Yes, THAT Westboro Baptist. The ones who protest funerals and think that God hates everyone but them. This is well worth the read. HT: William Birch.
Category Archives: General Interest
This is a personal and factual account of how God provided for me when I was in college.
It was March of 1993. I was finishing up the winter trimester of my senior year at Northwest Nazarene College. To help pay for classes that term, I had taken out a short term loan from the college credit union. It was the end of the term, and I still owed $677 on the loan. The college financial aid office had sent me a note that stated I would not be permitted to register for the next term until I paid off the outstanding balance on the loan.
I didn’t have much money, and had exhausted my options. I had checked for additional scholarships, and found none. I had approached my parents about assistance, but finances were too tight for them at the time. I was working 20 hours a week in the college cafeteria, but my earnings were already applied to the loan. 90% of the earnings went to the loan, and 10% went to me personally. The last check from the job had already been applied, and I still owed $677. I only had a check for about $28 – that was the 10% that went straight to me from the job. I was out of resources, and thought I would have to drop out of school.
I went to God in prayer. I prayed: God, if You want me to go home for the rest of the year, that’s okay. But if You want me to stay in school, I need a miracle. Would You please give me a miracle?
A miracle came. In three parts.
The next day I went to the college financial aid office to see if I had any additional options. They told me that I no longer owed $677, I only owed $177! Just that morning I had received a $500 scholarship from the music department. I sang in Crusader Choir. I found out later that the music department had found some extra money in their budget, and had decided to apply it to scholarships for students in need.
Then I went to my mailbox. In the mailbox were two envelopes.
The first envelope was an anonymous money order. It was for $100. In the memo line was a note that said, “Trust in Him.”
The second envelope had a note and a check for $50. It was from a gentleman at my home church. His name was Ron Clary. His note said something along the lines of “I thought you could perhaps use a little money for school this term, here you go.” Ron had no knowledge of my need, and had sent the letter before I had prayed.
So, if you’ve been keeping track, I owed $677. In one day – the day after I had prayed for a miracle - I received a scholarship for $500, an anonymous check for $100, and a check for $50. And the day earlier from my college job I had received a check for $28. That equals $678, and I owed $677. I had a dollar and some change left after paying my loan off in full.
God provided for me the amount I needed, and He wisely allowed me to participate in His miracle with the little bit of money that I did have.
I’m glad I was able to register for the following term, because I proposed to my future wife during that term. She said yes, and we married in the fall of 1993.
This really happened. God’s miraculous workings in my life haven’t always been obvious. But that day they were. Oftentimes I walk though the desert, and I do not sense God’s spirit clearly. During those times, I remember the miracle He did for me in 1993.
This believer and her children were at the Batman movie where the shooting took place. She has some good thoughts to share, especially regarding the character of God.
“Let’s get something straight: the theater shooting was an evil, horrendous act done by a man controlled by evil. God did not take a gun and pull the trigger in a crowded theater. He didn’t even suggest it. A man did.
In His sovereignty, God made man in His image with the ability to choose good and evil.
Unfortunately, sometimes man chooses evil.”
“He is not the cause of evil, but He is the one who can bring comfort and peace in the midst of evil.”
“In that moment, as the rapid-fire shots continued, I truly thought I was going to die. And I realized that I was ready. I have put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as the redeemer of my soul, and there wasn’t the slightest doubt that I would be received into heaven, not because of any good thing that I have done but because of His merciful nature and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
This post is not theological, other than the fact that we as Christians should examine our prejudices and be considerate to others. This is the story of a high school experience. The names of the teacher and student involved have been changed.
I grew up in a small farming town in Washington state. Most people in town were White or Hispanic. There was only one student in my class who was Black. Her name was Donna.
One of my favorite classes was literature. I enjoyed reading. It was fun to be exposed to new stories like “Huck Finn”. Mr Reynolds was a little quirky, but he was a good teacher.
One day in class we were reading a story (I don’t remember what one now). The person in the story was using poor language (double negatives, etc). Bad grammar doesn’t go over with lit teachers, and Mr Reynolds was no exception. Mr Reynolds jokingly said, “That person talks funny! He sounds like he’s Black, doesn’t he?” Everyone in class laughed, myself included.
Everyone that is, except Donna. Donna spoke up loudly and said, “I don’t think Black people talk funny!” She was angry and shaking a bit. Then she started to cry.
The class was silent, and everyone felt awful. Mr Reynolds especially. I felt terrible because I also had laughed at the joke without even considering how it made Donna feel.
Some time later (on a different day), Mr. Reynolds apologized to Donna. He said, “I want you to know that I have thought a lot about what I said that day, and if it’s any consolation, I’m truly sorry.”
I have wondered in retrospect if the reason Donna cried was because of the joke or because of the response of everyone in class. I think it was probably more of the latter. The joke wouldn’t have been as big of a deal if we hadn’t all laughed at it.
That event happened over 25 years ago, but I still remember it clearly. I wonder if anyone else in that class remembers. I bet Donna and Mr Reynolds both do.
To Donna: I want you to know that I have thought a lot about what happened that day, and if it’s any consolation, I’m truly sorry.
