it came right down to it.

  37. Dan from Georgia says:

    Em (34), yeah, I agree with that. Some people think that the gospel has to be presented absolutely perfectly otherwise someone is saved unto something else. I am of the view that God’s word will not return to him void, but will accomplish what he intended (I think that’s in the OT somewhere). We present, and God does the rest.

  38. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I was traveling all day yesterday – a 13 hour round trip to SoCal to return grandkids after they visited for a week. I saw Michael’s assessment and was chomping at the bit to reply. What follows is a piece I had in my class notes but left out of the Weekend Word version – for brevity. I adapted it here a little to be a reply – I wrote out the verse references so it would not get hung up in moderation.

    I think there is a very good reason why the 2 witnesses cannot be Moses & Elijah or for that matter any of the OT prophets. The transfiguration in Matt Seventeen!! What was the purpose of the transfiguration? The short answer? to end the ministry of the prophets – to end their witness. It would seem strange then to bring it back.

    We must regard the ministry of Jesus before the cross as old covenant happenings. The people were still waiting for the voices of the prophets to appear after 400 years of silence. Even here in the transfiguration account they were asking about the return of the prophet Elijah and Jesus sets them straight – the fulfillment of Elijah’s return was realized in the coming of John the Baptist. Elijah is not making a repeat appearance.

    Back to the transfiguration and the ending of this witness ministry – the voice in the cloud declares that Jesus was the one to be listened to from that point on – NOT the prophets, who were promptly dismissed from the transfiguration scene.

    The prophets are no more, the prophets are not returning. Jesus says look to me. So what does Jesus do when he was ready to leave the earth – John Twenty he breathes on the disciples to give them the holy spirit so they could be his witnesses on the earth. Next, he gave the great commission Matt Twenty Eight – he told the church to be his witness in the world, making disciples by baptizing and teaching. This is followed by Peter’s sermon in Acts Two at Pentecost where it goes on to expand this church being the witness by demonstration.

    If we allow scripture to interpret scripture we see that a future ministry of the prophets is not possible and only comes about in trying to fulfill a void if your scheme is that the church is no longer around to be that witness.

    I would go on now to challenge the assertion that the original first century readers / hearers would have readily seen Moses and Elijah as these witnesses. If they were NT/gospel stories about Jesus savvy at all they would have known about the transfiguration and its purpose. If not, John would have corrected them as he was one of the participating eyewitnesses.

    Or at least that is the way I see it. 🙂

  39. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Wrong thread – I must be tired from the traveling.

  40. bob1 says:

    test

  41. Dan from Georgia says:

    Bob1..you passed the test!

  42. bob1 says:

    i read there were 2,000 in Portland

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