Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Random Bits

"I walk through this sinful world as a 
pilgrim in a foreign country" - CH Spurgeon
I hope you all are enjoying a quiet holiday season. My work was been frantically hectic until somewhere around the 21st of December when everything went quiet. Not a feature was stirring, not even my computer mouse. The Christmas Eve candle light service at the First Congregational Church of the Bereans had some hitches - a lot of hitches as a matter of fact. Our church secretary had a family emergency so she wasn't able to get the programs printed up for the service, or the bulletin for the Christmas morning service together. Our church pianist (and probably the best I've ever heard) also had a family emergency and had to be on the east coast. Our backup musicians all had prior commitments as did the sound-board guru.

So what did we do? Simple - the sanctuary was lit by only two candles, Pastor Paratus prepared a spoken word service and all singing was acapella, Anything that needed to be read (like the words to the carols) were on a very simple PowerPoint that didn't take away from the two simple candles. It was agreed that it was the nicest, most meaningful Christmas Eve ceremony we ever held.

Christmas morning service was shared with the PCUSA church across the street. Their church closed their doors for Christmas so Pastor Paratus invited those of them that wanted to worship on Christmas morning to come on over and bring the cinnamon rolls, which they did. They even brought their pianist along to help in our music shortage. As for the guy who had to do the announcements without a Sunday bulletin... I made something up.

I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues - This means YOU members of the Southern Baptist Convention. This article is incredible, if you read nothing else in the remaining hours of 2016, read this.

China shuns Christianity but dominates the market on U.S. Christmas decorations. Go figure

Go-Go dancers, rapping about Santa Claus, elves, Christmas trees, candy. and magic...It's Christmas Eve at Andy Stanley's goatpen. I can only wonder how many Operation Christmas Child packages could have been sent and filled for what he spent on the lighting on his stage.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Spurgeon Thursday - Come out of her, my people!

How many people are turning to the lies and heresy of the of false teachers like Beth Moore and Joel Osteen? How many denominations are succumbing to the temptations of the seat filling goat chow that is shoveled out by the New Apostolic Reformation?  Are ye not entertained?  C.H. Spurgeon saw this heretical nightmare in his own time, one can only wonder what he would say if he saw the clown acts that pass for theologians today. He'd probably say what he said 150 years ago:

"Neither when we have chosen our way can we keep company with those who go the other way. There must come with decision for truth a corresponding protest against error." -- C.H.S., The Sword and the Trowel, September 1887.

"Avowed atheists are not a tenth as dangerous as those preachers who scatter doubt and stab at faith." -- C.H.S., The Sword and the Trowel, August 1887.

"Believers in Christ's atonement are now in declared union with those who make light of it; believers in Holy Scripture are in confederacy with those who deny plenary inspiration; those who hold evangelical doctrine are in open alliance with those who call the Fall a fable, who deny the personality of the Holy Ghost, who call justification by faith immoral, and hold that there is another probation after death ... Yes, we have before us the wretched spectacle of professedly orthodox Christians publicly avowing their union with those who deny the faith, and scarcely concealing their contempt for those who can not be guilty of such a gross disloyalty to Christ. To be very plain, we are unable to call these things Christian Unions; they begin to look like Confederacies in Evil ... It is our solemn conviction that where there can be no real spiritual communion there should be no pretense of fellowship. Fellowship with known and vital error is participation in sin." -- C.H.S., The Sword and the Trowel, November 1887.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Keeping the Holy Family Humble

Merry Fourth Day of Christmas! I wanted to find an illustration of the humble family of Joseph, Mary, and the infant Jesus, but there appears to be no such thing. You can find lots of pictures of them in a stable emblazoned with halos and surrounded by the heavenly hosts. I can find a lot of pictures of Joseph leading a halo branded Mary on a donkey but there's nothing in the bible about a donkey, I just wanted a humble, poor holy family. 

So instead I went the other route. Here's a beautiful mosaic in the Hagia Sophia (pronounced Haya Sophia, it means "Holy Wisdom"), a visit to that 1,400 year old historical masterpiece is definitely on my bucket list. Here we see Mary holding the baby Jesus being visited by the Roman* emperor John II Komnenos and his wife Irene of Hungary. John is handing Jesus a sack of cash and Irene is handing Mary an official decree. Let's not let the fact that John was born 1,118 years after Jesus was born get in the way of a very beautiful mosaic. 

