Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I discovered a newspaper clipping from the Jan 3rd, 1978 National Inquirer tucked away in an old photo album. (my wife must have bought this thing) The clipping is the entire two page Predictions for 1978 by the top 10 psychics in the country. How they are judged to be the top 10 is not explained, but based on some of the predictions they must have been chosen on a scale representing the most outrageous predictions.

Here are some that are not so outrageous, but might have been predicted by any sweat hog in Mr. Kotter’s 1978 under-achiever class. Vinnie Barbarino or Arnold Horshack could have done as well:

Elizabeth Taylor will divorce. (duh...her 7th divorce didn’t happen until 1982, from John Warner)
Earthquake in Iran in July (Iran has an earthquake every couple years since 1947..safe bet), Columbia in August, and Hawaii in September. (none happened, although Iran had one in September ’78..close don’t count in Psychic Prognostications)
Researchers will develop a pill to prevent baldness (it wasn’t predicted that it would work; I think they’re still developing pills) (Velcro was first marketed in ’78 and could help in holding a good wig in place)

Outrageous Predictions:
A thought-mobile will be introduced by GM that will be controlled by the driver’s thought waves. (that may be why they are in trouble today...too much R&D money on this thing)
Elizabeth Taylor will enter politics, become an ambassador and settle the Israeli/Arab conflict. (has the Israeli/Arab conflict been going on that long? What’s that..about 30 years..plus or minus 3000?)
Henry Kissinger will be called back into service to settle the Mid-East conflict. (You’d think between Henry and Liz something ought to get fixed)
Kristy McNichol star of "Family" will make a hit record and become a singing star. (This Psychic got Kristy mixed up with Miley Cyrus...and 30 years too soon.)
Jacqueline Bisset star of "The Deep" will become America’s No.1 sex symbol. (that actually did happen ...but Alas, evidently I was the only one who knew!)
Japanese scientists will develop..a cheap adapter that would enable one to pick-up TV broadcasts from around the world. (I think that would be called a "computer"...but it’s not so cheap,..in my opinion, and didn’t come close to happening in 1978.)
Elvis Presley’s body will be kidnapped and held for $1,000,000.00 ransom. (didn’t happen..but no one predicted that Charlie Chaplin’s remains would be stolen in March ‘78 and held for 600,000 Swiss Franc reward. Culprits were caught and body returned.)
Muhammad Ali will suffer a heart attack in the ring and retire. (no one predicted Leon Spinks would be the one that would take Ali’s title..in 15 rounds Feb 15th. Ali didn’t retire and won back the title in a September rematch)

On our journey through the Bible this year we found quite a story. It is in 2 Chronicles Chapter 18. Wicked King Ahab of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) sought an alliance with good King Jehoshaphat of the Southern Kingdom (Judah). Jehoshaphat acquiesced and agreed to join in battle against the Syrians to recover a city that had been lost. King Ahab gathered 400 of the leading "psychics" of his day to inquire if he’d be successful in this endeavor. After 400 "yes-men" said "go...get ‘em, Tiger", Jehoshaphat sensed an un-holy harmonious unanimity and asked if there were any others that might have a "Word...from the Lord". Ahab reluctantly said "yes...there is one other, but I don’t like him because he never has anything good to say about me". So..they sent for Micaiah, the Prophet. The "gofer" attempted to vet Micaiah's message by telling him about the 400 psychics and how they, in one voice, agreed that the Kings should do this battle and Micaiah would do well to say the same thing. Micaiah said, "..what my God says that will I speak."

Here’s what Micaiah told King Ahab: "The Lord seeks your demise by way of these 400 lying "psychics". Believe them...go to battle... and be defeated and killed." The short version.."he did, he went and he was"! Before he left for battle, King Ahab threw Micaiah in jail until he returned safely. Ahab didn’t come back safely. A soldier fired a random arrow into the air, it fell to earth...the Lord knew where. It struck King Ahab in a small-unprotected area of his armor...the sliver of space between the breastplate and scales of armor...and he bled to death. The Chronicler does not tell of the vindication of Micaiah. The story..leaves him in jail for telling the truth of the matter.

