Monthly Archives: September 2015

If You Can Make it in Judea

After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. Now the Jews ‘Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” For not even his brothers believed in him. Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee. -John 7:1-9

This passage seems a little odd, why did John put this in here?  I think it’s wonderful and totally applicable to our situation right now. Jesus’ brother basically say to him “hey since you are so smart why don’t you go to the city, the big schools, the big institutions, so you can be recognized” Verse five says that they didn’t believe in him yet they were supposedly encouraging him to enter the big leagues. I think we can conclude that they were being sarcastic. Or they thought some healthy competition would humble him, would shut him up. It also reminds us of another prophet and his brothers, Joseph. It was obvious to everyone that Joseph was very gifted, just like Jesus. Both had more wisdom than they ought. But rather than humbly follow him, Joseph’s brothers tried to kill him. And that might be the case here, as verse one says the Jewish leaders sought to kill him.

I actually get this type of thing a lot. “Why don’t you go to college and get some fancy degrees and then you can change the system from the inside.” “Why don’t you go into politics so you can clean up the system?” “Why don’t you get some fancy titles so people will respect you.” But that’s not the way Jesus changed the world. He destroyed one of the most powerful governments the world has ever seen by dying. He overthrew of of the most corrupt religious systems the world has ever seen by taking twelve disciples and starting the Church.

And that’s the same Church we have today, perhaps even better. We have been around for two thousand years, learning from our mistakes and working the message of the gospel to more and more of the planet. But the down side is that we have that many years of accumulated baggage and heresy. And we have accumulated enemies, within and without. This is not the first time this has happened either. But the faithful Church limps on dramatically reforming the world as it does. The Puritans were in a similar situation, they were being persecuted for holding to the promises of God’s word, and actually living it. They sought to reform the church in England, which after a couple hundred years of Reformation light had become corrupt again. They were not afraid to be pushed out of society, or ostracized, if it meant compromising with the commands of scripture. They held firm and attempted to change the corruption where they were at. Eventually they were pushed to The Continent and then to the New World. But they held firm and after a few generations of faithfulness, they defended their homeland agains the most powerful military force on the planet. They one the right to prove that their faithfulness to the promises of God was superior religion. They were hated for generations, even after most of them passed from the scene. Many today still try to retell the story with the Puritans as the bad guys. “Did you know they outlawed fun?” “They only saw in black an white, color was forbidden.” They burned witches and hate sex, and on and on the lies go. But the reality is that we all benefit to this day from the vibrant work they did.

Sadly that is not the end of the story. God blessed them and all of their posterity for their faithfulness. And as usually happens, in our prosperity we forgot all about him. There were a couple great awakenings and the hard times of the 30’s and 70’s which brought some people back to reality. But we are in dire need of nationwide, worldwide repentance. Christendom is in bad shape. Our knowledge of the Bible is sorely lacking, and the application of what it says is nonexistent. We are the most powerful nation on the planet and the result of our apostasy is that the whole world suffers. There is no justice.

But the solution is not to accumulate titles or to attempt to take over the principalities and powers, the moribund academic and political institutions. The solution is the Church. Not the warm fuzzy cowardly church simply affirming any evil anyone want’s to do while calling it love, but the real Church. A group of people committed to doing what God says, regardless of what anyone or everyone thinks, or will do to them. People who don’t try and find common ground with the world but who walk in the way of the Lord, even when it takes them to paths of war with those who worship other gods. People not consumed with buying stuff or vacations, but with giving their lives for their children, raising up a new generation who only know obedience, and the blessings of being the faithful people of God. Children taught to stand up and fight the dragons of this age, defending the weak and powerless rather than feeding their own lusts. We must abandon the institutions of this world and build a new community from the ground up. Then those facades, will fall apart, just like the religious schools of the Pharisees. We need to stop depending on the handouts and programs from the false god of government for our bread, but instead lean on the Bread of Life. We need to stop relying on the next election to solve our problems, but put our faith in the King of Kings. We need Jesus the Christ, we need to obey him and follow in his work of building the church, twelve men at a time. Only then will we remake the world.

baptism negg

This is the only certification I need. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”

Scheherzade vs. ISIS

God I love the West(I don’t mean MT I mean Western Civilization, an unfortunate and necessary qualification these days). I don’t care what all the not so liberal, liberal professors in the world say or how many young people believe them. This is the rousing spirit that filled my soul as I spend Sunday afternoon with the Bozeman Symphony. I have taken in orchestras from around the world an I must say that they were excellent. The West is the best, and it’s because of Jesus.
John Adams said:

“I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain. “

Scheherazade by Léon Bakst.  In the West we write Symphonies of stories and then paint paintings of them.

