Friday, October 31, 2008

Slipknot - Duality [music video]

Happy Halloween!

My mom's birthday

I forgot to mention that we will be driving down to Tucson to celebrate my mom's birthday Sunday. Her actual birthday is Monday but Sunday is the day we are all going to be together to celebrate it with her and other family members. Looking forward to it.


The counseling session

I just wanted to post about the counseling session that we went to yesterday. It was the initial appointment and I can say honestly that the counselor was wonderful, and that it seems to be a great fit. The first half was spent with all three of us, and the last half was just Shannon and the counselor.

We will get through all of this and thanks for all of the encouragement and prayers from friends and family.

Thanks to a friend I am just getting to know better now. We went to lunch yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed the time hanging out and talking to him. When you are in a healthy church, you receive great fellowship, encouragement and true friendship. For that I am thankful. There are even some true friends that worship where I used to and that I still have contact with, and who encourage me. Thanks to you all also.

As I was speaking with my friend at lunch yesterday we talked about small groups. Patty and I attended one, which was good, but it just did not really fit us. I think it was more of a age gap thing than anything else. But I asked my friend what group him and his family went to and it sounds to me like it will be a great fit, so we are going to check it out.

Happy Halloween to all of you. And happy Harvest Day or whatever it is you call it for those that think the day is evil.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Disagreeing Without Dividing by Ted Griffin

Many assemblies today are facing varied winds of possible change. Some traditional points of church life are being questioned, or at least re-evaluated. New methods of witness and worship are being tried. Schedules are being revised to make things a bit easier for time-harassed families.

Not all of us agree on these issues and sub-issues, or even sub-sub-issues. Methods we have found successful, perhaps for many years, are being criticized. Positions we believe to be thoroughly biblical are not seen in the same light by brothers and sisters in Christ. Naturally, we feel compelled to defend our methods and interpretations.

Perhaps others of us, on the other hand, resent what appears to us as intolerance of anything new. We sense a prejudice toward views which fall short of majority acceptance. We resent what we see as a tradition-bound resistance to change.

As born-again, Bible-believing Christians, how should we react to these differences of opinion?

This article is not going to attempt to offer specific answers to every issue confronting assemblies today. Or even to identify such issues. It will not outline methods of discussion or dialogue (though such dialogue is deeply needed). It will urge one attitude for all of us, no matter where we stand. We must, at all times, no matter what the situation, keep loving one another.

Yes, there is a time when some Christians must confront other believers about deviation from truth clearly revealed in the Word of God. Paul was right to criticize Peter's double standard publicly (i.e., in the church). Peter's error could have easily led astray many sincere lambs of Christ.

There is a time for such confrontation. But not all differences of interpretation require a calling to account. And with the wrong timing, such a step--even when needed--can bring much harm.

Christians today need to learn how to disagree, how to teach each other, how to question one another without destroying their fellowship. A difference of views does not need to resemble Paul and Barnabas' dispute over whether John Mark should be given a second chance. That occasion produced "such a sharp disagreement that they parted company" (Acts 15:39).

Christian fellowship should never be sacrificed on an altar of personal argument.

Even when we disagree, or don't quite get along, or see each other as in the wrong, we need to practice the ultimate implication of Christian fellowship--love. None of us has a total grasp on biblical truth; not one of us is always right. Therefore we all need love and understanding.

Jesus said, "All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another" (John 13:35).

"Love is patient, love is kind. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres" (1 Cor. 13:4,7).

It is easy to show love when we are all in agreement, but when we interpret the same inerrant Scriptures differently--that's when we need to love each other the most.

Disagreeing without dividing--that is a challenge many of us face today. Even though we don't see every issue through the same eyes, we can work together in harmony.

The apostle Paul shares words apropos to this situation: "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:2-3).

Humility, gentleness, patience, love, peace--all this grows out of the unity only the Holy Spirit can produce. And only through the Spirit can we face our differences without hurting the Body or bringing dishonor to its Head.

God has placed us in local assemblies where we can serve the Savior, be nourished in our faith and enjoy precious fellowship with our dear brothers and sisters in Christ. None of us wants to disrupt that scene, and we all recognize that we need each other's presence and encouragement. We realize that "the eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you!' and the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don't need you!'" (1 Cor. 12:21).

We need each other. Unity always depends on a true diversity.

We are committed to our individual assemblies and have no intention of "forsaking the assembling of ourselves together." We are prepared to do whatever we can to maintain the assembly's health and efficiency for Christ. As part of this, we must deal with thorny questions in a Christlike way. We must not compromise or accommodate ourselves to worldly thinking.

But it is just as important that we face our differences in love. We must not label the other person as "too progressive," or "too traditional" and automatically assume he or she is guilty of misinterpretation. Rather, we must, in love, take the time to listen, to give the benefit of the doubt and to reconsider our own position.

Are we sure we have not misunderstood the Scriptures?

Disagreement doesn't have to lead to division. But it should lead to open, honest dialogue.

"The greatest of these is love" (1 Cor. 13:13).

Rules cannot take the place of character!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I found this quote over on Pastor Danny's blog that he is finally writing in while he is at St. Stephens University.

