Thursday, July 31, 2008

Men of God - for the Rosebud, Day 26

If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery.
Psalm 119:92

The Hunter

Hunting was a noble, joyful and spiritual role for Lakota men. The hunters provided for the people. The dried meat from a buffalo hunt could sustain a community through an entire winter. And there was profound awareness that the game animals were a gift from God, to be taken with thanksgiving.

Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” Matthew 4:19

...Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.” John 4:32

Lord Jesus, we pray that the people who gave thanks for the sacrificial death of Tatanka, the buffalo, will give thanks for the spiritual life won for them on the cross with your body and blood.

We pray that you will raise up new Lakota hunters, who will seek out people for your family on earth and your joy in Heaven.

We pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Lakota men, to equip many as evangelists in your Name.

We pray that young men on the Rosebud will bring your life into their communities, displacing affliction, poverty, frustration and suicide.

We ask all this in your Name, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Men of God - for the Rosebud, Day 25

Continue to pray Psalm 119:92 - If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.

White expansion included the restraint of two traditional Lakota male roles: the warrior and the hunter. I post prayers for the warrior today and for the hunter tomorrow.

The Warrior

The Lakota were not first to domesticate the horse, but when horses arrived the Lakota became superb horsemen. The Lakota did not invent the gun, but when it was introduced they became proficient marksmen. Lakota warriors have always been able to take up the best available arms in defense of their people.

Today, let us pray for men on the Rosebud to take up spiritual warfare against the powers that destroy the people with suicide. We pray especially that young men will grow as spiritual warriors to the glory of God and the blessing of the people.

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. II Corinthians 10:3-5

We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. II Corinthians 6:6-10

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Ephesians 6:10-18

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What the church hides from the people at bishop election time

In an excellent bit of Bible study and historical review, The Anglican Curmudgeon shows the crystal clear Biblical teaching about the qualities needed in a bishop. Here's a bit you won't see when your diocese goes to elect one:

(Titus 1:)5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: 6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

Can there be any question as to the meaning of this passage as applied to the case of V. Gene Robinson? (The word "overseer" in verse 7 is, as the KJV has it, the English equivalent of the Greek word "episkopos", or "bishop" in today's language.) From 1611 to today, the translations have not varied: a bishop must be "the husband of one wife". Let us look at the Greek original; it is even clearer... It says "mias gynekos aner"---literally, "man of one woman", or phrased in more contemporary language, "a one-woman man".

But in the Episcopal Church, you will be told that a bishop should be "inclusive, a good manager, and gay." Good luck with that.

Holy Women - for the Rosebud, Day 24

If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery.
Psalm 119:92


Then he said to Tamar, “Now bring the food into my bedroom and feed it to me here.” So Tamar took his favorite dish to him. But as she was feeding him, he grabbed her and demanded, “Come to bed with me, my darling sister.”

“No, my brother!” she cried. “Don’t be foolish! Don’t do this to me! Such wicked things aren’t done in Israel. Where could I go in my shame? And you would be called one of the greatest fools in Israel. Please, just speak to the king about it, and he will let you marry me.”

But Amnon wouldn’t listen to her, and since he was stronger than she was, he raped her. Then suddenly Amnon’s love turned to hate, and he hated her even more than he had loved her. “Get out of here!” he snarled at her.

“No, no!” Tamar cried. “Sending me away now is worse than what you’ve already done to me.”

But Amnon wouldn’t listen to her. He shouted for his servant and demanded, “Throw this woman out, and lock the door behind her!"
II Samuel 13:10-17

Father, we cry out to you for women who suffer violence and abuse on the Rosebud. So many are treated shamefully. The same spiritual forces behind suicide attack all life, dishonoring the life-bearers.

Please restore faith, hope and love where there is affliction. Open mens' eyes to the dignity with which you see their sisters. Break down doors of spiritual and emotional bondage and open the way to your loving presence.

We pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Lament over Lambeth, or, The Anointed Must Replace the Appointed

The lessons* I read yesterday (Sunday) evening and this (Monday) morning had implications for the current Lambeth Conference in England. A bishop there, speaking to the press about various strains on the Anglican Communion, said:

"The failure to respond presents us with a situation where if the three moratoria are not observed, the Communion is likely to fracture."

(Note: "three moratoria" means no more gay bishops, no more blessings of same-sex relationships, and no more bishops crossing one anothers' borders).

Last night's lessons included:

Lamentations 1:1-12 - All the majesty of beautiful Jerusalem has been stripped away. Her princes are like starving deer searching for pasture. They are too weak to run from the pursuing enemy. (verse 6)

Luke 19:41-48 - But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes... He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” (vv. 41-42, 46)

In these passages, Jeremiah and Jesus lament over the Holy City, the center of the faith in its day. God's favor is taken away because of the spiritual blindness and evil actions countenanced in Jerusalem. The "fracture" of the Canterbury-based Anglican Communion seems inevitable - "But now it is too late" - because affluent apostates have gone unchallenged for too long. The bishops - "Her princes" - scrape about looking for something, anything to keep it all together, but are too weak.

This morning's readings were:

I Samuel 18:1-9 - This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!” So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. (vv. 8-9)

Luke 19:29-40 - “Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!” But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!” He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!” (vv. 38-40)

The "old guard" grows angry as God shows his favor to new leaders. David and Jesus, both anointed by God, displace old leaders enmeshed in self-serving emotion and entitlement. The people turn from the appointed leaders to seek the anointed leaders. As one leader of the vibrant, growing Anglican churches in Africa put it, "We don't need to go through Canterbury to get to Jesus."

Of course all of this is traumatic and sad - but it is the poisonous fruit of false teachings and practices too long indulged by those who were entrusted, particularly as bishops, with defense of the church's faith and unity.

O GRACIOUS Father, we humbly beseech thee for thy holy Catholic Church; that thou wouldest be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.

* I read from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer lectionary (actually a 1945 revision). I find it close to the intent of the Anglican Reformation, providing consistent reading through whole Bible books rather than skipping around after "themes."

Holy Women - for the Rosebud, Day 23

Continue to pray our guiding verse: If your instructions* hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. Psalm 119:92

* Remember that in Hebrew this says "Your (God's) Law." As you use this verse, be aware that the Law is fulfilled in the New Covenant of Christ's blood.


Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four.She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
Luke 2:36-38

Father of all, we pray to you for the women on the Rosebud. What pain their eyes witness! We pray for the grandmothers who have seen so much and waited so long. We pray for widows, young and old. We pray for your daughters in Christ, praying and fasting in your presence down through the years.

Let them see Jesus on the Rosebud. Let them see Him rescue the people from suicide. Put your praise on their tongues. We pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Should the church discipline its members for false beliefs and wrong behaviors?

