...thoughts expressed here are not necessarily final.

August 15, 2004 News from around the globe

I Love Robots

And wearing fluffy wigs and blowing bubbles too. Blog on over to:

"For me, robots are for making people happy," said Yusuke Sugawara, a 32-year-old engineer whose robot wore a fluffy wig and blew bubbles from a fake snorkel when people clapped. "Japanese people all love robots. Inside our hearts, we all want to make robots that we grew up watching on TV cartoons."

And from that other foreign spot, New Hampshire:

If you want something done right today, you have to run for Congress yourself -- or at least send your grandmother," said Haddock, who has 16 great-grandchildren.

 Ananova:  US man golfs his way across Mongolia

A man from the US state of New Hampshire has played a round of golf - using Mongolia as his course. Andre Tolme completed the vast 18-hole course he mapped out across the country in 12,170 shots. He left the US in May with the goal of walking 1,300 miles across Mongolia, golfing all the way. He got the idea during a two-week trip he made there in September 2001. Tolme, who is an adventurer and an avid golfer, fell in love with the country and decided to fuse his two passions into one project: "Golf Mongolia."

Arts as a hopeless cause in need of redemption section:

Kindergarten art nets 75,000 dollars.

Artist sculpts with own fat ...An Argentine artist is selling sculptures made out of her own fat which was taken out during a liposuction.

A US toy firm has created a talking action doll of Jesus Christ which recites the Ten Commandments. Herobuilders says it has come full circle and created "the ONLY real hero: Talking Our Lord Jesus Christ Action Figure". Or all you superfreaks can get a Rick James talking action figure.

Department of Homeland security alert- blazing bunny runs amok in Britain.

From News of the Weird Archive

American Ingenuity at Work: From a 1999 police report in The Messenger (Madisonville, Ky.), concerning two trucks being driven strangely on a rural road: A man would drive one truck 100 yards, stop, walk back to a second truck, drive it 100 yards beyond the first truck, stop, walk back to the first truck, drive it 100 yards beyond the second truck, and so on. According to police, the man's brother had passed out drunk in one of the trucks, so the man decided to drive both trucks home. (Not surprisingly, a blood-alcohol test showed that he, too, was impaired.) [The Messenger, 5-7-99]

The church and the chain saw

In order to follow Jesus and serve their community unconstrained by institutionalized religion, a group of Christians in New Zealand dismantled their church building. Wayne Jacobson reports: "As they walked in that day to the main meeting room they asked where they should begin. They all looked at each other and in the same moment said 'the pulpit!' With relish they sawed it in half, kept going across the stage and eventually dismantled the entire building and hauled it away to the trash heap."

"They saw some amazing doors open in the community. One man from the village was talking to one of the former leaders and said, "I feel like I can really talk to you now." By removing the baggage from the gospel that had alienated so many people, they found a new openness to share the gospel with others. True life is found in giving up, not in holding on, as we follow wherever God leads us."

LINK: http://www.openheaven.com/ubb/Forum6/HTML/000341.html

So do we have to do something this radical to connect with our communities? Before you answer think how easy it is for us to think in terms of calling as applying to others- words like, sell all of your possessions, give them to the poor couldn't POSSIBLY apply to us? Why?- Because Christ was addressing the problem area, the area of reservation in the rich young ruler? so what area of reservation are we holding out on ?

August 19, 2004 Flirting with Millstones

What I have learned about: Church Growth.

My view is admittedly micro view. I have seen numbers swell and lives counted as saved and yet very few bear a discernable mark of Christ, fruit by which to be known. From a distance, all kinds of foolishness is brooked because of the sense that if the church that is growing in numbers and claims are made that salvations are occurring, this church must be being blessed by God. And so accountability is sloughed off like some disposable skin. Some would say that God worlks despite the weakness of the vessel he uses, and I would concur with this by pointing to myself. But that does not mean the the vessels should revel in their weakness per se. Paul’s declaration of boasting in his weaknesses was not a license for sin or the pursuit of mediocrity in his personal life. Should we sin so that grace may abound? May it never be!

Demographic influxes, man centered socializing, and compelling entertainment programs have in some cases been substituted for real transformation in growing the local “church”. I hesitate to even apply the biblical name to these organizations which know much of words but little of grace. A quick fix counseling session, pray a prayer, may be even shed a tear or two, and you are on your way. And then within a year or so, the convert is right back where they started or in worse shape, since now they think they have done business with God.

I know I run the risk of being called judgmental, but this is a no brainer. I am told that only God knows a man’s heart. That is true. That is why we are given the imperative to know men by their fruit. That takes discernment and accountability relationships lest we be fooled into attempting to nourish the dead.

(I'll address pre-evangelism in another post.)

Did you ever try to feed a corpse? Probably not. It wouldn’t occur to you unless you are mentally deranged. Dead men need life, not another program. Christ has defined what His church must look like- Himself. The letters to the Corinthians were corrective in nature, not to be accepted and pointed to as some kind of normal reality for all churches that allows for winking at sin in our present day. “I mean after all weren’t the original Christians as messed up as we are?”

