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  1. Jean says:

    Are We Free?

    Over the past five years or so, several developments in America have caused a lot of people, politicians, religous leaders and the press to question whether Americans are, or are in danger of, losing personal liberty and/or freedom. These developments include: passing the Affordable Care Act (ACA); renewed calls for background checks and restrictions on certain types of guns and magazines; judicial decisions involving same-sex marriage; and disclosures regarding the scope of electronic survailance of people’s phone and internet usage by the federal government. In reaction to these and other issues, new groups, such as the Tea Party, have taken root, and libertarian Republicans, such as Rand Paul, have gained national prominance.

    I wonder if the quest for freedom liberty is a mirage, an illusion. Even with the most beign of governments (if one were to exist) is it possible for an individual to attain freedom in any substantial sense, or do people merely delude themselves into thinking they’re free?

    We see in Rom 7 the juxtaposition of the law and sin; in Rom 8, the Spirit and the flesh; in Rom 1 truth about God was exchanged for a lie (the creature was served rather than the Creator). Jesus said that “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matt 6:24). No where does the bible say that humans are capable of serving no one or nothing. Actually humans are described as sheep. Sheep get led, or sheep get lost; that’s about it.

    Kyle Idleman wrote a book, Gods at War, in which he argues that (1) idolatry is at the root of all sin; and (2) everyone serves someone or something.

    If this is true, maybe it’s time for Christians to test who we’re serving: Is it the Lord God, with all the inconvenient stuff that comes with it (check Matt 5-7 for starters)? Or, as Wright puts it, are we serving the gods of Mars, Mamon and/or Aphrodite? I propose that if Christians could reorientate some of our rhetoric off of me, me, me and into we, we, we, Christ’s body would function a whole lot better.

  2. Michael says:

    Sounds like Idleman read a lot of Calvin.
    I would submit that no earthly government can or will represent Christian virtues over the long run because of the doctrine of sin and total depravity.
    I would further submit that the only freedom or liberty the Bible addresses is freedom from the power of sin for those in Christ.
    There is a great deal written, however, about becoming a slave of Christ to further His kingdom.
    You and I are much on the same page, Jean…

  3. Jean says:

    Thanks Michael. We are.

  4. J.U. says:

    Violence, money, and sex. Yup. If you doubt that those are the current gods of the good old US of A, (or the rest of the world for that matter) just turn on your television. All the mass media and the Internet is awash in these, but the TV goes through the optic nerve and direct to the brain. (Think of all the preachers preaching the prosperity theology. It’s just Zig Ziglar and Dale Carnegie all over again.)

    It really is that simple. The gods of today’s society–like all the societies that came before it, are these three: Mars, Mammon and/or Aphrodite . You’re right. We must pray for the kingdom and look to the cross, not the flag. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” wasn’t about statues. “”Thou shalt have no other gods before me” means put God first, foremost, and always.

    I won’t get into the “US is exceptional” debate. I think we have a pretty good country. But our country isn’t our faith, and we should not put our faith in our country.

    I’ve got my own mess to clean up, so I’m not throwing stones, but you have hit the nail on the head, and I’m out of mixed metaphors. But, in the words of Cramer on Seinfeld, “You’re scratching me where I itch.”

  5. I had quite the morning. I went up to the church to conduct a budget meeting. It was our 2nd offering to the congregation to come review the proposed budget and ask questions before we present it next week for a vote.

    When I showed up the pastor was in the sanctuary conducting a baptism with just the family (infant baptism at that). So I gathered all the folks who showed up for the budget meeting and we went in and watched the baptism and offered congregational support.

    Then we went back and conducted business. It was uplifting to watch God exorcise the devil out of a little one and claim that little boy as his own.

  6. erunner says:

    J.U. I was in sales for many years and attended a few Zig Ziglar seminars. I found his books and tapes more attractive than the seminars as you could go back to them whereas the excitement from the seminar wears off.

    The information from him I had wasn’t a prosperity thing but more of a guide on how to master the art of selling. He covered everything from prospecting, getting good leads, your meeting with potential clients, etc.

    He was a master motivator and helped a lot of people understand the art of sales without being a con artist as is so prevalent in the sales industry.

    Of course the point of this was that hard work and a solid work ethic could make you a lot of money. After all that’s the goal in sales as you control your income based on what you put into your work.

    He was up front about his faith in Christ and I never sensed anything but honesty and a desire from him to see others do well. In no way could I class him with the many charlatans running around today bilking people of their money.

  7. Time for the festivities to begin. My 3 kids along with their spouses and my 5 grandkids (and the 2 pit bulls) are here for Father’s Day BBQ.

    We do Fathers & Mother’s Days on the Saturdays because Sundays are too busy – I tell my kids to torture their in laws on the Sundays.