I enjoy word etymology. One thing that makes me smile is when someone uses a phrase that comes from the Bible. We have lots of these sayings in English, and people who aren’t Christian use them all the time. Of particular interest (at least to me) is that many of these sayings come from the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matt 5-7).
Here are a few of these saying. If you can think of others, please reply, and I’ll add them to the list.
to go the extra mile: Matt 5:41
until kingdom come: Matt 6:10
You reap what you sow. Gal 6:7
the apple of my eye: Deut 32:10
a shining city on a hill: Matt 5:14
Don’t throw pearls before swine: Matt 7:6
A wolf in sheep’s clothing: Matt 7:15
Turn the tables on someone: John 2:15
The powers that be: Romans 13:1
to get away by the skin of your teeth: Job 19:20
a drop in the bucket: Isaiah 40:15
A leopard can’t change its spots. Jer 13:23
The writing is on the wall. Daniel 5:5
to give up the ghost. Gen 25:8
Asbury Seminary is starting a new theological resource site called Seedbed. It officially starts publishing content on January 6. There’s not much there yet, but it sounds promising. I would love to see more free resources from the Wesleyan-Arminian perspective.
Right now they have a free t-shirt offer for the first 500 people who “like” their Facebook page. There were 420 likes at the time of this post, so there’s still time to snag one for yourself. :)
Michael Patton has a fun story about how he met Thomas Oden. Check it out here. From the post:
He is going to think you are a nut. You cannot just walk up to someone’s house that you don’t know and expect to talk to them. Are you a stalker? However, I countered this with a classic: Michael, you are probably the only one crazy enough to do something like this so it will work.
Odon is one of my favorite theologians. Reading his work is like drinking from the fire hose.
One of the best documented ghost stories took place in 1716 at the childhood home of John and Charles Wesley. The story was mentioned in the diaries and correspondence of several family members, including Samuel and Susannah Wesley (the parents). John Wesley also later mentioned the story in the Arminian magazine. At the time the Wesleys had 10 living children, 7 at home. Samuel Jr was at college, John (age 12) was in school, Charles (age 8) was also away from home. The event took place between December 1716 – January 1717.
The following account by Samuel Wesley (along with accounts by other family members) can be found in Memoirs of the Wesley Family, by Adam Clarke, 1817, pages 161-165
AN ACCOUNT OF NOISES AND DISTURBANCES IN MY HOUSE AT EPWORTH, LINCOLNSHIRE, IN DECEMBER AND JANUARY 1716
From the 1st of December my children and servants heard many strange noises, groans, knockings, etc., in every story and most of the rooms of my house, but I hearing nothing of it myself-they would not tell me for some time, because, according to the vulgar opinion, if it boded any ill to me I could not hear it. When it increased, and the family could not easily conceal it, they told me of it.
My daughters, Susannah and Ann, were below stairs in the dining-room, and heard first at the doors, then over their heads, and the night after a knocking under their feet, though nobody was in the chambers or below them. The like they and my servants heard in both the kitchens, at the door against the partition, and over them. The maid-servant heard groans as of a dying man.
My daughter Emilia coming downstairs to draw up the clock and lock the doors at ten o’clock at night, as usual, heard under the staircase a sound among some bottles there, as if they had been all dashed to pieces; but when she looked, all was safe.
Something, like the steps of a man, was heard going up and downstairs at all hours of the night, and vast rumblings below stairs and in the garrets. My man, who lay in the garret, heard someone come slaring through the garret to his chamber, rattling by his side as if against his shoes, though he had none there; at other times walking up and downstairs, when all the house were in bed, and gobbling like a turkey-cock. Noises were heard in the nursery and all the other chambers; knocking first at the feet of the bed and behind it; and a sound like that of dancing in a matted chamber, next the nursery, when the door was locked and nobody in it.
My wife would have persuaded them it was rats within doors, and some unlucky people knocking without; till at last we heard several loud knocks in our own chamber, on my side of the bed; but till, I think, the 21st at night I heard nothing of it. That night I was waked a little before one by nine distinct very loud knocks, which seemed to be in the next room to ours, with a sort of pause at every third stroke. I thought it might be somebody without the house, and having got a stout mastiff, hoped he would soon rid me of it.
The next night I heard six knocks, but not so loud as the former. I know not whether it was in the morning after Sunday, the 23rd, when about seven my daughter Emily called her mother into the nursery, and told her she might now hear the noises there. She went in, and heard it at the bedsteads, and then under the beds, then at the head of it. She knocked, and it answered her. She looked under the bed and thought something ran from thence, but could not well tell of what shape, but thought it most like a badger.
The next night but one we were awaked about one by the noises, which were so violent it was in vain to think of sleep while they continued. I rose, but my wife would rise with me. We went into every chamber and downstairs; and generally as we went into one room, we heard it in that behind us, though all the family bad been in bed several hours. When we were going downstairs, and at the bottom of them, we heard, as Emily had done before, a clashing among the bottles, as if they had been broke all to pieces, and another sound distinct from it, as if a piece of money bad been thrown before us. The same, three of my daughters heard at another time.
