Mar 05, 2007 Newsongs after a desert sojourn...

Amazing Grace -the Movie

I had no idea how this good movie will be received…actually on the review site it fared pretty well with the critics. I thought the transitions between memory and present tense was at times overdone, and I think Wilberforce could have withstood a more complex portrayal of him as a human. The actual experiences of the slaves are always only alluded to- we never see a portrayal of their plight, which would have been appropriately wrenching. In fact only one slave appears in the film, if one excludes the freed Olaudah Equiano.

Olaudah Equiano

This site covers the life and work of the 18th century London-based African abolitionist Olaudah Equiano. Extracts from his writings, a portrait, maps and further research links are available here.

Ioan Gruffudd distances himself admirably from his comic book portrayal of Mr. Fantastic in the Fantastic Four. He actually can act given an appropriate vehicle, but I predict he may be in danger of being permanently typecast after this return to the look of his Horatio Hornblower days. But then again, the FF may turn into a serial since the second movie is due out in a few months...the Rise of the Silver Surfer.

Now for a Lamentation:

As for Amazing Grace, I was amazed that it only opened in two theaters in Louisville. I went to Tinseltown to see it and there were only about two dozen people in the theater. If Christians don't turn out to see them, we cannot expect such movies to continue to be made.

Writings along the way…

Spirit Wind, Pave the Way

Through the wilderness of wanderings
Through the miry pit of pondering
Spirit Wind pave the way
Spirit Wind pave the way.

Through the thick fog be our light
Through the darkness of this world’s night.
Spirit Wind pave the way
Spirit Wind pave the way.

Spirit Wind pave the way
Help us keep in step with You
Spirit Wind pave the way.
As your way we will pursue

No one sees where it goes
We can feel when it blows
Whence it comes heaven knows
Spirit Wind pave the way.

Through the desert help us prevail
Through the valley of the shadow’s vale
Spirit Wind pave the way
Spirit Wind pave the way.

Spirit Wind pave the way
Help us keep in step with You
Spirit Wind pave the way.
As your way we will pursue

Anthony Foster
March 3, 2007

Grace and Peace

Grace and Peace from God our Father
Grace and Peace from our Lord Jesus Christ

Oh Peace forever flows from Grace.
It is released and so we taste
The peaceable fruit of righteousness
It its pursuit we find our rest.

By Grace we plead our case
By Grace we run the race
By Grace we seek your face
And nothing can replace …Your Grace.

By Grace Your Will we trace
By grace God's Glory fills this place
By Grace we feel God's sweet embrace
And nothing can replace …Your Grace.
And nothing can replace …Your Grace.

Grace gives the power to live each day
Where your mercies never end
By Grace you come and light our way
And make us whole again…

This wondrous gift You've given
By grace we must receive
Means life here and in heaven
For all those who believe.

The pardon and the cleansing
Forgiveness full and free
Is ours by grace, by grace we find
Our very destiny.

Anthony Foster
March 3, 2007

Song of Worship

God is great (God is great)
God is good (God is good)
Come and let us thank Him
Come and let us praise Him
God is great
God is good

God is holy (God is holy)
God is pure (God is pure)
Come and let us obey Him
Come and let us serve Him
God is holy
God is pure

God is glorious (God is glorious)
God is just (God is just)
Come and let us love Him
Come and let us trust Him
God is glorious
God is just

We come before your presence
Raising up one voice in praise
In submission and surrender
To the sovereign Lord who saves

God is righteous (God is righteous)
God is true (God is true)
Come and let us honor
Come and let us worship
God is righteous
God is true

Anthony Foster
March 3, 2007

Bleeding Song

Nothing else for Sin atones
But the shedding of God's blood alone
No other sacrifice
No one can pay the price
Forgiveness is what we all need
For this hope alone our God did bleed.

The perfect covering
To overcome our sin
In this alone we find our rest
For by the blood we are found blessed.
Oh blessed blood that cleanses me
Unworthy sinner that I am
This blood alone shall be my plea
The blessed blood of the Holy lamb.

The blessed One who bled and died
And by God's wrath was crucified
Appease, propitiate, atone
For you must save and you alone.

