I.R.S. to monitor sermons now? Yoohoo, they may be saved!

Read here

If the article linked is true there will be many interesting and rather unexpected results. The immediate one is that some black churches will be hurt the most as they are the ones who invite candidates that not necessarily share their faith,  but promise (and never fulfill) to fight for what African Americans consider to be their issues. However, if this becomes a manner in which Pastors will dedicate their very short time with their congregation to the exposition if the Gospel exclusively, it may not be such a bad thing. The problem is that most pastors who resort to political speech from their pulpits often choose to do so because of their lack of theological preparation to do anything other than to rant on Sunday mornings against issues that are not exactly leading to “eternal life”, and do not pertain to “life and Godliness”.

The poster of the article on Facebook, makes the following pertinent comment, to which I agree:

This whole article is based on the assumption that 501c3 is even necessary for churches. As the author noted but didn’t fully explain, churches are automatically tax exempt. But they don’t need to file for 501c3 status. The disadvantages are they there is not certain “liabilities protection” that come with the 501c3 status since they would not be a “non profit organization.” The other disadvantage is there is no “tax exempt number” to allow the churches to not have to pay sales tax on purchases. Everything else is the same including the right for congregants to deduct their tithes and offerings if they qualify for itemizing on their annual tax returns.”

I decided that my church that I pastored in the past would not apply for a 501(C3) because I felt that the government has no right to “recognize” an organization as a church when the people who congregate together calls their congregation a church; I also believe that the only motivation for a Christian to give to the work of the ministry must be exclusively the love and interest for the work of the ministry. Do not give to my church expecting a tax exempted letter at the end of the fiscal year. I also believe that it is not the role of the government or the I.R.S., or through the I.R.S. or any other governmental organism to police and censor what is said by a group when they decide to assemble enjoying the constitutional right to assemble. So, I have mixed feelings about this measure (if proven true, again I say) since I think that God prompts men to enact certain laws and rules when He feels that it is necessary to keep His people within the boundaries of that which they are called to do. Not everything that man does that appears evil is evil resulting… remember the story of Joseph… but let’s wait and see. What thinketh Thou?

 

my 4th #painting on canvas. Just call me Vincent van No.

I tried to paint a flower – a purple-white lily (real thing) on a black background. I didn’t get very far. So, I painted something else.

The first painting is the black-painted canvas. The second is me attempting to draw a stem. It looked like a wine class. Perhaps it was a sign. Anyway, after a week of looking it, I moved on. I wanted to paint a bridge. I got the inspiration driving north recently. I passed over several of these types of bridges. The final pictures are the progress.

Methinks thou doth protest too much; and against yourself!

There are rampant protests all over the world and commonly they are against Israel. It all happens because of the current events of the Middle East, which one must be living under a rock if, of which, he is still unaware.

A protest, however, is not legitimate when the people fostering, conducting, influencing, and reporting on the protest are the very reason, the very cause, for the events against which they are protesting.

Arabs who are Palestinian haters, Muslims, supporters of Hamas and the destruction of the Nation of Israel are the very cause as to why Israel takes extreme measures to continue to survive as a Nation. To quote Golda Meir: “when the Arabs start loving their children more than the hate the Jews, then there may be peace”. It is clearly a demonstration of the evil of humanity when the cause of the evil protests against that evil he caused as if he blameless. The reports in the major press outlets all over the world, are, on the part of the press, the dissemination of evil and the enabling of those who refuse to receive peace while their enemy is still breathing and functioning as a free nation.

The cycle of violence will continue indefinitely until Hamas and their counterparts decide that it is okay for Israel to exist, and Israel realizes that Palestinians have a full right, unconditional right, to statehood and land, and Arabs, yes, Arabs, and Muslims stop fostering a war between two ethnic groups they hate. If you do not know that many Arabs want to see the end of the Palestinian people, you do not know much!

So, there it is! One does not have to take sides or elaborate too much on the millennial old reasons for this war; one only needs to take a good look at the perpetrators… Once the perpetrators assuage their hatred, war in that area may be something that we will not hear very often. The protesters shown in the international press are often protesting against themselves as enablers of this war!

My 3rd painting on #canvas

I’d like to say that the room is dark so the painting doesn’t come out well on pictures, but to be honest, I wanted to quit halfway through. I had an image in my head of a very lonely, dark room with a very absent chair. Out the window is a nice scene. Across the table someone is sitting. I added a book later on.

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I started with the window because it was the easiest thing to do.

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There is too much brown.

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I really like this color blue.

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I start with the book. I mixed white with tan to give a yellowed looked to the pages.

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book is done. And I added twine to the window – perhaps it is a painting now. Which makes the room all that more depressing.

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and a very boring chair.

A few lessons from this. I don’t like brown. I don’t like visualizing something and painting it, although everything is visualized. But you know what I mean. I want to paint in oil, but I’m not good enough to waste that much money on something I won’t be good enough for.

