Month: May 2014

2014-05-23 Unity of the Spirit

ACH Study Groups

Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders

7659 Gingerblossom Drive

Citrus Heights, CA 95621

916-722-2501 histbuff@garlic.com

www.ACHStudyGroups.com

May 23, 2014

This is a letter to our friends –

Unity of the Spirit

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy if the vocation

wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one

another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

[Ephesians 4:1-3]

I received a response to my last blog post, “For your pastor”. The blog suggesting that churches invite candidates wishing the votes of their members to attend any Sunday worship service, then be invited forward to introduce themselves, answer a few questions, and ask for support.

It is my view that the church administration would be serving to educate its members as well as extend its positive influence into the local society. Here is the response I mentioned.

Sorry, but I don’t agree this should happen in the church. I don’t want to hear about elections, whose running, etc. in the pulpit. I think we need to be accountable citizens and look into this on our own. It is our reasonability as voters, and not have people try to sway us to their way of voting. I judge my voting by the Bible, and how the person responds to Godly teachings. When I’m in church on Sunday, and want to hear about my Lord, and his word.

This is a view I am sure is shared by many American church goers. Let us forebear one another and endeavor to find unity.

We agree: – We should be accountable citizens; — We should make our choices and judge character, according to Bible principles; — Sunday messages should focus upon the Lord and His word.

Before discussing differences, it is always best to meet on points of agreement. Then endeavor to expand that unity. Think of it as meeting in the middle of a love bridge.

The Bible has much to say about, “love thy neighbor” [Lev 19:18, Mat 19:19, Mat 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27, Rom 13:9, Gal 5:14, James 2:8] Christ summed up the whole Old and New Testament in the simple statement, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself.” [Luke 10:27]

“Love God and love others.” Pretty simple instructions. To “love” is to be unselfish. (See John 3:16). Vertical (love God) and horizontal (love others).

In the Bible, God created and deals through only three human organizations: Family; Church; State (civil-government). “Family” is the building block of any society. “Church” is the vertical relationship between families and God. “State” is the horizontal relationship between families and families.

The Bible gives us rules for governing (i.e. directing, regulating, controlling, restraining) all three of these human organizations. As a matter of fact, I know of nothing God created that is not governed by a set of laws. The “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.

Dr. Jedidiah Morse* describes just such a time in our own history in the following excerpt from an Election Sermon delivered in Charlestown, April 25, 1799, from the Bible text, If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3). Our dangers are of two kinds, those which affect our religion, and those which affect our government. They are, however, so closely allied that they cannot, with propriety, be separated. The foundations which support the interests of Christianity, are also necessary to support a free and equal government like our own. In all those countries where there is little or no religion, or a very gross and corrupt one, as in Mahometan and Pagan countries, there you will find, with scarcely a single exception, arbitrary and tyrannical governments, gross ignorance and wickedness, and deplorable wretchedness among the people.

To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoy. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation, either through unbelief, or the corruption of its doctrines, or the neglect of its institutions; in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom, and approximate the miseries of complete despotism. I hold this to be a truth confirmed by experience. If so, it follows, that all efforts made to destroy the foundations of our holy religion, ultimately tend to the subversion also of our political freedom and happiness. Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them..[1]

2014-05-22 For your pastor

ACH Study Groups

Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders

7659 Gingerblossom Drive

Citrus Heights, CA 95621

916-722-2501 histbuff@garlic.com

www.ACHStudyGroups.com

May 22, 2014

This is a letter to our friends –

For your pastor

Please consider giving a copy of this paper to your pastor – But First – have an attitude check!

“Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant?” [Romans 14:4] God’s shepherds carry an awesome responsibility for the condition of their flock. One day, they must stand all alone at the Lord’s judgment seat and answer for their role as shepherd. Shepherds need our help and encouragement – NOT – criticism and judgment!

Colonial pastors routinely preached “Election Sermons.” Candidates and elected officials would be placed on the front pew and listen to the pastor bring a biblical message outlining the responsibilities and limitations of their office.

Such sermons were printed and published. Today, it is not hard to find copies of election sermons in colonial archives. However; American churches in today’s American culture have little influence, direct or even indirect, with civil-government. There should be no question, that needs correcting.

It appears to me that shepherds have two sorts of problems in “leading.”

· How can they “lead” if the flock does not choose to follow?

· When the flock is already moving, they must rush to the front to be the “leader”.

Many sheep have chosen to shun knowledge and understanding of civil matters. Thus – They choose not to register and vote. I suggest the following solution – –

The county Registrar of Voters can supply the names and addresses of every candidate on the ballot for the church’s address. Issue an open invitation to each one of them, on Church Letterhead: “Introduce yourself to an usher at any Sunday worship service. At the close of the service, you will be invited forward to introduce yourself and ask for support from our members.

