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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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They Need To Hear From God By Ron Owens

“Recently . . . a pastor shared with me that he now had less than twenty minutes to preach on Sunday morning because more time was needed for “worship.” He said the music portion of the service was expanding, and now that a drama skit was being included each week something had to be cut. They had mailed out a survey to the church membership. The question was: Which would you prefer: (1) Add fifteen minutes to the length of the service? (2) decrease the “worship” time? (3) shorten the sermon? The majority chose to have a shorter sermon.

“As we analyze this, several things surface. First of all, this is not a unique situation for a pastor in America. It is, rather, a picture of church today, both from the standpoint of the leadership and of the people. The people want to be entertained, and the church leadership is willing to oblige. If the people want more music and drama, we will give it to them. Today music and drama will win hands down over preaching in many of our churches.

“Secondly, in this situation there was a disorientation on the part of the pastor and people as to what worship is. . . . Many view the music portion of the service as . . . the worship time, while the rest of the service is something else. They do not see preaching, prayer, and Scripture reading as worship.

“Thirdly, this church did not understand that worship is essentially a response to God’s Self-revelation in Scripture and that, in the context of worship, preaching is God speaking to His people through His Word. One of the outgrowths of the Reformation was the restoring of the priority of preaching to the church. This was visibly evidenced by the returning of the pulpit to the center of the platform.

“Pastor, when your people gather, they need to hear from God. They have been hearing all sorts of messages all week long; they now need to hear a message from His Word. As important as it is for them to have time to express themselves to God, it is more important that they hear God express Himself to them; that they be fed from His Word; that they be instructed in the ways of God’s kingdom; that they be effectively strengthened by His might in their inner beings to be salt and light to the world in which God has placed them.”

(Ron Owens, Return to Worship: A God-Centered Approach, pp. 102-103)

Charlie Gibson Interviews Sarah Palin On ABC

I was searching the blogs this morning to find out how others viewed Sarah Palin’s interview with Charlie Gibson. I thought I would share some of the responses:

BLOGGER: Gibson really is a pompous ___. His condescending attitude was obvious. Oh, and I just can’t remember when Obama was asked if he really felt he was, “up to the job”. But what couldn’t be taken out and left on the cutting room floor, (the editing really was terrible), was her genuine sincerity. It actually was accentuated by Gibson’s aloofness. I think that is what most neutral observers will remember.

BLOGGER: The editing was terrible, jarring even. Of course, I was viewing it via YouTube, not TV, but it really struck me because it was clear, several times actually, that she was still speaking, and then suddenly Charlie is speaking and his body position is abruptly different. So, what I want to know is, what else did she say that was cut off?

BLOGGER: As far as nerves, watching it on TV, she looked fine and composed.

BLOGGER: I know the lefties will say she knows nothing of the Bush Doctrine and all, but watching it on TV, you could see in Palin’s expression when she asked Gibson to redefine what he meant, she knew what he was trying to do. And I loved how she kept mentioning his name in her answers, struck me as “I’m into this and have a command on the question.” Her posture was perfect, while Gibson sat back like a teacher waiting to correct you and already assumed you didn’t know what was going on.

BLOGGER: She looked absolutely fine, extremely solid as a matter of fact. But Gibson really looked like he was trying to teach the “nice lady” a thing or two about the “real world”. The low, soft tone of voice, the “come to Papa’ demeanor.

BLOGGER: When I first saw the online excerpts, which were exclusively from that horrible side angle, I thought she looked nervous and fidgety . . . but when they switched to the full face angle for the broadcast version, she looked just fine. Terrific, in fact. Her genuine nature just shines through her facial expressions.
BLOGGER: The Bush Doctrine question came the closest to tripping her, but she handled it pretty well. She kept forcing Charlie to re-define the question, which is a great tactic, until he had to actually state what he was after. Now, the lefties will claim it as clear evidence she didn’t know what that Bush Doctrine was…which may have some truth to it…I don’t expect she could cram every foreign policy issue/statement as well as she liked, but OTOH she showed real deftness and political/tactical skill in her handling of it…and that’s a valuable skill to have. I don’t see Obama exhibit it as well. Since it is the only thing close to a mistake, you better believe that not knowing the phrase will be used against her the entire weekend and for the rest of the campaign. Wait for the hens to cluck about this on Sunday in every left-wing rag and on every liberal TV blab-show: they will beat this drum forever.