An Episcopal Church bishop says "No" - "We were able to clarify that neither he nor anyone else gets disciplined in our church for beliefs".

An Anglican Bishop says "Yes" - "God took these bell ringers from their individual circumstances, with varying degrees of faith, wove them together in mutual submission to the discipline of the bells and used them to make something both wondrous and beautiful.

Key is a willingness to submit to discipline and authority. The giving of time and talent, the individual struggles to learn the 'changes,' are important. But without submission to a common authority, the bell captain, they’d just be individuals pulling on ropes and ringing bells producing chaos of notes and chords rung at random. This would quickly drive the town’s population to distraction and anger. Not a pleasant result. No blessing to be gained here."

And The Bible says -

...and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Matthew 18:17

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you." I Corinthians 5:12-13

If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. II Thessalonians 3:14-15

These are just a few representative verses. The Episcopal Church has taken a position that is destructive of the life and witness that Jesus entrusts to his Apostolic Church. May God have mercy on us and show us a way forward.

Praying against suicide on the Rosebud - Day 22

Please offer prayer for an end to suicide on the Rosebud. Include this in the Prayers of the People or altar intentions as you worship today.
  • Ask God to forgive past sins on this land: greed; violence; White racial idolatry; the worship of spirits.
  • Pray that Jesus will displace spirits of affliction, poverty, frustration and suicide.
  • Pray that Jesus will bring His word and joy to the people of the Rosebud.

If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. Psalm 119:92

And he said to them, “This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many. Mark 14:24

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Holy Women - for the Rosebud, Day 21

Continue to pray our guiding verse: If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. Psalm 119:92

Mary, Mother of Jesus

Intercessor Georgia Smith reminds us of Mary's great song of praise to God. Let us all praise God as we prepare ourselves to worship Him this weekend:

MY soul doth magnify the Lord, * and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded * the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth * all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me; * and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him * throughout all generations.
He hath showed strength with his arm; * he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, * and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; * and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel; * as he promised to our forefathers,Abraham and his seed, for ever.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Magnificat (traditional English); Luke 1:46-55

Heavenly Father, there are so many young mothers on the Rosebud. They bear their children in a dangerous world. Protect them, as you protected Mary. Bless them with good things. Replace poverty with abundance. Overthrow the power of suicide that wants to prey on their children. We ask this in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Holy Women - for the Rosebud, Day 20

Friday is a traditional day for fasting.

Continue to pray our guiding verse: If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. Psalm 119:92


Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet who was judging Israel at that time. She would sit under the Palm of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites would go to her for judgment. One day she sent for Barak son of Abinoam, who lived in Kedesh in the land of Naphtali. She said to him, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: Call out 10,000 warriors from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun at Mount Tabor.
Judges 4:4-6

Heavenly Father, Ancient of Days, you raised up Deborah to lead your people in a time of danger. Lakota women have voice in tribal leadership - raise up Christian women among them to speak with the Spirit's power and authority, calling people to fight with weapons not of this world against the enemy who attacks their children with suicide. We ask this in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Common Cause Partners (includes AAC) will ask for recognition as North American Anglican Province

Very big announcement today.

Key paragraph:
The intention of the CCP Executive Committee is to petition the Primates Council for recognition of the CCP as the North American Province of GAFCON on the basis of the Common Cause Partnership Articles, Theological Statement, and Covenant Declaration, and to ask that the CCP Moderator be seated in the Primates Council.

This means that there will be a request by Biblically faithful North American Anglicans to become part of an international body that follows Christ and rejects the false teachings and practices of The Episcopal Church. It will make faithful North American Anglicans part of the vast majority of Anglican Christians world wide in practice, not just sentiment.

The implications for AAC/SDK are obviously large. Please keep up your prayers for our chapter.

Holy Women - For the Rosebud, Day 19

Continue to pray from our guiding verse: If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. Psalm 119:92


Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced. And Miriam sang this song: “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; he has hurled both horse and rider into the sea.” Exodus 15:20-21

Holy Spirit, inspire Christian women to prophesy among your people on the Rosebud. Let them lift up victory songs as Christ's blood washes away the spiritual enemies that hunt their children with suicide. We pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Holding up a mirror to the Episcopal Church

From First Things (hat-tip VirtueOnline):

...“Practically every churchgoer you meet in our level of society is Episcopalian”... (Bishop James Pike)

...The result is an ethical consensus unfailingly consistent with the political views and cultural mores of a particular social class—in fact, the class of professional women in the United States since the 1970s. Certainly on the question of abortion, and probably on the question of homosexuality, such ­bishops as Jane Dixon and Katharine Jefferts Schori face no serious opposition among the elite of their denomination in the United States. The Episcopal Church remains the chaplaincy of an establishment, but it is an establishment much diminished—in class, numbers, and influence—for only Pike’s heirs have stayed in the church bureaucracy, and they have no one to speak to except themselves...

If the Episcopal Church is a "family"...

"We have a major crisis. A family that doesn't face into the crisis it has is a family that is going to fall apart."--The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh (hat-tip: TitusOneNine)

Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.” “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.” Luke 18:28-30 (Morning Prayer, 1928 BCP lectionary)

Holy Women - for the Rosebud, Day 18

Continue to pray from our guiding verse: If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. Psalm 119:92


Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” So Mordecai went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him. Esther 4:15-17

Father in Heaven, thank you for Esther. Raise up Christian women on the Rosebud to call the people to prayer and fasting. Bless these women with your help as they come boldly to your throne of grace in prayer. Deliver their people from spirits who want to destroy them with suicide. We ask this in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Archbishop of the Sudan pulls no punches when it comes to Episcopalian Gay agenda

“The culture does not change the Bible; the Bible changes the culture. Cultures that do not approve of the Bible are left out of the Church’s life; people who do not believe in the Bible are left out of our churches. The American church is saying that God made a mistake. He made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Adam.

We will not talk to Gene Robinson [Episcopal Church's Gay Bishop] or listen to him or his testimony. He has to confess, receive forgiveness and leave. Then we will talk. You cannot bring the listening to gay people to our Communion. People who do not believe in the Bible are left out of our churches, not invited in to tell us why they don’t believe."

Read it all here.

Rosebud Update

Giving thanks for a good meeting this morning with tribal member Jack Moore. Jack is pastor of Christian Life Fellowship and the White Eagle Christian Academy on the Rosebud. He expressed joy and thanks for this additional intercessory effort.

Last year, Jack had assembled intercessory teams that "prayer walked" most of the Rosebud communities. This effort was endorsed by the Tribal Council and had some powerful results. In fact, the suicide rate actually fell for a time and only recently began to rise again. There is need for constant spiritual battle on this front, and even "secular" professionals and other leaders are seeing the spiritual dimension of the problem.

