Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Harvest is Ready!!

Luke 10:1 - 9 (NKJV) 1After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.  2Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.  3Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.  4Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road.  5But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’  6And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you.  7And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house.  8Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.  9And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 

As I look at this passage I see Jesus giving wise counsel to the 70 and to us.  People need to feel loved and cared for by us before they will allow us to minister to them. There are things in this  passage that we as a missional people need to do in order to minister to a lost world.  The four things below that end in "lost" were shared with me a number of years ago; by whom I do not remember and for that I am sorry in that I would like to give them credit but as a preacher once told me when I said I might just "steal" his sermon and not give him credit "Give God the credit; it wasn't mine in the first place!"
  1. Bless those who are lost.  Jesus says to " first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ While we may not always be dealing with people who do not know Jesus this practice would still be a wise one.  If the house/person to whom we speak is a brother or sister in Christ then we have blessed a member ofthe family with God's peace and that person may just be in need of that.  If not we have begun the process of bringing a BIGGER blessing to this persons life.
  2. Fellowship with the lost.  At this point you are going "WHAT?"  Jesus says "remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give."  Not only are we to eat and drink what they set before us (O Boy?!?) but we are to live with them!!  I wonder; what that would look like?  Does that mean; going to the places your co-workers go after work?  Going to bars and clubs?  I do not know remember this blog is called "Old Man's Wonderings" for a reason!!
  3. Meet the needs of the lost.  Jesus says that NOW we are ready to start what we call ministry (I think Jesus would say we started at point one but again I think a bit out of the box!) Jesus says "heal the sick there [in  that city]".  I think that feeding the hungry there; clothing the unclothed there; helping the addicted there; would fit here are well
  4. Proclaim the GOOD NEWS WITH the lost.  ". . .say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’".  We may simply say that the reason we have done what we have done is because we love Jesus and Jesus loves them and desire to have a relationship [a friendship] with them.  We might even get a chance to tell them that Jesus is the one in control of our lives and that they could allow Jesus to be in control of their life as well.
There is another thing I see though; most of the church [the Body of Christ] are in the barn [the church building].  How does one cut the harvest when one stays in the barn?

I encourage us to get our sickle sharp and then get out of the barn and go cut the harvest; because as Jesus said "The harvest truly is great . . ."

Friday, November 25, 2011

An atheist gives words of wisdom to us Missional folks!!

This is a good video on how we ought to handle ourselves as missional people.
Penn of "Penn and Teller" make a great point; while I am not in agreement with him on God; his word will make us think about what we do and what we should/need to do.  Thanks to Casey's Critical Thinking for blogging this video.  

The Bible, the internet, the iPod or iPad, nook or kindle and living Missional

Lisa Miller on the CNN Religion blog speaks of the increase in digital Bible apps and how these just might pose a threat to the church as we know it; she says;
Just like the 500-year-old Protestant Reformation, which was aided by the advent of the printing press and which helped give birth to the King James Bible, changes wrought by new technology have the potential to bring down the church as we know it.
This blogger is not sure that this could or will happen yet wonders that if it does is it  bad thing?  If the church "as we know it" is brought down by Bibles on Ipads/Ipods/smartphones, I would have to wonder just what shape the church was in, in the first place?  I do think that this addition to the churches resource base is a good thing.  The Bible on your phone, tablet or whatever devise that is in your pocket will make/give the missional Christian a tool for
  1. Sharing the message of Jesus 
  2. Building up the Body of Christ
  3. Improving one's own relationship with one's God
As the developer of the  Youversion realized as he sat in O'Hara wishing he had his Bible; those with the Bible app will be able to read anywhere anytime they wish.  How can this be a bad thing?

