Thirty Thousand Hits!

I can hardly believe it, we’ve had 30,ooo distinct hits in about 15 months.  I’m ecstatic that we have been there for so many seekers.  Thanks for supporting this work, the Lord is using you. But I encourage you to pray, that this would be a work of the Holy Spirit, otherwise, in my mind we should shut it all down, and move on.  I want to please Him who gave everything up for me.  I believe that is what you want as well!

2010 Links, Favorites

Below you will find internet links.  I have gathered these up, finding them useful, entertaining and a blessing.  Some of these are mental illness links, others quote links.  Some are quite general, and others much more specific.  There are also a few Bible study aids, and these are quite valuable as ‘good ones’ are hard to find.

I am sorry that they are just laid out like this, but to categorize them would be difficult.  My apologies.  I realize that this pretty raw, but I hope you’ll be able to ‘mine’ something out of them.  I skimmed through and left a comment on some the url’s.  Handling some of these may require some patience.

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http://www.biblegateway.com/, perhaps the best Bible/versions

http://www.thegracetabernacle.org/quotes/gracequotes.html

http://bipolar.alltop.com/

http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_publications

http://newstracts.org/christiansites.html, great collection

http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/imonk-101-when-i-am-weak-why-we-must-embrace-our-brokenness-and-never-be-good-christians, the Monk is always good, this is one of my personal favs

http://www.gotquestions.org/, hundreds of questions, good site

http://www.moodyradio.org/brd_AudioMin.aspx?id=13144, interesting, and Moody as a rule is solid

http://www.preceptaustin.org/, good site, but take your time with it.

http://net.bible.org/home.php

http://www.roundtripmissions.com/, planning STM trip?

http://www.soulshepherding.org/, very good with strong discipleship msg.

http://christian-quotes.ochristian.com/

http://hub.webring.org/hub/quotations

http://www.pietyhilldesign.com/gcq/index.html, quotes

http://coolquotescollection.com/

http://www.blogigo.com/discernment/Discipleship-quotes/32/

http://www.goodquotes.com/

http://wholelifeliving.ning.com/, seems good, haven’t spent time with it

http://crossquotes.org/, my own quote site, small but intense

http://www.tentmaker.org/Quotes/quotesindex.htm

http://www.thetravelingteam.org/node/196

http://www.christianquotes.org/

http://mentalhealthministries.net/links_resources/other_resources.html

http://www.canadianchristianity.com/christianliving/070809ill.html, great site

http://www.aesham.com/murphy.html, whatever, Murphy’s Laws rehashed

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/6ezJa9/www.energyfiend.com/death-by-caffeine/, funny

http://aceonlineschools.com/25-awesome-virtual-learning-experiences-online/, this is very interesting

http://popurls.com/, new edition everyday, smart

http://www.biblesearchengine.com/, looks really useful

http://www.fracturedsaints.com/, blog similar to BB, but different

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/9LspdV/www.rense.com/general72/size.htm, sort stumbleupon out and you won’t regret it.

http://www.ukapologetics.net/08/BCL.htm, pretty solid

http://walk-this-way.com/

http://www.christianstories.com/categories/funnychristian.html, funny

http://www.godtube.com/, Christian youtube

http://lifestream.org/blog/

http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2006/02/Whats-A-Red-Letter-Christian.aspx, one of my favs

http://alaskabible.org/, My Bible school, a great place to learn

http://www.biologos.org/, science and faith dialogue, stretching

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/, online Christian magazine, cutting edge articles

Umbilical Cord Christianity

 

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who gave me strength, because he trusted me and gave me this work of serving him. In the past I spoke against Christ and persecuted him and did all kinds of things to hurt him. But God showed me mercy, because I did not know what I was doing. I did not believe.”

1 Timothy 1:12-13, NCV

 

Coming out and thanking God is a critical way we can grow.  Paul thanks God out loud.  He has in mind, through a modern metaphor, God as a power plant, providing him with everything he needs.  He is now being energized by God, and this infusion enables us to do some amazing things that others consider quite exceptional.  (Handling this piece of understanding is critical to fitting into the Kingdom.)

Umbilical cord Christianity is the way Paul seems to view his walk and ministry.  He seems himself connected with the Holy Spirit which transforms him and his work.  Without this deeply vital connection, Paul becomes open to all kinds of evil and atrocity.  It’s fascinating, but we actively expand darkness if we are not attached.  We will end up doing all kinds of evil.  There are many who can’t see this truth.

