Tea party in the church?

April 12, 2010 at 4:16 am | Posted in Christianity | 2 Comments
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The climate of the US has changed dramatically in just over a year. Where there was talk of “hope and change”, there is now talk of disappointment and disgust. Where there was talk of a better tomorrow, there has been more of the same. The politicians that supposedly lead this country have shown themselves, for the most part, to be incompetent at even the most basic of tasks. They can’t do the things that the Constitution gives them the power to do and they still try to grow beyond the limits the Constitution places on them. Some of them don’t even know basic geology (Guam, or any other island, cannot capsize and sink…). Enter the Tea Party. The Tea Party has been mocked as an “Astroturf” type of movement that is all fluff and no substance. Those who support the Tea Party have been labeled as “right-wing extremists”, “terrorists”, and “racists”. They have made their voices heard as they stand up for truth and integrity from our so-called leaders. They share the same principles that our God-fearing founders did. All of this started with the people… Continue Reading Tea party in the church?…

Sunday’s Newslinks – 02/14/10

February 14, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

U.S. Baptists arrested in Haitian orphan incident
A group of 10 American Baptists were being held in the Haitian capital Sunday after trying to take 33 children out of Haiti.

A GOP bow to the Tea Party movement?
The Republican National Committee has adopted a rule that will prod GOP leaders to provide financial support to only those candidates who support the party’s platform.

Fortuneteller sues, claims discrimination
A Virginia fortuneteller is suing to overturn a Chesterfield County ordinance, saying it discriminates against her beliefs.

Muslim parents reject deal with Christian daughter
The Muslim parents of an Ohio girl who ran away from home claiming she feared harm for becoming Christian have rejected a deal meant to resolve the conflict.

U.S. Attorney Reviews Call for Probe of SEIU Activities with White House, Congress
(CNSNews.com)
– Federal prosecutors are reviewing a request for an investigation into whether Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), violated the Lobbying Disclosure Act with his frequent visits to the White House and with members of Congress in 2009. Americans for Tax Reform has written to acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips of the District of Columbia asking for a probe.

SEC Ruling Requires Companies to Tell Shareholders If Climate Laws Are Bad for Business
(CNSNews.com)
– A new SEC ruling by would require corporations to inform their shareholders about the business risks and potential impacts of climate change legislation, environmental regulation, and international climate treaties. The ruling marks the first time the SEC has required companies to make such information available to shareholders, and one fiscal conservative told CNSNews.com the ruling will benefit investors.

Congressional Salaries Should Not Go Up Until Federal Spending Is Under Control, Hatch Says
(CNSNews.com)
– While the Congressional Budget Office reported last week a projected $6 trillion total in new national debt over the next 10 years, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told CNSNews.com that lawmakers’ salaries should not go up until Congress does a “really good job of getting budgetary spending under control.” Continue Reading Sunday’s Newslinks – 02/14/10…

Design of the Week 02/18/09 – Crossover – Circus Chickens

February 18, 2009 at 6:30 am | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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This week’s Crossover Design of the Week is called Circus Chickens. The design has been created by Jan Porterfield Arts and is one of many great designs they offer that make amazing use of color. The color of this design is something that caught my attention. The other is the fact that I’m taking my daughter to the circus at the end of this month.

 

I love the background in this image and the way that it is subtly used to tie all the other components of the image together. The line style also drew my attention because it varies in weight and gives depth to the design. I also like how the chickens dominate the image and almost make the design look like an action shot.

 

This design is just one of many great designs from Jan Porterfield Arts. They have many different styles of work and offer many great items. If you are looking for something special and unique, the Circus Chickens is something that I would recommend!

The greatest show on earth!

March 10, 2008 at 12:05 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I often wonder how others see the church. Do other Christians see what I see? Do non-Christians see it? I would have to say yes to both questions. It seems like a lot of what is going on in the church is for show. The events and entertainment in the modern church have replaced teaching and instruction in handling the Word of God and it shows. Those that go out of their way to entertain and comfort sinners are increasing. To me, it looks like one big circus…

For instance, in the circus there’s the ringmaster. He controls the timing of the acts in the show. He is in control of the show from beginning to end. He lets the audience know what they are going to see and how wonderful it’s going to be. He is the “voice” of the circus. Sadly, pastors all over the world are more like ringmasters. They are in complete control and nothing is done without their approval. Everything must go through them and they have the final say in all things. Many of them are considered the very “voice” of God! Is this scriptural? I’ll be honest; I don’t see it in scripture. The pastor of the modern church is hard to find in the scriptures. Scripture does mention pastors/teachers (it seems like this is one ministry and not two), but not like they have become today. Although pastors have been called to “tend to the sheep”, they are still brothers and equal to others. Those that are pastors are no less or more important than the other ministries of the church. They deserve respect, but it must be understood (by the church and by the men themselves) that they are still fallible. Unfortunately, many don’t want to entertain that thought. That’s sad. While they may speak the Word of God, it doesn’t imbue them with some special relationship with God. It seems that that’s how many people see their pastors though. According to many Christians, they are called to be set apart as shepherds of the flock and they are somehow higher than other Christians or callings. Unfortunately, while many don’t speak it, they seem to encourage this view (like the Pharisees did). A shepherd is there to take care of the sheep, but in the body of Christ the shepherd is still one of those sheep! It is God’s flock not the pastor’s! I’ve seen statistics that talk about pastor burn out and wonder if it’s because of this view of their calling. If they would realize that the flock is God’s I believe that it would help immensely.

