People – church leaders never need to change presentations, Part III

San Diego Hardware opened its doors in downtown on December 15, 1892.  In 2006 it relocated to Kearny Mesa.  The ownership has remained in the family, with those now leading having first worked in the store.  The inventory has changed.  From a nuts-and-bolts, hard-to-find hardware store, it shifted to decorative hardware for all kitchen, doors and bathroom fixtures.  With the advent of Amazon—“Talk about a Goliath,” one of the owners declared—the store established a shopper-friendly e-commerce site.  They deliver orders within a day or two.  U-T, 12/9/17

Which leads to a spiritual point.  Whatever other changes occur in shopping habits—whether to brick-and-mortar stores or the lazy way—people still shop.  Even our local Ralph’s store now delivers grocery orders.  Shades of Illinois in the 1940’s!  This man, then a little boy, would take mom’s order to Kerpan’s store.  The truck would deliver it that day.

However, since whatever the age or morality, people still sin, they need the Savior’s forgiveness.  And however medical science prolongs life or mere existence, we still die and need the resurrection of Jesus to bring us into his eternal kingdom and to one day raise our bodies into a replica of his very own brilliant body.

The point is, how do church leaders need to adapt the church to changing conditions?  They don’t.  If leaders think they do, they become part of the problem, never part of the solution.  If preachers want to continue being relevant, they need only go back to, or continue, studying God’s Word in-depth.  Then they need to pray for the Holy Spirit to inspire lessons and sermons.  Then they need to study the preparation until it becomes part of their personality.  Then they need to preach it in the power the Spirit never fails to provide.  AND trust the Spirit to do his work, which he never fails to achieve when God’s word is preached.  Which he always does.  Which he delights in doing for anyone who refuses to adapt his message to expected societal norms.  Who confronts listeners with the forceful, eternal, powerful word of God on any subject.  Understand?   – Fini –

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People – no one is unknown to God, Part II

The San Diego Union Tribune story featuring the San Diego Hardware Store included the picture of a young woman wearing hardware accouterments.  The question was, “Who was the pretty lady?”  A Chula Vista resident knew:  Fanny Sherman Sloane.  She had often seen Fanny’s picture in the home of a former boyfriend.  Fanny’s father, Matthew Sherman, had served in the Civil War.  On returning to San Diego he had developed the Sherman Heights area of the city.  Fanny was in her mid-20’s when the picture was taken.  She married Charles L. Sloane, a Rockford, Illinois native.  Etc., etc., etc.

Fanny didn’t remain unknown long.  Some people in nation-wide morgues aren’t so fortunate.  Some people in the deserts of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah aren’t so fortunate.

But none, not a single one of the perhaps 12-14 Billion people ever to live, is unknown to God.  He calls the stars by name and labels the planets.  He sees every sparrow fall and counts our head-hairs.  (Some of us make that easy.)  He know us all by name, by the very distinctive mark his image makes on each soul.

That perfect knowledge stimulates Christians.  What powerful encouragement to know God’s care of each disciple.  We may count our friends on one hand, but God counts us as his single friend.  He cradles everyone in his hand, each one part of the whole, the whole broken into its individual parts.  The unsaved don’t want that intimacy.  They feel self-sufficient except in extreme crises, but want God’s attention only during those times.    – End Part II –

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

 Books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

 Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

 Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley & Virg Hurley)

 New books:

      The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

      Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153

      Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349

 

 

 

 

 

 

People – change occurs in . Part I

San Diego Hardware has been a fixture in the city for 125 years.  It began in 1892, occupying a building on lower Broadway.  Its inventory counted 50,000 items from 400 suppliers.  If you needed it, San Diego Hardware carried it.  Famous people found there what they couldn’t elsewhere:  Bill Walton supplies for his apartments; Jerry Lewis a boat fixture; Archie Moore an unspecified item, except he pounded on the doors after hours, shouting, “You gotta let me in!”  Many more of us unknowns drove downtown to buy what no other hardware store stocked.

