Thursday, February 26, 2004

Lots of stuff been going on ... no energy to write any of it. Nor the desire ... hopefully I'll get it out sooner or later. Hope its sooner.

Monday, February 23, 2004

I think there comes a point in one's life where you have to ask yourself if you've been really living the life you talk about, or you're just a walking fraud.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Are you counter-cultural? Or could you pass as someone who isn't a Jesus-follower?

Friday, February 20, 2004

China Arrests Dozens of Prominent Christians
At least 50 detained in fresh crackdown on house churches, reportedly promoted by new video and book releases.
By Timothy C. Morgan with David Neff in Washington, D.C. | posted 02/18/2004

China's Public Security Bureau has launched a new crackdown on unregistered church leaders, arresting 50 or more people following the release of a new video and book, documenting huge growth among Christians outside the officially permitted church.

In mid-February, the China Aid Association confirmed that in January police arrested three prominent Protestant leaders from Henan province, including Qiao Chunling, 41, in Luoyang; Deborah Xu Yongling, 58, in Nanyang; and Zeng Guangbo, 35, in Deng County. Guangbo escaped two days after he was arrested, and remains in hiding.

The crackdown may last for 30 days and began during China's annual National Religious Working Conference. This meeting brings together top leaders of the state Religious Affairs Bureau and the policy-making United Front Work Department. Both are charged with oversight of religion in China.

During that meeting, communist leaders screened a new, four-hour digital video, The Cross: Jesus in China. China Soul for Christ Foundation of Petaluma, California, produced the series and Yuan Zhiming, a pro-democracy leader and a Christian, wrote and directed it.

Communist leaders were also briefed on Jesus in Beijing, a new book by journalist David Aikman, formerly a Time magazine correspondent in Beijing. Both the video and book document the stunning growth and vibrancy of Christianity in China. The video has been classified as "political matter," and Public Security Bureau officers are confiscating CDV copies of the widely distributed series and other Christian literature.

A source based in Hong Kong told CT that the crackdown will focus on "the people mentioned in the video and the book" and may be as brutal as the recent repression of Falun Gong. China's actions against Falun Gong, a traditionalist sect that emphasizes meditation, resulted in many arrests, imprisonments, beatings, and deaths. A New York-based watchdog group reported that 64 Falun Gong practitioners have died after being tortured inside China since November 2003.

"They will especially hunt those in Beijing," the source said. "It took them by surprise that there were so many Christians in China. Every week pastors are arrested and thrown in jail. The communists see Christians as a threat because there are [more] Christians than Party members."

According to experts, estimates of the total number of Christians varies widely from 30 million to 100 million. The government-registered Christian church (Three Self Patriotic Movement) includes about 28 million followers. There may be as many as 80 million Christians in unregistered congregations. According to Operation World, independent Christian congregations, mostly evangelical and charismatic, are growing at a rate of 9 percent annually. That's a huge growth rate since China's overall population (1.3 billion) is growing at about 0.6 percent annually. China's constitution guarantees freedom of religious belief but requires all religious organizations to register with the government. The government brands those groups that do not register as "illegal" or "cults."

Leaders face hardships
According to another source who asked not to be named, Deborah Xu was arrested on Saturday, January 24, in Nanyang, Henan Province. Around 11p.m. Xu was sleeping on the second floor of her niece's home. Two police officers entered the dwelling and locked the niece's mother-in-law in another room. The officers located Xu, handcuffed her, and took her into custody. Police also confiscated photos and documents.

Xu, a leading figure in China's house churches, is the sister of Peter Xu Yongze, founder of the "born-again" movement of house churches in China with millions of followers. In recent years, police have arrested Deborah Xu numerous times. But on this occasion, family members and supporters have been unable to gain any information about where she is being held, according to CT's source. Nanyang police have not disclosed what charges she faces.

Peter Xu left China in 2000 to seek asylum in the West. He is currently based in the Los Angeles area and is a leader in the new Back to Jerusalem movement. This organization aims to use 100,000 Chinese evangelists and missionaries to spread the gospel westward from China back to the city of Jerusalem.

In early February, Christianity Today interviewed Peter Xu and another prominent house church leader, Liu Zhenying (better known as Brother Yun). Both were in Washington during the annual National Prayer Breakfast. Yun currently is based in Germany.