Jack will welcome us to the Rosebud for prayer, service or however the Lord might lead us. Our American Anglican Council Chapter will take this up - we will arrange a visit sometime this year.

Holy Women - for the Rosebud, Day 17

Continue to pray from our guiding verse: If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. Psalm 119:92


The Lakota culture honors women as life-givers. Women transmit community values and older women carry great authority. Women are decisive in family decision making.

Over the next few days, I will share some prayer guidance from women of the Bible. This idea comes from intercessors Jill Woodliff of Lent & Beyond and Georgia Smith.

Today is the church calendar commemoration of Mary Magdalene.

After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons.
Mark 16:9

Jesus, we praise you for Mary Magdalene. How wonderful that the first one to see your resurrection life was one who had suffered such spiritual affliction.

Jesus, we pray that you will hear the cries of mothers on the Rosebud. So many children are lost to suicide right now. Hear these women and let them look on your resurrection life. Bring new life to the children of the Rosebud.

We pray this in your Name, Jesus. Amen.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Implementation of SD law shuts down Planned Parenthood for the day...

Check it out right here.

And PLEASE pray for and support SD's November initiative.

"God is Able" - for the Rosebud, Day 16

Prayer request: Tomorrow morning (8 a.m. Central time), I will meet with a pastor from the Rosebud. Please keep this meeting in prayer and ask the Father to guide us in His purposes.

Today's encouragement comes from Georgia Smith, who has been supporting this prayer and fasting effort against the high suicide rates on the Rosebud.

In recent emails, Georgia offers good reminders that "prayer warriors" must focus on God. God is the one who makes changes, how and when He sees fit. Our prayers are not to manipulate Him, but to seek his will and find direction for our part in his work.

With Georgia's permission, I am posting her array of Bible passages on the theme, "God is Able." Let us cry out to God, who is able to deliver the people of the Rosebud from affliction, poverty, frustration and destruction.


If we are thrown into the blazing furnace,
The God we serve is able to save us from it,
And he will rescue us from your hand, O king.
Daniel 3:16-18

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven,
Because everything He does is right and all his ways are just.
And those who walk in pride, He is able to humble.
Daniel 4:37

Abraham did not weaken in faith
When he considered the impotence of his own body,
Which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old,
Or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb.
No unbelief or distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God,
But he grew strong and was empowered by faith
As he gave praise and glory to God,
Fully satisfied and assured that God was able
And mighty to keep His word
And to do what He had promised.
That is why his faith
Was credited to him as righteousness.
Romans 4:19-22

And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in,
For God is able to graft them in again.
Romans 11:23

Who are you to judge someone else's servant?
To his own master he stands or falls.
And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
Romans 14:4

Now to Him who is able to strengthen you
According to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ,
According to the revelation of the mystery
That was kept secret for long ages, but has now been disclosed
And through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, According to the command of the eternal God,
To bring about the obedience of faith—
To the only wise God be glory forevermore
Through Jesus Christ! Amen.
Romans 16:25-28

And God is able to make all grace abound to you,
So that in all things at all times,
Having all that you need,
You will abound in every good work.
II Corinthians 9:8

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly
Beyond all that we ask or think,
According to the power that works within us,
To Him be the glory in the church
And in Christ Jesus
To all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21 NASB

Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed,
And am convinced that He is able
To guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day.
II Timothy 1:12

Because He himself suffered when He was tempted,
He is able to help those who are being tempted.
Hebrews 2:18

Therefore He is able to save completely
Those who come to God through Him,
Because He always lives to intercede for them.
Such a high priest meets our need - one who is holy, blameless, pure,
Set apart from sinners, exalted above the Heavens.
Hebrews 7:25,26

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge,
The one who is able to save and destroy.
But you - who are you to judge your neighbor?
James 4:12

Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling,
And to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Jude 24,25

Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep!
See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.
He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."
Revelation 5:5

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Words of Hope as the Church Dies

The host of The Age to Come, a prophetic Christian voice in Canada, recently posted a set of messages revealed over the last few years.

The most recent is The Window of Grace. It is unsparing in its description of the wretched state of North American Anglicanism and other churches, but ends with this proclamation and promise of Good News:

This is the church, then? Is all hope lost? Do not believe it. I have absolutely no hope for mankind. I have every hope in the One who gave us these words “I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it”. Though satan may rage, and roar, though he may deceive even the elect, he does not get the last say. There are still those who are ransomed and redeemed, there are those who hold firm to the Rock of their salvation, there are those who have true Hope, even amidst the rack and ruin of the world. There are those awake who will reap a harvest, 30 - 60 - 100 fold for Jesus Christ amidst this worldy rack and ruin. Pray that the Lord will waken more and send them into the harvest field, ready for the window of grace soon to open.

Indeed, pray. And may we be among those who are awake and doing their assigned work.

Episcopal Church abandons its own tradition of tolerance; declares itself "the one, true church"

I almost entitled this "For What It's Worth," since so many Episcopalians nestle down in their pews and pretend that "all is well" with the church.

But if you're still listening, you should know that representatives of the largest Christian bodies around the world have diplomatically but firmly warned that Episcopal innovations (mainly the substitution of homosexual activism for Christianity) are separating the Anglican Communion from the rest of the Christian world.

Remember when we used to brag about our church's "tolerance"? How we used to reassure interested friends that Episcopalians "don't claim to be the one, true church" and are able to play well with others? In fact, even the 1979 Book of Common Prayer includes this statement, which used to be our starting place for good relations with other Christians:

That this Church does not seek to absorb other Communions, but rather, co-operating with them on the basis of a common Faith and Order, to discountenance schism, to heal the wounds of the Body of Christ, and to promote the charity which is the chief of Christian graces and the visibile manifestation of Christ to the world.

So, what does (y)our Episcopal church now proclaim?

That devotion to homosexuality is a "new thing of the Spirit" that only Episcopalians can understand. The Episcopal Church is the one, true church.

That the message worth spreading is not the Gospel of Christ, but homosexuality. Gay-TEC is the one, true church. The growing, Gospel-preaching churches of Africa should be replaced with the shrinking, closed off, Gay-club of Episcopalianism (the one, true church).

Yes, the Episcopal Church says it all with sweetness and light.

But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
II Corinthians 11:14

The church needs weeding - watch out for crappy sermons today!

OK, watch out. Listen well. You are going to hear some bad teaching on today's Gospel, which is bits 'n' pieces of Matthew 13.