She later  states:
In that vein, digital technology gives users the text, plain and simple, without the interpretive lens of established authorities. And it lets users share interpretations with other non-authorities, like family members, friends and coworkers.
And I ask what is the problem here?  A believer or a seeker, with the Bible, reading and interpreting God's Word?  What a novel idea!  I wish more of my congregations, those I have pastored and the one in which I am now a member, had more members and attenders who were willing to do just this, "read, mark and inwardly digest"1 God's Word.  Then share that "inwardly digested" scripture with "like family members, friends and coworkers"!
With Scripture on iPhones and iPads, believers can bypass constraining religious structures - otherwise known as “church” - in favor of a more individual connection with God.
Well Ms. Miller if this scripture on your iPhone and iPad is what it takes to get you to have a "more individual connection with God" works for me!  We all need a "more individual [personal] connection with God"; that connection is called a Personal Relationship with Jesus!!  If we have that and are REALLY CLOSELY CONNECTED then just maybe we can keep this world from going to hell!  Just maybe, we, the Body of Christ, will, if we are "more individual connection with God", start to take the invitation of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 to heart and we will GO! Make converts!

Just a thought!2 and a old man's wonderings!

1. A saying from one of my favorite Seminary Professors; usually indicating the presence of said material on a test or quiz!
2. A remark commonly made by the Reverend Doctor Arthur Jaggard III; when making an obviously simple point that needed emphasis!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Have an Attitude

Philippians 2:5 - 11 (NKJV) 5Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,  6who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,  7but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  9Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,  10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,  11and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Not long after moving to Southeast Kansas, I had an experience with a rabbit which I will not forget! I was not hunting at the time but I and my wife were returning from a trip to the mall i a larger community.  We saw a pair of rabbits sitting in the road and as we approached I slowed to all them to get off the road.  The smaller of the pair did run into the ditch but the larger rabbit stood her, at least I assume a female, ground.  The rabbit began to jump straight up and in two jumps that rabbit was windshield high; attacking this thing, a 1995 Chev, coming to kill her and her baby.  Now that is an attitude!  This rabbit chose the wrong time to have an attitude but yet I have to respect her attitude of her ability to fight this two ton beast!

This passage calls us to have the same attitude or mindset as Christ.  The attitude is one of while knowing who He was Christ was willing to give up the godhead in order for us to have salvation.

What are you willing to give up so someone can find salvation?  Time?  Money? Reputation?  Position in society?  Your/my pew in church?  The style of worship we prefer?  The way the worship center/sanctuary looks?   For whom are we willing to die?  For what  are you (or I) willing to die?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NCV) 18and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, my pastor; The Reverend Doctor Joe Hyde, used this verse along with the two ahead of it as his text.  He pointed out that we needed to give thanks for the Obvious things; those things that happen every day that we may not think that much about.  We just expect these things to happen; like breathing, getting up, having a job, or a home.  The things that are always there and we do not miss but that we would miss if suddenly those things were missing!  Give thanks for the obscure things.  These are the things that go on around us that we have think about in order to see yet we also take for granted.

The last thing he spoke of were the Objectionable things.  These are the things we spot within seconds of them occurring.  An example he gave was from Corrie Ten Boom's life.  The fleas in the housing of death camps.  This example, for me is the most telling of what the objectionable things can be.  Fleas, make one itch; their bite are annoying and all in all they are a pain to get rid of!  Yet, the fleas for the Ten Boom sisters did a couple of things; without the fleas they would not have been able to keep their Bible; they would not have been able to read their Bible nor could they have lead the Bible studies in the death camp housing.  If you to not know or do not remember the story; the guards were afraid of/did not desire to be infested with the fleas therefore they did not do the greatest search of the prisoner coming in the camp and the guards also did not enter the housing because of the fleas; which meant what went on in the housing for the most part was unseen by the authorities.
As I look at the giving thanks for the Obvious things I see a need to improve.  I do not have a really thankful attitude at 5 or 6 a.m. as I start my work day; I really do not have that thankful of an attitude at most hours some days.  As for the objectionable things, while I do not have to deal with fleas or Nazi Death Camp guards, there are those things in life that are the fleas.  Customers who are a pain; co-workers who are worse than the aformentioned customers!  Days when things just are not going as planned.  Yet those things are there for God to use to shape and change my life. 
A guy I know blogged about John Piper's essay on cancer.  Rev. Piper takes an objectionable thing, cancer, and gives some advice that to me is mind blowing and it will definately expand one's thinking on the "objectionable thing" of life.  I see many things that could replace the word "Cancer" in Piper's booklet!

