Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

Make no mistake about this: You can never make a fool out of God. Whatever you plant is what you’ll harvest. (Galatians 6:7 GWV)

Ah. If only folk believed this verse, there wouldn’t be such a surprise when Jesus comes back. And then I read about what ABC’s Nightline just covered about atheists and their ‘de-baptism’ ceremonies, and then I think some folk will never get it.

Wielding a blow-dryer, a leading atheist conducted a mass “de-baptism” of fellow non-believers and symbolically dried up the offending waters that were sprinkled on their foreheads as young children… One of atheism’s premier provocateurs, Edwin Kagin, faced the crowd and raised high a hairdryer labeled “Reason and Truth.”

Atheists better watch how close that hair dryer gets. They could get burned.

Courtesy MoPo.ca

Stories like this make want to take a paddle to the behind of these dolts called “The Board of Education” and teach them a thing or two.

Are you kidding me?! A hair dryer? As if to evaporate the dire waters that were sprinkled upon their nubile foreheads decades ago.

Yeah, the water is gone by now genius, but whatever makes you happy. And while we are on that topic, what about God makes you so unhappy?

Is it the age-old question about suffering and pain? You want an honest answer from a blood-baptized child of God? I don’t know.

That said, even if God is not real and I have been believing a hoax (and I’m not), my life has still be full of more joy just thinking I am going to heaven than these miserable fops with a case of the giggles because they are mocking God.

Kagin, who is American Atheists’ national legal director, firmly believes that regardless of one’s religious beliefs, each person has the right to say or do what he or she wants, provided it is within the law. In the past, he has reportedly called out parents who subject their children to strict fundamentalist religious education, referring to it as child abuse.

Everyone's a comedian until the trumpet sounds

Some folk REALLY believe this should be the case

He’s right in some circumstances. There are Christian parents out there who literally beat the “love of God” into their children. There are “Christians” who are some of the lowest scum walking the face of the earth.

And I am fairly certain the number one reason anyone – like the Major Domo of the Dryer here – is an atheist is because they were scorched by a foul-mouthed, evil-spirited “Child of God.”

That’s unfortunate and very sad, but it still gives them no right to mock God. Although his amazing spirit of grace and mercy is understanding as to why they do it, make no mistake… well, you read that already.

All true science and history, if rightly understood, support the fact of God. This evidence is so strong that, as the Bible says:

“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1).

If you read the rest of insightful article (and you should), you will learn two irrefutable facts:

  1. There are some intensely hurting and bitter people out there that need to perchance REAL Christians and learn about God’s love
  2. This “fool” is off his rocker.

“Come forward now and receive the spirit of hot air that taketh away the stigma and taketh away the remnants of the stain of baptismal water,” Kagin shouts.

And speaking of hot air, Atheists continue to bash, maul and avoid any Christian who attempts to discuss the reality of Christ. I understand they think that’s an oxymoron, but that’s solely because they can get around the “problem of pain,” as C.S. Lewis once called it.

Who can blame them?! It baffles me sometimes, and I love Jesus… and have been burned oh so badly by so-called, mealy mouthed Christians (I could hyperlink to them too).What I do know is this:

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. (Romans 8:26-28 MSG)

Crap happens, but I can either blame God or presume if there’s a God in this world… there’s also a devil with an equal amount of passion, power and persistence to make my life a living hell.

I have experienced tragedy and joy, pain and pleasure. Despite it all, I don’t need a hair dryer to express my hurt. I found a real person to talk to about Jesus Christ and then got my life straight with the Lord. And despite this cockamamie story that ABC dedicated quality air time to broadcast, you can do the same thing.

A real Christian will listen. And if you can’t seem to find one, call on the Lord… he always answers.

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That sound you hear is millions of Christians staring at their Thomas Kinkade tchotchkey-du-jour in their house and hurling a plate of nachos at it. CRASH!

