37 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 7-20-18

  1. And, since it was so late when I posted this last night, I’ll repeat it here — skip on by if you’ve seen it, obviously 🙂

    Ok, here’s our (rather unique?) church story as told by our pastor a few years ago in the denomination’s monthly magazine (in 2 parts):



    Chronicles of a Reforming Church: Part 1: The Transition of the Elders

    Circa 1992, I took a deep breath and set to preaching through the book of Revelation—how difficult could it actually be? I raced along swimmingly for about four or five chapters (really only three) before I was greeted by a conscience-condemning experience right in the pulpit. The convicting episode had to do with me allowing a commentator to have more influence over my opinion than he should have.

    Commentaries are valuable tools. Consulting a commentary is like having a conversation with an erudite scholar holding well-thought-out biblical convictions. But when you get right down to it, it’s still just somebody’s opinion. I was preaching on a passage that I didn’t truly understand. I figured this commentator, since he wrote a book, must have had a better grip on the issue than I, so I just took his word for it.

    I quoted the verse in Revelation and then the commentator for the explanation of the verse. In set the guilt. The commentator’s opinion didn’t make sense when I read it in my study, and it didn’t make sense (at least to me) when I read it from the pulpit. What do you do in the middle of a sermon when confronted with the sad reality that you don’t know what you are talking about?

    I cancelled the rest of the sermon and explained to the congregation the values and dangers of commentaries, using what they had just witnessed as a supreme example (of the danger). I then introduced the closing hymn. Church ended early that day. Sadly, no one complained—at least for a while.

    Within a couple of weeks, a man and his wife approached me, wondering how I couldn’t see how obviously correct the commentator was in his interpretation of the passage. “I’m not saying he’s wrong,” I explained. “I just don’t see how he makes the connection.” The man’s wife responded with a commentary of her own: “That’s because you’re a blockhead!” Granted, but even blockheads are dependent on sound reason—within the boundaries of our limited blockheadedness.

    I didn’t have an alternative opinion—I didn’t even know that one existed. I just didn’t see how the commentator’s statement made sense of the passage. The man and his wife decided that our church needed help, so he made flyers explaining that our church was a cult and I was the cult leader.

    I didn’t like that.

    One of the great side effects of an accusation like this is that it really motivates you to study. There is nothing like being called a cult leader to awaken you from your theological slumber! But since it takes more than a few weeks to master theology, we still needed to deal with the looming accusation of being a cult. …

    … We had an elders’ meeting to discuss the issue. “Brothers,” I submitted, “we’ve been accused of being a cult.” After allowing time for eye rolling and frustrated exhaling, I decided to put a challenge before our elders: “So, how do we know we’re not?”

    There we sat in our elders’ meeting, trying to figure out why we weren’t a cult. We had all been Christians for years. We had degrees from Christian institutions, and some of us had served in full-time Christian ministries, but the answer was not immediately forthcoming. One elder then made a recommendation, something I’d never heard of. “Maybe we should consider becoming confessional.” “Great!” I thought. “He wants us to become Roman Catholic.” Where would we put a confessional? I didn’t know the script. Father Paul? I think not.

    “No,” he explained with great patience, “maybe we should think about studying and adopting one of the ancient confessions—they’re kind of like extended statements of faith, but they’ve been around for hundreds of years, withstanding the scrutiny of the ages. They’re generally utilized as a test of orthodoxy.” He had our attention.

    Somehow we came across G. I. Williamson’s commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a genius to recognize genius. We all recognized the genius of the Westminster Confession. We felt like the Israelites who wept at the reading of the law after the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. There was a collective, “Who’s been hiding this from us?”

    Embarking upon a study of the Westminster Confession of Faith was a rich pursuit for the elders—all of whom felt some of the pain of the cult accusation. We were already Calvinistic with respect to soteriology (salvation), but that was about where our Reformed distinctives ended. …

    …. Our elders were now, for the most part, on the same page. It wasn’t as if we had a thorough understanding of the Confession, but after a couple of years of study, it certainly was assuming a proper place as a secondary standard for us.

    The Rest of the Church

    But what about the rest of the church? Our roots were Foursquare—a charismatic denomination started by Aimee Semple McPherson. We had a couple hundred members (we didn’t really have membership—but if you were in the church directory, you had achieved membership) who might not be as thrilled about this epiphany as the elders.