Xu said his family has been Christian for four generations. "I'm extremely thankful that the Lord made my sister as my spiritual partner. She was called by the Lord when she was 17 years old and dedicated her whole life to the Lord." His sister made that commitment along with a decision to remain unmarried.

"She serves as a beautiful example in the front lines. Brothers and sisters [designate] her as a mother of the church." Her role includes training house church leaders throughout China, especially other women evangelists.

Police in China have arrested both Peter Xu and Brother Yun many times. At age 17 in 1975, Yun was arrested for the first time. Police publicly beat him alongside his mother, also an active Christian. Yun told CT, "The fire of the Holy Spirit in my heart has never ceased in spite of this beating with my mom. Immediately after I was released from the detention center, I started preaching again."

Xu and Yun were in the same prison in 1997. Xu said one day he discovered his cell door unlocked, which he attributes to a miracle. He snuck into the corridor and over to Yun's cell, which could be unlocked from the outside, and he walked inside.

"Our eyes just met each other," Xu recalled. "And I said, 'God wants you to go.' So I ordered him to go and then I closed the door and he left. I started praying, Lord, protect him and let him go." Although he was severely injured from previous beatings and torture, Yun was able to escape.

Within minutes, prison guards had discovered the escape and began searching. But a winter storm started, allowing Yun to flee as guards were searching for their rain gear. "I was completely relieved," Xu said. "I know God used the rain and the snow as Yun's shelter. God has performed a big miracle."

As Yun fled the prison, he thought he was in a dream. He walked up to several iron doors and they opened before him. After he fled, Yun sought asylum in the West. He has told his life story in The Heavenly Man, published in 2002.

Controlling Religion in China
Yun told CT that Western Christians should understand better how China's government seeks to suppress Christianity in China. He said China has used its laws and administrative rules to stringently control religious expression, organizations, publishing, and training.

He said, "I won't deny there are true born-again Christians inside the [state-regulated] church. But the head of the house church is Jesus Christ alone."

Yun said China uses propaganda to "blur the line between the orthodox belief and those who only obey the Communist Party's command." In addition, Yun said China uses "international propaganda" to mislead Westerners and promote China's policy stance toward religion. He said China also invites top Western Christian leaders to travel inside China to see for themselves how Christians are allowed to run churches openly, but that doesn't provide a full picture.

House-church sources told CT that the South China Church and its leader, Pastor Gong Shengliang, is a powerful example of what happens when church growth happens quickly, resulting in crippling state scrutiny.

In 2001, China convicted Gong and other South China Church leaders for operating a cult. They were sentenced to death. After an international outcry, Gong was tried again, but on charges of raping women members of his church. According to reliable reports, authorities took women in custody and tortured them until they alleged Gong had raped them. "One sister was beaten to death," Xu told CT. China has banned Gong's church and he is in prison.

Xu said China's leaders hope to fracture house church groups any way they can. "They tried to isolate one house-church group, now to single them out. By doing that, they can divide house church unity. This purpose is very obvious, very evil. We really prayed the eyesight, the insight, the discernment of the eagle to really clearly see this trap of Satan."

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I found this on Caleb's profile ... very well could be one of my favorite quotes now ...

"Praise until the worship comes, worship until the glory comes, and then bask in the glory." -Ruth Heflin

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I think this encapsulates a part of what I've been feeling as of late...

"Thinking Bigger" by Petra Harbour on Relevant

Thinking bigger �
Believing bigger �
Knowing God is bigger�
And then � giving your life.


I notice in myself often there�s a lack of understanding of what the Lord wants, what He�s doing, and how He wants us to be involved � how He wants me to be involved. Sometimes it discourages me.

See, I�ve heard talks about revival; I�ve heard of the power of God and all the prophecies that have been spoken that have not (yet) come to pass. I want to have faith and keep my spirits up, but looking around me, it�s sometimes very hard�hard to hear another encouraging word, hard to hear another prophecy, hard to even encourage and prophesy myself anymore � because I don�t see these things happening.

I notice that the word �soon� doesn�t always mean what I think it means. And sometimes I�ve come near not believing at all anymore. But somehow I can�t not believe.

Today I felt the Lord speak to me, and wondered if I imagined it, but listened anyway. He told me to read over all the things He�s spoken to me since the year �99 that I wrote down in a book. So I sat down with my Bible and my book and started to read through it.

Again I felt an excitement as I read through the amazing things God has spoken to me about, but most of these things have not yet come to pass. There were times when I read through them and wondered if it was even possible.

