TEST NOT : SH*T HAPPENS

TEST NOT : SH*T HAPPENS

Do Not Test the Lord your GOD (Matthew 4:7)

So often I hear on the news that GOD will save me. Or I have faith that GOD will save me.
A young boy told the pastor that he hated GOD. The pastor asked the young boy “Why? What did GOD ever do to you?”
The boy said “I prayed to GOD to help my Grandma when she was sick and she died.”
The Pastor asked: “How did you want GOD to help?”
The young boy said: “I wanted him to make her feel better. She was in a lot of pain. Now she has died.”
The Pastor replied: “Your Grandma was very sick. She was in a lot of pain from her illness and would not survive. Is she in a lot of pain now?”
“No.” said the young boy.
“Did you pray that she would not be in any more pain?” The pastor asked..
“Yes, I did..” The boy responded.
“Then GOD answered your prayer and she is not in any more pain. She has gone home to be in Heaven with GOD and Grandpa.”

GOD knows ALL. GOD is ALL. When asked what to call GOD if asked, GOD said “I AM. Tell them I AM sent me.” (Exodus 3:14)

Years ago I directed a church service for a group of campers that camped every weekend in a small county park in western Minnesota. I did this service for a friend who asked me to do this as a mission to the community over the summer months. There was one camper with his family that was there most every weekend. He was the Fire Chief in a small rural town not far away. Mostly volunteers and himself. I was taken aback the first Sunday he came to “Church in the Park”. I had already done a few Sundays and had gotten to know many of the camper families. He was the second pew table back. He wore a simple yellow T-Shirt with a saying on it in black. SH*T HAPPENS. It caught me off guard for a few moments, but after a few moments of thought I could see from a Fire Chief, in a small rural town with an all volunteer Fire and emergency staff, just how appropriate a place like the “Church in the Park” would be for such an observation to be brought to the children of GOD and GOD’S focus on wisdom.

We often meet GOD more in times of challenge than comfort. With today’s news from a virus, in addition to social relevance, as well as human behavior we feel that we should be protected by GOD from everything because we “believe”. I look at the news and over and over and over GOD is feeding us his warnings through the voices of virus experts, neighbors, strangers, friends and more to warn us of what may lie ahead. Not because GOD is guessing, but because GOD knows.

We shout that we are free to do what we wish. GOD sends a separate message, Free Will is not insulation. And the man in the second pew has a message that is the truth of life. The fireworks that start a fire, or get in a child’s eye and potentially blinds them is not expected, but SH*T HAPPENS. It is usually a human choice that causes many events that could easily be avoided by heeding the warnings that the GOD they say they believe in has already warned them about and that history has many times proven it’s reality.

GOD’S promise of forgiveness does not change the outcomes of free will. Do not test the Lord your GOD. There is very little that GOD has not warned us about if we simply pay attention and attribute to GOD’S warnings to apply to all of us.

TEST NOT YOUR GOD, SH*T HAPPENS

THE ADVOCATE

THE ADVOCATE

The Advocate

It was one of those stormyish Midwestern nights. The kind of weather storm that comes in from the way west and you can see and hear it moving closer. The sky gets very still and the birds stop chirping and take cover in their nests and in bushes.

The little girl heard the thunder coming closer.

Mommy”

Mommy says: “It will be all right, I’m right here, just stay in your bed, Jesus is with you.”

The thunder came closer, and then the lightning flashed outside the bedroom window.

Mommy”

I’m right here, your OK Jesus is with you. Just stay in your bed, everything is under control.”

And then the lightning struck as though right outside the bedroom window. The thunder crashed to where the house shook and the china in the china cabinet even clattered downstairs. At that same clash of thunder and lightning the little girl was in Mommy’s bed.

Honey”, Mommy said, “It will be all right, Jesus is with you.”

But Mommy, I need Jesus with skin on”.

John 14v16(njb): “I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate (protector) to be with you forever, that spirit of truth whom the world can never receive….”

A good friend used to say to the the congregation on our retreats “You may be the only Jesus that someone ever sees…”

There will be many times in your life, whether you profess Jesus or disagree with all religion, when GOD will call upon you to become the advocate that is Jesus with Skin On. You will comfort them and be the messenger for “LOVE”. You will hold their hand, wipe a brow, comfort them in sorrow, pull them out of their river. You will be the friend, acquaintance, co-worker, or even stranger that reminds them that LOVE EXISTS ON THE PLANET EARTH. In that moment you will discover a special kind of love. Unconditional.

John 14 v 25-27: “I have said these things to you (Jesus to His disciples) while still with you: but The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my Name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you. Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world can not give, this is my gift to you”.

