Price Drop on “Picking a President”

Bookmark for Picking a PresidentIts official.

The Kindle price on my book Picking a President: Or Any Other Elected Official has dropped by half from $3.99 to $1.99.  I have wanted to do this for sometime and finally got through to the publisher with a way to do it.  Take advantage now.

If you already purchased a paperback version, this is your opportunity to have the book on your computer or your Kindle or Android device. Put it on your phone and then you can share it with friends. Tell your friends that they can get it for half the usual Kindle price and 70% off the paperback price in this e-book format. 

  • If we want a better government, we have to elect better people.
  • If we want better people, we have to nominate and support better candidates.
  • If we want better candidates for nomination, we have to become better people ourselves.

This book is all about how we get there from here.

To get the new price, go to Amazon.com and type in the name of the book or my name or just click on this LINK.

It might take as long as 30 days for the new price to show up at Barnes and Noble and CrossBooks.com.

Tell your friends.

The Passion and Direction of Repentance

Monday is for Discussion

Image of Repentance“Repentance, in all of its biblical fulness, is a passionate word, a dramatic word. It speaks to the notion of changing direction, radically changing direction—but it is more than that. It is a passionate word not only with regard to direction but because it includes the idea of sorrow, regret, perhaps ever tears about the previous direction. Repentance biblically is a turning to God that recognizes the wickedness of what is turned from and the holiness of the One to whom we turn.”

—excerpt from yesterday’s message on Luke 3:1-22

Question:

Do we preach the gospel and pray for this response or teach what repentance is and call people to repent?

Avoiding Pontiac Michigan in Your Community

Monday is for Discussion

Everything You've GotWe saw it happen in Pontiac Michigan last week. (See yesterday’s post here.)

Could it happen in your neighborhood?

What are you going to do about it?  This week?

Tell somebody your plan. Come back and share it in the comments section. Let the people you tell and the Chosenrebel.me readers hold you accountable for your plan.

Kingdom Life, Church Hopping and Grace (Guest Post by Pam Bush)

Kingdom Life, Church Hopping and Grace

Hands in Community ImageYears ago I heard a short radio spot on John 13:35: By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”, the point being that authentic relationships among believers are the greatest evangelistic tool of all.   I would also add, they are the greatest tools for maturing in faith. 

It’s vital to build a firm foundation in God’s Word if you want to be a disciple. God’s worldview is the only one that matters. The way this worldview is fleshed out by disciples is in the community of the church, painting a picture of kingdom life. In my 40-plus years as a believer, I’ve seen some great examples of supernatural community.

But sadly, I’ve seen other examples of believers who walk away from community when things aren’t to their liking, just like those in the world who have neither the Spirit of Christ nor the hope of the gospel. Pick a reason:

  • the style of music doesn’t minister to me,
  • people here are hypocrites,
  • the preaching is shallow/above my head,
  • the children’s/teen’s program doesn’t meet the needs of my children,
  • the church isn’t doing enough/is doing too much to help the poor,
  • we are spending too much/not enough on missions, etc. 

One of the most common reasons I’ve heard is, “God told me to leave this church”. This step is usually taken without much, if any, counsel from godly and wise brothers and sisters. I confess, this is the one that irritates me most because who can argue with God telling someone something? It shuts down any possibility of coming together to talk it out. But it also denies the usefulness of the community, Body of Christ itself.

Hands in Community 2To remain in community and bear with one another, forgive one another, not hold grudges, not sow seeds of discord, etc. is a mark of maturing faith. The impulse to shrug your shoulders and say ‘this isn’t worth it to me’ or ‘I don’t have time for this’ isn’t the Lord’s heart for his church. 

A Proposal

What if we chose to commit to our church in much the same way a wedding vow is made? I, Pam, take you First Presbyterian Church, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.” The choice to give committed love for one another releases the power of the Holy Spirit, building a supernatural church and a powerful witness to the world. It is what the world longs to see and be part of.

Jesus, in his final prayer before his passion, prayed for the oneness of his church. His heart ached for his followers to commit to live in authentic oneness. He knew that the church’s survival depended on the effective witness of a church that was an earthly reflection of the oneness he enjoyed with his Father and the Holy Spirit. This is his call to every church, to place a high value on protecting, cherishing, building, and sustaining the community of faith. 

The author, Pam Bush is the Director of Congregational Life at First Presbyterian Church, Reading, PA and one of the women I admire most in all the world. 

Terrifying Glory and Surprising Significance

Monday Discussion

ShepherdsThe angel comes not to ambassadors, or kings, or presidents, or media moguls, or celebrities, not to intellectuals, or priests, or professors but to shepherds, by many accounts, members of one of the lowest rungs of society in the ancient world.

Shepherds.

Think about the scene. 

It’s dark. They are tired. They are thirsty, maybe hungry. They are dirty. And they smell. That’s the life of a shepherd.