Monday, November 21, 2011

I have My Rights!!

How many times have we heard those words "I HAVE MY RIGHTS!!"?  We Americans, at least those of us in the United States, like our Rights.  I have heard people say that certain things are our God given rights! 

We have the Declaration of Independence which reads in part:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, . . .
From the Supreme Court discision in Miranda Vs. Arizon (and others) we get "The Miranda Rights" we all hear on police shows and/or heard if arrested or detained by Law enforcement.

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
Have you every thought about our  rights as believers?  I had not really until we started a program at church aimed at a couple of things which I will not go into but the title of the program is "Fresh Start".  One of the devotionals for the week include this passage
Genesis 26:17 - 33 (NCV) 17So Isaac left that place and camped in the Valley of Gerar and lived there.  18Long before this time Abraham had dug many wells, but after he died, the Philistines filled them with dirt. So Isaac dug those wells again and gave them the same names his father had given them.  19Isaac’s servants dug a well in the valley, from which a spring of water flowed.  20But the herdsmen of Gerar argued with them and said, “This water is ours.” So Isaac named that well Argue because they argued with him.  21Then his servants dug another well. When the people also argued about it, Isaac named that well Fight.  22He moved from there and dug another well. No one argued about this one, so he named it Room Enough. Isaac said, “Now the LORD has made room for us, and we will be successful in this land.” 23From there Isaac went to Beersheba.  24The LORD appeared to him that night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Don’t be afraid, because I am with you. I will bless you and give you many descendants because of my servant Abraham.”  25So Isaac built an altar and worshiped the LORD there. He also made a camp there, and his servants dug a well. 26Abimelech came from Gerar to see Isaac. He brought with him Ahuzzath, who advised him, and Phicol, the commander of his army.  27Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to see me? You were my enemy and forced me to leave your country.” 28They answered, “Now we know that the LORD is with you. Let us swear an oath to each other. Let us make an agreement with you  29that since we did not hurt you, you will not hurt us. We were good to you and sent you away in peace. Now the LORD has blessed you.” 30So Isaac prepared food for them, and they all ate and drank.  31Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them away, and they left in peace. 32That day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug, saying, “We found water in that well.”  33So Isaac named it Shibah£ and that city is called Beersheba even now.
This passage gives us an example of our rights; look at verse 18; the wells Isaac was reopening were dug by his Daddy!  By all rights the wells were his by inheritance!  Yet; each time the locals argued that the water was their's Isaac moved on and dug another well again the locals argued that the well was their's and Isaac and his people moved on.  They dug a third well; which they were able to use and keep.  You might at this point be saying "Old man what in the world are you wondering about?  What are you saying?"  

Well let me give you another example from the New Testament!  That would be the example of Jesus.  In the hours before and while on the cross we see Jesus give up his rights to His Godship and His Rights as an inocent person; remember Jesus was WITHOUT SIN!  If you want to see this example read Starting at Matthew 26:47.

Philippians 4:5 Give us another way to look at the idea "Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand." (NKJV)   We are not letting our gentleness be known if we are demanding our rights.  How can you let your gentleness be known in the coming days and months?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Missional Blogs

Thanks to Blind Begger and Brother Maynard and others for the list
I am in the process of verifing and up dateing links --- The Old Man

Brother Maynard has a good idea. He is interested in finding under-rated, under-appreciated, or under-valued emerging/missional blogs. He has started a list and asks that we add a couple of names. I’ve picked up the latest list and added the last four names.