Many I have never met have prayed for me. Many whose names, cultures, beliefs, and ideas have prayed for others under whatever banner they believe because GOD is not DEAD, but because LOVE LIVES. And because of your moment, you touched someone with LOVE and created JESUS with SKIN ON. That is what JESUS is all about. LOVE ONE ANOTHER. It is the message of Unorthodox Christianity.

But Mommy, I need Jesus with skin on”.

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Jesus For President

Jesus For President

THE CROSS HAS BEEN POLITICIZED

The President of THE DIVIDED STATES of AMERICA has raised a BIBLE in the air using a sacred place of the worshiping of the sacrifice of Jesus, committed to LOVE ONE ANOTHER. A photo app to pat himself on the back in front of that CHRISTIAN CHURCH to insure the CHRISTIAN vote for DONALD TRUMP. I would suggest to MR Trump (To be sure there is nothing in his demeanor to promote a UNITED STATES of AMERICA ) that would ever relate in any way shape or form to Jesus of Nazareth.

It would be irresponsible of me, under the banner of Unorthodox Christianity, not to comment on my concerns for the future of the United States of America. In thinking of what to say, I reach back to another election post issued in 7-2-2008 that demonstrates the progress we have made as Christians
to create a better nation through the sacrifice of Jesus on
a cross 2,000+ years ago.

JESUS FOR PRESIDENT

7-2-2008

Politics and religion seem to be running hand in hand in this years election quorums. Many fictitious facts, and lots of idle speculation about pastors, beliefs, concurrence, debates, etc. I am often times amused when the “true” Christians debate the fact that Jesus was a Jew, celebrated the Jewish holidays, resembled all those whose heritage stems from the Middle East, and otherwise can not conceive of a non Christian Jesus. Fact of the matter is, were Jesus running for President of the United States the debate would not be whether or not he would be a good candidate, whether or not he is a good man, whether or not he has enough experience in human and international relations (one would think the theoretical son of GOD may have a handle on such things), but the debate would center around his Jewish birth and whether or not He still clings to his cultural upbringing and beliefs. Being that there were no Christians in Jesus time, and no Christ for that matter, until after Jesus’ death, it would be difficult to categorize Jesus, the carpenter from Nazareth, as anything but Jewish stem to stern. The Christian right would therefore dismiss Jesus as a qualified candidate without debate. They would also strive to slure his character and fight to be sure he did not get elected to a position from which he could drag the country into perdition.

The most recent debate seems to center on whether Obama is a true Christian and whether McCain is conservative enough (whatever a conservative enough Christian consists of). So lets see, if Obama was Muslim as many contend, then certainly he must have succumbed to the ultimate goal of the evangelical movement and converted to Christianity when he had seen the light and been saved and thereby fulfills the greatest goal and objective of all evangelical Christians which is to save the world through the Christian belief and acceptance of Jesus as the Lord and Savior (whatever that means) and therefore He is the ultimate victory for all evangelicals and his election should be fought for and supported whole heartedly with sermons from the pulpit as to the great victory of Christianity that his election would represent.

McCain, on the other hand, is not conservative enough, does not seem to be saved enough for his ideals are not conservative enough, even though most conservatives can not espouse just what conservative is.

It is so confusing when we go out into the political marketplace searching for a faith system and not for a good man. Perhaps the difficulty comes when we search for Jesus in a man, for when we do that, even the Christians come up short. I don’t see Jesus as being political enough. Would Jesus say: You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” enough. He wouldn’t hand out enough perks, money or benefits, and otherwise would espouse love not war and throw our whole economy into the toilet to save the planet and help each other. Your right, a true Christian like JESUS would make things worse, not better to have in a President of the United States.  (7-2-2016)

So here now in 2020:

Here is a President of a now DIVIDED STATES OF AMERICA who promotes himself to be a good Christian using a religious home of worship for Jesus of Nazareth’s sacrificing of his life on a cross, Held up there with nails in his hands, blood on his brows and back, stabbed with a sword in his body and with the sun blazing on his body and then have the audacity to say “FORGIVE THEM FATHER THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO” just before he died. This politician then creates a Political theater for this poor Jewish carpenter whose mantra was LOVE ONE ANOTHER by shouting VOTE FOR ME, DONALD TRUMP.

