Keeper From Gay Patriot

I’ve been quoting this, and since it’s now PAGES back, I want it posted here so I can find it quickly:

To the Progressive Socialist Totalitarian Left, Christianity is a threat to the primacy of the State. The Totalitarian Left believes the Authority of the State must be absolute, because the left can control all the apparatuses of the State and impose their moral beliefs on the population. For example, the belief that unborn children can be sacrificed in the name of personal convenience and the sick and elderly can be sacrificed to save the State money. Christianity, on the other hand, teaches that there is a Higher Moral Authority than the State; and that the conscience of the individual… not the Collective Will as embodied in the State and its organs.

It isn’t necessarily because of Gay Marriage, per se, but Gay Marriage is a cudgel that the left can use against Christianity; forcing Christians to bow to the State (e.g. being forced to participate in gay weddings as bakers, photographers, and florists). The ultimate goal is to eradicate Christianity and its tenet that each individual has a conscience and a moral imperative.

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Worship Matter by Bob Kauflin (chapter 1)

This is my second time through this book, the first time I breezed through, this time I want to get at what he wants to get at.

Worship matters. It matters to God because he is the one ultimately worthy of all worship. It matters to us because worshiping God is the reason for which we were created. And it matters to every worship leader, because we have no greater privilege than leading others to encounter the greatness of God. That’s why it’s so important to think carefully about what we do and why we do it.

The first chapter is about how Kauflin started his career, and about a really dry spot he went through. Frustrated and tired, he was pointed again at the cross (a good thing.)

What I hope to get from this book HOW worship matters, as well as WHY worship matters.

There is a line that Sunday morning groups need to grapple with, that many don’t: what is the difference between being in a performance group, and being in a group that deliberately leads a congregation in corporate praise?

That’s not a matter of how to choose songs, that’s a matter of leadership technique.

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Book Fail: July

Every once in a while, there is a book that I just cannot finish – it’s not worth my time.

This month, it’s a fiction book (murder and general mystery book) titled “Liquid Fear.”

Even with the plot already laid out, I don’t get it.

well, I do get it, but I’m not enjoying it. Others might, it’s just not my deal.

For me, Book Fail

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Philippians 1:1-7

I am starting on a task: to memorize the book of Philippians. So far, I have chapter 1, verses 1-7 (7 is shaky)

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,

always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,

because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.

It struck me again, the “why” – it’s the Gospel.

Why does Paul thank God for the Philippians? Because of their partnership in the Gospel.

What is the good work? the partnership in the Gospel.

Why does Paul hold them in his heart? they are partakers with him of grace (the Gospel)

I am puzzling over verse 7.

NIV renders it

whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.

vs the ESV

or you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.

It seems a little thing, in the NIV Paul comes first, in the ESV, the Philippians come first.

But it is a big thing:

In the NIV Paul puts himself first, and (given the lack of punctuation in the translation, is taking the credit for himself.

whether I am in chains or [whether I am] defending or confirming the Gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.

The two acts are as one – in chains or defending and confirming

In the ESV, Paul puts other first:

YOU are all partakers with me, BOTH in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel

the “both” specifically makes them two different acts.

The Philippians shared grace with Paul while he was imprisoned and they shared grace when they defended and confirmed the Gospel.

To me, that becomes important in knowing the character of Paul.

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Then vs. Now

I have heard it said (correctly) that the early Christians faced a moral world that in either the same depravity, or worse than what we see now.

Well, farther back than that.

If the Hebrew people had not lived surrounded by idolators and other evils, they would not have fallen in WITH them. So the evidence is that their world saw evil, as ours does.

The Jews just before Christ had forcibly dispersed, and some had returned; and the evil that they saw was as evil as today.

I think (purely subjective) that today seems more difficult for us because it appears so new to us. And (objectively) we do see things that we have NEVER seen before.

Was immorality rampant in 1st Century Rome? Absolutely. Was it worse than today? I don’t know. Some say yes, others say no.

I think that we feel it more because Western Christians have long enjoyed “majority rule,” thus staying safely wrapped in the insulation of tunnel vision.

The phrase “total depravity” best describes the world, and always has. We expect it.

We grieve – yes, for that depravity, but we grieve having to stand by, seemingly helpless, watching the DECLINE of our country and culture, at a breakneck speed.

Homosexuality is the best example.

Only a couple of decades ago, we (collectively) viewed same-sex-sex as abnormal. We knew gay people, we loved them as friends and family, but we loved them, not their chosen lifestyle.

Gay people sometimes (perhaps often) faced bullies and that should never have happened. People should never see bullying as acceptable.

In (culturally speaking) a very short amount of time, we see a decline.

- Traditional family unit (dad, mom, kids) and the gay community as outliers.

– A move away from the traditional family unit with the introduction of “consequence free sex” and “no-fault-divorce” (note: we do find good and Biblical reasons for divorce, and I don’t find “nobody’s fault” on the list.)

– With the traditional family unit undermined, open acceptance of the homosexual becomes tolerated by the culture

– As single motherhood becomes more acceptable, homosexuality becomes not only tolerated, but acceptable as a viable option.

– Demand of recognition of gay relationships becomes more popular, as does public spending for single motherhood.

– Demand of recognition of gay relationships becomes the demand that the culture view those relationships as identical to heterosexual relationships.

– The demand to see homosexual relationships as identical becomes the demand for culture (via “we the people”) to sanction these relationships.

