Saturday, July 09, 2005

Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 10th, 2005

Isaiah 55:1-5,10-13
Romans 8:9-17
Matthew 13:1-9,18-23
Psalm 65 or 65:9-14

Collect: O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Romans 8:9-17
You are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh-- for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ-- if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

The rest here:

Faithful and Useful
C.H. Spurgeon

Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. (Psalm 101:6)

If David spoke thus, we may be sure that the Son of David will be of the same mind. Jesus looks out for faithful men, and He fixes His eyes upon them, to observe them, to bring them forward, to encourage them, and to reward them. Let no true-hearted man think that he is overlooked; the King Himself has His eye upon him.

There are two results of this royal notice. First we read, "That they may dwell with me." Jesus brings the faithful into His house, He sets them in His palace, He makes them His companions, He delights in their society. We must be true to our Lord, and He will then manifest Himself to us. When our faithfulness costs us most, it will be best rewarded; the more furiously men reject, the more joyfully will our Lord receive us
Next, he says of the sincere man, "He shall serve me." Jesus will use for His own glory those who scorn the tricks of policy and are faithful to Himself, His Word, and His cross. These shall be in His royal retinue, the honored servants of His Majesty. Communion and usefulness are the wages of faithfulness. Lord make me faithful that I may dwell with Thee and serve Thee.


Leader of Evangelical Baptist Church Warns against Split over Homosexuality
(from titusonenine)

by Adelle M. BanksReligion News Service

WASHINGTON - The general secretary of the American Baptist Churches USA (ABC) urged members during their recent biennial meeting to not let division over homosexuality endanger the denomination’s future.
“The issue of homosexuality has brought us as a denomination to a crossroad in our life together,” the Rev. A. Roy Medley said in a July 1 sermon on the opening day of the three-day meeting. “One road will lead to separation. The other path will lead us to shared ministry and mission in all the theological and ethnic richness that has come to make us the unique denomination we are.”


Canadian Homosexuals to Demand Government Retaliation Against Conservative Churches

Even before Canada approved same-sex “marriage” one of the nation’s leading homosexual activists was quoted as saying that churches refusing to endorse homosexual’s “right” to marry should have their tax exempt status revoked. That is just one example of what is hiding behind the mask of “tolerance.” Bob Knight, director of CWA’s Culture & Family Institute has more on this and similar situations here in the U.S. Click here to listen.

Concerned Women for America:

Friday, July 08, 2005

Schumer Urged to Bow Out of Court Debate
Pete Winn, associate editor

New York's senior U.S. senator pledges Democrats will "go to war" no matter who the president nominates to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor.

Pro-family groups are calling on a powerful liberal senator to remove himself from deliberations on the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor's eventual replacement on the Supreme Court.

Internet media maven Matt Drudge reported Wednesday that Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a powerful member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was overheard promising that Democrats would "go to war" over President Bush's nominee — regardless of the candidate the president nominates.

Pro-family activists were appalled. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins was blunt in his comments. "I would not hesitate to suggest that Senator Schumer should recuse himself from the confirmation process," Perkins said, "since he has obviously already made up his mind."


Prayer for Those in Danger from the Hurricane

Prayer to be used in storms at sea.
O Most powerful and glorious Lord God, at whose command the winds blow, and lift up the waves of the sea, and who stillest the rage thereof; We, thy creatures, but miserable sinners, do in this our great distress cry unto thee for help; Save, Lord, or else we perish. We confess, when we have been safe, and seen all things quiet about us, we have forgotten thee our God, and refused to hearken to the still voice of thy word, and to obey thy commandments: But now we see how terrible thou art in all thy works of wonder; the great God to be feared above all: and therefore we adore thy Divine Majesty, acknowledging thy power, and imploring thy goodness. Help, Lord, and save us for thy mercy's sake, in Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord. Amen.

From the 1789 book of common prayer:

Abortion Free Speech
California City and School Must Pay Pro-Life Activists $130K

LONG BEACH, California, July 7, 2005 ( – Four pro-life activists illegally forced to abandon their position on a public sidewalk outside a high school have won a rare victory – a California court has awarded the group $130,000 for the violation of their First Amendment free speech rights. Long Beach agreed to pay the protesters $105,000, while the Long Beach Unified School District agreed to pay $25,000.

