Monday, December 29, 2003

World's Horniest Man

I saw this link the other day. It is a PG link to the world's horniest man. It is one of the best links I have seen in a while.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

This Year's Annual Christmas Exam

In the effort to strive towards technological supremacy, this year's Chistmas exam will be given via the internet. Please take the exam and grade yourself.

Have a great weekend,

The Simple Life

My family has been captivated by the Fox series The Simple Life. We have found it very entertaining. The show was designed to depict 2 spoiled rich "California Brats" that will leave all their credit cards, money, and trappings of bratdom home and live on an Arkansas farm for 5 weeks. It is a great concept for a TV show.

We only have one problem with it. "The Brats" (Paris Hilton and Nicole Richey) are not the only ones making a mess of themselves. The small Arkansas town of Altus is trying to accept these ladies for who they are, but each week it is becoming more evident that they can't. "The Brats" are acting more and more horrible each week, but so is the town. Not only do "The Brats" have a difficult time adjusting to "Country Life", but the town is having a difficult time adjusting to "The Brats." The town stoops down to cater to them like they are celebrities (which ultimately leads to the girls stepping all over the townsfolk) and the result is that the girls do whatever they want and the town picks up the pieces.

A case in point is the episode when the town's Mayor tries to capitalize on "The Brats" celebrity stardom by having them man the town fair's "Kissing Booth". It starts off good, but after a while "The Brats" discover that they can have more fun by having the town's young men stop paying to kiss them on the cheek and start paying to kiss them on the butt. The Mayor and many of the older ladies of the town are upset. But, this is just symbolic of what the whole town is doing to "The Brats". The older ladies of the town are treating "The Brats" like celebrities and kissing their butts throughout the show, but only in a symbolic way, not out in public. They act one way to the girls in public and another way in private when the girls are not around.

I believe this comes from from the short-term nature of the show. If the girls were to live there for a year or more they would have a much more difficult, but more meaningful time adjusting to the town and the town would adjust better to the girls. Right now though they both understand that this is a short-term arrangement and that all they have to do is tolerate each other for a few more weeks and it will be over. There is no incentive for either the town or the girls to change and adapt in the short-term. My main beef is that this show is very entertaining, but at the expense of many normal people. The simple Life makes "Country Living" look demeaning. "Country Life" is a life of fulfilling responsibilities, sticking to something through completion, and commitment. I fiind this show lacks all three.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

The Emerging Church

I found a new website for the Emerging Church that looks promising. It is called emergingchurch.Info and is located here. I will add it to the links side of the weblog. It makes for some great reading.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Can We Let Saddam Hussein Receive a Fair Trial?

Now that we have captured Saddam Hussein it is time for us to show our character as a country. What do we stand for? Do we really stand for freedom, or do we only want freedom when we can control it? These questions will play out over the next few months as the capture of Saddam and subsequent trial become top headlines. Who's prisoner is Saddam, the United States', Iraq's, the United Nations', or some other entity.

It is my belief that although Saddam is one of the most hated people here in the United States, he is really an Iraqi prisoner and the Iraqi governing council, or their replacement, should completely decide Saddam's fate. He has been our thorne in the side, but the Iraqi people have put up with him much longer than we have. Let the Iraqi system of justice run its course, and if the Iraqis decide to execute him, let it be. But, we also have to be prepared for the Iraqis to decide to let him go (I don't think that will happen, but we must be ready if it does). If that is the Iraqi decision, let it be. As much as it might pain us this is really an Iraqi decision, and we should be willing to stand beside them when they make it.

We have meddled in Iraqi internal affairs for quite some time now, and I think that once the country gets back on their feet we should allow them to function without our constant meddling.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Clinging to Worthless Idols

I spent last night watching the rehearsal for our church's Christmas production. It looks good so far. We have some really talented prople in our church family who go all out for Christmas. We normally put on a big production over the course of about 2 or 3 days. But why do we only do this at Christmas and Easter? I know those are the big 2 holidays for Christians, but we serve a risen and living Savior who deserves our best each and every day.

I came across one of my favorite verses again on Friday as I was prepping for Sunday Morning Bible Study. It is one of those verses that sticks with you for a long time and has meanings that continue to change over time for me. It is Jonah 2:8. After Jonah has run from the Lord he is in the belly of the big fish and has a time of reflection on his service to the Lord. It is an incredible commentary on today's Christian life. The verse says,

"Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs."