    Most of our church members, like our elders, had viewed the religious media as their de facto doctrinal authorities. This became apparent to me when I disagreed with a position held by the well-known and highly marketed Kay Arthur. A woman approached me after church to lovingly chastise me for disagreeing. Her words were telling: “Pastor Paul, I think you’re in rebellion.” I was in rebellion against Kay Arthur! There was a huge task ahead of us. How would we go about sharing the rich blessing that we, as elders, had experienced in our recent studies, without decimating the church?

    (This article is the first in a three-part series on the transition of a congregation from the Foursquare Church into the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The author is pastor of Branch of Hope Church in Torrance, Calif. Reprinted from New Horizons, July 2010.)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m back?
    Good morning everyone. I’ve been trying this for ten minutes.
    Something has taken over my computer and replaced my screen saver of Elvera on her honeymoon with rotating images of I don’t know what.
    I don’t know how or why.
    It isn’t an advertisement. That is a sure way of being avoided as a customer.


  3. Chas, are the images scenic, and do you have Windows, and did the program update recently? The default Windows screen saver is of scenic stock photos, and after an update, it will usually revert to the default setting, so you just have to go into Settings and reset the screen saver to what you want.

    My father was asking me this morning if I thought a herbal remedy would be a good idea. I thought not – he is still on anti-clotting medication for one, and the herbal remedy he was thinking of is not for healing wounds. He is anxious to be healed already.

    I am still waiting for definite word on the autumn. The last message I got earlier this week is that they are still working on confirmation. This is getting really suspenseful and time is running out. I need at least a month for for booking tickets, getting supplies, and working out living arrangements. If I cannot go, then I need time to find an apartment in the city, since I gave up the last one.


  4. Preaching from Revelation can be very difficult.
    It depends on where you start.
    And some people can be very obstinate about their stance.
    There are some who don’t believe you are a Christian if you don’t believe in the imminent return of Christ.
    But I knew some Godly professors at Southwestern Seminary who believed that the entire book had to do with the Roman Curia. That Revelation was a historical document.
    Some, me among them, believe that Revelation is a book of prophesy and should be read in the light of the prophesies of Ezekiel and Daniel. However, I believe that the Seven Churches were real churches and that the prophesy obviously starts at Rev. 4:1, where John says “After this……show the things which must be hereafter.”
    People get so taken with theories that they don’t read what the Bible says.

    But there are people who think I’m not a Christian because of what I just said.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Nice action shot of the blue jay by the way. That is some fast shutter speed to catch the wings like that.
    Speaking of cameras, if I go, I would like to have a camera that takes good night shots, since I will be entering the Arctic circle and the closer it gets to December, the longer the days of darkness. My camera’s memory card is caput, so purchasing another is an option (provided I have enough money after necessary expenses are paid). Any suggestions from those of you who know how to buy good cameras?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanx Peter and Phos. But I don’t have any more time to chat now. I have to get TSWITW ready to go to the Adult center.


  7. I enjoyed the Psalm discussion. I was not aware that was a discussion though I had often wondered why we don’t sing the Psalms or more particularly, why I don’t very much. Good to hear that there are many believers who do use them in their worship. More to ponder.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dj, it is interesting to see God working in people, pruning and shaping, to make us what He desires. It can be a little uncomfortable being that person though exciting at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mumsee, do you sing any of these:
    ‘All people that on earth do dwell’ (Psalm 100)
    ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’ (Psalm 23)
    ‘Joy to the world’ (Psalm 98)
    ‘Unto the hills around do I lift up’ (Psalm 121)
    ‘Praise, my soul, the King of heaven’ (Psalm 103)
    ‘O worship the King’ (Psalm 104)
    ‘Praise the Lord who reigns above’ (Psalm 150)
    ‘A mighty fortress is our God’ (Psalm 46)
    ‘O God, our help in ages past’ (Psalm 60)
    ‘I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever’ (Psalm 89:1)
    ‘The spacious firmament on high’ (Psalm 19)
    Those are just the familiar ones found in my favorite hymnal, which just happens to be the one that the city church has in its pews – there are more just in that hymnal which I do not know as well. As I demonstrated last night with ‘Great is Thy faithfulness’, there is more of the Scripture in well-known and well loved hymns than most people realize.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My church has an OT reading, we sing a Psalm, an NT reading, and a Gospel reading. The sermon is gathered from one or all of the readings. We sing other songs. Some I like, some I don’t.
    Many years ago, I had a snobbish attitude about the Pentacostal churches. One I carried mostly into adulthood, then was chastised about it by one of our members here. I went to school with a girl whose father was an Assembly of God minister (the fact he later ran off with the church secretary and let her mother destitute is another story), but at the time I was being a self-righteous brat about speaking in tongues and other things that I had witnessed. That is where I got my saying about wanting a little frosting on my cake or lace on my sweater.
    It has been interesting, disappointing, and encouraging to read the past several days the discussion of church music. As long as we can all agree to the following words, I choose to believe we are of one heart and mind when it comes to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost/Spirit:

