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Trip Around the Sun

 

47 of 52 – Faith Tabernacle – El Norte Parkway at Ash.

Have traveled about 528,000,000 miles - 5 weeks to finish the Trip Around the Sun.

"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices." Voltaire wrote in 1767

Response:

How can we actually believe that it was perfectly ok for Abraham to be willing to kill his son?

Have we believed an absurdity – that a loving God would test faith in this way?

 

I think I found the list of sayings the Church of Christ is using on the sign in front. Several of these have been there – usually stay about a month each.

1. Give God what's right -- not what's left.

2. Man's way leads to a hopeless end -- God's way leads to an endless hope.

3. A lot of kneeling will keep you in good standing.

4. He who kneels before God can stand before anyone.

5. In the sentence of life, the devil may be a comma--but never let him be
the period.

6. Don't put a question mark where God puts a period.

7. Are you wrinkled with burden? Come to the church for a face-lift.

8. When praying, don't give God instructions - just report for duty.

9. Don't wait for six strong men to take you to church.

10. We don't change God's message -- His message changes us.

11. The church is prayer-conditioned.

12. When God ordains, He sustains.

13. WARNING: Exposure to the Son may prevent burning.

14. Plan ahead -- It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.

15. Most people want to serve God, but only in an advisory position.

16. Suffering from truth decay? Brush up on your Bible.

17. Exercise daily -- walk with the Lord.

18. Never give the devil a ride -- he will always want to drive.

19. Nothing else ruins the truth like stretching it.

20. Compassion is difficult to give away because it keeps coming back.

21. He who angers you controls you.

22. Worry is the darkroom in which negatives can develop.

23. Give Satan an inch & he'll be a ruler.

24. Be ye fishers of men -- you catch them & He'll clean them.

25. God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

26. Read the Bible -- It will scare the hell out of you.

The one that is up now is not in this list: “It’s not about you; It’s about God.”

“From now on, there will be no more American Cheese in France,” declared French Foreign Ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau. “Instead, it will be called ‘Gross, Stupid Cheese.’ ”

Fair is fair. I wondered about French kissing – now Freedom kissing?

 

From Atheists:

"Freedom OF religion does not mean freedom FROM religion."


Response:
Our separation of church and state really has both values. The state is to be free from interference from churches. The churches are to be free from interference from the state.

In old
Russia, under the Tsar - the Church and the Tsar ruled the country together. They each had great influence on the other - and it was supposed that each had equal power. That's part of the reason the Communists felt the need to quell the Church almost entirely - otherwise its power would be hard to stop.

We give churches little power over government at all - other than the power individual voters have - which is still considerable.

We give the government little power over churches, but we must give it some. If a church, for example, began human sacrifice, we could stop that - no matter what they said their god had told them.

In trade for that amount of power of government over churches, we allow a small power of churches within (but not over) government. "In God We Trust" on the money, for example.

If we gave the churches absolutely NO power, it could be argued that government could also have NO power over them. We couldn't live with that. Religion with total freedom is bloody awful.

 

Which churches are for this war in Iraq – and which against?

In addition to the Roman Catholics, whose opposition is well known, other churches calling for restraint include the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the American Baptist Church, the United Church of Christ, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the Syrian Orthodox church of Antioch, and the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of America. (Jewish organizations are divided.) Those voicing support for the war tend to be the leaders of Pentecostal or evangelical ministries, including the mega-denomination, the Southern Baptists. Also the Mormons certainly share Bush's conviction that God is staunchly on our side in this battle. Mormons do not take an “official” position, however. Do a few interviews, and you’ll know that doesn’t matter – especially if you do them in Utah. It’s practically universal.

 

Response:

God is never on anyone’s side in a war – because He is opposed to having His children at war with one another. Forget the Old Testament – it is stories, period. Mormons, in particular, really should read President Kimball’s message Ensign, June, 1976.

 

In part: “We train up a young man in the art of war and then call him a patriot, thus substituting Satan’s counterfeit for true patriotism. We become anti-enemy instead of pro kingdom of God. We are on the whole a warlike people.”

 

The Visit: Faith Tabernacle

 

On entering the small parking lot, I was greeted by an attendant. He was much interested in my church transportation – and saw to it that I got a nice spot to park. We talked for a while – and he said I could go on in anytime – that Sunday School was already going – and “church” would be right after.

 

I sat in the third row – enough room there not to be obtrusive on entry. There was a lady in the row in front of me with a little girl. The little girl, about 2 – was so cute! She had pig tails – and appeared a little “weak.” I smiled at her – and then made a friendly face or two – and her little face just busted out into the biggest smile you ever saw. Then she kept looking back and smiling again and again. I don’t really need a preacher when I have that.

