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Friday, September 26, 2008

Rick Warren Supports Anglicans

David Virtue reports that mega church pastor Rick Warren is supporting orthodox believing Anglicans who might suffer at the hands of heterodox Episcopalians:
RICK WARREN to the rescue. Dr. Warren, known to the world as the author of The Purpose Driven Life wrote to VOL this week saying that if any orthodox Episcopalians in Orange County, CA loses their building to TEC, or if they simply want to plant a new Anglican church in Orange County, he wants them to know that the Pastors and Elders of Saddleback will gladly share their 120 acre campus with a new congregation on Sunday afternoons.

"We stand in complete solidarity with you all. We now have 7 Sunday services (and 2 Saturday), but we're always ready to help a sister church," he told VOL. You can write to david@virtueonline.org and I will pass the message along to him. One church and an overseas bishop have already been in touch with Dr. Warren. It's amazing, just when you think things will never get better, a brother in Christ from a totally different denomination comes to the rescue. That is true ecumenicity.
I encourage you to read the whole of David Virtue's weekly summary. Even if you are mildly aware of some of the heterodox beliefs and and behavior that can be found in the Episcopal Church, you will be shocked beyond belief at their tacit sanctioning of terrorists, debauchery and attacks on orthodox believing people.

A Verse For You ...

Hear the word of the Lord spoken over you this day ...

Zephaniah 3:17
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

And a special verse for Cam, Keith and other Festival Directors like myself ...

Zephaniah 3:18
I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival,
so that you will no longer suffer reproach.

Being A Lay Person Is Hard

I was in a meeting recently where one of my clergy friends talked about how difficult it is to get parents to lead stuff for youth and kids these days. He commented on how many parents will help out with a project here or there but a weekly commitment seems beyond them. Though frustrated by it, he wasn't complaining.

I am still an ordained clergy person and occasionally get to perform ministerial duties, but I haven't served in an official ministerial capacity anywhere since 2005. And since that time I have observed two things about being a lay person. First, it is hard work. Secondly, I suck at it.

To all my former parishioners out there: I admire you more and more each day for having put with me as long as you did and for all you did for me, the church and God's Kingdom. You are truly amazing to me. I have worked with some world class lay people: the Arch, Lynette, Carol, Gary & Sandy, Kurt & Sue, the Horny Millers, John & Kathy, Mikey B, Agnes and a whole plethora of others. How you did all you did for the church astounds me.

Now I know my life is complex with 5 kids, one of which is a baby, and a job that requires some travel. But I seem to get nothing done for the church and it drives me crazy. The needs of a church plant are overwhelming. I go to church meetings, see stuff that needs to be addressed and know what needs to be done but I all I ever seem to have is advice or criticism. I have zilch on the git-r-done scale. No doubt I drive my pastor crazy. Sorry Mazz.

When I was a pastor, it was frustrating to never really feel like I had a weekend. Now it's frustrating that the weekend is so short and there's barely enough time to mow the grass, go to Little League, go to some event/party/game, etc. etc. etc. and never enough time to get stuff done for church.

Clergy people out there reading this, trust me, being a lay person is harder than you think. You don't want this job.

The Green Letter Edition Bible

The Bible Goes Green for the Prius Age - TIME

Many of you are familiar with the red letter Bibles where the words of Jesus are in red. There is now a new Bible by Harper Collins -- the green letter edition, where words that related to nature are in green. Of course it is printed on recycled paper with soy based ink. The translation is NRSV.

ProBloggerBlogging and Evangelism

Darren Rowse over at ProBlogger.net has an interesting post -- The Truth About Creating a High-traffic Blog -- about creating a high traffic blog where he touches on being evangelical for your blog.

I really like ProBlogger (as do tens of thousands of others). They have a Job Board for those looking for professional blogging gigs. You watch. Some day I'll have a pro blogging gig. Check out this cool list of blogging jobs available:

