Sunday, July 23, 2006

Can you answer these questions?

I am going to be away from the computer until sometime in early August. In the meantime, see if you can answer these questions:

Why do 80-90% of those making a decision for Christ fall away from the faith?
What is the principle that Spurgeon, Wesley, Whitefield, etc., used to reach the lost?
Why has the Church neglected it?

Don't let anything stop you from listening to this incredible teaching. (This is NOT a sermon about Hell.)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Say What They Need to Hear, Even If It Kills You

Thanks to my darling, sweet, beautiful wife for finding this quote and posting it on her page:

"John the Baptist's message from the wilderness was not, 'Smile, God loves you.' It was 'O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come.' Jeremiah was not put into a miry pit for preaching, 'I'm OK, you're OK.' It was for crying against the adultery, idolatry and other wickedness of his nation. Noah's message from the steps of the ark was not, 'Something good is going to happen to you.' He condemned the world and was a preacher of righteousness. Jesus Christ was not crucified for saying, 'Consider the lilies, how they grow,' but for saying, 'Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites...children of hell ...fools and blind guides ... whited sepulchers...generation of vipers.'"

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Defining Christianity

"The Christian faith is a specific form of dependence on God, and to cavil [raise trivial and frivolous objection] at the atonement is to begin the process of gradually abandoning that sense of dependence. It is to refuse to allow it to be conditioned by Christ at the central and vital point, the point at which the sinner is reconciled to God; and if we can do without Christ there, we can do without Him altogether. The process which begins with denying that we owe to Him and to His death the forgiveness of sin, ends by denying that He has any proper place in the gospel at all. It is neither from His own lips, nor from the lips of any of the apostles, that we so learn Christ."

Denny, James. The Death of Christ. Cumbria: Paternoster, 1997. p. 40

"God does not stand behind a heavenly door with arms full of presents ready to hand out to those Christians who learn the ritual of some religious 'open sesame.' He is not a force that we may avail ourselves of if only we learn the techniques of postive thinking or (if we live on the West Coast) the routines of possibility thinking. He is the God who tells us what to do and what not to do. He is not only the God of 'shoulds' and 'oughts', but the God of 'musts!'"

Adams, Jay. A Theology of Christian Counseling. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979. p. 49

Monday, July 17, 2006

Should Evangelists Question Professions of Faith?

by mdever

Sometimes I get the feeling that people think there's something wrong with questioning the reality of a profession of faith. It's legalistic, or judging, or holier than thou. Or something.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Second Commandment, Idolatry, Imagination and Passing Sin to the 3rd and 4th Generations

Previously we considered a few implications of the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (literally, “in my face”) and the results of breaking that commandment. We referenced the fact that once the first commandment is broken, the second is near at hand, “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6)

We should be unsurprised to hear man’s squeaky voice lift not-quite beyond his uplifted fist toward the clouds, exclaiming to his creator, “I don’t need you! I can do this by myself!” then as he lowers his fist begins to seek out the help of gods of his own making and the demonic spirits to empower them. “Idolatry is perhaps the greatest of all sins because it opens the door to unrestrained evil. It gives sinner license not only to tolerate sin, but to sanction it, fanned by demonic influence. If you make a god in your image, one you feel comfortable with, you can then create your own moral standard to go along with him . . . or her.” One cannot keep the first commandment while breaking the second as the one follows the other.

What kinds of gods do men prefer? Basically, the god that likes what his worshipper likes and hates what his worshipper hates. This is why it is hard to say that idolatry appeals to the secular mind because fundamentally, everything is spiritual. Removing God drives no wedge between “sacred” and “secular.” Removing God is replacing God; hence, “sacred” becomes “unsacred” or “profane.” The rational becomes irrational.

I firmly believe that every person is a theologian, having knowledge of God and some sort of response to Him. That response will be to either accept God as He is, thus allowing him to keep the 1st commandment and having no need for the 2nd commandment; or, reject God as He is, thus breaking the 1st commandment and the 2nd commandment. Either way, one remains a theologian.