On September 26, 2002, Dan McCullough, Eric Milton, Myh Vo, and Christine Reeves were holding signs and distributing literature on the public sidewalk in front of Millikan High School in Long Beach, seeking to communicate to young people the truth about abortion. The four are members of Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, a Christian organization that depicts the graphic and gruesome reality of abortion at school campuses throughout Southern California.

The police told them they were trespassing because the sidewalk was considered school property and School Principal Jeffrey Cornejo didn't want them there. When threatened with arrest, three of them retreated to the opposite sidewalk, but McCullough refused to leave and was taken into custody.


Excellent essay:
Is Christ Divided?
And two more apostolic questions today's church must answer.
by Timothy George

When Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," did he intend that the people called to bear his name in the world would eventually be divided into 37,000 competing denominations? That is the number of separate Christian bodies worldwide, according to missions statistician Todd Johnson of the World Christian Database. Some argue that this number is inflated due to the database's definition of denomination. But even if we were to suppose he is high by one-fourth (not likely), we're still looking at 27,000 separate Christian groups.

Sometimes church division is a tragic necessity, and the call to Christian unity does not mean that we must blend all believers into a single homogenous unit. But neither does it allow us to relax and accept the status quo as God's perfect will. Evangelicals believe in the spiritual oneness of all true Christians-what Augustine of Hippo called the invisible church-but does this mean that we should have no concern for visible church unity?

Our visible disunity causes many unbelievers to stumble. The problem is not only division, but divisiveness, within congregations as well as between (and within) denominations. To jar the Corinthians-a divided church if ever there was one-out of complacency, Paul asked three pointed questions in 1 Corinthians 1:13, questions we need to reconsider today.


Court: 'Merry Christmas' ACLU
Rejects suit by woman claiming holiday display was offensive

A federal appeals court rejected the claim of a woman represented by the ACLU who said she was offended by Christmas displays at a city hall.

Grace C. Osediacz sued the city of Cranston, R.I., asserting that the religious displays -- erected along with secular displays by members of the public in an area designated by the city -- violate the so-called "separation of church and state."

Story here:

Jesus and homosexuality: a reflection
8th July 2005
Bishop Peter Lee
Provincial Synod, Pinetown,
KwaZulu Natal 7th July 2005

Your Grace and leaders in the Church of this Province: Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
I am billed to give a biblical exposition and I will try to do that with a broad brush in the context of wider theological and pastoral concerns, focussing mainly on the attitudes and words of our Lord Jesus Christ as far as we can know them. I will not quote every passage in full but you will find the references in the text to be distributed. We must always ask what the meaning of a biblical study is for today and I will need to do that later if we are not to leave the text dangling entirely without context.
Let me suggest that there are three ways in to this subject: firstly, the search for a sound moral theology for Anglicans; secondly, discerning and following the mind of Christ; and thirdly, what the Holy Spirit of God is saying now.

Article here:

London a Longtime Haven for Radical Muslim Figures
Patrick Goodenough
International Editor( -

Terrorism experts have long warned that Islamists espousing violence enjoy a haven in London, an assertion that has come into sharp focus again with Thursday's bombings in the British capital.

For years, Britain tolerated the presence of high-profile and outspoken Islamic clerics whose fiery sermons frequently extolled jihad against the West. Since 9/11, however, anti-terror legislation has been tightened, some groups have been outlawed, terror rings have been broken and some controversial figures have been arrested.

Article here:

Thursday, July 07, 2005

On gays, Anglicans use Bible 4 ways
By Richard N. Ostlin
Associated Press Writer

In their tense debate about homosexuality, the world's 77 million Anglicans (called Episcopalians in the United States) take four approaches to biblical teaching: dismissal, perplexity, renovation and traditionalism.

Dismissal is the left-fringe attitude personified by Bishop John Shelby Spong, former head of the Newark, N.J., diocese. In "The Sins of Scripture" (HarperSanFrancisco), he says calling the Bible "the Word of God" (a belief he himself affirmed at ordination) is "perhaps the strangest claim ever made" for a document.

