Originally posted on ChosenRebel's Blog:

Tuesday is for Reflection

Bonhoeffer book cover (Metaxes)Why do we neglect confession of sin in the church?

There would be no Church if the God did not lead us to confess our need for a Savior. There is therefore no way to escape the admission by the members of churches to acknowledge that they are sinners.

We are not righteous. We need, desperately need, the righteousness of Christ. Yet in many churches, many (most?) people (congregation and pastors included) are diligent to put on their mask of …

  • “perfection” (what a joke?!)
  • “no need”
  • “I’m okay”
  • “I don’t struggle”

It’s as if we have forgotten that Jesus doesn’t save righteous people; He saves sinners. Bonhoeffer got it right. “The root of all sin is pride.” But the only way forward to what God calls us to be, to what the world needs us to be, is not forward but down. Down in humiliation…

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Yet, another end of the world prediction…
Apocalypse now?

World really will end Wednesday, insists Christian group

Unfazed by stubborn refusal of ‘blood moon’ last month to prompt Armageddon, Philadelphia leader adamant October 7 is doomsday. Probably

October 7, 2015, 3:06 am
View of the moon during a full eclipse in Buenos Aires on September 27, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATA)

View of the moon during a full eclipse in Buenos Aires on September 27, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATA)

Undeterred by the world’s stubborn failure to come to an end late last month, when a rare total lunar eclipse combined with a so-called supermoon, a Christian group is now insisting that the planet will be wiped out “forever” on Wednesday.

“According to what the Bible is presenting, it does appear that 7 October will be the day that God has spoken of: in which, the world will pass away,” Chris McCann, the leader and founder of the eBible Fellowship, an online gathering of Christians headquartered in Philadelphia, told the Guardian on Tuesday.

Earth will be “gone forever. Annihilated,” McCann said. Obliterated “with fire,” he added for good measure.

McCann was not, apparently, one of those who anticipated the end of the world on September 27-28, when the so-called “blood moon” prompted several apocalyptic warnings and subsequent NASA reassurances. (Blood moons are full lunar eclipses in which the sun’s rays entering through the earth’s atmosphere make for a red, or blood-like, appearance.)

But he did admit that his new October 7 deadline for humanity was based on a prediction that has been wrong before. Twice.

For the rest of the article…

“It is infinitely easier to suffer in obedience to a human command than in the freedom of one’s own responsibility . It is infinitely easier to suffer with others than to suffer alone. It is infinitely easier to suffer publicly and honourably than apart and ignominiously. It is easier to suffer through staking one’s life than to suffer spiritually. Christ suffered as a free man alone, apart and in ignominy, in body and spirit; and since then many Christians have suffered with him.”

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, After Ten Years in Letters & Papers From Prison, 14

Here is a picture of Randy and me. He autographed his

Here is a picture of Randy and me. He autographed his “Welcome to Paradise” album.

Dr. Bryan E. Galloway:

I have tinnitus and today, it began to spike and I wondered if the fall season had anything to do with it. Last year at this time, it was also very loud.

Originally posted on Tinnitus - My Life:


Hi all, hope you are all well, as you know I have suffered from Tinnitus over 10 yrs and do really feel the weather does affect tinnitus. I read somewhere when I was researching into Tinnitus
that the moon and sun causes problems with our brains and
body hence lunacy after luna for the moon. The ear being a very
complex thing also is subject to stress by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun. Wish I knew where I read this but was very interesting.

Therefore there must be times when the moon, more so than the sun, is a higher or lower angle in the sky that would cause a stress pull on either minute ear bones or the hairs.

The position of the moon has gravitational pulls on the earth’s crust that apparently causes earthquakes. maybe there are certain luna/moon cycles when the tinnitus is for…

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Christianity today, by in large, has missed the boat on the topic of sin.  As a culture we have determined that everyone has not only the ability, but the right to define truth and their own morality.  Consequentially Christians are no longer defining the problem of sin and damnation as that form which we need saving, but simply offer Jesus and salvation as a bonus and eternal security.  Gone are the days of preaching Hell, fire and brimstone, and now are the days of the prosperity Gospel.  We believe that we are fundamentally good beings and adding Jesus into our lives will secure success and happiness.

Such a worldview and belief system leaves us exceptionally lonely, however.  Because when we come to Jesus for salvation, the Holy Spirit takes up residence within our lives, and the role of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of sin and righteousness and live through us so that we die to our sin and become more like Jesus, more holy, throughout our daily lives.

