Back in the 70s, The Ghoul was a cult hero to many of us in the Metro Detroit area with his late night shenanigans and cheesy B horror films. For those old enough to remember and appreciate him, every Saturday night was a special event for those of us who had a very special sense of humor. We would tune in the Ghoul's show late at night for a couple of hours of unscripted craziness and harmless fun. There was no telling what the Ghoul might say, do, or blowup, and nobody wanted to miss one minute of his chaotic comedic shtick. In an era when television was breaking old formulaic entertainment molds, the Ghoul tossed caution to the wind and embarked on a long and somewhat prosperous and famous journey from Cleveland to Detroit and then back to Cleveland. Whether it was interrupting the horrible horror movies he regularly showed or lampooning homemade movies his audience sent in, the Ghoul thoroughly enjoyed every minute of his whacked out television gig!
What made the Ghoul so popular with many of his fans was his zest for doing the show and his ability to find humor in anything and everything! There was NOTHING the Ghoul would not make good nature fun of or joke about. His show's set was nothing more than a toilet surrounded by three or four sheets of plywood decorated with hand-drawn pictures viewers sent in or posters of rock groups that were currently popular.
While thinking about the Ghoul and his nutty personality, I wondered how many Christians have lost their zest for serving and worshiping God over the years? How many believers have started out on their walk with Christ with a passion and inspiration of commitment, only to become bogged down by the cares and lust of life?
"The joy of the Lord is our strength!"
and Psalm 28:7 says:
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; me heart trust in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him."
May we continually find joy and strength in the Lord our God each and every moment of the day. May our spiritual vitality return to the point where we first set out in our walk with Jesus. May we reignite our initial excitement and allow the Holy Spirit to lead and direct us in ways we never imagined as we strive to win the lost and impact the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And in the infamous words of the Ghoul himself, "Hey group, stay sick, turn blue, scratch glass, climb walls, but don't get caught, Overdey!"
On October 19th in Zanesville, Ohio, a local zany decided that he had enough of life's troubles and decided to check out permanently. Prior to check out time, he released into the surrounding area of his home an assortment of wild game animals that he owned, raised, and kept on his "farm" compound. He had been raising these animals for many years and was known to local neighbors as somewhat of a troubled individual, but as one who devoted his life to his love of animals, high power assault riffles, and not paying taxes to Uncle Sam! You gotta love this guy!
In his group of "pet" animals that he raised were lions and tigers and bears! (Oh my!) Also included in this assortment of carnivorous, cantankerous, carousing, colossal, eclectic collection of meandering behemoths were some animals of the "more milder sorts" - wolves, baboons, leopards, camels, monkeys, and cheetahs. These animals were seen roaming the local area as police authorities quickly descended on the newly-released, dangerous horde. Residents and motorists were advised to stay clear of the area until the animals could be captured or "put down"!
After many hours of tracking these released animals by the police authorities, the vast majority of the animals had been reunited with their previous owner. Grizzly shots of dead grizzly bears, lions, and Bengal tigers filled news sites and airwaves, provoking outrage and debate between animal lovers and human lovers. The animals that were killed included 18 tigers, nine male lions, eight female lions, six black bears, three mountain lions, two grizzly bears, one baboon, and two wolves (And a partridge in a pear tree)! There were a few animals that were caught and taken to the Columbus Zoo.
On the more serious side, the release of these wild animals serves as an example and a dire warning to all of us Christians about the release and unimpeded roaming of "dangerous ideas" in our world. "Dangerous ideas" can be defined as an idea that clearly contradicts clear Biblical teaching or presuppositions. For example, the idea of evolution states that all things came from a fortuitous combination of inorganic material billions of years ago. On the other hand, the Bible clearly teaches that all things are a direct result of a creative act of a personal God. One of these ideas is definitely wrong while the other is absolutely true. The two different ideas will spawn other related ideas that will determine how we view and live all of our lives. "Dangerous ideas" such as humanism, materialism, communism, Islam, socialism, multiculturalism, tolerance, secularism, and a host of other false worldviews and religious ideas have been released upon mankind like a plague of Egypt and are now destroying more lives than all the wild animals released in Zanesville could ever accomplish in a thousand lifetimes.