In the text, Jesus explains one of his teaching stories. A question comes up about whether or not to pull weeds (evil people) out of a wheat field. Jesus says very clearly, "the field is the world."

This is critically important to how you preach on the lesson. Many, many preachers today will exploit this Gospel as a call for "patience/tolerance/dialogue/listening/ad nauseum" within the church. "If we take decisive action on our disagreements, we will be 'ripping out the weeds!'" many preachers will moan. In fact, one Anglican Bishop already seems to have tried that trick.

What you have in the Anglican Communion right now are some folks who say, "Don't impose any discipline on the gay activists, the resurrection-deniers, the "cross is just a symbol" preachers, or any other revisionists. After all, that would be ripping out the weeds too soon!"

But that is a false understanding and application of the Gospel message, which exhorts God-like patience toward those outside the church (so that they have time to be saved) but strict discipline within the church, so that its message is not corrupted.

Jesus did not ask patient understanding for the traitor Judas, but said, The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born." Matthew 26:24. (Compare that with the Lord's gentle words of forgiveness over those who crucified him).

When it came to an unrepentant, sexually immoral church member in Corinth, the Apostle Paul told the congregation, I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
I Corinthians 5:9-11 (Note again the standard: gentle patience with those outside the church; strict discipline for those within).

In the little church leadership manual sent to Titus, his mentor writes, But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. Titus 3:9-11 (Again, there is a contrast. Titus has been instructed to bear with the most challenging traits of the people he's trying to evangelize. But when it comes to the church, strong discipline is the rule.)

Friends, the fact is this: The Episcopal Church is dying and the Anglican Communion is fragmenting, not because they pulled out weeds too soon, but because they didn't. And I agree with blogger Brad Drell, who says they won't.

May God guide us into churches that are weeded, so we can bring Christ, the bread of life, to a weed-choked world.

Resistance? (Rosebud update)

It is well documented that the spirits active among Native Americans manifest in natural phenomena, especially weather.

Today, I prayed from the altar for an end to suicide on the Rosebud Reservation. I prayed that the land be under the blood of Christ and that spirits of affliction, poverty, frustration and death be displaced by Christ.

At that moment, there was rolling thunder and a strong downpour beat audibly on Good Shepherd for the rest of the prayer of consecration (it stopped just before the fraction of the Body of Christ).

We are in the midst of a week of thunderstorms, so it is not like "rain came out of the blue." But the timing of this particular downpour reminds me that we need to keep up our prayers for one another as intercessors. The Spirit woke me up around 3 a.m. and I was moved to pray for all of the intercessors I could think of at that groggy hour.

Please pray for protection over all who are praying for the Rosebud.

Sunday Prayer Intentions for the Rosebud (Day 15)

In the Prayers of the People, Altar Intentions or other opportunities today, please pray:
  • That Jesus will close off the power of Abaddon, the Destroyer, on the Rosebud Reservation
  • That Jesus will displace any spirits of affliction, poverty and frustration - replacing them with His word and joy.
  • That Jesus will unify, protect and bless the efforts of all who are praying and fasting for the Rosebud.
  • That Jesus will put an end to suicide on the Rosebud.
  • That Jesus will be glorified by his work and in new life on the Rosebud.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

More and more bishops, fewer and fewer people

Stand Firm picked this up from the Times of London. (You can click on the chart to enlarge it). The graphic reflects Church of England numbers, but the same garbage goes on in The Episcopal Church.
The number of bishops (and their retinue of bureaucrats) swells, while fewer and fewer people come into the church.
The members of the Nominating Committee for the next bishop here in South Dakota almost all expressed a desire to bring more people into the church. What the chart cannot express is how so many of those who become bishops/diocesan bureaucrats have no gift for evangelism and congregational development. Many are "church shrinkers" if you look at the actual statistics from their prior parishes (if they even had parish experience).
This is the fate of a church that does not value the kind of apostolic ministry described in the New Testament.

Preparing for Sunday - A Reflection on "White" - For the Rosebud Reservation - Day 14

Holy Scripture exhorts us to examine ourselves before receiving Holy Communion. As we pray with special intention for an end to suicide on the Rosebud Reservation, I offer these penitential thoughts:

Father, we have brought the wrong shade of "White" to the Lakota people and the Rosebud Reservation:

  • We've brought trappings of White culture
  • We've brought subservience to our sense of White superiority and entitlement

Help us, Father, to repent of this kind of "Whiteness" and bring instead the whiteness of the saints:

Father, those of us in the White culture have been tricked by Abaddon, the Destroyer, and helped him rain affliction, poverty and frustration on the Lakota people and the Rosebud Reservation. Help us to repent of this and make us new people. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who was sacrificed for us:

Your boasting about this is terrible. Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old “yeast” by removing this wicked person from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth.

I Corinthians 5:6-8, NLT

This morning, I had a flash of insight, though. Blood is the key. When blood is shed in sin, it does more than give Satan a foothold. It gives him a doorway.
The only thing that can counteract that is confession, repentance, and the blood of the Lamb. That closes the doorway.
Like the Israelites applying blood to the doorposts and lintels so that the angel of death would pass them by, so it is with us. To keep those doors closed, the blood of the Lamb must be applied.
Jill Woodliff

Friday, July 18, 2008

Court, Attorney General require SD abortionists to inform women that they are terminating a living being

From a press release:

Planned Parenthood’s application to enjoin the Informed Consent Statute following the Alpha Center and South Dakota’s victory in the US Court of Appeals has FAILED!!!

Planned Parenthood must now comply with all of the provisions of the Informed Consent Statute.

The matter will be sent down to trial after January 1st.

The US Court of Appeals ruled the required disclosure that an abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being is accurate and must be told to a woman seeking an abortion.

According to Attorney General Larry Long, SD’s informed consent law will go into effect as early as Saturday, July 19, 2008.

Leslee Unruh stated, “In my 24 years of being involved in the pro-life movement, this is the greatest victory. Thank you to the South Dakota legislators, Governor and legal team.”

Provisions of the Informed Consent Statute are listed below.

(1) A statement in writing providing the following information:
(a) The name of the physician who will perform the abortion;
(b) That the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being;
(c) That the pregnant woman has an existing relationship with that unborn human being and that the relationship enjoys protection under the United States Constitution and under the laws of South Dakota;
(d) That by having an abortion, her existing relationship and her existing constitutional rights with regards to that relationship will be terminated;
(e) A description of all known medical risks of the procedure and statistically significant risk factors to which the pregnant woman would be subjected, including:
(i) Depression and related psychological distress;
(ii) Increased risk of suicide ideation and suicide;

(2) A statement by telephone or in person, by the physician who is to perform the abortion, or by the referring physician, or by an agent of both, at least twenty-four hours before the abortion, providing the following information:
(a) That medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care;
(b) That the father of the unborn child is legally responsible to provide financial support for her child following birth, and that this legal obligation of the father exists in all instances, even in instances in which the father has offered to pay for the abortion.