Between the Primary and the November election, nominees are desperate for exposure to voters. Many will happily accept such an invitation. They will benefit from a good sermon (!) and the exposure – (Which will include a few questions regarding their and position on issues of interest to the people).

More significantly, seeds of understanding will be planted in the flock. Suppose a few – or even many – churches in an area, did the same thing! Even the smallest congregations will meet those wanting their votes. There is no formal endorsement of any candidate, but there is significant influence, especially over several election cycles, of the church in the community.

2014-05-21 Prayer update – Steve Long – Taiwan

ACH Study Groups

Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders

7659 Gingerblossom Drive

Citrus Heights, CA 95621

916-722-2501 histbuff@garlic.com

www.ACHStudyGroups.com

May 21, 2014

This is a letter to our friends –

You may recall our request for prayer in behalf of Dr. Steve Long.

Steve and his wife, Vicky, lead the campus ministry of international Christian students at Stamford University as well as a major ministry based in Taiwan.

Thank you for your prayers and for God’s grace. Since that first request, Steve has had a number of setbacks and recoveries – thus – I have hesitated sharing an update.

The following message just arrived from Vicky – –

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for your prayers. God is good. Steve is getting his staples out now: 81 staples in the right leg

now they are sterilizing the incision and putting strips on it to give extra holding power. The doctor says Steve can be released on Friday. We will live at the home of church people who are going to Europe on a government assignment. Their home is empty and ready for us. Thanks to God for all His angels who are making this trip more comfortable as we go through the fire!!!!!

Oh – now they are also taking the staples out of his chest incision. 24 staples.

Total of 105 staples – that is a big zipper.

Please continue to pray for us. Counting down till Friday release from the hospital.

Thank you again

Blessings

Steve and Vicky Long

vicky.lynn.long@gmail.com

2014-05-12 A product demands a producer

ACH Study Groups

Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders

7659 Gingerblossom Drive

Citrus Heights, CA 95621

916-722-2501 histbuff@garlic.com

www.ACHStudyGroups.com

May 12, 2014

This is a letter to our friends –

A product demands a producer

Bryan (Christian) College in eastern Tennessee, recently added a clarification to its statement of beliefs:

“We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve, …

They are historical persons created by God in a special formative act,

and not from previously existing life forms.”

It is a sad thing, that such a move created a firestorm of controversy and several professors have chosen to resign.

The original title for this blog post was – “How big is your God?” I believe science and revelation (the Bible) come from the same source and will never be in conflict. Jerry Coyne, a well-known evolutionist professor at the University of Chicago, alleged that the school’s statement flies in the face of “science.” “As soon as you say something about the historicity of Genesis, science education is compromised.” said Coyne.

Well – la-dee-dah! Let us have a look at “historicity1” and “science.” If Professor Coyne’s views of “science education” are accepted, the inspired word of God is compromised!

Let us take anything that exists – a guitar for example. Put all the materials for that guitar into a box (wood, string, glue, lacquer, screws, etc.) and shake it for a very long time. Would we ever get a tuned guitar? Of course not. The existence of the guitar demands that there be a guitar-maker.

Further – By carefully studying the guitar we may discover much about the guitar-maker – perhaps even his name! Thus I conclude this truth from observation and reason: Every product demands and reveals its producer. Random chance (i.e. evolution which denies the hand of God) is an absurd denial of truth. Intelligent design is demanded by the superb complexity and function of every product we choose to investigate.

Which is more reasonable: The first human grew from a primordial ovum – or – a super intelligence designed and created “Adam” from the materials available. How would a fetus survive – vs. – How old did “Adam” appear moments after his creation? Thus, a virtual history was created with these events. The trees in the first garden would have tree rings, the light rays from the newly created heavens would exist at the same instant of the light source creation.

Bottom line, “How big is your God?”

1 Historicity is study of the historical actuality of persons and events … [Wikipedia]

2014-05-09 Is tolerance a good thing

ACH Study Groups

Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders

7659 Gingerblossom Drive

Citrus Heights, CA 95621

916-722-2501 histbuff@garlic.com

www.ACHStudyGroups.com

May 11, 2014

This is a letter to our friends –

Is tolerance a good thing?

“TOL´ERANCE, n. … The power or capacity of enduring; or the act of enduring. … [Little used. But intolerance is in common use.]” [Webster’s 1828 Dictionary]

In 1828 ‘intolerance’ was in common use. Times have changed! Now ‘tolerance’ is supposed to be virtue! Today we are told, “There are no absolutes. Nothing is asolutely right or wrong. We should be tolerant.”