    BELIEVE in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:
    And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, And was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried: And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
    And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.

    I also believe that if we do our utmost to live by this commandment we will show the world we are Christians by our love.

    Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith.
    THOU shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Roscuro, I sing some of them at home but only when I am “playing” the piano (you have been here, you know what I mean) because I don’t have any of them memorized. At church, she might take a couple songs from the hymnal and once in a while hits one from your list but most are from their put together song book.


  12. Our former church, after our pastor retired and a couple very conservative elders began to hold sway, went to singing Psalms only which was a difficult transition for many (I like singing the Psalms but not only the Psalms as a steady diet; for mostly other reasons, left around the time that happened to transfer to a local sister church across town in the same presbytery, the one written about in my earlier comment). As Roscuro points out, so many of our hymns are very scriptural and are excellent teaching tools for congregations.

    Revelation — our pastor mentioned recently he still hasn’t attempted going back to try preaching through that entire book. lol But that earlier experience did launch him onto a 2-year personal study that took him to a position (which has strong historical roots in the church) that was quite different than the popular and prevailing (and historically new) dispensational ideas that have taken over parts of the the American church in the past 100 years. As he said, the ideas had become so prevalent that it gave rise to ‘cult’ accusations because the pastor didn’t “conform” (and yet his ultimate position was more in line with the historical church views than our more popular ones today when it comes to the end times).


  13. Last time I attended the catholic church for nephew’s first holy communion, they sang “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”. I wondered if they knew Martin Luther was the author.

    Liked by 7 people

  14. RKessler…oh how I love irony and your post made me laugh.

    Linda, I’m covered. I was christened/sprinkled and dunked. I think twice is enough for anyone. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Yes, we do: “We are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
    Jesus said to his disciples: “Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized” (Mark 10:39).
    The baptism of Jesus Christ was not like John’s baptism: ‘John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire’ (Luke 3:16)
    The baptism of Christ is union with Christ by the seal of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-18, 23; Ephesians 1:13), who applies the work of Jesus Christ to us (Romans 8:9-11). Physical baptism is the outward sign of the baptism of the Spirit (I Peter 3:21). From the London Baptist Confession of Faith (http://www.vor.org/truth/1689/1689bc29.html):
    Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life.


  16. Kim, I can ascribe to the Nicene Creed. The city church last summer did a series on the Apostles’ Creed, showing the Scriptures that were the foundation of that Creed.

    I didn’t grow up saying the Creeds, so my introduction to the Nicene Creed was while studying music history. The textbook had selected examples of different genres of music from each era (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, etc.). The piece of sacred music from the Classical era was by Haydn, the Credo (creed) section from his Lord Nelson Mass, which was so nicknamed because the Mass was performed at a visit of British Admiral Lord Nelson to the court where Haydn was musician. The singing on the recording was done in Latin, but a translation was provided in the textbook, and I was intrigued to read the list of core beliefs that the Catholics declared faith and observe was basically the same as what we believed.
    The Credo from Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass:

    Note. In classical music, Masses are full scale musical productions of the different sections of text that are traditionally sung during a mass; but the classical music productions are used as concert pieces by orchestras and choruses, in the same way as oratorios such as Handel’s Messiah or Mendelssohn’s Elijah are performed for concerts, and seldom, if ever, performed during an actual mass.