The day’s dust is thick on them.

Suddenly, there is a terrifying glory in the sky and an angel speaking to them (Luke 2:10-14, ESV).

Shepherds 210 And the angel said to them,

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and 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 among those with whom he is pleased!” 

  • Moments before they were in the dark, suddenly they are bathed in glory.
  • Moments before they were talking about sheep, now they are talking about angels.
  • Moments before they thought they were insignificant, now they are retelling the most significant news ever announced.

And now it is our chance to think about that news.

The angel comes not to ambassadors, or kings, or presidents, or prime ministers, or media moguls, or celebrities … not to intellectuals, or priests, or professors but the shepherds.

The humility of the surroundings and the “insignificance” of the people, and the lack of pomp and pageantry, all serve to point us to the news being announced. The emphasis is on what God is doing. The emphasis is on the action of God in orchestrating all of history to pivot on the events announced on that solitary holy night.

People of God, be strengthened by this thought:

God delights to use the small things of life.

He delights to use the powerless,

the weak,

the despised,

the broken,

the tired,

the overlooked,

the forgotten,

the hurting,

the dismissed

to accomplish his greatest joys for the world.

Not just at Christmas, but all year long, we, no matter where we are in the list, we can tell the world that news.

Be like the shepherds, run to Jesus, tell the news. (Luke 2:15, 17)
Be like Mary, treasure and ponder the story. (vs. 19)
Be like the angels, proclaim the news loudly. (vs. 10, 14)
Be like the shepherds again, worship the King. (vs. 20)

Merry Christmas!

Personal Delusions and Americans

bedtime-prayersMonday Discussion

“According to the National Sleep Foundation, 47% of Americans indicate that they meditate or pray before bed.”

—-Time Magazine, p. 10, September 30, 2013

Question:
Is this a case of the very human tendency of people to overestimating their good behavior? If this is a delusion, what are the effects?

“Seek God, Not Happiness”

Monday is for Discussion

Bonhoeffer 2“We must center our attention on the Word alone and leave consequences to its action. For may it not be that God Himself sends us these hours of reproof and dryness that we may be brought again to expect everything from His Word?
‘Seek God, not happiness’–this is the fundamental rule of all meditation. If you seek God alone you will gain happiness: that is its promise.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, on the art of biblical meditation,
in Life Together: A Discussion of Christian Fellowship, 84.

The shallowness of American Christian’s happiness is directly related to the lack of meditation on the incarnation of Christ (the Word made flesh) and the work of Christ revealed in the word of God. Teach your people to meditate on the word and works of Christ.

Truth-Based Worship

Monday is for Discussion

Doctrine Key“Everybody knows, that with the right personality, the right music, the right location, and the right schedule you can grow a church without anybody really knowing what doctrinal commitments sustain it, if any.”

Which is why John Piper writes, “. . . the older I get, the less impressed I am with flashy successes and enthusiasms that are not truth-based.”  (John Piper, Counted Righteous in Christ, both quotes are from page 22)

Probing Questions:

  1. How important is rich-doctrinal truth to your personal devotion to Christ?
  2. How important is it to your small group fellowship?
  3. How important and prominent is it in your worship service?

Many of the problems that I run into in consulting with young church planters and other pastors often boil down to this, the congregation doesn’t know the basis of their hope in Christ. They have no doctrinal depth. They have an emotional attachment to Christ with little substantive thought about what it means to belong to Christ.

Stop. Drop. And Pray.

Monday is for Discussion

Don’t know who said it first but it sure seems like sound advice to me. I just ran across the three words in a book called Pivotal Prayer (John Hull and Tim Elmore, Thomas Nelson, 2002)

Stop. Drop. Pray.

Pivotal PrayerIs there a better way to deal with confusion, loneliness, anger, bitterness, resentment, hurt, betrayal, sorrow, loss, uncertainty, lack of direction, personal attacks, challenges and longings?

I don’t think so.

So why is my first impulse to do something rather than pray something?

Why do I find it easier to keep moving, keep rolling through my hours without stopping, dropping and seeking the face of an omniscient God for the condition I am in?

If I was on fire, long association with “stop, drop and roll” would be instantaneous.

So why when we are metaphorically “on fire” with heartache do we neglect the spiritual process for health and strength? 

Part of an answer?

We worship ourselves as little gods and think we can muscle, or think, or manipulate our way out of a situation with just a little more attention on our part.  

But we are not all powerful,
we are not all knowing, and 
we are not omnipresent. 

God wants our attention and, as C.S. Lewis said, 

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”  (The Problem of Pain)

Stop. Take a moment. 

Drop to your knees, a metaphor for bowing your will and spirit to God, and ask Him to show you His will for the situation in which you find yourself.

It may be the most pivotal prayer you pray this week.