27 June 2014

This 'n' That

Some days, you just have to laugh at your circumstances. Those of you who were fans of the show 'Friends' (in your unregenerate days, of course) probably remember this scene:

video

Well, if you swap the smoke alarm for a carbon monoxide detector, you pretty much have life at my house this week.

The device began emitting an excruciatingly loud B-BEEP! a few days ago. It wasn't an actual alarm, but an 'I'm not working properly so I'm going to beep continuously until you fix me' sound. It's hardwired, and doesn't run on battery, so finding a solution was not easy. A call to the property manager proved futile. He managed to stop the beeping for about 36 hours, but as I stood in the kitchen at 6 am on Wednesday morning, it returned…B-BEEP!

No. Just, no.

The property manager's solution? Just cut the wires. Um…am I the only one who thinks this sounds like a bad idea?

B-BEEP!

So what is the solution? Have the manufacturer come out and replace it. Ah, okay. Perfect. Sounds simple enough. When can a technician be here?

July 3.

What? B-BEEP!

In the meantime, reset it every 36 hours when it starts to beep again.

Is this a joke? Am I on candid camera? B-BEEP!

Sigh.

With that, I think the 36 hours are almost up. I better go find the stepladder. While I do that, I hope you enjoy perusing your week in review (kind of):

26 June 2014

Did "Erasing the Bible-study Aspect" of the Alpha Course Contribute to Its Success?

The Alpha Course has been a frequent topic of discussion at Do Not Be Surprised, as we have examined such things as Alpha's doctrine, its ecumenical leanings, and its mystical roots and teaching. Yet Alpha continues to grow in popularity and its leader, Nicky Gumbel, continues to reveal just why it is that Christians should be concerned about Alpha and the influence it wields.
alphausa.org

A 28 May 2014 article in the British GQ magazine highlights the influence Alpha has had in the prisons, and the subsequent effects on the inmates. The lengthy article, entitled "Alpha Males," features several conversion stories about criminals who participated in an Alpha Course while behind bars. Ultimately, however, it is not these personal stories that are of interest. It is what is said by some of the Alpha leadership in this article, particularly Gumbel himself, that reminds and reaffirms just how dangerous the Alpha Course truly is.

The article begins with a detailed account of one man's arrest and imprisonment, and then launches into a general description of the Alpha Course. Explaining how Nicky Gumbel "transformed" the course from its original design, the article states:
Alpha was created at HTB in 1977 as a refresher course in Christianity for lacklustre churchgoers. It was small-scale, and its members were elderly. Thirteen years later, Nicky Gumbel, a Cambridge-educated priest, took charge of Alpha and it transformed. Most importantly, it was re-nosed to appeal particularly to agnostics. Gumbel erased the Bible-study aspect (if you don't believe in the Bible, what good is that?), and the introductory talk on "How can I be sure of my faith?" went the same way. He made its 15 sessions livelier, with guest speakers and music, and he was at pains to ensure it never felt preachy. Greater attention was paid to marketing: it downplayed references to religion, talking instead about "the meaning of life". His instincts were vindicated - and then some. HTB started converting hardened nonbelievers into committed Christians by their thousands. 
(Source)
It seems that the key word in these paragraphs may be "marketing." In other words, appeal to what the people want, even if what they want is for their itching ears to be scratched (2 Tim 4:3). Do they loathe preaching but love catchy music? Check. Religion talk too scary? Drop it. Bible study too boring? Who needs it anyway? After all, a program's success depends on the happiness of its customers, right?

20 June 2014

This 'n' That

This past Sunday was my grandfather's birthday. Or rather, it would have been. He passed away in 2002 just a few days before Christmas. He was 85. It's hard to believe I've lived most of my adult life without my grandpa. I miss him.

Though I remember him with joy, it is admittedly often tearful joy. Grandpa was the one person who thought I could do no wrong. Or at least, he overlooked my wrongdoings more than anyone else! Though he was a professing Christian for most of his life, it was not until toward the end of his life that there was more visible fruit to attest to his salvation. I hope to see him again one day. For now, I am thankful for the earthly time and relationship with my grandfather that was given as a gift to me. And of course, I am grateful for those treasured memories.
These wooden nativities were one of my
favorite things Grandpa and I made together!

Perhaps my favorite memory is the hours that Grandpa and I would spend in his workshop. He was a skilled woodworker and a patient teacher as he guided my hands on the scroll saw. To this day I love to visit Menards for two reasons: 1. It was Grandpa's favorite store, and 2. The smell of sawdust transports me back to that basement workshop. We made a lot of wonderful creations, and a lot of fun memories!