09/24Mashup Technology Blogger at Mashups.com Blog Networks
09/24Technology Bloggers Needed at b5media Blog Networks
09/24Beauty & Fashion Bloggers Needed at b5media Blog Networks
09/22Paid Blogger at Environmental Graffiti Blog Networks
09/17Mortgage/Finance Blogger at Blownmortgage.com Co-blogging
09/16Home Design/How to Blogger at Home Design Find Blog Networks
09/15UK health and safety writer at Workplace Law NEBOSH Training Corporate/Business
09/14Passionate Apple/Mac blogger wanted at BLORGE Blog Networks
09/12Bloggers at Today.com Blog Networks
09/11Forum Poster at Blogging-Jobs Blog Networks
09/11Web Design Blogger at The Web Design Ledger Blog Networks
09/09Social / Community Project Contributors at 1 to 101 - The First Place To Look Miscellaneous
09/09Men's Interest Writer at TSB Magazine Blog Networks
09/09UK Energy Efficiency Blogger at yours2u Ltd Co-blogging
09/08Biz-News.com Internet Marketer at Biz-News.com (Aibits, s.a.) Blog Networks
09/05Performance Automotive Blogger at National Speed, Inc. Blog Networks
09/04Blogger for medical education site at E Things Soluciones SL Blog Networks
job filledForum seeder with interest in horses at World Society for the Protection of Animals Miscellaneous
09/03Green/Eco and Transportation Bloggers at Simply Good Media Blog Networks
job filledNintendo Blogger at DJM Enterpises Blog Networks
09/01Blogger For Women Blog at All Women Stalk Miscellaneous
08/29Corporate & Business Content/blog Writer at Tree technologies Corporate/Business
08/29Film Bloggers Wanted at On Topic Media Blog Networks
08/28Entertainment Blogger at Right Celebrity Miscellaneous
08/27Blogger at Briggs Internet Media PTY LTD Miscellaneous

If you want to have a blog that makes a meaningful contribution to people's lives and potentially makes mony, ProBlogger can be a great asset. Read Darren's story how he became a problogger.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tim Keller video: Belief In An Age of Skepticism

The fabulous Sean Meade has linked another Tim Keller video. Let's hope he makes a habit of this. These are great. This one is Tim Keller at University of California at Berkeley and is 1:34 long. His topic is Belief In An Age of Skepticism.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The American Church in Crisis

My esteemed colleague David Olson has produced a DVD that gives a video presentation of his ground breaking research on American church attendance, or more precisely, the lack of church attendance.

Below is the preview to the 35 minute long DVD. It costs $19.95 and is available at his web site: The American Church - Church Attendance Research.

Where Are The People DVD Preview: 7:22

Buy Dave Olson's book:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tim Keller Speaks at Google

interact: Tim Keller at Google, by Sean Meade

Thank you Sean for this great link. This is an absolutely must watch video clip. It is 61 minutes long. Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Britney's Mom Releases Memoir

Britney Spears' mom releases memoir with Christian publisher Thomas Nelson - Gospel Soundcheck

It does appear that Britney was raised in a Christian setting. Though not necessarily surprising that her life has become so messy, it is very sad. I predict time will change he. Another decade of maturity, if she doesn't ultimately self destruct before then, she will come back to the Lord and begin working on humanitarian and Christian projects.

Some were wondering why Thomas Nelson, a Christian publisher, would be publishing this memoir. That's easy: $$$$$$.

Was Britney Spears a Christian Singer?

Was Britney Spears a Christian singer? - Gospel Soundcheck

Beliefnet has an article that quotes another source regarding The Jonas Brothers excitement to meet Britney spears, "who began as a Christian singer". Though no one can quite figure out when Britney was a Christian singer or if she has released any gospel albums.

I Want You To Grow Spiritually 2: See A Counselor

See a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist. For some, their spiritual health would be greatly aided by seeing a professional therapist.

Perhaps they are struggling with a holiness issue, a besetting, chronic, habitual sin or so they think. Maybe it's really an addiction and just praying more just won't fix the problem.

The continuous battle and failure to win can cause one to have a faulty, non-Biblical view of self, which can ultimately lead to a weakening of one's faith. If you want victory, you likely need help. Help can come from many sources, several of which I'll mention in future installments. But most certainly a counselor is a great place to start.

Other people feel distant from God for a host of reasons but especially because of father/parent issues in their life. A Christian counselor can help one separate those issues and allow people the freedom to feel close to God despite the fact their human parental relationships may be broken.

Other people have committed a heinous sin for which they find little grief from their guilt, shame and remorse. Some have been victims of these sins and feel the same guilt, shame and remorse. A therapist can help bring healing.