Scheherazade by Léon Bakst. In the West we write Symphonies of stories and then paint paintings of them.

And it’s so true; while we sit in awe taking in Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s tribute to the Near East, Scheherazade, the Near East is over they paying tribute to death. They are calling it a civil war which is just what it’s not, it’s a tribal war. The same sort of tribal wars that have been fought all over this planet since it’s creation. Brother killing, brother, or more accurately, half-brother. This was what we, whites, we Caucasians were doing before the incursion of the Gospel. The Nordic and Germanic peoples were tribal barbarians. Wave after wave came down from the north and conquered starting with the fall of Rome. But then the Gospel conquered them all. Oh sure they still fought defensive wars when they had to, like the Crusades. But the Gospel freed them up to pursue the fine arts, as Adams said. Once their hearts were governed by the Gospel, they could form more connections, more relationships with other people, the necessary foundation of any civilization. It’s easier to do business when you can trust your neighbor, when you aren’t busy raising an army to kill him in revenge. When you worship Jesus the Christ instead of Death. And as this order progressed, we built and created instead of conquered. Science, as we know it, was born, and it began to be applied to the physical world and we cured disease and split the atom. When tyrants like George III tried to stop the progress and go back to those tyrannies Americans laid down their lives for their posterity, for us. Adams and many of his contemporaries, left us a world where we are free to listen to the incredible music produced by a symphonic orchestra. Praise be to Jesus!
The only problem is that we are letting it slip away, if not outright kicking it in the gut. We already let the order the British imposed on the Near East, fall apart. And now we are destroying the heart of the West. Europe is mostly gone, they threw out the gospel and replace it with the humanist theories of Communism and Socialism. Now they sit around and do drugs, too apathetic to work or have kids, much less further the arts. And the same trend is coming to America. We become like that which we worship. We worship Jesus the Christ, and so the West had become truly human, ruling and subduing this garden as Adam was meant to do. The founding fathers shared the vision of Revelation, from the Garden of Genesis to the glorified City of John’s vision, a City on a Hill. Don’t let the haters steal your joy in the West. Teach your children to love it. Take them to the Symphony!

Money Talks

 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. James 2:1-9

So, let’s make Donald Trump king. But seriously, I really think we have a problem with this in the church today. We equate physical wealth or success with character or the furthering of the kingdom. The lesson of Scripture is that there are two worlds operating simultaneously. There is the physical world here on earth, the day-to-day happenings. Then there is the spiritual reality, we see this when the curtain is pulled back in books like Revelation. Someone wins the lottery or gets a great job or has a billion dollar idea and the people on earth celebrate. When one sinner repents and follows Jesus, all of heaven celebrates. We need to allow Scripture to tune our perceptions, so that we are celebrating over the right things. This is the brilliant architecture of this world, good is never obvious. Reality is a test. A battle between the word of God, “Don’t eat of the tree.” and our perception “it was pleasant to the eyes.” We are never tricked into good. The Jews of the first century were having a hard time distinguishing military success from Kingdom-of-Heaven success. Today we have a hard time distinguishing business success from Kingdom-of-Heaven success.

curtaincashJames tells us not to give special treatment to someone rich who comes into the church, because that is our tendency, even as Christians. I’ve seen it happen many times. The Evangelical Church has become the Ad agency for the people of Christ. Most of the other important work of living out that faith, has been left up to the government. A small portion of that work is being taken back by parachurch organizations. Unfortunately, often these are run just like a business. And what better way to make your ministry prosper than by appointing wealthy people to your board, or maybe a successful contractor—right before your building project kick-off-drive-event-dinner-thing. I don’t think it applies only to monetary partiality, the same can apply to the beautiful girl put in charge of, like, something, or the guy with the most degrees from the best schools. This is not how it works in the Church.

“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” -I Corinthians 1:27-29

The kingdom of heaven makes no sense on this earth. It’s a barren woman. It’s a dead messiah. It’s a rabble that no CEO would put in charge of anything, but it now rules the world. It was a small segment of Jews who came out of a totally defeated Palestine, to conquer the Roman world, and most of the pagan world. I was made to think about Paul’s thorn in the flesh in a different way recently. Where do you get thorns? In your feet. And so you might limp. Which is the perfect description of the Church, we limp along, spreading the truth and exemplifying humanity before the world in awe, with all their splendor. It reminds you of Jacob wrestling with God, who afterwards always walked with a limp.