Spong finds the Old Testament's homosexual prohibitions ignorant and "morally incompetent" expressions of "popular prejudices." With the New Testament, he disdains Paul's condemnations as "ill-informed" ravings from a zealot who, he hypothesizes, was a "deeply repressed, self-loathing" homosexual.

The rest here:

'Time Has Come for Vengeance,' Islamist Website Declares
By Carolyn Bolls Correspondent
July 07, 2005(

A group called "the Secret Organization of al Qaeda in Europe" released a letter claiming responsibility for Thursday's bombings in London. The group warned that Denmark and Italy would face the "same punishment" if they failed to withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The letter was posted on the website "el," according to the Italian news organization ANSA. Germany's Der Spiegel obtained a screenshot of the letter, which commands the "community of Muslims" to rejoice, for "the heroic mujahedeen carried out a blessed attack in London, and now Britain is burning with fear and terror, from north to south, east to west.

Article here:\ForeignBureaus\archive\200507\FOR20050707h.html

Christian Pastor on Trial in China for Printing Bibles
By Patrick Goodenough International Editor
July 07, 2005

( - The pastor of an underground Protestant church in China appeared before a Beijing court Thursday, accused of illegally printing more than 200,000 Bibles and other Christian books.

Pastor Cai Zhuohua's appearance before the People's Court in the capital's Haidian district came on the day Chinese President Hu Jintao was due to meet with President Bush and other world leaders at the G8 summit in Scotland.

Printing Bibles is illegal in communist China, where human rights groups say only an approved publisher is permitted to do so in limited numbers on behalf of the state-sanctioned "patriotic" church.


In quotes: World reaction

London has been hit by a series of explosions across its public transport system, killing at least 33 people and injuring many more.
World leaders and other international figures have offered their sympathy and support in the wake of the attacks.
Below are a selection of their reactions.

Read BBC news here:

Britain's 9/11?
'People started praying to God,' says one survivor. An Islamic scholar says London's Muslims may be disproportionately affected.
by Anthony McRoy posted 07/07/2005 12:15 p.m.

Yesterday, July 6, Londoners were euphoric: we heard that we had won the competition for the 2012 Olympics. People in my East End borough of Newham were particularly elated; the main site for the Olympics will be in our borough. My wife—a naturalized Briton—let out a massive cheer when we heard the news. Our children were looking forward to its impact on their lives. I was also thrilled at it happening on what will be the Diamond Jubilee of our beloved Queen. As well as that, this weekend will see the official celebrations of V-E and V-J Days. The East End suffered more than any other part of Britain from the bombs of the Luftwaffe, so these celebrations were going to be particularly poignant here. This was set to be one of the greatest weekends for London in years.

Today that euphoria has been replaced by shock, horror, and sadness. Police say four bombings took place—three in what Britons call the Tube or Underground (the subway) and the other on a bus. Television pictures of the bus are especially shocking as the roof was blown off. Reports are still sketchy, and we don't know if these terrible events are the result of what Al Qaeda view as 'martyrdom operations' (suicide bombings), or whether they are Madrid-type cell-phone operated attacks. As I write, there are 33 confirmed fatalities, and the number will probably climb.

More from

State of Alert in Europe

ROME - The whole of Europe was on alert Thursday following a series of bombings in London, Italian officials said, while security officials were assessing Italian security and Italy's airports raised their alert level to a maximum.
Italy's European commissioner called the explosions in central London on Thursday a terrorist strike against Europe.
The Italian Foreign Ministry said at least two Italians were injured in the blasts, without giving details.
"What has happened is the tragic confirmation that terrorism strikes once more at the heart of Europe," said Franco Frattini, Europe's commissioner for justice and home affairs, in comments reported by Italian news agencies and confirmed by his office.

Story here:

In the Face of Terrorism
from Lent and Beyond

Jeremiah 6:24-26 (New International Version)

24 We have heard reports about them,
and our hands hang limp.
Anguish has gripped us,
pain like that of a woman in labor.
25 Do not go out to the fields or walk on the roads,
for the enemy has a sword,
and there is terror on every side.
26 O my people, put on sackclothand roll in ashes;
mourn with bitter wailing as for an only son,
for suddenly the destroyer will come upon us.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us.