This morning though, as I read through it, I remembered the things God has done in the past � all the way to the book of Acts. I remembered that amazing things, greater than anything written in my little notebook, have actually happened.

What about our days? What about my life?

I thought that maybe some of these things are conditional � sometimes the Lord clearly said they were conditional: �If you seek my face, and reach out with all of your heart for the promises I made, then I will start to give what I have promised,� said the Lord, �for I have not given you a promise that I can not fulfill.�

For the calling on our lives, there is a price to pay. It may sound clich�, but so many truths do, don�t they? The Lord told me today that He will always be with me and not forsake me, but if I don�t pursue Him on a deeper level, I will not grow, and I will miss out on things He wants to do and use me for�things that may still happen, but I will have no part in it. So I accept the challenge, and His grace will be there to sustain me, like it always has been.

Maybe one of the reasons we don�t see certain things that God has shown us happening is that while He shows us the best, we settle for something quite a bit smaller. It�s not that we don�t want to see the best come to pass. We do! We want to reign with Him, heal the sick, save the lost, cast out demons, do the great miracles � we dream of it!

I know I surely want it. It�s my biggest daydream. Yet I settle for getting by instead of overcoming. The challenges seem big, and my spiritual heights are great, but often short-lived. I don�t really want to give up the things that my heart tells me to turn away from, and I look around me in the Church and settle for this, because even in my half-heartedness, I seem to still be living a bit above the status quo. It�s this attitude that quietly looks at what I can still just get away with and think well about myself � what I can still get away with as a leader and a missionary. The idea is evil, yet so easily creeps into my thoughts sometimes. As if my life is mine, and I get to decide what it�ll look like � how spiritual it�s going to be! And my doubt that my daydream could ever be true encourages me to settle for this.

Yet my heart, by the grace of God, yearns for more. And God exposes these little lies that try to hold me back regularly. He reminds me:

�You say: �I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.� You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked.
Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest therefore and repent.

Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.
To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my father on his throne.
Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.�


I will never be given more then I am able to take responsibility for. I believe it�s the grace of God that some prayers are not answered yet. He knows what I can handle. He knows what His Church can handle.

It�s Satan�s game to make holiness look like a burden��Can�t do this, can�t do that. Have to do this, have to do that.� Yet it�s when we resist the Holy Spirit, who clearly shows us how we should live and what the Lord wants from us, that we become burdened. The only peace is the one He gives, and we only have it when we live our lives in Him.

�Therefore, since we are surrounded by so a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance ��


It says �with perseverance� because God�s �soon� is still not what we think �soon� is. But when we don�t settle for less than the promises God gave, and when we give our lives, taking responsibility, we see that He has not given us a promise that He can not fulfill!

�Write the vision, make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.�

Monday, February 09, 2004

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. --John 14:12

"You will receive power" (Acts 1:8a). "Eagerly desire the greater gifts" (1 Corinthians 12:31a). Anything that God has ever done for a soul He will do for anyone else, if the conditions are met. The Lord who blessed these men that I spoke about, and the thousands who followed them but whose names are not known, is willing to do the same for us as He did for them.

Unbelief says: Some other time, but not now; some other place, but not here; some other people, but not us. Faith says: Anything He did anywhere else He will do here; anything He did any other time He is willing to do now; anything He ever did for other people He is willing to do for us! With our feet on the ground, and our head cool, but with our heart ablaze with the love of God, we walk out in this fullness of the Spirit, if we will yield and obey. God wants to work through you!

The Counselor has come, and He doesn't care about the limits of locality, geography, time or nationality. The Body of Christ is bigger than all of these. The question is: Will you open your heart? A.W. Tozer in The Counselor, 121.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Those who sow in tears will reap in joy.

Friday, February 06, 2004

I�m coming back to the intimacy with my God
I�m coming back to the intimacy with my God

Cause I love you, yes I love you
Oh won�t you come and call to me?

Cause it�s just you and me, tonight as I sing
of a love raining down on me

-- "Intimacy" Evan Earwicker & Whitney Stern

This song is so money. So on the money.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

DUDE. DELIRIOUS IS GOING TO BE A SPIRIT WEST COAST.

SPIRIT WEST COAST IS COMING TO SOCAL!!! MAY 28-30!! DEL MAR FAIRGROUNDS. waaaaahooo :-D

Artists that are coming that I care about :)

Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, Jars of Clay, Jeremy Camp, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Sanctus Real, Todd Agnew, Anberlin, Telecast.

