Monday, August 31, 2009

Good Eating!

92 million women in the U.S. never leave home without lipstick, and the average woman accidently ingests more than 4 pounds of it during her lifetime.

Monday, August 24, 2009


In the book, “Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl, the author N.D. Wilson wonders at the creation of the world. He considers some of the questions we ask of the world, What is this world? Why are we here? Etc.
In the chapter ‘Tickets Please’ he wonders, in the light of an infinite God, why we would even consider some of the reasoning of the philosophers in regards to the worlds creation.

He asks, does God speak? His answer is to look outside at his creation he is continually speaking.
The book is filled with the author asking questions regarding creation and our purpose of being here. Eg. The chance of us being here, 1 in 8 million (the number of sperm cells looking for a egg) is no chance at all. God created for a purpose.

He deals with the issue of right and wrong and says that if there were no god, we would have no standard for things that are beautiful, good or even a standard for what is bad.

From there he touches on the subjects of death, heaven and hell.

My only criticism of the book would be that it was too wordy and though some of the questions were thought provoking there were too many of them. The book would have been better at 30 pages less. Why do authors/publishers feel like all books have to be around 200 pages?

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Whereas Marx said religion is a opiate… philosophy is a anesthetic, a shot to keep the wonder away.”
“The world is beautiful but badly broken” p17

“He (God) has never treated himself as sacred. That’s our role.” P 46

“It is hard to stay focused (looking at creation) with so much swirling around me. God is distracting. He never stops talking, and I can never stop listening. There is a reason we sleep.” P.50

“How could an all-good, all-powerful, God allow evil in the world? Or, from a slightly different angle: how could an all-good, all-powerful, God allow David Hume in the world?” p.78

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Iraqi Church

A new Wesleyan Church to reach Iraqi people here in the U.S.

"Sunday, August 16 Maran Atha Church had its grand opening service. Maran Atha is a church planted to reach the Iraqi people in El Cajon, CA. El Cajon has the second largest population of Iraqi people after Detroit Wayne County. Pastor Floreed leads this church of 65. Scores of Iraqi refugees are pouring into this area. The needs are great and this congregation is committed to meeting those needs.

El Cajon Wesleyan is sponsoring this church and they currently meet on the El Cajon property. As God reminds you, pray for Pastor Floreed and the Maran Atha Church."
"A character in John Updike's novel A Month of Sundays, reflecting on his youthful experience of the church, says, 'Churches bore for me the relation to God that billboards did to Coca-Cola; they promoted thirst but did nothing to quench it.'"

The church may not be able to quench the thirst, but we sure should be able to point people to the one who can

Monday, August 17, 2009

Characteristics of the Seven Tribes

Here are some of the characteristics of the 7 tribes that Barna says makes up America.
this the largest tribe. 4 out of every 5 adults. 150 million out of 225 million adults
•They lead by maintaining stability and the status quo. They are comfortable with their spiritual condition and even consider themselves ‘deeply spiritual’, though in reality their spiritual life is not given much priority.
•Personal comfort is one of their major goals and they worry about things that will disrupt that comfort eg. Financial debt and marital strive.
• Less than 5% tithe. They donate on the avg. 1.5% of their gross income to churches or charities
• Because they seek a comfortable and pleasant life they tend to ignore those scriptures that would disturb that lifestyle.
• One word that would characterize them is average.

16% of adult population. This group are the true followers of Jesus Christ
• Their bible based convictions and spiritual practices has transformed them into a different type of people
• They think of themselves as spiritual creatures who are full time servants of God (Jesus Christ)
• the lowest level of debt-and the highest level of generosity. They almost universally give away money, and they do so with abandon
• “For members of this tribe, faith is not just a weekend journey designed to give them some inspiration and comfort; faith is the very heart of their existence and daily purpose.”

• They make up about 2%
• Judaism is more of a civilization or culture than it is a religion.
• They seek high paying jobs, living in a large home and traveling the world for pleasure.
• Most do not believe that God has any involvement in peoples personal life and only 1 out of six believe the bible to be of divine origin

• 2% of population
• Almost as many leave every year as join, thus a small numerical growth.
• Family a overwhelming value. They are more likely to marry, marry younger, marry longer and have more kids than the other tribes
• They believe in a works-oriented salvation.
• Along with the Muslims they share the highest stress levels than any group.

1.5% of pop. Eastern religion. Hindu,
Buddhist, New Age
• They do not think of God as a personal, living entity. Rather god is a system of power or authority
• Their value system can be summed up by “live and let live, take care of number one, if it feels good do it. Live in such a way that you have no regrets
• Most likely to see psychics and fortune tellers (10 times more than the typical adult in an average month)

• tend to be younger, with more children
• They see themselves more as Muslims than Americans.
• Their most religious activity is their daily prayers 3x a day (3 out of 5 practice)
• Next 30-50 yrs. their faith will be tested here in the US.