 

The minister was talking: (A country church kind of atmosphere.)

 

“You can fool me – You can fool your wife or your husband – or your boss at work – but you can’t fool Jesus – You can’t hide your sin from Him! “

 

“No – No you can’t,” says someone in the congregation. “Amen – no no.”

 

“I used to be good at hiding it from the companies I worked for – hiding the things that I was stealing. The last company I did that in didn’t know – but when they kept finding things missing, they thought it was me – and they laid me off – but they couldn’t be sure it was me. God is sure – He knows for sure when I sin and when you sin.”

 

“When sin is in your life, you’re going to find out that things don’t go well – that’s how God intended it.”

 

“Don’t judge people – because we don’t know anything about what is going on in his life – then if we judge – sure enough – in the next day or two, we’re gonna be doin’ the same thing that we judged him for.”    “For sure – Yes – amen!”

 

He had a cubic wooden box with a hole in one side about three inches in diameter. He told that old story about how you catch a monkey – by putting a prize in the box. He called up a volunteer – had him put his hand into the box and pull it back out. Then he put a tennis ball that was wrapped with twenty dollar bills into the box. The man put his hand back in – grabbed the ball – and then could not get his hand back out.

 

“Temptation is like that – if we can’t let it go, we’re trapped.”

 

“Temptation is not sin. The sin is when we meditate on it and keep it going. If we can let go of that ball, there is no sin, and we’re free. Those monkeys could not let loose, so they were caught – shot with a tranquilizer – and they still lost the prize.”

 

“In my life before I was changed – If I saw it and I liked it, I stole it.”

 

“Don’t wait for something to be wrong to pray. Pray before something goes wrong in the first place.”

 

“God will not allow temptation that we can’t handle just fine.”

 

“Lust brings sin – sin brings death – people are taught that if you backslide, then you can’t come back. Those people need to read about the prodigal son!”  “Amen – Yes.” “Let us lay it aside again.”

 

“Confess your faults to one another – but not your sins. Confess your sins to God – who is the one you have sinned against.”

 

“God is more loving and compassionate than we are to our own children.”

 

(I assume this guy has not read the Old Testament?)

 

“God tempteth no man – blessed is the man who endureth temptation.”

 

Singers were beginning to gather to the front – from the congregation. Three of them took personal mikes – about another half dozen without mikes. Three electric guitarists appeared – a drummer at a full set of drums – and another at two congas. There was an electronic keyboard, and an organ.

 

“I am blessed. Every day that I live I am blessed.”

“When I wake up in the morning ‘til I lay my head to rest,”

“I am blessed; I am blessed.”

 

Now as they sang it, this was quite a song. There are no other words – just those – over and over with growing enthusiasm. They sang these words perhaps thirty times!

 

At one point, an older man up on the stage – one of the singers that did not have a mike – yelled out “OH – SING IT!!”

 

Then another several times through as loud as I’ve ever heard singing. Clapping and waving go along with it also. There was some rather free harmony up on the stage – what I heard in the congregation was just melody – lots of it – but it was all so loud that I could sing anything I wanted – no one would know. So I got some pretty fun harmony going myself. It reminded me of college days on the clarinet – when if caught by professor Laycock, I would be threatened with losing my position in the concert band. Glory!

 

“Blessed be the name of the Lord”

“Blessed be the name of the Lord”

“Blessed be the name of the Lord – Most High.”

 

“Glory to the name of the Lord.”

“Glory to the name of the Lord.”

“Glory to the name of the Lord – Most High.”

 

Chorus:

“The name of the Lord is a strong Tower.”

“The righteous run into It, and then they are saved!”

 

Perfectly within my vision nearby on the front of the little stage I noticed a big tub. About 4 feet long – about 3 feet deep and wide. It looked like fiber glass. Since I hadn’t noticed it before, I wondered if it had just been brought in during the singing.

 

The minister gave a kind of preamble before leading us in prayer – told us he wanted to pray for the military.

 

Then he started praying – and right in his prayer, he said that if anyone needed to be prayed for – come on up. As the prayer continued, people came up – some were prayed for – others were anointed with oil and prayed for. All this while the main prayer continued – and music was beginning also during the whole thing. The woman brought up the little girl with the pig tails – and the little girl was anointed. No request was obvious – so I assume this happens regularly and that there is some health problem with her. She leaned her little head back like she knew what was expected.

 

And the prayer continued – with quite a lot of audience participation.

 

Now came a solo by a woman – very beautiful – she invited us to “Worship during the song.” I’m getting to where I know what that means. As she sang, there was clapping on all the upbeats – and appropriate comments throughout.