“And [the Spirit], when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment…”

– John 16.8

So we all have a sin problem, and the Holy Spirit is revealing that problem to us daily, but yet we are left in a situation where we are unable to confess that problem and find accountability and comaraderie in working through it.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer said most profoundly:

“It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness.  The final break-through to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners.  The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner.  So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship.  We dare not be sinners.  Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners.”


We are all sinners.  “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom 3.23).

For the rest of the post…

Originally posted on Wisdom from The Lord of the Rings:

It is not always given to us to have the privilege of a clear choice. Good parents are anxious to help their children learn the difference between right and wrong and encourage them to choose right on all occasions. They are right to do so because without such a foundation little of value will be achieved in life and whatsoever of value does emerge will be unintended. We might wish such a foundation to be sufficient to guide us through every challenge that we might meet throughout our lives but sadly this will not always be the case. We will meet occasions in which there will be no good alternative that we can choose.

Such is the challenge that faces Frodo as he prepares to continue his journey after his encounter with Faramir and after the unhappy recapture of Gollum at the Forbidden Pool beneath Henneth Annûn. Such too is…

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Originally posted on Singapore Christian:

We live in a world where many pulpits are teaching “cheap grace” — an imitation form of grace. In the essay below, WW2 martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, compares “cheap grace” with true and costly grace, that is able to save the soul

Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our church. We are fighting today for costly grace.

Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the church’s inexhaustible treasury from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using…

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 You make known to me the path of life;
  in your presence there is fullness of joy;
  at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
~ Psalm 16:11 (ESV)

lifeWriting from Germany on the precipice of war, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a classic on Christian community. In Life Together he called attention the grace of Christian community, calling it “the ‘roses and lilies’ of the Christian life” (21).

In our country, where freedom to worship remains unchecked, his words provide a needed corrective to any laissez-faire attitude we may have towards biblical community. While church membership and attendance are generally affirmed by Christians, I don’t think we see how much grace there is in our ability to gather. By contrast, Bonhoeffer watched the Third Reich run over the church and the Church in turn to compromise with the state.

In such a context, he came to see just how much grace there is when brothers dwell together in unity—true spiritual unity. Consider his words and give thanks for the community of believers he has given you. May his words spur us on to press deeper into the life of our church, or to start such a community of spiritually-minded believers, if one is not present.

Christian Community is a Profound Gift

He introduces his book with the idea that Christian community is a profound gift, but one not experienced by all Christians alike.

It is not simply to be taken for granted that the Christian has the privilege of living among other Christians. (17)

So between the death of Christ and the last day it is only by a gracious anticipation of the last things that Christians are privileged to live in visible fellowship with other Christians. It is by the grace of God that a congregation is permitted to gather visibly in this world to share God’s word and sacrament. Not all Christians receive this blessing. The imprisoned, the sick, the scattered lonely, the proclaimers of the gospel in heathen lands stand alone. They know that visible fellowship is a blessing. They remember, as the Psalmist David, how they went “with the multitude… to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude the holyday (Ps 42:4). But they remain alone in far countries, a scattered seed according to God’s will. (18–19)

It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the kingdom of God that any day maybe taken from us, that the time that still separates us from other loneliness maybe brief indeed. Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: it is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren. (20)

Christianity Community is Covered with Warts

While adamant about the importance of Christian community, Bonhoeffer is no idealist. He makes it clear that the church is a place for sinners, warts and all. While Christ died to beautify his bride, that beauty is still forthcoming.

Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it had sprung up from a wish dream. The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and to try to realize it. But god’s grace speedily shatters such dreams. … He who loves his dream of community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial. God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. (26–27)

Bonhoeffer stands against what he calls “wish dreaming.” The church is not a utopian club for the well-polished. Rather, God intends for us sinners to abide with other sinners, to look to the cross for our daily justification, and to be polish with the friction that results. He writes,

Even when sin and misunderstanding burden the communal life, is not the sinning brother still a brother, with whom I, too, stand under the word of Christ? Will not his sin be a constant occasion for me to give thanks that both of us may live in the forgiving love of God in Jesus Christ? Thus the very hour of disillusionment with my brother becomes incomparably salutary, because it so thoroughly teaches me that neither of us can live by our own words or deeds, but only by that one Word and Deed which really binds us together—the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. (28)

What a strong antidote Bonhoeffer provides for Christians seeking self-satisfaction in the church. God aims for our eternal holiness, not our immediate comfort.
October 2015
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