In the end, I wonder if I should have just left it as the window frame….

2nd #painting, including the actual model… so, be gentle #art

I wanted to do something different with my second painting. Remember, I am not claiming to be a professional, or to know what I am doing – shoot, I don’t even claim to have actual talent. But, it is relaxing and the helps with the writing process (thus far, I mean. I don’t know what’ll it take next week).

This is an attempt at painting Elkins, West Virginia as seen between two mountains (I don’t care what Colorado has, we have real mountains) offer of Hwy 33.

I couldn’t do the buildings because I am, as I stated above, not that talented.

Elkins, WV

I love the scenery traveling throughout WV. This is one of my favorite shots

Elkins painting, 1

I knew what I wanted to do so I started with the sky. No, no Lucy. Or diamonds.

elkins painting 2

the mountains were a fortunate accident. heck, everything I like about this is an accident.

elkins painting 3

sorry for the filter, but the room I have it is is dark with yellow walls. I wanted to highlight the brush strokes – something I rather like. and hate. but like, mostly.

elkins painting 4

here it is.

Jude

Jude 1:1 “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to the ones called in God the Father, having been set apart, and having been kept by Jesus Christ:”

I will admit that I have a special affinity for Jude. I think there is a lot packed into a very short letter and that it is often neglected. My favorite part of Jude though is really the first verse. Jude is introducing himself and actually makes the bold claim that he is a servant of Jesus Christ. Let that sink in. In your introductory line would those be the first words that come to mind? Is that how you would start your letter? Is that how you would identify yourself to anyone for that matter? Would you have both the boldness to proclaim such a thing and the confidence that it was true? I hope so, but I fear most of us would not.

Jude goes on to talk about how he wishes he could write about the common salvation but instead feels the need to encourage people to contend for the faith. He says the hard stuff. He encourages us to do the hard stuff. My understanding of Greek is limited, but I believe that he instructs us to struggle for the faith. Contend is often used in translation as well. Struggle is forceful. Struggle is not a peaceful vocation. It need not, and most often should not, be violent, but it is forceful. It is forceful in the way that Christ was forceful. Forceful in love, in truth and in honesty. It is being willing to say the hard things in the difficult times. It is not for the feint of heart, and and can not be done without the spirit. It is nothing less than the conviction that if the entire world were to push telling you that there was no God and Christ were a myth, that you would stare the world in the eye and say, no, you will move. I know Truth. Would you do this? Would I? I hope so, but I fear not.

So much more great stuff in Jude and I encourage you to read and study it, but I am going to fast forward to the end. Jude 1:24-25 ” Now to Him being able to keep you without stumbling, and to set you before His glory without blemish, with unspeakable joy;  to the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty and might and authority, even now and forever. Amen.” Is this how your letter ends? Are these the thoughts at the end of every conversation and interaction? Don’t we all think “thank God it is over” to much and not “thank God it began” enough? Don’t we try to praise ourselves, and each other for a job well done to often and not God enough? Don’t we often roll our eyes when we hear people give God the credit and be secretly thankful we are not one of “those Christians”? Jude starts by identifying himself as a servant of Jesus and ends by praising God as deserving of glory and, in fact, being the ultimate authority. Is that how your letter would end? Is it how mine would? Perhaps a rewrite is in order for most of us. a rewrite that  follows Jude’s beginning and ending and having a healthy dose of what is in the middle.

 

Can You be a Christian and…

There seems to be an ongoing trend with this sort of article lately. Can you be a Christian and be a homosexual? Can you be a Christian and have a beer? Can you be a Christian and go to fortune tellers? Can you be a Christian and…the list is seemingly endless. These articles seem to have a few things in common. They all mention the necessity of loving each other, they all mention teachings of scripture, they all mention following Jesus, and they all are focused on one particular act, seemingly to the exclusion of all others, that will define you as a Christian or not. Few, if any, seem to mention faith in any substantial way. So my question is can you be a Christian and write an article such as that? Can you be a Christian and suggest someone else is not based upon an action and not upon the grace through faith that scripture lists as our salvation? I don’t know the answer to those questions, but I know the answer to this one…can you be a Christian and not recognize Jesus Christ as savior and sovereign? The answer to that one is no. Perhaps it is in our best interests as Christians to stick to the answer we know without question.

 

an interview with Dr. @CandidaMoss on @theblaze

Dr. Candida Moss, a historian, professor and expert of New Testament and early Christianity whose research and writings often draw the ire of conservatives and liberals alike, recently said that she hasn’t encountered anything in her extensive research that would lead her to abandon faith in a higher power.

via Historian’s Claim About Archaeological Evidence Surrounding the Bible, Jesus and Christianity That Might Stun Atheists | TheBlaze.com.

Give it a listen. Closely.