I read this article the other day about a girl in Britain whose body grew two extra healthy kidneys that replaced the diseased ones she had. It is an extraordinary thing to be sure, but the first thing that came to my mind was a scene from Star Trek IV. Pay attention to the old woman undergoing kidney dialysis at the first and near the end of the clip.
Monthly Archives: May 2010
This internet thing is a funny animal. When you post something here for all the world to see, it is bound to be kept forever somehow, some way. So it is probably wise to be careful what you say and do. I am sure that I have run afoul of this my fair share of times and will likely do so again. The only way to avoid saying or doing the wrong thing at some point is to say and do nothing at all. But that would be a bit like the guy who “buried his talent” in the parable of our Master, so I don’t recommend that course of action either.
The reason I bring this up is a site that popped up a couple of weeks ago and that now appears to have been hastily removed. I started to comment about it after I saw it mentioned in a friend’s Facebook posting one day, but I held back. The site was called RestoreStephenBaldwin.com and it is currently defunct. I would link to the Google cache version, but that one will only last for so long as well. So for the sake of discussion, I am going to post some of the original purpose statement from the cached website for your take on the matter.
HE TOOK A STAND
Stephen Baldwin of the famous “Baldwin Brothers” Hollywood clan is a veteran actor who has starred in over 60 films and TV shows. He is no stranger to the Hollywood life of glitz, glamour and the public eye.
In 2002, he had an experience that changed his life forever. He became a Born Again Christian, giving his life to Jesus Christ. Over the next few years, he became very vocal about his faith, using his spotlight to boldly preach the gospel. However, because of his convictions it has caused him the loss of many jobs and the most recently, a highly publicized bankruptcy.
He has been publicly ridiculed and insulted by people who think that he has been abandoned by God. A simple search through the internet will reveal that people not only mock Stephen, but mock God.
In response to this (with the permission of Stephen’s ministry President Daniel Southern) we have established RestoreStephenBaldwin.org. A privately funded and managed website. Our vision is to see Stephen Baldwin publicly restored in front of millions. Stephen’s platform will increase allowing him to reach even more people with the Gospel and God will get all of the glory. Publicly.
The Story Behind The Vision: Job
Job was the most inflential man in the east, (Job 1-3) he was a man of great wealth who stood up for righteousness and his God. However, there came a period of time where Job went through great distress and testing. He lost his children, his health, his home and wealth. Throughout this pain and suffering, he stood in faithfulness to God and would not turn his back on Him. Because of his faithfulness, Job was instantly restored by “All Who Knew Him”
How Was He Restored: Token Gifting
Everyone knows that God restored Job, but do they understand the mechanism of his restoration? Job was restored by the people. By “All Who Knew Him”. This website was created to see a rebirth of that mechanism. If the people of God come together and each give a small “Token Gift” we can see a massive restoration of a Christian public figure and all the glory will go to God. Its simple, will you take part in the second ever All Who Know Him event?
There is also a youtube video that explains the purpose behind this endeavor.
There was also a page that cataloged some of the insults that have been hurled at Stephen Baldwin because of his testimony as a follower of Jesus. I won’t repost those, but I do want to add a small section from the Q and A page.
Q- Why does Stephen need personal wealth?
A- Stephen’s influence is in Hollywood. Hollywood worships money and without it you are seen as a loser and cannot be an effective influence to this group.
Q- How much money does he need?
A- From what I read in public court documents Stephen needs several million dollars to pay all of his creditors but he deserves hundreds of millions for his Job like faithfulness in the face of relentless loss and persecution.
Q- What percentage of a gift actually reaches Stephen?
A- 100% goes directly into his bank account through online gifting. The bank account was arranged by Daniel Southern. Daniel was Billy Graham’s Crusade Director for almost 20 years.
I am guessing from the fact that the site is now “offline” that this didn’t go over particularly well with a lot of people. I am sure there were many who hopped on board without a question. Christianity Today has an article from the time when the site was exclusively directed toward helping Stephen that you can read here. But there is another more recent article online that tries to make it appear that the project was intended to be a bigger help for lots of people and that Stephen was merely the “first recipient” chosen for this hand up if you will.
Personally, I am not buying the current account of things. I saw the original site and it was all about Stephen Baldwin. It was named after him for crying out loud. I am not out to pile on the guy. I actually do appreciate his testimony, as much as I have heard of it anyway.
All of this hubbub led me to ask a slightly different question however. I know that Stephen has been a pretty popular guy in the TBN circles (I saw him on there several times when we still had that channel in our cable lineup). My only question is why these people all assume that the only outcome by which God can be glorified in this is when Stephen receives boatloads of cash in “token amounts” from a lot of believers. I don’t remember the exact figure on the website when it was up, but it was something like 10% of the 150 million professing Christians in the US giving a token amount. If we plug in $1 for the token amount, then that is $15 million bucks. Why is cash seen as the ultimate answer to the problem here?
