Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Rhinoceros in the Room

"My German engineer, I think, is a fool. He thinks nothing empirical is knowable - I asked him to admit that there was not a rhinoceros in the room, but he wouldn't."

Russell on Wittgenstein

?Sensitivity, Tolerance and Non-Judgmentalism In The Church?

I imagine there were probably plenty of well-meaning, sensitive, tolerant types in the Church at Corinth who criticized the Apostle Paul with some simple-minded misapplication of the “Judge not lest ye be judged” quote from Jesus a half century earlier. Not only did Paul point out a plethora of problems; i.e. abuses, doctrinal errors, schisms, and even a case of gross, incestual sin, but he did it with a PUBLIC LETTER. Surely, they must have argued that he should have confronted those sinning members personally and privately according to Jesus' instructions, rather than bringing “harm to the Body of Christ.”

But the real problem was that their sins were not private; they were public and the Church needed to be straightened out. In the case of incest, the sin was commonly known among them. The real outrage was that they were tolerant of it. They all knew about it including their own leaders and, as is typical today, they did nothing to correct it or judge it. It took an outsider to confront them with it.

Paul’s letter did NOT harm the Body. In his second letter, we read where he commended them for their godly sorrow, which led to repentance, and the result was that the Church was corrected, cleansed and strengthened.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Exclusive. The World's First Picture of Methuselah

It's a fact; our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our noses and ears never stop growing.

Given that, I think I have some idea of what Methuselah must have looked like. (He's the guy on the right.)

Man-Centered or God-Centered Worship

"I've come up with a 'drive by' litmus test to get an initial take on whether a church's worship is man-driven rather than God-centered. If the sign in front of the church offers different styles of worship at different times or days (traditional at 8:00, contemporary at 10:00, extreme at 6:00 PM, etc.), the worship at that church is almost certainly far more about pleasing man than about pleasing God. This isn't to say that a church is wrong to have (multiple) services, but if they do..., accommodating differing personal tastes in music, etc., ought not to be the reason."
Dave Ulrick

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What Do Christians Do? The Sin of Silence.

Since the Supreme Court legalized abortion, more unborn babies have been killed in the U.S. than the entire population of Canada. What do we do about it? We go to church, the minister preaches and then we go to lunch. That’s what Christians do.

Pornography has drifted from dirty back-street theatres into millions of homes via prime time television and the internet. What do we do about it? We go to church, the minister preaches non-judgmental sermons and then we go to lunch. That’s what Christians do.

Half the marriages in America end in divorce. Families are broken down or redefined and the children suffer. What do we do? Go to church, the preacher preaches and then we go eat. That’s what Christians do.

Homosexuality is no longer considered a perversion. Now it is openly praised, publicly flaunted and legally protected. What do we do? We go to church, listen to the nice tolerant sermon and eat lunch. That’s what Christians do.

One third of all babies are born to unwed mothers and are supported by taxpayers. There is no shame or embarrassment. What do we do? Go to church, hear the sermon and do lunch. That’s what Christians do.

The state has legalized and encourages gambling even though the activity tears families apart and destroys lives. What do we do? You know – touchy feely sermonette and lunch.

Teachers can’t have Bibles on their desks but students can read Playboy in the classroom. Christmas and Easter holidays have been replaced with winter and spring breaks. Prayer is outlawed in school, quoting scripture is hate speech and foul language is free speech. …church, sermon, lunch.

Remember when Christians were the good guys? Now we are characterized as judgmental, narrow-minded, hypocritical, intolerant, bigoted and mentally deranged. What are we doing about it? We go to church, the minister preaches and then they go to lunch. That’s what Christians do.

"Could it be that too many of God's true children, and especially the preachers, are sinning against God by guilty silence?...I for one am waiting to hear the loud voices of the prophets and reformers sounding once more over a sluggish and drowsy church. They'll pay a price for their boldness, but the results will be worth it." -
AW Tozer


We always hear "the rules" from the female side. Now here are the rules from the male side. These are our rules! Please note... these are all numbered "1" ON PURPOSE!

1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday sports are like full moons and changing tides. Let it be.

1. Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with your problems only if you want help solving them. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. I don’t care whether the toilet paper rolls over or under. Either way, it works fine.

1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.

1. Anything we said six months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.

1. If you won't dress like the Victoria's Secret girls, don't expect us to act like soap opera guys.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

1. Christopher Columbus did not need directions and neither do we.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. Burgundy is for drinking. We have no idea what mauve, chartreuse, or periwinkle are.

1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.
1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.
1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine ... Really.

1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball, the shotgun formation, or monster trucks.

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape. Round is a shape.

Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; but did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Hiding Public Sin Behind Matthew 18

I posted an article here on this site titled, “Cussing Preachers, Gutter Talk and Pulpit Vulgarity”  in 2008.  It was reposted in 2011.   Shortly after the original publication, I was contacted by another pastor who, for some reason, felt compelled to rebuke me for writing it. He made no substantive argument with the content of my post; he just inferred that my writing it was a sinful act and it somehow brought damage to the “Body of Christ.” He reasoned that my first responsibility should have been to address the matter directly and privately to the pastor who used the inappropriate language (apparently some kind of misapplication of Matthew 18:15-17).

I disagreed with him that I had any obligation (scriptural or otherwise) to address this man privately; his offense was a public matter.  But, in the interest of fairness, I did go back to review exactly what I wrote to see if my critic had any legitimate concern.

