I was at a men’s conference last weekend. There were some strong points to the event as well as some points that should have been amended, or even dropped. The conference brought in some musicians from another church in the state, which is fine, but these musicians played mostly songs from their church’s favorite list. They were all into it, the men standing around me were largely quiet, watching the performance.
And that’s what it was. A performance. This was not them leading this gathering of around 500 men in worship. It was them performing their greatest hits for us.
In contrast, the best conference I have been to has been the Shepherd’s Conference at John MacArthur’s church. And that is the best conference that I have attended in every regard, not just the music. But music is the point of this post.
The music at the Shepherd’s Conference is primarily hymns. Hymns were written specifically to be sung by a wide variety of people with a wide variety of vocal ranges, together. So the tunes tend toward simplicity and the words are front and center. There are hymns out there with atrocious theology, yes, but those are not the ones chosen for any conference, or for any church that is worth attending.
It has been probably 15 years since I attended a Shepherd’s Conference and I still fondly recall the few moments when I stopped singing and just listened to all the voices around me, drowning out the accompanying music. It was glorious!
And on to the final days of a person’s life. I recently stepped down as an elder in a local church. I dear old woman was in hospice care and I met with her family and her life group leader in her room. I had to call several churches to find a hymnal that we could borrow, and we gathered together and sang some of her favorites. Some were songs I didn’t know, but I quickly caught up and joined in. That is the power of a simple worship song.
Related: I recently bought this hymnal for my personal use. I suggest any Christian find a hymnal wherever they can. Second hand book stores might have them. Older churches may have some that they could part with. And also look for examples of the Psalter. If you can sing along with your Bible as your Hymnal, so much the better!
This blog is the hub of my online presence. It has been for 18 years, even the years where it took an obvious backseat to other publishing sites like Facebook and Google+. And because of the prominence of this blog as my outward facing avatar, I thought it might not be too bad of an idea to update my readers here on where to find me elsewhere, and I will list them in the order of my preference. So without further ado…
I have really taken a liking to Gab. I joined in response to the censorship by other websites for religious or political reasons, but I repeat myself. Gab has already been crushed by the internet gatekeepers once and returned, stronger and better, purchasing their own servers and acquiring their own tools that were denied to them. Before long, I plan on financially supporting Gab, which isn’t as easy as other sites are since the banks have disallowed them access to credit card transactions. So writing a check like it’s 1985 or using Bitcoin are the best methods. Gab has received some unfair press that may dissuade others from seeing for themselves if it’s a good website. Those who believe everything they hear from the totalitarian leftist media wouldn’t know what to do with the freedom on Gab anyway. The CEO is an outspoken Christian and many of my Christian online friends have also taken to Gab. The way its growing, and the way online freedoms to speak from a biblical mindset are shrinking, you might as well give it a try. And if you do, look me up! Username: CoffeeSwirls.
MeWe is another platform I have tried out and like. It resembles Facebook. For some reason, I can’t find the same traction on this one. I do have a few friends there and am in a few groups. Honestly, I post things there when I remember to. I’ll maintain a presence but there are a few things that annoy me about it. The notifications from group chats and posts are combined, making you think that you have all sorts of interaction when you really don’t. Some conversation in a group chat between a few people that I am not even following can create dozens of notifications for me and I don’t know how to turn that off. Also, the website hasn’t been tested. They say that they are all for free speech, including the assertion that there are only two genders. But what will they do if they get big enough to be noticed and threatened? I can be found here!
Parler got Parlered. That’s a new word that means that they got cancelled on a large scale. I saw potential where I was on there, but almost all of the people on there talked about nothing but politics. I know this was an election year, but enough already! Can it rise from the ashes? I think so. Frankly, I hope they modernize the format and add some functionality to it. Parler wasn’t created to be a conservative leaning website. It was created to be a platform while Twitter is a publisher. It was to be a place of free speech with only the exceptions of illegality and pornography, two things that are rampant on Twitter. If Parler can improve and then return, it may have a future. But during this downtime, many of their users have been going to other websites and will need a good reason to return with the zeal of before. And in a non-election year as well. My username was CoffeeSwirls there as well. Perhaps it will be again.
Twitter is another place I can be found, but I only care about it during the football season. I enjoy getting instant reaction to games and to the NFL draft. And I don’t see Twitter being replaced because most sports writers are totalitarians who see nothing wrong with Twitter’s abuse of anyone to the right of Stalin.
That’s it for now. Gab doesn’t have the algorithms that are on Facebook or Twitter, and it’s the algorithms that put a thumb on the scales. It’s algorithms that are used to control your emotions and even your actions. If you haven’t cancelled Netflix yet, I suggest you watch The Social Dilemma to see why anyone would be opposed to content manipulations for financial or agenda gain. Online platforms are the public squares in our present day. And I can think of no public square I would rather communicate in than Gab.
