A digital commonplace for a Regular Guy called Charlie Pharis

Month: October 2004 (page 1 of 3)

Just What You Need…

I don’t care how down I may be, Asleep at the Wheel, playing Bob Wills always, always helps me feel better again…at least for a while! Nothing like a gorgeous fall day with the rake, lawn mower, and Western Swing!

Speaking of Books…

Book-lovers heads up! I just “accidentally” found the All Consuming website. It searches through recently updated blogs and finds books that people are reading or planning to read or have just referenced. At the risk of sounding like Gomer Pyle, I’m just amazed by that concept! Shazam!

BTW, the link is right over there…

Paige Patterson Is Right This Time…

I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye with Dr. Patterson, especially over the last couple of years. But he seems to be right on target in this article.

However, the outcome of the presidential election must not be construed by Christians as either greatly abetting the church of God or as sealing its destruction.

The future of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is not in the hands of political parties, courts or, for that matter, businesses or the military. It resides solely in the hands of a sovereign God who has declared that until the end of the age, �the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.�

Decisions made by voters, politicians, legislators and courts may very well result in serious persecution and difficulties for the church of God or, on the other hand, may provide the freedom of religion that was the most sought-after liberty in the minds and hearts of our founding fathers.

Whichever is the case, the church of our Lord will not be squelched by the machinations of men or the plans of all the demons of hell.

Some Friday Thoughts (At the End of a Long Sick Day�)

I�m tired. And disgusted. And dismayed. And depressed.

�About what?� you might ask. Well, since you might ask, that�s as good as actually asking, so here goes�

I�m tired of politicians � on all sides. I�m tired of the left-leaners getting their bloomers in a bind about the supposed antics of the right-leaners. I�m tired of people criticizing the One Guy for his supposed faith, and then turning right around and canonizing the Other Guy because of his. I�m tired of some people yakking on and on about how Jesus couldn�t be for One Guy, because He wouldn�t appreciate the position One Guy takes. All the while, as they�re criticizing and belittling the �simplistic WWJD kind of faith� of the One Guy, they use their own version of a �simplistic WWJD kind of faith.�

I�m tired of Big Media telling me what to think and how I ought to vote. I�m tired of Big Media slanting their stories one way or the other. I�m tired of the attitude that says, �Don�t confuse me with facts; my mind�s already made up.�

I�m pretty much disgusted by those believers who loudly proclaim that God is not a partisan, and then go on to try to convince me that He really is, after all, on �their� side.

I�m pretty much disgusted by the people on all sides who try to make Their Guy out to be some incarnation of the Lord. I�m disgusted by the blind hatred, especially from those who have elevated themselves to a high and mighty position of supposed enlightenment.

Yes, our allegiance as believers is to the King. But the King has chosen to allow us to live in this time and in this place, and He is pretty clear about His desire that we influence our time and place for the Kingdom. I understand the tension between being a �good believer� and a �good citizen.� I understand that our government officials are not perfect, they are not infallible, and that their actions don�t always match their rhetoric. But I�m also proud to be a citizen of this nation. I believe this �great experiment� in freedom and liberty is a pretty darned good thing, if allowed to function the way it was designed.

I�m not a warmonger. I don�t want to see anybody die � on �our� side or �theirs.� But I realize we live in a fallen, imperfect world, where people, families, and nations don�t always get along. I understand that ignoring bullies only enables them to become worse bullies. I sense that the strong have an obligation to stand up for the weak.

I�m dismayed by the people on all sides who try to say that our government �ought� to be more concerned with one issue or another because that�s the �Jesus� way, while summarily dismissing those who may be just as committed to Jesus, but see a different role for the government. I�m dismayed by those who yell that the government �must� be involved in carrying out the �social agenda� of the Kingdom, while vehemently denying its place in the �moral agenda� of the same Kingdom. And vice versa.

I’m not through ranting. But you’re tired of reading. And I’m tired of thinking about it right now. There may be more to come…

New Goodies…

I’ve been on a book-buying binge over the last couple of days. I had some birthday cash and gift cards left over, so I put it all to good use. A quick list of some of the new acquisitions…

Rex Miller, The Millennium Matrix
Donald Miller, Searching for God Knows What
Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy
Mark Driscoll, The Radical Reformission
Andy Stanley, et al, 7 Practices of Effective Ministry
Christopher Moore, The Stupidest Angel

And today, I picked up Reggie McNeal’s The Present Future. I started scanning through it as I waited for an appointment, and I was amazed to discover about ten great thought-provoking quotes in about 10-12 minutes or so. The two I’m chewing on right now…

“[The church growth movement] introduced a concern for growth and a missiological approach to church. Unfortunately, it fell victim to an idolatry as old as the Tower of Babel, the belief that we are the architects of the work of God. As a result, we have the best churches man can build, but are still waiting for the church that only God can get credit for.”

And this one…

“The North American church culture is not spiritual enough to reach our culture.”

BTW, everyone’s favorite Canadian, Jordon Cooper, is blogging the whole McNeal book!

I Hang Out with Rednecks…

OK, I have a confession to make: I hang out with rednecks.

Redneck Pastors, that is. It’s a group of guys that I “met” online, mostly in the Pastors Forums over at pastors.com. I’m older than every one of those guys. They are either church planters or pastors of new and “contemporary” churches. They are doing some tremendous things for the Kingdom of God in their locations.

When we meet face-to-face, it’s usually over a not-so-healthy but very enjoyable meal, in places like here, here, here, and especially here.

We always laugh – a lot! We catch up on the latest scoop. We solve the world’s problems. We chide and challenge each other. We bounce goofy ideas off of each other. Did I mention that we laugh – a lot? Sometimes we even get serious. Usually I listen more than I talk. These guys are creative, wise, real, and full of…, well, good ideas!

One thing is for sure. I always, always leave these get-togethers having been encouraged. I always have something new to think about. I hang out with these guys because I love to be a part of their dreams. I love to see their eyes light up and hear them talk about what God is doing with them, in them, and through them.

Nothing I’m doing is as cutting-edge or exciting as what these guys do. I guess in that respect, I’m kind of like the fifth wheel. But they let me hang around, and I’m blessed because they do.

Everybody needs somebody or somebodies with whom they can just hang out, even if it’s only every now and then.

Thanks, Andrew, Gary, Tony, Ken! And thanks to the “sometime Rednecks” Brian, Rob, and David! You guys are on my mind and in my prayers today.