Read the following story taken from The Journal of Summit Ministries about "wild animal thinking" running amok England - an idea that is gaining large strongholds in the United States:
During the 1970's, I was a primary school teacher in inner London and fully subscribed to the prevailing philosophy of "multiculturalism". I believed then that children from immigrant families would perform better scholastically if their own culture were promoted in the classroom, making them feel proud rather than ashamed of their parent's background. But I gradually became aware of the disastrous consequences for our society of what has become an ideology. Education ought to have played an important part in the assimilation of the children of immigrants into the mainstream British culture. But something has gone drastically wrong. assimilation is no longer considered a respectable social policy. Multiculturalism and bilingualism have been the fashion for thirty years. The notion that one could actively encourage integrated individuals subscribing to a minimum of common core values is now condemned as chauvinism, racism, cultural imperialism, or even cultural genocide.
Multiculturalism is based on some fundamental misconceptions. First, there is the erroneous and sentimental belief that all cultures, deep down, have the same values, or, if these values are different, that they are all equally worthy of respect. Multiculturalism, being the product of relativism, is incapable of criticizing cultures, of making cross-cultural judgments; it emphasizes differences but fails to teach immigrants allegiance to common values or even to the country that has received them with such generosity. Furthermore, the truth is that not all cultures have the same values, and not all values are worthy of respect. There is nothing sacrosanct about customs or cultural traditions; they can change under criticism. After all, the secularist values of the West are not much more than two hundred years old.
Respect for other cultures, for other values than our own, is a hallmark of a civilized attitude. But if these other values are destructive of our own cherished values, are we not justified in fighting them by intellectual means - that is, by reason and argument and criticism - and by legal means - by making sure the laws and constitution of the country are respected by all? While religious beliefs are to be tolerated, religious practices and institutions must not automatically or necessarily be accorded the same freedom if they conflict with the law or constitution of the wider state.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish argumentsand every pretensionthat sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Like the police authorities in Zanesville, Ohio and the former teacher in the United Kingdom, we must see the terrifying consequences these dangerous worldly ideas and arguments pose and develop a plan and a strategy for their capture, incapacitation, and final destruction with a zealous godly determination! The more time that is wasted in debating among ourselves as how to deal with these "wild animals" or ignoring their potential effects, the more freedom these animals gain and the more destruction they will impose. It will also be harder to ultimately hunt them down and provide safety for those in their path.
Let us not fear these "lions and tigers and bears" we may encounter in the world's way of thinking, but may we courageously face them with the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and the power of the Holy Spirit at our disposal! We can not allow these "animals" to continually run free. They must be hunted down and exterminated with due diligence. Lion and tigers and bears - BEWARE!
Stay Holy, My Friends!
1. Ibn Warraq, Academic Questions, Spring 2011, p. 15-16.
One thing that I have learned over the years by watching The Three Stooges is that they ALWAYS KNOW what they want! It may be money, a job, helping some unfortunate soul accomplish something, or attracting some beautiful women to marry them, but they are always in agreement with each other over their ultimate goals. Although they fail the majority of time to obtain what they want, they put in a good effort and try their hardest, even if it means getting slapped by Moe for their impetuous behavior. In the short video above, Larry knows what he wants. He asks for one of Professor Nickel's daughters by asking the professor, "Brother, can you spare a nickle?"!
Recently, Wall Street - as well as several major cities - has been besieged by numerous people from all over the country who have decided that they are going to protest until they receive an acceptable answer to their grievances. The only problem with almost all these protesters is that they have no real idea what they are protesting in the first place and they are not united in their complaints. Some are convinced that capitalism must be abolished while others are yelling incoherently about social justice! Others are demanding justice for Troy David, support for Iran, prosecution of those involved with corporate greed, elimination of debt on students loans, a violent left-wing revolutionary coup of the United States government, and a host of other far-left wing political causes. One blogging protester went so far as to say that the protest is not a protest at all but a "church of dissent" for all those who want to dissent about something!
I would like to dissent from all those who are dissenting! If I do not dissent from those who are dissenting then I am really part of the dissenting status quo! Since I DO NOT want to be part of the dissenting status quo, I must dissent from the dissenters and protest and dissent their uniformed and undirected protesting! I'm sure many others who have NO idea what these people want, feel the same way that I do!
The following is taken from a blog by Matt Stoller, former senior policy advisor to Rep. Alan Grayson and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute:
But I think there’s something to add about what exactly this protest is, what it is doing, and most of all, what the people there “want.” They don’t have a formal list of demands.
What these people are doing is building, for lack of a better word, a church of dissent. It’s not a march, though marches are spinning off of the campground. It’s not even a protest, really. It is a group of people, gathered together, to create a public space-seeking meaning in their culture. They are asserting, together, to each other and to themselves, “we matter.”
