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Old 05-26-2015, 03:23 PM   #441
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"Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at that word itself, 'mankind'. Basically, it's made up of two separate words - 'mank' and 'ind'. What do these words mean? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind."
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Old 05-31-2015, 03:11 PM   #442
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Sunday Dispatch.717

Sunday Dispatch.717

If we stand by our convictions only when it is convenient, we are not standing at all.
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Old 06-07-2015, 10:17 AM   #443
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Sunday Dispatch.718

Sunday Dispatch.718

Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”

The Pharisees objected, “All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on.”

Jesus replied, “You’re right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true. I know where I’ve come from and where I go next. You don’t know where I’m from or where I’m headed. You decide according to what you can see and touch. I don’t make judgments like that. But even if I did, my judgment would be true because I wouldn’t make it out of the narrowness of my experience but in the largeness of the One who sent me, the Father. That fulfills the conditions set down in God’s Law: that you can count on the testimony of two witnesses. And that is what you have: You have my word and you have the word of the Father who sent me.”

They said, “Where is this so-called Father of yours?”

Jesus said, “You’re looking right at me and you don’t see me. How do you expect to see the Father? If you knew me, you would at the same time know the Father.”

He gave this speech in the Treasury while teaching in the Temple. No one arrested him because his time wasn’t yet up.

~ John 8:12-20 (The Message)
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Old 06-14-2015, 01:53 PM   #444
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Sunday Dispatch.719

Sunday Dispatch.719

‘Heaven’: Biblical Imaginations of New Earth

~ Book review by E. Stephen Burnett

Since reading Randy Alcorn’s nonfiction hardback 'Heaven' in summer 2006, I will not only admit but proclaim this: I have become a Heaven geek. And I don’t mean just the book.

My own renewed afterlife “fandom” began in summer 2001. I was reading the late Henry Morris’s speculations about the after-world and what we might do, in his commentary The Revelation Record. He actually wrote about the point of Revelation, and with just a bit of speculation:

“We shall have an eternity of time to explore and discover the secrets of an infinitely varied and limitless cosmos. Perhaps each of us will be assigned an entire galaxy to explore and develop for the glory of God. Then each will share with the others what he has found and what he has accomplished and all will rejoice together.”

To me this idea seemed less like clear Scripture and more like science fiction.

Years later for me, Alcorn’s work built on that golden foundation.
In Heaven, Alcorn, a pastor and author of both nonfiction and fiction, writes not only based on solid Scriptural truths about the future world for which God’s people are meant, but with Bible-based imagination. As he clearly affirms, imagination is God’s gift, yet it must be based on Biblical truth revealed by the only One Who can imagine anything into reality.

This book, along with Desiring God by John Piper, really did “change my life” in the way people hear about sometimes, even back in 2006 when I read it for the first time. Now, since re-reading Heaven multiple times, I can eagerly agree with Alcorn’s back-cover quote:

The next time you hear someone say, “We can’t begin to imagine what Heaven will be like,” you’ll be able to tell them, “I can.”

‘New Earth’ means New Earth, not New ‘Twilight Zone’

Unlike other Christian authors who may assume unbelieving readers already know the basics, Alcorn begins with a carefully written chapter to inform some readers that they are actually headed by default for heck. Alcorn knows his audience, and the fact that some among them will be non-Christians who assume that a pleasant afterlife is theirFrom there he heads into more assumption-challenging that continues throughout the book.1 In the first several chapters he hits hard against popular Churchian legends about the afterlife.

Heaven is not only the present-day “intermediate” Heaven where the redeemed go upon death, Alcorn writes, but will in the future become the New Heavens and New Earth (Rev. 21).

Many people don’t seem to get that, and I don’t mean only non-Christians. Wrong notions of Heaven are just as common in the Church. Some Christians, if they think about it, assume Heaven is a nonmaterial world of spiritoid2 weirdness. They may even suspect that life there will be dull and boring, and that we may even lose individuality.