But MAN! Delirious is going to be in the one in Laguna Seca. Man.
Mad props to Evan Earwicker...


"Two years ago, some friends and I began recording a handful of worship songs. We sat for hours in my basement, recording, worshipping, mixing. The project that resulted was ?Dance with Me?, and God has taken that project around the world. I?m amazed. After two years, however, I have come to a difficult place.

The message behind ?Dance with Me? is romance, purity, and complete devotion to Jesus. I believe it is that message that God has blessed and promoted through the music. In seeking His heart in this matter, I feel that although it is not about me and will never be about me, I have a duty to represent that sacred message in my life and actions. When my life, actions, and heart cannot support the message I promote, I must discontinue selling the product until they can.

I still need Him, more now than ever. No song, CD, or ministry can take His place. I have decided to stop selling ?Dance with Me? for now, in order to allow God to work deep character in my heart in this season. I am convinced this is what He is asking and I trust you will understand my decision.

John says, ?Unless a seed falls and dies, it cannot bear fruit?? My hope is that this will bring death to a good seed, and in the future, much better life and fruit - much deeper than finances and fame, CD?s and songs."


I hope that if I ever have to choose between ministry and Jesus, I would be able to make the right choice.

---------

In this space I had some stuff typed out ... I took some extended time to be quiet tonight. To talk with Him and to listen to what He had to say, listening through what other people said, what I was thinking about. So I was going to blog about etc etc ... but I think I should keep those things to myself. Sometimes it is wiser to not to say anything. But I think these lyrics some things up conclusively:

Overwhelm me with the fire in your eyes / Overwhelm me, I am desperate tonight

---------

*scratches head* Yeah I'm just as confused as the next guy; I'm learning to extend grace to others ... I would appreciate it if y'all would have the grace to rebuke me when I mess up and extend grace to forgive.

---------

I just want Jesus.
When I read this ... it pierced my heart ... may we all become small enough to fit through these doors!


"The Weeping Room - Pathway to Strategy"
By Jennifer Miller

One day as I was in prayer the Lord began to open up my eyes to a spiritual encounter. I saw myself being taken up to heaven. Before me I saw a huge house with many rooms. I knew instantly that this was the 'Father's House'. I could feel the love of the father drawing me in, so I began to run as fast as I could to enter the house. As I entered, the Lord walked with me through many rooms, each one packed with spiritual meaning.

He quietly invited me to follow Him into the most beautiful room in the whole house - the intimacy room. It was absolutely extravagant and beautiful. Upon entering the room, I was overwhelmed with love and wanted to stay there forever. In the Spirit I could hear other people (other believers) in all the different rooms of the house. Some were studying books in the library; others were becoming intoxicated in the spiritual wine cellar. I was somewhat surprised that everyone wasn't in the intimacy room since it was the most beautiful room in the whole house.

The Weeping Room

As I was admiring this intimacy chamber, I noticed a little wooden hatch door on the floor adjacent to the bed. It seemed really odd to me, because it wasn't fancy and hardly seemed to fit with the rest of the room. I asked the Lord why it was there, and He told me that it led down to another room in the house. I asked Him why He would put this door so close to the most beautiful thing in the whole room, the bed. He responded, "I keep it here, because down there is where I spend most of my time". Instantly my curiosity was stirred so I asked what was down there. He said it was called the "Weeping Room".

Although it hardly sounded like a room I wanted to be in, there was a cry in my heart that said that if that is where the Lord spends His time, then that is where I want to go. I asked Him if I could go down there with Him, and He responded "Very few will choose to go down there, it's not extravagant like this room, it's lonely, it's not comfortable, and you have to get very low to fit through the door." I told Him that I didn't care what the conditions would be like; I just really wanted to be wherever He was.

So we opened the little hatch door and began to slowly climb down a dark staircase until we came upon the tiny room. I had to get on my knees to fit through the door because it was so small. As we entered the room it was very simple. All it consisted of was a small wooden chair. One of the walls had a small window in it. The Lord took His seat on the chair and turned His face to look out the window. Instantly I became aware of why this room was called the weeping room.

You Could Hear Every Cry

As you looked out the window - you could see and hear every single cry coming from people on the earth. You could see every single act of injustice all at the same time. Every starving child crying out to God, every woman being raped, every moan of the rejected ... you could hear every prayer, every cry all at the same time. The Lord sat in His chair and watched and heard it all.