Let me ask another question. Has anyone around Stephen taken this opportunity to talk about the time that Jesus said this:
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
I am just curious to know. Maybe no one around him has the temerity to point out such a thing. Based on the words of our Lord, I am willing to say that Stephen doesn’t know just how good he has it at this point. Even in bankruptcy, God is still in control and He is still faithful. Maybe God has designs on “restoring Stephen Baldwin,” but the most important restoration He can do has nothing to do with money, and I pray that Stephen understands that if he didn’t already.
We had a fantastic time in the Lord this morning. The songs were wonderful and so was the singing. We had a couple of different people sing special songs for us as well and it was a blessing. Here is the sermon audio from this morning. The sermon text is from John 3 and covers the encounter between Nicodemus and Jesus. May God richly bless you through His Word.
For some reason, I couldn’t get the audio file to play normally so the link is below as well.
You Must Be Born Again
Sermon notes 5/23/10
- Nicodemus at Night – John 3:1-13
- Why was Nicodemus coming to Jesus?
- The identity of Nicodemus
- Being Born Again
- In Jewish culture referred to the process of ritual conversion
- Nicodemus’ question makes more sense this way
- Born of water and Spirit
- The Spiritual “Wind” or Ruach
- Lifting up the Son of Man
- The serpent in the wilderness – Numbers 21:4-9
- The midrash of the miracle snake
- The word for pole can also be viewed as a “sign”
- Play on words
- Whoever believes in Him
We had a wonderful time in the Lord this past Sunday. Here is the audio from the sermon which focused around the story of Zacchaeus from Luke 19. The notes are below as well if you want to follow along with them. May the Lord richly bless you through His Word.
Salvation Has Come to This House
Sermon notes 5/16/10
- The Rich Young Ruler – Luke 18:18-30
- Wanted to do something to inherit eternal life
- Went away sad
- Zacchaeus – the wee little man – Luke 19:1-10
- The chief tax collector of Jericho – He was rich
- The grumbling city
- What caused his change of heart?
- Did what the rich ruler could not do
- Using what God has given to you – Luke 19:11-27
- Two parables in one
- The parable of the minas
- Like the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30
- Different amounts – same results
- Doing nothing to avoid disappointment
Just a few quick hits today as I don’t have time to do a lengthy post on anything at the moment. These are some stories that caught my eye in the last week and I am linking them up here for fun and for those who might be interested in them as well.
The first one has to do with Israel as Netanyahu has turned to the Bible to show that the nation of Israel belong in the land and particularly in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu told a parliamentary session commemorating Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 war that “Jerusalem” and its alternative Hebrew name “Zion” appear 850 times in the Old Testament, Judaism’s core canon.
“As to how many times Jerusalem is mentioned in the holy scriptures of other faiths, I recommend you check,” he said.
Citing such ancestry, Israel calls all of Jerusalem its “eternal and indivisible” capital — a designation not recognised abroad, where many powers support Arab claims to East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
. . .
Heckled by a lawmaker from Israel’s Arab minority, Netanyahu offered a lesson in comparative religion from the lectern.
“Because you asked: Jerusalem is mentioned 142 times in the New Testament, and none of the 16 various Arabic names for Jerusalem is mentioned in the Koran. But in an expanded interpretation of the Koran from the 12th century, one passage is said to refer to Jerusalem,” he said.
This didn’t set well with many Arabs, who claimed this is “hate speech.” Give me a break.
And apparently our Congress doesn’t have anything better to do than debate over restroom equality. Honestly, there is a part of me that likes them wasting time on silly stuff like this because it gives them less time left over for the stuff they can do that really messes things up.
And finally, Laura Bush’s new book has some interesting “revelations” in it. I wish I could tell you I was surprised to find out these things, but I would be lying. The Bush family in general hasn’t exactly been bastions of conservatism and many forget that Bush Sr. was pro-abortion before he joined forces with Reagan in 1980. This link is to an editorial by Joseph Farah, who correctly points out that the argument about same-sex marriage or abortion isn’t with us, it is about God’s standard. It is worth a read.
Lots of people like to make lists. Some are helpful and some are not. I have been saving a couple of articles that are essentially lists of some kind and I thought I would go ahead a share them today. The first one is a very helpful and practical list for 10 Way to Divorce-proof Your Marriage. I really like this one and by posting it to my blog, I have a handy way to find it in the future. As a pastor, I am asked all the time about doing weddings. Yet, I haven’t done very many of them, because I am very straightforward about my desire to work with the couple ahead of time to give them the tools to have a lasting marriage. I have often found that couples who have come to me desperate to get married are unwilling to take the time ahead of time to build their relationship with a strong foundation. The foundation is the most important thing after all(Matthew 7:24-27), and a good foundation is easier to build before you start building the rest of the relationship.
The other list I have floating out there is 10 Reasons to Delete Your Facebook Account. It is an interesting look at the various ways the Facebook administrative machine neglects the privacy of its users. The funny thing however, is that more and more of society has become accustomed to seeking out a loss of privacy. The explosion of reality type TV shows that broadcast the lives of “ordinary” people are a big draw for both participants and audiences alike. Perhaps it is a desire to replace a missing sense of community. Undoubtedly, it is fueled in part by the endless human desire for fame and attention.