    Now to go eat … and alter our moods with liguid refreshments. 🙂

  8. J.U. says:

    erunner,

    Thank you for the correction. What I intended in what was obviously a poor choice of examples, as I don’t think Dale Carnegie was a bad guy either, and certainly from a different time. I meant the “get rich quick” crowd and all those schemes that the only focus is on monetary success, which is often how success is defined in America.

    We are the land of plenty where everyone from about ten years and up has an expensive smart phone and houses have two, three, and four garages to hold all the vehicles and adult toys.

    Among all this plenty, I think even God’s people can lose their perspective. Honest hard work with the reward of a good wage was not my intended target.

    I’ll avoid naming any more names, because then I’m probably a lot safer.

  9. erunner says:

    J.U. No problem. I’m with you 100% on the point you were making and clarified here. Take care!

  10. Erunner,

    Zig was indeed a great “salesmen.” I knew both of his daughters when I lived in Laguna Beach CA at 20 years old.

    I even had a mad crush on Mitzy, who hardly knew him at all. May have been a good Christian but he was never the best of father’s.

    I posted a father’s day reminder here:
    http://shekinahfellowship.blogspot.com/2014/06/celebrate-with-dad-this-fathers-day.html

  11. erunner says:

    ds51, Hopefully Zig and his daughter are closer now. Have a great father’s day tomorrow!

  12. erunner says:

    The other evening I was channel surfing and decided to drop by TBN. Matthew Crouch and his wife were seated on a small couch along with Jan Crouch. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen her since Paul passed away.

    Matthew was interviewing a few men who were talking about their ministries. One of them brought up that 10% of people in the nation are dealing with depression. Jan quickly said it was 25%.

    She seemed lost without Paul and I actually felt sad for her. I believe she has dealt with depression in the past. It has been a turbulent time for TBN and the Crouch family with everything out there for the public to see. I’m not even sure why she was on the air as she seemed so out of sorts. Quite sad…

  13. Zig passed away in 2012. I too hope he connected with his daughters.

    That dear lady Jan Crouch has suffered much. But she Velcro-ed to Jesus!
    A very sweet woman of God.

  14. Anothervoice says:

    Here is another fuller version of Jan’s testimony. You have to be impressed with her honesty.
    http://tinyurl.com/lazykgs

  15. erunner says:

    Having viewed part of one and completing the other video they raise all sorts of thought for me. What I will say is if Jan is suffering now I pray God would touch her and her family. Most are aware of the history of TBN and the stories that seem to come out regularly concerning alleged abuses of funds and the split within the family as a result. I do disagree with what she shared about giving to receive in order to have the healing she claimed to have. It’s much more complex than that.

  16. brian says:

    Forgive me, I got the news that two people I was very intimate with have passed. I had a long diatribe with usual brian diatribe about grief. I put that aside please pray for those involved in these losses. I hope I can be of some comfort. Thank You.

  17. brian says:

    Erunner having been in bible studies and prayer groups where it was made clear that God would take out Paul and Jan crouch do to their false prophecies. I mean some people are stupid enough to actually believe such total pathetic trash, that the Eternal God of all Creations is such a vindictive psychopath. I am offended by such utter pathetic, stupid, ridiculous nonsense. Jan died of cancer, she paid her dues, having buried several family members who passed from cancer, it is a fact or He / It is not God and can take a hike. Granted her husband is still on the nutcase bandwagon but one does what one does when the darkness sucks the life out of us. I have been there, it hurts, it should not and I get that. True Christians do not feel, they do not struggle, they do not need, hope, seek etc outside of the apologetic. They move on and get over it.

    It just hurts, secondly as one goes through the life pictures of a family, trying to make some sense of it all. Look I know I am a piece of crap and a God hating piece of filth, I got that part of the good news and I would never be so obtuse that I think God could actually forgive me for being born human. He wont and I get that. But I still hope, something I cant seem to repent of even though I try.

  18. brian says:

    I will have to admit that Jan Crouch may have committed the Sin against the Holy Spirit, she admitted a need. I am not sure that even God can forgive her of that. I know for a fact God will never forgive me of such a horrid sin, ever and twice on Sundays. No good news here so we can move on past.

  19. Ricky Bobby says:

    I don’t think Jan Crouch has been that honest at all, unfortunately.

    If she were to be truly honest, she would confess all the bad actions and corruption that TBN and she and her late husband and others are guilty of.

    IMO, she seems to be playing the victim, when in reality she is the perp and has swindled a lot of gullible people.

    Her depression could very well be the result of a guilty conscience she has suppressed for far too long.

  20. Glen says:

    I have to agree with RB on this one.

  21. erunner says:

    RB and Glen, I thought of many scenarios as I viewed the videos left here and having just seen Jan on TBN. I have no problem believing she has dealt with extreme depression in the past and may be doing so now.