My journal entry yesterday: "I'm not sure getting the right answers is as important as asking the right questions. In some ways, getting answers brings an end whereas asking questions is always a beginning, initiating a search. I think this emphasizes the fact that it is the journey and not the destination that is most important. Answers (which I am certainly not against) tend to be destinations and questions tend to be journeys. Arriving at a destination often leads to a sitting down, an end to activity. They (answers) stop the process...unless answers lead to more questions and the destination leads to more journeys."

Quote for the day: "The mystery of the gospel is this: it is always the same (content), and it is always changing (the container). In fact, for the gospel to remain the same, it has to change.The old, old story needs to be told in new, new ways. In fact, one of the ways you know the old, old truths are true is their ability to assume amazing and unfamiliar shapes while remaining themselves and without compromising their integrity." Leonard Sweet Aqua Church

"If you return, I will restore...if you will become..."

So...the journey continues.

The Broken

Found these quotes by Jean Vanier from The Broken over on the Kingdom Grace blog.

The sense of belonging flows from trust: trust is the
gradual acceptance of others as they are with their gifts and their limits,
each one with the call of Jesus. And this leads to the realization that
the body of community is not perfectly whole and cannot be, that
this is our human condition. And it is all right for us to be less than

Helping each other,
growing in trust,
living in thanksgiving,
learning to forgive,
opening up to others,
welcoming them,
and striving to bring peace and hope to our world.

So it is that we come to put down roots in community - not because
it is perfect and wonderful, but because we believe that Jesus called
us together. It is where we belong and are called to grow and to

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What a novel idea

Can't We All Just Get Along?

According to the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, there are more than 550 "interfaith centers" in the United States—many of which have begun since 9/11—dedicated to combining various faiths in the same house of worship. "I wanted to build a church where Christians are not in charge," says one Seventh-day Adventist pastor who leads the Faith House Manhattan in New York. "We wanted to include all the people who have a right to belong and be partners in the discussion, not as outsiders that need to be converted, but as insiders that we need to be interdependent with." Not surprisingly, many interfaith centers are particularly attractive to women. "Interfaith organizations provide opportunities for women's leadership in a way that oftentimes the religious traditions themselves do not, simply because those positions do not need to be sanctioned by any religious head or body," explains Pluralism Project spokeswoman Kathryn Lohre. [Religion News Service, 10/27/08]

USA Today Article by Oliver Thomas

Thanks to my brother Carl for pointing me to this article.

By God, we're right

Part of our challenge stems from the fact that we Americans have an overabundance of self-confidence. So much, in fact, that management guru Marshall Goldsmith reports that 70% of the 50,000 people he has surveyed rank themselves in the top 10% of their peer group. Among doctors, pilots and investment bankers, the number is even higher. Once when Goldsmith told a group of doctors that his "extensive research" had revealed that exactly half of all MDs graduated in the bottom half of their med-school class, two in the audience insisted that this was impossible.

I suspect we read the Bible much the same way. We don't identify with the Egyptians, Babylonians or the multitude of Israelites who worshipped the golden calf. We identify with Abraham and Moses the good guys. Likewise, in the New Testament, we don't identify with the scribes and the Pharisees. And we certainly don't identify with those hated Romans. We identify with Peter, James and John. But like Marshall Goldsmith's overweening physicians, we might be fooling ourselves. Look beneath the surface, and much of what's plaguing the world is what's plaguing us.

For starters, we're greedy. America consumes more than its fair share of most everything: gasoline, food, plastic, you name it. On a personal level, millions of us are overweight, overspent and overleveraged. The subprime mortgage crisis is all about people wanting more than they can afford. And despite greed's appearance on the list of "seven deadly sins" and the Bible's admonishment to refrain from excessive borrowing, the average American carries more than $2,000 in credit-card debt on top of his household mortgage. Collectively, we behave much the same way. The unpaid balance on our national credit card now tops $10 trillion.

Although I hate to admit it, we're also violent. Jesus of Nazareth famously taught his followers to turn the other cheek when confronted with violence, yet the United States remains one of the most violent of the so-called developed nations. I'm not even talking here about our various wars and incursions. We kill one another at an alarming rate. According to the Children's Defense Fund, a child is killed by firearm every three hours in the USA. That's eight a day.

Perhaps the best measure of a nation is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. Here, again, we Americans fall short. Our infant mortality rate is among the highest of the developed nations. According to America's most notable child advocate, Marian Wright Edelman, 9 million of our children lack health insurance. The only time many of these kids see a doctor is in a hospital emergency room.

While we sit there at Starbucks happily drinking our lattes, half the world is getting by on less than $3 a day. And although growing numbers of us are volunteering, our government's efforts overseas are relatively meager when compared with other prosperous nations. Most of the overseas assistance we do provide is military-related and in service of our own strategic goals. In contrast, the Bible time and again admonishes God's people to advance the cause of the poor and to show hospitality to foreigners. Interestingly, nations are also warned not to put their trust in the weapons of war.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


A very good article...long but worth the read.

read it here

Digital Conversion PSA

Are we authoritarian people? People who are authoritarian leaders make a web of deceit.