Of course, none of this is intended to diminish the memory of my grandmother, who also would have had a birthday this month. Grandma was quite the cook and baker, and many of my childhood memories of her are filled with reminders of her patience as I clumsily rolled out cookie dough! Still, there is a special bond between grandpas and granddaughters, and for that I am thankful. I've been thinking about my grandpa this week and about what a blessing he was to me. God is good.

Well, thank you for taking a little time to indulge me in my trip down memory lane. While I go dry my eyes, why don't you enjoy your week in review (kind of):

18 June 2014

Jesus Christ, Creator

Photo: NASA
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. (Col 1:15–20)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:1–5)

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. (Heb 1:1–4)

17 June 2014

Beth Moore 'Commissions' 11,000 Women at Unwrap the Bible Conference

The teachings of Beth Moore have been a frequent topic of discussion here at Do Not Be Surprised. This is not due to any animosity harbored toward Moore, but rather the topic has been approached so often out of intense concern for Moore and her many admirers and followers. With every one of these discussions, the primary goal has been to engage Beth Moore’s teachings, and not the person of Beth Moore herself.

Concern has been expressed over Moore’s blatant disobedience to the Word of God as she usurps the role of teacher and willingly teaches mixed audiences despite the commands of 1 Timothy 2:11–12. Several articles also have been featured here that engage the erroneous, and oftentimes dangerous, biblical teachings of Moore. In short, Beth Moore has demonstrated time and again that she cannot properly handle the biblical text. And yet, she is a mentor and teacher to many women who look to her leadership and knowledge as a foundation for their own spiritual walk.

13 June 2014

This 'n' That

This picture scares me, so I thought I would share it.
It always concerns me when I hear people talk about how they selected their church based on what their children liked or wanted. No Compromise Radio featured a discussion on this topic this week and, coincidentally, I just had a short conversation with a woman who said her family is looking for a new church because her daughter wants something with more “energetic” worship. Really? You are going to entrust your soul and your spiritual growth—as well as that of your child—to a church that you chose because its music feel peppy? Parents, you have been given the blessing of raising, teaching, and guiding your children for just a short time. Do not allow the tables to be turned. Do not allow your children —especially your unregenerate children—to become the spiritual leaders of your home. Embrace the great responsibility and calling of parenthood. You would not neglect to feed your children a meal, would you? How much more vital is their spiritual nourishment!

On another note, last weekend was Garage Sale Weekend at my house. I don’t know what your experience is, but I’ve found that garage sales always result in an interesting array of stories. I won’t share all my tales here now. For one, I’d hate to overload you with ridiculousness and two, I need to hold onto those stories for those times when I’m in desperate need of blog fodder. For now, let me just say that the following words came up in various conversations: “anointed,” “healing,” “eyeball,” “knife,” died,” “Heaven.” Actually, now that I think about it, I am extremely grateful that all of those words and topics were not addressed in the same conversation. I think that probably would have driven me over the edge.

Hopefully that little preview will sustain you until I decide to share these, ahem, profound conversations with you. For now, though, I’d say that it’s about time to kick back and enjoy the week in review (kind of):

11 June 2014

Transgender Priest to Preach at Washington National Cathedral

The Washington Times reports:
The most visible Episcopal church in the U.S. is hosting its first openly transgender priest this month.

The Rev. Cameron Partridge is set to give the June 22 sermon at the Washington National Cathedral in Northwest. . . .

Mr. Partridge is the Episcopal chaplain at Boston University and a lecturer and counselor for Episcopal and Anglican students at the Harvard Divinity School. He completed his transition to male in 2001, according to Boston University. . . .

(Source)
The Washington National Cathedral. Photo: Wikimedia
As with most society's promotion of sexual deviancy, Bible-believing Christians ought to remain unsurprised by such announcements. The article goes on to quote Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the cathedral:
We at Washington National Cathedral are striving to send a message of love and affirmation, especially to LGBT youth who suffer daily because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. . . We want to proclaim to them as proudly and unequivocally as we can: Your gender identity is good and your sexual orientation is good because that’s the way that God made you. (Source)
In essence, Rev. Hall is saying that the Lord God lied when He said through the prophet Isaiah,
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isa 5:20)

Joel Osteen Affirms Pope Francis, Wide Gate to Destruction

Christian News Network reports:
Megachurch speaker and author Joel Osteen was among a group of political and religious leaders who met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday.