3500 S Louise Avenue • PO Box 461 • Sioux Falls, SD 57101 • (605)271-7581

Against a demon of affliction, poverty and frustration - For the Rosebud - Day 13

Friday is a traditional day for fasting.

If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy,
I would have died in my misery.
Psalm 119:92

It is said that we gain power against demons when we know their names. Yesterday, we uncovered the presence of Abaddon in this Psalm. His name originally referred to a place, but we find out in the Bible that the place or "realm" is named for him.

Today, we perhaps find a demonic name in the quality of "misery." The Hebrew word used in our verse can mean "affliction or poverty" and, infrequently, "frustration." (One of the poorest counties in the U.S. is on the Rosebud, by the way).

These are all qualities that associate with suicide, which is a terrible problem on the Rosebud. Perhaps the Hebrew word reflects a name behind the problems - a demon doing Abaddon's work.

Hebrew is hard to pronounce sometimes - it has sounds we don't make in English. But the word here for affliction-poverty-frustration is something close to ah-NEE.

Prayer points:

  • Ask the Father, in Jesus' Name, to frustrate the work of any demons behind affliction, poverty and frustration.
  • Ask the Father, in Jesus' Name, to displace these demons with the Holy Spirit, bringing God's word (John 14:26) and joy (Galatians 5:22).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Naming the Enemy - Rosebud, Day 12


Yesterday, I was led to post Psalm 119:92 as our "sword of the Spirit" to take up against the unseen enemy that promotes suicide on the Rosebud Reservation.

If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy,
I would have died in my misery.

I read the verse again in the original Hebrew. It was most revealing:
  1. "instructions" is actually tort'kah, "Your (God's) Torah." This is the foundational Covenant Law, which is the Law of Moses in the Old Testament and fulfilled by the Blood of Christ in the New Testament.
  2. The first phrase of the verse is somewhat unusual in Hebrew. It is something like, "Had not Your Law been my delight (noun)..." There is no hint of anything for us to do but receive - we don't have a verb. There is no action that we take but to receive God's Covenant and let it transform us with joy.
  3. The second phrase of the verse stunned me, because it reveals the name of a spiritual enemy. The Hebrew for "I would have perished" is abadti, the root of a specific name in Revelation 9:11 -They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.

This goes back to our discussion of "portals." In the Old Testament, Abaddon is known as a "realm" or spiritual "place" before the name is revealed as that of its demonic overseer.

  • Job 26:6 (NLT) says "place of destruction"
  • Job 31:12 (NLT) uses "hell"
  • Proverbs 15:11 & 27:20 (KJV) say "destruction"
  • Psalm 88:12 (NIV) calls this "the land of oblivion"

We are dealing here with Satan's overseer for the realm where all hope is lost. This is where the "second death" leaves souls separated from God. If you read all of Psalm 88, you will see how Abaddon comes into the world sowing enough affliction to make a person give up completely - certainly the kind of demonic force that would lure people toward suicide.

Prayer Points:

  1. An encouraging email from the Rosebud: Thank you for your prayer for our people. We are claiming victory over the enemy who takes our children from us, and your coming along side us is a real encouragement to me as well as another front from which to attack the devourer.
  2. Be prepared if you are going to pray against Abaddon's work. It is no wonder that there is so much suicide if Abaddon has an open portal on the Rosebud. This phase of the prayer campaign really requires us to "raise our shields" and wield the sword of the Spirit (God's word) in unity. We need to start coordinating some of our hours of prayer and fasting, and to be very attentive to intercession for one another. Please be sure to use Ephesians 6:10-20 and look at last week's posts to equip yourself.
  3. Remember what Psalm 119:92 implies in Hebrew. It is not our work (no verb!), but our reception of what God gives - the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus Christ. Even using the armor of God assumes this: Belt of Truth = Jesus is The Truth; Armor/Breastplate of Righteousness = Jesus is our Righteousness; Shoes of Gospel Peace = Jesus is the Good News and the giver of Peace "not as the world gives"; Shield of Faith = our faith is in Jesus; Helmet of Salvation = Jesus is the Savior; Sword of the Spirit/word of God = Jesus is the Word and he strikes down evil with the "sword of his mouth" (Revelation 1:16, 2:16, 19:15 & 21).
  4. We ask God, in Jesus' Name, to close any portal between Abaddon and the Rosebud Reservation.
  5. We ask God, in Jesus' Name, to open a portal for His word and its joy to come into the Rosebud Reservation to displace Abaddon's influence there.

Tomorrow I will discuss what might be the name of a lesser demon who is doing Abaddon's work on the Rosebud, also revealed in Psalm 119:92.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

SD Sens. Thune, Johnson co-sponsor funding for Reservations.

The two billion dollar ammendment to foreign aid appropriations would help Reservations throughout the U.S. with law enforcement, health and other needs.

Opening and Closing "Portals" - Rosebud Day 11

Jill Woodliff from Lent & Beyond sent this teaching, Portals of Glory by Ian Johnson. It is challenging and detailed, so take your time reading.

His main teaching is that there are openings ("portals", from the Biblical Greek word thura) between what The Nicene Creed calls things seen and unseen - that is, between our physical world of people, places and things and the unseen realm of spiritual forces.

Some portals connect us to the heaven of God and the hosts of heaven. But others open to the realm of the devil and demonic forces.

Our 40 days of prayer and fasting are part of a "war on suicide" on the Rosebud Reservation. In war, special units are deployed to capture bridges and other key traffic points. The first piece of continental Europe retaken from the Nazis was "Pegasus Bridge," captured by British paratroopers in the wee hours of D-Day to block German reinforcements from attacking the Normandy beach landings.

Praying to open and close portals can be a way to mount our campaign, but this requires caution and preparation. Remember last week's postings: always put on the whole armor of God. Also Monday's post from Psalm 133: our unity or "harmony" of effort can enable us to offer spiritual sacrifices pleasing to God.

That being said, I take up "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." I am moved by a verse in my reading for this morning (1928 BCP lectionary):

Psalm 119:92 If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery.

From this verse, I will offer some "portal prayers." Please leave comments if you sense a leading to add to or refine these prayers! We need to build unity, and have it supplied by God's guidance.

Father in Heaven, we ask you to open a good portal over the Rosebud Reservation.
  • A portal for your instruction, in your pure word, with the Holy Spirit present to teach and explain it.
  • A portal for the joy of Christ's presence, joy that cannot be taken away and will sustain the people to eternity (John 16:20-22).

