August 2009

Thankful for our new location and church-house...

CGS:Church-house (Tim) We've been in our new church-house for over a year, now, and I'm grateful to the Lord for several things about our move to this new location and this home He has provided our congregation.

First, I'm grateful He kept us from building on the site where we'd planned and broken ground for a costly architectural beauty. It was to be situated on Bloomington's southeast side where we'd purchased one of the most scenic pieces of real estate within city limits. We'd received the city's approval and seen tossed out of court a lawsuit brought by the wealthy neighbors whose homes were perched on two ridges adjoining our thirty acres of woods, a creek, and a beautiful meadow. Every obstacle seemed to have been cleared.

CGS:Formersite The work of the engineering and architectural firms was largely complete and we'd held our groundbreaking ceremony. Then, the Lord intervened, and within a short time we'd sold the property and purchased new acreage out on the city's west side. Why?

"In pain you will bring forth children..."

To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children (Genesis 3:16a)

(Tim) One mother who recently gave birth to her first child wrote this meditation on the pain of childbirth, woman's curse from our Heavenly Father. Thank God for this mother and every other woman who is not ashamed of her sex, but gives herself to it as an act of faith and courage. How I love and praise God for these women that surround us as we do the work of husbandry in the home, church, and public square! "The woman is the glory of man."

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Thank you ______ for this testimony of motherhood... I had similar thoughts of the "pain in childbirth" part of the curse until this past year.

Even after I realized that the whole pregnancy was included in "childbirth," I think I still thought that once I got through labor and delivery, I would be done with the pain of childbearing. Almost every day, I realize how wrong that is, but I started to learn that lesson in my first days after delivery...

Robert Schindler, RIP...

(Tim, w/thanks to Valerie) This from National Review Online:

Terri Schiavo’s father, Robert Schindler, died last night of apparent heart failure at the age of 72. His health was broken by the ordeal of trying to save his daughter’s life and he never fully recovered from the horror of watching her dehydrate to death.  The family is grieving.  Any condolences can be sent to: Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation, 5562 Central Avenue ~ Suite 2 – St. Petersburg, FL – 33707

When we were serving as witnesses against Terri's judicial murder, we watched Mr. Schindler's quiet dignity as he was obstructed by the civil magistrate at every turn in his work seeking to save his daughter's life. May God have mercy upon him.

"He Who sits in the heavens laughs."

(Tim, w/thanks to Bob) Uwe Siemon-Netto comments on his fellow Lutherans' approval of the ordination of sodomites to pastoral ministry and the tornado many Reformed men are quick to say should not be attributed to any Divine purpose communicating any Divine message. Don't miss it.

Brian McLaren bloviating his shame...

(Tim) Three or four of you have now sent me notification that Emergent Church leader Brian McLaren is observing the Muslim holy days of Ramadan this year. Joining with them in their daily fast/feast cycle, McLaren makes this promise in behalf of himself and all those following him in his folly:

We will seek to avoid being disrespectful or unfaithful to our own faith tradition in our desire to be respectful to the faith tradition of our friends.

Good readers, when you and your pastor start to refer to our only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Only Begotten Son of the Father as "our own faith tradition," your soul is in peril and you need to get out of that church and find a true Christian church where your own soul, as well as that of your wife and children, will be guarded--not sold for fame and fortune. Do it quickly.

But back to His Pomposity: McLaren has a bunch of reasons for turning towards Mecca and he's spreading all of them across the known world. If you think of the Emergent Church leaders as publicity hounds...

It can all be traced back to your daughter's Facebook page...

(Tim, w/thanks to Mark C.) If the truth that God hates divorce is not enough for you, here's something that may stiffen your resolve. A ten-year-old home schooled girl whose parents are divorced has been ordered to go to government school and the order has been approved by Judge Lucinda V. Sadler for this reason:  "(the child's) vigorous defense of her religious beliefs to [her] counselor suggests strongly that she has not had the opportunity to seriously consider any other point of view." Of course, her "religious beliefs" considered by the court to be a threat to her well-being are Christian.

Why are the courts making this decision about a ten-year-old girl?

The macro and micro view of God's glory...

Dragonfly (Tim) Here's a pic of a dragonfly taken in the fields behind our church, yesterday. Our glorious God's handiwork is shown by His universe--and His dragonflies.

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An opportunity for our good readers...

(Tim) Since we're talking about this blog...

Back when I entered the ministry, during the last week of December three months after I arrived, I was heartsick to see the church receiving envelopes from people I'd never heard of containing checks with the notation "Membership Dues."

Of course, they were checks for a niggling amount, but that didn't bother me. Rather, what got me was that they were allowed to be members if they gave ten or twenty-five dollars a year, but never worshiped or served the Lord God Almighty. You can guess changing this became my first commitment, and that's when all the glorious trouble and blessings began...

People who come here, and learn, give us the gift we want most: students of the Word who actually show up when we guard the good deposit, who hunger after the pure milk of the Scriptures. Admittedly, that's not how many think of it, I'm sure. As one of our regular readers commented, yesterday:

The main reason I read this blog ...is to try to understand the rationale for views that seem so very alien to me.

"Very alien," indeed. Where have all the flowers gone, long time a'passing...

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What I forgot to say...

Yesterday, commenting on the mile marker this blog reached in readership, I neglected to say something very important--to pay a large debt David and I owe.

Here on this blog, David and I frequently have expressed our appreciation for those of you who make this blog the repository of your Godly wisdom. Your comments are the reason for the length of time people spend here and the two and a half page views per visit. If I were to start naming names, there would be no end to it, but I can't fail to thank three whose labors are simply outstanding and give us great joy.

Ladies first...

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Thank you...

The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2)

(Tim) I've never written anything about readership, but Sunday we hit a milestone I'd like to note: Baylyblog has passed one million visits (2.5 million page views) and our average visitor spends 4 minutes, 45 seconds with us. RSS feeds stand around 250.

Thank you, dear readers...

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Feeding the 5,000...

(Tim, w/thanks to someone I can't remember) Speaking of numbers and growth and success, another speaker at Acts 29's Lead Pastors Conference in Boulder was church growth brainiac, Ed Stetzer. For about a week, now, I've had an open tab in my Firefox window marking a recent article by Ed summarizing findings of a study he led of today's most sucessful churches. The research, funded by the Southern Baptists' Lifeway Research, is titled, "OUTREACH 100: Largest and Fastest-Growing Churches in America."

Ed introduces his summary this way:

"Joy and purpose and passion and pleasure and enthusiasm and hope and joy..."

(Tim, w/ thanks to Craig) Several years ago at the Acts 29 Lead Pastors Conference in Boulder, I heard Mark Driscoll talk about the irony of being invited to preach in the Crystal Cathedral and being embraced by its founding pastor, Robert Schuller.

Why would they want bad-boy Mark when they know he's going to punch them in the face with the Word, right?

Mark talked to sixty of us or so about how he'd not back down or compromise. He'd give it to them straight and see what happened. Robert Schuller posed no threat to his integrity.

So I was interested to be sent a link to his sermon given this past Lord's Day at the Crystal Cathedral. But before preaching, the prince of positivism, Robert Schuller, did a short interview to elicit Mark's credentials for speaking to his cosseted congregation in behalf of the Holy Spirit:

Robert Schuller: Your church has how many members?

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