Well, we have been told in church forever that JESUS will be back. Exactly what do you think JESUS is going to have to say to DONALD TRUMP? Keep in mind the DONALD was holding the BIBLE up in his right hand with a church framed right behind him to get an endorsement from CHRISTIANS with the news of JESUS inside the book by having peaceful protesters pushed aside by his own police using force and bullying and attacking the press after just saying that he (DONALD) cared about their welfare? That word NEWS in that Bible is not FAKE NEWS unless he was holding a FAKE BIBLE. What would JESUS espouse to DONALD TRUMP? “LOVE ONE ANOTHER”, “LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF”.  What will JESUS’ heavenly father (GOD) say to DONALD TRUMP: “THOU SHALL NOT KILL, THOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME, THOU SHALL NOT TAKE MY NAME IN VANE.
I want to be as far away from that discussion on the day it happens as I can. 

I could go on simply by quoting what Donald Trump has tweeted and say “Do unto Others as you would have them do unto you” must be beyond his capacity to read a BOOK such as THE BIBLE.

VOTE

I will vote my conscience as I pray for all of us to survive for every day that the Donald Trump keeps tearing America to pieces. If you respect him vote how you wish. This year it is a vote for THE UNITED STATES of AMERICA, not THE DIVIDED STATES OF AMERICA. 

 

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IF ONLY TEN?

The city of Sodom had turned their backs on GOD for the sake of a good time. The population preferred a good time and fun and the freedom to choose for themselves what they wished to do. It was party time.

When Abraham learned of God’s plan to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he asked God if He will spare them if He can find fifty innocent, godly people. God reassures Abraham that if He finds fifty righteous people, he will spare the city for their sake. Abraham then asks about a lesser and lesser number until down to ten people as God answers, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it”
When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.GEN: 18: 22-33 (paraphrase)

The answer for the rest of the story was that there was one. Lot.
Lot gave a haven for the messengers from GOD. Lot was given safe haven before the storm hit Sodom.

Prayer is a common language. Pray now for the American people. As for those whose serious adventure at rebelling against those trying to save our lives is just now beginning. GOD will not destroy us for we have many more than just 10 righteous people all countries, cultures, colors and beliefs. However there is an irony to the story. Our destroyers live among us. Our destroyers are the accomplices of the virus. 

The population preferred a good time and fun and the freedom to choose for themselves what they wished to do. It was party time. What happens to the rest because of their actions is not, apparently, their concern. The irony is that their actions will affect their friends, their relatives, their neighbors and those who are risking their lives to help others. Freedoms are never free. We will be affected by our own people. Our own neighbors and our own associates.

Jesus put it this way: GOD is LOVE. GOD set down a set of rules to make life easier in a world where the desires of people to take advantage of others would require more LOVE at this time in history than ever before. Millions and Billions of people around the world have risen to the task at hand. Those who continue to take advantage of us for their own selfishness will reap their own rewards. If not giving the virus to themselves, in living the rest of their lives knowing that they were responsible for the lives that they affected. When they say to themselves it was not their fault, the images in the night will never go away and they will never have peace. A banner such as Christian, or Catholic, or Jew, or Muslim or any other does not necessarily reflect ones true behavior. You cannot hide the truth from GOD.

DO NOT KILL
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBORS AS YOURSELF
DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU

Prayer is a common language. I ask you to Pray now for the American people and those around the world who did not invite the cornova virus into their lives.
For those whose
serious adventure at rebelling against those trying to save our lives is just now beginning. We have many more than just 10 righteous people fighting to save us. However there is an irony to the story. Our destroyers live among us. We have it on Jesus authority that those that do the tasks that a Loving GOD looks for will be with Him in paradise. As for the others, they will refuse to open the gate.

Only GOD can help us now. And GOD is among us also.

EASTER

Easter 2020

A card from a friend reminds me that the simplest of things can take us right back to the normalcy that we have been used to. Luckily the church I attend here has had an online hookup for the Sunday sermon for quite some time so that we all can share Easter Sunday even if remotely.

Enjoy your day and as an old favorite song of mine goes ” Count your many blessings, name them 1 by 1.”

Enjoy the day in the place that you call home.

dennis

CARDS of LOVE

CARDS of LOVE

My daughter’s grandmother has been sending cards out to people since as long as I can remember. When they are celebrating a birthday, or when they are ill, or when they need a kind message. I have always praised those who invest their time to help others. In these difficult times we are seeing the true power of Love One Another in action. Not just in a religious setting but in a world wide setting. To see how others are helping others they do not know and never will meet in countless ways is so encouraging. The power of congregation focusing on a single thing to help others that are affected throughout the world has never happened to this degree in the history of mankind. When one gets down, and discouraged or feels helpless the reaction of the human race to the pandemic is the most heart warming example of the power of the human race that we may ever see. I salute all those who rise to the occasion for all of us.

Enjoy the opportunities that each day provides to make someone’s day.