Always correct
Rule Making
My way or the highway

People who are authoritarian can never be questioned - they blame you for everything, they say that what they are telling you is the correct way and what you hear from anybody else is wrong. If you question their authority, you are no longer allowed into their inner circle and are not allowed to play. If you don't play by their rules, you cannot be their friend anymore.

A long roadtrip completed

I guess you could call me the traveling man. I got back Friday evening from my fall roadtrip to visit all of my weather stations in SW Arizona and SE California. I enjoyed this trip a lot more than previous trips because I was able to take my brand new work vehicle. My old vehicle was a Ford F-350 with a huge storage box on the back. It was a gas guzzler, did not have cruise control, and only had an AM/FM radio in it. This made for long, boring roadtrips where you got no radio reception unless you are fluent in Spanish, and my right leg and foot would cramp up because it was not equipped with cruise control. I inherited this beast of a vehicle from my predecessor, and it was a bitch to drive in the wind too. My new vehicle is a 2008 4WD Dodge Durango with cruise control and a CD player.

I stayed in Parker AZ the first night which is right along the Colorado River. My last stop of the day was at the Parker Dam on the California side. I had to replace an old Cotton Region Shelter there. I had brought a refurbished one with me. While I was taking the old one off of the stand, it slipped out my grip and one of the metal parts sliced my hand open on the palm right under my right index finger on my right hand. That's a helluva way to start a work trip. It bled like crazy, which was actually good I think because it cleaned the wound out better. I cleaned it real good when I got back to the hotel and flushed it out with peroxide. Boy did that feel good. Ouch! It foamed up and burned like hell. Here it is a week later and it looks a lot better, but it keeps opening up every time I open my right hand due to where the cut was located.

I stayed in Blythe CA Tuesday night and hit all of my sites in Eastern Riverside County on Wednesday.

Wednesday and Thursday nights I stayed in Yuma AZ and hit my sites in Imperial County CA and my only remote site in The Kofa Mountains of SW Arizona. It is about 35 miles into the Kofa Mountains off of Highway 95. It is the only location that I need to put the vehicle in 4WD.

A quick story about my trip into the Kofa Mountains. About 20 miles into the area I thought I saw movement about 300 yards to the South. It looked to me like about 15 illegal alien border crossers. When they saw my vehicle they all kind of ducked down and tried to hide behind the mesquite and joshua trees that dominate the terrain. I did not see them at all on my way back out.

I also drove completely around The Salton Sea which is a very unique area. You can read about it in the link. It looks and smells like a toxic waste dump if you ask me. But it was a very interesting area to look at.

I also was able to get the majority of my observers set up with the online weather reporting program which will make everything paperless and easier to maintain and use the data. I conducted a training session on Tuesday and the Hayfield Pumping Plant in CA which was fun.

Overall, the trip was good and I enjoyed getting out and seeing and talking with all of my dedicated volunteer weather observers. They are a large part of the National Climatic Database that supplies the climate info for the area.

While I was gone, Patty's great aunt passed away. It was her dad's aunt and he was very close to her and he was the person that arranged for the funeral services. Also, Patty's stepmom Dee's sister passed away the same week.

Some good news to report though. Remember when I posted about my good friend Barb a few weeks ago? Well the biopsy report came back as negative for cancer and this is fantastic news and an answer to prayer.

I am just now getting caught up on my personal and work email and will now catch up on some of the blogs I follow. I was happy to hear that my friend out in PA, Jeni received the copy of The Shack I sent her. I hope you enjoy it Jeni. Please do a book review with your thoughts on your blog so that I can read about what you thought of the book.

We are going to our first counseling appointment this Thursday for the issue involving my daughter Shannon. Please pray for healing, both physical and emotional. I believe that we will all get through this difficult time. Like I said earlier, I do not know why God allows these things to happen, but they do and we will get through it.

After driving nearly 1500 miles on my work trip, I immediately drove to Tucson Friday evening and spent the night at my cousin's house. I left bright and early Saturday morning to meet with our attorney in Nogales at 9 am and then turned around and came home, arriving about 1 pm. Needless to say, we did not go to church this morning. It's been a long week. I slept really well in my own bed last night too. I do need to go by the church though and drop off some paperwork for the Children's Pastor. We are going to teach the toddlers on one Sunday a month and need to get a background check done. Sad that you have to do that, but in this day and age you need to know who is working with your children.

So tomorrow at work I will have to do my trip report, and that will take up most of my day. I also need to get out to Roosevelt and Bartlett lakes in the next two weeks to make some repairs to some equipment. It's a tough job man, but someones got to do it. It's tough getting out to a lake in AZ in the Fall. Temps in the 80's, a nice warm breeze. Tough I say, really tough.

I need to set a lunch or something up with a friend from church. I'll email him and see if we can hook up this week.

That's all from here folks. Encourage someone and help someone this week. Be kind to all. Even if they are rude and onery. You may not know what that person is going through, and an encouraging and kind word or deed from you may be just what the doctor ordered.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Adapted from Discerning a Healthy Church

Every healthy fellowship will have disagreements, and yet be in unity in the Biblical sense as brothers and sisters in Christ.