In fact other than the wise men and some shepherds showed up at Jesus' birth, this family was humble and they were humbled, and for some reason this realization hit me a bit harder this Christmas. We all knew that God gave his son humble beginnings but He did so in a way that insured his life would remain humble. Let's start at the very beginning...

Friday, December 23, 2016

Random Bits

"I walk through this sinful world as a 
pilgrim in a foreign country" - CH Spurgeon
My wife and I spent a lot of money on many things this year, from doctor bills to dog grooming our budget was stressed. So we decided to not get anything for each other this Christmas, to just be thankful for what we have. This was a great idea because our children came up with Christmas gifts that surpass all others. Our daughter-in-law took to wearing a patriotic t-shirt that said "Red White & Due"and just recently our daughter took to dressing up her only child in a t-shirt that emblazoned with "Just Promoted To Big Sister"

God gifted us with two grandsons, Oliver is due in March, and Chase is due in July and we couldn't be happier. On one hand we are incredibly delighted even though next years Christmas budget for grandchildren just doubled. On the other hand, we have six children. if each had come up with a Christmas present like this my wife and I may have considered a quick move in the middle of the night to an undisclosed location. 😅 Although Christmas time is a time of joy, quiet reflection, and gratitude for a promise kept, it's also the time of rebellion against God for many. Sad to say it, but to many the thought of a prayer of thanks to our creator for gifting us with the savior He promised is extremely unpalatable so much so that the prayers of the faithful must be disrupted in order to make themselves feel better. Don't believe me? just look at this weeks wrap-up of nuts and fruitcakes:

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Spurgeon Thursday - Thank You Alec Satin!!!

You probably all know that I enjoy reading commentaries and sermons by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, even though it's a bit difficult for me to read only because Spurgeon wrote in Victorian English prose and I only speak Obamonian American gibberish. (That's not true, I also speak fluent Canadian (eh?) and a smattering of Australian exclamation (strewth!)

So 2 weeks ago Alec Satin emailed me and  asked if I was interested in Spurgeon's Treasury of David and that he had a set if I was interested. I said that I was very interested and completely forgot about the word "set". So just the other day the set showed up and what a beautiful set it is! A book collector would say that these are truly in As New condition and I can't wait to start studying. I've only opened them enough to know that each page is pristine, and the binding is in perfect condition. I did notice that they used quite a small typeface, but that's not a big deal. 

Each book came individually wrapped in heavy duty paper, as all books should be sent, and it was very festive (I didn't know they had Trader Joe's in NYC)

I wish this was a better picture but I took it at 4:30 AM. I should have been in my car and heading in to work but I wanted get a picture to show you all these wonderful tomes that Alec sent me. Thank you very much Alec! I thank you, my wife thanks you, and the guy down at Home Depot who now knows I can't put off installing more bookshelves any longer thanks you. I love you brother, and I pray that it is in Gods will that your search ends successfully. (you should blog your 'adventures', you need to get back to writing)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

WWUTT Wednesday - The Christian Santa Clause

Do I believe in Santa Claus? No, but I believe in the Coca Cola ad campaign that featured a right jolly old elf. Personally, to me the proper symbol of the secular version of Christmas is a live tree draped with real tinsel, bedecked with Noma lights, interesting ornaments with a simple Lionel train set orbiting the base. Unfortunately my wife has an allergy to what ever they spray on trees to keep them green, our pets tend to eat tinsel, Noma lights are few, far between, and now priced beyond my reach, and grandchildren and my Lionel set tend to be a bad combination. But we still have some great Christmas ornaments. Throw in some mistletoe and holly (lots of holly!) a mug of egg nog and a piece of fruit cake (I love fruit cake! If you get one for Christmas and feel an urge to re-gift, I'm your man) some Andy Williams on the Alexa and I'm ready for the secular holiday.

But the Christian celebration of remembrance that God kept his promise and became man and walked among us, knowing from birth that with every step he took that he was growing closer to insufferable agony because of my sin is celebrated a bit differently. Mostly with quiet prayer in my little room, tearful with gratitude and begging God that if He can forgive and  forget my sins, that He can help me forgive myself and forget them too. 