Prince of Peace, we live in a world filled with terror. So many of your people labor for peace, but Satan’s deceptions and our sin-weakened flesh work horrific deeds on the earth.

Lord Jesus, you humbled yourself and were vulnerable to the world’s terrors. As your body was broken on the cross, let our hearts be broken by the acts of terror that shatter our neighbors’ lives. Give us grace to wail to our Father in Heaven and to weep with those who weep all around us.

Christ our King, be merciful with us. We do not know how to end the terror. We ask you to pour the Holy Spirit’s comforts on those who suffer. We ask you to bless the protective efforts of legitimate authorities. We ask you to prosper the ministry of peacemakers. We ask you to soften the hearts of those tempted to terror. We ask you to fix our hopes and values on your perfect kingdom. We ask for strength to persevere as people of faith in a sinful world.

In all these needs, strengthen us with the assurance of your victory won on the cross: And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:15, NIVUK)

We pray in your holy Name, Lord Jesus, for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
John 16:33 Hebrews 2:8-10

Six Blasts Rock London
Jul 7, 7:20 AM (ET)By JANE WARDELL

LONDON (AP) - Half a dozen explosions rocked the London subway and tore open a packed double-decker bus during the morning rush hour Thursday. The blasts killed at least two people and injured scores in what a shaken Prime Minister Tony Blair said was a series of "barbaric" terrorist attacks.
Blair said it was clear the attacks were designed to coincide with the opening of the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. The prime minister said the meeting of world leaders would continue but that he would return to London.
"Whatever they do, it is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civilized nations throughout the world," Blair said a day after London was awarded the 2012 Olympics.


Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

7 The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
11 The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Father, we lift up this terrible situation in London and we recognize our helplessness and our total reliance on You. Send your aid and succor to those who have suffered harm. Be with the rescue workers. Only in You is our peace. Only in You we find refuge. Only in You can we find hope in the midst of tragedy.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Liberals Turning Parliament Into a “dictatorship”; Senators Stop Debate On Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ After Two Hours
Insiders Say Bill Could Pass As Early As Friday

OTTAWA, ON, July 6, 2005 ( – If there was any doubt left, Canadians have been given yet further evidence that Canada’s Liberal regime has zero respect for democratic procedure. After a mere two hours of debate yesterday the Liberal dominated Canadian Senate invoked closure on the same-sex ‘marriage’ bill, shutting down debate.

By the time closure was invoked only a small handful of Senators had been given the opportunity to speak on what is being called by conservatives the most destructive bill in Canadian history. The same tactic was used less than two weeks ago when the bill went before the House of Commons for final consideration.


Mass. Governor Nixes Pro-Homosexual Use of Taxpayers' Money
By Jim Brown
July 6, 2005

(AgapePress) - The governor of Massachusetts is being praised by a pro-family group for vetoing a 70 percent increase in funding for homosexual programs in the state's public schools.
The Massachusetts State Legislature recently approved two budget items that would have given $425,000 to the Governor's Commission for Gay and Lesbian Youth (GCGLY), a group that works with the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). However, after being flooded with phone calls and e-mails from angry taxpayers, Governor Mitt Romney vetoed the funding increase.

Among other things, the funding would have been used in support of homosexual clubs and pro-same-sex "marriage" assemblies in schools, and "suicide" and "violence" protection programs for homosexuals in public schools.
Brian Camenker, who heads the
Article 8 Alliance, says his group's three-day campaign urging Romey to use the veto was a "great success."
"This is the first time in history, that I know of -- at least in the 15 years that I've been following this stuff -- that a governor has actually stood up and vetoed money publicly for the gay activists in the schools." Camenker notes. "This is a big deal."

The governor, says Camenker, listened to the concerns of conservative parents and citizens.
"Basically, the people stood up and said, 'No. We're not going to stand for it' -- and the governor basically listened to the people and stood up to the homosexual lobby," the Alliance leader says, noting that that lobby "can be very, very fierce."
But Camenker says the fight is not over yet, noting the Legislature may still attempt to override Romney's veto.