Likewise, Father, we ask you to close evil portals that open on the Rosebud, especially

  • Any portal that allows "death" to come as a spiritual authority over the people.
  • Any portal that allows "misery" or "despair" to come as spiritual authorities over the people.

We pray in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Friends only in hatred of the Gospel

Independently but simultaneously, the magazine of GALHA (the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association) called Islam a "barmy doctrine" growing "like a canker" and deeply "homophobic." In return, the London Hate Crime Forum asked Scotland Yard to investigate GALHA for "Islamophobia."

Got that? If a Muslim says that Islam is opposed to homosexuality, he can be investigated for homophobia; if a gay says that Islam is opposed to homosexuality, he can be investigated for Islamophobia.

Mark Steyn, "The lamps are going out," The New Criterion

Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked (Jesus). Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies. Luke 23:11-12

And you wonder why The National Cathedral of the Episcopal Church can advocate for the homosexual-and-beyond agenda while hosting speeches by an Iranian Government (gay-executing) Cleric. If you hate the Gospel, everybody else who hates it is your friend! But what happens once you get the Gospel out of the way?

Psalm 111 - Rosebud Day 10

Lakota Christians face special pressures. There are many Indians, wounded by White destruction of their culture, who have turned to irreligion or traditional spirits and are overtly hostile to those who embrace the Gospel ("the White man's God").

A couple of examples:
  • A girl on one of the reservations gratefully received a Bible from a missionary team, but also told them, "I am going to have my friend keep it at her house. People will be angry if I bring it home."
  • A prison minister was approached by an Indian inmate who said, "I am a Christian, but the others here from my tribe want me to participate in the traditional ceremonies."

I found these touching words at the White Eagle Christian Academy site:

...please pray that our school will continue to grow, to thrive, and to become not a sheltered oasis but a veritable force of God...

Psalm 111 rejoices in the gathering of the faithful, but also in the blessing and truth that come only with obedience to God's Covenant. Let us pray that Christian Indians will have both the joyful shelter of their church gatherings and the "open door" to bring the New Covenant through opposition, to do a great work on the Rosebud (I Corinthians 16:9). Jesus, we ask in your Name!

Psalm 111 (NLT)

1 Praise the Lord!
I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people.

2 How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them.

3 Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails.

4 He causes us to remember his wonderful works. How gracious and merciful is our Lord!

5 He gives food to those who fear him; he always remembers his covenant.

6 He has shown his great power to his people by giving them the lands of other nations.

7 All he does is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy.

8 They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.

9 He has paid a full ransom for his people. He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever. What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!

10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!

Monday, July 14, 2008

A bit of refreshment

Nice video montage (many scenes from "Passion of the Christ", over 3rd Day's song "These Thousand Hills".


These thousand hills roll ever on
In footprints of a Mighty God
They bring me to my knees in praise
Amazing love, amazing grace

Was on a hill my Savior died
A broken heart, a bleeding side
Hill of the skull, Mount Calvary
The blood He shed, He shed for me

When heaven's hills at last I roam
Forever settle in my home
I'll join the saints around Your throne
Your kingdom, Lord, rolls ever on

These thousand hills roll ever on
Ripples of a coming storm
The morning star precedes the dawn
These thousand hills roll ever on

Psalm 133 - Rosebud Day 9

Jill Woodliff of Lent & Beyond suggested that we have a look at Psalm 133, as we contend with serious spiritual oppression on the Rosebud Reservation.

Here it is in the New Living Translation...
How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!
For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe.
Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion.
And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting.

...and here it is from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer
BEHOLD, how good and joyful a thing it is, * for brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head, that ran down unto the beard, * even unto Aaron's beard, and went down to the skirts of his clothing.
Like as the dew of Hermon, * which fell upon the hill of Sion.
For there the LORD promised his blessing, * and life for evermore.

I fasted and meditated on this Psalm last Friday. I share here a few insights, and welcome you to comment and share more.

  • The first thing to which I responded was the image of dew, evaporating up from Mount Hermon, and then falling back as rain on Zion (Jerusalem). We might see our prayers as precious, life-giving moisture going up to God, and a rain of blessings on the Rosebud as His answer to our prayers.
  • Our unity/harmony is like the precious oil poured over Aaron the priest, "making him holy for his work" (Leviticus 8:12). Our unity of purpose as intercessors can provide an "anointing" to offer spiritual sacrifices (I Peter 2:5) as we pray for the Rosebud.
  • And of course our true unity is in Jesus Christ. We might not live together geographically, but if we function faithfully as members of his body, we can "dwell in him, and he in us."

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The sweet sound of false preaching - Katharine Jefferts Schori misrepresents Jesus

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Organization, Katharine Jefferts Schori, preached in England where she will attend the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lambeth Conference.

Here is a quote from her sermon:

"Loosening the soil so that it might be fertile terrain has a great deal to do with softening our own hearts. When we’re certain that his person or that can’t possibly be a God-bearer, it is our own soil that fills with rocks, or grows massive thorns. It is a particularly religious, and Christian, challenge, for we search endlessly to be certain that we are doing 'the God-thing' right. But when we get too certain about God and God’s judgment, our soil turned over by the surprising love of the gospel and the unexpected nature of divine economics."

She is preaching from Jesus' own "Parable of the Sower", which was the Gospel in many churches today. Read Jesus' word to us and then let's compare it with what the PB preached:

Matthew 13:1-9,18-23
Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: "Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!"
"Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."

Do you see how the Presiding Bishop's sweet sounding message of "softening our own hearts" actually distorts what Jesus is telling us? She is falsifying the word of God.

  • The PB wants us to "loosen our certainties." But Jesus is telling us to be very certain - to have "deep roots" in the word of God so that we won't fall away from it when hassles and persecutions come.

  • The PB says that if we don't consider some other person to be a "God-bearer", then we must have the problem. But Jesus says that there will be "persecutions." Some people out there will come at us bearing an agenda that is not God's.

  • The PB wants us to "loosen up our soil" so that we aren't about God's judgment, just a vague "love of the gospel." But Jesus tells us that we are "good soil" when we receive the word of God, which contains both judgment and love. Living by the word of God brings forth the good fruit.

What's so sad is that the lesson contains a full and specific interpretation of the parable. The Presiding Bishop ignores Jesus' specific explanation of "birds, rocks and thorns." In so doing, she shows herself to be "the path" on which there is no soil at all - the devil came and snatched away the word before the PB could even understand it.