In other words, this eternal “Heaven” is more like another dimension — a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. But those who go to this “Heaven” have not crossed over into Scripture’s promised resurrected life, but into the Twilight Zone! Yet for comfort, or to assure ourselves that this view is spiritual, we may believe that this is not at all creepy, no, it’s all a good sort of nonphysical spiritoid-ness, and we’ll love it anyway.

Related ideas float around in Christendom more often than Scriptural support for them: Well, we have no way to know much about heaven. Or, We’re not sure what kind of bodies we’ll have in heaven. Or this one: In heaven, time (or work) will be no more.

Sprinkled in Alcorn’s chapters are similar quotes and testimonies from theologians who flat-out stated, apart from Biblical support or with out-of-context verses, certain “facts” about the eternal state. He also includes quotes from friends and Christians who secretly admitted they wished Heaven were more like Earth. The (supposed) fact that it won’t be like Earth frightened them. But in reply, Alcorn shows how Scripture endorses this desire, contending that this longing is not sinful or unspiritual, but an example of God reflecting resurrection truth and setting eternity in our hearts. He points readers to the truth that God will resurrect not only His people from death, but the rest of His material creations by default. By calling the New Earth Earth, God emphatically tells us that it will be earthly, and thus familiar. Otherwise, why call it Earth?

When Scripture speaks of a “new song,” do we imagine it’s wordless, silent, or without rhythm? Of course not. Why? Because then it wouldn’t be a song. If I promised you a new car, would you say, “If it’s new, it probably won’t have an engine, transmission, doors, wheels, stereo, or upholstery”? If a new car didn’t have these things, it wouldn’t be a car. If we buy a new car, we know it will be a better version of what we already have, our old car. Likewise, the New Earth will be a far better version of the old Earth.

The word new is an adjective describing a noun. The noun is the main thing. A new car is first and foremost a car. A new body is mainly a body. A New Earth is mainly an Earth.

The New Earth will not be a non-Earth but a real Earth. The Earth spoken of in Scripture is the Earth we know — with dirt, water, rocks, trees, flowers, animals, people, and a variety of natural wonders. An Earth without these would not be an Earth.
~Heaven, page 158

Too much imagination?

Some may be distracted or bemused by Alcorn’s quotes from The Chronicles of Narnia books, or the Lord of the Rings novel or even films, and even Star Trek. But as a fan of epic stories that remind me of God, His people and His world, such references speak to me.

Yet any fantasy quotes only serve as reflections of or contrasts to Biblical exposition.

Joy, feasting, art, science, exploration, endless wonder …

Whether they believe in a “spiritoid” “body” in a Twilight-Zone-esque “heaven,” still many Christians wonder about questions like this: Will we feast and have fun? Will there be pizza in Heaven? What about art and science? When I wondered these, I tried not to think beyond those questions. Rather, I thought this was somehow no big spiritual deal, and moved on.

Alcorn believes many such Christians mean to be humble and not presumptuous. Of course we don’t know everything there is to know about what God will have for us in Heaven. But God has revealed plenty for us in Scripture, he writes. Putting this in perspective, we begin to sort through the lingering wrong ideas about Heaven that have come not from the Bible, but from “Christoplatonism.” Heaven’s appendix A about those often-subtle notions is alone worth the book’s price — in short, it’s Alcorn’s term for a series of beliefs derived from Greek philosophy and old denials of the doctrine of Resurrection, which imply or claim only the unseen “spiritual” is spiritual, and created matter does not matter to God.

Thus, after setting up a more-Biblical foundation for understanding New Earth, Alcorn tackles many of these very questions — including the coffee, pets, and pizza. Once wrong preconceptions are cleared away, it’s indeed astonishing what we do know, not necessarily about the real yet intermediate Heaven, but about the promised New Earth.