Article here:

Finding Genuine Hope
Dr. Michael Youssef
Leading the Way

In Luke 24 we have the amazing story of two disciples who had followed Jesus for three years. They loved Jesus. And were close to Him
One day they were walking on the road back to Emmaus when Jesus joined them. Yet, they were so discouraged over His death they didn't even recognize Him. Because of what I call “mistaken contemplation,” they had lost all hope.

What do I mean by “mistaken contemplation”? Simply this: We take our eyes off the risen Christ and instead focus on our problems. And what happens when we do that? We quickly lose hope.


Meditation from the Albany Intercessor
Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water (Isaiah 35:7)
Father, let the parched ground of my soul become a pool of your Spirit.

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD! (Psalm 119:1)
LORD, help us walk in your ways.

Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with the whole heart! (Psalm 119:2)Jesus, help us seek you with an undivided heart.

They also do no iniquity; they walk in his ways. (Psalm 119:3)
Holy Spirit, preserve us from calling good evil and evil good.

You have commanded us to keep your precepts diligently. (Psalm 119:4)
Father, help us keep to your ways.

Oh, that my ways were directed to keep your statutes! (Psalm 119:5)
Father, please direct us by your Holy Spirit.

Then I would not be ashamed, when I look into all your commandments. (Psalm 119:6)
Father, let your commandments be a mirror showing us our true selves so that we may turn to you.

I will praise you with uprightness of heart, when I learn your righteous judgments. (Psalm 119:7)
Jesus, please help us praise you and learn from you.

I will keep your statutes; oh, do not forsake me utterly! (Psalm 119:8)
Holy Spirit, abide with us and teach us.

Albany Intercessor:

For St Andrew's Episcopal Church
Syracuse, NY

Vision and Reality
Oswald Chambers

"And the parched ground shall become a pool." Isaiah 35:7

We always have visions, before a thing is made real. When we realize that although the vision is real, it is not real in us, then is the time that Satan comes in with his temptations, and we are apt to say it is no use to go on. Instead of the vision becoming real, there has come the valley of humiliation.

"Life is not as idle ore,
But iron dug from central gloom,
And batter'd by the shocks of doom
To shape and use."

God gives us the vision, then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision, and it is in the valley that so many of us faint and give way. Every vision will be made real if we will have patience. Think of the enormous leisure of God! He is never in a hurry. We are always in such a frantic hurry. In the light of the glory of the vision we go forth to do things, but the vision is not real in us yet; and God has to take us into the valley, and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get to the place where He can trust us with the veritable reality. Ever since we had the vision God has been at work, getting us into the shape of the ideal, and over and over again we escape from His hand and try to batter ourselves into our own shape.
The vision is not a castle in the air, but a vision of what God wants you to be. Let Him put you on His wheel and whirl you as He likes, and as sure as God is God and you are you, you will turn out exactly in accordance with the vision. Don't lose heart in the process. If you have ever had the vision of God, you may try as you like to be satisfied on a lower level, but God will never let you.
My Utmost For His Highest:
Father, You have given us Your vision for what you want us to be. Let us not lose heart when we feel battered or oppressed, for we know You are shaping us for Your use.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Are Short-Term Missions Good Stewardship?
excerpt from

Just how big is short-term missions (STM)? As a grass-roots, decentralized movement, its scope is difficult to determine. And yet your own estimate of between 1 million and 4 million North American short-term missionaries every year may well be a conservative estimate. The sociologist Christian Smith, based on national random survey data, reports that 29 percent of all 13- to 17-year-olds in the U.S. have "gone on a religious missions team or religious service project," with 10 percent having gone on such trips three or more times. That is, his data indicates that far more than 2 million 13- to 17-year-olds go on such trips every year.

This is an enormous phenomenon, and yet it has largely escaped the attention of scholars. Most of the 50 "dissertations" which Abram Honig referred to in his Christianity Today article, were master's theses or D.Min. projects, with but a few Ph.D. dissertations. Senior scholars have not made this central to their own research. Probably no other dimension of American religious life is so extensive while being so little studied or understood by scholars.