Thomas Kinkade gets his own picture - a mug shot

Looks like that 'light' is shining too brightly into his bloodshot eyes

Yes, it’s true. The great talent. The anointed vessel. The child of God Thomas Kinkade, affectionately known as “The Painter of Light,” evidently had a mind that went dark when he took the wheel while seriously under the sauce, thanks to FOX News:

Police initially pulled over the Mercedes driven by artist Thomas Kinkade in the city of Carmel last weekend because the car didn’t have a front license plate, Sheriff’s Cmdr. Mike Richards told The Herald.

Police then detected the smell of alcohol and conducted a sobriety test during which Kinkade, 52, “displayed signs of impairment to the officer,” California Highway Patrol spokesman Robert Lehman said.

Doh! Seriously? What’s this dude thinking? I’m sorry but he’s a painter. Did he think “Don’t you know who I am” would work, because odds are if you must ask that question, they probably don’t know who you are.

MEMO to the Man in the Mug: You’re Thomas Kinkade, not some frat boy on a two-day binge. What are you doing? Yes, Jesus forgave you the minute you began sipping but there are many holders of your precious, illuminated artwork that may have forced them to forget you.

Toxicology tests are still pending, but take a gander at the beleaguered artist here. Although he appears a few fries short of a happy meal, this guy can throw down on a buffet, and that means he gets thirsty.

Yes, he was hammered. Yes, he will try to fight this. Yes, he will blame medication. And no, many folk won’t believe him.

Thomas Kinkade and a roll of toilet paper. Funny stuff.

Thomas' believes in the rock and his name is on the... what again?

In fact, in a Christian book store in my fare burgh, would you believe his art was “taken to the back for business reasons?” Yes way. Christian folk can be some of the most narrow-minded, yes? Too bad I love them. Many folk think I am a tool as well.

Kinkade’s art has now slid down the value meter and could end up as Exhibit A if he just ignores this ever happened… that is, until we get a nice discount.

God’s people are far from being perfect, but you have to be smarter than that to cover up for your own humanity.

Poor guy. What kind of picture does this paint for “America’s Most Collected Living Artist”? My guess it looks like a Picasso right now.

“Oh, how the mighty have fallen.”

Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral now $65 million in debt

Ironic, no?

It’s a quote of the dramatic many equate to some movie from the roaring 20s or some such, but not so fast. It’s actually one of the plethora of pop culture references that are really biblical writ.

The passage is from 2 Samuel 1:25 and it could so be the headline for many ills plaguing the Church today.

Take the plight of Robert Schuller and the Crystal Cathedral.

We have gone from Elder Schuller kicking his son clean out of the pulpit to the entire ministry being on its last gems dealing with $65 million in debt.

And now, according to the Orange County Register, some of those vendors are demanding their share of what’s left in the offering plate:

Over the last two months, three businesses, including an equipment financing company and two television stations, have filed lawsuits against the Crystal Cathedral stating that the megachurch owes them more than $2 million for services rendered. Several vendors who provided their services during the church’s “Glory of Christmas” pageant also came forward last month saying that they are owed tens of thousands of dollars.

I have worked with enough megachurches to know this is a rather unfortunate, but never-ending, trend. There is this feeling of “God will cover our bills… and our vendors” brooding in churches everywhere in this great land of ours, and most of that mentality finds a delta in the pastor’s office.

Although I am so completely resisting the yearn to hyperlink here, I know of one in particular that held a Christmas lights parade, signed a contract for the generators and never paid because (and this is a direct quote) “God wanted us to have this parade and he used that company to bring it.”

The ticket cost? More than $150,000.

From marketing to missions, the path to hell is not lined with good intentions. It’s unpaid vendor’s invoices from churches.

I wish I knew why this sanctimonious, impious attitude takes place, but despite the churches that do pay their bills, they are a barrel full of monkeys that don’t and just fling poo at the phone every time it rings.

Robert Schuller is now the 800 pound gorilla in the IRS room, and so, he sends his baby girl to do his bidding: beg for mercy.

Leaders of a financially distressed Crystal Cathedral met with vendors and creditors Friday morning to discuss possible debt payments, according to a statement issued by the megachurch’s current leader, Shiela Schuller Coleman, daughter of Cathedral founder, Robert H. Schuller.The purpose of the meeting was to gather all these vendors, suppliers and friends into one place and apologize for the delinquency of the accounts that we currently have with them,” Coleman said in her issued statement.