LET GOD KNOW

LET GOD KNOW

LET GOD KNOW

In the midst of attack it is hard to think positive. In the midst of despair many will shutter themselves not just in a house, but from the people who can help them. Whether one says “I didn’t want to bother you” or “You have enough to worry about without me.”

There were a number of disciples on a boat in the lake. A storm came up and the boat swayed from side to side and threatened even to capsize. It was as though all was lost. Then they saw Jesus walking on the water. Peter was shocked and called out to Jesus from the boat. Peter asked Jesus if he could walk out to him. He then chose to walk to Jesus and made a few steps on his way and began to sink. He called out to Jesus to help him to be saved from sinking. Jesus pulled him up and they entered the boat. Jesus commented “O ye of little faith”. Immediately the weather subsided and it was calm. The disciples all bowed down and recognized Jesus as the Son of GOD. (Matthew:14: 22 )

Peter, when recognizing he was sinking immediately called out to Jesus to let him know he needed help. NOW.

Perhaps you are the person at the beginning of this post. Afraid to bother GOD or Jesus and ask for help. Maybe you feel that “O person of little faith” will put GOD and Jesus against you. Perhaps you feel that Jesus and GOD are too busy with others to devote time to your concerns.

Jesus is a radical event to our belief systems. He was then and is to this day. Accept that you are like so many for whom Jesus is a comforting thought but may not be proactive on your account.

LET GOD KNOW. LET GOD KNOW that you could use a comforting voice on the phone or via e-mail or a text. LET GOD KNOW that the events of the day are overwhelming your senses and you do not know quite how to address things. Everyday becomes another unexpected day off with all the challenges that it brings. Everyday wakes up with a question about what do I do today. Moving about the countryside has different challenges than a snow storm or a thunderstorm. Getting in the car and getting out of the car at the grocery store is a concern rather than a relief.

LET GOD KNOW. GOD will do something just for you. Be observant and pay attention and you will discover just what GOD can do, just for you.

dw

Are You The One?

Are You The One?

The talk on the net and around town is now let’s get back to work.  Let’s turn our attention to the economy and move on. Because some important government official thinks it’s a great idea. Or because you do?

Move on to where?
When some children of a friend I know lost their parents to a drunk driver, the drunk driver lived. The driver had all the choices in the world to not drive when drunk. The parents killed were given no choices. It was not their fault and was not a judgement by GOD. GOD, in fact, marshaled sooo many people to help instantly. Within moments of the knowledge of the event our phone rang. Our lives changed and our direction in life forever.

The corona virus is similar to the drunk driver. You can carry the virus and not know it. You may never know it. Some people drink and do not get drunk or do not choose to drive. Many drink and do not care what happens when they start their car. They do not expect to kill anyone. We have already spent a trillion dollars over all the years to advertise about the dangers of drunk driving. That does not stop the drunk driver from driving or people from getting hit and killed by them. And when the courts are all done the drunk driver moves on and the dead are dead. The children are raised by relatives or friends, or a caring someone.

When you are not the one who dies life goes on. If you give the disease to your child, or parent or neighbor or good friend and they die are you willing to accept the responsibility for your choices?

Mayflower

And what about the economy?
When America was just a ship of people we started with nothing and have gotten this far. We can do that again but we need people to do it. There were no billionaires. There were dreamers. Hard workers. People who wanted to build a new society. This society has survived world wars, and we have survived Civil wars. We will survive Corona but need to do everything we can to do it as safely as possible. Not just for the ones at home, but the care givers and everyone who risks their lives to protect people they do not know to provide all that is necessary to help those who have contracted this disease. When we choose to help reduce their risk, we help ourselves to survive. Not every man, woman and child went physically to war, but they and their families were affected by the wars themselves.

We will survive this event with the American spirit and our perseverance through our beliefs behind us. Inconvenience did not stop the Mayflower.
And for all of you who are working to help keep us and me as safe as possible I will be eternally grateful. Thank you.
dennis

Is GOD DEAD?

From a friend: JD Parsons (A poem from 1967)

Listen to the babbling of the atheist saying “GOD IS DEAD”.
If that were true there would be not GOD
If there would be no GOD there would be no man.
Is GOD Dead?
IS MAN?

From me: today:

Today’s news should be telling us something loud and clear.
GOD is not only alive but is ACTIVE and VISIBLE all over the globe. GOD has mobilized LOVE in the hearts of of a vast majority of Human Beings over the face of the Earth to put the well being of the Human Species above all others. They are doing this by aiding one another and showing that this LOVE ONE ANOTHER Giant has been awakened and is not aligned with politics but is aligned by LOVE.