Elizabethtown congregagation leaves Episcopal Church
News Release

More than 100 former members of Christ Church, Elizabethtown, KY are leaving the Episcopal Church to form a new Anglican parish. The new congregation, Holy Apostles, will begin worshipping at the Gallery of the State Theater in downtown Elizabethtown. Their first service will be celebrated July 10th at 10:00 a.m.

According to the Reverend Kent Litchfield, pastor of the new church, the recent practices and teaching of the Episcopal Church are in violation of scripture and go against the tradition, faith and order of Anglicanism and Christianity. The Episcopal Church has acquiesced to the pressures of cultural relativism and secular modernism instead of standing as the moral beacon to a society that appears to have abandoned the principles that have stood the test of time, said Father Litchfield. We hope to regain that moral compass and be a positive voice in the community.

The rest at titusonenine:

From Lent and Beyond:

We are in an uncertain and, therefore, a weary time. The Anglican Communion has asked ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada to conform to certain requests to remain in good standing within the Communion, and there is doubt whether these requests will be honored. The drama raises questions about ongoing ecclesiastical relationships, not only in the communion, but also in dioceses and in parishes. We’re talking about family and lifetime friends, and we are in pain.And yet, in all candor, I’ve never felt closer to God. In the midst of the uncertainty of all that surrounds me, God in His tender mercies releases His Holy Spirit in a current of prayer. I am truly being borne in a current of love, and I am undeserving.God convicted me of sin this morning, and I confess it to you. Yesterday, my sense of alienation from church family welled up within me, and I fretted to my husband, a priest, about all the uncertainties of our call. On awakening, during a time of reading and prayer, I sensed that Jesus was asking me to bathe His feet with expensive ointment.
‘How wonderful!’ you might say.
But it is also awful. You see, the expensive ointment was my trust, my complete and unquestioning trust, and I have much anxiety to repent of. I understand why the woman with the alabaster box stood behind him rather than in front (Luke 7:37-8).

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

A beautiful, prayerful site:

What If the Supreme Court Isn't to Blame for Its Lack of Moral Clarity?
By Matt Friedeman
July 1, 2005

(AgapePress) - The Supreme Court, far from being enlightening on the display of the Ten Commandments, botched it badly by making even constitutional scholars scratch their heads and utter a collective, "Huh?" over two cases handed down this week.

Way to go, Supremes.
But why the incoherence? Columnist Bill Murchison made a point that puts the blame for the legal murkiness right where it belongs ... almost.

Says Murchison:
"It strikes me -- correct me if I am wrong -- that cultures, not courts, set constitutional tone; that the incoherence of our church-state jurisprudence proceeds less from the court's incoherence than from society's unwillingness to say what its own will is."

Whose fault? Our fault, intimates the columnist.
But should we be even a bit more particularized with the laser beam of blame since, after all, the issue at hand is the Judeo-Christian tradition handed down from Mount Sinai?


Kids with bedroom TV have lower test scores

Want to improve your child's standardized test scores? You might want to start by booting out the television that likely occupies a place of honor in your youngster's bedroom and booting up a computer elsewhere in the home.

A new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University indicates that third-graders with televisions in their bedrooms perform significantly more poorly on standardized tests than their peers without. Conversely, those with access to a home computer earn higher test scores. The differences persist regardless of the amount of time the students reported spending on homework.


Gays 6X More Expensive Than Smokers
says Family Research Institute

COLORADO SPRINGS, Co., July 5 /Christian Wire Service/ -- The Centers for Disease Control announced that smoking costs society about $168 billion a year. The CDC said the $168 billion annual bill was the sum of direct health costs of $76 billion and $92 billion in lost productivity. Since about 23% of adults – about 46 million smoke, that translates into a cost of about $3,500 per smoker each year.

"Gays are costing about $51 billion a year for AIDS alone, much less all the other diseases more frequently experienced by homosexuals," said Dr. Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute – a Colorado Springs based think-tank. "However, there are many times more smokers than gays. The 1996 CDC national sexuality survey estimated that 1.3% of men engage in homosexual activity each year. Even if there were as many as 2 million sexually active gays – that would translate into a cost of over $25,000 per gay per year – just for AIDS. The total cost, including the other STDs and organ failures that gays acquire, is obviously higher."