These many subtopics take up the rest of the book: not with only opinions or speculations about the New Heavens and New Earth, but Biblical foundations for those ideas. So far I have not found any false doctrine. Alcorn invites readers to hold his words up to those of Scripture and even contact him if they’ve spotted a wrong or unsupported statement.

Alcorn mines Scriptures from Revelation, prophets minor and major, and other books for descriptions of not only the intermediate Heaven, but the New Heavens and New Earth. For example, from Revelation 6, specifically verses 9 through 11:

•These people were individuals who had been persecuted and killed on Old Earth.

•They remembered their former lives on Old Earth, though they had been persecuted and killed! Not exactly pleasant memories, those. Yet there in Heaven, they remember. Why is this? Well, we know that God is glorified in suffering.

•Even while in Heaven, the people are waiting for God to bring things to completion.

•And by the way, time certainly exists even in the existing Heaven (not yet the New Earth) — after all the martyrs were “told to rest a little longer.”

Further chapters take on related topics. Will we eat meat, or anything? What about coffee? What kinds of abilities may our bodies have? Will we explore, discover new creatures, perhaps go on journeys in space or even time?

And what about pets who have died? Alcorn does not skip past these issues with “Scripture is silent here.” Rather, he points out God’s axiom of glorifying Himself as His chief end (with plenty of John Piper quotes) and asks why God would not allow something. Given God’s original post-creation mandate in Genesis, commanding Adam and Eve to manage and explore planet Earth — it would make no sense for Him to halt a space program, the practice of science, or the drinking of coffee.

And as for pets, Alcorn asks: if God were to bring back specific beloved pets who died on Old Earth, would He not be glorified more in the happiness and praise of His people?

I cannot highly enough recommend Heaven. Alcorn’s work has helped me re-realize not only how big God is — to save His universe, not just His people — but refocus on Biblical exegeses and discerning false ideas. Scripture is clear: God will not just nuke His whole creation from orbit and start over with some “spiritual” world. Rather, He will redeem His physical universe and make it more incredible than ever before.
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Old 06-21-2015, 10:55 AM   #445
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Sunday Dispatch.720

Sunday Dispatch.720

Father of Mine" is a rock song by the band Everclear. The song is autobiographical, as lead singer Art Alexakis's father left his family when he was a young boy and how it affected his life. A great song, I think, that expresses how important a father can be to a young child.

Father of mine
Tell me where have you been?
You know I just closed by eyes
My whole world disappeared
Father of mine
Take me back to the day
Yeah, when I was still your golden boy
Back before you went away


I remember blue skies walking the block
I loved it when you held me high
I loved to hear you talk
You would take me to the movie
You would take me to the beach
You would take me to a place inside
That's so hard to reach

Oh!
Father of mine
Tell me where did you go?
Yeah, you had the world inside your hand
But you did not seem to know

Father of mine
Tell me what do you see?
When you look back at your wasted life
And you don't see me
I was ten years old
Doin' all that I could
It wasn't easy for me to be a scared white boy
In a black neighborhood
Sometimes you would send me a birthday card
With a five dollar bill
I never understood you then
And I guess I never will

Daddy gave me a name
My daddy gave me a name
(Then he walked away)
Daddy gave me a name
(Then he walked away)
My daddy gave me a name
Oh yeah

Yeah
Daddy gave me a name
Daddy gave me a name
(Then he walked away)
Daddy gave me a name
(Then he walked away)
My daddy gave me a name
Yeah
Yeah
Oh yeah

Father of mine
Tell me where have you been?
Yeah, I just closed by eyes
And the world disappeared
Father of mine
Tell me how do you sleep?
With the children you abandoned
And the wife I saw you beat

I will never be safe
I will never be sane
I will always be weird inside
I will always be lame
Now I'm a grown man
With a child of my own
And I swear, I'll never let her know
All the pain I have known

Daddy gave me a name
(Then he walked away)
My daddy gave me a name
(Then he walked away)
My daddy gave me a name
(Then he walked away)
My daddy gave me a name