At once I was overwhelmed with intercession and began to weep. I wept for hours. I wept for those who were hurting, but even more - I was undone by this beautiful King who would choose to spend His time in this place; This King who paid such attention to every cry and who was so full of compassion. As I sat and wept with the Lord, I began to 'feel' His heart-and all my selfish ambition began to fade away

While we were in that place I noticed that there was another door in the weeping room. I asked the Lord what was behind that door and He told me that was where the 'Strategy Room' was. As He said those words, instantly in my spirit I knew in that room divine strategy for end-time revival was available. Although the door was still closed, I recognized that Wisdom and Revelation where in there.

Divine Strategy Room

Heavenly blueprints were laid out to see the fulfillment of His kingdom coming to earth from that room. It was like the hidden room that everybody searches for. Everyone longs to have divine strategy. I immediately asked if I could go in there and the Lord soberly told me that I didn't 'fit through the door'. I instantly understood that I had to spend time in the weeping room. As I began to really apprehend the heart of God for the poor and the broken, then issues of my soulish nature would be stripped away until I would become small enough to fit through the door.

At that moment everything became clear. This was the only way to access divine strategy. From the place of intimacy God invites us in to a deeper level - He beckons us into the weeping room-a place where we choose to see what He sees and feel what He feels. And as we spend time getting the heart of God, things of our flesh begin to be stripped away until we are small enough to fit through the door that leads to the strategy room.


I had this encounter over two years ago but I believe that God is now moving many in the church from the place of intimacy into weeping. This will lead them into the strategy room. In actuality, you never have to leave the intimacy room; you just discover the deeper levels. Many have already surrendered themselves to the weeping room and extravagantly pursued the heart of God for the broken- they are now being invited into the strategy room.

Invitation to Divine Strategy

I had another encounter a little over a year ago in which I heard a loud voice say, "It's Time!" and in the Spirit I saw the strategy room door swing open. God is inviting us into divine strategy that will release a global harvest of souls, and establish the revelation of His kingdom on earth through overcoming saints.

I believe that as we enter the "strategy room," we will be compelled and moved by what we have seen and felt in the weeping room. I have a sense that some have gone before us into the strategy room. Unfortunately, most quickly forgot what the strategy was for and used it to build their own kingdom. (Haggai 1:3-7) God is in the process of raising up a whole company of believers who are repulsed at the idea of building their own kingdom. This company will have their hearts truly branded with passion and compassion. These are the ones that God is looking to release into the strategy room. "It's Time!"

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Been thinking about this a lot: Linkage. As an American, as a college student ... we are so priviledged with our possessions and material wealth. Its so easy to look at our "wealthier" friends and say that we have not ... but indeed, we are materially rich. So often we perceive our possessions as that, "our" possessions. Its how much of God's money I should keep for myself, not how much money I should give to God. We got our priorities all wrong. Jesus spent an extensive amount of time talking about possessions ... and no wonder, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. " (Matthew 6:21)

Where are your hearts?

Random Acts of Kindness by Lee Pretorius

At nearly every traffic light in Johannesburg, South Africa, drivers will encounter beggars. During Apartheid, there were none of them; the government banned anything that seemed like poverty or suffering. As kids, we never knew of the suffering of millions outside our tiny society.

After Apartheid fell, beggars have been pouring into the city on a daily basis, holding clumsy cardboard signs written with their tales of woe. They mention how many children they have, how old they are and that they have talents that can be used. Their children, clutching empty tin cups, dodge cars on busy streets.

At the beginning, it was black people alone who begged. Now, the Rainbow Nation is represented on the poverty scale too, as more and more white beggars pop up, proving we are all equal. They are South Africans mostly, but more and more foreigners are joining in to siphon wealth off the rich �Joburgers.� At one stage, it was males only, but now we know that poverty is not sexist.

To be honest, these individuals would irritate me. This has been decreasing, but it�s still there. I�d be lying to say that I�m wholly indifferent to them. Sometimes, I was irritated because I was too poor, too stingy or too lazy to help. Other times, I was bothered because I was too rich or too generous or too hard working to give. They challenged me, and that agitated me.

It took me a while to accept this as a normal sinful attitude that would take me a lifetime on which to work.

Every morning on the way to work, I would drive past the same beggars, and they never recognized me from the week, day or hour before. I felt angry for not being remembered or noticed after feeding their inexhaustible hungers.

