Posts Tagged ‘all’

Syrian Involvement

August 29, 2013

I am gravely concerned about the action that our country may take in response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.  Earlier this year, I read a newspaper report that Russia believed, as a result of the chemical analysis of the earlier attack, that the rebels had used gas in an attempt to provoke the US into joining the fight.  They had reached this conclusion because the analysis showed that the chemicals used were of an inferior quality than what the Syrian’s have in their arsenal.    I consider this to be a very real possibility.  The rebels have much to gain by American involvement.  There may be someone among the rebels who has the capability to manufacture and to use gas, and who could justify this action to their own satisfaction.

I am very concerned that military action on our part will have grave consequences for us.   I am concerned that it is a cost that we cannot afford.  I am concerned that we may find ourselves backing a group that we will later regret backing.  I am concerned about what response Russia, and the Muslim community,  will make to our involvement.

This is not our fight.  It is a civil war.  It does not involve us.  Neither party is innocent.  I believe that we should stay out of this conflict.  I do not believe that we should be supporting either side in any way.

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Speaking in Tongues

July 18, 2013

We are approaching the beginning of our centennial year as a fellowship.  The Assemblies of God was begun by a group of men and women who had experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, receiving the gift of speaking in tongues.  To this day, our churches are distinguished from other evangelicals by our emphasis on the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in contemporary society.

I.  Baptized in the Holy Spirit:  Acts 1:4,5 & 8

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The primary purpose of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is to give us power to boldly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Yes, there are other effects, such as a heightened awareness of God’s presence, a greater fervency in worship, and an opening of understanding of God’s Word, but the primary purpose is the proclamation of the gospel.

II.  Speaking in Tongues: Acts 2:1-4

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

In the Assemblies of God we recognize speaking in tongues as the initial physical evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.  There are three types of speaking in tongues.

1. A sign to unbelievers:  I Corinthians 14:22

Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.

This form of tongues is when an individual speaks in a human language that is unknown to them, but that is known by the person’s hearing the message.  It is a powerful sign to unbelievers.  Sadly, it is not a very common occurrence, although I have heard contemporary testimonies of it occurring.

2.  A word to believers:  I Corinthians 14:26-28

How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.

This form of tongues happens much more frequently.  Someone will give a message in tongues by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and then someone will give an interpretation of that message.  These are two separate gifts of the Spirit: a message in tongues and an interpretation of tongues.  These gifts are meant for the edification of God’s people as they are gathered together.

3.  The individual believer:  I Corinthians 14: 2, 4

For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.

He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

This is the most common form of speaking in tongues.  It is the individual praying without the barrier of human language.  We are able to pour out our hearts to God, and it is a powerful experience for the individual.  I strongly encourage people who have received this gift to use it regularly in their private devotions.  It is also acceptable during certain portions of corporate worship to use our tongues to praise or to pray, speaking out loud, but quietly, to the Lord.

III.  Offered to All:  Acts 2: 38-39

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Obviously, we are among those who are “afar off”.  Yet, I believe that, although not all Christians speak in tongues, that all Christians could speak in tongues.  It is a gift that is offered to all.

IV.  To the Gentiles:  Acts 10:44-48

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

In this second recording of the gift of tongues being manifested on a new group of believers: there are no tongues of flame, no rushing mighty wind, but the gift of the Holy Spirit of speaking in tongues is again manifested.  The way that people receive this gift may vary, but the evidence of speaking in tongues is a common thread.

V.  Ask God, Trust God  Luke 11:11-13

If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

I firmly believe that if we ask God for this gift, that we will not receive a substitute.  God gives good gifts to His children and certainly the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues is a good gift.  This can take place at a service or in the privacy of our own homes.  Seek and you will find, ask and it shall be given to you.

Big Brother?

June 13, 2013

Apparently we are being watched.  Well, not all the time, but our online visits and our phone calls are being monitored.  By this, I do not mean that they are actually listening in to our phone calls, or reading our emails, but rather they are tracking what sites we visit, and where we  place our calls.This has upset a lot of people.  It is considered by many to be an invasion of privacy, an act of spying on the American people.

