Thursday, September 30, 2010

Trust Not in Man...

"Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs he returns to the earth: on that very day his plans perish.
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;
who executed justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord LOVES the righteous."
-Psalm 146:3-8

I am reading my Bible rather early this morning, and since my Bible journal is in a dark room with someone sleeping, and I don't wish to wake her up, I decided to put my thoughts on my blog (perhaps not the SAME exact thoughts as would have gone in my journal, but I assure you they will be very similar *smile*).

As I read Psalm 146 this morning, I was struck with the memory of the way people looked at President Obama during his speeches and election. It was literally like they saw a god--a savior. I thought this extremely disturbing at the time of course, but these verses, even though I've read them so many times, have suddenly presented themselves as a wonderful passage AGAINST a big government that has the ability to provide EVERYTHING you need.

OK, maybe that's a bit of a stretch :) But these verses above most definitely speak against putting one's trust in MAN and instead command trust in God. Simple, huh? I wish! When was the last time you found yourself asking GOD for what you needed, instead of just going and getting it yourself. When you really saw God as providing everything you have rather than your dad, or co-worker, or boss, or (this is my biggest one) yourself. Sure God can use these people to provide, but ultimately the providence comes from HIM and from him alone. I find myself convicted that I don't thank God enough for the little things, the basics. And I also find myself wanting in the communication area: God wants us to ask him for what we need. It's like a father/child relationship that he finds very precious...

And then, as I always like to do, we can apply these verses to our government/political system... Working at H&R Block, I saw people come in there all the time who looked on the government as their provider, and were plenty ticked off if they ended up OWING taxes rather than getting their "fair share" from the government. As a side note, I think lots of people are fed up and ready to expose the government for what it is, but perhaps for the wrong reasons... Anyway, there is a mindset fed by our political leaders promising us everything under the sun if they get elected, and ending with us as human beings becoming so easily ensnared and tricked by the promises of mere men.

The long and short of it is that we as humans should never put our FULL trust in men. We shouldn't look to our fellow humans to provide what we need. This is a major error on our part since God alone has providentially provided everything good. Give God the praise he is due--trust not in man.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

No men in the pews? Could be church's fault

By: John Longhurst

Posted: 4/09/2010 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Evangelical practices mean more women attend church than men, writes David Murrow.


Evangelical practices mean more women attend church than men, writes David Murrow.

Do men hate going to church?

David Murrow says yes. "Christianity's primary delivery system, the local church, is perfectly designed to reach women," says Murrow, author of the book Why Men Hate Going to Church.

Noting that studies in the U.S. show that women make up 60 percent of a typical congregation, he asks: "What is it about modern Christianity that is driving men away?"

For him, the answer is simple: Churches today are designed for women.

"Christianity's primary delivery system, the local church, is perfectly designed to reach women," he says of the warm colours, robes, candles, flowers, sharing, tapestries, long sermons and soft, romantic worship music that are the hallmarks of many churches today.

"This church system offers little to stir the masculine heart, so men find it dull and irrelevant," he states, adding that men who do go to church seem passive and bored.

Why is church not inviting for men? According to Murrow, it's because men are drawn to risk, challenge and adventure. "But these things are discouraged in the local church," he says. "Instead, most congregations offer a safe, nurturing community -- an oasis of stability and predictability."

At the same time, he maintains, the very definition of a good Christian has become feminized. Christians, he says, are supposed to be gentle, sensitive and nurturing, focused on home, family and hospitality. The godly are supposed to be calm, gentle, polite and sociable.

Men who grew up in the church hardly notice this "feminine spirituality," he says. "We hardly notice it; we can't imagine things any other way. But a male visitor detects the feminine spirit the moment he walks in the sanctuary door."

Murrow is particularly critical of the style of music found in many evangelical churches today.

"Here's one of the great, unspoken assumptions of worship today: The more emotional the response, the truer the worship," he says. "Great worship results in sensation, passion and good feelings. The worship leader's job is to help the people generate a warm, gooey feeling in their hearts about Jesus.

"Whether passionate emotion equals true worship is not what I'm here to debate. I'm merely pointing out the fact that if ooey-gooey feelings are what we're shooting for, worship will be much easier for women than men."

All this adds up to making church a place where men don't feel welcome. "It's hard for a man to be real in church because he must squeeze himself into this feminine religious mold," he says.

Murrow is aware that his observations might offend, particularly when you consider that the church is almost entirely led by males -- and entirely by males, in the case of the Roman Catholic Church. All that means, he says, is that "the modern church is an army of women led by a few male generals."

It's not just Americans who are exploring this topic. "How do we communicate life with Jesus to the average Australian bloke?" asks Brian Winslade, National Director of Australian Baptist Ministries. "If they turned up at church next Sunday, would their experience make them want to come back for a second look?"

His answer: No. "The style of our communication, language, d├ęcor and cultural climate is much more appealing to women than to men," he says, adding that many of the songs sung in Australian Baptist churches "appeal to a feminine motif of love and intimacy."

Interestingly, a study in England found that there is no gender gap in Islam, Buddhism, Judaism or Hinduism in that country; slightly more men than women attend worship services in those religions.