The process became increasingly regular as more traffic lights housed these sufferers, so I brought up the subject with most of my friends. Both the Christians and the rest agreed it was a waste of time, money and effort to give anything to these people. They�re just going to buy drinks, they would tell me, or, I once made food for one of those people, and they threw it in the garbage, or the famous, Why don�t they just get a job?

But those arguments didn�t�and don�t�help the situation or me. I couldn�t ignore these recurrent strangers. How could I drive to a church or to work or to visit friends, listening and talking about grace but ignoring all the opportunities to show it on the road there and back? Hadn�t the Boss said that whoever we bless is an ambassador of Him�actually is Him?

So, I prayed for some guidance, and the answer didn�t take long to come. It came in the slogan: Just Do It. Peter wrote we should add to faith goodness. This means: First, believe. Second, just do it. It�s the exact opposite of Pharisaic philosophy, which tells you that you need to know something unique before you go out and do good to others. We must just do it and be willing to learn from both our failures and our successes.

So, I gave. When I didn�t have money, I gave food, and when I didn�t have food, I gave words.

Once, I was so poor I took some eggs out of the refrigerator and gave them to a guy standing on the roadside, desperately waiting for work. I think he threw them away, I don�t remember. As I just did it, I learned important lessons. This follows Peter again: Knowledge comes after goodness.

Another painful lesson I remember is the one time I gave a bagful of lemons to a man sleeping on the sidewalk. I said, �Here you go.� He asked me what they were, and I told him, �Lemons.� He made a sour face and waved his hand to say, �No thanks!� It hurt then, and it would hurt now. Zeal must be tempered by wisdom.

Yet as I continued and gave to the point where it had become a difficult and uncomfortable hobby, I found my normal life was gaining so much more meaning. Everything was purposeful; everything had a plan.

I turned my sights to the working environment. I knew preaching in the workplace was a dangerous, semi-legal hobby, so I became subtle verbally, and shouted out loud non-verbally.

I bought a box of peaches from a vendor at a traffic light I regularly passed by. I bought 24, and they cost me R20, which is about $3. I handed them out silently at work, everyone taking one�some taking seconds. I distributed the fruit from the manager to grunts who typed all day next to me, and was subtly equalizing everyone. I didn�t know this was going on at the time, but now, with the benefit of looking back, I could see God�s tactics and His overall strategies at work.

One day, while driving my normal route home, I realized that this giving had become systematic (but not easier), so I prayed. I desperately wanted to know if these random acts of kindness�as I was now calling them�had any effect on the 40-million-and-growing inhabitants of South Africa.

A Word came to me like bread from the sky and fed me. It is feeding me still: �Even a single grain of salt dropped into still water causes ripples to the ends.� The salt was the good works; the water is the masses of people connected to one another.

We are purchased carriers. Our wallet is not our own. Our food is not our own. Our words are not our own. If the money is misused, it is not our problem�it�s not our money. If the sandwiches are thrown away, it is not our problem�it�s not our bread. If the words are ignored or spat back to us, it is not our problem�they�re not our words.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Good point. SOURCE

MITCH ALBOM: In search of Janet, I get full exposure

February 4, 2004

BY MITCH ALBOM
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

With all the fuss over Janet Jackson's exposed breast during halftime of the Super Bowl, I figured I'd better get a second look.

But it wasn't easy.

First I went to my TV, where I had taped the game. I hit rewind, then hit play, and up came a beer commercial in which semi-naked women were slow-dancing into men.

I rewound again, then hit play, and up came a commercial showing Madonna kissing Britney Spears.

I rewound more, and up came a beer guy singing about how much he loved "TWINS!" and suddenly there were two bodacious blondes, scantily dressed and blowing kisses in my direction.

I quickly hit the fast-forward button. I saw some football, followed by gorgeous cheerleaders in low-cut outfits, a little more football, more seductive cheerleaders.

Finally, I got to the halftime show. I saw the "safe" part -- you know, the part the NFL and CBS approved -- in which Nelly, the rap singer, grabbed his crotch as if shifting gears.

I saw more of the "safe" part, in which Kid Rock draped himself in an American flag and sang a song that mentioned "hookers trickin' in Hollywood" and "homies in cell block six."

I saw more of the "safe" part, in which Justin Timberlake was behind Janet Jackson, simulating what, in a family newspaper, can only be referred to as "the nasty."