– the demand for sanction becomes the demand for approval

– the demand for approval becomes the demand for celebration by all people.

– the demand for celebration becomes the demand for participation, regardless of sincerely held religious convictions.

As Christians today look around and see our spiritual siblings SUED and FORCED to provide services to ceremonies found morally offensive, I find myself able to identify with Christians in other times and places, who steep in total depravity through no fault of their own.

We, who enjoyed cultural insulation for centuries, may find this a difficult transition. No, we WILL find this a difficult transition. From power to weakness, from majority to minority, from peace to persecution.

Is the “remnant” ready? I want to be part of the remnant – and I know I’m not ready. If the “steps of grieving” can be applied to this – I’m still in the “denial stage” but we need to get ready.

We need to be in the world, but not of the word. Persecution awaits, Jesus promised. Whether we will be found worthy of the persecution that HE endured, is yet to be seen.

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Left vs. Liberal; Right vs. Conservatism.

(In preparation for the upcoming election cycle – with an eye toward “where faith and politics intersect.”

when I discuss the “contraception mandate” or the “gay agenda”, I specifically use the term “leftist” instead of “liberal.”

I’ve heard the question asked again and again, “why can’t we reach a compromise?”

I believe the answer lies in the “rise of the wings” – classic liberalism and classic conservatism had much in common. When the “wings” – right wing and left wing – move further and further apart, compromise becomes more difficult.

Classic conservatism and classic liberalism had, more or less, the same goals. Left wing politics and right wing politics do not.

One problem is that modern politics don’t use Biblical meanings. Christianity stresses personal responsibility, while the following thoughts on political conservatism stress societal responsibility. Liberal politics stress individual rights, but not responsibility.

A couple of basic definitions:

Conservative: A traditional conservative will support any social institution (public or private) that promotes and maintains social order and public good. A traditional conservative will emphasize the social/societal (both social responsibility and social benefit) over the isolated individual. (link)

Liberal: When the term “liberalism” (from the Latin word liberalis, meaning “pertaining to a free man”) first emerged in the early 1800s, it was founded on an unwavering belief in individual rights, the rule of law, limited government, private property, and laissez faire economics. These would remain the defining characteristics of liberalism throughout the liberal epoch, generally identified as the period from 1815-1914.

I’m looking for a simple comparison between “conservative” and “right wing” – which will be useful. But for time being, here is a short comparison between “liberal” and “leftist:”

Similarly, a liberal believes in and defends our Western heritage, while desiring to make it more egalitarian. A leftist is instinctively hostile to the Western heritage, regarding it as fundamentally unequal and therefore bad, and only redeemable through radical change. link

we are seeing it more and more, most publicly in both the “gay marriage” debate (you WILL celebrate the gay, or be sued) and the Hobby Lobby decision (Leftists are getting ever more open about wanting to eradicate religious liberty.)

And so it begins.

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Isaiah 53:3-7

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned-every one-to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

This time around, one line stood out: “Upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace.

Peace is a big word.

In this passage, “peace” is peace with God.

God is a God of love; He is also a God of justice. That’s not contradictory: perfect love demands perfect justice, and that doesn’t mean justice for me, it means justice for everybody.

Justice doesn’t mean that the person who wronged “me” gets what they deserve: it means that the God of justice demands payment for each sin committed.

Only when justice is satisfied, can peace begin.

Jesus was pierced for our transgression; THAT chastisement brought the elect peace with the Father.

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Music…

As I transition churches, preparing for my move, I want to take the time to say what New City Church is doing right.

1) it’s not about the style, it’s about the substance. There are old hymns that are not good, there is new music that is wonderful. Both old and new, take the good, leave the bad.

2) what is good – songs that point to Jesus. Those that point us upward, not to within ourselves.

3) (from “Worship by the Book”) What is the most important instrument of worship? The congregation. What is right, is making the congregation the most important instrument of worship. That means not disrupting worship with the band, not drowning out the congregation with the band.

4) A vital skill to have is knowing the difference between performance music and corporate worship music. There’s a place for performance music; but it’s not necessarily corporate worship music.

Corporate worship music is not performance music where the audience sings along.

I have been blessed by my time at New City. They’ve got it together, in a lot of ways.

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Music…

As I transition churches, preparing for my move, I want to take the time to say what New City Church is doing right.

1) it’s not about the style, it’s about the substance. There are old hymns that are not good, there is new music that is wonderful. Both old and new, take the good, leave the bad.

2) what is good – songs that point to Jesus. Those that point us upward, not to within ourselves.

3) (from “Worship by the Book”) What is the most important instrument of worship? The congregation. What is right, is making the congregation the most important instrument of worship. That means not disrupting worship with the band, not drowning out the congregation with the band.

4) A vital skill to have is knowing the difference between performance music and corporate worship music. There’s a place for performance music; but it’s not necessarily corporate worship music.

Corporate worship music is not performance music where the audience sings along.

I have been blessed by my time at New City. They’ve got it together, in a lot of ways.

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QOTD – Wedding Vows

Wedding vows are not a declaration of present love but a mutually binding promise of future love. A wedding should not be primarily a celebration of how loving you feel now—that can be safely assumed. Rather, in a wedding you stand up before God, your family, and all the main institutions of society, and you promise to be loving, faithful, and true to the other person in the future, regardless of undulating internal feelings or external circumstances.

~~Tim Keller, “The Meaning of Marriage”

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