To participate, copy this list into a new post on your own blog, and add the names you have to the bottom of the list, and encourage others to do the same. It could get fairly long, but that’s part of the point — helping us all discover those undervalued blog’s profile. Include these instructions with your post. When you’ve done that, leave a comment at Brother Maynard’s blog so he can keep track of who ends up participating.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thoughts promoted by another blogger about how Christians communicate with Others

I found this while reading the blog HOLY SOUP.  The whole of the post makes sense to me as I have been where Mr. Schultz speaks of the church representative in his post being!  And doing both of the things in lists in his post
Some church representatives react in a couple of common but unproductive ways:
  • They freeze. They seem stunned, bewildered and tongue-tied.
  • They argue. They attempt to dominate the conversation with crushing apologetics.
I have been and have seen other Christian in both of the above situation!  The question is how do we as missional people avoid these two extremes and speak to a world that  is at death's door?

Mr. Schultz gives us some good advise when he blogs:

So, if we care about reaching the community, we need to befriend the community—in meaningful, truly relational ways. Here are some simple ways to start:
  1. Get out of the church building, spend time with non-churched people, and form real, ongoing friendships with them.
  2. Challenge (and train) your members to do the same.
  3. Don’t view non-believers as your projects. Simply be friends.
  4. Listen, with genuine interest, to their views. Without judgment.
  5. Ask good questions. Doug Pollock, author of God Space, advocates “wondering questions,” such as, “I wonder how you came to that belief.”
  6. Earn respect and trust. Then be ready to receive the honest questions from your new friends. This is your chance to share how God works in your life.
The first to are a must if we are to meet those who do not know Jesus.  We the church have been too long hanging out in our big building, "knowing" we have the cure for the eternal death of the world.  All the world needs to do is come in and we will gladly tell them how to live!  Well first they, the world, are not going to, for the most part, come and break down the doors of the church to "find" the answer and the world does not know they NEED our answer!!

Number three is the only way we will ever get a chance to share "our answer, our cure" with the world.  Be their friend; let them see us, the Body of Christ, as normal people (OK as normal as any human can be!) and sooner or later they will ask a question to which Jesus is the answer (See #6).  First though we have to be a friend!!  #4 is like unto #3;  a friend usually does not judge you; is interested in you and your views.  Again the question will come and we can in love share why we would not do or why we do not believe that way and why we do and believe the way we do. 

Back when I was doing my training in Pastoral care and counseling #5 was called active listening.  We were taught to ask open ended questions.  The question(s) posed in #5 are also question that would assist us in non-judgemental responses and that would help us gain insight in to our friends who need Jesus.

We need to be in the world; part of life so we can bring health to those who need healing.  The first healing balm may not be that some one needs a relationship with Jesus (as strange as that may sound).  The first healing balm may be meeting a need for food on the table; clothes on the back; a way out of an abusive life.  As we meet the physical needs sometimes people realize the spiritual needs on their own.

Let us get out among the world and listen to them and find ways to meet their needs.  Physical and spiritual!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Life styles

About two years ago I made a lifestyle change.  The cause was stepping on a bathroom scale and seeing the number "290" appear in bright red numbers.  It was my weight!  I knew I was over weight, I had been ALL MY LIFE!  I had been creeping up for 260 to 265 to 270 from a low of 220 back in the mid 90's.  I had high blood pressure; High cholesterol  and diabetes.  I was literally eating myself to death!  So I made a life style change.  I made up my mind that I would not every DIEt again; instead I realized I needed to go on a LIVE-IT (thank you Richard Simmons for the term).  By that I mean that I would live a life of healthy eating and exercise.  I knew I had to
  1. Eat less
  2. Eat healthy
  3. Move more
Thank you to the person on Bike forum for the above simple but correct statement of a healthy life style.  To a point the change was simple; I began to log on a computer program what I ate, this helped in the area of eating less and the area of eating healthy.  I also started to walk on a daily basis.  The whole change thing is was also hard in that it required time; loging took time (my wife and I think that this is part of the reason a person loses weight!?!) and walking took time (this also helped in the eating less in that I did not have the food in the cupboards at home when I was out walking!!!!)  This lifestyle change is going/has gone well.  I am down to 180-185; most of my health issues are under control; as is my eating habits for the most part.  We will see if the change continues or not!!

As of last Sunday Morning I realized (again) that I have another lifestyle that I chose at around age 16.  That is the lifestyle of missional living; being an ambassor for Christ.