    It’s when I mix that with everything we know about TBN that I am at a loss. Part of me wants to say to Jan this is just a taste of what your networks are responsible for with all of the garbage you have personally promoted through the years as you and Paul so expertly made untold millions off of gullible viewers.

    I know many could make the case she and Paul were wolves among the sheep. Yet when I saw her the other night I realized I just don’t know and all I can do is speculate.

    I have heard that Jim Bakker actually got right with God after the debacle he was in. Maybe Jan can as well. Maybe she already has.

  22. brian,
    I must say you go to some pretty weird bible studies. 33 yrs as a Christian and I have never been to one where Jan & Paul were a topic – and I live in their home area.

  23. Happy Trinity Sunday – I hope you all heard a good clear Trinity message today.

  24. My wife just witnessed the most outrageous thing ever.
    So, she was in Wal-Mart and this woman, her boyfriend and the woman’s child were in there.
    The child accidentally bumps a shopping cart into a cop.
    The cop then proceeds to arrest the mother.
    The mother did not cause a scene before the arrest and was in shock afterwards.
    He said the little girl needed to learn respect.
    My wife said the only person there who looked like they might be possibly the cop who was looking beet red and angry.

    I just keep thinking…what in the?

    Cops are starting to act like they are some special class of citizen.

    It is no wonder that there cred is going down in the world with this and other stories I read.
    I would never have thought ten years ago that I would think of cops in this manner, but they bring it on themselves.

    I hope they find a good lawyer and get a nice chunk of money from the City of Olive Branch.
    But, I am sure the cop will probably lie and wiggle his way out of it.

  25. Neo says:

    NT Wright why the Bible is dynamic, not static in nature. In other words, I would add, a “living” document: One of the wonderful things about the Bible is the way no generation can complete the task of studying and understanding it. We never get to a point where we can say, “Well, the theologians have sorted it all out, so we just put the results in our pockets or on the shelves, and the next generation won’t have to worry — they can just pull it out and look it up.” No, the Bible seems designed to challenge and provoke each generation to do its own fresh business, to struggle and wrestle with the text. I think that is the true meaning of the literal sense, in Augustine’s sense of “what the writers really meant”: we have to acquire those old eyes, the historian’s quest to understand Genesis and Matthew and Romans in their historical context. I know that is strongly resisted today by many conservatives, but this is ridiculous: without historical inquiry, parallels, lexicography, and so on, we wouldn’t even be able to translate the text.

    And, yes, I know that there are many secularizing biblical scholars, and indeed many left-brain dominated conservative ones, who produce a kind of biblical scholarship that the church either shouldn’t use or couldn’t use. But just because the garden grows weeds, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plant fresh flowers, instead paving the whole thing over with concrete. No, each generation must do its own fresh historically grounded reading, because each generation needs to grow up, not simply to look up the right answers and remain in an infantile condition.

  26. http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/06/isis-advances-baghdad-airport-under-assault/

    Apparently, Baghdad Interantional Airport is under attack right now.
    I spent a lot of time last deployment at Camp Victory which was part of the complex of bases around the airport. We were tasked for a month with escorting trucks hauling concrete barriers to an outlying province for voting site protection.
    The last memory I have of the place was that I had arisen early in the morning, before dawn, to go to the MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation) tent to call my wife as I was walking there the morning call to prayers were sounding over the loudspeakers in the distance. Then a I heard a loud explosion which was probably an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) going off and someone dying. I remember thinking to myself, “I will be glad to be shed of this place.”
    What a giant waste of lives.
    I think this will all hash itself out as three differnt countries before it is over. The Kurds to the north who are acting in their own interests already. The middle with the Sunnis, which is what ISIS represents, at least the militant extremists portions. The south, Shia aided by Iran to stabilize it, Already Iran has sent troops, but I think every group is now acting in its own interests.
    Oh, and the extremists seem to be already starting their own mass graves.

    http://www.freep.com/article/20140615/NEWS07/306150120/iraqi-photos-bloody-massacre

  27. gomergirl says:

    Thanks Derek, for that. I have been thinking so much on this over the weekend, and as much as I tend to be more isolationist, I feel regret at having started something and now just turning tail and bailing, letting the “bad guys” win. I think it is all tragic and horrible that now, so many will have died for nothing. Absolutely nothing. Except to possibly expose so many lies the American public has been told for years. Although I tend to think that most people will not even believe truth when it is staring them in the face.

    For what it is worth, I am thankful for your service, and your willingness to share your view.
    peace

  28. Make no mistake, I am not advocating going back in again.

    But, we need to ensure that we hold to our responsibility of protecting our citizens in the country, be it embassy employees or American contract workers.
    I did not like it one bit this week to hear about those 300 American contractors that were surrounded by ISIS at Balad Airbase (another place I was at quite a bit). But even worse was to hear that that it was the Iraqi Air Force that had to rescue them.
    As for the embassy, I hope this doesn’t turn into another Benghazi episode where a lot of Americans die and the administration tries to weasel out of it again.
    I have no faith in this administrations ability to protect it’s citizens abroad.