I note that the profession is easy , that many are naming Christ’s name and even a few remain in the church within a year of that profession. But that is not all that worries me. There are a lot of people running around doing church things and social activities who are not doing them in faith. The Bible tells us that this too is sin. Yet, to a person, they would defend the notion that they are Christians because they professed faith. They are being affirmed in this proposition by pulpits far and wide. We are told that wheat and tare would grow together but our directive is to till the soil, nurture the tares and see them turned into wheat by a miraculous transformation . Thank God that he is still in the business of transforming goats into sheep, tares into wheat and prodigals into prophets.

The Biblical imperative is clear- you must profess with your mouth but also believe in your heart. Saving faith is not something one can work up. It is not only believing some facts about the gospel. This kind of faith devastates the sin lover in us and makes our hearts long for transformation. If you seek in this way you will surely find. All too many give up the seeking, asking and knocking after a few failures and languish in a half world between reality and feelings.We are to be the proof of God’s truth by the mercies of God. The Gospel is not good news if it leaves us to languish under the dominion of Sin as Jekylls and Hydes.

What I am advocating is the opposite of legalism. This passionate pursuit of Christ in all things defines eternal life. It is not optional. Revelling in and communicating the whole of the gospel in personal compelling terms should be the heart of every one who is inscribed on the palm of His hand.

This also impacts true Christians in the fact that so many are giving allegiance to such churches from a motivation to be grace givers, to support men who are “approved “ by God in leadership and this is particulary painful to them when they see the peccadillos of their leaders being winked at with a boys will be boys attitude. This attains wherever numbers are the final arbitrar of success.

This is the role discipleship plays. The imperative to take up the cross and follow Christ is not reserved for a “few good men” nor is it directed at doing discipline related “stuff’. It is a radical desire to be conformed to Christ, to make his holiness our delight, to see his word written on our circumcised hearts.

God redeems and justifies sinners, not SIN. The passionate pursuit of the heart of God must necessarily be a visionary movement away from the old man and into the light where the new man is put on. Assurance is being doled out in churches based on a prayer prayed, an affirmation with the lips that Jesus is Lord but not with the life. This , in my mind makes the American church one of the great mission fields of the world.

Did you see the Paul Hamm performance last night?

Everything you were ever told about never giving up was illustrated in the Olympic games last night. Also some lessons on our response to humiliation, and perseverence. This is the best of what sport is about ,in my humble opinion. For me it was more about heart than talent and training. I was encouraged bu the response of Hamm after the highly touted World champion fell flat on his beezer in the third of five apparatus, the vault. Rather than laying back and believing what the commentators said- that it was not possible to win an all around championship after such a flub, he effectively completed the final two skills to vault himself from 12th position to an Olympic Gold medal. Amazing. Cool. Bravo.

A Sorrowful Joy

I'm lifted to the heavens and I'd stay there
If I had the chance I'd stay in constant prayer
But for all the blessings of heaven that are mine
So many I know still choose to decline

So though my joy might be complete
On the other hand- you understand
It's a sorrowful joy that I know, alas
For so many men are choosing to pass
On the evidence that's before their eyes
I pray I could make them recognize
What they can expect when they reject
The one who is the light
It's a sorrowful joy I'm feeling tonight.

To be torn between entering heaven's joy
And remaining here to be in God's employ
Compelling and praying men to see God's design
So my desire is left to God's own time.

Now though my joy might be complete
On the other hand- you understand
It's a sorrowful joy that I know, alas
For so many men are choosing to pass
On the evidence that's before their eyes
I pray I could make them recognize
What they can expect when they reject
The one who is the light
It's a sorrowful joy I'm feeling tonight.

5-30-91 Anthony Foster

August 19, 2004 Go Go Goatee

Here's the last you will likely ever see of my goatee. I am going back to full beard after discovering the streamlined look is not really any cooler. I was impressed by the advances in shaving technology since my last foray into the bohemian look. Or these days it my be thought of as the Imam look. Guess I am showing my age in more than one way. And the times they ARE a-changin'.

Tearing Down Battling Robots across Mongolia.

Larry sent this under that heading in reference to the first posts on this page:

LG: While the Bible accurately assesses the sinfulness of people, I wonder if people aren't far weirder than the Bible makes out.

I respond: "I know I am."

LG:Perhaps the toys did not exist then for excessive weirdness... I can see it now at the judgment seat. "What did you do with the time that I gave you?" "Uh....gfing'cross'mnglia" "I can't hear you. Could you speak a little louder?" (If only my answer was a little better...)

Peculiar people indeed.

That Christ should become incarnate to identify himself with the likes of sinners such as me is mind boggling. I suppose the reason I post such nonsense is to remind myself that I am the cause of similar guffaws from God. If he delights in me as scripture says, it surely must be for my silliness at times more than my other attributes, else he would excise our personalities upon conversion. I will explore that further and a length soon.

Archaeolgy in the news

Dead Sea Scrolls in the news again.

This story about the John the Baptist cave is old news but all over the newswires now.

More peculiar news.

Bear passes out after only 3 dozen brewskis. Seems he didn't like Busch brands though.

Man declares Jesus will finance his car then drives through dealership window. So what was he looking for a co-signer?

South Beach dieters cause cheese shortage.


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From the personal weblog of Anthony Foster @http://anthonyfoster.com/blog/