Santa Claus is not St. Nick, and we as Christians need to keep that in mind. We need to keep our secular and Christian celebrations separate, and if we can't I suppose we have to drop one or the other.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Peace On Earth? Good Will To...?

I love Luke 2:8-14, It's the story of the Angels appearing to the shepherds announcing the birth of Jesus. Could you even imagine a heavenly host of Angels appearing and singing with such joy? 

We've all heard about this one joyous chorus, in our bible reading, in church, in Christmas carols. and if nothing else most Americans heard it from that famous blanket dragging theologian Linus Van Pelt;
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:8-14 KJV)
And many people rightly ask "So where's this peace? Where's this good will?" Let's face it, Earth is not a peaceful place, since the fall of man it has never been peaceful, and it never will be peaceful. One hundred years ago the United States joined the greatest battlefield slaughter of mankind ever inflicted on the earth to that time (WWI), which only precipitated even greater slaughter 21 years later. The slaughter continues in the middle east and radiating out across the globe. In the future we know that even after Jesus returns to set all things right  there will be an uprising during the millennial reign. So where is this "Peace on earth, good will to all men?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Random Bits

"I walk through this sinful world as a 
pilgrim in a foreign country" - CH Spurgeon
I actually had this post finished yesterday but I got sidetracked by one of my guilty pleasures, namely this music video - could you imagine if that song was re-written as a biblical praise to God? I mean, it's got the Alpha and Omega already, and God should be our everything... I think I'll get the lyrics and improve them.

It's been a rough year, it started with the passing of my father, followed soon after by both of our chocolate labs, then more medical issues, then visiting with my mom who no longer remembers me at all... but on the whole it could have been worse. This year is starting to look better, my home church, the First Congregational Church of the Bereans (I made that up, but it fits) lost a couple of Deacons, but God sent us real live and for truely Elders. How cool is that? And what better feeling is there to have an Oncologist tell you "There ain't nothing wrong with you, get outta my office" God has been with me every step of the way, and to show His love He sent me a guardian angel a few years ago to watch over me and care for me, and in a couple of weeks we celebrate our wedding anniversary.

Taking Christmas off: A litmus test for unhealthy churches. If you're in the Denver area and your church is closing its doors on Christmas day, email me or respond here and I'll send you directions to my little enclave of Bereans. We will have coffee ready.

Spurgeon said “Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.” Pulpit and Pen has 10 rules to help with this effort

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Spurgeon Thursday - Unto Us A Son Is Given

If unto me a child is born then I have been born again; and, moreover, I am now in consequence of that new birth, a child. If, again, a Son has been given to me, then I am a son; and again I am given to that Son who is given to me. 

I have tried to put these tests in the way that the text would suggest them. I pray you carry them home with you. If you do not recollect the words, yet do recollect to search yourselves, and see, my hearers, whether you can say, "Unto me this Son is given." For, indeed, if Christ is not my Christ, he is of little worth to me. If I cannot say he loved me and gave himself for me, of what avail is all the merit of his righteousness, or all the plenitude of his atonement? 

Bread in the shop is well enough, but if I am hungry and cannot get it, I starve although granaries be full. Water in the river is well enough but if I am in a desert and cannot reach the stream, if I can hear it in the distance and am yet lying down to die of thirst, the murmuring of the rill, or the flowing of the river, helps to tantalize me, while I die in dark despair. 

Better for you, my hearers to have perished as Hottentots, to have gone down to your graves as dwellers in some benighted land, than to live where the name of Christ is continually hymned and where his glory is extolled, and yet to go down to your tombs without an interest in him, unblessed by his gospel, unwashed in his blood, unclothed of his robe of righteousness. God help you, that you may be blessed in him, and may sing sweetly "Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given."... 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

WWUTT Wednesday - Clowns Entertaining The Goats

When C.H. Spurgeon decided to cut the mustard he knew right where to stick the knife. I'm sure they had problems with false teaching in Spurgeon's time, but could you imagine if the Prince of Preachers saw the antics that passes for preaching in today's world?

The tomfoolery of Creflo Dollar, the narcigesis of Steven Furtick, the buffoonery of Todd Bentley... Spurgeon would be sure that Christ is just minutes out and coming in hot and fast. 