In healthy fellowships members commonly maintain friendships when friends leave the group. Abusive fellowships tend to view almost everyone who leaves as a backslider and they view most other Christians as not committed or saved. Healthy fellowships do not consistently tell derogatory stories about those who leave.

In healthy fellowships the leaders prove themselves to be trustworthy in order to be trusted. In abusive fellowships the leaders must be trusted because they are the leaders. To not trust them is to sin.

In healthy fellowships we are admonished to imitate the Christ-like virtues seen in others. In abusive fellowships the leaders are imitated in many more ways than just their virtues. In fact, members take on many of the personal characteristics (personality) of the leaders in a manner that appears unseemly. This is particularly true of those being groomed for "ministry."

In healthy fellowships commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to Apostolic teaching, is absolutely necessary. In abusive fellowships members must be equally committed to the group and to its practices and peculiar beliefs. Some even have members sign "covenant" documents, much like marriage vows.

In healthy fellowships we are exhorted to obey clear Biblical mandates. In abusive fellowships we are exhorted (or pressured) to obey the leaders' opinions --even when our conscience says "no."

In healthy fellowships the confession of sins and "bearing of one another's burdens" is a personal matter that takes place in the context of a larger "family" relationship with other Christians. In abusive fellowships sins are exposed by (or to) leaders and pressure is often applied to confess to the group.

In healthy fellowships secrecy and independence in personal matters -- before God -- are acceptable as long as sins are confessed in private. In abusive fellowships secrecy or independence in personal affairs are scorned, and all areas of life are to be exposed -- even those that do not touch moral issues.

In healthy fellowships we are encouraged to love and bless our enemies. In abusive fellowships showing hatred for our enemies and speaking defamatory of them is acceptable. And often the occasion for "rallying the troops."

Non-abusive leaders rebuke members only for grave public sins, as a last resort (Matthew 18:17). Abusive leaders often publicly rebuke or ostracize members who simply disagree with leaders' opinions. Usually vis-à-vis sermon illustrations or applications, etc.

Non-abusive leaders do not encourage people to leave the fellowships because of differences of opinion. Abusive leaders often assume the right -- unilaterally -- to tell or encourage members who do not agree with leaders' opinions to leave the fellowship.

Non-abusive leaders do not view members as "lacking spiritually" simply because they do not participate in numerous fellowship activities. Abusive leaders view as "spiritually lacking" those who fail to attend most all their fellowship activities. Some even mandate the number of meetings members MUST attend.

Non-abusive leaders do not discourage members from reading information critical about the group. Abusive leaders often control negative information about the group by either discrediting it or by dissuading members not to read it.

Non-abusive leaders do not judge your hearts, but they leave that to God. Abusive leaders constantly judge hearts, motives, and intents. They basically assume -- rather, usurp -- the place of God.

Note: This has been adapted from the pamphlet Discerning A Healthy Church, ©1998 makes me think...a lot.


Beyond Accountability

-control negative feedback of leaders
-squelch legitimate criticism of leadership
-teach people to obey even when they don't feel right about it (thus encouraging people to die to their sense of right and wrong)
-teach that doubts and criticism of leadership equals sin
-teach that all criticism of leadership is probably slanderous, divisive or factious
-cause members to loose jobs, promotions or deter them from school or other goals or family activities
-emphasize Biblical ideas like dying to self in a non-scriptural way
-subtly redefine the meanings of words
-hound on these certain Biblical words almost to the exclusion of other sound Biblical principles
-induce guilt in members so they confess being sorry for not trusting their discipler more
-not tell you that in the Bible trust or loyalty is never used in reference to church leaders
-teach you that unity means that you need to change your opinions to match the groups' instead of constancy of purpose
-teach you that you must only go to leaders in private when you are pointing out error
-encourage the combination of trusting leaders and not criticizing

On the Road Again

Tomorrow I'm hitting the road for my routine inspections of all of my weather sites in SW Arizona and SE California. I'll leave tomorrow morning at 6:30 am and should be back home by 4 pm Friday evening. I love taking these trips because I am out of the office for an entire week and I get to chat and meet with all of my volunteer weather observers. I will also be doing a training session at the Hayfield Pumping Plant in Hayfield CA on Tuesday.

Our family will be meeting with the counselor on Oct 30th. Just pray that healing will take place and that the counselor will give us help in learning to deal with the situation we're dealing with.

Pastor Jack used Romans 8:28 this morning talking about how God makes bad work for good. Something to think about in our situation.

Romans 8 (The Message)

26-28Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

See you all next weekend. Have a blessed week.


Friday, October 17, 2008

The Accused - Hello

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Help, Comfort and Companionship

As I was reading the devotion from Jesus Calling this morning, October 16th, it was exactly what I needed to hear. God's cool like that ya know? I'll share it with you...

Look to Me continually for help, comfort, and companionship. Because I am always by your side, the briefest glance can connect you with Me. When you look to Me for help, it flows freely from My Presence. This recognition of your need for Me, in small matters as well as in large ones, keeps you spiritually alive.

When you need comfort, I love to enfold you in My arms. I enable you not only to feel comforted but also to be a channel through whom I comfort others. Thus you are doubly blessed, because a living channel absorbs some of whatever flows through it.

