Tuesday, February 27, 2007

So many of us need it. I know I do. As a very small child I learned what we called the Our Father ( Ah Fathah) and lots of people call it the Lord's Prayer, as indeed it is, the disciples asked and so he taught, "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." It is a funny thing with Christians. When I say that I am sorry, I was wrong for opening my mouth and putting my foot in it. The response is often, "that's ok." Well, no, it is not ok. When I am saying I am truly sorry, I am asking for forgiveness. It leaves me to wonder, do these brothers and sisters in Christ forgive me or do they reserve the right to hold it against me?
Because I did not grow up learning about the exchange of confession of sin and a loving response through forgiveness, Dan and I set out to help our children in this area. When you do wrong to your brother or sister, you don't just say, "sorry" with a pouty face, instead you say, "I am sorry I hit you with my teddy bear." We had them name their sin and then the response was, "I forgive you." Once when the girls were very small, Grace told Katie that she had to forgive her or God wasn't going to forgive Katie for 2 weeks. We still laugh about that one.
So, it puzzles me. I fall short and find myself sinning against the ones I love and I make myself vulnerable, name my sin and apologize but the ones who are called ministers of reconciliation don't verbally forgive me and are content with a trite "that's ok." (IT IS NOT OK) It doesn't console me that my side of the street is clean. I decided that I needed to look up some scriptures concerning this issue,
Matthew 6
14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Mark 11

25And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."[a]

Luke 6
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

I don't want my beloved left in an unforgiven state any more than I want to be left there. Going over this post with one of my children, I realized that for someone to say, "I forgive you." is admitting that my sin hurt you and that is a vulnerable place to be. The thing is, that when someone is willing to complete this relational exchange by being that vulnerable it makes the friendship stronger and the love deeper.

This post is dedicated to my dear friend CK.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

My piece of the Cross
A young woman at the age of 21(we will call her Cathy) who for 18 months had events in her life that were not of her own choosing and she knew it, she could not deny it but she did not want to acknowledge that it was the work of Another on her behalf. She found herself in a spiritual pond swimming but never getting anywhere and the water was drying up. The mud sucked her feet to the ground and she found herself upon her knees, her best efforts could not keep her from falling and then not by power or might but by the Spirit she was lifted up and delivered to solid ground.
Prior to this happening, Cathy engaged in arguments that went something like this,
"you walked to the doctor" Cathy said, and her friend responded, "but God gave me my legs to take me there."
"But you decided to go" Cathy refuted and continued with, "it was your decision to seek help."
"It was God's grace that enabled me." stated her friend.
"You have to take some credit." Cathy pleaded.
"I'd rather not. God is the One who gets the credit in my book."

Determined, self-sufficient and grateful to be alive, I thought that I deserved some credit and when Jesus Christ invaded my heart when I had just come of age, I wanted a piece of the cross too. Couldn't I just etched my initials down at the bottom, no one will notice, it won't take away what Jesus did on the cross for my sin. I didn't realize that Jesus with His own blood had written my name in the Lamb's book of Life before one drop was shed on the cross. How could this be? I'm not making sense. The blood can not be used to write unless it is first spilt. In our human purely physical world that would be true but in God's kingdom, He being God, can do as He wishes. The gospel is not a menu or a newspaper, (give me the sports section, who cares who the Romans put to death today). It is the good news that Jesus came as an atoning sacrifice for our sins, to set free the captives, bring about a holy people for His Father's Glory. Jesus is The Way to Eternal Life. Are you dead in your sins and trespasses? There is only One is raises the dead.

I started out writing this blog to make a link to Monergism with the thought that either God's grace completely saves us or that we had something to do with it. That is what made me immediately think, I want my name in the credits when the story of my life ends or more simply I want my piece of the cross. Realizing that my life is now hid with Christ and I want Him to get all the glory for all that can be called good in my life.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention."
Sir Francis Bacon
English author, courtier, & philosopher (1561 - 1626)
This is one of my favorite quotes about the reading of books. It is quite possible that we could get most of our belongings into one of our vehicle if we had no books. I don't know exactly how many books we have with us but I think I would be safe in saying more than a third of our boxes when everything is packed are books. (part of my problem is I continue to accumulate but rarely discard - books.)

