Total Pageviews

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Dealing with our hurts

I don't know of anyone that hasn't been hurt in life. Whether it be from a relationship, a circumstance or a loss we all com across events in our lives that cause us emotional and sometimes physical pain.

Life is difficult.

We are all wounded people. But I would suggest to you that the most important question is not, 'how can I hide my wounds," so that I won't be embarassed, but "how can I use my wounds to serve others."

Paul says that we are "comforted to be a comfort."

Henri Nouwen writes, "when our wounds cease to be a soruce of shame and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers."

It's a paradox: the very thing we think is going to repel people and push them away, is the very thing that draws them to us - the recognition of hurt and pain.

Jesus is the greatest example of this. It's through His suffering and death that I experince joy and life - for "by his wounds we are healed."

Why not be open today about something that hurting you? For you never know who needs healing around you.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Unconditional love

There is no feeling like knowing that you are loved unconditionally. That no matter what happens to you or becasue of you someone, somewhere will always be there to encourage you, pull you up and dust you off and push you on.

Yet unconditional love is not unconditional approval. Many times we confuse the two in the kingdom of God.

"You don't love me!" cries out the teenager in the midst of being punished for a wrong that they have done.

"You don't love me!" wails the parishioner to his pastor when the parishioner has been caught in a sin and is disciplined by either God or the leadership of the church.

"You don't love me!" moans the Christian when God allows difficult things in our lives to bring us back to Him.

God loves us unconditionally. However, he doesn't approve of everything that we do. God doesn't approve of bad attitudes, backbiting, slander, unrighteous anger or pride.

But God does love you and me. God does not give up on us even when he is saddened by what we do.

That truth, more than any other, should prompt us to constantly return to God.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Kids like to ask questions. "How far do we have to go?" "Are we there yet?" "What does (and pick your word) mean?"

Questions are good. It shows an inquiring mind. It shows thoughtfulness.

Yet as adults we need to ask ourselves why we raise questions. Questions can be asked for self serving reasons.

Some questions are asked to show that someone else is wrong. The answer is known, but in order to raise an issue a question is asked.

I see this happen all of the time in the kingdom of God, or the church.

"But I was just asking a question," is the reply to the question of why a question is asked and the negative consequences that follow.

Walking in integrity means that I question my question. And leave the answers alone.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The supernatural

I received a note today from a friend of mine that talks about the supernatural being "practical". That concept is so important because many times we shy away from anything having to do with the supernatural because it seems spooky or weird. Yet God does not want us to be afraid of either Him or things that are beyond the natural.

Our culture and society is fascinated with the subject. I have been watching a show on Wednesday nights called, "Revelations", for two reasons. To check out the biblical content - and to see our culture's opinion and obsession with the subject.

People ARE interested in the supernatural.

My friend writes, "the superntural interfaces with the natural in your mental activity. This is where spiritual tranformation takes place. By learning the written word and knowing the living Word you will become increasingly skilled in discerning good from evil in your thought processes.

Every choice or decion we make has its foots in an urge, a fantasy, or an idea. Those urges, fantasies and ideas prompting you to do good are obviously from the Lord. Those urges, fantasies and ideas prompting you to do evil are obviously from Satan.

Allowing the Holy Spirit to show us the spiritual origins of our urges, fantasies and ideas enables us to deny expression to those obviously from Satan and give expression to those obviously from the Lord."

God wants the superntural to be practical in your life!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

My life or God's?

There is a constant struggle within all of us to fully give and commit our lives to God or choose to live our own way. We constantly forget that we are on this earth to do the Master's bidding.

Sometimes we act in such an apathic, arrogant way, choosing how, where and with whom we are going to live. We act as if we are on this earth to satisify our needs, our pleasures, our wants, and entertain ourselves until we die.

But we are on this earth to satisfy God's needs, God's pleasures, God's wants and praise him until we go from this life to the next life.

As Rick Warren says, "Life is not about me, life is about God."

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The New Pope according to the New York Times

The New York Times today had several stories concerning Pople Benedict XVI. I am amazed at some of the negative reactions to the fact that he is orthodox, a keeping of the standard of doctrine, theology and morality.

I quote the Times (whose whole article was very defeating), "In his view, the church does not exist so that it acan be incorporated into the world, but so as to offer a way to live. It is not a human edificie but a divinely created one. And theology is not a dry academic exercise. Theologians should support church teachings to serve the faithful, not depart from it."

Maybe I am misunderstanding the quote, but it sounds like a pretty could statement about the church to me.

We are here to offer a way to live, not to live according to the world. The church was not created by men but by God. Theology should simply be autobiographical beliefs and is there to serve, not to create academic towers.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The New Pope

Here is an article written by Hal Lindsey on Friday, April 8, 2005. Please note the prophecy by St. Malachy which says that the 111th pope will be of the "Gloria Olivae," which means, "the glory of the Olive." Hal Lindsey writes (remember on April 8, 2005), could it be that he will be from the Order of Saint Benedict, also known as the Olivetans? THE NEW POPE HAS CHOSEN THE NAME POPE BENEDICT XVI.