My constant Companionship is the piece de resistance: the summit of salvation blessings. No matter what losses you experience in your life, no one can take away this glorious gift.

Sarah Young
Jesus Calling - Enjoying Peace in His Presence

Psalm 34:5 (The Message)

5 Look at him; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him.

Psalm 105:4 (The Message)

Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works;
be alert for signs of his presence.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (The Message)

The Rescue

3-5All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.

Alanis Morissette - Uninvited (Live @ Carling Academy Brixton 2008)

Nov 11th Dodge Theater

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Great Sadness

If you read The Shack, you know what it is. I now know all too well about The Great Sadness. I only hope and pray that Papa will guide me in the right direction. I have already given my copy of the book away. But I'm going to get another one and read it again. I know that I will read it with a totally different set of eyes this time, as The Great Sadness is overcoming me.

We have set up counseling for us. I went through my Employee Assistance Program at work. The first place they set us up with couldn't see us until Nov 20th. Un-Freaking-Believable man! I called the counselor and said that we could not wait that long. So now it's set for Oct 30th.

For now though, we'll keep talking to Papa and he will give us comfort and Peace!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Step Down, Be a Servant

This is a very encouraging passage of scripture for me and I hope that those that are battling how to deal with certain abuses of authority in churches can be comforted by this. Peace!

Matthew 23:8-12 (The Message)

8-10"Don't let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don't set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of 'Father'; you have only one Father, and he's in heaven. And don't let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
11-12"Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Alanis Morissette - Uninvited (Live @ Carling Academy Brixton 2008)

Life Goes On

Lots of what I like to call "crap" going on. There is a family situation we are going through that I would not wish on anyone. For privacy purposes, I really cannot mention what it is. But for those that pray, please pray for our family. For those that don't pray, send us some good vibes or kind thoughts or whatever it is you do to lift someone up.

Other stuff is going well. These tend to counter the bad stuff. All I can say is that God will get everyone through it.

I've been meeting with a couple of guys on a regular basis and things are going good there. I'm trying to get together with a guy that I respect a lot to talk through some stuff that is getting at me. We are both pretty busy but we'll probably get together after I get back from my work road trip. Speaking of my road trip...I take off Monday morning the 20th and get back Friday evening the 24th.

I'm going to the Sprint Car Races with my boss Saturday night. Should be a good time and the weather is super nice now so it won't be so hot.

I work days tomorrow and Wednesday and evenings on Thursday. Plus...tomorrow night, one of the interns and I are giving a weather talk to the Emergency Managers in Scottsdale.

Those concerts are coming up in November that I am looking forward to.

I went to get my eye exam today and everything checked out okay. I am going to try contacts again since they are way different than a few years back when I tried them and they always irritated my eyes because of the dryness in Arizona. I hope it works out this time because glasses are a pain in the ass.

Peace! And play nice!

Uncovering Abusive Church Leadership

Uncovering abusive church leadership

Power posturing – this means the leaders spend lots of time focusing on their own authority and reminding others of it. This trait is necessary in an abusive system because their spiritual authority isn’t real or genuine. It must be postured if there is to be any.

Basically, the leader subtly replaces Christ or God over church membership’s individual or collective consciences. Unhealthy, authoritative leadership encourages people to put their leaders on a pedestal. This type of leader is eager to place people under them, under their word, and under their authority.

In a spiritually abusive system, a misplaced sense of loyalty is fostered and even demanded - loyalty not to Christ, but to an organization, group, or leader. Because authority is assumed or legislated, and therefore not real, following must be legislated as well – hence, the doctrine of "FOLLOW-SHIP", advocated by such leaders and their emasculated sycophants.

In a spiritually abusive system, manipulation certainly takes place, especially in the use by leadership of open and public rebukes, public confessions, ridicule of critical or independent thinking, shunning or avoiding dissenters, and even defamation of character and suggestions of failure for those who don’t toe the leadership line.

In abusive church groups control-oriented leaders dictate what members think, although the process is so spiritualized members usually don’t realize what is going on.

A "leader" in this system is viewed as God’s mouthpiece, and, in varying degrees, a member’s decision-making and ability to think for themselves is buried by the group. Pressure to conform and low tolerance for questioning make it difficult for the member to be truly discerning. And, FEAR rules! Disabling FEAR!

A cardinal rule of abusive church leadership is "Don’t ask questions, don’t make waves, just follow for unity’s sake."

To question or exercise critical thinking is labeled as "human reasoning" – sort of a demonizing tactic! And this is enough to provide group leaders with justification for disassociating from a member whom they "mark" as rebellious, unteachable, or disharmonious to the group.

A healthy leadership welcomes even tough questions and they look for ways to strengthen members and their families as oppose to subduing them with guilt or scattering them abroad. Healthy leadership wants questions! It keeps them honest, affords accountability!

So, if you’re on the "out" with your church or religious fringe group you may be asking too many questions. Or, you can remain, if you like being a battered sheep. Your choice!

Something to THINK about, DON’T YOU THINK? Your "leaders" MAY NOT want you to!


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Staind - Zoe Jane (Full Band) **Acoustic**

This song goes out to my beautiful amazing daughter, Shannon.