What is the god of an idolater like? The home-grown god is not omnipotent, omnipresent, or omniscient; rather, it is useless and brings no profit. They know nothing and are not ashamed of their ignorance. The idol is made in the strength of its maker (who often gets tired and hungry and must stop and rest—until he is finished, the idol is incomplete).

I heard the story once of a wood-carver who was revered in his community for his work. He was hired to make an idol of wood for someone and someone else who liked his work commissioned the same item. Over the course of time, many requisitions came in for this idol, so he made more. One day he realized his artistic ability had been locked into carving this same form over and over again, and the freedoms he once enjoyed as an artist were hindered. So he made one little change in the idol, then another, then another until finally, he was creating unique items again . . . and the worshippers did not recognize their own god.

In the western world we do not have this problem, but the principle of the problem stays the same. If I worship God and you worship God, do we worship the same God? Here’s a test: Is the God of the Bible the same as the God of the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Wiccans, Episcopals, (pick a group)?

Would your “God” send people to hell? If not, then you have created a god in your own image, according to your own desires, and have broken the second commandment. God of the Bible takes great pains to discuss the reasons and reality of Hell. Read Matthew 25, for example.

Is your God merciful, gracious, all-loving and not a God of wrath? If so, then you have created a god in your own image, according to your own desires, and have broken the second commandment. Read Exodus 34:5-7.

“When man creates gods in his own image, these gods are merely an extension of himself (Ps. 115:8; 135:18). Consequently, directly or indirectly, man is only worshipping himself. . . . When man worships himself, he starts seeking to satisfy his animal appetites. This inevitable leads to all kinds of perversion. First, man will totally disregard the sanctity of sexuality (Ro 1:26-27). Sexual perversion condoned and practiced leads to moral corruption, which is reflected in all of life. When the sacredness of sex is removed, there are no absolutes in other areas of life.”

An old proverb says, “It is man who counts. I call upon gold and it answers not. It is man who counts. I call upon cloth and it answers not. It is man who counts.”

So just how do we conceive of God and all things divine? The Bible? Imagination? Magic Mushrooms? Chocolate? Willie Wonka and John Lennon make some surprisingly similar statements, both equally absurd.

Wanna see something really interesting?

#”Protestant” Command“Catholic” Command
1 You shall have no other gods but me. I, the Lord, am your God. You shall not have other gods besides me.
2 You shall not make unto you any graven images You shall not take the name of the Lord God in vain
3 You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day
4 You shall remember the Sabbath and keep it holy Honor your father and your mother
5 Honor your mother and father You shall not kill
6 You shall not murder You shall not commit adultery
7 You shall not commit adultery You shall not steal
8 You shall not steal You shall not bear false witness
9 You shall not bear false witness You shall not covet your neighbor's wife
10 You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor You shall not covet your neighbor's goods

Did you see the difference? If not, go back and compare the 2nd commandment in both lists. Change just one feature that makes one feel less offended, and everything changes. What problems does this introduce into the realm of Christian worship?

If we have to change our “language” and concepts in order to reach this culture, would’nt we in fact be creating new idols?

Think about this:
Does God ever change? Why would we expect culture to understand God if we change the way we talk about Him, if man has never sought God (as it is written)?

Does Jesus ever change? If He is “I Am” and He changes, that makes Him, “I was”, right?

Does the gospel ever change? Has man’s problem suddenly become too much for the cross that it must be integrated and made better? Why did Jesus preach “repent” if we should not do it now?

Oh, and one more thing. You know that last part of the verse about God visiting the iniquity of the fathers to the third and fourth generation? This simply means that if the father passes down to his children the wrong conception of God, his sin of unbelief and idolatry will become the sins of his children. But if a man believes God and wraps his mind around the true and living God, thus keeping the first two commandments, his legacy will be known to many generations beyond the third and fourth.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Taking the Watchtower Back

Driving home for lunch today, I saw the Jehovah’s Witnesses walking along the road. My heart skipped a beat, for I knew a divine appointment had been made! While my wife fixed lunch, I kept my eye on the road, watching for my mid-day visitors. Praying.