How many times in our lives do we give up what God's best is for us only because we want to cling to those things we have control over? I am convinced that many of us don't have vibrant Christian lives because we refuse to let go of all those things in our life and let God take control. By doing that we give up what God's best is for us. It is a sad commentary about who we give control to in our lives. In this case we want to maintain control ourselves. Jonah was a prophet, a man dedicated to the calling of God, and it took him spending 3 days in the belly of a big fish for him to get it. What does it take for us to get it?

Monday, December 08, 2003

Old Friends

Linked up with another old CVHS friend Mark Illuminate. I have been E-Mailing Mark back and forth for the last couple of months. He is a super brother in the Lord and is enjoying the Christmas season. We got reaquainted through the CV Alumni website. It was great to hear from Mark. Mark is meeting another old CVHS/UCLA friend John Brackenridge tonight for dinner. It would sure be fun to be there.
Sunday is a Busy Day

Had a great, but busy day yesterday. I woke up early (6:00) to get ready for my 9:45 Sunday Morning Bible Study. We were studying Jonah 1:1-2:9. What a great passage that I think is a good example for us because we all run from the Lord occasionally. It was very applicable to our Christian walk. The Bible Study teacher at the 11:00 hour was absent, so I spent a second hour teaching another Collegiate Class. It was awesome to be able to spend some time with them. I hope to spend more time with the 11:00 class over the next couple of months. Both hours have some very bright students that helped me learn a lot about Jonah’s book yesterday.

Next week we will be studying Jonah 2:10-3:10 on Sunday morning. Should be another fund study!

Finished up the day by attending the 6:00 evening service. Bethany and the children's choirs sang during the service. They were great. I wish we could get Matthew interested in singiing in the choir. He will probably try to play his French Horn in the church Orchestra next year.

Friday, December 05, 2003

I guess it is time to start blogging again!

I'm sorry I ahve been gone for a while, but I lost the flame for a bit and now I'm back burning brightly again.

I was browsing through the Alumni Page of my high school class. I came across a couple of old friends. When I was in 3rd or 4th grade my Barber was George Bardic. His daughter Debbie and I went to school together at Fremont Elementary in Glendale, California, and Rosemont Junior High School and Crescenta Valley High School in La Crescenta, California. The other day I was thinking about George cutting my hair and it led me to think about Debbie. I wondered what happened to her. I don't remember her being in the Alumni Page, but I went back and checked again and there she was. She has a website that is a hoot. It is located here. Just click on the Roadster and you can enter Debbie's world. She hasn't changed much. She is still the wild thing I remember.

Since I put my write up into the Alumni Page I have linked up with Mark Illuminate, Steve Atkinson, and Mike Murray. They were all three good friends that I have had lots of good times with over the course of growing up.


Thursday, September 11, 2003

Marilyn has been doing better the last week or so. She went back to work on Tuesday and today is her second day back. She keeps getting stronger each day. She comes home and crashes after work, but that is OK with me as long as she is still doing fine.
Today marks the second anniversary of 9/11. I don't want to be like everyone else and do a tribute to those who died or suvrvived the attack. All I want to say is that it has forever changed my country and my world. I will keep all those affected in my prayers.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Sunday Morning Bible Study this week was OK. I think the new curriculum is a little too basic. It would make for a great discipleship course, designed to lead someone through the basics of the Christian life, but for students who have grown up in the church it is very basic and not real challenging. I believe that tells us where the church is right now. It is in a maintenance phase instead of a building phase. We need to regain the fire for reaching the lost. We need to explore meeting the lost where they live and play. We haven't been effective in reaching the lost becaues we expect them to come to us. We need to go to them.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Well, yesterday was an interesting day. I had lunch with Larry Richmond, Executive Pastor at our church. I told him about my calling to plant a church in the local area targeted to collegiate/postmodern/net generations. He was very surprized, but very supportive. He told me that the future looks promising. One of the local churches is dissolving and they are giving the building to our church. It is next to McKendree College, the local liberal arts college (a Methodist one) with a large Christian student population. Larry asked me if I would be interested in taking that church over and targeting the audience I wanted. I told him I was very interested. Anyhow, he will do some researching and get back with me next week. The Lord continues to bless me when I don't expect it.