The story:

Don't Calculate Without God
Oswald Chambers

"Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass." Psalm 37:5

Don't calculate without God.
God seems to have a delightful way of upsetting the things we have calculated on without taking Him into account. We get into circumstances which were not chosen by God, and suddenly we find we have been calculating without God; He has not entered in as a living factor. The one thing that keeps us from the possibility of worrying is bringing God in as the greatest factor in all our calculations.
In our religion it is customary to put God first, but we are apt to think it is an impertinence to put Him first in the practical issues of our lives. If we imagine we have to put on our Sunday moods before we come near to God, we will never come near Him. We must come as we are.

The rest:

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Prayer of a Patriot
Adrian Rogers
Love Worth Finding

Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause Thine anger toward us to cease. Wilt Thou be angry with us for ever? Wilt Thou draw out Thine anger to all generations? Wilt Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?" ~~ Psalm 85:4-6

A Plea for Revival
In Psalm 85, we read the prayer of a true patriot. He watched his nation go from disobedience to degradation to dissolution. And because he loves his land, he's praying for revival.

America, too, is on a collision course with God's judgment, and I am greatly alarmed! As in that day, today the prayer of a patriot needs to be, "Wilt Thou not revive us again ...?"

Now to revive means to bring back to a former state. Never has a nation had a better start than America. God has blessed and favored America. But America needs a spiritual revival - an earth-shaking, mountain-moving, devil-defying, sin-killing, soul-saving revival.

The rest here:

United Church of Christ Backs Gay Marriage

The United Church of Christ's rule-making body voted overwhelmingly Monday to approve a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage, making it the largest Christian denomination to do so.
The vote is not binding on individual churches, but could cause some congregations to leave the fold.

Full story:

Oh (dear!) Canada
Thousands protest plan to award abortionist honorary degree
June 24,2005

LONDON, ON—Although a plan by the University of Western Ontario (UWO) to confer an honorary doctor of laws degree on Canada’s foremost abortion proponent has generated great controversy, as of press time, the university was still planning to honour Henry Morgentaler during its spring convocation ceremonies on June 16.

In a March edition of the Western News, the university noted Morgentaler “founded the first abortion clinic in Montreal in 1968 and in the year that followed, he challenged the Criminal Code…He has continued to campaign province-by-province seeking to provide abortion services…Today, Morgentaler operates six clinics in Canada providing…abortion and contraceptive services.”

Since the article appeared, thousands of students, faculty, alumni and Canadians-at-large have rallied against the university’s decision to give Morgentaler the degree, flooding UWO administration with phone calls, e-mail and letters. Some estimates place the current cost to the university from cancelled donations, bequests and other funding at up to $50 million.


(I couldn't find any updates)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Clergy who don't believe in God
Clergy and laity show signs of schism over homosexuality, miracles and the Almighty

HUNDREDS of Church of England clergy doubt the existence of God and fewer than two thirds believe in miracles, a study out today says.
The report, published on the eve of the General Synod, refers to “very fragile faultlines along which the Church of England could be torn apart”. Congregations are much more conservative than most of the comparatively liberal clergy preaching to them.

More here:,,2-1679824,00.html

U.S. Churches' Recognition of Independence Day Varies Widely

First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas, prides itself on its fiercely patriotic approach to the Fourth of July.

Last year, Marines rappelled into the sanctuary, church members in uniform stuck rifles and helmets into a Styrofoam grave site made by a Broadway set designer, and indoor fireworks exploded over a packed house in back-to-back services.

"It's just a big patriotic, feel-good moment," said Robert Elkins, the church's music director.

First Covenant Church in Oakland, Calif., takes a different approach, allowing a salute to veterans but steering clear of any overtly patriotic messages. "We want to be as inclusive as possible for all worshippers, whether they're red or blue," said music director David Leestma.

Independence Day can be delicate for houses of worship. Many worshippers expect some recognition of the holiday, but appearing too nationalistic can alienate others who see God-and-country celebrations as political endorsements.

Story here:

Episcopal Church loses another flagship congregation
By Kelli Cottrell

TULSA, Okla — Another flagship congregation in the Episcopal Church U.S.A. has left the denomination over the issue of biblical orthodoxy and the denomination’s stand on homosexuality.The leadership of Church of the Holy Spirit in Tulsa met with Oklahoma Bishop Robert Moody in late May to discuss the withdrawal. Church leadership said they hoped for an amicable parting of the ways.