And we all should be thinking that too. Did you realize there's people out there that actually teach that Jesus Christ will not return until people have prepared the earth for His return? No, this is not some tiny cult hidden back in the hills that use very strange mushrooms in their services, this is the New Apostolic Reformation. Their teachings of Dominion Theology put their plans and dreams first, the gospel a far second. NAR, IHOP, the Purpose Driven Church, the Emergent Church - all lead to the wide gate of destruction.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Emergent Monday - The Immaculate Conception May Not Mean What You Think It Means

In the liturgy of the Catholic church December 8th is the feast  of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation. A holy day of obligation is a day which those faithful to the RCC are required to attend Mass. That is unless December 8 falls on a Sunday, then the feast is transferred to December 9th because the Second Sunday of Advent outranks the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Keep in mind that not all countries have the same Holy Days of Obligation. Italy for example has six, while the primarily Muslim country of Indonesia has ten, and the incredibly Catholic country of the Philippines has three. I suppose this is due to to the fact that the Roman Catholic Church has an advantage (they claim) over protestantism - that they have a pope to rule them and make sure that everything is standardized. (That wasn't meant to sound sarcastic, but how can it not?)

Here in the United States the average Protestant would recognize a few of the holy days of obligation: Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, Solemnity of All Saints (All Saints' Day), Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas), then there's the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Notice that this is not the Immaculate Conception of Jesus Christ in the womb of Mary, I can't find evidence that the romish church celebrates that actual miracle. Instead they invented one; the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrates the conception of Mary in her mother Anne's womb immaculate and free from all forms of sin.

The Catholic Church teaches that Mary was conceived by normal biological means, but God acted upon her soul keeping her "immaculate" at the time of her conception. In other words she was born without original sin. Therefore, being free from original sin from her conception Mary received the sanctifying grace that Catholics believe comes with infant baptism. Not only that but she remained sinless though the rest of her life. The biblical references for this are: 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Random Bits

"I walk through this sinful world as a 
pilgrim in a foreign country" - CH Spurgeon
I think the best part of the Christmas holiday season for me is the fact that I can listen to beautiful complex choir music nonstop without raising an eyebrow. Music has always been a part of my life; piano lessons, singing in the folk mass (when I was a good Catholic lad), singing in school choir, barbershop quartets and barbershop chorus. I never got good at piano, too much of an engineer and not enough of an artist I guess, but singing! Even though that part of my life is over you can't imagine the joy I know now that I'm in a church that sings those beautiful old hymns that only people like Randy Travis or Alan Jackson record. But classical choral music was my first love, I had some wonderful choir instructors in the past and when I took music history in college a few years ago studying the evolution of choral music was a semester I'll never forget. So every Christmas holiday you'll see me on the drive home in my car, singing out Handel's oratorios and belting out the Bach. It seems like every year I get hooked on one piece and listen to it as often as possible because even a carol that's been recorded in every manner like "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" suddenly becomes a thing of utter beauty when performed by a talented, well conducted choir like the College of St. Peters College of Oxford University. This years favorite of mine is at the very end of this blog post, performed by the Choir of King's College, Oxford. It's a macaronic carol meaning that there's more than one language involved. Oh well, back to the real world...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

WWUTT Wednesday - False Teachers Teaching Falsehoods

I had completely forgotten about about the annual false teacher of the year "award". I usually think about it for weeks and research for days looking for the one false teacher that epitomizes the falsehoods of the year. But recent health issues and work issues have really taken their toll on my time to blog, and even to read blogs. It completely slipped my mind.

Yet Monday morning I woke up knowing that this was the day that the world knew that Rick Joyner was the false teacher of the year. No, I did not hear a still small voice whispering in my ear as perennial false teacher Rick Warren advises us to listen for. I think I knew a year ago that Rick Joyner was going to be the winner of the obscure but sadly fitting title of False Teacher of the Year when he falsely claimed that God picked the Carolina Panthers would win Super Bowl 50. Proverbs 30:5-6 came crashing down on his head less than a month later. 