We serve a great God!

Rick Marshall

Friday, August 29, 2003

Well, another day goes by. Marilyn is doing much better this week. Se came home from the hospital last Friday, and is still weak and tiring easily, but doing better every day. She went to the doctor for a follow up exam yesterday and he tweaked her medicine a little bit. What she was taking for the last week was keeping her from sleeping well at night. She slept pretty well last night and woke up this morning rested and rearing to go. It is good to see her feeling good again!

Monday, August 25, 2003

It was a long, difficult week last week. My wife Marilyn was not feeling good on Tuesday evening, so around 1:30 in the morning on Wednesday I took her to the hospital emergency room. They said that she had had a heart attack and was suffereing from congestive heart failure. The doctors were a little stumped when it came down to why she was having a heart attack. Neither Marilyn or I smoke or drink and we both eat pretty healthy, and we are only 29+ years old. So, they didn't have a clue why she had had the heart attack.

Wednesday was a day full of tests for Marilyn. She had a CAT Scan, X-Rays, an Ultrasound of her veins/arteries, all with no help as to the reason she was sick. When Marilyn was being transferred from her hospital bed to a gurney for her X-Rays she passed out. When she woke up there were 13 people towering over her, the crash cart was there, and they were getting the difibrulation paddles ready to zap her heart back to life. When she woke up just before the paddles were ready it scared her enough to wake her up very quickly. The doctors said she was pretty much dead for a minute and a half to two minutes.

Marilyn had one of those near-death (or in her case death) experiences. As a Christian it was very nice and peaceful for her. It was so nice that she didn't want to return. What a difference it makes when you know where you will spend eternity. I think if she had not been a Christian it would have scared Jesus right into her! She has a great testimony of what it feels like to be in God's presence!

Thursday Marilyn had a heart catherization (a dinky wire with a mini television camera on the end of it) inserted into her heart to show the doctors pictures of what her heart looks like. No blockage, no problems with arteries or veins, only some detection of some heart damage caused by the heart attack. But unfortunately, no information to help us determinwe why.

It all comes down to the doctors giving us their best guess. Marilyn had some surgery in June that they think may have triggered a blood clot that blocked one of her veins bringing blood to her heart. When they thinned her blood down to try to reduce her blood pressure in the emergency room it might have dissolved the blood clot. There is no trace of a clot now.

So, we had a very exciting week and weekend. Marilyn feels better each day that goes on, and is getting stronger as time goes by. Hopefully, we can get her back to her good young self sometime very soon.

1 Corinthians 15:40:
There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Looking forward to teaching James Chapter 3 this week in Sunday School. We are reorgainzing Sunday School and moving our classroom around to the other side of the church, but there seems to be a lot of inertia right now and things are going OK.


Thursday, August 14, 2003

I received a phone call from my wife today that my 9 year old daughter Bethany wants to be baptized on Sunday. Awesome! We talked it over with the Pastor of our church and he agreed. So, Sunday it is! Bethany has wanted to be baptized for a year or so now, but we wanted it to be something she will remember. I think she is old enough to understand the implications of being baptized into Christ's life, death, and resurrection. She is a very mature 9 years old and it very much in tune with the Lord at such a young age. The timing is great too. Bethany's Grandmother Shirley is flying in from California on Saturday for 3 weeks. She will be thrilled to see Bethany baptized on Sunday.

My 11 year old son Matthew is also in tune with the Lord, but thinks that being baptized is "too embarrassing" of a thing to go through. He will come around some day soon. He knows the Lord intimately in his life and will understand the significance of baptism in a short time. Hopefully, Bethany's baptism on Sunday will serve to inspire him to want to make that public display of commitment to follow the Lord through baptism.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Women as ordained Pastors

Jordon Cooper has a very good doctrinal statement on the Bible's position of women in the ministry in the Lakeland Church webpage. I know in my heart that women are created equal in God's eyes, and am looking for doctrinal help from people like Jordon. I grew up in an environment that taught women are not to be ordained as pastors, they can only serve in positions where they don't teach and have authority over men (read Children's Ministry). I have been looking for scriptural documentation to counter this teaching. I believe Jordon's doctrinal statement goes a long way to help me see beyond my culturally influenced eyes.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Hello everyone.

