bryan

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  1. Interesting points are being made here. As an experiment, consider all the sermons in the major Christian churches given in the same years as those quotes dates and pages. Would the messages of them be much different or would they look about the same? Would we consider 1% of them the same way we're judging these? I wonder what the title of the sermon where the pastor told my grandmother she was going to hell because she saw Gone with the Wind in the theater...
  2. What Christian magazine has been consistent in how it views things for the past 40 years? Any? How about authors?
  3. It seems like everyone is very busy all the time. Once a year or so, I like to look more closely at how I'm spending all my time each week. Maybe I'm spending too much time reading internet news, answering forum posts, watching TV, or playing sports. None of that is necessarily wrong, but once you see where all the time goes you may decide some things aren't as important as they seem and other things like family, bible study, and prayer need more attention.
  4. God gives people gifts and abilities. We're encouraged to learn and advance so these gifts may be used in our lives as Christians.
  5. This scripture is something studied a while ago within a group of fellow Christians. Basically, we concluded we are to follow one set of rules for fellow believers and another for unbelievers. Within our group of believers, we are are to use discernment to monitor and judge each other to help them stay on a path with Jesus. Basically, if we see a friend starting to do things that seem sinful, we are to approach them privately first and provide counsel. If that doesn't work, we are to do the same with three believers to counsel them again. Depending on the sin, how extreme it is and how it affects others, the last step may be to cast that person out of our church until they have chosen stop the sin discussed. With unbelievers, we are to be ambassadors of Jesus where we get to know them, witness to them, and hopefully disciple them. Using guidance of the holy spirit, this may involve a brief encounter where an pebble is placed in their shoe, or it may be something longer term. Doctrine (i.e. teaching based on our interpretation of the bible) can turn into yet another way of dividing Christians. How do nonbelievers view it when several churches claim the others are practicing heresy? If they are looking for a home church, will this cause many to give up? What differences in churches in their practices and beliefs justify division between churches? All this seems like a very long discussion.
  6. I've had a few friends that have dealt with somewhat similar situations. With your history of communicating with spirits (aka demons or fallen angels), it sounds like some are still attached to you or are at least lingering nearby. As your faith in Jesus develops and matures, these spirits are fighting to keep you in any way they can. Anything to bring doubt to your faith will likely be part of this fight. What can you do? Study scripture and pray frequently. Try to keep Jesus and what you have studied in your mind as much as possible. Ask for Jesus to be part of your heart and mind in all you do, and also ask for Him to remove any spirits trying to influence you. This is a war over your soul. As your faith and relationship with Jesus develops, things should get better and better. Friends have told me this process may take weeks or months as the attacks become less frequent until they were gone.
  7. Nicely summarized. Christians spend a lot of time talking about homosexuality compared to other sins.
  8. Hi Pert. That could be due to a lot of things. You're searching for ways out as well as trying to pray, so that's a good approach. There have been times in my life when my prayer was simply "Thy will, not mine, Lord" because I didn't know what was next or what I should be praying about. Eventually, things got better and my direction became more clear.
  9. Here's my view: 'Black' witches are generally evil and worship Satan. 'White' witches may be pagans where they are trying to be good and pray toward a 'great mother' or such. These white witches may have rejected Christian churches for one of many reasons, and because they're trying to be 'good' I view them as unbelievers searching for their beliefs. Since they're actively searching and actually praying to something, they're at risk of being deceived more easily. For that same reason, it can be a great time to discuss Christian beliefs with them. Sometimes, misconceptions about Christianity from a bad church experience can be corrected and they can be saved. At the least, a seed in their mind can be planted so they may revisit Christianity later on.
  10. Sorry, I thought the saying was both obvious and thought provoking. Here's more background: The idiom expresses gratitude for the service of members of the military, implicitly stating that the freedoms enjoyed by many citizens in many democracies are only possible through the risks taken and sacrifices made by those in the military, drafted or not. The saying is often used to convey respect specifically to those who have given their lives in defense of freedom. Richard B. Cotten was a conservative broadcaster and commentator. He would close the program with his tradmark saying, "Freedom is not free; Free men are not equal, and Equal men are not free".
  11. Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.
  12. Willa states this well: We are supposed to judge things or actions. We should not judge people. Christians many times seem to do the opposite and judge people immediately.
  13. I've been asked to start organizing a topic based bible study for a small group. All attending will be Christians and the intent is to provide teens and young adults with lessons useful to them as they leave their home and start establishing their own life in work, college, etc. Instead of starting out by studying scripture directly, all bible studies will start with a topic like 'dating', then discuss the topic interactively by using scripture as well as biblical culture and history. The bible will provide all foundation parts of every discussion and anything included will need to be verifiable in scripture. At this point, I'd like to collect a list of topics with any related scripture that could go with that topic. I'll organize the topics into an outline to define an order to introduce them, then start building a lesson for each topic. This looks like a fun project and I'd welcome your help. What topics do you think should be included?
  14. Stress levels all dropped significantly a few weeks ago when I stopped reading anything mentioning politics.
  15. In my work, IT projects are managed so they are completed successfully. That generally means research, planning, technical tasks, coordination of people, politics, and constant change. When things are busy, managing how time is spent can become critical. Anything time that doesn't contribute to some project is considered waste and is evaluated to see if it can be eliminated. In church, the one big project is to live as Jesus has instructed. Once we're saved and born again, we surrender to, serve, and work for Him. We do that by studying the bible to learn how we're supposed to serve Him and live the way He wants. We then make changes in how we live our life based on what we've learned. At any point a lesson may convince us to adjust a plan, change how we interact with other people, or do something differently. We know the overall project goals, but what we need to do and how we should accomplish it may be changed at any time. If we stop studying or stop listening to the holy spirit for guidance, our work can slow down, progress can stall, and it can even get behind. A good friend had a sign in his office to remind him of his priorities saying "God, then family, then everything else". Since time is valuable, it's important to keep an eye on how time is spent. Once a year or so I try to evaluate how I spend my time and see if makes sense. How much time am I spending on work, watching TV, playing video games, running errands, volunteering for local groups, and more. Some people make a log for a week noting how every 15 minutes of each day is spent. As with projects at work, it can be good to see if the way you spend your time each day are contributing toward your one big project to live as Jesus has instructed. This evaluation isn't always clear for some events, but when you look at things and ask for guidance from the holy spirit, you may receive an answer that tells you it's time to make some adjustments. Have you ever looked at how you spend your time and decided to make similar adjustments?