The work of Christ’s kingdom is hard. It doesn’t require money, it requires selfless sacrifice, exemplified and passed on. It requires faithfulness, that is believing God’s word over your senses, your worries and fears and all the noise from the world. It means trusting God each day instead of stockpiling mana so you can put your faith in your own accomplishment, your own bank account.

When God appoints people to positions in the New Earth, he doesn’t look at bank accounts. He looks at faithfulness. He looks at character. Did you take the gifts that you have; intellectual, monetary, cultural and use them for others? Or did you just try to accomplish things by the worlds standard? We can do the same in our evaluations, and we should want to as much as we can on this earth. “His will on earth as it is in heaven.” And so we should use Paul’s qualifications for Elders, when we appoint leaders. We should watch people in small matters and if they prove faithful, we should promote them. You don’t just send them to four years of school and then make them the pastor of a mega-church.

Hey lets make the rich guy ruler.  Donald Trump I mean Biff Tannen as king.  Welcome to the Back to the Future dystopia.

Hey lets make the rich guy ruler. Donald Trump I mean Biff Tannen as king. Welcome to Hill Valley.

The roots of these problems, like many things, must be addressed with the next generations. Unfortunately this is where the problem is most accute. Academia is obsessed with money and vocational training, that is, getting more money. The Department of Education and the teacher’s unions take in and waste millions of dollars. They increasingly produce less and less character, as they wield more and more power. How will the next generation learn humble sacrifice when their teachers and administrators are always clambering for more titles and money? It’s sad to see Christian schools attempting to draw in more customers by bragging about thier buildings and ammenities, their wealth. The result will only be to perpetuate the centrality of those things in their community. We need to get back to the core of faith, scripture obeyed in every area of life. Regardless of how the world will look at you. The people may mock you and isolate you, but at some point when the cultural rot bears it’s fruit they will come running. It has happened many times before, but The Church will Limp to Victory.

A Flash

As I trod the streets of earth
Not shod for such as this

To paths I knew not where
By faith he took me there

My feet they became all blood
And I felt like turning back

Or at least a little stop
To rest while callouse form
Or walk on into the distant morn.

Where is an end or a reprieve?
Where is the place I’m meant to be?

Have I lost my way or am
I simply on the path again?

My God my God hast thou forsaken me
You the one upon that tree?

The pain I have and bloody feet
Does not compare to the blood shed by thee.

You took it all, our shame and sin
And made our hearts all new within.

And your Spirit left to guide us now
It peeks through and guides us each somehow.

When your word in bits becomes obedience,
Rewarded with a wink in metaphysical cadence.

And now upon that path to go
Never fearing decisions of faith as made

Though alone and bleeding as by earth
We share his cross and live by heaven unseen
There joy and fellowship without dearth.

Letter to the Editor 9/1/2015

In response to this.

It’s really sad that City Attorney Greg Sullivan doesn’t have anything better to do than harass a private citizen for rebuilding a structure on his own property.  A new and improved structure, which looks just like the old one, which will rake in more tax dollars to pay more government loafers to continue to harass us.  Where is the City when a structure approved by all their red tape fails?  They are nowhere, it’s your problem.  Where is the concern for history as acres of solar panels are plastered about, or when post-modern lego constructs are stuck in historic districts?  They are counting the money.   But we all know it’s not about the final product on the ground, it’s about the City flexing it’s muscles.  They have gotten so enamored with their own power and enforcing the excruciating minutia of their own codes, that they forgot what the law is there for.  Government should be mediating disputes when there are actual disputes.  They should be protecting persons and property, not causing more disputes and stealing our time and money to pay idol lawyers.

Remember that most of the truly historic prizes around Bozeman, were destroyed by the City itself.  Starting with historic City Hall and Opera House, which became a glorious faded mural and vagrant urinal.  Or the Story mansion destroyed for the playground of Willson School.   Or all the other neo-Classical schools, now concrete slabs. Or how about the other Story Mansion, which sits across the street as I type, decaying and costing us a fortune? Down to the two story destroyed next to city hall a matter of months ago.   Homeowner Brian Martin is building, while the city is tearing down.  They tear down the sanctity of private property and the soul of our honest Republic.

 

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 8.49.27 PM