BLOGGER: I thought she looked pretty T. O.ed when Gibson kept pushing on the Bush Doctrine. I think she knew that he was trying to trip her up. I thought she answered it pretty well.

BLOGGER: She new what it was. The “Bush Doctrine” is just a clever phrase that wraps the name of an unpopular president around a host of foreign policies. The way the question was delivered left things too wide open and it ran the risk of being able to tie McCain/Palin to Bush/Cheney. By getting Charlie to be more specific it removed the “Bush” word from the table before she answered. It’s interesting that Clinton was able to go into Bosnia without UN approval and we never got the “Clinton Doctrine”.

BLOGGER: Palin’s asking him again what he was referring to wasn’t a sign of not knowing it, but a sign of knowing the trap that was being set. Her expression backs that up.

BLOGGER: And now all those highly intelligent, fair minded, respectful people over on those Facebook hate groups for Palin (truly unmentionable group names, utterly disgusting) are screaming with lies (shock I know). It’s already spreading there that Palin does not know what the Bush Doctrine is and that she wants war with Russia. Funny, how many of them know what the doctrine is? They hear Bush and already assume something awful. And the whole war with Russia thing is already being taken out of context by the media. I am in no way surprised by any of this on Facebook, but it still gets one ticked off at how blind people are to facts and the obvious. That and how they probably don’t even know the real context of the interview they more than likely did not watch.

BLOGGER: Gibson seemed to be getting frustrated with Palin’s very solid answers. It was unmistakable. He wanted a gotcha or several gotchas. He did not get any.

BLOGGER: There are 2 teaser clips on abcnews.com where the camera angle is different and you can actually see Gibson getting sour expressions when Sarah gave a great answer. I did not see Gibson as attacking, but personally I thought he would have liked to see her melt down.

BLOGGER: All things considered, Gov. Palin handled herself well. She was, as already mentioned, genuinely sincere. She looked Grandpa Charlie right in the eyes and leaned in with each answer to him. No Obama style um’s and uh’s.

BLOGGER: There were some positives here. NOT backing down from the “God’s plan” issue, even putting Charlie in his place (if you really can put the media in their place). The whole question about how many foreign heads of state she has met with was handled well. That condescending question of how often she traveled outside the state was a favorite of mine.

BLOGGER: I’ve been following Bush for 8 years and this is the first time I’ve ever heard of a Bush Doctrine.

BLOGGER: Well, this is a learning opportunity for the left. Apparently they think NATO is some kind of meals on Wheels peacekeeping operation, instead of the most successful mutual defense pact in modern history. Her answer on that was perfect. As to the Bush Doctrine — she saw it as an attempt to link her to Bush in some kind of Bush-Palin connection. Making Gibson redefine it — brilliant.

BLOGGER: This interview is a HUGE win for McCain/Palin. What everyone (engaged conservatives) have to understand is that Palin is a game changer. She is waking up a sleeping electorate to the nasty game of politics and the hatred of the left. People who don’t normally pay attention are shocked at the attacks that we are so use to hearing. The comments of Matt Damon and Pam Anderson aren’t laughed off like they would be if it were direct at Bush or even McCain. Everyday Americans (those who don’t read political blogs) see Palin for what she is, a middle class mother of five who went from the PTA to mayor to governor. Why would anyone hate her for that? Gibson doesn’t get it either. He acted like she didn’t even deserve to be interviewed. He treated her like she was Ann Coulter, but people don’t see her like that. This is not going to sit well with a lot of voters. The fact that they took her “God” quote out of context will dominate the new media tomorrow. We are witnessing history.

His Wonderful Deeds

9:1 I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

3 When my enemies turn back,
they stumble and perish before your presence.
4 For you have maintained my just cause;
you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.

5 You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish;
you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
6 The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins;
their cities you rooted out;
the very memory of them has perished.

7 But the Lord sits enthroned forever;
he has established his throne for justice,
8 and he judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with uprightness.

9 The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

11 Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion!
Tell among the peoples his deeds!
12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

13 Be gracious to me, O Lord!
See my affliction from those who hate me,
O you who lift me up from the gates of death,
14 that I may recount all your praises,
that in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in your salvation.

15 The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.
16 The Lord has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah

17 The wicked shall return to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God.

18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

19 Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail;
let the nations be judged before you!
20 Put them in fear, O Lord!
Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah

(Psalm 9)

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