With Love,

Friday, October 10, 2008

Honest Dialog

It's pretty easy to tell those people who have differences of opinion and want to engage in honest dialog, and those who demand a one-sided conversation to defend their views and mischaracterize mine. I love dialog with the first. I think that fellow believers can disagree about a lot of things and find meaningful and graceful dialog through those differences.

Addictive Personalities

I have an addictive personality. Duh! It took me years to realize that I could not drink alcohol, period! People can be addicted to numerous things, food, sex, porn, drugs, gambling, CHURCH, you name it. The list can go on and on.

I had to admit that I had a problem and I did. I can still remember the day very well. It was Sept 28th 2000. I was healed that day. Haven't touched it since. I have been in prayer about my tobacco use and I believe that God is going to heal me from that addiction as well. I was addicted to Church. Or better stated, addicted to following a leader. Now leaders are good or bad. Don't get me wrong here. But when you don't go with the program they want you to go with and you step aside, and then they refuse to meet with you, that is abuse...plain and simple.

When there is a sin issue, I have no problem with authority. If there is no sin involved, then you have freedom in Christ. I have spoken with many folks whom I respect and I am very comfortable with the decisions I have made. But what makes me the most comfortable, is knowing that I am doing what God wants me to do. That is what counts.

I have helped many people that struggle with addiction. I am working with a few even right now, and thus far, these folks are doing well. I have worked with a couple who have died, literally. They couldn't stop drinking or doing their drug of choice and that took their life. It could have taken mine too.

There are some who I have walked away from because they did not want my help and could not stop. I remember a kid that was a crystal meth addict that I allowed to stay in my house, as long as he held a job and did not use drugs. It lasted three days. It was HIS choice, not mine. I gave him the requirements and he knew the consequences.

To this day, I do not know where he is or if he is even alive. Now I was told once by somebody that what this person is doing to me, is exactly what I did to this kid. How is that even possible?
Because I did not do what this person told me to do? Maybe there are some leaders that are addicted to authority or power. Maybe they should confess their sin as it says in James. "Confess your sins that you may be healed". I thank God I am healed!

There may be more coming on this, we'll see. Until then, be encouraging to somebody.


The Truth about Barack Obama

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Spiritual Authority

I found this quote over on Kingdom Grace's blog.

“The power of authority lies not in the leader but in the follower.
The choice of following a person belongs with you.”

Michael Klassen, Strange Fire, Holy Fire

Lord, make me an instrument
of thy peace; where there is
hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness,
- Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Abuse Policy

Psalm 15 (The Message)

Psalm 15

A David Psalm

1 God, who gets invited to dinner at your place?
How do we get on your guest list?

2 "Walk straight,
act right,
tell the truth.

3-4 "Don't hurt your friend,
don't blame your neighbor;
despise the despicable.

5 "Keep your word even when it costs you,
make an honest living,
never take a bribe.

"You'll never get
if you live like this."

Out of Business

Keith Giles is one of my favorite bloggers and thinks a lot like I do about the church and what it should be today. Here is a link to his post today and I also copied his post in full below. I think he hit this one out of the park. Enjoy!

By Keith Giles

It's time the Church went out of business. Close down the bank account, lay off the pastoral staff, cancel the utilities, sell the building, auction off the sound system and the digital projector and turn out the lights. The Church needs to get out of the business of being in business because it was never intended by its founder to be run like a business in the first place.

The Church as Jesus imagined it has always been a living organism, not a soul-less organization employing a team of spiritual experts. The Church that Jesus died to give birth to isn't a business, it's a family of equals who all love one another in a way the world can only dream of.

If acting like a business prevents us from being the Family God intended, let us joyfully put ourselves out of business and learn what it means to be the Body of Christ in our community. If operating as an organization holds us back from spending time with the neighbors we are commanded to love, then let us resign our pastoral positions and refuse our stipends so that we can share the vibrant love of Jesus with the people living in darkness right next door to us.

Instead of hiring accountants to handle our books, let us join our hands together and walk outside where Jesus always intended His Church to thrive - among the everyday people, the ordinary citizens, the sinners who would never feel at home in our temples.

Instead of investing in retirement plans for pastors, let us get down on our knees and wipe the dirt from the faces of the impoverished children who live in our very own cities, just a few miles from our own doorstep, and let us love them as Jesus would have loved them.

Instead of raising millions of dollars to buy a larger building with giant flat-panel television screens in the rotunda, let us give of ourselves, our time, our talent, our energy, our passion and our very best in order to bring the Kingdom of God to a world that so desperately needs hope.

It's time for the Church to go out of business.

I quit playing Church. I quit going through the motions. I quit pretending to have it all together. I quit the status quo. I quit denominationalism. I quit trying to convert people. I quit.

I begin to be the Church. I begin to take up my cross daily. I begin to relate to humans as another human being. I begin to practice my faith. I begin to put the words of Jesus into practice. I begin learning to love people. I begin.

Let the religious professionals have their tax exemptions and their weekly pastor's lunch meetings and their salaries if that's what they want, but I will not contribute to any of that any longer. I will invest in the lives of the broken, the forgotten and the hungry who live in my community, even in my own Church family. I will work with my hands to support my family. I will treat human beings as human beings, regardless of their denomination, or faith, or lack thereof.