We do not own an XBox?# or ipods (I think that is simply a yet in this family of music enthusiasts) or one thousand movies but we own a number of books. I am not saying owning the other things are wrong or evil - things are not evil in and of themselves.

Our Lord was the Word made flesh, God spoke the world into existence with a word. A love of words is not unusual for beings made in the image of God who was the Word, with the Word . . .and that this one book, the Bible which has survived down through the ages. Perhaps not in its purest form but never the less delivering the truth and being made known to the peoples of the world. The Bible is the inspired Word of God and it is one of my favorite books. Am I blessed with more than one copy? Yes. I can't seem to part with my duct tape bible that I have had for almost 20 years now. It holds part of the history of my personal spiritual journey. In the book of Acts in chapter 14 there is a place where my pen exploded in a young marrieds sunday school class. In that particular class, I grew a lot. It was one of the hardest and best lessons of all.

Currently reading, a book by my daughter Grace wrote during Nanowrimo called "Life." It is excellent.
Also reading:

Saturday, February 10, 2007

"forcing tactics can only do damage, perhaps incalculable damage, to men's souls . . . Evangelism must rather be conceived as a long-term enterprise of patient teaching and instruction, in which God's servants seek simply to be faithful in delivering the gospel message and applying it to human lives, and leave it to God's Spirit to draw men to faith through this message in his own way and at his own speed"( A Quest For Godliness , 164).

--JI Packer


"At the center of every culture is a cultus, a form of worship. Suffice it to say that the Great Commission requires us to disciple, baptize, and teach obedience to all the ethnoi, all the nations of men. This means that robust evangelism cannot be done without challenging the gods of the system. While we must not despise the day of small beginnings, and must labor faithfully in the little things, we must not be distracted from the ultimate mission and goal, getting diverted into picking off the devil's stragglers, and going off with them to build an isolated evangelical ghetto. Evangelism is combat between the gods, that is, between the living and triune God of the Bible and the idols of the age. Evangelism is therefore religious war at the highest level."

--Douglas Wilson

“If sinners be dammed, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one GO there UNWARNED and UNPRAYED for.”
--C. H. Spurgeon

The basis of missionary appeals is the authority of Jesus Christ, not the needs of the heathen. We are apt to look upon Our Lord as One Who assists us in our enterprises for God. Our Lord puts Himself as the absolute sovereign supreme Lord over His disciples. He does not say the heathen will be lost if we do not go; He simply says - "Go ye therefore and teach all nations." Go on the revelation of My sovereignty; teach and preach out of a living experience of Me.
--Oswald Chambers

"The poor quality of Christian that grows out of our modern evangelistic meeting may be accounted for by the absence of real repentance accompanying the initial spiritual experience of the converts. And the absence of repentance is the result of an inadequate view of sin and sinfulness held by those who present themselves in the inquiry room. " (A. W. Tozer)

"Somebody said once that evangelism, true evangelism, is only this—one beggar telling another beggar how to find bread. There’s nothing that should make me boastful about my faith. I recognize that my faith is a result of the grace of God. And so we must understand that when we’re talking to people, we’re called to be gracious and kind. The fruit of the Spirit that the New Testament calls us to exhibit includes gentleness, meekness, patience, and love. That’s the spirit in which we are called to communicate to people. "

--R.C. Sproul

Those are the thoughts of some men who have (or had) made preaching the gospel their lifework. I would contend that Christians are expected to share their faith, preach the gospel: evangelize. Like I said in one of my previous posts, the results are in God's hands. It is more about planting and watering seeds and leaving the growth up to God; that is his business (my paraphrase of 1st Corinthians 3).

We don't want to water down the gospel (IE leave out that part about sin). The truth is to be spoken in love. One of the hardest truths to swallow is wanting all the people to be saved, and facing the reality that not all will be. Get to know your audience and speak their language so that they can understand what you are getting at is also important for us to do. Just because we know that the gospel is offense to some does not mean that we are to be offensive in presenting it.

