SPOOF, Wisconsin (Wire) — Inactive members of a local church expressed alarm and surprise when their elders used a police-style sting operation to draw them out of hiding.
“I’m hurt and embarrassed that our spiritual leaders would resort to subterfuge and chicanery to lure me out of my indifference, sloth and lukewarmness. It’s a real shame,” said one disgruntled alleged member.
When asked to describe their methods, one of the church’s elders said “For example, we intentionally ‘under-edit’ our bulletin, newsletter and emails, and leave a few mistakes. We know that those who are able to resist spiritual discipline can’t resist the urge to correct someone else’s grammar. It gets them every time.”
One member, who admitted that he avoided speaking to elders in the halls and ignored the pastor’s requests to meet for devotions, thought he was on solid theological ground. “Don’t I have the right to use my God-given talents of correcting others while standing in the shadows? Isn’t that a fruit of the Spirit?”
Another member said she couldn’t resist attending a church meeting when she thought that the congregation’s future was at stake. “Why, I just had to go! They said they were going to change the color of the carpet, but when I got there, it was just a prayer meeting. For Pete’s sake, I couldn’t just leave then. I actually had to say things to people. I was mortified.”
The Elders said they have no intention of stopping. “Our next project is to draw in inactive members with the promise of a steak dinner, then surprise them with a spiritual gifts inventory and visits to our shut-ins.”
SPOOF, Wisconsin (Wire) — Local pastor Jim Bob Evans, a recent transplant from the Deep South, says he was surprised to learn that the area was not the locus of spiritual revival, as he was led to believe.
“When I first come up here to give my trial preachin’,” said Evans, “I thought some serious rejuvenatin’ was goin’ on. I kept hearin’ all these radio spots talkin’ about this bein’ the Bible-head capital of the world.”
Through a thick accent and many dropped Gs, Evans told how he misread the spiritual landscape.
“I always say you find where the Spirit’s movin’ and join him there, but I hadn’t heard o’ no Bible-heads before. I just figured it musta been sorta like Bible-thumpers and Jesus freaks, as we say down to the farm. When I heard ’em say the biggest Bible-head business was right here, I was so excited I wanted to cannonball into the baptismal pool.”
Evans found his baptismal frequently frozen, and eventually discovered that he had also been the victim of differences in regional vocal inflection.
“After movin’ all my earthly goods and kin up here to start spreadin’ the good news with the rest of the holy-rollers, I learnt that people talk different, and they weren’t sayin’ Bible-heads at all. They were talkin’ ’bout those dolls with the spring-loaded noggins.”
Apparently the Midwest accent detectable in commercials for a local bobble-head maker led to Evans’ confusion. It remains unclear whether Evans’ congregation is able to understand him through the brogue, or if he is able to order successfully at a drive-thru. Evans nevertheless remains hopeful.
“When you think about it, bobble-heads look like they might be filled with the Spirit, and show more excitement than some church folk.”
The apostle John was taken into a desolate place where his vision guide showed him the real picture of the Harlot, Babylon.
In Revelation, Babylon is the Harlot (Rev. 17-18), who is depicted using her charms and allurements in an attempt to draw people in to her, and away from true delight in and commitment to the Lord.
The Beast represents man’s lust for power, when those who have it use it benefit themselves, and when those who don’t fight to get in in order to benefit themselves. Babylon joins forces with the Beast to undermine God’s plan to draw people to himself by appealing to their desire for power and their lust for pleasure.
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As the subtitle suggests, Sinclair Ferguson here gives a three-part encouragement for Christians to follow Christ by knowing and obeying the Bible.
In Part One, Ferguson gives an explanation of how one can know that the Bible’s writings are God’s revelation, and not merely the product of human imaginings. He also demonstrates why the Bible consists of the books it does, and not other writings.
“He’s a slice of bacon in funky trousers…”
So said one member of a knife-throwing, fire-wielding, stun-gun-juggling act about another member’s thinness, which was much appreciated, given the nature of their repertoire.
There is plenty of cause for weeping in the world today.
Sex trafficking. Abortion. Poverty. Warfare. Disease. Murder.
John wept when it appeared that no one would be able to open the scroll of destiny heaven, and thus set right everything that is wrong in the world.
But he was told to “weep no more; behold the Lion of the Tribe of Judah…” (Revelation 5:5).
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How important, may we not pause to remark, that the ministers of the Gospel — those who stand between the living and the dead — should model their ministry, as closely as they can, after their blessed Lord’s; that they should be careful how they preach — that their preaching should be discriminating without being harsh, pointed without being personal, searching without being caustic; that no hearer should go away from beneath their ministrations, without a faithful delineation of his own character, the voice sounding in his conscience, and following him amid all his windings and wanderings, “Thou art the man.”
Many times we see the world and our lives in it like the traveler lost on the airport tarmac: the chaos on the ground doesn’t encourage him that there will be order in the air.
This is why God gives us a picture of the throne room in Revelation 4 and 5. He wants us to see things from a better vantage point. He wants us to see things from a heavenly perspective.
Here, in the throne room, events on the cosmic stage are no less chaotic, disturbing, and frightening, but in the presence of the throne and the one who occupies it, no one appears anxious.
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People aren’t as free as we think, nor should we be as free as we would like.
This is not a welcome idea in today’s world, or in any world, for that matter. Autonomy and freedom in all areas, the right to choose among many options or to create an option that doesn’t yet exist is taken as the hallmark of human progress and evolution.
But for such an ideal to truly work would require a fundamental transformation of our nature.
Consider a fish.
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Sometimes we’re going to give people fish, sometimes we’re going to teach them to fish, but all the time we want to attempt to introduce them to the Creator of fish.
John Babler, Journal of Biblical Counseling, 18:1.