Tag Archives: Lord

Honesty

One day, while a woodcutter was cutting a branch of a tree above river, his axe fell into the river.  When he cried out, the Lord appeared and asked, “Why are you crying?”

The woodcutter replied that his axe has fallen into the river, and he needed it to make his living.  The Lord went down in the water and appeared with a golden axe. “Is this your axe?” the Lord asked.

The woodcutter replied, “No.”

The Lord again went down and came up with a silver axe. “Is this your axe?”the Lord asked.

“No”, the woodcutter replied.

The Lord went down again and came up with an iron axe. “Is this your axe?”the Lord asked.

“Yes”, he replied.

The Lord was so pleased with the man’s honesty that He gave him all three axes to keep, and the woodcutter went home happy.  Later the woodcutter was walking with his wife along the riverbank, and his wife fell into the river.

When he cried out, the Lord appeared again and asked him, “Why are you crying?”

“Oh Lord, my wife has fallen into the river!”  The Lord went down into the water and came up with Jennifer Lopez.

“Is this your wife?” the Lord asked.

“Yes,” cried the woodcutter.

The Lord was furious. “You lied! That is an untruth!”

The woodcutter fell to his knees and cried, “Oh, forgive me, Lord. It is a misunderstanding. You see, if I had said ‘no’ to Jennifer Lopez, you would have come up with Angelina Jolie. Then if I also said ‘no’ to her, you would have come up with my wife. Had I then said ‘yes,’ you would have given me all three. Lord, I am a poor man, and am not able to take care of all three wives, and I love my wife such that I don’t want her to share me with anyone, so THAT’S why I said yes to Jennifer Lopez.”

The moral of this story is: Whenever a man lies, it is for a good and honorable reason, and for the benefit of others.. MOSTLY his lady!

That’s our story, and we’re sticking to it..

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Core Doctrines

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United St...

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United States Library of Congress, demonstrating printed pages as a storage medium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Core Doctrines Between the Lines and on the Margins?

May 28, 2013
by: James F. McGrath
Has anyone else ever noticed that conservative Christians of various sorts tend to emphasize things which are either not actually spelled out in the Bible, or which are mentioned in passing or by lone authors and so arguably less than central to the faith and practice of early Christians?
As a New Testament scholar, I am aware that sometimes what is articulated in writings may not represent core beliefs. This is particularly true in letters, which tend to assume a foundation of common assumptions and build thereon. And as a progressive Christian, I do not actually have a problem with Christians adopting a different viewpoint than Biblical authors did – indeed, I think it is necessary!
But if you are going to say that it is important to be “Biblical,” and claim that what you emphasize is what the Bible emphasizes, then you can expect that claim to be scrutinized. And I find it wanting.
One obvious example is the idea that the Earth is young, less than 10,000 years old. Where does that come from? From a non-literal reading of the creation stories by the early church (taking the six days of creation, and a day being like a thousand years in the eyes of the Lord, and putting the two together) and perhaps even more so from adding up the Bible’s genealogies. Why does anyone find it plausible that the church is supposed to come to a core emphasis by adding up genealogies?

We could also consider the doctrine of the Trinity, about which some have claimed in the same conversation that it is an essential doctrine, and that it could not be stated explicitly by the first Christians and so had to be left implicit.
There are many other examples one could mention. For instance, the contemporary focus on homosexuality, which is mentioned in the Bible at most a handful of times, depending on how one understands the passages in question, but certainly not more frequently – despite same-sex relations being more common in ancient Greek society than today. Or the penal substitution view of atonement. Or the Rapture. And I could go on – feel free to continue the list and provide more examples in the comments.
I think it is about time that even those who claim to be conservative, Bible-believing Christians addressed this, never mind the rest of us. Shouldn’t a claim to be “Biblical” or “Bible-believing” be dismissed if what is believed and emphasized are things that are at best read between the lines on the Bible’s pages, or mentioned in passing or in a lone passage, while the things that are mentioned time and time again are neglected

 

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Praying

  • MicHave you ever noticed that Christians speak normally to one another, but when they speak to aloud to God they lapse into a strange language and tone? I call this “prayer-speak” and it’s epidemic in evangelical churches today.

    Prayer-speak is especially prevalent among worship leaders.

    Prayer speak silences men. Guys who might otherwise pray aloud are intimidated because they don’t know the “prayer code.” A guy might be tempted to open his mouth and say, “God, I got a problem.” But he keeps quiet because his oration doesn’t sound holy enough.

    The other problem with prayer-speak is that it makes our prayers sound rather wimpy. Here is a prayer I heard recently from a musician as he closed his first set:

    Dear God, we need you. God, we just need your love. God, we just need your presence.  Father be with us in this time of worship. Lord just send your spirit so that every heart is touched. Father, that no one would go home the same.

    Lord, I just pray that we would run into your arms and seek safety there. Father nothing compares to your love for us.

    Father God we just pray that we would honor you in all we do. Lord, give us boldness to proclaim your word to every nation. Father make us your witnesses unto the ends of the earth. We just pray that your Word would go out into the world and change lives.

    Father we just ask all these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

    Does this sound familiar? You probably heard something like it last Sunday.

    I don’t really have a problem with what the prayer said. It’s how it was said.

    Notice the prayer invoked the name of God twelve times – at the beginning of each sentence. This is just odd. Did Jesus instruct us to repeat God’s name over and over when we pray? When we speak to a flesh-and-blood person do we say their name each time we open our mouths? “Jeremy, thanks for having lunch with me. Jeremy, what will you be ordering? I’m thinking about the tilapia, Jeremy. Jeremy, can you pass the salt?”

    And what’s with the frequent use of the word just? Placing a just before a verb softens it. It gives our prayers the sound of a beggar. Would you just give me a crust of bread, God? Lord, I’m just a miserable sinner, just begging you for some little thing.

    We are God’s sons, not his slaves. John Wesley said, “Storm the Throne of Grace and persevere therein, and mercy will come down.” We should enter his presence with appropriate confidence. The tone of our prayers should reflect our place as God’s beloved children. Jesus was bold and familiar with his Father; we should be too.

    Let’s reimagine the prayer above:

    Lord, in the next hour we’re going to set aside all our worries and burdens and ask you to take care of those. We want to focus on what’s really important, but we’re so easily distracted by things that don’t matter. Forgive us for that.

    We’re a needy people. We are nothing without you and your Spirit. We get beat up by life all week long, and we need this time with you. Thanks for loving us.

    And we know you have a mission for us. You called us to be your witnesses, but we’re scared. We shouldn’t be – but we are. Next time we have an opportunity to speak up for you, fill us with your power.

    We really look forward to this time in your presence. Speak to us now. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

    Feel the difference between the two prayers? They say basically the same things, but the second prayer sounds confident. You feel it in you gut. It’s not repetitive, hesitant or sing-songy. It’s surprising in its candor. It’s not stuffed with the usual churchy phrases.

    Guys, we need to start modeling boldness in prayer. The next time you have an opportunity to pray aloud in a group I challenge you to do three things:

    1. Invoke the name of God once, at the beginning.
    2. Don’t place the word “just” before the verbs.
    3. Speak to God as if he’s a real person. Make your prayer as conversational and “normal” as possible.

    When our prayers sound like real conversation with a real God, more men will join in.

     

    8

    from “Church for Men” – David Murrow

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