God made it clear that just as God had pointed out that I needed to have a lifestyle in the are of health; I also needed to have a lifestyle of missional living.  That I was called of God to be a missionary to the community in wich I live.  Not because I am an ordained pastor but becasue I am a believer; a follower of Jesus.  You see every person who claims the name Chistian has that call on their life. 

The question I ask myself and that I am asking you is " What are you willing to do with about this call?  We, you and I,  have two choices
  1. Ignore the call of God and DO nothing while a world goes to Hell
  2. Answer the call of God and get about sharing God's love with a world that is going to Hell
Now answering the call is up to us; what are WE GOING TO DO?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

JESUS' Marching Orders

Matthew 28:18 - 20 (NCV) 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All power in heaven and on earth is given to me.  19So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  20Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you, and I will be with you always, even until the end of this age.”

At the church I attend (and am also a member) we have been attempting to find God's mind on what our church, also known as the body of Christ that meets at 17th and Main in a certain community, needs  do to bring God glory.  I have seen a couple of things over the last week.

One is that we need to look at if those outside this group would "Know we are Christians by our love!" Both for those within and outside the group.  At times I am sorry to say that our love within is lacking and therefore OUR love without is not into good of shape either.  As I think about and pray about how we love those outside the group I have to say that we must not be doing a great job in that our rate of converts is not at all that good.  I we believe that the world is going to hell as we say we do and we chose a path that would keep us from going to hell; why would we not want to keep every one from going?  I am as bad as any other within the group about not having the passion to share (read the guts to share) Jesus with a dyeing world.  This leads to the second thing I have seen over the last week.

The second is that of Jesus' Marching Order to the Church; GO! Making converts of everybody!  Why? Because Jesus said; "All power has been given me in heaven and on earth.  This gives the people of God the energy, and ability as well as it should given us the desire to do what we are asked to do.  Jesus told his church to make converts; baptize those converts and then teach them to MAKE CONVERTS!  Jesus even goes on to say that He is with us to the end.  What are we waiting for?  We have the engraved invitation!  Why aren't we as a large group doing what Jesus (and God) has called us to do?  The reason may be we are scared?  We do not know how to make converts?  We may just simply not care!

So; if you have read this far into my non politically correct statements here and you claim to be a follower of Jesus the Messiah; I have one question: "What are you going to do about these orders?

Monday, November 14, 2011

On Being a Sacrifice

Romans 12:1 - 2 (NCV) 1So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship.  2Do not change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.

Romans 12:1 - 2 (NIV) 1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.  2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 As we began the Gun season for deer, a number of years ago, one of the guys, I hunted with lead us in devotion about being a sacrifice.  Truthfully, I did not think much about it that day or any other day sitting in the tree stand.  The idea did drift through but have much impact on me at that time.  Though it did work on me or should I say in me enough I wrote this piece at some point in the past.  (Just found it in a desk draw as I looked for something else.  The funny thing is God is again working on me in the same area; but that will me another post!!)
 The person God used did not use this passage but spoke of the Old Testament sacrifice and how we were called by God to give a sacrifice, ourselves, for thekingdomofGod.  This thought was dealing in me enough that it came out in the Bible Study I was leading as a Pastor of a small Southeast Kansas Church.
 The concept that plagued me was (still is) “What input the Sacrificial animal has in being the sacrifice.”  When I shared this thought with the church during the Bible Study I did so in the form of a question; “what input does the animal have in being the guest of honor?” kind of thing.  The group could not come up with an answer.
 In case you are having the same issue, problem; the animal has NO INPUT!  The animal is chose, set apart to be the sacrifice and then KILLED DEAD!
 God calls us to be a living sacrifice!  Living in the sense, we are still breathing and walking on the earth.  Sacrifice in that we are DEAD to OURSELVES; to OUR wants; to OUR Desires!
 Prayer: Father, we give ourselves to you as a SACRIFICE; willing to be killed dead to ourselves; to our wants to our desires.  LIVING to YOU; to YOUR want; YOUR DESIRES.  Living to share YOU with a world dying in sin.  In Jesus Name --- Amen