Hal Lindsey then incorrectly speculates on St. Malachy's prophecy that that he could be from Africa or a Jew.

But read what he says about the 112th pope who St. Malachy says will be the last pope.

Any thoughts?

The death of Pope John Paul II has brought about the most extraordinary outpouring of emotion for a world leader in history. National leaders from almost every nation, religious leaders from all faiths, young people as well as old people, people from every part of the earth – all express some kind of emotional feeling about the passing of this great church leader. Most of the world praise him as one of the greatest forces for peace in history.
Modern communication technology has helped make the pope's death an unparalleled event. The entire world has literally come together to praise this one man. I find that many sense that there will be some important and climactic consequences to follow the death of this pope.
As I studied the many Bible prophecies of the Last Days, I found a most unusual extra-biblical prophecy made by an Irish Catholic bishop in the 12th century. His name is St. Malachy. According to his biographer, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, in his book "Life of Saint Malachy," St. Malachy was known to have the gift of prophecy and even predicted the exact day and hour of his own death. St. Malachy was canonized in 1190 by Pope Clement III.
According to his biographer, St. Malachy was visiting Rome in 1139 when he went into a trance and received a vision. Malachy wrote down this extraordinary vision in which he claims to have foreseen all of the popes from the death of Innocent II until the destruction of the church and the return of Christ. He named exactly 112 popes from that time until the end.
St. Malachy wrote a few prophetically descriptive words in Latin about each one of the popes. He then gave the manuscript to Pope Innocent II and it was deposited in the Vatican Archives where it was forgotten for several centuries. Then in 1590, it was rediscovered and published.
The interesting thing is that scholars have matched the brief 110 descriptive predictions with each of the 110 popes and anti-popes that there have been since Innocent II. Though they are a bit obscure, they have fit the general profile of each of the popes.
Now these are in no way the same kind of predictions we find in the Bible. But they do have certain relevance.
Here are a few examples:
Pope No. 108: Paul VI (1968-78). The prophecy for the 108th pope was, "Flos Florum", which means "Flower of Flowers." Paul VI's coat of arms contained three fleurs-de-lis (Isis blossoms).
Pope No. 109: John Paul I (1978). The prophecy for 109th pope was "De Medietate Lunae," which means "the Half Moon." John Paul I was born in the diocese of Belluno (beautiful moon) and was baptized Albino Luciani (white light). He became pope when there was a half moon (Aug. 26, 1978). He died the next month right after an eclipse of the moon.
Pope No. 110: John Paul II (1978-2005). The prophecy for the 110th pope was "De Labore Solis," which means "from the labor of the sun." John Paul II was born during an eclipse of the sun on May 8, 1920. As the sun rises out of the East, so he came to the Vatican from the east. Wherever on the earth the sun shines, he visited.
Now, if St. Malachy is accurate, there will be only two more popes before the end of this world, as we know it and the Second Coming of Christ. I do know that the whole prophetic scenario of signs that Jesus Christ and the prophets predicted would come together just before His return are now in view. So what St. Malachy predicted is certainly occurring in the right time frame. Pope John Paul II was aware of these prophecies and at least once referred to them with concern.
According to St. Malachy, there will only be two more popes.
The prophecy concerning the 111th pope says of him, "Gloria Olivae," which means "the glory of the Olive." Could it be that he will be from the Order of Saint Benedict, also known as the Olivetans? Could he be an African, a continent symbolized by the olive tree?
The olive tree is also frequently a symbol for the Israelites in the Bible. Could this mean that this pope will be an Israelite who will be seen as the glory of his people? It bears watching as to who will be this pope. Cardinal Lustiger of Paris is a converted Jew and he is in the running for being the next pope.
But it is the prophecy of the 112th and last pope that is most fascinating. St. Malachy predicts, "In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign "Petrus Romanus" (Peter the Roman), who will feed his flock amid many tribulations; after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people."
If any of this is true, then I suspect that the 111th pope will not live very long. We are just too close to the final events before Christ's return for him to reign for a long period.
The most important part of St. Malachy's prophecies has to do with the events he foresees happening during the papacy of "Peter the Roman." He foresees great tribulations during his reign, ending with the destruction of the church and Rome. This is will be done by a dreadful judge who will then judge the world.
In Daniel's great prophecy concerning the 70 sabbatical years allotted to Israel to finish the purpose for which God created them, it predicts something that fits right in with St. Malachy's prophecy concerning "Peter the Roman."
Daniel predicted the exact day that Israel's Messiah would be declared prince and heir apparent to King David's throne. It was 69 sabbatical years from the date Artaxerxes Longimanus of Persia gave the exiled Jews permission to rebuild Jerusalem. (see Nehemiah 2:1-8 where this permission was granted.)
Exactly 69 lunar years of 360 days [or 173,880 days] later, Jesus was proclaimed the Son of David and Messiah. As predicted, He was rejected and had nothing. Then within a week after that, He was put to death.
Daniel predicted:
Know therefore and understand, that FROM the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem UNTIL Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and 62 weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the 62 weeks Messiah shall be cut off [put to death], but not for Himself; and the people of THE PRINCE WHO IS TO COME shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Note that after the end of the 69th sabbatical year, but before the beginning of the 70th sabbatical year, two very important historical events would occur. First, Messiah would be put to death, but not for Himself. Jesus was crucified within a week of His official presentation as Messiah.
Second, the people of the prince WHO IS YET TO COME would destroy the city of Jerusalem and its Temple. The Roman Tenth Legion destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70.
Now one last and extremely important detail. The "Prince who is to come" will be of the same people that destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70. They were Romans. So the coming Prince, who is the antichrist, must be a Roman. Now do you understand why I am so fascinated by St. Malachy's prophecy concerning the last pope who will be called, "Peter the Roman"?
Revelation chapter 17 details the final judgment of the mystical woman symbolically named Babylon The Great. John the apostle identifies the woman, "Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits ..." and "And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth." (Revelation 17:9, 18 NKJ) When John wrote this, there was only one city that reigned over the kings of the earth – Rome, which sits on seven hills.
John Paul II was a great and good man. But the coming popes will seize upon the popularity he created with the world. With the help of the media, it is easy to foresee how "Peter the Roman" will be able to mesmerize the world to follow his counterfeit of Christ.
It is time to make sure where you stand with God.