I will surrender my need to be entertained and embrace the uncomfortable silence. I will surrender my comfortable chair and exchange it for a few hours on my knees in prayer for a friend who is dying from cancer. I will surrender my need for a tax write-off and freely share what I have been given with the stranger on the street corner and the family in the motel. I will surrender.

It's time the Church started living like the people of God. It's time the Church started learning what it means to follow Jesus, and how to help others do the same. It's time for the Church to go out of the business of being in business.

Turn that building in to a home for forgotten seniors, or a sanctuary for children dying of cancer or AIDs. Break apart the asphalt parking lot and plow it under to grow affordable food for the families living in poverty downtown. Find a way to use that resource for God's Kingdom and for the people He loves enough to die for instead of allowing it to sit empty between services.

Part of what Jesus was doing on the cross was to provide a quality of life for those who would follow after Him. That quality of life is connected to His vision for His Church.

He died to create a people who would stop meeting in temples in order to be the Temple of God.

He died to create a people who would stop submitting to the man-made authority of an Earthly priest in order to become members of the Priesthood of Believers.

He died to create a people who would stop offering a sacrifice for their sin and start living as sacrifices for the good of others - as loving servants who act as Ambassadors of Christ and His Kingdom.

Why would you trade God's vision of Church for the "sermon and a song" we've made it out to be?

Let the Church get out of the business of being a business and let the Church start being the Church that Jesus intended us to be.

It's time.



The Debate Last Night

So I watched the debate last night. It was actually a waste of my time because they say the exact same things each and every time. Plus, I could not really get into it all that much because I already voted and had my mind made up already. Brokaw was entertaining in trying to keep them both on topic and within the rules that were established by both campaigns. Whoever wins will have a tough job cleaning up the mess that the current administration has made of things.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Five Finger Death Punch- Way of the Fist (clean version)

Alanis Morissette - Thank U


Caution...bad language

Maylene and the Sons of Disaster - Dry the River (full)

Upcoming Concerts

I just realized that I am going to 4 concerts in November.

The first one is on Nov. 3rd featuring a Christian Hardcore band called Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. The lead singer kind of resembles Jesus. I saw them last year when they opened up for Underoath and they absolutely blew me away. This show will be at a tiny club in Tempe called the Clubhouse.

Nov. 9th will be Mudvayne will blow the roof off of my favorite concert barn, The Marquee in Tempe. Mudvayne hails from Peoria IL and they are very heavy, but I still like them. I'm going with a friend from work.

Nov 11th will bring a change of pace for my musical taste as I go see someone I have always wanted to see live, and that is Alanis Morissette from Canada. She'll be performing at the Dodge Theater in Phoenix.

Nov 18th brings Five Finger Death Punch back around in a headlining show at The Marquee in Tempe. A very heavy band that I saw at the Rockstar Mayhem Festival this past summer.

I'll throw up some video of each band, but a word of caution...Mudvayne and Five Finger Death Punch have some rough language, so do not watch if it offends you.


When it is genuine, when it is born of the need to speak, no one can stop the human voice. When denied a mouth, it speaks with the hands or the eyes, or the pores, or anything at all. Because every single one of us has something to say to the others, something that deserves to be celebrated or forgiven by others.
- Eduardo Galeano,
The Book of Embraces

From the Ministry Report

Just as the politics-in-the-pulpit debate escalates, so has the issue of women in leadership roles—particularly within certain church denominations—resurfaced since Republican presidential candidate John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate. A few weeks ago, more than 100 LifeWay Christian Bookstores pulled from its shelves an issue of Gospel Today that featured five female pastors on its cover. Now many Southern Baptist leaders and pastors are facing questions from secular media on how their denomination can endorse a woman for political office but not allow her to lead a church. "There's no disconnect or inconsistency whatsoever," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. "We don't go beyond where the New Testament goes. Public office is neither a church nor a marriage." Added Southern Baptist pastor and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins: "An elected official is not a spiritual leader—and that's what the Scripture speaks to." [Religion News Service, 9/17/08; AP, 10/2/08]

Well of course that's what they have to believe...because the pastor or leader says it is so.

QUOTE: "If they want to express their values, that's fine. I just wish they wouldn't call it Christian, like there's one Christian way to vote." —Greg Boyd, senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minn. [, 10/5/08]

I think this pastor has it right.

Monday, October 06, 2008

I Voted Early

It's official. I already voted and mailed it this morning. I'm sure you can all guess who I voted for.

What may surprise some though is who I voted for for Maricopa County Sheriff. I'll give you a was NOT Joe Arpaio.


Peace and Love

Peace and love are always in us, existing and working, but we are not always in peace and in love.
- Julian of Norwich,
Revelations of Divine Love

The Outworking of Faith

I found this over on Kent's blog Faithfully Dangerous.