Yeah
(Then he walked away)
Yeah
(Then he walked away)
Oh yeah

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Old 06-28-2015, 10:21 AM   #446
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Sunday Dispatch.721

Sunday Dispatch.721

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

~ Matthew 6:30-34 (The Message)
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Old 06-28-2015, 10:41 AM   #447
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mmm , good
one thAnks
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:48 AM   #448
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Sunday Dispatch.722

Sunday Dispatch.722


For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

~ Matthew 7:8
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Old 07-06-2015, 03:56 PM   #449
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That would be a great slogan for a brothel.
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Old 07-12-2015, 10:42 AM   #450
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Sunday Dispatch.723

Sunday Dispatch.723


Don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines.

~Satchel Paige

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Old 07-19-2015, 11:28 AM   #451
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Sunday Dispatch.724

Sunday Dispatch.724


And the cards are no good that you’re holding
Unless they’re from another world

~ Bob Dylan
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Old 07-26-2015, 11:20 AM   #452
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Sunday Dispatch.725

Sunday Dispatch.725

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.

~ Hebrews 11:1
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:13 AM   #453
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Sunday Dispatch.726

“Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing.... Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.”

~ Ann Voskamp
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:34 PM   #454
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Sunday Dispatch.727


Jesus called the crowd together again and said, “Listen now, all of you—take this to heart. It’s not what you swallow that pollutes your life; it’s what you vomit—that’s the real pollution.”

When he was back home after being with the crowd, his disciples said, “We don’t get it. Put it in plain language.”

Jesus said, “Are you being willfully stupid? Don’t you see that what you swallow can’t contaminate you? It doesn’t enter your heart but your stomach, works its way through the intestines, and is finally flushed.” (That took care of dietary quibbling; Jesus was saying that all foods are fit to eat.)

He went on: “It’s what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution.”

~ Mark 7:14-23 (The Message)
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Old 08-16-2015, 06:44 PM   #455
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Sunday Dispatch.728

Sunday Dispatch.728


A man walked into a gift shop that sold religious items.

Near the cash register he saw a display of caps with "WWJD" printed on all of them. He was puzzled over what the letters could mean, but couldn't figure it out, so he asked the clerk.

The clerk replied that the letters stood for "What Would Jesus Do," and was meant to inspire people to not make rash decisions, but rather to imagine what Jesus would do in the same situation.

The man thought a moment and then replied, "Well, I'm sure Jesus wouldn't pay $19.95 for one of these caps."


~Unknown
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Old 08-23-2015, 11:03 AM   #456
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“All the persons of faith I know are sinners, doubters, uneven performers. We are secure not because we are sure of ourselves but because we trust that God is sure of us.”

~ Eugene H. Peterson
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Old 08-30-2015, 01:33 PM   #457
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Sunday Dispatch.730

Sunday Dispatch.730


“God is not disillusioned with us. He never had any illusions to begin with.”

~ Luis Palau
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Old 09-06-2015, 07:02 PM   #458
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Sunday Dispatch.731

Sunday Dispatch.731


I love God because he listened to me, listened as I begged for mercy. He listened so intently as I laid out my case before him. Death stared me in the face, hell was hard on my heels. Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn; then I called out to God for help: “Please, God!” I cried out. “Save my life!” God is gracious—it is he who makes things right, our most compassionate God. God takes the side of the helpless; when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.

~ Psalm 116:1-2 (The Message)
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:27 PM   #459
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Sunday Dispatch.732

Sunday Dispatch.732

“Science fiction is the result of mankind’s God-given sense of adventure, wonder, creativity, and imagination. It emerges from being made in God’s image.”

~ Randy Alcorn
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Old 09-20-2015, 11:25 AM   #460
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Sunday Dispatch.733

Sunday Dispatch.733

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

~ Romans 12:9-21 (The Message)
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