And I can't help but be drawn to the "plants choked by thorns" in Jesus' warning. The "thorns" are "cares of the world and the lure of wealth." This Presiding Bishop is spending millions of church dollars to sue congregations for real estate and bank accounts. The word that God gave so generously to this PB is being choked by worldly desires and her church is fruitless - the fastest dying denomination in America.

Please pray for Katharine Jefferts Schori. Church leaders and teachers are held to a high standard in the Bible, and false teachers and destructive leaders are to face terrible judgment in the presence of God.

And pray for church people - pray for yourselves! - because so many are accepting sweet sounding words that misrepresent Jesus and substitute human agendas for the divine love and life that Christ offers to all people.

A year of BS is better than the alternative

Today's Gospel from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer is from Matthew 7 and includes verse 19: So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.

Sometimes, our conscience and a sincere confession make us aware of our fruitless (or poisonously fruitful) living. And then again Satan, the accuser, sometimes manages to amplify our guilt and hand us over to "the spirit of bondage again to fear" (today's Epistle begins at Romans 8:12).

In either case, whether we experience healthy repentance or diabolical despair, we must welcome the merciful work of Jesus, whose good fruit can replace our worst.

The harsh note in Matthew 7:19 has a gentle accompaniment in Luke 13:
6 Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. 7 Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’
8 “The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. 9 If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”

When we are fruitless, Jesus intercedes for us. He asks the Father for another season and he works on us to bring forth good fruit.

I get nervous about the work Jesus wants to do on me - a year with plenty of fertilizer? That's 12 months of BS. His attention lavished on me might not always be pleasant. But the alternative is to be cut down and burned. I'll take his season of manure, thank you very much.

I also note that the fig tree just stands there during the season of Christ's tending. The tree doesn't do anything but "take up space" while Jesus does the transforming work. How might I cease my struggling and striving and just let Jesus tend me?

Finally, I have to trust Jesus, because he alone knows the cost of bringing forth good fruit. His cross is called a tree. The fruit on that tree was anything but pretty:
My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him (Isaiah 53:2).

Yet from that ugly vine clinging to the cross was crushed a vintage unlike any other - the blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.

Barren passivity, manure, crushing and blood... not the most inspiring images. Yet all portray the loving work of our Savior, as he works with patient, personal care to bring forth the good fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

It is not just in the exciting, pleasurable and impressive seasons of our lives that Christ is blessing us. His best work might unfold during a year of BS.

Prayer and Fasting for the Rosebud - Day 8

Today is the Lord's Day - lift up the Rosebud's "war on suicide" in the Prayers of the People and in altar intentions today.

Ephesians 6:18-20 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere...
The Lord gives us such a great opportunity to intercede when we gather in worship. We must not confine our intercession to Sunday, but how wonderful that the visible church comes together in prayer for the "whole state of Christ's church."

And what a time to pray in the Spirit. So often, we are intimate and uninhibited with God in private, but formal and introverted in public worship. May we be open in our prayers for the Rosebud war on suicide today. May we welcome the Spirit to guide our prayers and give us the right words to enlist others in this battle.

...And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.

Please pray for all of the other intercessors and their families, who are "value rich targets" for the devil and his forces. Also pray for protection over the computers we use and for this blogsite.

Pray also for all Christians on the Rosebud Reservation, who are always under duress. Pray for clergy, lay leaders, missionaries and converts. Pray for their witness to be bold and convincing, and that no hindrances prevent them from fulfilling their mission.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Neo-Viking Midwestern Thugs Corrupt our Autistic Son

OK, follow me, now...

Our autistic son just loves movie company logos. Flying over Mt. Rainer, WA one time, he pointed out the window and said, "Paramount!"

So, having grown up in Southern California, he was raised to pronounce Spanish words properly. He knew that many of the classic Disney films were distributed by Buena Vista pictures, and he always pronounced it booWAYnahVEEstah.

Now that we are here on the Northern Plains, home to many Norweigan and, well, Midwestern types, he comes home from summer school and says,

"That movie is by bew-na vis-tuh."

Maybe Obama's right about that foreign language stuff.

Update from AAC President, Bishop David Anderson

Received in the weekly email update to AAC members. (You can sign up for these here. )

He reviews news from around the Anglican world, but my favorite insight comes toward the end:

But over and above all this turmoil, God in His wisdom rules, and His purposes will be carried out. Our job is to be much in prayer, seeking his will for our individual and corporate lives. May we carry out faithfully the tasks He gives us to do.

So it is for AAC/South Dakota right now. Here's Bishop Anderson's whole message:

A message from Bishop David Anderson

Beloved in Christ,

As we comment from week to week on matters affecting the Anglicans in North America, and in a broader sense, globally, we need to be aware that we are not in a single-issue battle. Issues of theology, and especially Christology, put us in conflict with a good portion of the pseudo-intellectual Western elites, who for all intents and purposes seem to have lost their faith.

Issues of morality and culture, which are normally derivative of an intact faith system, have put us in conflict with major cultural and sociological trends that exalt the individual's rights at the expense of the family, the community, or the church's ability to set boundaries on behavior. It seems that today’s culture has made the individual consumer god. If you have the money, you have a right to do it or buy it or have it done to you. The Christian Church, carrying with it the moral and ethical life of the Old Testament, also carries a new commandment to love one another even as Jesus has loved us. The Christian Church then has and does set moral and ethical boundaries on behavior, and this now puts us in conflict in many civil and secular settings. Our boundaries derive from Holy Scripture, whereas for the secular world, the boundaries (or lack thereof) depend on the situation, derive from the exaltation of the individual, and finally become, "I am entitled to everything I say I am entitled to," and "No one is going to tell me what I can and cannot do." This often revolves around two principal foci, money or sex, things people seem intensely interested in.

A third area that concerns us as orthodox Anglicans is the invasion of Islam into supposedly solid Christian areas, and the rapidity with which Christians seem to be rolling over and not adequately responding. I used to wonder how Islam conquered North Africa so easily, suppressing such a vital Christian area and pushing the Christian faith into a small corner of the community. Watching the idiocy of many governmental leaders in the Western world today, ready to give away so much to accommodate the demands of Muslim immigrants into their land, and seeing the Christians, with only a few exceptions, fail to rise to the challenge, I think I understand a little better what happened in North Africa. One difference there was that Islam conquered cities and territories by the sword… but who needs a sword if they can accomplish the same result by making demands and through thuggery and intimidation? I am thinking especially of articles about English vicars being beaten and harassed at their churches by Muslim youths.