I love how Jacques Ellul describes the outworking of faith :

"Faith isolates; belief (Christian or otherwise) brings together. We find ourselves joined with others in the same institutional current, all of us oriented toward the same object of belief, sharing the same ideas, following the same rituals, enrolled in the same organization, be it social or religious, speaking the same language. Belief is quite useful for the smooth functioning of society. Belief is the key to the consensus we look for, the one long proclaimed essential of communal life. Faith works in exactly the opposite way. Faith individualizes; it is always an exclusively personal matter. Faith is the personal relationship with a God who reveals Himself as a person. This God singularizes people, sets them apart, and confers on each an identity comparable to none other. The person who listens to His word is the only one to hear it; he or she is separated from the others, becomes unique, simply because the tie that binds that individual to God is unique, unlike any other, incommunicable, a unique relationship with a unique, absolutely incomparable God. God particularizes, singularizes the person to whom He says, "I call you by your name" (Isa. 45:4). Faith separates people and makes each of them unique. In the Bible "holy" means "separated". To be holy is to be separated from everyone else, to be made unique for the sake of a task that can be accomplished by no one else, which one receives through faith."

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Bruce Springsteen for Obama

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The fights

It turns out that Ken Shamrock was warming up, and took a head butt or something that laid his eye open. The athletic commission in Florida would not allow him to fight. A kid with a UFC rep comes in to fill the bill and knocks Kimbo the F&*# out in 14 seconds. I guess street fighting ain't all that.

A good weekend so far

Patty left Friday morning for Las Vegas and the eye wear convention. She will be back home Sunday evening. Last night I just rented a couple of movies and hung out with the dogs at home.

This morning Jeff came over and textured the ceiling where he patched the crack earlier. He left again to let it dry and then I went to the gym for a kick ass workout. It felt great. Jeff came back over and painted the ceiling where the crack was.

Tonight I'm going to watch the fights featuring the EliteXC fighters. One bout that I am really looking forward to is the Kimbo Slice vs Ken Shamrock fight. Kimbo is an internet legend, taping backyard street fights that he used to make money to support his family. I've seen him fight in the octagon a few times, but usually against inexperienced opponents. Tonight he faces an aging veteran in Mixed Martial Arts who is very experienced, but aged and banged up pretty good. I think that if Ken sticks to a good game plan, he should win with ease. But if he goes in and trys to bang with Kimbo, he may get his bell rung. We'll see what happens. If I had money on this fight, I'd bet on Shamrock.

Tomorrow I'm going to clean the house up a bit before Patty comes home. There is a mess on the stairs where Jeff was doing the work on the ceiling.

I have some very good concerts coming up that I am looking forward to. Going to see Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Alanis Morrisette, Five Finger Death Punch and Mudvayne. All different shows on different nights. I also bought tickets to the Western World Championship Sprint Car races at Manzanita Speedway on Nov. 8th. I'll be attending with Patty, my dad. my Uncle Kerry and his wife Lynn.

I went out with Bryant for lunch yesterday. We had a nice talk about what Papa's doing in our lives and what we could be in prayer about for each other in the next month.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Deftones -

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

700 Freakin' Billion Dollars

A bailout eh? Well instead of bailing out the idiots on Wall Street and all of these corrupt financial institutions, I have an idea. Divide it up amongst all of the tax payers and dish it out equally and let us stimulate the economy!

An update on Barb

I received this email from Barb today...

Hi my dear friends,

I am home this afternoon after spending last night and this morning at Brad's as I continue to rid the anesthetic from my body. The procedure went ok, however, I always get sick afterwards and have finally managed to keep today's lunch down. Surprisingly, the test revealed I have 5 cysts in the pancreas and 2 in the liver. The 2 in the liver and 4 in the pancreas are of no concern at this time. However, 1 in the pancreas contained a nodule and was larger so they did a biopsy on it. Hopefully, I will learn the results in a few days. I'm glad this is over and now know what the situation is. Although waiting for the results is difficult, I'm trying to stay positive and with all the wonderful prayers being said for me, I'm sure I will get good news! I will keep you updated as I learn more.
Thank you my special friends!!


The Signs of an Abusive Church

If you see these signs in a church you attend, run. These are the common signs of abusive churches that are agreed upon by many church leaders.

*There is strong, control-oriented leadership. (Authoritarianism)
*The use of guilt, fear, and intimidation by the leadership to manipulate members and keep them in line.
*Followers led to think that there is no other church quite like theirs, and that God has singled them out for a special purpose.
*Other, more traditional churches are put down as being less “holy” or “religious”. Self-righteous, Arrogant, Prideful attitudes are common (Elitism)
*Subjective experience, especially public or group testimonials (sometimes coached), are encouraged and emphasized.
*Many areas of members’ lives are subject to scrutiny, and the church standards established are usually based upon the life-style adopted by the leader.
*Rules and legalism abound.
*Members not following rules established by the leadership (or threatening exposure of the manipulation and abuse) are often labeled “Reprobates”, “Dupes of Satan”, “Jezebel” or “Bastard Ministries” and are dealt with harshly. They are often talked about in a negative light from the pulpit. Ostracism of former members and excommunication of dissenters are common.
*For members choosing to leave a spiritually abusive church, returning to the realm of normalcy is difficult.
*Oftentimes a spouse will show more loyalty to the church/pastor than to their spouse.
*Oftentimes members of an abusive church will see what is wrong, but “turn the other cheek” out of fear.

If you see this in a church, maybe you should consider moving on.