But wouldn't you know it? Just before they sang the "approved" lyrics -- "Bet I'll have you naked by the end of this song" -- my tape ran out.

Striptus interruptus.
To the Internet and MTV

So I went to my backup source, the Internet.

I searched on "Janet Jackson" and "breast," but before I could get anywhere, up popped a porno ad for a girl named Janet.

Then an ad for a guy named Jackson.

I spiked those and returned to my search, but the first result was a porno site for "girls with big breasts."

So were the next 197.

This was going nowhere, so I shut off the computer and went to MTV. After all, these folks had created the halftime show. I figured they must be running replays.

Unfortunately, when I flipped on MTV, the first thing I saw was an orgy. At least it looked like an orgy, it was hard to tell, because each camera shot lasted only three-tenths of a second. There were mostly naked men and women, making love, reaching for unmentionables, and generally getting hot and steamy to a hip-hop beat.

I waited for that video to finish.

The next was pretty much the same.

Four hours later, having seen enough bumping, grinding, tight jeans, brassieres, sultry necks, pouty lips and lower back tattoos to last a lifetime, I concluded MTV was not going to replay the Janet thing.

I looked at my watch and realized it was 8:30 p.m. -- about the time the controversial incident with Janet and Justin took place. Many had complained that this was "family hour" and their kids, at that time, should never be exposed to such raunchy filth as a naked breast.

So, out of curiosity, I flipped through the channel guide to see what else was on at that East Coast hour during school nights (which the Super Bowl was). The offerings included:

"The Bachelorette," in which a sexy girl chooses from sexy strangers. "The Apprentice," in which sexy yuppies try to backstab their way to a job. And "Friends," in which six sexy stars deal with issues, mostly sex.

But enough TV.

I went to buy a newspaper.
Some heavy reading to cover

At the newsstand, I noticed the magazines. There was Maxim, with a topless Michelle Branch on the cover, and Stuff magazine, with Carmen Electra in a tiny pink bikini on the cover, and FHM magazine, with a completely naked woman covered only in body paint on the cover, alongside an article titled "The Sexy Girls of the Winter X Games."

I saw women's magazines with slim, seductive bodies, and articles about "better sex" and "longer sex" and "longer, better sex."

There was even an ad promising the next Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, due any day now.

And these were the magazines that weren't hidden in brown wrapping.

Alas, when I finally got a newspaper, there were no photos of Janet's moment of exposure.

What's a guy to do? I walked back past the magazines about sex, drove home while listening to a radio show about sex, shut off the TV show about sex, shut down my computer screen about sex, and put away the CDs about sex.

Then the fax machine rang. A note from a friend, saying, "Did you see this?"

And out came a picture of Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl, one breast exposed.

How disgusting!

Sunday, February 01, 2004

And a personal rebuke: "O my son, do not spend your strength on women." Proverbs 31:3

Amen, Solomon. For a guy who had like several hundred concubines .. he sure knew what he was talking about. :-D
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." Pro. 31:30


Brothers, when will we stop treating our sisters like the world tells us to treat them and start loving them like Christ loves the church? Christ died for the church, the simple question is then ... are we willing to die for our sisters? I suspect our sisters would be better served by us learning to protect and guarding their purity instead of us robbing them of a single-minded pursuit of Christ by our crippling attempts to have "my-best-friend-that's-a-girl" relationships. And I suspect our sisters would be better served if they didn't have to worry about their brothers in Christ deferring to those who are more physically attractive. You wonder why all the "nice guys" are "losing"? Its the same reason why non-Christians don't find Christianity attractive ... y'all are acting just like your so called "secular" brethren. That ain't attractive. It's a pretty weak-sauce pool to be selecting from, we don't need so-called Christian guys populating that pool. Ok ... fine sure, you may not push the physical boundaries of relationships ... but you toy with the emotional ones. Yeah, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Stop being an emotional whore.

Hey guys, let me ask you, are your interactions with girls above reproach?

Please, I'm not saying to ignore the sisters, because I think one of the hardest things as a Christian guy is to learn how to relate to sisters in a Christ-like way. But sheesh, gentlemen, we need to learn to take initiative...learn how to be clear cut, not to beat around the bush and to lay the cards on the table. Stop trying to be smooth and subtle. Stop being shady. You are held personally responsible if your irresponsibility causes a sister to stumble. Come ON.