They were driving two cars, in two teams. One team of men (I talked with a team back in March) and one team of women.

While the younger lady found a place to park her car, an older lady had been dropped off to visit my neighbor across the street. A few minutes later, she was walking alongside the road going to the next house. She didn’t even look our way . . . I was hurt. So I went outside.

“Hi, There!” I greeted the lady as she shuffled along the road.

“Hello!” She greeted me back, turning her head. I made my way down the driveway. She crossed the road to meet me.[i]

“How are you doing?” I asked.

“Just fine, just fine,” she said. “We jus’ out this fine day tellin’ folks about God and heaven. You know it says in Matthew that “the meek shall inherit the . . .”

She was fishing to see what I knew. I bit. “Earth.”

“Thas’ right. The day is gonna come when we gonna live here on earth forever and we jus’ out tellin’ folks about it. I got a magazine right here that says all about it.” She rummaged for her bag, sifting through various Watchtowers to find the right one. She held it out, and I took it.

“Ma’am,” I asked politely, “I have a question I would like to have an answer for. I’ve been diagnosed with a disease that will kill me and I don’t have long to live. What do I need to do to live forever?” I don’t really have a disease, but as long as I am in this sinful flesh . . .

She cocked her head back and thought for a moment. I looked at the Watchtower.

“Well, it’s like that thief who died next to Jesus. He said, ‘remember me when you come into your kingdom’ and Jesus said, ‘this day you will be with me in . . . ‘” Fishing again.

“Paradise,” I answered.

“Thas’ right. Thas’ right. 'This day you will be with me in paradise.' When he died he received the promise of Jesus that he would be in paradise. When he raise from the dead [I couldn’t tell if that was past, present or future tense], he gets to learn about Jehovah, get it right because he didn’t get it right before. The day you raise from the dead, you get to learn about Jehovah.”

This was news to me. I thought I was annihilated. Anyway . . .

“What happens to you when you die?” I asked, looking at the Watchtower again.

“I have the hopes I gonna go to Paradise.” She responded.

“Would you consider yourself to be a good person?” I pressed. She cocked her head back again as if I had taken a swing to snatch her hat.

“I consider mysef’ to be a CHRISTIAN!” she said, with attitude.

“Do you think you’ve kept the Ten Commandments?” I wanted to know. She stared at me. “Have you ever told a lie?”

She raised her voice as the male team drove slowly by, staring at us, “What ‘chu axin’ [asking] that for? You got no business axin’ that!”

“I just want to know if you consider yourself to be a good person,” I replied softly. “Have you ever told lie?”

“Well, I guess I told untruth before.”

“If one tells a lie, what do you call him? If I told a lie, what would you call me?”

Shifting her bag to her other hand, she clasped her forearms and stomped her foot. “A SINNER!” she said, puckering her lips and squinting a little.

I said, “Ma’am, if I told you a lie, what would you call me? It starts with a ‘L’ and has four letters.”

“You’re a LIAR,” she said with venom, looking around for her partners.

“Have you ever stolen anything? What would that make you?” I continued.

She said a string of things I don’t remember, and am probably glad I don’t. By this time her female partner showed up and stood at the end of the drive. I acknowledged her and asked her to join our conversation. She would’nt move.

I tried involving her, but the woman I was talking to shifted to make her way of escape. She was mad. I asked her friend, “Are you a good person?”

“I’m a CHRISTIAN!” She said with poison. I hadn’t the chance to speak with her for two seconds and she was already mad at me. Not fair.

“Have you ever told a lie?” I asked.

“I been a sinner just like anyone else. But God forgives if you jus’ repent!” she fired back.

The older lady turned to me and growled, “Gimme that magazine back. You don’t need it.”

I laid two of my own tracts (“Will your Good Outweigh your Bad.” This is a zip-file) on top of the Watchtower and asked her and her friend to read it. She grabbed the top of the magazine and turned her head so she didn’t have to look at my tracts. I held them out to her again and she turned her head further away in disgust. Her friend at the end of the drive panicked and stepped forward to help her companion.