Is it just me, am I growing more aware? or is the number of false teachers among us growing? or are the false teachers among us growing more vocal? Sadly I believe the answer is "Yes" to all three questions. But what shocks me more than anything else are self styled "prophets" and "apostles" who spout utter bunk and people believe their claims that these are "extrabiblical revelations". Just the name alone tells us it's not in the bible, therefor it's clearly not from God. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

False Teacher of the Year 2016

It's that time of year, the time of caring and giving. As the nights grow longer and the days grow colder we retreat indoors to the warmth I pray you all are taking the opportunity to fend off the wrath of satan by studying the word of God. I am in two studies this year, John and Hebrews, and what a delight! I've always loved John, but this is my first study of Hebrews and I wish I had studied this a long time ago.

One of the greatest (read: most effective) tools Satan has is to drive a wedge between us and God through ignorance of God's word, His commands, His desires. And doing this is a very simple task, simply present a false version of God's word in a manner that is more palatable to the unaware than the true word of God. Some folks are very good at it. Tops in 2013 was John Shore, leader of the Not All There Like That "Christians", in 2014 it was Steven McSwain a self-professed "Christian Atheist", a title that he enjoys, and last year it was Mark Sandlin, a "pastor" in the "Christian" Left who believes that social justice takes presidence uber alles. 

Again I wanted to nominate Gretta Vosper, but prayerful reflection again eliminates her from the running. I can't consider her because of 1 Corinthians 5:12, where God tells us not to judge those outside the church. Gretta is an atheist therefore she's outside of the Church, even though she's conducting her self help seminars inside a church building - but that building became a tomb years ago, and her acolytes mere animated corpses shuffling off to hell.

This year's winner will come as no surprise to anyone, his efforts to stand front and center as the New Apostolic Reformation's False Teacher of choice are impressive and has achieved the "Second Peter Principle" to earn this recognition:
18 For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, 19 promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. (2 Peter 2:18-21) 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Random Bits

"I walk through this sinful world as a 
pilgrim in a foreign country" - CH Spurgeon
It's that time of the year again! I get to listen to classical choral music and not get a lot of weird stares from the public in general. One of my favorites is L'adieu des bergers from L'enfance du Christ a French oratorio by Hector Berlioz. An oratorio is basicly an opera without the funny costumes and prancing around the stage. The performers can concentrate on the music and not have to worry about the big woman in the viking helmet tripping over the guys dressed like low income pirates and pretending to quaft ale. You all know at least one oratorio: Handel's Messiah is the worlds most famous oratorio, and it's just as good even if you can't sing.

The Pastix who got pregnant out of wedlock won't step down from the pulpit. She considers 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, 7-8 to be "antiquated language", and clearly ignores 1 Timothy 2:11-14, 1 Timothy 3:1–13 and Titus 1:6–9. One can only wonder in horror what she thinks of the rest of God's word.

Speaking of 'pastors' acting badly, two words:
Clayton Jennings

As I mentioned on Monday, things at the Calvary Chapel have really taken a turn for the worse since the passing of Chuck Smith. This week the Calvary Chapel Association (those that remain true to Chuck's vision) has washed their hands of Brian and Cheryl Brodersen, CC Costa Mesa, and the CC “Global Network”

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Spurgeon Thursday - Is The Pope The Antichrist?

During Spurgeon's lifetime there were three popes, Gregory XVI, Pius IX, and Leo XIII. Pius IX was the last absolute theocratic monarch of the papal states, an area of Italy that was ruled by the popes for over one thousand years. Like the Byzantine Empire and World War I, the Papal States is one of those fascinating bits of world history that are ignored in American schools for some unknown reason. 

Spurgeon really didn't like the popes and everything the popes stood for. I'm sure that the popes being theocratic monarchs of a sizeable chunk of european real estate that covered a good portion of Italy and even a chunk of France (Avignon ) didn't help much either. 

The political climate of Europe at the time was tumultuous, one could safely say that there was a state of warfare in europe from the start of the French revolution (1789) until the end of WWII. In 1848 Pope Pius IX actually fled Rome in disguise (some said in a woman's dress) and requested political asylum in England while the Italian Army reclaimed Rome and the Papal states. He returned to Rome in 1850. The Italian government made peaceful overtures to Pius IX but Pius responded with anger and insults. I'm sure none of that escaped Spurgeon's notice.