By His wounds we are healed
The blessed blood His grace revealed
For mercy flows from god's own veins
The gift he bestows
His grace attains

And bleeding blessing on His own
He covers us in the glory he has shown.
So by the blood we are made whole
This blood alone saves sinsick souls

By the blood we are made new
Wine of forgiveness,Wine that is true
Oh blessed blood, That washes clean
Oh crimson flood Shed for our good
Oh blessed blood
The blessed blood redeems.

Anthony Foster
March 3, 2007

Pondering aloud on the role of personality in leadership

First a comment and then a side road/question that has nothing to do with this thread...

If we use Kohlberg's theory (or Fowler, or erickson, or Piaget, et. al.) as a measuring rod by itself we will come up short on the true worth of a man. So we have to content ourselves with picking and choosing that which edifies and integrates with the Scriptures. I liken this to eating the fish and throwing away the bones.

Here's the sideroad...I can recall a time when I disdained personality driven ministries as being man centered. I am sure that can be the case at times and places. Over the years I have seen my opinion change in some ways, in realizing that the leader's personality is not something that can be checked at the door; it can be used of God to motivate and draw people- if the person doing the drawing points to Christ Jesus. Some people will follow a compelling personality for the wrong reasons to be sure, but most great leaders I have seen have compelling delivery, a great sense of humor, or some other outstanding personality trait.

What do you think about this? Is there an inherent danger in selecting leaders who display their passions to the point that they are identified with them? The fruit and gifts of the Spirit do not seem to be in the same category. I wonder if more decisions are made to place people in leadership based on their personality in lieu of discerning their giftedness?

As I said previously, I am pondering, not offering answers at this point. I have thought and studied the matter more this week- dunno if I will have time to post more on it beyond this:

I was alluding to "personality driven ministries." By this I mean something akin to what you describe, but I would go so far as to say that Spiritual Gifts are supernatural in nature and may or may not have anything to do with the personality of the person bearing the gift unless it is an antecedent to the formation of that personality.

From my view of the Scriptures, I would say that grace gifts are not talents or even human abilities, but so much of what I see in the church is driven by what a person is a success at, or their talent or ability.

Personality and Developmental Theory -- Post Seminar Discussions - 04:04pm Mar 5, 2007 EST -

I distinguish between human talents and human abilities which all humans have and Spiritual gifts which only believers have. They categorically not physical- they are Spiritual. Spiritual gifts bear fruit that human abilities cannot hope to, as they are Spirit empowered.

I may have to break the 4 by 4 rule to anwer beyond this...In the NT there are a number of terms that appear that are used in a generic way- charisma- pneumatikos, merismos, energema, diakonia, doma. Each of these terms have aspects that are used in several contexts, but in at least one context is used to describe spiritual gifts. These are descriptive of the whole concept of gifts, not of individual gifts. As such, each term gives us a slice of the pie- examining each of these terms can give us a good understanding of what scripture says spiritual gifts are. Note that several of the words have the "ma" ending- denoting in the greek the results or manifestation of whatever word it follows.

charisma- basis of every spiritual gift is grace- (the result of charis)- it refers generally in most cases, but specifically relating to gifts-literally it means the result of grace, not earned or sought. cf. Romans 12: 6 (special service capacities) and

Romans 1:11 (here Paul wishes to exercise his gifts towards them).
pneumatikos - 1 Corinthians 12:1- emphasizes the origin of gifts-the results of the Spirit-

1 Cor 14:12-pneuma=results of the Spirit, of which gifts are one. 1 Cor.12:7-Phonerosis tu pneuma- manifestations of the Spirit. Can refer to people or things. Later in v. 31 (the same passage) Paul uses charisma interchangeably. In Romans 1:11 both terms are used together. 1 John 4:1

diakonia- 1 Cor 12:5- emphasizes service for ministry, relates as a synonym to charisma and pnematikos in 1 Cor. 12-14. There is benefit to others by the exercise of a spiritual gift. The gifts are to be used in service to the whole.

energema- the result or display of work- it is God's work in you, transcending your ability-In 1 Cor 12:10, 28-31. Charisma and energema used interchangeably here. It is superhuman, not based on man's resources.

doma- The results of giving. This emphasizes the reception of the gift- it transcends human potential it is given to us from God. Ephesians 4:8.

merismos- Hebrews 2:4, dividing - emphasizes the measure of a gift- it is limited- a division or measure of the Holy Spirit. No one has all of the Holy Spirit. We all have a portion to give to the whole.