2Corinthians 2;15 & 16

"For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Apostles' Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord;

who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, dead, and buried;

he descended into hell;

the third day he rose again from the dead;

he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;

from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost;

the holy catholic Church;

the communion of saints;

the forgiveness of sins;

the resurrection of the body;

and the life everlasting. AMEN.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Walking through a mind field
Do you ever feel like you spend your day walking through a mind field and you just keep setting off bombs and getting blown off course? That is exactly how I felt today. Just when I thought I was back on course, I set off another bomb. We live in a fallen world, an imperfect world. This use to be a real problem.
Today, there is something that I have to accept - forgiveness. When I react wrongly to the "bombs" I need to admit that I have sinned and that I am in need of forgiveness. No this is not a new lesson. One that I just seem to need to keep learning again and again. It was only bomb number 2 that my daughter said to me, "now you said you were sorry and we forgave you, now let it go." If I am not mistaken, those were my words to her when she was quite a bit younger. WOW, do these words come back to you via your young adults??
I have survived the day and I am going to retire knowing that the Lord will continue to lead and guide me through tomorrow.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Decaffeinated Truth
Yesterday I wrote:
"Since the church is being used as the tool of evangelism, the truth of the gospel and the truth of God's Word has been watered down and Evangelism has been reduced to a sales' pitch."

What is the truth of the gospel?
1Corinthians 1;18 "For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
Paul continues:
21"For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached tosave those who believe.22For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;23but we preach Christ crucified,to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."
Basically, it is crazy, the Message (a paraphrase) calls it "sheer silliness." I would say that biblically, the gospel is that Jesus Christ was crucified, died, buried and was resurrected. Finishing the work of Redemption for the salvation of His people.
However, the "Jesus loves you and He wants to make your life a blessing and you will receive many blessings if you just put your faith and trust in Him" (you will get what you want) message is at best a half truth. It is the decaffeinated gospel.
We want the whole truth (we being those of us who have been adopted by God the Father). Paul says we preached Christ crucified. Many say that love was the motivating factor of Christ being crucified and dying for the sins of the world. But Jesus had a different motivation: In John 12 Jesus said, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified." John 17, "Father the hour has come, glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You" The more I read through the gospels the more I see that the primary motivator was for God's glory. How would He glorify His Father? By paying the penalty of our sins, providing New Life for those who were dead in their transgressions, by being the first to be born from the dead.
This does not take away from the Love of Christ. He even says that "greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15;13 When asked what is the greatest commandment? How did Jesus answer?
"You shall Love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22;37-39
One of the sales pitches I have heard is "if you were the only person on earth, Jesus would have died for you. He loves you that much." I don't think that we can find anything in the Bible lines us with that thought. If you can please let me know. This me focused message is not sustaining or life giving.

What do we need with the gospel anyway? There is a need. Man is sinful in his core. There is no way for man to rescue himself from sin and death. First we need to believe that we are dead spiritual. Ephesians 2 says it perfectly especially verses 4 & 5 "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved.)" We are doomed we'll never make it without the power of God.
In most of the modern American Evangelical Churches (MAEC) you don't hear that. I would say on balance MAEC say look at the gifts, blessings, benefits that Christ has to offer you. Your life will turn around 180%, all you have to do is accept Christ and you will be on your way. It is a self-centered, selfish decaf. gospel. Everyone wants to "be blessed" but not everyone wants the Blesser. Romans 3 says, "there is none who seeks for God"

So where is the hope? For those who believe our hope is in God and that He is the keeper of His promises.