Kenyan Anglicans cut links with US church
By Samwel Rambaya

The Anglican Church of Kenya has severed links with the Episcopal Church of America and demanded its expulsion from the global communion.
The announcement at the end of a three-day meeting in Nairobi was made amidst revelation that the head of the parent church in England, archbishop Rowan William would be visiting Kenya on July 20.

The whole story:

Episcopal Church in full battle

A battle is raging in Middle Tennessee Episcopal churches that most probably will reshape the denomination.
On the one side are moderate and liberal Episcopalians who want to keep the church as they view it — an all inclusive tent under which anyone may worship.
On the other side are more conservative Episcopalians who believe the church has strayed from its core beliefs and cite as the most recent example the ordination of an openly gay priest as bishop of New Hampshire.
While the battle rages elsewhere across the country, the weapon of choice in Middle Tennessee is the election of the next bishop early next year — to be voted on by delegates elected to January’s 174th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Tennessee.

More here:

From the Albany Intercessor

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! While I live I will praise the LORD; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. (Psalm 146:1-2)

LORD, please help us praise you. Please help us sing your praises.

Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish. (Psalm 146:3-4)

Jesus, please help us keep our attention on you. Please help us to be faithful in turning to you in every situation. Thank you.

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps truth forever, who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. the LORD gives freedom to the prisoners. (Psalm 146:5-7)

Happy are the people whose God is the LORD! Help this nation turn back to you so that we may find our true freedom and independence in you.

The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; the LORD raises those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the strangers; he relieves the fatherless and widow; but the way of the wicked he turns upside down. (Psalm 146:8-9)

Jesus, your servants Paul and the other disciples were accused of turning the world upside down; please help us in our generation to be a people who turn the ways of the world upside down.

The LORD shall reign forever-- your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 146:10)

LORD, reign in our hearts so that we may praise you. Thank you.

Albany Intercessor web site:

The Image Idol
By Rachel Houston

July 1, 2005

Charles Darwin was wrong about many things, but he came pretty close to describing contemporary culture: American society isn’t based on survival of the fittest—it’s become a survival of the prettiest.

This concept forms the foundation of Michelle Graham’s recent book Wanting to be Her: Body Image Secrets Victoria Won't Tell You. But don’t let the title fool you. As Graham warns, “In these pages you will not find nutritional hype about carbohydrates, fashion tips for dressing your body type or ten easy steps to a prettier you.” Instead, you will find a refreshing discussion of the spiritual issues behind our quest for beauty.

Graham shows that Americans have become preoccupied with outward appearances. TV commercials, billboards, magazine ads—the media bombard us with images of beautiful people. Cover models, Graham notes, have increasingly become our role models.

The story here:

Why God Asks Us to Pray
Henry T. Blackaby

It is a serious matter to ask, “Why does God ask us to pray?”
Jesus told His disciples that “... men ought always to pray and not lose heart ... ”(Luke 18:1). Throughout His ministry Jesus was always urging His disciples to pray. But why? Surely, it was not merely for them to get their desired wishes!

Could the answer be found in what we call the Lord’s Prayer? In the middle of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he gives a long and careful word on prayer (Matthew 6:5-15). The heart of it all is His “model prayer,” which begins: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven....” Examining the text carefully we notice that the heart of prayer is God the Father. Thus, prayer must first focus on God rather than ourselves. Our prayer should be for God’s name and full character to be revealed clearly. We then pray for His will -- not our will -- to be done and that God express His will “on earth” in the arena of our lives. We should desire that heaven’s will be done where we live.

When our prayer is God-centered, God reveals Himself and His heart for all to see. When we pray for God to work mightily for Himself alone, He does. God can then work through the prayer lives of His people to make Himself known to a watching world. And when He does He is glorified! That is, He is seen in His activity for who He is, and this will draw people to Himself. Not all will be "saved," but all will know Him in one way or another. So we must model Jesus' prayer faithfully before we make any request for God to “bless us” and meet our needs.

The rest: