For What It’s Worth, Today’s Special Guest is…

...DocMartin (no, not the shoes, …different spelling). Roger Martin and i go back a few years. He is a Business Professor at Warner Pacific College. i asked Roger if i could re-post his thoughts from last week as they are along a theme that i have already posted on and have more on the way.

Take Care of the Little Things!

By Roger Martin

I love my morning coffee and newspapers. I get up around 5:30am and start my pot of coffee, pour my glass of orange juice, stick my bread in the toaster, and then run out and get my Columbian and Wall Street Journal (WSJ). I then spend the next two hours reading the newspapers. Sometimes there are articles in the Columbian that catch my attention, and other times it is the WSJ. Today it was both papers.

You may think it a bit strange that I am going to connect the Buffalo Springfield with Anthony Weiner, but I am going to write about both the band and the Representative in the same blog entry. The Buffalo Springfield was one of my favorite bands in the 60’s. Richie Furay, Stephen Stills, and Neil Young represented my heroes at the time. The song “For What Its Worth,” was a call to protest that all baby boomers paid attention to. Several of the original members are now dead, while Furay, Stills, and Young have just reunited and are touring. I would love to see them. I met Richie Furay at a Calvary Chapel pastors conference in Lake Arrowhead.

The comment however that stood out to me in this article was what Furay said to Young and Stills when the idea was brought up to tour together. Neil Young said they could get together either this year or next, and Furay stated at their ages they should do it now and not wait. I thought this was interesting. We do seem to put off things thinking we have time, but all of a sudden its gone.

Let me shift gears a bit and discuss Representative Weiner. I know there are going to be an incredible amount of jokes about this guy. The fact is habits that Anthony developed as a young single man continued on as he matured and eventually married. I cannot believe he thought that these indiscretions would go unnoticed? Somewhere along the line he lost something, something I would call disciplined thinking. Our society has lost the concept of discipline. How many rock stars die at an early age because they partied so much that they destroyed their bodies? How many politicians do stupid things thinking that no one would pay attention? We don’t think about consequences. If I do something, most of the time I don’t worry about what will happen later down the road? Action A will result in effect B. Effect B could be a cause to C, etc. Our actions do produce results that may, or may not, be considered good. This is especially true in how we think.

Descarte said “I think, therefore I am.” Scripture tells us we should bring all thoughts into captivity of Christ. There is value to this disciplined process of managing where our minds go. We wake up one morning and realize my gosh I’ve gained 20 pounds. How did I get here? We wake up one morning and say, why did I send all those pictures to people I don’t even know. Or one morning we wake up and we’ve missed an opportunity to play a concert with friends. Our society is losing something that was important in the past. In our modern society we focus on video games and self-gratification, and because of this we are losing the value of disciplined living and thinking. We are becoming a modern Rome. We don’t watch what we eat, pornography is rampant on our TV, and we play endless amounts of video games rather than read. It makes me think about the guy standing on the corner with a sign that states “The End of the World is Near.” All because we failed to maintain a disciplined thought life. What do you think about this?

And that is my thought for the day!

Jesus… Now Bigger than The Beatles.

Concerning The Beatles, John Lennon once exclaimed in an interview, “We’re more popular than Jesus now.” Arguably, he was right. Now before you pelt me with baseball-size rocks and pointed projectiles, let me qualify that in a cultural sense he was absolutely right. The Beatles were more influential upon adolescents, art, and music culture than anything in their time. They were a phenom beyond others. However, there really is no comparison, Jesus will forever obscure The Beatles in every significant manner, culturally and historically. Matter of fact, Jesus is actually bigger than Jesus. I have proof.

It seems that builders in Swiebodzin, Poland are erecting a Jesus statue. A Catholic Priest conceived the idea some years ago of a Jiant Giant Jesus. The project is expected to be finished shortly. When complete the plaster and fiberglass statue will stand 33 meters tall (108 feet for us Westerners) and placed on a 19 meter high mound. That will make the total height of the statue 52 meters (57 yards).

i gotta get me one of those!

i’d like to see John, Paul, George, and Ringo just try and get their own 100+ foot tall mega-monuments.

~End monolith~

What do you think about this? Is there good cause for a monumental messiah? (For some reason i can’t get They Might Be Giants’ “The Statue Got Me High” outta my head.)


This is going to be the official start of Weird Wednesday. Every Wednesday i’ll post a… well, you get the idea.

Separation of Church and State

i spent the age of twenty to forty in vocational ministry. Most of this time as a Pastor in mega churches. i encountered many types of Christians every day. Most of these would consider themselves to be people who believe the Bible, taking it at face value. They would also say that they live out what they believe on a daily basis. A large part of my role as Pastor was to encourage people to live out their faith in a real manner wherever they may be, whatever they may be doing.

At forty years old i found myself beginning a business career. Looking back over this time, there have been amazing situations that have occurred. Outside of the “church” bubble I’ve made some great relationships and God has used me in these people’s lives in fascinating ways. I have had the opportunity to counsel, encourage, and even pray with business associates to enter a relationship with God through His Son’s sacrifice. These work place “ministry” encounters occur quite often.

So… why, in decades of being a pastor and dealing with literally thousands of “Christians” who are living on the outside of a “Christian” aquarium, have i rarely heard about the types of accounts in the work place and daily life as i have personally experienced in a few short years? Is it because these situations find me; or i’m seeking them out; or i’m more sensitive to seeing them? i don’t think so.

There appear to be two major issues at work: complacency and compartmentalization. Perhaps there are many Christians who are sensitive to opportunity to minister the love of God to others on the job or in the grocery store. Yet, they feel inadequate to take action, or just don’t care enough to act or speak boldly in love. Others, it would seem, segregate their Christian world view at home and church from who they are in the work place, or out and about.

i was recently watching an old Billy Graham crusade. He addressed this same issue several decades ago. Mr. Graham inferred that many of us call ourselves “Christian,” go to church, talk the talk, but when it comes down to it we really don’t live like we believe the Scripture, that God is real. He used the illustration that we should imagine the risen Christ, Jesus the Son of God, as being literally at our side in all that we do.

What Billy Graham was really getting at was the essence of coram Deo, a Latin term meaning “being before the face of God,” living as if God’s very presence were literally before us: He is sitting beside us at work; enjoying our meals with us; cheering on our favorite team next to us in the stadium.

i think this is a similar concept that Paul refers to in 1 Thessalonians 5.17 when he refers to “pray without ceasing.” Paul’s point is that we continually direct our thoughts to God. Similarly, coram Deo looks to direct our speech and action as if God were literally beside us. If this were the case, how would our actions and reactions change in our day to day existence? How would our life perspective be transformed? How would our preconception of others be altered?

How would your relationships change if you lived coram Deo? What would be different at work, with your neighbors, family, friends?

~End insulation~

Nearing the Finish Line

With the Indy 500 safely garaged for another year, the final 50 laps of the CCM 500 quickly approach. It’s really not a race… however, i’m curious for whom the checkered flag will wave. The CCM 500 is actually a blog i recently discovered. Having been involved in the Christian music industry over the years and as a lover of music in general, i have a vast collection of music (albums numbering in the thousands, all types [yet, nary a country one among them]). When i perused the CCM 500 i was amazed to find a truckload of music that, though obscure too many, packed my own music crypt, indelibly formatting much of my musical tastes and faith experience.

The caretaker of the CCM 550 and its counterpart Greatest Christian Albums is David Lowman. A So Cal native, David has a long career in the music industry that commenced in the ‘70s spanning roles in retail, PR, radio, journalism and as record company representative. Mr. Lowman is passionate about music, each entry is written knowledgeably and with important insights into the artist and content. i hope you enjoy the CCM 500, especially as it approaches the final 50 countdown.

~End promo~

…For Whom The Bell Tolls? (a retraction of sorts)

Last Friday i threw my proverbial pennies out there on the whole Harold Camping “End of the World: don’t bother packing ‘cuz Jesus is coming” parade. In so doing i took a not-so-subtle parenthetical jab at Rob Bell (at the end of the second paragraph, if you really must know). It’s typically not like me to stomp on someone who’s already had enough gut kicking. Especially an issue that’s had more than its fair share of media attention and has put Christians in flood light of irrational thinking.

Rob Bell has done a great deal of good for many years. He has tens of thousands of people who attend his church and follow him online, and hundreds of thousands that read his books and use his video material. i’ve been aware of Bell for many years. Enjoyed his book “Velvet Elvis” (i much preferred Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz” which came out years earlier and made the same general point). Nothing revelatory between its covers, yet Bell has a great way of communicating to people. His unique Nooma video study series is very good at opening up discussion about faith and spirituality as it relates to our daily struggle.

Several weeks before his newest book, Love Wins, was released, many Christian leaders made flippant derogatory remarks toward Bell. i actually became angry at many of these responses, because of arrogant remarks from men whom i respected. Especially in light that the book had not yet been released and i was sure that most of these commentaries were done without examining the evidence. i tend to take a “wait and see” approach. Yet such a stir was occurring that the book’s release date was pushed up several weeks. Then a web-streamed live forum with R.B. in New York City was scheduled the night before the release, potentially to quell the onslaught of criticism.

Wanting to give the man the benefit of the doubt, i tuned in to the live stream seeking resolution to the controversy. Nothing of such occurred. Mr. Bell actually side-stepped questions in which he could have directly given an answer to. Was he apprehensive to reveal his real and controversial thoughts or a marketing genius intriguing viewers to snatch up the first copies of Love Wins? As the book released it was evident that his thoughts on H-E-double-hockey-sticks and afterlife were indeed contrary to orthodox Christian teaching and Theology, with a pluralistic universal approach.

In the ensuing flurry of talk show appearances Bell typically skirted answering questions directly. In so doing, on more than one occurrence, i witnessed Bell respond that he was a Pastor not a Theologian. More than his vague stand on Hell and the afterlife, it was these comments of Bell’s that made my brow furrow and my fists clench. It is this type of defensive justification which is deplorable and inexcusable.

A Theologian may not be a Pastor, however, it is imperative that every Pastor is a Theologian. By a definition a Pastor is a Shepherd: to guide, lead, protect, nurture, feed, and instruct his flock. To fulfill each aspect of shepherding people a pastor must have an understanding of Theology and what he or she believes. How else can one be fed correct information, guided to understanding, instructed in correct Doctrine, protected from deceptive aberrance and heresy, and nurtured to spiritual maturity if not for the theologically minded Pastor? Each person who calls themselves Christian should likewise be a student of Theology.

It’s a great tragedy that many pastors do not heed the great responsibility they have. i know i’ve made my share of dumb remarks as a pastor (therefore, the bell does indeed toll for me). i’m not one to throw the baby out with the bath, however Mr. Bell’s slip in the tub may have kicked the infant out the window altogether as far as his potential influence to continue to serve a generation. No matter. i know God has been dealing with these things for millenniums… and He’s not done yet. Redemption is around the corner. i know He’s covered my faulty backside more than once. i am such a fan of grace.

~End clanging ~