Huh! Got That? "We matter"! "They are asserting, together, to each other and to themselves, "we matter!" What in the world does that mean! Does it mean that evolution is true and that everyone is really just "matter" so we matter? Or does it mean that "matter" means they are "madder" than everyone else? Or could it possibly be the new name of the "church of dissent" We Matter? We matter for what? Every cause under the sun or no real major cause in particular? What is it that you really want! We can't help you if we, or you, do not know!
Like these energetic, unorganized, uniformed and unkempt protesters, most of the modern day church suffers from the same madness these protesters do. It doesn't know what it truly wants! Some in the church want acceptance of all people no matter what their individual beliefs are. Others only want those who achieve a high moral standard, like themselves, and separate themselves from all the "ungodly" worldly things. Then there are others who ask not what they can do for the church, but what the church can do for them or their children. When the church loses its focus from the main objective and becomes preoccupied with personal agendas, the church becomes "Balkanized" and marginalized in its impart in the culture.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Our main objective is the conversion of the world and the discipling of all nations in the teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Applying his teaching to ALL areas of life will bring about a transformation - the likes of which the world has never seen. To allow ourselves to be sidetracked from the main mission is to be brother to him who destroys.
One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.
May we continually stay focused on the fulfillment of our mission. May we not be like the Wall Street Occupiers who are scattered in their viewpoints, unorganized in their mission, and don't really know corporately what they want! May we know what we truly want, when like Larry Fine asks, "Brother, can you spare a nickel?"
Last Wednesday, Downriver Christian Community Church hosted its annual Ministerial Appreciation Dinner at the Red Fawn in Allen Park. This dinner is celebrated once a year in appreciation for all the members of Downriver Christian Community Church who have volunteered in the numerous ministerial roles contained within the church. Since the church is involved in many ministries both within and outside the church, the dinner was well attended. The food at the dinner was outstanding, and the fellowship very enjoyable and uplifting. It is not often that almost the entire church body is able to join together, sit down, eat together, and just hang out with others from the church body in good Christian fellowship. In speaking with many people who attended the dinner, it was a very good time for one and all.
As I thought about the different ministries and the people involved with them, I thought about Paul's exhortation to the Colossians in chapter 3 that "whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man." I know that the many members at DCCC take this verse personally and go way beyond the challenge it gives. It is my pleasure to see the enthusiasm of God's people in the volunteer work they perform as well as the results obtained.
There are many churches in the world today where the mind set is short-term with no long-term vision in mind either for their church, lives, culture, or the world. There are numerous reasons why this condition exists in these churches, but the main overriding reasons are that most of these people have been taught an "escapist" or "world is going to hell" doctrine. With so many modern day pastors and teachers preaching the soon coming end of the world or a supposed "Biblically predicted" continued decline in morality and world conditions, is it any wonder the modern church has lost, in most cases, any type of society reforming or cultural leading vision? Most churches have just hunkered down within the four walls of their churches waiting for the dreaded end to come. Is this type of thinking and preaching even Biblical? Without getting into a long response to that question, let me just say that the end results of this kind of mind set have helped produced the stagnant, obscene, rotting, and poisoning culture that we see in our world today.
John M. Richardson once said, "When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened!" Instead of having a vision of and building for permanence for a future generation, many Christian leaders and people have developed a "trailer-park mentality" where our service to God is cheap, shoddy, short sighted, and temporary. Instead of being trail blazers and boldly facing and forging a future with hope and confidence by leaving a legacy and an inheritance for future generations, we offer to God and future generations, services for which Malachi rebuked the Israelites - cheap, worthless and not worth much of anything!
We have been called by God to present the very best to him as our spiritual act of worship and this includes EVERYTHING in our lives. When we neglect Bible study, prayer, fellowship, giving, fasting, evangelism, teaching, visitation of the poor and sick on a constant basis, or constantly complain that things don't go like we would want, we can't help but build a future for others upon a foundation of sand with building materials of wood, hay and stubble. Instead of visualizing and planning for a great future for mankind in Christ Jesus, we turn the responsibility over to those who do have a vision and plan for the future no matter how corrupt and anti-christian it is. Eventually, when their vision and plans come to fruition, we'll wonder what happened and how did things ever got into the awful conditions that we find ourselves in. We'll have no one else to blame but ourselves and our impotent "trailer park" brand of Christianity!
At Downriver Christian Community Church, we will continue to offer our services to God with every ounce of strength we have, never settling for second best or offering to him something inferior! We will have a vision for and build toward permanence with excellence as our standard, always mindful of who we are building for. May we never settle for a "trailer park mind set," satisfied with living below the spiritual poverty line with no intention in improving ours or others lot in life, but may we continue to strive for a mind, will, and culture set on glorifying God now and forever!