Sailors, Take Warning!

Especially Christian sailors on life's sea, sailing toward eternity

To whom it may concern: East of Hubbard, we have high hopes to see the sun.

But maybe we will see the Son instead…

The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.

He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

(Matthew 16:1-4)

(About the title: Red sky at morning)

Seven Things You Can Do to Cast Down Gentile Power in the Church

How to rein in an unbiblical reign in your congregation

“Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them” (Mark 10:42).

That’s what I call Gentile Power.

“Power. Authority. That’s pretty heady stuff! Too often, those who have it want to preserve it, and those who don’t have it want to acquire it.” (Mark Roth, c. 1994)

Gentile Power infects churches, church committees, and church boards. That’s because it infects disciples. Even disciples of Jesus. Read the context and background of the verse above if you doubt me.

Over the weekend I finally posted an article I wrote on this subject. In it I mention five categories of people according to their response to or perception of this evil. I also offer seven options for the consideration of those weighing their response to such use of church authority.

Along the way, I ask:

You have… You have… You have… But that person — minister, chairman, whoever — continues to use his position as license to exercise Gentile Power.

What are you supposed to do?

Jesus' disciples, watching Him closely

I eventually offer the challenge to choose between two other options. Then I advise:

Choose well.
You’ll pay dearly for either one.
But only one will reward you handsomely.

I invite you to read my full article (Gentile Power in the Church) then come back here and extend the discussion below.

If Jesus Is the Christian Woman’s Lover…

Who is my lover?

Some of my sisters in Christ believe they have a sensual dimension to their relationship with Jesus. They even use sexually suggestive language in speaking of it.

I think the Christian woman with such a perspective gets there by using the Bible like this:

  1. When I became a Christian, I became part of the universal church.
  2. Jesus is the bridegroom of the church.
  3. The Song of Solomon graphically depicts a very sensual relationship between a man and a woman — romantic, passionate, sexual.
  4. The Song of Solomon pulls back the curtain on the relationship between Jesus and the church.
  5. Jesus wants me to have that kind of relationship with Him.

My beloved is mine, and I am his. -Song of Solomon

If you are a woman who sees Jesus as your Song of Solomon lover, please answer my simple question:

Who is my lover?

Read it all

How to Disagree With Anyone

Why I disagree (and why you shouldn't take it personally)

The young man asked to talk to me privately about church matters. He seemed to have two main things on his mind:

  • Why didn’t I go along or fall in line or be agreeable in certain matters?
  • I underestimate the influence (on some people) of the opinions and perspectives of “Brother Mark.”

I assured him that when I disagree, it’s on principle. I told him I don’t make such things personal. He seemed surprised. I was surprised and dismayed at his surprise. And I wondered what he had been “fed” about me.

That was several years ago. As I recall, it was during a recess from an all-day, heavy-duty men’s meeting of our church. It may have been in that time period that I posted this on Facebook on January 26, 2014:

Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? (Galatians 4:16)

“Am I therefore become your enemy,
because I tell you the truth?”

(Galatians 4:16)

More recently I posted this on FacebookRead it all

Eclipse 2017: “What I really need is a bathroom!”

When the answer to "Why are you so nice?" is "Jesus"

I salute the Paul Smucker family for opening up their house — fridge, pantry, bathrooms — to passers-by of The Great Exodus after yesterday’s total eclipse.

Total Eclipse 2017: Simone handing out free drinks at Paul's

“What I really need is a bathroom,” one woman confessed. So we made a new sign. “Restrooms Available!” And soon had a long line stretching all the way out our back hallway. Matt sat in the living room and directed people to our upstairs bathroom, while Mom showed people where the downstairs bathroom was as she mixed up batches of lemonade. Soon we had groups of people in our driveway chattering in Chinese, as children swung on our ancient tire swing.

Did you know Mennonites (or other Christians) were that hospitable? I’m certainly not! Oh, I would have enjoyed handing out free drinks and nibbles. But opening my house for an invasion of strangers to use the bathrooms, upstairs and down?! I. Don’t. Think. So.

I’ve got so much to learn and live yet…

But back to the story:

But still we gave them drinks and they used our bathrooms. Mom made tea until she ran out of ice, then lemonade until she ran out of lemonade powder, and finally we just handed out water and whatever odd grocery depot macaroons and brownie bites we could find.

I felt like Jacob who just happened to have some stew, and here were these desperate Esaus who were willing to give up their entire birthright for a cup of lemonade and a chance to use the bathroom. “Why are you so nice?” They asked, pressing money into our hands even though we insisted it was free.

Look, I know these people (to a certain extent). I vouch for their humanity (because that condition is a safe thing to vouch for). So don’t go thinking that I’m pedestalizing them. But I make no bones about hoisting them on high here as uneclipsed examples of loving their neighbors (perhaps even some on the road to Jericho).

With these thoughts in mind, I urge you to read the rest of Emily Smucker’s The Strangest Day of my Life. Like I said in my comment there:

Such pleasant Sonshine after the eclipse!

Above all, love God!
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