What a lesson this is for today’s Pastors and Teachers..and, for that matter, all of us. "What the Lord says...that will I speak"....no matter the consequences.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Elephant in the Room

The Reformed Pastor blogged about this on April 20th. Hat Tip to him for this entry:

The following is from the Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — A task force has begun looking into the conduct of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) in its dealings with Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations that have left the PC(USA) for the EPC.
The task force was named by the General Assembly Committee on Ecumenical Relations (GACER) in response to an overture to the 218th PC(USA) General Assembly (2008) that was referred to the GACER. The overture requested that the assembly "investigate the actions and conduct of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church …"

This little tid-bit of news just screams out "CARTOON"...Hello??....can’t y'all see the Elephant in the room? Folks are not being "wooed out" by the EPC...they're being "run out" by the PCUSA. So...here it is!

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Saturday, April 18, 2009


Our Associate Pastor recently referred to our denomination as “self-destructing”. He says, “I belong to and have poured my best energies into a denomination which is self-destructing, and there is no sense of security that it will hold together long enough to get to retirement years. “ Some of our other Christian brothers would not be so kind since they deem the PCUSA as already in a state of “apostasy”.

I recently read two articles in The Layman that prompted the drawing below. They tend to highlight the self-destruction that is taking place. One actually makes mention of “middle age” practices of the PCUSA hierarchy. The pictorial below is based upon that era. The other article demonstrates how the practices are played out in the real life of a local PCUSA congregation and seem to be a result of the “Louisville Papers”. The Louisville Papers have been described as "calling for the use of draconian measures when claiming local church property". I have linked to all articles. They seem to corroborate the theme of the drawing posted below. It's all about "Deeds".
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009


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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mr. Goodwrench

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Such a Worm...

I can remember, as a child singing that great old hymn, “At the Cross” by Isaac Watts and I can recall vividly the first stanza of that song: “Alas and did my Savior bleed? And did my Sovereign die? Would He devote that sacred head, For such a worm as I?” And then as I grew older, the last line of that song began to change. Changed to something like-- “such a sinner as I”..or “such a one as I”, or “for sinners such as I”. The hymn was originally entitled, “Alas and Did My Savior Bleed?” and did not contain the chorus from which the new title arose, ”At the Cross”. The chorus was later added by R.E. Hudson and ends with the line, ”and now I am happy all the time”. You old-timers, like myself, can fill in the first part of that chorus by memory, youngsters..can “google”.

Now, I think the last line of the chorus is indicative of what happened to the last line of the first stanza. How can a person who is “happy” all the time see himself as a “worm”? “Sinner” or “such a one as I” is much less humbling than to be thought of as a “worm”. There is a true and real contrast between being happy all the time and worminess, struggle, holy discontent, and remembering our sinful roots. I think if Isaac Watts were around today..he would discard completely the chorus that was added to his poem or song, or at a minimum add it to a more appropriate song. The original does seem to be out of place in this age of self-esteem. Worms? No way,..I’m OK and you’re OK. Most today, I think, would want to keep the chorus, repeat it eight times and throw away the stanzas altogether. Way too much “theological” info there!

We are now into I Kings reading through the Bible in 2009. So far we have been introduced to a multitude of godly characters...as well as some very unsavory ones. In looking back over some of my biblical heroes I just might ask the question...”did they see themselves, as the chorus states, happy all the time”? How about David, the one who was characterized by God Himself, as one “after God’s own heart”. Happy all the time? Hardly! I don’t think you can find an OT character with more “problems, issues and concerns”. He knew his sinful roots...and could say, “He brought me up out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay..” (Ps 40:2) “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me" and “my sin is ever before me” (Ps 51:3,5) I think David and many other OT heroes would acknowledge the last line of Isaac Watts’ song..that Christ did indeed devote that sacred head, ”for such a worm as I”.

Now, it is true we are to acknowledge the past, as David certainly did, but also we are to realize that there is a glorious future as well. Balance, as in most things, is key. Paul could acknowledge his roots as “chief of sinners”, and even rehearse some of those continuing sins, but he could also say..”Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 7:24-25) Christian qualities, I believe, are enhanced by an acknowledgement of our unworthiness. Truly, it is, and must be, by grace that we are saved and not of ourselves.