He did not and I still disagree. My article was a generic rant about the proliferation of vulgar language in church pulpits in general which frankly disgusts me. I did make a brief reference to one specific incident that I heard recently, but the point of that reference was to illustrate the fact that the “shock” of his pulpit vulgarity actually distracted from his message. I did not name the speaker nor did I name his church (at least I do have enough respect to guard the dignity of his congregation).

So I find it rather peculiar that this well-meaning pastor would redress me for MY “sin.” I was not the one who used the vulgar language. I was not the one who publicly disrespected a congregation. I brought no disgrace to the pulpit. I did not humiliate fellow church leaders. I showed no dishonor to God in a public sermon.

But apparently, by some convoluted reasoning, one person thinks I have brought damage to the “Body of Christ” because I posted the article.

Monday, February 18, 2008

?Who Are The Seekers To Whom Seeker Sensitive Churches Are Sensitve?

The church growth gurus tell us that there are millions of them who are looking for God and we should adapt our worship and market our churches to be attractive to them. If they feel “comfortable” and “unthreatened” in our services; if we design church around their “felt needs,” they say, the unchurched and the unregenerated might like us. Then we can get them “plugged in” so that they might eventually make a “decision” for God.

Are there any seekers out there? The Bible indicates that there are some people who are seeking. But what is it that they seek? A look at the following passages indicates that natural men do seek something; they seek signs and wonders, human wisdom, and favor from men. Natural men who do seek for a god, are not really interested in The God but seek after false gods of their own imaginations.
  • For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; I Cor. 1:22-23

  • Many seek the ruler’s favour, but every man’s judgment cometh from the LORD. Proverbs 29:26

  • And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards. And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts. Isaiah 19:3-4
There are some incidents in Scripture where unregenerate men did seek after Jesus:
  • And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. Matt. 2:3

  • Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? John 7:25
But here it is plainly evident that their real purpose was not to worship Him but to kill Him.

If there are any seekers out there who are really looking for God, shouldn’t we be friendly or sensitive to them? Shouldn’t we be concerned about them? Well, of course, we should. After all, God is concerned about them. In the book of the Psalms are two very similar verses that clearly indicate that God looks for those who seek after Him.
  • The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand and seek God. Psalm14:2

  • God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Psalm 53:2
But guess what?
Now don’t get mad at me. That’s not my opinion; it’s God’s definitive declaration. Here are the verses that follow the two mentioned above in the Psalms. Here is the rest of the story:
  • The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. Psalm 10:4

  • They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Psalm 14:3
And in case that isn’t sufficient enough proof, here is more of God’s Word on the subject:
  • Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Psalm 53:3

  • An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him. Proverbs 17:11

  • Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes. Psalm 119:155
    For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts.
    Isaiah 9:13

  • Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD! Isaiah 3
And finally, the most definitive, absolute, unarguable and all-inclusive statement of all:
  • There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. Romans 3:11
There IS another Seeker mentioned in Scripture and His name is Jehovah. He is the Good Shepherd and He is seeking His flock.
  • For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment. Ezekiel 34:11-16
Either there are seekers out there who are looking for the true, living God or there are not. Who are you going to believe – Rick Warren and Bill Hybels or God?

The Church is the body of Christ. It is assembled together for “born again” believers to worship and to be instructed in doctrine and righteousness and to be equipped for the work of the ministry. It is NOT a club and there is no legitimate place for unbelievers in it.

If we were really sincere about being “seeker sensitive,” we would not be concerned about being sensitive to non-existent seekers. We would only be concerned about the real seeker and we would model our worship services according to His commands and not our preferences?
  • But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. John 4

Friday, February 15, 2008

Human Stupidity

“Two things are infinite:
the universe and human stupidity;
and I’m not sure about the universe.”

—Albert Einstein

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why Do I Collect Rhinos?

People often ask
me about my fixation
on rhinos and
why I collect them.

This whole thing started about 30 years ago. A woman walked into my church office with a large calendar photo of a rhinoceros. Because I was the Business Administrator, she thought it was appropriately humorous. On the photo was a caption that said something about being the “Hard Nose” on the finance committee. I was humored by her sarcastic amusement so I tacked it on my office wall. Not long afterward I designed some notepads with a line drawing of a rhino’s head and the caption, “A Note From the Hard Nose.”

Pretty soon, people started giving me all kinds of rhino “stuff” for Christmas, birthdays, or whenever they found something. That was the beginning of my large “crash” which had grown to over 1000 sculptures, figurines, toys, collectibles, photos, posters, framed art, pens, jewelry, books, stuffed animals, clothing, and coffee mugs. In addition, I have hundreds of graphics that I have downloaded from the internet many of which I post here on this blog.

When I told someone I collected rhinos, she was curious about why I would choose to love something so ugly. Until then, I really hadn't thought much about their ugliness, but over time I have developed an affinity for them and I have learned to see beauty in their strength, uniqueness, and special design that many people don’t appreciate.

And when I look at them, I am reminded of God’s love for me.  He sees beyond the ugliness of my sin and chooses to love me anyway.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


"And whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty's lamp guiding your steps and opportunity's arm steadying your way. My fondest hope for each one of you — and especially for young people — is that you will love your country, not for her power or wealth, but for her selflessness and her idealism. May each of you have the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct, and the hand to execute works that will make the world a little better for your having been here. May all of you as Americans never forget your heroic origins, never fail to seek divine guidance, and never lose your natural, God-given optimism. And finally, my fellow Americans, may every dawn be a great new beginning for America and every evening bring us closer to that shining city upon a hill."
—Ronald Reagan