According to reports, Osteen was part of a delegation organized by the International Foundation in an effort to encourage interfaith relations and ecumenicism. . . .

Osteen told reporters that he believed the pope’s message and focus is one of unity.

“I love the fact that’s he’s made the Church more inclusive,” he said. “Not trying to make it smaller, but to try to make it larger—to take everybody in. So, that just resonates with me.”

(Source)
So, the message of welcoming everybody into the church is one that “resonates” with self-proclaimed Christian pastor Joel Osteen. Yet, is this the message that resonates with God?

06 June 2014

This 'n' That

photo credit: laurabillings via photopin cc
It may be official: I am getting old. I'm becoming one of those people who needs to write down everything before it slips out of my brain into the ether, never to be heard from again. Friday's This 'n' That, and the ponderings included in these opening paragraphs, is the perfect example. Time and again I think of an idea for this weekly post, and 99.8% of that time, I am unable to sit down and cultivate that idea in that moment. So I wait. I 'save' that idea. And then, when I am in front of my computer, I realize that my mind is a complete blank. What was I going to write about again? It was so funny/clever/profound when I thought of it, why can I not remember it now? And so it goes.

It happened again last night. A rather clever (at least, in my feeble opinion) idea occurred to me. "I will remember that," I thought, "no problem." Morning arrived and here I am, completely clueless as to what that idea was. "Perhaps you should write down these ideas," you are thinking. Yes, I should. And oftentimes I do. In fact, the 'notepad' function on my iPhone is filled with random ideas for blog posts. The problem is, I often forget to look back at those notes or (more commonly) I simply cannot decipher where my thought process was headed when I wrote them down. So not only do I need to remember to write things down, I also need to remember to look at those notes later, and I need to remember to write them in a detailed enough manner so that they are not mere nonsensical gibberish when I return to them.

But then, had I made a note of last night's idea, you wouldn't have had these incredibly un-profound, un-inspired, un-interesting paragraphs to read, now would you? You can thank me later. For now, let us get to our very first June week in review (kind of):

'Gay Days' at 'Family-Friendly' Disney

Stand Up for the Truth reports:
Taking the kids to Disney? Many Christian groups have been warning for years that “Gay Days” at the Orlando theme park are not suitable times to take the family to see Mickey Mouse. And if you didn’t know about this annual event, you might not want to support this organization any other time of the year, for that matter.

Why am I sharing this?

1. Because some of you aren’t aware that family-oriented Disney has a much different orientation than you thought.

2. Because I’ve watched in dismay as women who call themselves Christian say they take their kids intentionally during this time because of the cheaper prices and fewer crowds at the kiddie rides.

The Florida Family Association (FFA), which monitors the unofficial celebration, issued their yearly warning.

“FFA spokesman David Caton advises the day to avoid this year is Saturday, June 7. As many as 12,000 homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transvestites will descend on Disney World, he says. Caton further warned followers “they are there not just to enjoy themselves, but to celebrate their lifestyle in front of unsuspecting families who did not know in advance.”

(Source)

04 June 2014

Jesus Does Not Need Social Media to Grow His Church

photo credit: Rosaura Ochoa via photopin cc
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus declared that He would build His Church. Some megachurch pastors might alter that statement slightly, however. For instance, Rick Warren might say that Jesus said, “I will build My Church with the help of annual campaigns.”

Steven Furtick might quote the verse this way: “I will build My Church by the power of Sun Stand Still prayers and audacious faith.”

And finally, based on a 22 May 2014 post on his blog, NewSpring pastor Perry Noble might arrange Matthew 16:18 this way: “I will build My Church with the help of social media.”

This blog post, entitled “Seven Ways to Grow Your Church by Leveraging Social Media,” was compiled by NewSpring’s ‘social media team.’ Who knew that the kingdom could be grown just by a well-worded tweet? Just for fun, let us walk through these seven reasons.

Word Faith Movement to Be Unmasked by Upcoming 'Den of Wolves' Documentary

Next year will see the release of a new documentary exposing the atrocities, heresies, hypocrisies and deceptions of the Word Faith movement. Produced by filmmaker Stephen Melniszyn, Den of Wolves
will dive into the deep and cover the Word of Faith Movement from it’s founding here in Tulsa, to the modern leaders of this heretical movement. No stone will be left unturned as the truth of their lies will be exposed.