    Mainly, this is all disheartening to Iraqi vets.
    So many dead. So many with missing limbs. So many disfigured for life.
    All for nought.

    We should have partitioned the country up from the get go, ’cause I think it is going to happen anyways.

  29. Oh and check this out.

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/06/12/jihadist_gains_in_iraq_blindside_american_spies

    Looks like all the American spy agencies didn’t see this one coming.
    Guess when you are busier spying on Americans at home you sort of miss big things like this.

  30. This is the most corrupt administration I think that has ever been.
    These guys, and particularly their boss, make Nixon look like a boy scout.

  31. We gave up in Vietnam – to my delight I might add.

    If after 10 plus yrs they can’t take care of themselves … well I guess they will have to live with what they get.

    Let the French protect Iraq this time.

  32. brian says:

    I am sorry for my rants, I just got some real hard news as to two people I had known for years had passed, one in a tragic accident and another who had struggled with illness. I should have been more prudent, my apologies, it has just been a rather hard weekend. My apologies I ask for your forgiveness. I often post these rants when I dont know what to do with the pain.

  33. Papias says:

    This thread has taken a few twists and turns, I’d like to talk about the Kings(shock, I know) 🙂

    Michael truly described their situation: Squeaking into the playoffs and then losing their first three games of a best of seven series, they looked like they were going to have their season end and become a footnote to NHL history. But they came back and won game 4. And game 5. And game 6. And game 7.

    Then the Kings played their cross town rivals, who had them on the ropes with 3 games to 2 – and they came back and won the last two games.

    Then the Kings play the champions from last year, who beat them last year in the conference finals to go onto win the cup. They played a tit-for-tat series with neither team dominating the other.

    Then the Kings played the Rangers, and while they took the first three games, the Rangers came back on the fourth game with renewed vigor and forced game 5. And for game 5 – it ended up tied and went to double overtime. That’s sudden death – whoever scores first wins. And at this level of play, it really came down to whoever made the first mistake the other team was going to capitalize on it. The Rangers left the right side of the goal open and the Kings scored and the game was over.

    Now, being that my parents were from Montreal CA, I grew up going to Kings games as a kid at the LA Forum. Even back in the 70’s, the place was grimey and located in the questionable part of town. But this was before cable and definitely before any network TV would catch themselves showing Hockey. I was the only kid on my block who knew the names of Vachon, Dionne, and Butch Goring. When Gretzky came to town, we were elated. But even with the Great One, Jari Kurri, Marty McSorley(really ….too much curve on your stick?), we could only manage playoff berths and one Stanley Cup berth – losing to the Canadians, of all teams.

    So when the Kings won the Cup in 2012, we were overjoyed, euphoric. Finally able to look at a Ducks fan(or other teams) and say that we won a Cup as well. Now we have another Cup.

    A few years ago they announced on the news that the Stanley Cup was going to be a local(KCMO) mall and that people could get their picture with it. I wore my Kings jersey, and even though we are not in Detroit, there was a sea of red and white jerseys, and there I was in my lone black and purple. And yes, if you think Red Wings fans can be rude during a game, there also can be a few jerks standing face to face.

    Now I can wear my jersey and know that all those years of obscurity and neglect and lack of respect are just things that belong in the past. Its done. Finished. Oh sure, others may say whatever they want, but as they say, “haters are gonna hate”.

    I love what Jonathan Quick, the goaltender for the Kings said after winning, “We will take some time off and enjoy the victory, but in a while we will have to be at it again training, cause now we are the target that the rest of the league is going after.”

  34. Michael says:

    Papias,
    Good stuff!

    I listened to Kings games in a freezing pickup truck in Southern Oregon as a kid.
    Roy Storey was the greatest announcer I ever heard, then came Bob Miller who I grew to love as well.
    I has never been more than fifty miles from the woods where I was born when a classmate from LA invited me to visit his home for a week.
    I was 16.
    The Forum may have been a dump to you, but for this kid it looked like the New Jerusalem and I was overwhelmed.
    We watched the Kings beat the North Stars, then…the Boston Bruins of Orr and Esposito.
    Between periods of the Bruins game I got Bob Millers autograph in the mens room.
    We waited outside after the game…and every player signed everything I had that would take ink.
    The last one out was the one I was waiting for.
    Rogatien Rosaire Vachon.
    He signed a puck for me from the game and thanked me for coming.
    I’m not sure I spoke again until I turned 18…
    Back then, Rogie was all we had.
    This team just inspires me to keep going…they were almost eliminated so many times…yet they overcame adversity and exhaustion to win it all.
    I needed this team.

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