They quickly left, Watchtower crumpled in her hand.

I thanked them for stopping by and went inside for lunch.

[i] Hey! A joke! “Why did the Jehovah's Witness cross the road? It was too far to go around!”

Monday, July 10, 2006

How many weekends left?

The average person dies at 70 years old.
If you are 20 years old, you have just 2,500 weekends left to live.
If you have turned 30, you have 2,000 weekends left until the day you die.
If you are 40 years old, you have only 1,500 weekends left.
If you are 50, then you have just 1,000 weekends.
If you are 60, you have a mere 500 weekends left until the day death comes to you.

It has been wisely stated that every one of us is unique . . . just like everyone else. In truth, each unique individual is uniquely predictable. Everyone has a fear of death. No one can deny that he naturally has a will to live. Therefore, it makes sense to face reality by remembering that each person has an appointment to keep.

You have ___ weekends left.

If there was one chance in a million that Jesus Christ 'has abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, you owe it to your good sense just to look into it.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Usin' and Thummin' for the Will of God

The phrase “the will of God” seems to invoke in some an elusive and far-gazing mysticism. What immediately comes to my mind is the abiding presence of God and His determination, insistence and persistence for His glory above all things. God’s will infers a living demonstration of His attributes and assumes a relationship between Him and all things below Him. E.Y Mullins cannot help but touch on God’s Will throughout his entire work, The Christian Religion In Its Doctrinal Expression.[i] Wayne Grudem includes some good discussion on the revealed and “secret” will of God in his comparable tome on Systematic Theology.[ii] A.W. Tozer wrote, “The highest expression of the will of God in this age is the church which He purchased with his own blood.”[iii] An African friend of mine says succinctly, “The only thing above God is that which He wills as He is bound to it! God’s Will is truth!” One may sum the entire concept as “guidance.”

How does one go about seeking guidance, or discerning God’s Will? Many try to make some existential connection through blind leaps of faith. Some try to tap some “divine spark,” looking deep within themselves and arouse that warm, fuzzy feeling that seems to say, “this is it!” Oswald Chambers cautions:

“In the beginning you may see clearly what God's will is - the severance of a friendship, the breaking off of a business relationship, something you feel distinctly before God is His will for you to do, never do it on the impulse of that feeling. If you do, you will end in making difficulties that will take years of time to put right. Wait for God's time to bring it round and He will do it without any heartbreak or disappointment. When it is a question of the providential will of God, wait for God to move.”[iv]

Our purposes for seeking the will of God are many; however, most-often our purposes are not good and most fail to realize this. Today’s mindset includes searching the will of God towards personal prosperity and many are not aware of the self-serving propensity of this seeking. To begin with, most people seeking have no clue what they are looking for, so God’s will is nebulous and they really wouldn’t know when they have found it. Others are looking for alleviation of pain, pressure or some rendering of a difficulty. Few will ever seek God’s guidance toward loss and suffering; rather, always toward gain and safety.

Every now and then I will meet someone struggling with an issue, where he or she is “seeking God’s will.” I meet students and prospective students who are trying to juggle ministry, school and family and are “seeking God’s will” for the next step; in other words, how to get through life unscathed or untouched by difficulty. I would encourage them from Hebrews:

But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly, by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. For you showed sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” (Heb. 10-32-36)

In his Journal, John Wesley relates this incident: “Today I visited one who was ill in bed. She had buried seven of her family in six months, and had just heard that her beloved husband was cast away at sea. I asked, “Don’t you fret at any of these things?” She answered with a loving smile on her pale cheeks, “Oh, no! How can I fret at anything which is in the will of God? Let Him take all besides; He has given me Himself. I have learned to love and praise Him every moment.””[v]

Others I meet struggle with sin-pattern behavior or immorality. Why go seeking God’s will on how to handle it when He speaks so clearly, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality.”[vi]

Scripture is so clear, God’s will is not lost but must be understood, learned and accomplished!