For whatever reason, this particular action by our government does not bother me.  Certainly our government does other things that bother me, and maybe this action should, but it just doesn’t.  I have always known that our internet servers, and our phone companies have had this information in their records, so I have never considered it to be truly private.  You know, just a secret between me and whoever-it-is at the corporation.  You can’t lose what you never had.

I also understand that it can be beneficial.  That it is one more tool in the war against terror.  It is an act of diligence.

Of course it could be misused.  Instead of seeking out terrorists, it could be turned against any interest group.

Like any other weapon in our arsenal, or tool in our tool bag; it needs to be used wisely, carefully, and with supervision.

 

ACA Loophole

March 21, 2013

I was reading in my local paper an article about changes that the County Conservation Board would be making in the future.  They regularly employ individuals for seasonal work.  These employees work forty hour weeks, some of them for more than four months.  Under the Affordable Care Act the county will be required to provide health coverage for these individuals.  Some of these people are actually retired, covered by Medicare.  The county will still be required to provide health coverage under the ACA.  Anyone working more than thirty hours a week for more than four months  must be provided health insurance or the employer will face penalties.

The solution is likely to be either limit the employee to four months, or more likely, reduce the weekly hours to less than thirty hours a week, and hire more people to make up the hours.  This will allow the county to still get the work done and not have to provide coverage.

I strongly suspect that there will be a lot of companies that will take advantage of this loophole.  Instead of providing health care, they will simply have more employees, working less than thirty hours.

This, of course, will mean that their employees will make less money, and be legally responsible for their own health care.  This health care will be made available at lower rates, subsidized by the government, adding to the financial burden placed on our country.

In addition, the workers will most likely need to find additional employment, working a second job to provide enough income to meet their needs.

I am concerned about the future for workers, employers, the medical field, and our government.

The Morality of “Bodies Revealed”

March 7, 2013

Bodies Revealed is an educational exhibit that is traveling around the United States.   It is a unique display of human bodies in various stages of, I suppose you could say, dissection.  The bodies of people who had donated their remains to science have been disassembled to various degrees, preserved so that they will not decompose or smell, and then posed in various positions.  Some body organs are available for people to handle, so that we can literally hold another person’s heart in our hands.  It is claimed that it demonstrates the workings of the human body in a powerful and unique way.  The hope is that it will inspire a new generation of doctors, scientists, etc.

They are obeying the letter of the law.  The bodies were donated for educational purposes.  The end result may be positive in that it may result in people pursuing careers in the medical field.  It is possible that the driving forces behind the exhibit really do have motives that are more honorable than simply making money.

Even so, it just seems wrong to me.  I recognize that I am primarily relying on an intuition that other people may not share, and so there may not be many who agree that it is wrong.  It is not possible to argue from intuition, all we can really do is see how many other people share our opinion.  We can also challenge some of the claims that provide moral support for the exhibit.

I do not have a problem with the use of human bodies for medical education and research.  However, the  vast majority of people who will be viewing this exhibit will not be  pursuing anything other than a morbid curiosity to see real human bodies.

Yes, people donated their bodies to science, without many restrictions.  I wonder if they would have donated their bodies if they were made aware previously that they would basically become preserved and publicly displayed?  In some regards, they are the subjects of human taxidermy.

Although some will be inspired to pursue medical careers, will some merely have their imaginations further excited?  In a time when we regularly see human bodies in all states of decomposition regularly displayed on our television sets, are there some people who want to see the real thing?  Will this lead some down the right path of medical research?  Will it lead some down a more sinister path?  What will be the true lasting consequences of this morbid display of human remains?

The exhibit has done very well at the places where is has been on display.  I suspect that revenue is up.  That is not a bad thing, our museums do need to meet their operational budgets.  It does make me wonder whether the motivation behind the exhibit is indeed, public education, or does it simply come down to profitability?

Were the scientists/artists who put the exhibit together motivated by a desire to share knowledge, or were they more excited about working with a medium that was taboo throughout most of human history?

As I said earlier, this might all be a perfectly moral enterprise.  I do not know any of the people involved.  They might all be wonderful people, working from pure motives.

It just seems wrong to me.

What do you think?