Some are experiencing depression and anxiety and you have been told through the years that it's your fault. You've been told if you prayed more, memorized more Scripture and had more faith it would go away and you would feel better. You were lied to by likely well meaning people. Very likely you will find the relief you need from a counselor.

It's not that you don't need to pray and read Scripture. You do. These will indeed aid your recovery and truth will strengthen you as you move forward in health. But sometimes we need something more. God works through counselors and physicians all the time.

For some of us to move forward in our spiritual journey of following Christ, a counselor will be of enormous benefit. You can find them in the yellow pages, Google "christian counselor" or get a referral from your physician.

This is part 2 in a 20 part series on spiritual growth. If you feel like you are not growing deeper in your faith or relationship to God, if you are not loving and serving others more, if you have a sense of 'stuckness' in your spiritual journey, and you really want to grow ——— the answer might not be to try harder. All too often I have heard the same solutions offered over and over — 'All you have to do is have daily devotions, pray more, read more of the Bible, be in worship every week and get more involved in the church.' In other words try harder.

Sometimes that doesn't work and I'm going to offer some suggestions that might help you move forward.

Previous Installments:
I Want You To Grow Spiritually 1: Give Up Daily Devotions

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Nigerian Missionary Effort in Syracuse, NY

As mentioned previously on the Land of the Ultra Rev, there is an Anglican Fellowship that meets at the Vineyard Church on Sunday evenings. I have just found they have a web site:

Westside Anglican Fellowship

This is very exciting. This is the third non-Episcopal, Anglican option in CNY that I know of. There is St. Mary's that meets in Liverpool at the corner of Wetzel and Morgan Rds which is supposedly affiliated with the Anglican Province of Christ the King and the Diocese of Holy Cross though it is not listed on either of their web sites.

And there is St. Andrews, which is an AMiA church.

The Westside Anglican Fellowship affiliated with CANA: the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. "It is an Anglican missionary effort in the US sponsored by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)." The Church of Nigeria has an outpost here in Syracuse, NY!!!

That has to be a very cool feeling: going to a church where Peter Akinola is your Archbishop. That guy is a bulldog for the Christian faith and righteousness. CANA also has Bishop David Bena, retired bishop from the Diocese of Albany, who serves as bishop to the Westside Fellowship.

Esteemed Syracuse attorney, Raymond Dague (Dague Law) and his wife Pat (blog: Transfigurations) are a part of this group.

They meet at 6:00 pm on Sunday evenings at the Vineyard Church.

I am very excited about this and will have to find a way to stop over and support them. I believe that groups like CANA, The AMiA and other similar orthodox Anglican groups can have a deep impact on upstate NY.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lindsay Lohan is Spiritually Searching

Lindsay Lohan converting to Judaism for girlfriend? | Entertainment and Showbiz!

A number of articles have talke about Lohan's spiritual search recently with her exploring Scientology, Kabbalah and now Judaism. I didn't know she was raised Catholic. Her parents are just glad "god" is a part of her life.

It must be painful to have been her priest and now see her walk in a new spiritual direction away from the cross of Christ. Lindsay, you will find all you need in Jesus.

I Want You To Grow Spiritually 1: Give Up Daily Devotions

What are daily devotions? For many, it is a daily time to be quiet with God and read the Bible, often a short devotional message and prayer. It's often done in the morning first thing.

[Oh Lord help me, cuz I'm gonna get thrown out of evangelicalism today.]

Give up daily devotions without guilt. Daily devotions isn't for everybody. If it's a chore and not devotion or if it's not helping you grow deeper in your relationship with God let it go. For some, you need to let go of the ideal of daily devotions that you are not attaining and feeling guilty about.

Sometimes we make devotions a benchmark of our faith and not relationship with Christ. Devotions does no good for anyone when they are doing it to just check off the list but really are not doing it with a sense of devotion of God.

Let me say that again. Daily devotions, or daily quiet time, or whatever you want to call it, just isn't helpful for everyone, especially when it's done out of obligation.

For some daily devotions feels like they segment their day and give this small part to God and then feel like they are supposed to go out and live the rest of the day on their own. "See you tomorrow God! Thanks for listening!" Some want to live all moments of every day devoted to God in constancy in all they do. A daily quiet time doesn't work for them.

Some people have ADHD or some variant honest-to-goodness physician diagnosed mood disorder where a quiet time is extremely difficult. And their overwhelming repeated sense of failure from not being able to do it makes it difficult to enjoy God.