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” [vii]

Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.”[viii]

I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.”[ix]

So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.”[x]

Why do you want to do God’s will? Why do you want to do what you want to do? God wills that we be[xi]:

Saved—“This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3–4; compare 2 Peter 3:9).
Spirit-filled—“Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:17–18).
Sanctified—“This is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thess. 4:3).
Submissive—“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God” (1 Peter 2:13–15).
Suffering for His sake—“It is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong” (1 Peter 3:17).
Saying thanks—“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18).

So why are there so many horror stories of people who thought they were doing the will of God and later, discovered they were not in fact doing God’s will? Regardless, God still gets His own way . . . as Livingstone said, “I had rather be in the heart of Africa in the will of God than on the throne of England out of the will of God.”[xii]

St. Gregory of Nyssa (331? – 396?) wrote, “Just as at sea those who are carried away from the direction of the harbor bring themselves back on course by a clear sign, so Scripture may guide those adrift on the sea of life back into the harbor of the divine will.”

God’s will is to be learned in the spirit of the Old Testament Urim and Thummin, by “usin’ and thumbin’”

In James 4:13-17, “doing the will of God identifies another test of genuine saving faith. True Christians are characterized as “doing the will of God from the heart” (Ephesians 6:6). They joyfully, willingly pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done” (Matthew 6:10). The apostle Paul’s delight in God’s law (Romans 7:22) is another way of expressing the same attitude. On the other hand, a constant disregard for or lack of interest in God’s will is a certain mark of the presence of pride—the ugly sin also underlying conflict, worldliness, and slander (4:1–12). To disregard God’s will is tantamount to saying, “I am the sovereign ruler of my own life.” Such a prideful attitude is antithetical to saving faith. As James has already pointed out, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (4:6). Those who refuse to submit to God’s will give evidence that their lives have not been transformed by His saving grace.” [xiii]

Here are some facts we need to grasp. Our lives are short and have little room for error. Why we “little vapors” think we can direct our own lives is still a mystery (of sorts) to me. Since the Christian has thrown in the towel to the Lordship of Christ, why go through life apart from His will or spending so much time seeking what He has already given us (see above lists)?

James insists that we preface our plans by saying, “If the Lord wills … ”. Acknowledging the Lord’s will is more than our submission to it—He is LORD, right? If He is directing and guiding, should we be following? Our tendency will be to say, “well, I’ll just do it in my brain.” This is no better than not saying it at all. James says we MUST NOT say, “we will” but “if the LORD wills.” As it is written, “Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand.”[xiv] Acknowledging the will of God is biblical! Paul understood this well:

But taking leave of them and saying, ‘I will return to you again if God wills,’ he set sail from Ephesus.”[xv]

For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you, always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you.”[xvi]

But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant but their power.”[xvii]

Acknowledging God demonstrates our belief and trust in Him. Not acknowledging God is practical atheism. If we can’t say it, I venture there is too much pride in the way. I can’t help but think of the star of the morning in Isaiah 14 making five “I will” statements, and how God declares him as fallen! I also can’t help but think of the covenants God made where He Himself says, “I will.” Consider also: Deuteronomy 32:39; Job 12:9–10; Psalm 104:29; Hebrews 9:27.

Failure to acknowledge God is equated with boasting in arrogance, evil and sin (James 4:16-17).

We used to sing a song “back in the day” that (I believe) is now recirculating in the Country Music scene:

I don't know about tomorrow,
I just live from day to day;
I don't borrow from it's sunshine,
For it's skies may turn to gray.
I don't worry o'er the future,
For I know what Jesus said;
And today I'll walk beside Him,
For He knows what lies ahead

Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand;
But I know who holds tomorrow,
and I know who holds my hand.

Some things are clearly the will of God, so searching for God’s will is not a mystical experience and a grand vaguery we only hope to get right. See Ephesians 5:17–21; 1 Thessalonians 4:3–8; 1 Peter 2:13–15; 1 Peter 3:17. The problem is that God is excluded in our practical atheism. What should be at the forefront of our thoughts is His kingdom and righteousness, and everything else will follow suit (Mt 6:33).