Then…change came.  A fire in 1986 damaged the store.  Then, after re-building it, Home Depot opened its 10 county stores.  The nuts-and-bolts” store suddenly existed in a precarious economic environment.  Long-term Navy contracts kept it going.  Then…developers of downtown San Diego made it hard to find parking for the people who had always been customers—this writer among them.  In 2006 the store moved to Kearny Mesa, where it continues in business in December, 2017.  U-T, 12/9/17    – End Part I –

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

 Books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

 Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

 Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley & Virg Hurley)

 New books:

      The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

      Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153

      Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349

 

Mary – the Biblical . – Part IV

The Master’s encounters with his mother included his siblings.  Which, by the way, were half-brothers and sisters, not half-cousins.  Matthew 1:25 clearly teaches Mary’s virginity TILL she gave birth to Jesus.  Then…UNTIL…means she stopped being a virgin and began being a married woman with sexual rights practiced.  Nothing but church politics says differently.

By the time Jesus had been preaching two years, with his fame exploding all over Israel, two groups had reached opposite opinions of him.  The Pharisees said he had made himself a stooge of Satan.  His family said his devotion to God had turned him insane.

Moved by their conviction they arrived to remove Jesus from public life.  They found him so thronged with listeners they couldn’t access him.  They sent a verbal message by people-telegraph:  mom and siblings want you go to with them.  He sent a verbal message by the same telegraph:  his only family were those who heard and obeyed God’s word.  That hit them like a combined uppercut to their jaw, a punch to their gut and a knock-out punch to their nose.  A flattened, imploded physical family slouched away.

Jesus expanded on that revolutionary teaching as he spied Mary and John standing by his cross.  John 19:25-27 records it.  The difference between his kindly response to Mary here and his in-your-face-negative to Mary in Mark 3 is one of her mental and emotional condition:  at the cross a devastated mourner; in Mark 3 an arrogant intruder.  However, an additional perspective also existed.  While Mark 3 removed Jesus from filial and sibling relationships, John 19 exalted him as Ruler and Universal Lord of all humanity.

In Acts 1:12-14 the 120 gathered in the Upper Room.  With his now-believing brothers, Mary appeared as one of them.  This is the last mention of Mary in the New Testament.  Before the church began.  Before the apostles served.  Before the New Testament books were written.  Since no further mention was made of her, her contribution to Christianity began and ended by conceiving, carrying and giving birth to Jesus.  Jesus repeatedly added success on success, victory on victory.  Mary added nothing.     – Fini –

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

 Books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

 Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

 Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley & Virg Hurley)

 New books:

      The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

      Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153

      Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349

 

 

 

 

Mary – the Biblical . – Part III

That the Wise Men bowed before and worshipped the child Jesus, then presented him their gifts, proves that, even as a child, he alone served as God’s servant.  That wouldn’t surprise us:  angels heralded his birth, not his mother’s pregnancy.

Every event in the Lord’s ministry continued to stress Mary’s humanity, necessarily limited by confronting the mystery Jesus embodied Luke 2:25-35.  Simeon’s panegyric exalted the 40 day old boy, not his father or mother.  They instead “marveled at what was said about him”.   Luke 2:41-52 records the encounter the 12 year old with national teachers and his parents.  He astonished the rabbis and perplexed the parents, who “did not understand what he was saying to them.”

God clothed the next 18 years of his Son in majestic silence.  Then, at age 30 he became a public personality who soon filled Israel and surrounding nations with his Presence.  John 2:1-11 records the next “Man and mother” encounter.  The point of difference was timing.  Mary saw the paucity of wine as the perfect occasion for Jesus to declare himself to Israel.  Her comment certainly didn’t constitute mere conversation, “whaddya you know, the wine supply failed.”  Her willingness to involve Jesus drew his kind but firm rebuke.  He would do nothing at her behest.  He subjected his will only to God’s direction.