  17. Kim, that was just the Credo in the performance – it takes that long to sing the Nicene creed – the textbook noted that someone once asked the Russian composer Shostakovitch why his Credo in a Mass he wrote was so long, and he replied, “There is much to believe”. Hadyn’s Credo is actually relatively short, later composers in the Romantic era drew in out much longer. As for the Mass order in a classical performance, it depends what the mass is for, but the Mass Ordinary (the basic, unchanging part) is: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei

    The Sanctus text is, of course, just the Latin for “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, the whole earth is filled with his glory” (Isaiah 6:3, can also be Revelation 4:8). French Impressionist era composer Gabriel Faure’s ‘Sanctus’ from his Requiem Mass is my favorite rendition:


  18. I took another bag of son’s dirty clothes out to the garbage scow. He has not done his laundry in weeks again, and I decided I am not going to put up with the smell in the house. If he wants them, they will be in the back of the truck unless somebody takes the truck to the dumpster. At which point, they will be in the dumpster if he wants them or if he does not. Last year I took them to church so he could do them in town. Not this year.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Roscuro, I always remembered it as King Cotten Says Go Away. (King was my father-in-law and he was likely to tell someone to go away–It helped me pay the music class I had to take)


  20. I relate to the second cartoon where the guy is saying, “I’m becoming desensitized” to Trump collusion inquiries.
    I see where polls show that less than one percent care.
    I wonder why the medias is so obsessed with this?
    I mostly ignore it.
    I know this belongs on the politics thread, but the comics are here.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Kim, when I studied music theory, to memorize the Circle of Fifths and the order in which sharps or flats are added to the key signature, beginning with C major, my teacher had a mnemonic: for the sharps it was Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle; and for the flats it was Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles’ Father. I have never forgotten that, and if I am transposing something to a different key and momentarily forget the new key signature, the mnemonic puts me back on the right track.


  22. I know this belongs on R&R thread. But that’s not until tomorrow.
    1. 😉 I have Elvera back as my screen saver.

    2. 😦 I have to be careful feeding her chicken because it has lots of small bones. You just don’t think of little details like that.

    Liked by 5 people

  23. a quiet Saturday here. So quiet and peaceful. I will probably go down to school yesterday and work on next weeks plans. It is also nice that we have a three day weekend. next week I will begin tutoring in the afternoons so have to watch the rest of the training videos, tho I have seen them before.


  24. I can’t get anything done. Agents pop into my office at the office. I tried to stay home to get some things done, but Grandpa insists on giving me MiMi time. Lulabelle tries to crawl in the chair to lick the baby. I give up.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. I’m working from home today (no babies and the dogs & cat are all sleeping so it’s just me and the computer and cell phone and mounds of notes and papers on the dining table) — I’m waiting for one last piece of info to finish this weekend story I need to turn in asap and I’ll be done.

    On my afternoon break I washed the kitchen floor. Love the little things you can get done when you’re home.

    And I love my new gate !

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Jo, can you actually do that?

    We have been amused here, in a mean way, but well deserved. The visiting dog likes to chase my chickens and my rabbit. I do not like the visiting dog to do that. I allowed the visiting dog to stay so it is on me.

    The cats are not impressed with the visiting dog, either. She, the visiting dog, stepped too close to the oldest cat the other day and the younger one tore off after her, all asnarl and hot on her tail. The screams and yips of the dog faded off into the distance as we laughed. Well, this time the visiting dog, Blossom, got too close to my chair that I was sitting in and the black cat was sitting under. The cat shot up with a snarl and the other cat lunged from the shrubs and off they went. Blossom leaped on the deck and through my houseplants and off the other side with the cats practically glued to her side. Yipping and shrieking as they roared and spat. And off they all went to the pond as again, the yips faded into the distance. The dog is much more subdued now.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. wow. drama at mumsee’s.

    I’m still waiting for my info, so frustrating — they’re so late and are holding up a whole string of us (me, editor, another person or two in the chain) on a Friday night.


  28. yeah, it would be hard to plan to go in yesterday. However you all are on yesterday!
    Just went to take the back to school letter to a student who just arrived. Now I am going back with some odds and ends of food that they can use. They have five children and the one in Kinder is the oldest. one year old twins are the youngest.


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