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Showing posts from February, 2015

The Apocalypse

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The rise of ISIS seems far away, but our understanding of them is even greater. Graeme Wood writing for The Atlantic does a good job of explaining their motivation. It is a must read. One of the interesting things that he brings forward is that part of the growth of ISIS is motivated by a desire for the apocalypse.
For certain true believers—the kind who long for epic good-versus-evil battles—visions of apocalyptic bloodbaths fulfill a deep psychological need. Of the Islamic State supporters I met, Musa Cerantonio, the Australian, expressed the deepest interest in the apocalypse and how the remaining days of the Islamic State—and the world—might look. Parts of that prediction are original to him, and do not yet have the status of doctrine. But other parts are based on mainstream Sunni sources and appear all over the Islamic State’s propaganda. These include the belief that there will be only 12 legitimate caliphs, and Baghdadi is the eighth; that the armies of Rome will mass to meet t…

Hosea: One Nation under God Indivisible

King David was a man after God's own heart and his rule united Israel. He reigned in Hebron (over Judah) for 7.5 years and then reigned 33 years in Israel (over Israel) (1 Kings 2:11).  The united kingdom of Israel, a foreshadow of things to come, did not last long because of the idolatry of David's son Solomon and the kingdom was divided in two. Solomon's son Rehoboam was given two tribesto rule, and Jeroboam was given ten tribes to rule. But, what purpose did God have in dividing the kingdom?
It seems to me that the purpose of the divided kingdom is to provide a picture of God's redeeming plan for Jews and Gentiles in terms of His kingdom. The ten northern tribes were ruled by Jeroboam, the son of a slave women (1 Kings 11:26), which is similar to the story of Ishmael who was also the son of a slave women (Gal. 4:22). Both of these situations are illustrations of those who are strangers to the covenants of promise: People who have not been shown mercy and are not God…

The Valley of Achor

There I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope (Hos. 2:15).  The story of Israel gives us a picture of the Christian life. It starts of in Egypt, they are tested and sanctified in the Wilderness, and they attain to the promise in Canaan. Similarly, we start off in slavery to sin and are sanctified through the wilderness trials of this life, but at the same time we are already in Christ (Eph. 2:6), the fulfillment of the promise. Our purpose is for our position in Christ to be come our reality. However, there are times when we fail in the Valley of Achor.

Israel fought their first battle against Jericho in the promised land and won, but they lost miserably in their second battle with Ai. Joshua cried out to God concerned that they had come all this way only to be destroyed, but God said, "Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? Israel has sinned." Achan had taken some of the devoted things (Josh. 7:10-12) and hid them in his tent. This brou…

50 Shades of Black

The pornographic movie 50 Shades of Grey is coming out on Valentine's day (Today). It seems inappropriate that it be released on a day associated with love, but it is not a surprise in our current culture.  Actually, it seems rather fitting, the love of most has grown cold. But more inappropriate than that is the fact the some Christians will defend watching it.

PluggedIn.com is a very useful website to determine if a movie is worthwhile to watch, but the fact that someone is watching the movie in the first place is concerning. Paul Asay, who reviewed the movie 50 Shades of Grey, defended his job in a blog post.
And I go in, as I always do, with my little pen flashlight—so I can scribble down pages of semi-legible notes. It’s not very bright, this little light of mine. But in the darkness, every little bit helps. And I hope that my tiny light of a movie review (available now on this site) might lead others to a better, brighter one. Even in some pretty grey places.  God does not c…

Obama goes Medieval on Christians

Barak Obama created an uproar when he compared medieval Christianity to the present day ISIS atrocities. His comments were nothing new, but they brought to light the simplistic understanding that most people have of the time period.
And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. Thomas F. Madden, a professor of medieval history and director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Saint Louis University, addresses Obama's misconceptions about the medieval time period:

Medieval historians have long lamented the gulf between fact and popular perceptions when it comes to these events. The Crusades were not brutal wars of colonial oppression or zealous attempts to spread Christianity by the sword. The First Crusade was called in 1095 by Pope Urban II in response to desperate appeals from the Christians of the Middle East, who had latel…

Assisted Suicide - Navigating life without a steering wheel

The Supreme Court's ruling in Carter v. Canada is yet another indicator that our culture is intent on navigating life without a steering wheel. The fields of Saskatchewan are long gone where the lack of a steering wheel may have be imperceptible, but the rocky mountains will not be so forgiving.
Andrew Coyne of the National Post reports:
In one sense, the decision is narrowly drawn. The Court confined itself to deciding whether the present absolute ban on assisted suicide — the norm in all but a handful of countries, as it has been through most of our history — was “overbroad.” In seeking to protect vulnerable Canadians from abuse, it ruled, the law also caught in its net competent adults who had freely chosen to end their life — or rather, who had invited someone else to end it for them, a hitherto crucial distinction the Court does not trouble itself with. As such, the law encroached upon the right to “life [sic], liberty and security of the person” more than could be justified…

Leaving a Church

See here for the beginning of this story.
I finished eating my food and waited until the time was right so that nobody would notice, then I grabbed my Bible, put on my jacket, and walked out for the last time. It was anticlimactic and not exactly how I thought it would go down. There were no tears or anger, but simply a realization that the time was right. There was nothing else that could be done. January 31, 2015 is the day that I left Cedarview Alliance Church (unless there is repentance).
Cedarview was my home for over 20 years. Many of the people there were instrumental in the transformation of my life. They undoubtably prayed for me cared for me and where there for me. God used Cedarview to shape me into who I am today, and for that I am thankful. However, I have always had serious reservations.
Perhaps the most indelible memory with regards to my reservations occurred at the first church planning meeting I was invited to. I brought my Bible to the meeting, but I never needed t…