That she immediately ordered the servants to “Do whatever he tells you” is nothing but a Jewish mother’s continued interest (A.K.A. interference) in a child’s life—even a grown man’s life.  The Master may have shaken his head when hearing it.  He didn’t care what she wanted or what she said.  She could order the servants but had no influence over Jesus.  Up to, and including this blog, then, the score Jesus 5, Mary 0.  While Jesus continues to make point after point, Mary never scores.     – End Part III –

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 Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

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 New books:

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      Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349

 

Mary – the Biblical . – Part II

When we say, “Jesus is our Savior,” it’s because we know we’re sinners.  Why then, when Mary called God her “Savior”, would we think it was because she was sinless?  Think rationally.

Other evidences that the Biblical Mary is altogether different from the Church Mary.  Matthew 2:9-11 gives the account of Wise Men led by the Star to the “house” where Joseph and Mary lived in Bethlehem—the house in Bethlehem.  Up to two years after Christ’s birth Joseph kept his family in Bethlehem—the likeliest of all possibilities.  He had been identified as David’s heir Luke 1:32.  Where but the village of David’s birth would his heir live?

Take another step.  When they found the house, and entered, they saw both mother and child—the latter up to 2 years old.  Then…let there be no doubt, seeing both, they bowed before and worshiped ONLY the child!  Then, when they offered their gifts, they presented them only to him.

Writing perhaps by the 50’s, when any possible elevation of Mary would be at least nascent, Matthew noticed specifically and pointedly that the Wise Men worshiped only Jesus and presented their gifts only to Jesus.  Only he, do we understand?  Only he, and not his mother in addition, or as an equal.  Let me repeat.  When Matthew had the opportunity to exalt Mary, or include her in the child’s honors, he DIDN’T—because she had neither exaltation nor a share in the Master’s glory.     – End Part II –

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 Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

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 New books:

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      Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153

      Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349

 

 

 

 

Mary – the Biblical . – Part I

Sam Johnson, LBJ’s father, served as a Texas legislator for the people of Blanco County.  He made sure they received much-needed government assistance.  He built a road in the County.  He protected them from oil wildcatters.  Still, even as he served he built a reservoir of resentment in constituents.

They forgot his help when he fell on hard economic times in the 1920’s.  They suddenly discovered his life had been a bluff.  They had always known he didn’t hold their values, which they overlooked because he seemed so strong, wise and financially potent.  And, they noticed, as he fell before financial reverses, he became more defiant of them, carrying his pride more publicly.  Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Vol. 1, 85-93

Which means you can be a leader without inspiring people to follow.  You can alienate people by strutting before them when humility would reconcile them.  You can posture an attitude of success when publicly accepting failure would impress them.  When Sam Johnson couldn’t positively respond to failure, people forgot the help he offered in “the good old days.”

Of all the good girls in our gaggle series, Mary, mother of Jesus, stands in a select company of women who served God in critical times.  Not the first among them, she certainly stood among the first.

This blog studies scripture’s delineation of her.  It corrects some of the terrible falsehoods attributed to her by ecclesiastical authorities.  Falsehoods that she would reprobate and never tolerate, not matter how many believe the churchmen.  Word of caution:  Mary will be greater in reputation by being seen as the Bible describes her – End Part I –

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 Books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

 Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

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 New books:

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      Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349ugly

Action – must originate in Biblical truth, Part V

In Faust, Goethe has the doctor translating John’s Prologue.  But in place of “in the beginning was the Word”—God’s logos—he said, in the beginning was the Deed.  To Goethe, don’t bother with words, just act.

Untrue, counter-productive and dangerous.  For how can we produce the desired deed unless the correct word inspires it?

The apostle Paul discussed that in I Corinthians 14:7-8.  Using musical instruments as an illustration, “things that make sounds,” each must have distinctive notes, arranged as the composer designed, to create a specific message.  But the idea precedes the production.  Each native English speaker faces the same problem when he uses the phone, or orders take-out from fast food.  We hear so many “variations” of English spoken we’re often left with no idea what’s being said.  Again, without clear words, deeds can be garbled, confusing and irritating.

Consider Napoleon again.  He brooded over many issues, the purpose of existence being a major concern.  But as a lieutenant colonel in 1791, he decided that action alone mattered; that even if it didn’t lead to happiness, it excelled introspection/study/the word!  By following his persuasion, he excelled in military expertise that brought him to the pinnacle of fame, but eventually to defeat and exile on St. Helena.