 

 

 

Raising Revenue, but not Taxes

February 28, 2013

I have entered late into the political arena.  Last year, for the very first time,  I attended the local and district  caucuses.  It was an educational experience, and I think that I will continue to be involved at least to some degree.

Just this week, I had another first.

I emailed our state senators and our representative.

I have often thought that I should contact those who serve us, but until now, I have not ever taken the time.

I should have started these activities earlier in my life.  It was not difficult.  Democracy works better when people take the time to be involved.

Here is the email that I sent.

Message: Dear Senator, 

I, along with many others, am concerned about the budget deficit.  I would like 
to make a suggestion about how to raise income without raising taxes. 

Limit tax returns. 

As it is right now, individuals can utilize a whole variety of tax credits that 
can enable them to get enormous refunds that far exceed the tax money that they 
actually paid in to the system. 

It could be set that no one receives a tax return that exceeds the amount that 
was actually withheld from their checks.  They would still get their money back, 
but nothing extra.  

It would be necessary to adjust the W2s so that their was a distinction between 
money paid by the individual and money paid by their employer, or better yet, 
just don't show the amount paid by the employer.  The individual should only 
receive the money back that they paid.  

This would accomplish two things: 1. less excess money would be paid out for 
credits that exceed money received, and 2. the taxes paid by the employer could 
be kept. 

Technically, no taxes are raised, but the net benefit to the government would be 
substantial. 

Thank you to whoever actually reads this email, I hope that it will at least be 
considered.  

Sincerely, 

Curtis Girod
At this time, I have received basic form letters back from two of three that I contacted.  I also, noticed my misspelling of “there” with “their”  but I did not correct it for this post, since it was not correct in my original email.  I will need to be more careful.

At any rate, I would encourage you to be more involved in the political process.  Keep an open mind, be willing to listen, not just speak, avoid harsh rhetoric, and let us see if our political climate can improve with our participation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Complete Faith

September 13, 2012

Here are the sermon notes from 9/9/12.

I.  James 1:2-5   Christian Completion

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

We do not enjoy tests, but they do serve a purpose.  Tests help us to mature in Christ.  Patience is an essential component for living the Christian life.  We must be patient with others and also patient as we wait for the timing of God for things in our lives.  God is working within us to bring us to completion.  We will not be perfect in this life, but we should continue to make progress.  God will give us the wisdom that we need for the problems that we face.

II.  James 1:21-25 Doers of the Word

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

We are called as Christians to lay aside sin.  We are able to come to Christ just as we are, but we are not to remain in our sins.  God will give us the grace to change.  The Word of God sinks deep into our hearts, the Spirit of God applies that Word to our lives, and we utilize our will to bring our lives into conformity with God’s Word.  It is an ongoing process.  If we truly have a living faith, it will produce a life marked by righteousness.

III.  James 2:14-26  Faith Produces Works

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[a] works, and I will show you my faith by my[b] works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?[c] 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”[d] And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

In my garden there are the remnants of bean plants.  They have pretty much died and are no longer producing fruit.  We also have a cherry tomato plant that has grown to enormous size and is producing far more tomatoes than we can eat.

As Christians our lives should be more like the tomato plant, and not like the beans.  The beans produced for a while, but they died early because we were on vacation and it was too hot and dry.  Apparently the tomato plant had roots that went deeper into the soil and it was better able to survive.

We need to be well-rooted in Christ.  There will be times of testing and trial.  We need to hold fast to Jesus,be grounded in the Word,  gather strength from the Spirit and continue  produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

May God continue His work in us, so that in all areas of our lives, we may conform to His Word, and may His Spirit, which dwells in our hearts by faith, continue to grant to us a living faith that produces works of righteousness.

Know, Serve, Seek, & Trust

July 26, 2012

Here are the notes from the sermon Sunday, July 22nd.