In the words of a sage sports prophet,Juuuuuuust a bit outside.”

MEMO to the Schullers – and any other pastors who enjoy fleecing vendors: “God bless you” don’t pay the bills!

You can’t call up the phone company and tell the man, “Um, please don’t turn off my cell. I need it for business. And besides, Robert Schuller asked for my forgiveness. Now you can’t shut off my… (dial tone)…” Don’t you think this mindless charade of an apology was a skosh overdue?

Vendors who attended Friday morning’s meeting said they had no idea there were so many creditors. When asked, cathedral administrators told them that there are as many as 185 creditors waiting in line to be paid.

That’s a lot of people wearing blind man glasses holding the ubiquitous pencil coffee cup saying, “Brother, can you spare a dime?”

And it’s not any fault of the people who call that church ‘home.” Their tithes and offerings go there. Their service is there. Yet, that money stays there. Well, at least it used to before a cavalcade of attorneys came walking down the aisle looking for a handout.

Maybe if that would have happened sooner, the church would still be open and vendors would have their bills paid for services rendered. You know, like they do in the real world. And folk say megachurches don’t need to be run like a business. Stories like this beg to differ.

Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:8 NKJV).

There isn’t a child of God alive that hasn’t heard this scripture attached to a message on tithing or a capital fundraising campaign. Now, let’s keep the pulpit pimps out of this conversation… this is for the real people doing real stuff for Jesus.

Nonetheless, there seems to be a continued problem with money in today’s churches according to a recent USA Today article.

Citing a national survey by LifeWay research, it seems the Church needs a stimulus package wrapped in swaddling cloths because it ain’t getting it from the people warming the pews:

  • 28% reported raising less money than in 2008.
  • 57% said the poor economy was hurting their church.
  • 70% reported increased requests from people outside their congregation for assistance.
  • 43% budgeted more money to help more needy people.
  • 3% were considering closing down their churches.

Of course, these harrowing statistics don’t include the scheming rallying cries of Rick Warren and Rod Parsley who pleaded for a rapid-fire stimulus package of their own… and got it.

No, these numbers reflect the corner church in your community, the pastor of 40+ years in your neighborhood who loves the Word of God but doesn’t have the benefit of TBN.

In 2009, pleas for cash have rose dramatically while answers for change have decreased at the same rate. Of course, it’s the economy. The question is about the faith side of things though.

“Churches have not yet entered the recovery,” says LifeWay director Ed Stetzer. “Historically, they tend to recover financially when unemployment decreases, usually after the economy as a whole” recovers.

And why is that?

Many, many Christians across the U.S. hear the vitriol of a bill collector on the other side of their phone far more than the comforting, dulcet tones of their pastors. Where do you think their cash goes?

Is that still robbing God or just keeping the lights on?

Full disclosure: I have said before that building this Wall was cathartic for me. I was unemployed for months, with no light at the end of that tunnel. Actually, the only light I could see was a truck speeding toward me to run me over.

Did I tithe? For a few months… and then I bought groceries, paid utilities and made sure my home wasn’t repossessed. Erstwhile was that scripture in Malachi chiming in my head, but I had to believe Jesus knew my heart.

Is it that important to God because I felt guilty?

Crown Financial Ministries says that there are actually about 2,350 verses on finances and possessions in the Bible. That is more verses – more material – than all 13 letters in the New Testament that Paul wrote! God obviously cares about our view of possessions to instruct us that much about it.

So, surely he knows the hearts of all these nameless statistics who want to give, but can’t. Right?

God loves a “cheerful giver,” and how full of glee can you be when your phone is ringing off the hook with ne’er-do-wells looking to collect a check? Not much.

Sure, you may “reap sparingly,” but at least that reaping will come while the heat is still on in the house. Wall Watchers, these numbers got a brother thinking. What are your thoughts?

That insight could be a blessing to many brothers and sisters dealing with this… or are one of those numbers themselves. Peace.