• atheist or agnostic 11% 25million and growing
• They have lower feelings of joy and peace with life.
• 2/3rd describe Christianity as judgemental, old fashioned, out of touch with reality and insensitive to other people. ¾ see Christians as hypocrites.
• twice as likely as other adults to engage in adultery, cohabit, and they are the major consumers of pornography
• They give less money to causes and offer less help to disadvantaged people than any other tribe.
• 25% say they are deeply spiritual.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Code of Conduct for Men in the 21st Century

Code of Conduct for Men in the 21st Century

1. I REJECT unconditionally all violence against women and children.

2. I REJECT the buying of sex with women and children.

3. I WILL intervene when I see a man beating a woman.

4. I WILL NOT beat my wife or partner.

5. I WILL INTERVENE when my male colleagues, friends, or family belittle or degrade women.

6. I RECOGNISE prostitution as harmful to women and will do everything I can to see the end of it.

7. I REJECT the buying of pornography, recognizing it as sexual exploitation.

8. I WILL NOT BUY products that advertise by exploiting women’s bodies when it has nothing at all to do with the

9. I WILL NOT visit clubs and bars that exploit women through ‘exotic’ dancing.

10. I WILL NOT BUY newspapers and magazines that advertise sexual services.

11. I REJECT all forms of sexual harassment, including wolf whistling, sexual insinuations, and unauthorized physical contact.

12. I WILL INTERVENE when my male colleagues, friends, or family engage in sexual harassment.

13. I WILL RESPECT my female colleagues and partners as equals.

14. I RECOGNISE decision-making at home is about equality and partnership.

15. I WILL ENCOURAGE other men to adopt and live by this code, including teaching it to my children

Found at

Authored by: Brian Iselin, 2009
Alabaster Jar e.V.

Of What Tribe Do You Belong?

I have read George Barna's book "The Seven Faith Tribes" in which he states that America is on the road to self-destruction. He divides the country up into 7 tribes (Casual Christians, Captive Christians, American Jews, Mormons, Pantheists, Muslims and Spiritual Skeptics) and suggest that we must attempt to come together with some shared values if we are to save America.

We will be looking at some of the characteristics of these tribes the next couple weeks in our Sunday morning services and see how they relate to us; especially the Casual and Captive Christian.

As Christians one thing we must do is to recognize that most of us are Casual Christians and that God desires us to be Captive Christians.

I will share some of the characteristics of each group on this blog following our Sunday morning discussion.

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Last Letter

Karen Watson, a missionary recently killed in Iraq. This letter was read by her pastor at her funeral:

Dear Pastor,

You should only be opening this letter in the event of my death.When God calls there are no regrets. I tried to share my heart with you as much as possible, my heart for the nations. I wasn't called to a place; I was called to Him. To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, His glory my reward, His glory my reward...

The missionary heart:
Cares more than some think is wise
Risks more than some think is safe
Dreams more than some think is practical
Expects more than some think is possible

I was called not to comfort or to success but to obedience...

There is no Joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving Him. I love you and my church family.

In His care,

Salaam, Karen

Taken from

Monday, August 03, 2009

"A Peoples History of Christianity" pt2

Another part of the book that I found interesting was the emphasis upon prayer during the reformation. Prayers, not necessarily those of the reformers, but of the Catholic lay people. Many catholics who did not leave their faith began a renewing process and part of that was a revival of prayer. The prayer beads were brought in and the laity began to pray and to organize communities around the rosary. One of the results of this was the slowing down of the Protestant advance in France.

God hears the prayers of His people. It matters little to what church or group they may belong

A Peoples History of Christianity Pt.1

A People’s History of Christianity by Diana Butler Bass looks at the history of the church from the view of those we have never or seldom hear about. In her words she wants to look at the other side of history, the side that differs from the usual side of church history that we know about. She calls the familiar side the “Big-C” of Christianity: Christ, Constantine, Christendom, Calvin and Christian America.

The book is divided into 5 phases of history: Early, Medieval, Reformation, Modern and Contemporary Christianity. Each section talking about events and people that made that time period what it was and is.

I was moved by the early church’s concern for justice and mercy as seen in their hospitality and forbearance in the midst of sickness and persecution. There was a epidemic in the 2nd century known as the Plague of Galen in which hundreds of thousands died in the streets. While most people were fleeing the city the Christians remained behind to help. We modern/contemporary Christians seem to be more concerned about self preservation than about loving and taking care of our neighbor. A couple years ago in our neighborhood there was a rumor going about that a certain individual had TB so some from the Christian community became panicky and began worrying about weather they may have caught it from the person and making sure they did not go near him. Somewhat a different reaction from the early church (by the way they found out the guy did not have TB-panic for nothing)

The early church took the command “love your neighbor as yourself” seriously. The writer makes this statement, “While contemporary Christians tend to equate morality with sexual ethics, our ancestors defined morality as welcoming the stranger.” I wonder what would happen in our churches that instead of expecting and telling a new convert that he must now quit smoking, drinking, cussing and begin attending church and tell them that they must now open their houses to the homeless, take care of the sick and feed the hungry.
The writer makes the point that people did not convert to Christianity because of the churches doctrine but because it worked- it was seen and experienced in real life.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A Question

Are we a church of brick and mortar or of flesh and blood?