I Chronicles 28:2-10 (NKJ)

Then King David rose to his feet and said, “Hear me, my brethren and my people: I had it in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God, and had made preparations to build it. But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood.’ However the Lord God of Israel chose me above all the house of my father to be king over Israel forever, for He has chosen Judah to be the ruler. And of the house of Judah, the house of my father, and among the sons of my father, He was pleased with me to make me king over all Israel. And of all my sons (for the Lord has given me many sons) He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel. Now He said to me, ‘It is your son Solomon who shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to be My son, and I will be his Father. Moreover I will establish his kingdom forever, if he is steadfast to observe My commandments and My judgments, as it is this day.’ Now therefore, in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God, be careful to seek out all the commandments of the Lord your God, that you may possess this good land, and leave it as an inheritance for your children after you forever.

“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. 10 Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it.”

I very much appreciate the words of encouragement and direction that King David gives to his son Solomon.

I.  Know God:  We can get to know God first of all through reading the Bible.  In the Bible, God reveals himself to us.  We can spend a lifetime studying the scriptures and will never come to the end of the knowledge and understanding of God that can be gleaned from the pages of the Word.

We also get to know God by spending time in His presence in prayer.  The Spirit of God will speak to our hearts and give us greater understanding of the character of God.

II.  Serve God:  We are called not just to know God, but to serve God.  It is not just our thoughts and feelings, but our actions count as well.  We are to serve Him will a loyal heart, and a willing mind.  This is not only for clergy, but for all people.  Whatever we do, we can, and ought, to do as unto the Lord.

III.  Seek God:  We are called to continue to seek God.  God is always present, but our spiritual eyes are not always open.  We should seek to be aware of the presence of God at all times.  In light of the knowledge that Solomon drifted away from God in his later years, this admonition should be taken seriously.  We should seek God throughout our lives.

IV.  Trust God:  I Chronicles 28:20: “And David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.”

As we live our lives growing in our knowledge of God, serving God and seeking God; we can also continually trust God.  He has promised to be with us always.  He will not leave us or forsake us.  In times of difficulty, He has not abandoned us.  We do not face the adventures of this life alone.  God is with us always.

Why Run 24 Hours?

May 10, 2012

I am still recovering from the 24 hour run that I participated in this past weekend.  My muscles are no longer sore, but some of the blisters on my feet have healed, and some are still an issue.

Why do a 24 hour run?

It is not for health reasons.  You don’t have to run for 24 hours to experience health benefits.  Actually, there are definite health risks involved, besides blisters and sore muscles, the possibility of joint issues arising is very real.

It is not really for competition.  I know that I am not good enough to be competitive.  Although this years winner was 58, so maybe I will improve with time.

It’s not really for fun.  I do enjoy participating but it stops being much fun after about forty miles.

I do it for the personal physical and mental challenge.

It’s not really about how I do, compared with others.  It is about what I can do compared with myself.  This year I improved my distance by 13 miles.  I am already thinking about a goal for next year.  I realize that it might be a little bit crazy, but I enjoy the challenge of seeing what I can do.

I think I can do better next year.

My 2nd 24hr Run

May 8, 2012

This past Saturday I participated in my second 24 hour run.  That does not mean that you run for 24 hours, but that you have 24 hours to complete as much distance as you can by running, walking or crawling.

There are two types of 24 hour run: the track  run and the trail run.  Just like they sound, the track run is run on a standard track, and the trail run is on trails.  Both involve doing as many laps as you are capable of completing in the time allowed.  I participate in a track run.

Last year was my first attempt at a 24 hour run.  I ran two laps, and walked one for as long as I could.  Eventually, I ran less and walked more.  By fifty miles, and in the 14th hour,  my feet hurt with every step, and I called it quits.

This year I tried something a little different.  I still started out by  running two laps and then walking one, but this time every three hours I took off my running shoes and walked three laps in a pair of moccasins.  Then I put on a fresh pair of socks and went back to running two, walking one.  This strategy worked well for me.  I completed 63.65 miles and my feet were still feeling OK.

There was a different challenge this year.  Last year it was cool and cloudy, this year it was sunny and in the mid 80’s with plenty of humidity.  Even with applying lotion every hour, I still began to burn.  Plus, running in the heat is clearly more draining.

Once again, I did not complete the entire 24 hr period.  I called it quits in the 19th hour.  I had reached my goal of 100k and did not have sufficient motivation to push through to the end.

It was a good second attempt.  We will see what happens next year.