10.20.2008

The AntiChrist notion brings hope ... really!

It seems that every American presidential election contains a little hoopla on the Right about the Leftist Candidate being groomed as the antichrist. I have no problem with that. In fact, Jesus says to keep an eye out for him. What I do have a problem with are those who decide to hole up with ammo and soup cans to ward off the Beast and his secret 666 code embeded in UPC labels. To me, those people are saying, "The Lord's return is coming soon! Quick! Let's try to prevent it!"

Let's get one thing straight. The Bible does "kind of" end with the God winning. I say "kind of" to understate. Jesus does state that there will be many antichrists and then there will be one huge one that will be the "Taker of Cake" of all the not-so-anti-as-as-the-AntiChrist.

If you think about it, only God the Father knows when the End is suppose to start. That actually is frustrating to Satan. Satan has a role to fill even with his rebellion and waywardness, he isn't omnipresent or even capable of time travel. Since God exists outside of time, He decided to share what the future was going to hold and it must have steamed the devil's beans to learn that he is pretty much going for a lava swan dive at the end. With that in mind, this devil has to have a candidate in mind in every generation for the AntiChrist role.
World War 2 seemed promising with Hitler and the Atom Bomb, but that didn't pan out. There seemed a lot of energy behind that one which left Satan really frustrated.

Since the Lord is only allowed to rebuke Satan (read Jude) it seems really funny to me that the Lord can just screw with his plans - which he does a lot. Please remember that God is in control no matter the politcal climate. If you don't believe me, read both books of Kings. It's in the Old Testament. You'll see a lot of bad kings that did a lot of bad things for more than 8 years. You'll also read about good kings and stuff, but remember one thing - God was there. He was near and He still is. The bad kings died, the good kings died. Captors came and captors captured the captors.

My advice is that you better HOPE the real AntiChrist is coming soon. If he is that means the REAL Christ is coming sooner. If not, then you are just stuck with tyrannt who can just make it really tough.

If you're pretrib - then it's all the better and you get to avoid the whole nastiness. If you're post-trib, Man up, Christian Soldier! Get out of your bunker, try to share the love of God and realize that if you did get shot in the head with a fire bolt from the naval of the Beast, you still get to go to heaven.

10.11.2008

The Ministry Rate and The Awful Offering

Hi there. I'm peeking my head it to share something that will get a lot of parishioners behind me and then I'll turn the tables and get a lot of clergy behind me. What could these topics be?

Well, let's take a look at "The Ministry Rate."

Ah yes. The Ministry Rate, or the project built by guilt. Here a person is approached by a Church or staff member or even maybe perhaps the leader of the congregants to ask for some sort of service or project. No problem there. The initiator then probably hints or indirectly asks or maybe asks or - heaven forbid - demands a lesser rate appealing to the charity of the individual, because the Church is strictly volunteer in everything and, because of it, needs a drastic rate cut down by either half or free or half of free ... maybe chip in a few bucks after the service is done.

There is a problem with this. First, don't get me wrong. If the skilled worker/artist/service provider wants to help, they are free to do so. It just gets weird when it is expected. Suddenly, the church becomes a freeloader with a cross for a shield and suddenly that person isn't seen around as much and dodging church staff in the hallways.

Let me paint a different picture:
Church: We would like some web work done.
Webgirl: Uh... ok... sure
Church: What's your rate?
Webgirl: Um... well...
Church: No, seriously, what if we were a small business?
Webgirl: Well, that would be around $X per hour
Church: Ok, how does $X * 1.7 sound?
Webgirl: BLAARGHGAARBLE!!

See what happened there? Because the Church was willing to offer more, they Webgirl will most likely be around the Church more because the Church is treating the Webgirl with respect and understanding that she forked over waaaaay too much money for a very competative field. Webgirl isn't hiding behind the fake trees in the fellowship hall anymore - she feels valued there.

Now hold on cuz I'm going to turn the tables here.

Ok congregation. Where do you get off handing over junk to the church? Seriously? If you have a lawn mower that leaks gas and oil and is on the verge of exploding in some sort of napalm blast, do NOT say "well, I'll just take it over to the church. I'm sure they can use it."

The Church is not your personal dumping ground. Your flea-infested couch does not need a new home in the youth room.

I went to a youth minister conference back in 95. The lead youth pastor there told a story that they asked for couches for the youth room and so they got couches. It was perfect for those teens to lounge.

Then the itching started. The youth started itching and soon those that ventured down that hallway itched too. Once the source was discovered, a huge bonfire was held in the church parking lot - a burnt offering of davenports.

Let me paint a picture for you:

Churchguy: I noticed that there was a need for office chairs for the church
Pastor (sitting on a preschool chair): Well, need and want are two different things
Churchguy: Our Sunday classes got together and we bought new office chairs for the staff. We went ahead and assembled them... Here they are...
Pastor: BLAAAARGHGARBLE!!

See what happened there? The pastor and the staff will feel respected and cherished by those they serve and perhaps, PERHAPS, others will notice that people actually value the church they go to or - at least - their god.