Some just aren't morning people.

For some they need the strength that a quiet time gives them. They start their day and God's word and a devotional guide strengthens for the emerging day. For others, it just doesn't. They feel strengthened by God right from the start and connect with him throughout the day.

Daily devotions doesn't please God. Devotion to him does.

If daily devotions aren't working for you let them go or take a vacation from them and don't feel guilty about it. You can always pick them back up again if you miss or need them. You won't lose your faith or go to hell. God won't be angry.

Let's work on finding what does feed your soul if a daily quiet time does not.

This is part 1 in a 20 part series on spiritual growth. If you feel like you are not growing deeper in your faith or relationship to God, if you not loving and serving others more, if you have a sense of 'stuckness' in your spiritual journey, and you really want to grow ——— the answer might not be to try harder. All too often I have heard the same solutions offered over and over. All you have to do is have daily devotions, pray more, read more of the Bible, be in worship every week and get more involved in the church. In other words try harder.

Sometimes that doesn't work and I'm going to offer some suggestions that might help you move forward.

Megachurches Are Stalled or Dying. Which Is it?

Within the same month, conflicting reports are out about the growth rate of megachurches.

Report Tracks Megachurch Growth, Changes| Christianpost.com
"Attendance numbers at America's megachurches continue to grow, and at very fast rates, according to the latest research on the country's largest churches.

Protestant congregations that already have at least 2,000 people in a typical weekend had an average rate of growth for five years of around 50 percent. And over 20 percent of megachurches experienced an increase of 100 percent. Slightly more than 10 percent of the churches showed stagnation or decline."
As their numbers stall, megachurches seek 'seekers' - USATODAY.com
After decades of soaring growth, the phenomenon of Protestant megachurches — behemoths of belief where 2,000 to 20,000 or more people attend weekend worship — may be stalled.

MARITAL AIDS: A Commitment To Intimacy

Can 365 Nights Of Sex Bolster A Marriage? When Their Marriages Fell Into The Doldrums, Two Long-Married Couples Took Action - CBS News
"But will daily sex really help a relationship that's hit a rough patch? Some experts say yes; others aren't so sure. As for the two couples who tried it, the Browns and the Mullers, both say the experiment strengthened their marriages in -- and out -- of the bedroom."
Two couples have recently released books telling their story of how their commitment to intimate relations reignited their marriage. Here are the titles:
There was no indication in the article that this was a spiritual quest at all, but I wonder if these couples have touched upon something that God intended for sexual relations in marriage. Not so much the emphasis on everyday but the frequency of relations led to their marriage being something that God intended marriage to be.

I am reminded of Relevant Church in Florida who did the 30 Day Sex Challenge several months ago. Too many people thought it was a gimmick to get people to come to church. I really believe it wasn't. I honestly think they wanted to minister to their people by encouraging their participation. It seems they knew what these two couples found out.

The God of the Bible is the author of love and lovemaking. We as His people ought to be experts at both.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Your Spiritual Life is Not About Your Working Harder

I was at an event recently where the speaker gave the tired mantra of your spiritual isn't what it could and should be because you aren't working hard enough. If you just invested more in church, prayed more, read more of the Scriptures, did daily devotions and served more people you wouldn't feel so spiritually stuck or lame.

Those are all important necessary things that we do need to do. But sometimes we are stuck spiritually and we need help that just praying harder and reading more won't fix. Sometimes we don't just need to try harder or feel more guilty for what we are not doing.

There are times when we need to get other people or ministries to help us. There are times when we need a new perspective. There are times we need a new adventure in our faith journey with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I'm going to share some stuff that I have seen work for myself and others. I have about 20 or so ideas that I'm going to release over the next few weeks. Absolutely none of them are novel. Nothing new here. You have heard it all before. But this won't be "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" spirituality. I won't be berating you to try harder and I will be encouraging you to stop berating yourself.

I will be encouraging you to be open minded to try something new or anew. Get out of your comfort zone. Pursue God and open yourself up to him in a new way.

Congratulations Lisa Orris!