I am the lamb with seven eyes and seven horns. The lion who roars, calling forth the seven thunders. I know your zeal, the way you have opened your doors to all peoples and ideas, gathering the curious with programs and with emotional messages. You have a history of spreading your message both within your borders and across the world and have not grown weary of sending others to share in my suffering.
But I have this against you. You have decided to resemble the world more than me, and have done this so that your Christian witness might not be hindered! You have withered at infection from without, causing infection from within to set in all the more, disregarding my instruction regarding infectious disease. You have allowed outward appearances to supercede the internal truths spoken from the God who sees the heart.
With all you have been given, shouldn’t much more be required? Have I not made one people from the nations? Haven’t I spoken in a way that you are able to understand? Do you serve me or your local authorities, who also must answer to me? Behold! The master is returning soon, and all of the debts will be reconciled! Your talents will be weighed and measured.
All of this degradation has been championed by those who once measured their growth by love, joy and peace if not by humility and self control. Those who were granted a platform that my people could consume more fulfilling meals but who never used that platform to soften their own hearts or to harden their own feet. There are reasons other than lukewarmness to spit out a drink. These were your champions? May they return to Gath!
Repent of your misdeeds! Repent of your adoption into the world and return to me, if you ever were of me! To the one who overcomes, I will return you to health. I will multiply your joy until it wells up within you and overflows to the nations. Though you must suffer for a little while, your reward will be great.
Editor’s Note: This post is not to be confused with Holy Scripture, nor is it intended to serve as an authoritative instruction to all churches at all times. The letters to the seven churches in Revelation are complete and sufficient. I was only trying to write within the genre in my completely insufficient way.
Acts 17:26-27 ESV And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.
There’s your Christian Nationalism. Groups like The Gospel Coalition are not arguing with people of today, but with Apostles under the inspiration of God. Will there one day be one people made up of every tongue, tribe and NATION? Yes. The consummation is not here. Until then, we call people of other nations our brothers and sisters in Christ, co-heirs of a Kingdom, but not yet of the same Earthly nation.
Hey y’all, alternate social media is hard to start because first you have to get a significant number of people you already know on there. People are generally followers, no offense intended as I’m including myself in the category of “People.” If you’d like to see what else I’ve had to say about social media, I’ll direct you to a previous post where I discussed the full circle concept of social media.
My favorite social media platform of all time will probably always be Google+. Google+ failed primarily because it was launched full scale before it had a core group of users, even though it had more users than Twitter. The advantage that Facebook had then is the same one it has now. You already know lots of people on there. You know more people who are on there than who aren’t. I joined at a time when I desperately needed a new group of friends, and the platform was ideal for that purpose, both locally and widespread.
Just so you know, only roughly 20% of Americans have a Twitter account. I don’t know the ratio for Parler, but the thought police pervading Facebook and Twitter is resulting in a lot of people branching out there. MeWe and Gab have also seen an increase, but for right now Parler is the place to be for true free speech. It is more similar to Twitter than to Facebook and I hope it evolves as it grows. It isn’t as polished as Twitter yet, but it’s improving. If you’d like to give it a try, my handle is CoffeeSwirls. Unexpected, right?
I’ve also been seeing an uptick in users joining MeWe. MeWe feels more like Facebook and has an interesting component to it. It is free to use, but you can upgrade your experience. For a small fee you can unlock night mode, which I am considering. You can also add more emojis, which is crazy because there are already too many. In return, they don’t flood you with all sorts of adds for hair loss formulas and ED pills. But I’m a middle aged dude, so you may get something different. Here is how to find me on MeWe.
In discussions, it has been suggested that I try Gab. Gab doesn’t have an app on the Google store. They say it is because Google disagrees with their free speech. If that is true, why is Parler on the store? I have an account there, but among the new groups it is a distant third, at best. I don’t want a fifth social media account. Frankly, four is more than I want.
I am also a member on a few Discord servers. I have no idea what I’m doing there.
I have no intention of ending my Facebook account. Twitter either. The biggest benefit of Facebook is that my FB account is my login for some other websites. I should probably address that sooner rather than later. I must say that it is refreshing to see other platforms where people can communicate openly without fearing the ban hammer just because some neutral third party has a different agenda. That ban makes both Facebook and Twitter a PUBLISHER, which is another discussion altogether.
Also, neutrality is a myth.
This is true for Fact Checkers, political posts, religious proclamations, jury selections, and governor lockdowns. Everyone enters every decision with presuppositions. To deny this, you must either lie or you must be unaware of your own leanings.
In light of these precedented times and the unprecedented overreactions I thought it would be a good idea to share some guidelines that ought to be universal to all this coming Thanksgiving. I would require that you follow these rules, but I don’t want to enforce them at your home. They are the expectation at my family’s Thanksgiving though.
Pray before the meal. Pray to God in the name of Jesus. Don’t just go around the table and ask what each person is thankful for. Pray and thank the fount of every blessing.
