Proof of Punkhood

On a bike ride near Crescent Lake Bible Camp (where I’m in my third consecutive week of preaching) I saw the damage pictured.

mailboxImmediate thought, “What a proof of manhood,” thinking the damage had been done by teenagers. Of course nowadays it could have been smashed by some 20/30 something videogame fanatic who normally lives in his parents’ basement)

Second thought – what punks.

In my crazy b.c. days I did a lot of dumb stuff, but never damage for damages sake.

Well, I did throw some eggs here and there.

I did tape a pound of limburger cheese to the motor of a guys car on prom night while he was in the dance (he had turned me and some friends into the vice principal as we were cutting school ;we got suspended). He deserved it; perhaps not his date…

But normally our “for fun” stuff didn’t hurt anyone or anything.

A couple of us occasionally grabbed surfboards, five gallon cans of water and would hike up into Placerita Canyon in Southern California…miles from the beach…pour the water over ourselves and walk down the trail with the boards on our heads…

And one time we stole (borrowed?) a manikin, dressed it up, and hung it from a tree close to the road that wound up Sand Canyon…at night…hide in the bushes and watch people stop their cars…stare for a bit…then get out of the vehicle, slowly approach the “body,” discover it was fake, and demonstrate madness for a few seconds. All was fun until one man tore it down and smashed it to smithereens. (what’s a smithereen?)

Probably did some other dumb stuff (apart from my criminal endeavors)…but the point is damaging stuff just to damage stuff wasn’t on the agenda. Driving down the road, perhaps swinging a baseball bat and ruining mailboxes did not then nor now seem to be a declaration of manhood.

Just a proof of stupid punkyness.

Oh well.

I May Have to Adjust My Funeral!

Jane and I preplanned our funerals a few weeks ago.

It was an odd experience, but I’m glad we checked it off our “to do” list…

Among other things, I inserted “In Christ Alone” (with all the verses, thank you) and “Behold Our God.” They will stay…

But a couple days I was exposed to “I Got Saved” by Selah.

I can’t stop listening to it…

I’m gonna insert it in my “celebration of life.”

Hopefully that’s a couple decades away…so maybe I’ll find another song to insert…or..gasp…replace. But I doubt it.

Here’s a video of Selah ministering the song:

Wish I Could Chat With Tozer

I’ve read most of Tozer’s works. I appreciate deeply his written ministry.

I’ve shared much of his stuff, and rejoice that his ministry continues long after his death.

Today a quote came across my feed that, at first read, I simply can’t agree with. But I’m not aware of the context, and I wish I could do a face-to-face with Tozer and ask him to amplify/explain his points.

Here’s the quote:

“The highest expression of the will of God in this age is the church which He purchased with His own blood. To be scripturally valid any religious activity must be part of the church. Let it be clearly stated that there can be no service acceptable to God in this age that does not center in and spring out of the church. Bible schools, tract societies, Christian business men’s committees, seminaries and the many independent groups working at one or another phase of religion need to check themselves reverently and courageously, for they have no true spiritual significance outside of or apart from the church.”
Is he condemning all “parachurch” (oh, how I hate that term) ministries? Or is he simply cautioning them that they should not feel superior to local churches? Or that each staff member needs to be part of a church?
At first blush it, to me, seems to disenfranchise ministries like Billy Graham, the Navigators, Cru, oh…and yeah…the ministries I have served for four decades.
What to you think?

The Cross Has The Final Word

I’ve always enjoyed both DC Talk and Newsboys…when Peter left the Newsboys and Tait came in it took me a while to adjust…and it still is, in my mind, two different bands; but I was happy when Peter came in to voice with Tait and the others “The Cross Has the Final Word.”

Happy enough that I here present three videos…the song; the blacksmith in the video; and Peter and Michael talking…

Enjoy!

FIRST, the song video:

Now, meet the blacksmith and his bride…

 

Last, a brief, fun conversation with Michael and Peter:

 

 

 

An Out-of-Context-Sort-Of BOOM!

W hat follows is written by Seth Godin. I have no idea where he stands with Christ, but his writings are well worth reading.

This is from today’s blog entry, and I have not changed a syllable. 

He certainly is not writing about the church…but it sure does fit. I believe, however inadvertently, he nails with a sniper rifle the infections that have permeated most of the professing church for a couple decades.

Read it, think about it, and let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

If, of course, you’re willing to think…

If you want to reach more people, if you’re measuring audience size, then the mantra of the last twenty years has been simple: make it dumber.

Use clickbait headlines. Short sentences. Obvious ideas. Little nuance. Don’t make people uncomfortable or ask them to stretch. Remind them that they were right all along. Generate a smile or a bit of indignation. Most of all, dumb it down.

And it works.

For a while.

And then someone comes along who figures out how to take your version of dumbness and go further than you were willing to go. Until everything becomes the National Enquirer.

While this downward cycle of dumb continues to be passed from hand to hand, a few people headed in the other direction. Measuring not the size of the audience, but their engagement, their commitment and the change that was possible.

This is an upward cycle, a slow one, a journey worth going on.

Dumber is an intentional act, a selfish trade for mass. It requires us to hold something back, to avoid creating any discomfort, to fail to teach. Dumber always works in the short run, but not in the long run.

Don’t confuse dumber with simpler. Simpler removes the unnecessary and creates a better outcome as a result. But dumber does little but create noise.