 

Preaching: Now it became obvious that the other guy was not the Pastor. Now it was the real Pastor’s turn.

 

In appearance, he reminded me a lot of my old mission president.

 

But he was much quieter – mild mannered was his style. An old grandpa figure and personality. This part was not like my mission president, who was a convert – who had learned “preaching” before his membership came about. The people of Kentucky and West Virginia and Tennessee loved conference – because President Brown knew how to bring them back home – nearly all were converts from more flamboyant circles.

 

This Pastor was soft spoken. I guessed that the other guy had spoken to give some of the more boisterous personality to the meeting.

 

He said, “Yesterday, Chad was laid on my heart.” He reached back to have handed to him a framed portrait. “This is Chad.”

 

(He was a young man in military uniform.)

 

Chad is in the war. Jesus is his commander in chief.”

 

(Enthusiastic, but rather quiet “Amen’s” and “Praise Jesus’s” from the congregation.)

 

“My subject today is Wasted Privileges.”

 

(Making these visits and writing these reports is a lot of work; sometimes I think I’m glad there are only five more. I’m contemplating some difficulty remaining true to this man’s message as it’s coming up now – because my own feeling are so different from his – yet it’s part of my self-assignment to give his message.)

 

“I still believe In God – say it - ” Congregation: “In God.”

 

“And Country!” (Only he screamed this – welcome back President Brown.)

 

From this point on, this was a dynamic, loud, country preacher.

 

“If I could, I’d wear red and white stripes for my suit!”

 

“Some one tapped me on the shoulder once and said, ‘I can tell you are a retired military man.’”  “I told him he was half right!” “I’m NOT RETIRED!!!” “Jesus is my Commander in Chief!!!”

 

“When you’re fighting for right, you’re right!”

 

“I’m still in the military – in God’s army!”

 

(Understand, this is all VERY loud.)

 

“Now I’m gonna get out of the spirit – WHEN I SEE THESE MARCHERS – I WANT TO RUN OVER THEM AND SEND THEM BACK TO GOD!!”

 

“It’s beCAUSE of those men over there in this war that these ‘Mennnnnnnnn’ HAVE the freedom to do this!”

 

“I said I was going to be out of the spirit.” (Laughter)

 

“I’ve seen God take an addict and make a Sunday School teacher out of him.”

 

“There are ENOUGH Communists in Hollywood!!! We don’t need more!!! If they don’t LIKE this country, they can get OUT of it!”

 

(He looked angry enough to kill.)

 

“We should make missionaries out of them and drop them out of AIRPLANES!!!”

 

“It’s a privilege to be raised up in a Pentecostal home. Having a good Pentecostal mother and a preacher dad. If I waste that privilege – it’s like wasting the privilege of being an AMERICAN!!!”

 

“Is there degrees of punishment in Hell? YES – there is! The person in Hell who wasted the most privileges is going to have the worst of it.”

 

“If Sodom had had all your privileges, they would have ALL repented – EVERY one.”

 

“If you’re against this war, you better not get in front of MY car!!”

 

“I’m gonna quit preaching in a minute.”

 

“You know – when someone comes and is with us – and starts wanting to be a part of it – sometimes they will fake speaking in tongues – but we always know – you can’t fake the spirit of God. Some of you remember that day when we just got the new carpet – and the man tried that – and it was the spirit of some devil he had – and he ran to the back and ran right into the door – and then came back under all the benches – under every one of them – and at the front, he vomited all over the new carpet – and the evil spirits were as ugly as I’d ever seen – colored stuff all over – and then he got the spirit and went to speakin’ in tongues – and it was well worth the carpet for it – and God had him a brand new heaven-headed believer with the Holy Ghost filling him up.”

 

(And he did quit preaching.)

 

Several were gathering at the front around that big tub. It had been filled with water – and a man was to be baptized. A man standing behind the tub was tucking his tie into his shirt and rolling up his sleeves. The man to be baptized stepped into the tub.

 

“By the confession of your sins I now baptize you in the lovely name of Jesus,” – and the man was baptized – but the requirement was not quite so strict as we are used to – and there were parts of him never under the water. It was a cattle-watering tub, I learned later.

 

We were excused – and everyone hangs around to visit. Many shook my hand – the greeting is “God bless you. My name is --- ” This went on for several minutes – many nice people – not perhaps quite as impressed with the emotional words they had just heard as was I – since they were more used to it. Then someone came back in – found me and said, “We’ve been taking pictures of your hotrod – hope it’s ok. My boss is gonna love it.”

 

So now I know that Holy Rollers love a hotrod too. It’s nice to all have at least something in common.

 

47 of 52 – Faith Tabernacle – El Norte Parkway at Ash.

 

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