In these verses we find another issue–that of forgiveness of self.  Paul had an ugly past.  He had once been an effective tool in the evil one’s hands.  On a logical level, this should taint him completely and irrevocably.  Paul was marked to be a wicked presence in the early Church.  Everyone knew him and braced themselves against his personal darkness.  They all thought that Paul was completely evil.

But in a dramatic moment, Paul is converted to Christ on the Damascus Road.  This is a radical shifting in the early Church.  Paul points to the mercy that God has, and makes it very clear that God has exclusively arranged and administered this miracle.  He points to the Spirit’s work that has intrinsically changed everything.  Paul is now completely altered by the Holy Spirit.

Another vital point; it was Jesus Himself who was hurt, when His children were hurt.  All of Paul’s viciousness and meanness was really directed against God.  We seldom think this way.  We may admit sin, but we will rarely view it as against God directly.  There is an old Yiddish proverb, “If God had a house, people would come and break His windows”.  In my own desperate and personal war against the Almighty, I often strain and strive to strike at His children.

There is an immense mercy and grace for sinners like Saul.  And nothing is irrevocable.  Grace insists on that.  All we can do, is change our mind and our heart (repent).  Then, we must tether ourselves, reviving that umbilical cord, and connect to Him our very lives (sanctification).  The very presence of Jesus will change everything.

 

I have a definite sense that there are things in this teaching which are touching hearts.  I have very few ways to help you.  But I can pray, and hold you up to our Father.  Let me know, ok. 

 

 

 

Scorners Have a Certain Power

 

I finally broke through and realized that I am a consummate scorner.  I have cultivated this for many years, and especially the last five.  I will tell now, I am to scorning as Tiger Woods is to golf.  I have been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, a durmoid brain tumor, lung issues with a chemical accident, manic-depression requiring extensive hospitalization, and a low thyroid requiring meds.  And, on top of this, the death of a newborn daughter.

My faith has been extremely challenged through all of this.  I have pastored a church and taught classes at a local Bible college, all with a lot of enthusiasm and purpose.  My students and my congregation were being blessed.  But all of this pretty much disintegrated around me and I found myself with a whole lot of nothing. 

Scorn has never been anything I gravitated to.  But it has ‘seeped’ into my thinking, through a slow and steady presence.  It works like mercury poisoning.  It has touched me as a gradual toxin, slowly sickening me with its constant contact.  I haven’t been connected with the light as I should have.  But over an extensive amount of time, a venomous and noxious filth has been introduced into my heart and my thinking.  It must be like watching someone die from ‘radiation sickness’.

To scorn means to become ” ‘competous’, disdainful, scornful, to mock.”  I never, ever dreamed I would be brought to this point.  But life has continuously rolled over me, and I find I just can’t make it work anymore.  I definitely do understand the promises of God.  But I definitely do not understand God’s grace on me.  But you might as well try to explain the color ‘blue’ to a blind man.

I am Bryan, the scorner.  I am also ‘a spiritual beggar’, with a significant mental illness.  I should be on the streets pushing a shopping cart and drinking cheap vodka.  When I start to scorn, I get mean and cynical.  I’m contemptuous and I sneer at whatever crosses my path that day.  I hear voices and ‘tune in’ radio stations.  All I lack is a ‘tin-foil’ hat, which I have seriously considered.

My depression molds my thinking, and my despair rules the rest.  The promises of God are not for me, and they seem to always be out of my reach.  In many ways, I am an ‘unbelieving’ believer (there are many people like us).  My own frosty coldness and hardness never seems to amaze me.  I don’t want to be this way.  God, help me please.

A defining word, for people like me is this: “self-forgiveness“.  I consider myself above average when it comes to forgiving others.  I look forward to forgiving others.  But, I just cannot forgive myself.  I simply can’t let myself  ‘get off the hook’.  At times I do sense a comfort and a peace over these sins, but very soon they begin to rub me raw.  Like blisters, or ‘a stone in my shoe’, I begin to limp again. They are incredibly persistant.

This is not self-pity.  I am not looking for any manner of attention or warm hugs.  I do though want to open up my darkness so the light gets in.  I must learn to forgive myself, if I will ever walk clean.  This is imperative.  The adulteress who fell at Jesus’ feet and wept managed to forgive herself of a great deal of sin.  Those of us with mental illness/addictions have to come to this same point.  Is Jesus’ love enough to cover me?