We’re back. A wheelbarrow full of concrete mix, lots of water and ready to get my masonry game on brick-by-brick on this amazing wall God has allowed us to build over the past year plus.

Although over the HOLY-days, religious news was scanty, I did locate one editorial from AOL’s “Sphere” that tickled my fancy and got my charismatic pants shuckin’ and jivin’.

In case you didn’t take two Tylenol PM on December 31, you may have ventured to a New Years’ Eve party (or two). Perhaps, you heard the hollow-throated Dick Clark on TV (so, so sad)? Either way, if you are an “open-air” street preacher, you would be hard pressed to find more of a bountiful harvest than one of those shindigs, as Steve Friess opines:

Yet these revelers did so both with great amusement and plenty of spite, reactions to a far more incongruous sight for the wildest party Sin City throws each year: A row in the middle of Las Vegas Strip of about 30 evangelical preachers waving gigantic placards warning of eternal damnation for the “porno freaks,” “baby killers,” astrologers, Mormons, Muslims, gays and “so-called Christians” in their midst.

Hell no. You will go. Read my sign. It's about time.

Let’s get this clear: I unequivocally admire street preachers.

I have often exclaimed that anyone can do what a megachurch pastor can do if the spirit is right. You know, the band is playing something smooth, a message has been shared about God’s redemptive power and then out goes the nets.

Trust me, with an atmosphere like that, an Atheist could reel in a fine catch of new souls for the glory of God.

Now, get that blinged out pastor on a dusky-hued street corner mano-y-mano and they become slack jawed troglodytes who can barely stammer their way out of Genesis. If you can win one soul in that situation, you are a pro at this Jesus thing.

That said, here’s my question: Does picketing the lost really do anything but harm to the greater good?

Look at the picture. They are smiling for four reasons:

  1. They are completely hammered on boxed wine.
  2. They read the signs and think the tools holding them are well… tools.
  3. They can’t believe Criss Angel gave them a dollar and made it disappear.
  4. Or… all of the above.

Either way, do those signs really plant a seed? I remember the days when I used to roam the streets aimlessly and not one of those signs outside a night club throttled my zeal to go inside and forget they were freezing their blessed assurance outside.

When Jesus finally got my attention, it wasn’t because of those magical seeds planted by Johnny Appleseed barking at me from a turned-over milk crate. I heard Jesus because of a still, small voice that shared love, care and change.

Don’t take my word for it:

Friendly is not a word most would use for the reception the posse of proselytizers received standing shoulder-to-shoulder outside the Mirage Hotel-Casino in a swarm of hundreds of thousands of partiers. The preachers took turns on the bullhorns, with a typical message coming from a fellow named Jeremy from New Mexico who shouted: “You’re on the road to hell right now. Hell is a place of fire and brimstone. Must you all go to hell before you understand that God is not playing around?”

Granted, the message is right. However, is the method? People will hate us completely. It’s in the Bible and we should expect it, but at least, let them hate because we are showing them God’s love.

How many times in the synoptic chapters do we read of Jesus encouraging his 12 eager ragamuffins to dollop some paint on a piece of animal hide and find the town floozie to make her feel bad enough to beg for forgiveness?!

Wall watchers, if there’s anything we need to do in 2010 is get real with God and encourage everyone – the lost and the found – to do the same. Lukewarm only gets you one thing in life and I’m in no mood to become one of God’s lugies!

If I see a transgression, I’m calling it out but I want it to stick. I want it to matter. Does picketing outside gay night clubs with completely inappropriate signs, “God hates fags” matter to anyone other than the dolt who wrote it?

The art of a harvest begins with properly planting a seed. If that seed is thrown on dirt, they’ll only get dusty and blown away. Put that seed in some soil, regardless how damp it is, and that thing has the potential to blossom.

I know we will all remain steadfastly committed to calling out the slack, the false profits, the riff raff and the scam artists. However, if we see anything remotely resembling a picket sign, call it out and teach its author how to make it matter.

Maybe if there are no more picket signs and no more hurling denominational malarkey, we can finally create a unified message of God’s reality and make more of them stick. Maybe then, they will read. Maybe then, it will matter. Maybe.