Now to comment on some of the issues falling into these three categories mentioned above: The Episcopal Church’s Diocese of El Camino Real, in California, has issued official guidelines for blessing homosexual relationships. The State of California's Supreme Court has ruled that homosexual marriage must be permitted under the same conditions as traditional man-woman marriage, based on equal treatment under the law. There is a popular grassroots referendum that is being prepared to change the California Constitution and effectively overturn the Supreme Court's ruling, but that referendum is several months away. Meanwhile, the Episcopal Church is hurrying at breakneck speed to accommodate the homosexual marriage ruling by tacking on a blessing service for the wedding couple. These Episcopal Dioceses will be able to technically say they don't do gay weddings, because a civil authority does the vows and pronouncement part, then the church blends right in with the "spiritual" part. Episcopal bishops who are gay advocates will go to Lambeth swearing that they don't do gay weddings--for those others who find themselves at Lambeth, understand the duplicity that you are hearing.

In the UK, the issue of women bishops has been rammed down the throats of the Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals who don't believe that women Biblically can hold the episcopal order. After fervent (and we believe sincere) pleas by Canterbury, York and Durham, to mention only three, not to rush into this, and certainly not without provision for those who dissent and will need an alternative, the "our way or the highway" majority gave due notice of where the Church of England is headed.

Will this result in mass departures to Rome? Will this result in a GAFCON fellowship or even ecclesial body in England? Might a new Province even be established overlaying England? History is indeed being made.

But over and above all this turmoil, God in His wisdom rules, and His purposes will be carried out. Our job is to be much in prayer, seeking his will for our individual and corporate lives. May we carry out faithfully the tasks He gives us to do.

Blessings and Peace in Christ Jesus,
The Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson, Sr.President & CEO of the American Anglican Council

Prayer and Fasting for the Rosebud - Day 7

Ephesians 6:17 Put on salvation as your helmet...

Do we wait for Sunday to remind us that Christ died for us? Or can we use Saturday and other days to prepare for our "proclamation of his death" (I Corinthians 11:26)?

A helmet protects our senses. Senses critical for combat - sight and hearing, to be sure, but also smell and taste, which can warn of toxic weapons - are located in the head. The awareness that we are saved by Christ keeps our senses clear to detect some of the enemy's most subtle weapons - the ones that trick people into following false saviors or losing any hope of salvation at all. These weapons are obviously in use on the Rosebud, where the people are struck down by suicide.

May we use Saturdays to prepare for our Sunday worship, examining our consciences soberly and honestly, thankfully preparing to proclaim and adore the One who saves us from sin and death. May we wear the helmet of salvation constantly in our war against suicide on the Rosebud Reservation.

...and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The Roman sword was a short thing. It was for close combat.

The Bible demands application. We must be "doers of the word, not just hearers." We must take the word of God right up against the enemy.

Let us be diligent in Bible reading. Let us be quick to hear good teaching from the word. And let us apply the word to real life, things seen and unseen.

Lord Jesus, tomorrow we celebrate your saving victory on the cross. Help us to use today well, preparing as we should for a feast of word and sacrament. Help us open our hearts to the need of the Rosebud Reservation, so that our ears can hear your sharp word to wield in their support. We pray for clear senses to see the enemy clearly, and for the right word to strike the enemy and break its power on the Rosebud. We pray this in your Name, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Friday, July 11, 2008

More ammunition for "Rosebud Day 6"

  • The following email came from a staff member at White Eagle Christian Academy on the Rosebud: Thank you so very much for your care and concern for our people. It is churches and leaders like you who are key to defeating the enemy of us all. God richly bless you. I will rerspond in depth as quickly as possible.
  • Jill Woodliff of Lent & Beyond emailed to suggest Psalm 133 as a help to our prayers. It emphasizes the goodness and power of Christian unity, a theme picked up in today's reflection on "lifting the shield of faith." I am fasting today and have marked the Psalm for recollection and reflection.
  • Psalms 85 and 86 showed up in my morning readings the last two days. Both contain strong prayers for divine help; for turning away from evil and false gods; for the blessing of lands and peoples; and for help to walk in God's ways.
  • This idea of "the path" is important - if you visit the White Eagle site (link above), you can find a Lakota explanation of Jesus as "the trail" (canku, pr. chan-KU).

Thank you for your prayers and sharing in this campaign.

Prayer and Fasting for the Rosebud - Day 6

Friday is a traditional day for fasting. Information and supporting prayers for a fast are available in this earlier post.

Today's Bible verse for reflection and prayer:
Ephesians 6:16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.

The Roman shield was a large rectangle. The shield provided formidable protection, especially by soldiers in tight formation presenting a wall of shields.

Are you praying with other Christians? Do you have others praying for you? This will increase your protection against the constant pelting of temptations that the devil will fire at you.

I was an artilleryman in my Army days. Along with damage and destruction, artillery barrages inflict disorder and confusion on the forces they strike. The devil's endless rain of fiery arrows is meant to scatter us into confused, ineffectual little groups or even leave us as lost, vulnerable individuals. Stay in prayer with others. Reach across denominational lines - the shields are made of inner faith in Christ, not outward habits of religion.

Faith is not passive - it must be "held up" as we push forward against the enemy. Be assertive of Jesus Christ, who is your life. Your faith in him is your shield - lift it against the devil and do so with other Christian warriors.

A word of encouragement from Bishop David Bena (Convocation of Anglicans in North America):
Please know that we are all praying for you. Spiritual warfare is going on all around us. We have stirred up a hornet's next by taking a strong stand for Jesus and His Gospel values... Hold Jesus high.

Lord, we believe - help our unbelief! Strengthen our faith and let it abide in us with hope and love, these three virtues guiding us as we close with the enemy. Let us lift the shield of faith in a strong battle formation. Let faith extinguish the fire of the devil's artillery. Let faith punch through the oppressive power of suicide on the Rosebud Reservation and set the people free. We pray in your Name, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Parish pulls off two Saturday moves for neighbors; teens make up 1/2 of our team!

The Moving Assistance Program founded by parishioners of Good Shepherd, Sioux Falls, continues to help people better their living conditions with free local moves and free loading for folks who are moving out of town.

  • The parish provided two moving teams on June 28th. I was blessed to be on a team with half the labor supplied by parish teens. (A second team also included folks from our Youth groups.) Our team helped load up for a senior lady who is moving in with her daughter out-of-state.

  • We had a great experience of "the body of Christ" as each person on the team seemed to have a unique gift that made the whole thing work. There was a heavy lifter, a tall guy to pack the pods to the top, a person with an eye for how to pack, a people-organizer, a knot tying pro, etc. And when we prayed with the people at the end of the work, the teens got a first hand exeperience of how the most meaningful "work" was to ask God's blessing on the people we served.

All glory to God for the inspiration to offer this ministry, and for the will and the means to carry it out. If you want to find out more, there is a link to MAP just down the right side of this blog.