Well, I have decided to make a commitment for once in my life. I am not going to straddle the fence any longer. I am tired of being active in church, teaching Sunday School, and following someone else’s lead on how they think our relationship with Jesus Christ should look, feel, smell, and sound. So, I feel the Lord calling me to plant a new style of church in the St Louis Metro East area. It will be different, and I even hesitate to call it a church. Most people consider the word Church to be a verb, but I think it should be a noun. I think this concept will force me to stop calling Sunday services church and start calling it a gathering point for believers. In fact, we’ll call it The Point.

I am convinced many people have blurred the concept of going to church with their personal relationship with the Lord. It is important to fellowship with other believers, and to gather as a “Body of Christ”, but to gather as a corporate body just because we feel we should be gathering is not what I believe Christ wanted us to do when He commanded us in Mark 16:15 to, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. We will strive to redefine the relational, personal meanings of what it means to worship the Lord, spread the gospel, feed the flock, and commune with God.

Let me set forth some basic, primary beliefs that will help embrace the concepts of The Point:

1) We believe that there is one living and true God, eternally existing in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory; that this triune God created all, upholds all and governs all.

2) We believe in God the Father: an infinite, personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love; that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of mankind; that He hears and answers prayer; and that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ.

3) We believe in Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit. We believe in His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, and teachings, His substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, bodily ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for His people and personal, visible return to earth.

4) We believe that all people are sinners by nature and choice and therefore under condemnation, that God regenerates by the Holy Spirit those repenting of their sins and confessing Jesus Christ as Lord; that Jesus Christ baptizes the seeking believer with the Holy Spirit and power for service. often subsequent to regeneration.

5) We are a Bible based gathering. We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, fully inspired without error in the original manuscripts, and the infallible rule of faith and practice. Our teaching will come out of the Word of God. We will use supportive texts, but the primary message is God’s written Word. It is endless, timeless, unchanging, and applicable to our every day lives. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. As Christians living in a postmodern world, the Bible serves as our plumbline, or our guide for living. God’s Word is the only truth that endures forever. Isaiah 40:8 says, the grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever. The Word of God, through the Holy Spirit and God’s perfect timing, will provide us with insight and application in our daily lives.

6) We believe in the universal church, the living spiritual body of which Christ is the head and all regenerated persons are members. As such, our desire is to take our ability to worship to a new level. Worship is a two way process of communicating with the Lord. We worship and adore Jesus Christ for who He is, so our worship must flow out of our desire to elevate Him to His place of prominence as the Lord of Creation. At the same time worship provides us an opportunity for us to look inwardly and savor our individual personal relationship with the Lord. We are only meaningless specks on the horizon of time, but somehow the timeless Creator of the Universe believes that we are important and has chosen us to have a relationship with Him. These concepts should be the inspiration behind all that we do whether it be music, media, drama, message, and fellowship.

7) We believe in the Holy Spirit. He was sent by the Father and Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify and empower for ministry all who believe in Christ; We believe the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ and He is an abiding Helper, teacher and guide. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit and in the exercise of all the Biblical gifts of the Spirit.

8) We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ committed two Ordinances to the Church: (1) baptism and (2) the Lord's Supper. We believe in baptism by immersion and communion open to all believers.

9) We believe in the personal, visible return of Christ to earth and the establishment of His Kingdom; in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment and eternal blessing of the righteous and endless suffering of the wicked.

10) The Point is a non-denominational fellowship of believers. Our desire is to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior and to be conformed into His image by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said: Learn of Me

Therefore: Our services are designed with great emphasis on the teaching of the Word of God that He might instruct us on how to live our daily lives.

Jesus said: You must worship God in Spirit and truth

Therefore: We give great place to worship in our service and desire to remain yielded to the Holy Spirit, in order that He may guide us into true worship.

Jesus said: Men ought always to pray

Therefore: We encourage everyone to fellowship daily with God through prayer that we might be filled with the fullness of His love and power.

We believe that the true basis for Christian fellowship is God's (AGAPE) love. We believe in expressing that love one to another.

Please come back for more information. I will be posting here frequently.

Take risks and live for the Lord,

Rick Marshall