Lisa Orris Named Director of Evangelism - Evangelical Covenant Church

Congratulations to Lisa! Her blog is: Good News.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Another Denomination That I've Never Heard Of

New Apostolic Church USA

The nature of my work leads me to deal with a variety of churches such as the Assembly of God, Evangelical Free, Nazarene, Wesleyan, Mennonite, Free Methodist, all stripes of Baptist, ELCA, Missouri Synod Lutherans, Roman Catholic, Church of God, Presbyterian, United Methodist, Episcopalian, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Foursquare, United Church of Christ, Salvation Army, all sorts of independent or non-denominational, and my own beloved Evangelical Covenant Church.

But today I've stumbled across another denomination: The New Apostolic Church USA. A Wikipedia article gives a better history about them their web site does and reveals a staggering number of schisms since their establishment in 1830. They have an interesting ecclesiology with a system of apostles, elders, evangelists, etc. and unique belief about being sealed with the Holy Spirit called 'Holy Sealing'.

The most unique amongst their beliefs is a service for the dead which they claim as Biblical and based on the teachings of Jesus. Here it is from their FAQ:
Q – “We would like to know more about Service for the Departed.” (We have had many questions on Service for the Departed. We hope to address most of them below.)

A - The doctrine of Service for the Departed is based on the teaching of Jesus Christ and His Apostles. The most powerful proof that souls in eternity can be helped is that Jesus Christ entered eternity, immediately after His victory on the cross, to preach the gospel to those who were in captivity there. “For this reason the gospel was preached also to those that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (See 1 Peter 3:19,20 and 4: 6) That Jesus Christ would preach the gospel to these souls is demonstration of His longing to minister to them and proof that they can be helped. This was the first time that service was rendered to the departed.

Scripture tells us that Jesus Christ is “Lord of both the dead and the living.” (See Romans 14:9) He would that all would be saved (See 1Timothy 2:4). The souls in eternity are part of that “all”. He told His disciples, “Most assuredly I say to you, the hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.” (John 5:25) Ministering to these souls in spiritual misery and captivity is perfectly consistent with the nature and intention of Jesus Christ. He wants to minister to all souls. He has proven that He can.

The Apostles of Jesus Christ continue this ministry today. It was the commission of Christ that His Apostles continue in all of the works which He began. In the Service for the Departed, the sacraments of the church are dispensed to living proxies for the blessing and benefit of the departed. The faithful in the world wide congregations pray and intercede for these departed souls that they are able to find grace. There is a great outpouring of compassion and invitation from the living in favor of the departed. Again, this is perfectly within the mind and spirit of Jesus Christ.

We understand that there are many indiscernible mysteries regarding eternity. But there are certain truths to which we hold. We believe that eternity is not simply divided between heaven and hell; that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. Can mankind really be divided that simplistically? Rather, eternity is comprised of many realms. Souls enter those realms, upon their physical death, depending on the condition / development of their soul. Jesus Christ gives us an insight into eternity with His explanation of the state of Lazarus and the rich man in eternity. They find themselves in very different realms. The rich man is in torment. Lazarus is in fellowship with Abraham. Lazarus is not in heaven. We consider heaven to be that place, prepared by Jesus Christ, where we can be forever together with Him (See John 14:1-3). This text from John provides further illumination of eternity in that, besides this place that Jesus is preparing, there are many other mansions (realms) in the Father’s house. Revelation also affords us glimpses into eternity where we see different realms and various spiritual conditions revealed (See Revelation 6:9-11). Even the Old Testament gives us a hint of the diversity of eternity’s realms. Commenting on the death of Moses and Aaron, we read that Moses was gathered to his people and Aaron to his people (See Deut. 32:50). On first consideration we would say that each was gathered to their own family members in eternity until we consider that Moses and Aaron were of the same family, they were brothers. Could it mean that both were gathered to their own spiritual kind?

Our celebration of Service for the Departed is in no way contradictory to Old Testament prohibitions against spiritualism and calling up the dead (See Deuteronomy 18:10,11). There is a tremendous difference between necromancy and ministering to souls in eternity. Jesus did not defy biblical prohibition when He went into eternity to minister to souls or when He called Lazarus out of the tomb. These were not acts of darkness or superstition but rather acts of love and compassion. It is love and compassion that motivates us in the Service for the Departed. Souls in eternity need to receive the treasures of Jesus Christ. Their condition is not hopeless. They are not beyond the loving reach of the Lord. He began this ministering in eternity. The Apostles of Christ and believing souls continue it.

Services for the Departed are held on the first Sunday of March, July and November.