Well – I choose not to tolerate bank robbers, murderers, and those who commit treason against our nation. There is a longer list of things, but you can get the idea – some things are just wrong – absolutely!

If everyone is created free to decide what is right or wrong, how can anyone be absolutely sure of anything? Just try living as though there are no absolutes. Begin by driving the wrong way on a freeway!

Next – We are given the ability to observe and reason. “Even a dumb dog don’t kiss a hot stove twice!” If an event consistently produces good or bad results, we reason it is either right or wrong. Thoughtful observation and reason shows us that there are rules of action to govern everything that exists. Staying within those rules produces growth and peace. Wandering outside those rules produces chaos.

Men are slow learners. It took God 1620 years to make a Pilgrim! In His (God’s) compassion for us, I believe He inspired individuals to write His words in the Bible. Everyone is free to make his own decisions about God and the reliability of Bible teaching. If Bible rules consistently produce good results, we may reason that the rules are right. Not to do so would be foolish.

Your choices are given to you by God. No one has the authority to demand that you choose one way or another. Your choice is your property. Granted: choices have consequences – but – your choice is yours alone! You choose what you will tolerate!

I believe God is doing everything He can to teach you how you were designed to live. That is – To love God and love others. There is, I believe, nothing more He can do without violating your liberty to choose.

The best definition I have found for ‘love’ – To unselfishly want the very best for the loved one. [see John 3:16] Observation and reason tells us that is right. Observation and reason also show us that human nature is not ‘loving’. Selfishness is wrong.

Human nature is prideful, we like for people to agree with us! Sometime we attempt to force people to agree with us. Agreement cannot be forced. Church history has three categories of understanding –

  • Either agree with us, or you are wrong.
  • We have found truth. Let us teach the truth to you.
  • No one has a monopoly on truth, come discover truth with us.

“Agree with us or you are wrong” has caused some bloody wars.

“We have found truth. Let us teach truth to you” I believe defines the “puritan” philosophy.

“No one has a monopoly on truth, come discover truth with us” I believe defines the “pilgrim” philosophy.

William Bradford’s manuscript, “The Plymouth Plantation” describes the planting of the seed of “pilgrim” philosophy in the colonial “puritan” society. That philosophy appears to have spread throughout New England. What appears to me to confuse many historians – Those who adopted the “pilgrim” philosophy retained their “puritan” name tags!

If I tolerate other religious philosophies, it would seem that I have the right not to tolerate them. Rather, every person must be left free to discover and grow his individual relationship with God. That in turn, will determine his relationship with others.

2014-05-04 Steve Long needs our prayers

ACH Study Groups

Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders

7659 Gingerblossom Drive

Citrus Heights, CA 95621

916-722-2501 histbuff@garlic.com

www.ACHStudyGroups.com

May 11, 2014

This is a letter to our friends –

Steve Long needs our prayers

A long-time friend, Steve Long (& wife Vicky – sons Peter& John) with roots in YWAM, is in need of our prayers. Dr. Long leads “International Student Christian Outreach” (ISCO) on the Stanford campus. Steve also leads the “Champions Education Association” ministry in Taiwan. Over there, his ministry is a very big deal for the Lord.

Vicky writes –

Dear Family and Friends,

Shalom, God’s abundant life’s blessings to you today.

It is early morning. I want to update you while I have internet access and before we have a busy day of meetings. I have more info now. Steve had a massive heart attack during the night or early morning of May 1. He was in a friend’s apartment by himself so we still have to wait for Steve to be able to tell us what happened. He did not show up for his university class in the morning. James, his interpreter immediately tried to call him – no answer. So he called another Champions staff, Victor, who lives close to the apartment. Victor immediately went to the apartment. He knocked on the door and Steve was able to come and open it and fall onto the floor asking for 911. Here in Taiwan that is 119. He was unconscious with a trail of vomit from the bedroom to the front door. The ambulance came asap.

The doctors had to defibrillate him 7 times. His heart stopped 3 times during their attempts to revive him. They had to do bi-pass surgery. 7 hours surgery.

I arrived at Taiwan airport at 11pm. His surgery had ended at 9:30pm. I was taken immediately to the ICU to see him and pray for him with several of our Taiwan Champions family, Shirley Wong and Elizabeth. KC was already there. We prayed and then had to go. He has limited visiting.