Everyone owns a media company now. Even media companies. And with that ownership comes a choice, a choice about the people we serve, the words we use and the change we seek to make.

It’s only a race to the bottom if we let it be one.

Batterson – PLAY THE MAN

I know some of my more anti circular friends don’t like Batterson. Cease and desist from reading on if that’s you – nothing to see here.

Mark Batterson has knocked it out of the part with Play the Man – Becoming the Man God created You To Be (Baker Books).

“Jack, ain’t you a big long-in-the-teeth to be reading a book like this?”

Absolutely not. Whether I have a week, a year, a decade or decades left..I want to 2 Peter 3.18…and books like this may help me along the journey.

God is God of all. To include manhood. Perhaps you have arrived; I’ve not.

So I read this book with great anticipation, and have received wise counsel from it.

I resonate with this quote, “…Jesus didn’t die to keep us safe. Jesus died to make us dangerous.”

He continues a bit later, “The will of God isn’t an insurance plan. The will of God is a dangerous plan.”

I don’t want to give you too much of the book; I want you…as a man of any age…to get and read the book. Then heed it.

If you purchase it by utilizing the link below, I get a few cents…

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Whatcha Want Me To Do? Hold Your Hand? Well, yeah…

After all these years (since 1978) I’m still amazed I get to speak to teens around the country. As I type I’m in Rhinelander, Wi at Crescent Lake Bible Camp speaking for a junior high camp. Then I’ll stay here and speak for two weeks of family camp.

I’ve reached the point that it is mathematically possible that I could have a camper who is the grandchild of a former camper! Yikes.

Like you, the “current events” are not encouraging. Concentrating on the “news” can be deadly. We need to be aware of our day, but not overly focused on it…

Instead, at least for me and mine, we should  “fix our eyes on Jesus.”

Some would say that’s too simplistic.

Color me simple.

He is the only stability in my life. He is the only rock. He has blessed me with life,  a wonderful wife and family, precious friends, and allows me to serve Him as a home missionary.

He is good, all the time; and all the time, He is good.

And He sings to me a song by the Beatles…because, amazingly, He wants to hold my hand!

“For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41.13
 
Maybe I’m not the only one who needs that reminder?
Speaking of reminders, let’s go back to 1964:
 
 

Rock On!

A million years ago I was privileged to be in Cleveland, Ohio when a guy name Billy Graham allowed DC Talk to share a crusade stage with him.

Boy, did he catch flack. He said he expected to, but he felt, though their style was not his preference, he needed them to help reach a new generation…

I have a standard line, “I hate money and I hate music…no matter what you do, you’re wrong.”

So, expecting some to shake their heads in dismay, I share…especially for younger readers, a long video..a concert by DC Talk that preceeded a message from Billy Graham…in Fresno, Ca…in 2001. I wasn’t there…but sure wish I’d have been:

SHAME on (many) of Us!

shame on us “We have turned to a God that we can use rather than a God we must obey; we have turned to a God who will fulfill our needs rather than to a God before whom we must surrender our rights to ourselves.

He is a God for us and for our satisfaction, and we have come to assume that it must be so in the church as well.

And so we transform the God of mercy into a God who is at our mercy.

We imagine that He is benign, that He will acquiesce as we toy with His reality and co-opt Him in the promotion of our ventures and careers.”

David Wells
God in the Wasteland

Two Lies Christians Say All Too Often

liesChristians tell lies.

That should not shock.

But there are two lies that are voiced constantly…one intentionally, one unintentionally.

The intentional lie? “Fine,” in response to the question, “How are you doing today?” In fact the responder has just had a huge fight with his wife; a child has abandoned the faith, or another crisis looms. Rather than admit it, rather than risk being judged, we lie, “Fine,” and whatever the motive it is intentional.

The unintentional lie? “I’ll be praying for you.” When uttered we mean to follow through; all too often we forget.

Giving account for “every idle word” makes these lies a tad more uncomfortable.

What to do?

Be real; be honest, be transparent. That’ll take care of lie one.

Pray right then, write it down, ask the person to connect with you later. That should cover lie number two.

On a lighter note, the satirical Babylon Bee published this:

ERIE, PA—The results of Pastor Mike’s informal survey are in: every single member of Bayfront Methodist Church is doing either “fine,” “good,” or “real good.” When the pastor pressed for details, members responded with some combination of, “No really, I’m doing great,” or else, “Yeah, things are good, things are good.”

The survey was conducted as the pastor faithfully stood at the doors of the church after the Sunday service, shaking the hands of each churchgoer as they left and asking how they were doing.

“It’s really quite spectacular,” the pastor told reporters Monday. “You would think, given the state of our fallen world, that at least one person would be going through a crisis or battling some kind of indwelling sin that they need help with. But not at this church—we’re all doing fine it seems. Praise the Lord!”

Prayer requests for the week included several reports of distant friends and family that were struggling with sin, but nobody in the church reported needing prayer for themselves. “Prayer? Me?” one congregant said to Pastor Mike, a puzzled expression on her face. “No. I mean, you can pray for me generally, but really I’m not in much need of anything right now. I’m doing awesome, really.” She was later spotted at a coffee shop, bawling her eyes out over some personal struggle, according to sources.

Reporters then asked Pastor Mike how he was doing. “Who, me? Oh yeah, I’m doing just fine,” he confirmed.