Dealing with Difficult People | ThinkSimpleNow.com

Helpful little article.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Quitting Church?

VirtueOnline: Sunday Morning, Staying Home

The linked article is a review of the book Quitting Church by Julia Duin, who claims there are a number of people who are quitting evangelical churches. They long for a decent church but can't find one. Here are some of the reasons she has uncovered:
"She reports, among other things: a lack of a feeling of community among church members, inducing loneliness and boredom; church teaching that fails to go beyond the basics of the faith or to reach members grappling with suffering or unanswered prayer; pastors who are either out of touch with their parishioners or themselves unhappy, or who fail to shepherd their flocks, or who are caught up in scandal, or who try to control the lives of church members in a high-handed way. She claims that many churches have "inefficient leadership models" and that many, preoccupied with the care of families, neglect single people."
A personal observation: when I pastored a church I had numerous clergy friends that were very dissatisfied with their parishes and we talked about the clergy crisis of pastors leaving ministry at alarming rates and churches firing their pastors. For the past 2 years now I have been in a lay person role in the church and now I have numerous friends that talk to me about their disappointment with their current church situation and don't really see other viable, enticing church options. There is a lot of church unhappiness out there at the moment.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Spiritual Gift of Miracles

OK. This post is only for my non-Dispensational and non-Cessationist friends.

Do you have he spiritual gift of 'miracles' or 'miraculous powers'? Does anyone you know have it? Have you ever even heard of anyone with the gift of miracles? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler? . . .

Here's the Bible passage that I am referring to:
1 Corinthians 12
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.


27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts.

In vv.9-10, the gifts of healing and miraculous powers are listed separately. Seemingly, the gift of miracles refers to miracles other than healings. And apparently the gift of miracles is also different than one who gives a prophecy or word of wisdom or knowledge which also seems miraculous. But what kind of miracles?

We have all heard of people with gifts of teaching and even if we don't know of someone personally, we have all heard of people with the gifts of tongues, healing, knowledge, etc. But what about miracles? Ever seen it in action? Ever heard of it? Ever even heard urban legends of someone with the gift? I've been a Christian 20+ years and have been loosely affiliated with the charismatic/pentecostal movement for much of it -- and I don't know ANYONE. Sure I've heard of miracles but don't know anyone with the gift.

I've been pondering these verse for the past few weeks and thinking about miracles. If I had the gift of miracles what kind of miracles might I perform? What would I consider a miracle in my life? What would I even consider a bona fide miracle and not just long shot coincidence?

Let's just state clearly here: no person performs miracles. God works miracles through them. No person has the power, only God does. However, when we know people with teaching gifts, we generally expect them to activate and use those gifts on demand -- as if the gift were at their disposal. Is it possible for a person to use the gift of miracles in the same way as the gift of teaching?

I think there is a lot to be learned about the gift of miracles and we have a need for more miracle workers. I have decided to pray for the gift to be given to me -- to "eagerly desire" it as the scripture recommends. Why don't you join me?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Our Christian Brothers & Sisters Are Under Attack From Those Peaceful Hindus

Christians hide in forests as Hindu mobs ransack villages | World news | The Observer

When I read stories like this one -- where Hindu mobs are attacking Christians, forcing them from their homes to live in extreme poverty in the jungle -- that I am most attracted to Hinduism, wanting to believe that these ********** (fill in your own favorite derogatory cuss word) will be reincarnated as something awful.

"Lord forgive them for they do not know what they do."

Please take a moment to pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering because of their faith in Jesus Christ. "Lord God, Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us all."

Another Good Coffee Day

Shamballa Cafe & Coffee Roasters - Baldwinsville, New York

Enjoyed some fine Bolivian coffee this weekend from Shamballa Cafe. Emmet Simpson, owner, was a gracious host and took all our questions about coffee prices and his roaster.

For what it's worth: green bean coffee costs roughly between $1.00 and $4.00 (or more) per pound. When roasted, 6 pounds of green beans yields approximately 5 pounds of roasted coffee. And a pound of coffee makes makes approximately 35 eight ounce cups of coffee, or just slightly over 2 gallons. Fresh roasted gourmet coffee costs $8-$12 per pound retail or about $1.25 (+/-) per cup.

One might think there is a lot of money to be made in selling coffee, but after expenses it really is marginal. If you are into selling coffee you must do it because you love it more than for the profit.