You may not agree with everything Murrow says; I don't. There are lots of churches with lots of spiritually fulfilled men, and lots of people who defy the stereotypes he promotes in his book.

But his message seems to be resonating with many, and finds support in an unexpected place. A study from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research found that the presence of involved men is statistically correlated with church growth, health and harmony, while a lack of male participation is strongly associated with congregational decline.

As congregations "become increasingly populated by women," the report says, "those congregations that are able to even out the proportions of males and females are those most likely to grow."

Concludes Murrow: "Men, if you've felt out of place in church, it's not your fault. If you've tried and failed to get a men's ministry going in your church, it's not your fault. If you can't get your buddies interested in church, it's not your fault. The church system is getting the results it's designed to get. Until that system changes -- radically -- men will continue to perish, both inside and outside our congregations."

KATIE NOTES: This is an interesting point. Of course I know there are many godly men who attend church, and many churches that aren't "feminine" but I do see this person's point... Masculinity in general is sadly lacking, period, in our culture...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Evangelicals and Coulter
Exclusive: Joseph Farah explains why it isn't enough to call yourself Christian

Posted: August 23, 2010
1:00 am Eastern

Sunday, August 22, 2010

By Joseph Farah

I don't have any intention of beating to death my personal dustup with Ann Coulter, but I continue to receive a heavy volume of e-mail over this controversy – and some of it requires further exploration.

One insightful reader made this observation: "I think the most significant part of the note from Ann (about her speaking to a homosexual Republican group at an event called Homocon) is this: 'also, FYI; my fellow evangelicals – and I know lots and lots of 'em – all think it's great that I'm doing this. (Of course, they know I'm not changing my mind on gay marriage even though I like gays.)'"

It's true that much of the church is lacking the moral discernment it should receive from the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Much of the church is as blind to right and wrong as the world is. That's alarming. But Jesus did warn us:

In Matthew 7:20-24, He says: "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

"And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them …"

Those should be alarming verses for all professing Christians. But I don't think many American evangelicals give them much consideration.

In other words, it's not enough to call yourself a Christian. It's not enough to go to church on Sunday. It's not enough to say some magic words. You've got to be sincere in your repentance and be obedient to His will.

(Column continues below)

I have no doubts that many who call themselves Christians have encouraged Ann Coulter to take this speaking assignment. I can't judge their motives. Maybe they are enamored of her celebrity. Maybe they put their friendship with Ann above giving her what they know in their hearts to be sound advice. Maybe they're afraid of being called names and cast out of impolite conservative company. Maybe they are misguided or immature or carnal Christians. Maybe they are not Christians at all.

I don't get my notion of what being a Christian is or how to be one from other Christians. I get it from the Bible.

And understand what I am saying here: I do not suggest it is wrong for Christians to associate with homosexuals, as some have charged. In fact, if we love them – or, as Ann Coulter suggests, "like" them – we should engage them. We should bring them the truth. We should share the good news of the Gospel. And that, however uncomfortable it is, means confronting them with their sin – just as we would any other sinner.

I believe that's what Jesus meant when He told us to love our enemies. The ultimate demonstration of love for a Christian should be to evangelize the lost.

There is no indication Ann Coulter has ever used one of her paid speaking engagements to do this. In fact, I'm not even sure a paid speaking engagement is an appropriate forum for evangelizing.

Nevertheless, I have heard from a few Christians who compare Coulter's paid speaking gig to Homocon with Jesus sitting down with tax collectors and sinners.

That is not good discernment.

Coulter is a political activist, a pundit, a satirist. She is not Jesus. And she is not an evangelist. No one is likely to get saved at Homocon because Ann Coulter gives a conservative stump speech.

What will happen as a result of her appearance is that a compromise will be made with sin. Sin will be condoned or appeased. A conservative icon will find accommodation with a sin that would undermine the foundations of Western civilization, the Judeo-Christian ethic and the most basic biblical standards of sexual morality.

KATIE'S NOTES: I know I am posting a lot lately, but I am getting so many good articles! I personally have never really respected Ann Coulter, finding her to be too loud and obnoxious for me--although I do admit she is very intelligent. But this has clinched the deal, so to speak. And what's the most shocking is how many Christians will blindly follow her lead and "tolerate" gay marriage. Folks, Jesus was not tolerant. Yes he was kind, yes he was loving. But he was not tolerant, and too many Christians seem to have put the supposed virtue of tolerance up there with the ten commandments! Forgive my tirade. My heart is deeply grieved and I NEVER want to "get used" to the idea of gay marriage. I want it to always shock me, always cause me to mourn for the state of our country when this defilement is not only allowed but PROMOTED by some Christians. Lamentations 3 comes to mind...  "21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
 22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail."

A Clever Word is worth A Thousand Words

I liked these quotes I got in an email newsletter... ha ha!! 

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it,
and then misapplying the wrong remedies."
(Groucho Marx)

"If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents,

he would promise them missionaries for dinner."

H.L. Mencken

"Surrender is essentially an operation by means of which we set out

explaining instead of acting."

Charles Peguy

"He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth

makes himself the accomplice of liars and forgers."

Charles Peguy