Then there are things like the daredevils. They walk tightropes, swing from the trapeze, and fly from cannons to get the attention of the people. The element of danger and risk in their acts keeps people on the edge of their seats. They use their skills to command attention and garner applause. This seems to be getting more common in the church too. There are many ministry leaders in the church who are looking to “cutting edge” stuff to get people’s attention and draw them into the church. The element of danger is being used to draw people to the cross. Just like the circus acts, it ends up being a “look at me using my skills to defy death”. They often boast about the “power” that God has given them and how they are using that “power” to defeat the attacks of the devil. From the way they talk it seems that all of the forces of evil have decided to focus their attention on them in an effort to rid the world of a might man/woman of God. The “victory” from these type of things is touted and any failing is hardly heard of. In the end, it draws people to a false image of God. These “daredevils” profess to be examples of God’s power. They preach a gospel of victory and glory and the people that they see “saved” have this same false idea that when they become Christians, they will be victorious and nothing will be able to touch them. The Bible doesn’t say anything like this. It does say that there is victory, but that victory comes through Christ and Him alone. We don’t have victory, Jesus does. When Paul talks about being “more than a conqueror” it is through Jesus. It is nothing of Paul’s own doing that makes Him a conqueror. Paul never went looking for a fight with the devil! He went out to do the work of the Lord and the darkness attacked him for it. Jesus often told His disciples that this would be the case (John 16:33, Matt. 5, Matt. 10:23, etc…), but He never told His disciples to go looking for it! These “daredevils” go looking for trouble and in doing so end up wasting time that they could be using to proclaim the truth of the gospel!

The church also has its clowns. In the circus, the clowns look differently and take part in many different skits and parts of the circus. They are known for their humorous look and carefree attitude. Most of them wear makeup to hide their faces, although the amount varies. They primarily act as comic relief. They have many antics but there is no substance to them. This is true of the church too. There are pastors and leaders who look to entertain their congregations with humorous jokes and crazy antics. They wear a façade of hilarity, but there is no substance. This is the “part” they play in the body of Christ and when the sermon is over or the ministry event is done, the façade goes away. Now, don’t get me wrong. I think that humor has its place in the church and in ministry. I believe that God has a sense of humor (I sometimes wonder if Jesus ever gave Peter a “noogie”), but humor is not a replacement for Christian truth. It is not the primary vehicle that should be used to preach the truth. There are exceptions to this. I know Christians who have actual ministries as clowns or comedians. Their ministries are built on humor, but even in these ministries, when it comes to sharing the gospel, there is a reverence and respect that sets humor aside.

Not only does the modern church mimic proper circus acts, they also have mimicked some of the sideshow acts too. If a circus had a sideshow, it was near the “big top” and contained oddities that were used to make a little more money. While most of the church has stayed away from the stranger sideshow acts (although there are a few entire churches that have gone after the “freak” mentality), you do see a few in many modern churches.

First is the sword swallower. This person knows the Word of God and can use it, but they don’t use it like they’re supposed to. Instead of using the truth found in the Word to pierce the hard shell of sin in the lives of others, they point the sword toward themselves. In doing so, they take away the power of the Word. They never connect the danger of hell and justice with the people listening to them. For the people watching the sword swallower there is no danger. The audience is comfortable living in their sin and watching the sword swallower do his “act”. They have no fear of being hurt or killed and so there is no lasting change in their lives.

Next, is the knife thrower. They have a command of a little bit of the Word. They know what some of the Word says, but instead of applying that Word to themselves so they can grow more like Christ, they spend their time throwing the Word at others. Those little pieces of scripture (that are out of context 99% of the time) are used to cause wounds and attack others. They are skilled at hitting what they aim at with what little they know, but have stopped growing in their knowledge of God and His Word. Because of this, they are stuck in a place of immaturity and will find it hard to truly accomplish anything other than wounding other Christians and driving people away from the church. Unfortunately, knife thrower Christians tend to attract and breed others like themselves, resulting in a group of largely immature “Christians” who believe what they want, live like they want, and have stopped growing.