We went through the hall into the kitchen, when our mastiff came whining to us, as he did always after the first night of its coming; for then he barked violently at it, but was silent afterwards, and seemed more afraid than any of the children. We still heard it rattle and thunder in every room above or behind us, locked as well as open, except my study, where as yet it never came. After two we went to bed, and were pretty quiet the rest of the night.
Wednesday night, December 26, after or a little before ten, my daughter Emilia heard the signal of its beginning to play, with which she was perfectly acquainted; it was like the strong winding up of a jack. She called us, and I went into the nursery, where it used to be most violent. The rest of the children were asleep. It began with knocking in the kitchen underneath, then seemed to be at the bed’s feet, then under the bed, and last at the head of it. I went downstairs, and knocked with my stick against the joists of the kitchen. It answered me as often and as loud as I knocked; but then I knocked, as I usually do, at my door, 1-23456-7, but this puzzled it, and it did not answer, or not in the same method, though the children heard it do the same twice or thrice after.
I went upstairs and found it still knocking hard, though with some respite, sometimes under the bed, sometimes at the bed’s head. I observed my children that they were frightened in their sleep, and trembled very much till it waked them. I stayed there alone, bid them go to sleep, and sat at the bed’s head by them, when the noise began again. I asked what it was, and why it disturbed innocent children, and did not come to me in my study if it had anything to say to me. Soon after it gave one knock on the outside of the house. All the rest were within, and knocked off for that night.
I went out of doors, sometimes alone, at others with company, and walked round the house, but could see or hear nothing. Several nights the latch of our lodging chamber would be lifted up very often when all were in bed. One night, when the noise was great in the kitchen, and on a deal partition, and the door in the yard, the latch whereof was often lifted up, my daughter Emilia went and held it fast on the inside, but it was still lifted up, and the door pushed violently against her, though nothing was to be seen on the outside.
When we were at prayers and came to the prayer for King George and the prince it would make a great noise over our heads constantly, whence some of the family called it a Jacobite. I have been thrice pushed by an invisible power, once against the corner of my desk in the study, a second time against the door of the matted chamber, a third time against the right side of the frame of my study door as I was going in.
I followed the noise into almost every room in the house, both by day and by night, with lights and without, and have sat alone for some time, and when I heard the noise, spoke to it to tell me what it was, but never heard any articulate voice, and only once or twice two or three feeble squeaks, a little louder than the chirping of a bird, but not like the noise of rats, which I have often heard.
I had designed on Friday, December the 28th, to make a visit to a friend, Mr. Downs, at Normandy, and stay some days with him, but the noises were so boisterous on Thursday night, that I did not care to leave my family. So I went to Mr. Hoole of Haxey, and desired his company on Friday night. He came, and it began after ten, a little later than ordinary. The younger children were gone to bed, the rest of the family and My Hoole were together in the matted chamber. I sent the servants down to fetch in some fuel, went with them, and staid in the kitchen till they came in. When they were gone I heard loud noises against the doors and partition, and at length the usual signal, though somewhat after the time. I had never heard it before, but knew it by the description my daughter had given me. It was much like the turning of a windmill when the wind changes. When the servants returned I went up to the company, who had heard the other noises below, but not the signal. We heard all the knockings as usual from one chamber to another, but at its going off, like the rubbing of a beast against the wall, but from that time till January the 24th we were quiet.
Having received a letter from Samuel the day before relating to it, I read what I had written of it to my family, and this day at morning prayer the family heard the usual knocks at the prayer for the king. At night they were more distinct, both in the prayer for the king and that for the prince, and one very loud knock at the AMEN was heard by my wife and most of my children at the inside of my bed. I heard nothing myself. After nine, Robert Brown, sitting alone by the fire in the back kitchen, saw something come out of the copper-hole like a rabbit, but less, and turned round five times very swiftly. Its ears lay flat upon its neck, and its little scut stood straight up. He ran after it with the tongs in his hands, but when he could find nothing he was frighted, and went to the maid in the parlour.
On Friday, the 25th, having prayers at church, I shortened as usual those in the family at morning, omitting the confession, absolution, and prayers for the king and prince. I observed when this is done there is no knocking. I therefore used them one morning for a trial; at the name of King George it began to knock, and did the same when I prayed for the prince. Two knocks I heard, but took no notice after prayers, till after all who were in the room, ten persons besides me, spoke of it, and said they heard it. No noise at all at the rest of the prayers.
The past few months I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a local prison ministry. Here’s some stuff that happens at the prison service that is cool:
- There’s lots of preaching about grace. Prisoners know that they need God’s grace. It’s their only hope. It’s our only hope too.
- The power of Jesus Christ is boldly declared. Jesus redeems, he saves, he delivers from bondage to sin. Prisoners believe it.
- The audience really wants to be at the service. They are excited to praise God, and they look forward fellowship with others. For many of them, it is the highlight of their week.
- The audience is diverse. Both theologically and racially.
- Baptisms happen pretty regularly.
- I also find it easy to be bold in that environment. It’s hard to share my testimony with a co-worker. But it’s easier to share with a prisoner. I don’t quite understand why that’s the case, but it is.