Be a good host. And to do so, ignore the conflicting information coming from the CDC as well as your local lawmakers. We were told masks don’t work. We were later told to wear one, not to protect yourself but everyone around you. Now we are told they protect you as well, even though the CDC said that 85% of the positive cases were from people who wear masks either All or Most of the time. The CDC has been on every side of this and your best response is to ignore them.
If someone shows up in a mask, be kind to them. They know that they will need to remove it if they will be eating anything, making their arrival in a mask purely cosmetic.
If you are invited to someone’s home, don’t show up in a mask. Don’t be that guy. It sends a message that contradicts the very reason you were initially invited.
Gravy is a near-universal condiment. The only exception that comes to mind is dessert. Don’t put gravy on your pumpkin pie.
Don’t talk politics. Just don’t.
Any news program is verboten on this day. I saw my first bit of national news in over a year this last weekend and it was just vile. I took a journalism class in college and these clowns have absolutely none of the objectivity that was restated in every class session. They are in the midst of a historical time that will be dissected by future generations, but all they can do is recite “Orange Man Bad.” Pathetic.
Sigh. The early NFL Games both suck. Texans at Lions? Washington at Cowboys? Ugh. Unless your team is playing, you can get some brownie points with your wife if you tell her you want to focus on just family during them. Don’t tell her why, you dolt! But the late game of Ravens at Steelers is worth watching.
Cranberry sauce is useful. Put some on the white meat. You’re welcome. If you still don’t like it, refer to rule #3.
Are you nervous about ruining the turkey? Buy a couple Costco rotisserie chickens the day before and stick them in the refrigerator. The next morning, put them on the smoker or in the oven at a low temperature. You’re not cooking them again because you bought them cooked. You’re just warming them up and maybe adding a little extra flavor. I smoked them last year and the results were delightful!
Congratulations, you have now entered the Stuffing and Eggnog Season. You have roughly 5 weeks where it’s OK to consume these with every meal. If you aren’t counting carbs, take full advantage! But know that you will pay for these 5 weeks with a gym membership in January, that you will regret before February.
Will the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade be worth watching? I want to say no, but with the lunacy going on it will be a memory to tell your grandchildren as you tell tales about what it was once like to be free.
This blog was founded on me reading the Bible over 365 days and commenting about what I just read. Since then I have read the Bible through before but I haven’t chronicled it on this blog.
Well, that’s not about to change. The plan I started today is a 90 day plan, and there’s simply too much to put into a daily blog post. Creation, Fall, Promise, Noah, Babel, Abram. That’s a lot to shoehorn into one post!
I have completed a 90 day sprint before and I retained much more than expected. If you are looking for a reading plan, I have a few plans and some tips on my Bible Reading Plan page.
Why did I start on a Tuesday in the middle of November? Why not? Do you find yourself with additional time on your hands now that everything fun is either closed or no longer fun? You could start your own project!
The masks have endangered a fundamental aspect of what it means to be human. We can’t behold each other’s uniqueness. We have become colder, less interactive, and distant. Humans were made for fellowship and intimacy. We weren’t made to be muzzled for extended periods of time. We lose the ability to see the smiles and participate together with them. We lose the ability to see the sadness and enter into comfort with it. We have been trained to treat everyone we cross paths with as sickness and disease.
“Stay away!” “Come no closer!” “Do not even breathe in my vicinity!” “Children, walk away around that family! They may be sick!”
We are told that this is all an effort to “love our neighbors.” They even employ the emotion driven tactic of, “What would Jesus do?” That is actually a good question. What would He do?
He wouldn’t lie and pretend He was sick. And He wouldn’t encourage others to do so. He wouldn’t lie and pretend that everyone was sick. And He wouldn’t encourage others to do so.
He wouldn’t hate His neighbors by submitting to tyranny that robs His neighbors of their liberty. He wouldn’t submit to any decrees that destroyed the purpose and order for which He created mankind. He wouldn’t hate his neighbors by lying about the government’s “right” to destroy businesses, property, family savings, and livelihoods over a sickness with an over 99% survival rate.
Jesus, the Creator of humanity, wouldn’t support any decrees that distort the image of God, ruin human relationships, destroy our neighbors lives, and cause incomprehensible damage to our God-ordained face-to-face interaction.
Stop lying about Jesus. Stop tolerating arguments that do. Stop submitting to iniquitous decrees that hate our neighbors. Human beings are not beasts. We weren’t created to be muzzled.
Jeff Durbin wears many hats, and I’ll likely miss one or two here. He is a pastor at Apologia Church, which has as among its ministries Apologia Studios, End Abortion Now, and Red Door Ministry. I suggest you follow him on YouTube as well. Pastors who are willing to stand and speak truth are becoming more rare and I appreciate Pastor Jeff (AKA The Ninja) more and more as time goes on.