The doctor said the most critical time has passed. Now he has to stabilize. The problem now is the blood thinners he has been taking for his heart. This is causing him to bleed more. He has tubes in his nose and his mouth and those are very uncomfortable. His leg hurts where they took the vein for the bi-pass. He has sleeping medicine through IV to keep him peaceful and pain medicine too.

It was recommended that I attend our meetings and give the speeches and messages because, I cannot see him. He gets too emotional when he sees visitors and it disrupts his peaceful time of resting and healing. So we have staff who are keeping close watch while he sleeps. I am doing the meetings – a full schedule.

Please pray with us for Steve’s complete healing asap.

Please pray for me to have the ability to do all the meetings and have a very inspiring message from God for everyone.

Peter and John are doing very well at Becky’s home. I am able to skype and talk with them. Please pray for them to be at peace and be able to focus on getting their end of year school testing done well.

Thank you again for your prayer support. It is greatly appreciated.

God is good all the time. He has a purpose and plan for everything. There is a time and a season for all things. We pray that you are in a good season with God Your loving heavenly Father.

Blessings

Vicky

Vicky’s e-dress is vicky.lynn.long@gmail.com I will send updates. Please join us in prayer.

Ben & Fran

2014-05-03 Property

ACH Study Groups

Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders

7659 Gingerblossom Drive

Citrus Heights, CA 95621

916-722-2501 histbuff@garlic.com

www.ACHStudyGroups.com

May 2, 2014

This is a letter to our friends –

Property

“4. The exclusive right of possessing, enjoying and disposing of a thing; ownership. In the beginning of the world, the Creator gave to man dominion over the earth, over the fish of the sea and the fowls of the air, and over every living thing. This is the foundation of man’s property in the earth and in all its productions. …” [Webster’s 1828 Dictionary emphasis is mine]

So, according to Webster – God turned the earth over to man. As if to say, “There, Adam. Everything you need is right there. You and your family are to take care of it, and make a living off of it. Begin by naming all the animals.”

If, as Adam’s kids, we have common ownership of the earth, then why can’t we all get along and do our job? Take for example our mountain cabin a short walk from a beautiful clear brook. That water is free to anyone with thirst. We all hold it in common.

Now, suppose I take a bucket down to the brook and fill it. Then I carry it back to the kitchen counter. The water in the bucket and the water in the brook are the same – chemically – but, there is something mixed into that bucket of water that makes it my “exclusive right of possessing, enjoying, and disposing” – my labor. No one can drink water from the bucket without also drinking my labor.

Who can deny that my labor is my property? I can “rent” my labor to someone in exchange for a pay check. Or I can go into the woods and find an apple tree. The apples are nourishing. Like the brook water, they belong to all of us in common. Must I get everyone’s permission before I use the apples to nourish myself? Not very practical! How then, do I make the apple exclusively mine so that it can nourish my body?

John Locke points out that the apple becomes my property, when I remove from the state in which nature left it. Until I do that, the apple cannot nourish my body. Now suppose I were to gather up all the apples, put them in baskets and store them in my cellar. Kind of selfish, but OK – if I eat all of them. On the other hand, if they rot in my possession, I have violated the rights of others. (I have violated commons.)

I know what I’ll do, I’ll take the apples I don’t eat to the market and exchange them for walnuts that have a longer shelf life! OK – but – What happens when the walnuts begin going bad in my cellar? I will have violated commons.

Back to market with the walnuts while they are still good. This time, I exchange the nuts for little yellow rocks (gold). They have unlimited shelf life. I can take the gold to market and exchange it for whatever I need.

That, my friend, is how wealth is created and you have finished the first lesson in Economics 101! (All built upon a bucket of water!)

There is more.

You have God-given rights to life and liberty. Just as you have God-given rights to your property, you have property in your rights!

What other property have you the “exclusive right of possessing, enjoying and disposing”? Things you cannot remove from the state in which nature left it? Something you, yourself, create from scratch. Like God created the Heavens and the earth – sort of!

How about your thoughts, your desires, your plans, – – your choices! They are your very own creations. Like the rotting apples – If your choices, produce rotten fruit, you are responsible. The consequence your choice produces is “your property”. “When you choose an action, you choose a consequence!” [Harry Conn]

Every person begins life with a conscience. It is his property. He has the “exclusive right of possessing, enjoying and disposing” of his conscience. James Madison, “Father of the Constitution” pointed out that “Conscience is the most sacred of all property.” I would add this admonition, – Guard your conscience with your life! Once you lose your conscience you’re in a world of hurt!

Lastly – Without the principle of private property and the responsibility that goes with it, the tenth Commandment makes no sense. – Don’t covet your neighbor’s community property?

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