*Disclaimer about the book: I have not read this book but I was going for the caffeine look ;-)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Evangelism does NOT equal salesmanship

Evangelism does NOT equal salesmanship. Let me say that again, Evangelism does NOT equal salesmanship. We don't need to beg and plead for someone to come to Christ (and that is what this guy is doing in a video I watched online today). The Lord said, when I am lifted up I will draw all men to Myself. We are to lift Him up! Preach the gospel! The good news is that we were dead in our transgression on the fast train to hell but then CHRIST came to bring good news to the afflicted, to proclaim liberty to captives, to bind up the brokenhearted. To demonstrate the mercy and loving kindness of God.
Today in the van we talked about what is the purpose of the church (the visible church). What we observe in the American church at large is that the church is the tool of evangelism instead of a fellowship of like minded believers where we can sharpen our tools, gain strength from one another, encouragement and healing for those of us who already call God their Father. Then we are sent out to GO and preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Since the church is being used as the tool of evangelism, the truth of the gospel and the truth of God's Word has been watered down and Evangelism has been reduced to a sales' pitch. "Imagine God loves you so much that He sent His own Son to die for you, it is as if God is getting down on one knee and asking you to accept Him and all you have to say is I do." This is a close paraphrase. Isn't this man reducing God to the ways of man? Remember what Jesus reminded Nicodemus just as Moses lifted up the Serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.
Let's not reduce the Creator of the Universe down to a man size God. Who wants to love, serve, honor and glorify someone like that? Not me. He is a Mighty God, fully just and fully loving, our Abba Father (daddy), Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Redeemer.
At this point are you wanting the link to the website. Before I do give that to you, I do want to say that I agree with quite a bit of it. It was the sales pitch that turned me off. The site www.juststopandthink.com

I will clearly admit that a lot of evangelists are charismatic and persuasive and for the most part I believe the Lord uses those abilities to preach the gospel but again it is the Holy Spirit who does the Work and brings about the results. It is not the salesman (excuse me) the evangelist closing the deal (getting a response via the alter call). The alter call I believe is also used by the Lord. The Lord uses His children to call His other children to Himself. I believe that we are or have the ability to be in the delivery room and get to help in the birthing process of someone being born again. It is an exciting place to be, an honor.
Tomorrow I will continue these thoughts on evangelism.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

No more babies
Tomorrow my youngest child will turn 14. It is really hitting me today. My oldest is taking steps to her next adventure that may mean leaving home soon. Our three children are very close in age 17,15,and 14 and I am so blessed. No there is nothing new under the sun. Babies are born, become toddlers, children and at present teenagers or young adults, soon to be adults.
A while ago I had a conversation with a friend of mine who does not believe that your adult children can become your friends. I totally 100% disagree with that sentiment. I am looking forward to being great friends with our young people. Those friendships are already beginning to blossom with our oldest and the other 2 are not far behind. Investing in these relationships I believe is going to be very rewarding.

Happy Birthday Michael!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Do any of you ever watch This Old House? I was getting ready for bed Thursday night when one of my children knocked on the door and announce, "Mom, Dad is watching TOH!" I didn't responded but quickly hurried up and made my way to the living room (which is just outside my bedroom door) praying that he was actually watching and not about to change the channel. Dan was watching!! Yay!! www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/
If you know anything about TOH, you know that it is produced and most of the time shot in the greater Boston area. The guys on the show, Norm, Tom, Richard and Roger, they make me feel at home. I can close my eyes and still get the feeling. I would say by fah(far) Rogah (Roger) has the best Boston accent. Tom would run a close second.
The projects are awesome and on ocassion, I will think "nice neighborhood" or "someday, perhaps a place like that" but for the most paht watching the show just reminds me of where I come from and it makes me wahm all ovah.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Did you know that the Mullaneys actually do math and science? We don't spend all our time writing, reading, researching, speaking and debating. It has been an interesting week. My children are back into some other studies while still keeping up with their forensics. So our home has been fairly quiet with each of them off on their own being self-educated. Isn't that what home education is all about - developing life long learners? We certainly think so ;-)

On the other hand, our trip to the library yesterday was anything but quiet. There were these girls who had the giggles, you know the kind where you know that you should stop (they were in the library after all) but just can't. Then there were the unusual announcements about the surveillance system and how whoever is making the prank 911 calls from the pay phone better cut it out because the police will have the opportunity to review the tapes. Then the log in for the Internet was down and they were working on bringing it back up. As we related this story to Dan this evening Michael remarked, "The Millhopper library is not a very quiet one."