From these words we can construct a helpful definition of spiritual gifts

They are a limited (merismos) capacity for service to others (diakonia) generated by the spirit (pneumatikos) on the basis of God's grace (charisma) whereby the believer does what transcends humanity (energema) irrespective of natural ability (doma).

Who receives them? every believer- 1 Cor 12 :11- 13- at point where we are included in the body- at salvation. Spirit baptism and Spirit gifts are inextricably linked in an universal statement hers, since 1 Corinthians was written to all believers- see its introduction. .

So what are we supposed to do with Spiritual gifts?

Let us look at the commands (that I could find) associated with the exercise of spiritual gifts-
1. Romans 12:3- "Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought to think"-an indirect command- lego- construct brings command force
2. Romans 12:6-8 implied command "let each exercise them accordingly"
3. 1 Corinthians 12:1-3-"I do not want you to be unaware" verb plus infinitive
4. 1 Cor. 12:30 "desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you might prophecy"
5. 1 Cor. 12:31 "earnestly desire greater gifts"- infinitive-
6. 1 Cor 14:1 pursue love, based on 1 Cor 13
7. 1 Cor 14:1-"desire earnestly to prophecy"
8. 1 Cor. 14:12 " seek to abound for the edification of the church". builds on v. 1-11
9. 1 Cor 14:13 third person, permissive imperative- let someone do this="when you pray in a tongue, pray that you may interpret."
10. 1 Cor 14:26- "let all things be done for edification"- following this comes 10 more command type statements to promote edification.
11. 1 Cor. 14:37 "if anyone thinks he is a prophet, or spiritual, let him recognize..."
12. 1 Cor. 14:39-" do not forbid to speak in tongues"
13. 1 Cor 14:40- "let all things be done properly"
14. 1 Cor. 14:40-"... and in an orderly manner"
15. 1 Thess 5:20 "do not despise prophetic utterances"
16. 1 Timothy 4:14- "do not neglect the spiritual gift within you"
17. 2 Timothy 1:6-"kindle afresh the gift within you"
18. 1 Peter4:10- Peter uses participles- "employing it in serving one another"
19. 1 John 4:1-"do not believe every spirit"- referring to many false prophets
20. 1 John 4:1"test the spirits to see if they are from God"

Spiritual gifts should be

viewed soundmindedly 1.
used accordingly 2, 16, 17, 18
discerned perceptively.3, 12, 15, 19, 20
valued accurately 4, 5, 7
exercised lovingly 6- follows I Cor 13
aimed at edification 8, 9 , 10 (10 others follow)
grounded apostolically 11
ordered properly 13, 14

Notice there is no command to discern our personal gift- but it is certainly implied - it is impossible to follow certain of these withour knowing your gift- let me be quick to add that the point of emphasis is not discovering your gift. There are several commands here we can execute w/o knowing our gift- the emphasis is on doing, not knowing.

Perhaps we would also do well to add Luke 10:19-20 (The return of the 72) where Jesus says not to rejoice in exhibiting great spiritual power but in the fact that your name is written in heaven. I suppose the point of all this is that I do believe Spiritual Giftedness has some impact on the reformation of the image of God in man, and in some way forms or informs our personalities. I hold that personality can change and in most cases, should... Otherwise we don't develop as humans into the the likeness of Christ.

I subscribe to the following approach to discerning the gifts: If you were given a handful of beans and were told that one was special: it had the ability to produce far more than the other beans, you could do one of two things- you could irradiate, analyze, pass them through indicators, inventory them, and otherwise measure their attributes; or you could simply plant them all and see which one brought forth a supernaturally edifying crop. I am afraid we tend to overdo the analysis and miss out on the practice of USING the gifts in the church. That's all...

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