Where do we want our action to take us in life?  If it doesn’t matter, don’t bother to think.  Just act.  Follow whatever course seems expedient.  It will take us somewhere, or nowhere, but we won’t know what or where it is until we get there.

 

The Christian isn’t fooled.  We must start with a word, the WORD, the WORD made flesh John 1:14.  He embodies all he wants us to presently be, and we in our best moments want to be.  And when we have followed him to the end he chooses…there we shall see him as he IS, in his Glory, sitting beside God.

And there…God, who is truly the Great Father, with Jesus, who is truly his Great Lamb, will be the cynosure of all thought, activity, and every single deed!  For God, who is always the Great Father, and Jesus, who is always his Great I AM, will be our One Desire, the Sole Idea who gives meaning to all else in his new creation.   – Fini –

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 New books:

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      Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349

 

 

 

Action – the necessity of restoring God’s authority, Part IV

II Chronicles 35:1-4 records the Passover King Josiah celebrated.  Among other decisions, he ordered the return of the sacred ark to its original and rightful place in the Holy of Holies.  Whether it had been removed to protect it from Manasseh or Amon, or removed by the wicked Manasseh, is uncertain.  At the time of Josiah’s reformation it continued to be mobile on the priests’ shoulders.

A very bad example of the nation’s fluctuating morality.  God demanded its permanent location in the Holy of Holies, to keep it from being a common sight and to remain in seclusion as a symbol of God’s continuous, unchanging sovereignty.  Josiah demanded its permanent re-installation.  It needed to remain in one place since God hadn’t moved and never would.

That’s a powerful warning to American Christians.  We’re living in a society that thinks God has moved, is moving and will never again be the traditional God of the Bible.  So the homosexuals carry him around, saying, “God now has a new sexual normal.”  The live-ins, who shun marriage, carry him around, saying “God considers fornicating better than marriage.”  The ecumenicals carry him around, saying “All religions are equal and none is superior.”

What they’re all saying is, “This is what God has become, and Christians need to adapt.”

WRONG.  Viciously, sinfully, satanically wrong.  Josiah put the ark back where it belonged because God had never changed.  Christians must now ACT on this eternal truth.  Preachers must again preach God’s word strongly, warning any doubters of God’s Truth, Christ’s Deity, the Church’s relevance and Judgment to come, with Christ as the Sole Judge.  God hasn’t changed, his standards remain the same and his truth stands unchallengeable.  Those who think he’s malleable will lose their souls.  He’s the Eternal God in Christ.  – End Part IV –

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com 

Books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

 Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

 Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley & Virg Hurley)

 New books:

      The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

      Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153

      Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349

 

 

 

Action – against sin needed, Part III

Part I discovered that Napoleon lost his inertia, depression and indecision as soon as he began to take action.  Part II discovered Joshua’s reaction to the stress of losing a battle he should have easily won.

His self-imposed explanation was to lie and cry before the Lord, till God told him to get off the ground.  Action was needed against the sin that caused the loss.  An Israelite caused it by sinning against God’s clear prohibition.  Joshua 7:13-26 has that account.

“Stop praying and take action,”—the kind of command we never thought God would give.  But prayer isn’t the need when God’s people have flagrantly sinned against his word.  The need is repentance.  Take it.  Insist on it.  Don’t stop till it has been identified, admitted, repented and removed.

Christians…when something goes wrong in our family, do we “think first-thing” who has sinned?  When something goes wrong in the church, do we quiz ourselves, “Who has sinned?”  Either way, if mistakes have been made, correct them.  If sins have been committed, repent and seek forgiveness.

For sure, if it’s the latter, there’s no need to waste tears crying over prayers.  Let’s not think God is ignorant of what’s happening in our lives or the church.  And let’s understand that God won’t overcome sins we commit and allow to remain unrecognized and unrepented.  His command to us remains the same as his to Joshua:  get up, get busy, get the sin standing in my way identified and GET IT forgiven.   – End Part III –

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com  

Books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.)   

Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1 

Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley & Virg Hurley) 

New books:

      The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

      Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153

      Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349