Monday, April 18, 2005


One of my favorite movies is Braveheart. At the end of the movie, William Wallace (played by Mel Gibson) is being tortured to death. Instead of giving in and bowing down to the king and receiving an instant death, he cries out, "freedom!!!!!!"

We are all in a continual quest for freedom.

What is true freedom?

I would suggest that true freedom is the realization that as Christians we belong not to the world that we live in, but to God, whose children we are. As a Christian, I am a son of God. A child of His. As I live my life in word and works according to His Word (the Bible) than I gradually grow into my true freedom - which consist of not having to be bound to the thoughts, ideals and patterns of the culture we live in.

This requires a lifelong discipline as the culture that we live in (the political, economic, social and religious powers around us) desires to keep us in bondage so that we will only obey their will, their thoughts, their commands and be dependent upon them.

I am first of all a Christian. My allegiance is first of all to Christ.

And in Christ is true freedom.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Who made the rules?

There is a general sense of disillusionment with the traditional church. Disillusionment in the sense that there has to be something out there that connects with our culture and people in general in a deeper way. A spiritual way. A connecting way. Many are asking, "Is there not a "better way"?

Let's think about some thought provoking questions.

Who made the rules that we live by today? Who says we have to meet on Sunday morning at 10:30? who says we have to three songs, take up the offering, preach and go home? Who made the rules?

Why is our spirituality gaged by how many times we come to church and sit in rows, when the bible says that the church is to be a place of encouragement and sharing and renewal and relationship? How can we have relationship sitting in rows?

Who made the rule that we have to "dress up"?

Who made the rule that we have to have a "sermon"?

Who made the rule we have to be solemn or joyous or sad or happy in church?

What is the right way to act "in church"? Who made those rules?

Many have been wounded by the church. And when a person is wounded, the temptation is to flee, to run away from the pain. To reject the thing that is causing so much hurt.

But being disillusioned with the church and rejecting the church need not be the same thing. When we reject the church is becomes very hard to have any kind of relationship with Jesus.

When I hear someone say, "I love Jesus, but I can't stand the church," I realize that they are losing both ways. They are losing the relationships that the church provides and they are losing a connection with Jesus, who presents himself as one who lives inside each one of us who make up the church.

The challenge is there.

I believe in the church. I love the church. The church is people. We are the church. Let's all work to do better - and maybe break some rules.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Responsibility and authority

One of the great indicators of our culture and society in America is a need for checks and balances. Its the basis of our democracy. The legislative, judical and presidential branches are all founded on the principle of balance of power and authority.

The kingdom of God is not a democracy but a theocracy based upon the will, not of the people, but of God in our lives. It is a principle that is much misunderstood in the church today.

There are many who seek after authority without responsiblity. They relish the idea of being a leader in the body of Christ, but are not interested in picking up the obligations of continual work to see their ideas flourish and implemented. They sit in board meetings, committee meetings, throwing around ideas, making sure they are informed, guarding their own power and authority, like little queen bees in the hive of church life.

Then there are those who are responsible and obedient, but who flinch at any hint of leadership or taking authority in their lives.

But both are needed. The extremes if they are not there together? Authoritiarian behavior one one side and doormat behavior on the other. A person with great authority who has nobody to be odedient to is in great spiritual dangers. Yet, a very obedient person who has no authroity over anyone is equally in danger.

Jesus is the great example of balance between authroity and responsiblity. The one who was given all authroity in heaven and on earth said, "Let it be as you, not I, would have it." Matthew 26:39.