GOD is surrounding us in LOVE and CARING people regardless of race, religion, belief, Politics, tribe, culture or Nation. The Coronavirus knows no favorites. The Coronavirus exempts no one. If our measurement is to be the GOD of the followers of Jesus, and HIS disciples and the things He taught, then the measurement of LOVE ONE ANOTHER is much more prevalent than any of us may imagine. Through the responses of PEOPLE throughout the world, GOD is proving to us that GOD is NOT DEAD, GOD is Overwhelmingly alive. The first responders all over the world, in every culture, with the banner of every religion or lack there of, with every doctor, nurse, housekeeper, family member, national origin, sport team, favorite TV or movie. No matter what state, province or line that is a border. All are volunteering to help more people that they have never met than at any other time in the history of the world. It is obvious that LOVE is not the exclusive venue of a few select cultures, races, classes or any other division you wish to choose. LOVE is a gift from GOD to the WORLD.

IS GOD DEAD?
Is MAN? 

SELFISH GRACE

SELFISH GRACE

SELFISH GRACE?

The Lord is my Savior and my Guide” (adapted from the 23rd psalm of David)

Saving Grace is referred to often as a gift from GOD for belief in the teachings of Jesus and many of the prophets. And disciples.

What is it exactly that I am being saved from?

What is the purpose of this saving grace?

Jesus gave the ultimate example of GOD’s saving grace when He was crucified on a cross for preaching love one another to a hostile audience of those who were profiting by the taking advantage of an entire population. They convicted Him of sedition because too many of those who were being taken advantage of them agreed with Him. Love One Another had become the ultimate threat to the powers that be. Two thieves were crucified along with Jesus. One of them taunted Jesus for not saving himself along with Jesus if Jesus really had the power to save. The other condemned his partner thief and pointed out “We are only getting what we deserve, but Jesus has done nothing to deserve this.”

Jesus mentioned, “Today, you (the second thief) will be together with me in Paradise.”

Recognizing his own wrong doing, and Jesus’s lack of guilt, was rewarded by Jesus for making that determination was a proof that GOD recognized a spirit had learned the ultimate lesson of life by admitting his own behavior was wrong and carried consequences and not blaming someone else for it. Saving grace was his reward.

What exactly do I need to be saved from?
Others?
Myself?

Does it save me from stressing over right and wrong?

I told myself once that if I was afraid of getting a speeding ticket the easiest fix to that stress was to drive the speed limit. Wisdom is acknowledging the simpleness of it all.

Saving me from hurting others?
Or for not hurting others in the first place.

The word SIN moves about the territory of religion quite openly and quite broadly today.
Some say we are born sinful. Some say temptation causes sin. What becomes our sin?

How can you be born sinful? Everyone has the choice of being sinful or not. But what is sin? What is it to watch for? As I thought about it there is a simple judgment to decide.

For me, I found my life was more complicated when I asked for things that benefited me and could have easily hurt others, whether I would recognize it as such or not.

What I needed to be saved from was my own selfishness. SIN is a simple word for selfishness. My own ideas of right and wrong are challenged when the direction that I am moving in is to feed my own selfishness.

An Uncle once said “In our rush rush society, there is never time to do things right, but there is always time time to do it over.”

One of the WordPress Bloggers (Mr. Ropeka) says to always take time to talk to GOD at least 3 days about change before before you decide what direction to go in.

My father-in-law was a city engineer in a small town in western Minnesota. I stopped by his city shop one day while he was working on the city police car. He stopped and stared at the engine for what seemed the longest time and I asked “What are you looking for?”
He said: “What is the easiest way to do it right the first time before I do it wrong the first time and have to fix it.”

Selfish decisions get the project off on the wrong foot. Getting back on the right track can be tiring and much more difficult than not being selfish in the first place. I think most of the world’s pain is caused by selfishness. Often the word that best describes it is sin, another word is evil.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (The Lord’s Prayer)

You lead me along the right paths (those of your own choosing) that I might serve you there” (adapted again from Psalm 23.)

GOD works overtime to help you find the right direction, the right decision and the right move. It is not rocket science, it is all around you in the people that GOD has cross your path. It has always been up to me to decide.

What do I need to be saved from? An enemy? A neighbor? A bully?

More than that, it is to save me from my own selfishness.

Sin is when your own selfish wants negatively impacts the quality of the lives of others.

Grace is when you recognize the risk and do not pursue it, or you admit the wrong, ask for forgiveness and pray for the strength not to pursue it ever again.

It is truly Amazing this Grace. (Thank you – John Newton)