Someone once said that there are more “do’s” in the Bible than there are “don’ts” and if we do all the “do’s” we don’t have time to do the “don’ts.” That’s how close the will of God is. If you don’t READ it, you can’t DO it.


[i] Mullins, E.Y. The Christian Religion In Its Doctrinal Expression. Philadelphia: Roger Williams Press, 1917.
[ii] Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994.
[iii] Tozer, A.W. The Best of A.W. Tozer. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1978.
[iv] Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest. Uhrichsville: Barbour and Co., 1963.
[v]Tan, Paul Lee. Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations : [A Treasury of Illustrations, Anecdotes, Facts and Quotations for Pastors, Teachers and Christian Workers]. Garland TX: Bible Communications, 1996, c1979.
[vi]New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update, 1 Th 4:3. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.
[vii] NASB Col 1:9.
[viii] NASB Col 4:12.
[ix] NASB Ps 40:8.
[x] NASB Mt 18:14.
[xi]MacArthur, John. Strength for Today. Includes indexes. electronic ed., November 30. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998, c1997.
[xii] Tan, Ibid.
[xiii]MacArthur, John. James : Guildelines for a Happy Christian Life. MacArthur Bible studies, Page 89. Nashville, TN: W Publishing Group, 2001.
[xiv] NASB Pr 19:21.
[xv] NASB Ac 18:21.
[xvi] NASB Ro 1:9.
[xvii] NASB 1 Co 4:19.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Trapped in the tyranny of "things."

Are you trapped in the tyranny of things? A wealthy man was moving into a new house, and his next-door neighbor happened to be a Quaker. The Quakers, as you know, believe in simplicity and plainness of life. The Quaker neighbor watched as the movers carted in numerous pieces of furniture, a great deal of clothing, and many decorative pieces. Then he walked over to his wealthy new neighbor and said in his quaint Quaker way, "Neighbor, if thee hath need of anything, please come to me and I will tell thee how to get along without it." Jesus would have agreed with that advice, for He said one day, "A man's life does not consist in the abundance of things that he possesses."

Monday, July 03, 2006

America the Beautiful

Last night, while the band was playing and the choir was singing, my kids were marching in a Celebration of Liberty parade, I was in costume as one of the signers of the Constitution . . . while someone broke into our house. I can’t figure out if it happened between the song, “I’m Proud to Be an America (where at least I know I’m free)” or “God Bless America.” The break-in might have occurred when we all stood and expressed our gratitude for those in the Armed Forces and stood in remembrance of those who gave their lives for freedom. Freedom to do whatever we want?

The ironic thing is that whoever it was stole some of my wife’s jewelry, mostly costume stuff and really of no value, but a few precious pieces were certainly gone. The truly valuable stuff was not touched. They went through my stuff but did not touch any valuables, but they did make off with my PDA (with charger) and cell-phone. They went though my daughter’s jewelry box and made off with a few pieces and about $5.00 in change, but not our computers, TV or stereo. They certainly didn’t steal any tracts or Bibles (except the one on my PDA—maybe they’ll read some of my sermons and return some of my phone calls. Will they keep my appointments?). I’m sure they didn’t have to look hard to see stacks of tracts with things like, “REPENT” printed all over them.

Maybe they broke in during our scene where we “signed” the Constitution to help establish American freedoms. Freedoms that mean "American".

They used my cell-phone and called somebody named “Gail”. I know this because my brilliant wife checked my messages this morning. Gail called “whoever” on my cell-phone and left a message . . . with a call-back number. I really want to call her back and give her the “good person” test . . .

Maybe the break-in happened around 6:30, when the sun was still bright and making amber the waves of grain . . . about the time we were eating grilled hamburgers at church, talking about how exciting it is to see the 3000 red-white and blue flags and ribbons, and how the roof just lifts with everyone singing “I’m Just A Flag-waving American!”

Maybe they needed money for beer and fireworks . . .

I wish I’d left some Million Dollar Bills laying around the house.

Freedom. It's not about what you want to do, but as you ought.

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