I say this with full understanding that blogging is another aspect of this same phenomenon in a way. Those of us who blog are always hopeful that someone is out there reading what we say. The recent passing of Michael over at The Internet Monk, showed an aspect of this desire. Many of the comments in the threads soon after his death spoke of the unfairness of his death at the time when he had finally “made it” as a blogger. In other words, just as he was getting a huge following and about to have a book released. I guess there is a latent desire in most of us to be known that is reflected by that sentiment. I for one am thankful for the blogging community that has given me the opportunity to make new friends of brothers and sisters in the Lord that I might never have met otherwise. The InternetMonk community is one that has been rich with those I have grown to love through the years.
For my part, God is teaching me some valuable lessons from His Word about faith and life (those are going to wait for another post). I don’t think I can put it in a list for you at this point, but keep your eyes open; I just might try someday.
I apologize for not posting this notice sooner. There is no sermon audio from this past Sunday. We had a Gideon speaking in the morning service and I didn’t record him. I pray that you had a wonderful day and that the Lord will bless you with His peace this week.
I have been saving this one for a little while, but I finally am getting around to linking it up. Recently, I ran across an article entitled, Why girls are naturally drawn to dolls as soon as they can crawl
This is one of those pieces that runs in the same line as the cover story that proclaimed that men and women are different and may even be born that way. Consider these opening paragraphs:
Baby girls make a beeline for dolls as soon as they can crawl – and boys will head for the toy cars, a study has shown.
With no prompting, they will choose the stereotypical toys for their gender.
The findings – the first to show consistent differences in very young babies – suggest there is a biological basis to their preferences.
This indicates that ‘politically correct’ efforts to steer children towards things they wouldn’t normally play with are doomed to failure.
I would say that I am shocked, except that I am not. It is further evidence of a designer at work. Can you think of a “natural” explanation for this type of phenomenon to occur? We have wonderful differences that are given to us by our Creator. Not just differences between men and women and boys and girls, but differences from person to person. It is a beautiful thing.
I frequently save interesting stories and things that I intend to blog about, but often find that I get overwhelmed with information and/or lack of time to do it. In that vein, I am thinking of introducing a recurring feature where I can just throw out some quick pieces that have caught my eye in the last few days and share them with you all in case you may have missed them.
This story should be on the Onion or something like it, but these guys are actually serious. There is a town in Colorado that wants to pass a law requiring people to vote.
Hennessy, a popular Ridgway brewer and pub owner, is proposing that the mostly dirt-street town at the edge of the San Juan Mountains become a national model by enacting a mandatory-voting statute. Residents who don’t bother to vote, for no good reason, would be fined.
He later goes on to expound the virtues of being able to claim that “95% of the people” in town voted. Isn’t that the kind of thing that petty dictators like to do? In any case, the article would be a lot funnier if these guys were kidding.
On a much more serious note, I was troubled by the story this week out of Italy about a baby boy that survived an abortion, only to be coldly neglected and left to die for two days. The abortion was done because scans supposedly showed the boy had a disability, although later stories specified that the disability in question was a cleft lip and palate.
Appropriately, this has caused an uproar in the country that is the cradle of the Catholic church, but apparently it isn’t the first instance of such a monstrous act in Italy.
The case is causing uproar in Italy because it is the second involving a foetus of that age surviving the procedure in just three years.
The other involved a baby in Florence who weighed just 17oz when he was aborted at 22 weeks because of a suspected genetic disorder, but lived for three days.
The first story concludes with the brief account of a young boy, now aged 5, who survived 3 attempts on his life in utero and was born alive at 24 weeks.
The Bible speaks about a time when the love of many will grow cold. I fear we are the generation that will experience it in full force.
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. – 1 John 3:18
We had a great service this morning and I was very pleased to spend my morning with the family of God here in this place. I was afraid I wouldn’t have a sermon to post audio from after I saw the words Lo Batt on the recorder display after the service, but it managed to get the audio for everything up to just before the end. The recording may seem to end rather abruptly but it was the best natural break point I could find to pick as close to the end of the recording as possible. May God bless you richly through His Word as you follow Him.
Being a Disciple is Costly
Sermon notes 5/2/10
- The Capability for Humility – v. 1-15
- Eating with the Pharisees
- Common courtesy in interpreting Scripture
- Healing on the Sabbath
- A parable about honor and humility
- Touching the untouchables
- Eating with the Pharisees
- The Call from the Host – v. 16-24
- A lot of excuses
- A lot of excluded
- Who would turn down the invitation?
- The Cost is a Hardship – v. 25-35
- What does Jesus mean “hate your father, mother” and so on?
- Matthew 10:37
- Deuteronomy 33:8-11
- Counting the Cost of Discipleship
- Does God really expect us to renounce all that we have? – Luke 9:57-62
- What does that mean?
- What does Jesus mean “hate your father, mother” and so on?