Finally, there is the bearded lady. This bearded woman was often a huge sideshow attraction. People would line up and pay good money to stare and gawk at the woman who had a beard like a man. This, too, can be found in the church. There are many women who have tried to step into a calling that’s not theirs, trying to gain authority, glory, or prestige that God hasn’t given them. Many of these women are pastors of their own churches. Before you decide to write me about how you disagree with me (which is ok), let me explain a little. I am not saying that women cannot minister. The body of Christ needs women to minister, and I’m not just talking about cooking food, taking care of kids, or cleaning up. Women were made from the rib of man and have been given gifts from God just like men have. Having said that, I have seen a growing trend where women seem to want to be like men in the church because they “deserve” it. They have taken feminism and brought it into the church. Oddly enough, when I look at the New Testament, I don’t see women in many of the callings they are chasing after nowadays. What I read says that men took care of most of that. But, I do see women ministering right alongside Paul, Barnabas, and others. I feel the need to explain the term “alongside”. When I say that the women ministered “alongside”, I mean that they used the gifts that God had given them. They worked with Paul as equal laborers in Christ, but also as individuals without trying to be like Paul. They understood how to use the gifts that God had given them and, because of this, were effective in seeing the lost saved. The gifts that God gave them complimented the ones that he had given others that they were working with. I don’t see this in many churches. Instead, I see women putting themselves in places of authority because they think that they deserve to be there or because their husbands are there. In the end, I think that this just hurts the church. It introduces strife and pride and hinders God’s ability to move through those women who are busy chasing something that God hasn’t given them.

Not only does the church contain characters similar to those found in the circus, but they have adopted a few of the fixtures of the circus as well. There are things like the hall of mirrors. This hall contained curved and twisted mirrors that distorted how the people looking at them were seen by themselves and others. Yes, the hall of mirrors exists in the modern church. Many who go to church walk into the building looking differently than they normally do. They have on smiles and laugh and joke like everyone else does, but if you could see how they really look, you might see something differently. You might see the sin that they are struggling with. You might see the heartache that torments them because their marriage is falling apart. Thanks to the hall of mirrors, you won’t see it. Instead, you see a “stained glass masquerade” where everyone is doing great and living happily ever after. The church also has a funhouse. In the circus, this was a building where kids could go through and have fun jumping and climbing, swimming in a pit of balls, and tumbling in a giant rolling tube. In the church, the funhouse has taken the form of children’s Sunday school and church ministries. In many churches, Sunday school consists of telling the kids a cute story (rarely having any moral value or lasting effect on the kids) about a character in the Bible which lasts for about five to ten minutes and then, the rest of the time, the kids are allowed to color or run amok until the “adult” church service is over. Why is this happening? Proverbs 22:6 says that we are to train up a child in the way he/she should go. Ephesians 6:4 says that we should be raising up our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Why do we insult their intelligence by dumbing down the gospel and making it a “coloring project”? We claim to know that our children are the future, but we don’t teach them anything that will help them actually become the future of the church or the world. Some of you might be saying that our kids aren’t ready to learn that much. I disagree. I know of some kids who are 8-9 year olds who are soaking up the Bible like a sponge. My daughter is one of them and has been doing this since she’s been able to. Why? Because I love her enough to not make it a game. I know that the Word is the only thing that will keep her safe and give her the truth. Why wouldn’t I want her to know it as soon as possible? You might respond that not all kids learn the same or at the same level. I agree to some extent, but let me ask you something: Are you saying that we should forget our kids being able to learn anything until they’re in their teens when many of their ideas are already formed, and then spend three to five times the effort trying to rewrite those ideas or counseling them on how to deal with the mistakes that could have been avoided had we taught them when they were little? No thank you. Or maybe you’re saying that we shouldn’t put forth the effort to see our kids grow in the Lord because you’re too lazy to teach them? Or maybe it’s because you don’t take your studies seriously either? Our kids should be growing in the Lord abundantly more than we are and their kids should grow abundantly more then they have. Why? It’s simple really. They should learn as young as possible and be instilled with the truth of God that we have gathered in our lives. Then, when they have kids, they can pass on all that we’ve learned plus all that they’ve learned to their kids. This isn’t happening though. Instead, we are waiting and it shows. Many younger people are leaving the church because they’ve watched their parents mock God in their actions and words and they see a false version of Christianity…

In the end, the modern church makes many people feel like they’ve played one of the circus midway games. They’ve spent a lot of time and money trying to get the “big prize” and go home having wasted their time and money with nothing to show for it except some little “Cupie doll” mockery of Christianity.

It is past time for the church to stop all the extraneous stuff and focus on what will change lives. The church claims to be the “greatest show on earth”, but behind all of the glitz and glamour are many Christians who have lost the truth of what it means to be a Christian. We need to stop all the “entertainment” and put the truth back where it belongs. I am all for having fun and enjoying time with other Christians, but not at the expense of misleading people and being part of the reason that they will find themselves in hell…The cost is too great to allow this to continue…


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