Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Don't Try This in Church!

Hmmmm, Jesus uesd a whip to run the money changers out of the temple!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Is it Really Body Art? To Ink Up or Not? Pt. 3

So what does all this mean? Chuck Gerwig is a youth pastor at the conservative Santa Cruz Bible Church in Santa Cruz, Calif. The burly Harley-Davidson riding pastor has worked in ministry for 23 years. He is the founder of, a site devoted to the ink experiences of 17 tattooed Christians. Through his work Gerwig, who sports tattoos and a shaved head, has noticed a “reexamination of faith” among the young with one of the tell-tale signs being tattoo.

“It’s like an outward symbol of the inward truth,” Gerwig said. “For years tattoos were considered wrong. It was considered sinful,” he added. “There’s obviously been a big shift in the culture. This generation, I believe, is asking more questions than prior ones.”

Most important, consider your motives for getting tattooed. Certainly some people do so to rebel against authority; if that’s your reason then you need to go to the cross and receive healing before tattooing. If you are doing it to shock people, refer to previous sentence. But if your motive is for positive and deeply spiritual reasons, then ink up.

SacredInk give these guidelines: Tattoo is a significant life-choice and should be only entered into with a great deal of forethought. Some questions to ask yourself if you are young and considering a tattoo are:
-Am I legally of an age to get a tattoo?
-If I live with my parents, would my parents support my decision?
-Would I be defying the authority God gave my parents over me at my current age?
-Would I still want this particular image when I get older?
-What if my future mate wouldn't like having to see this image for a lifetime?
-Would this tattoo be in an area of my body that would be plainly visible? – Many people do unfairly judge people with tattoos as being “second-class.”
-Would this image bring God glory?
-Do I feel fully convinced that tattoos are allowable for Christians?
If the tattoo will not violate your conscience or others, if it will not cause permanent harm or disease, if it will not harm relationships which you have and if it is symbolic of a Biblical truth which will benefit your relationship with Christ - then I believe that Christians are free to get tattoos. But remember, the butterfly you get now will likely resemble an amorphous blob when your skin succumbs to the stretches and wrinkles of age.

In the end, should we worry too much about how we decorate our exterior as long as we devote our interior to Christ?

BTW, my son didn’t get the tattoo and neither did I! Whew!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is it Really Body Art? To Ink Up or Not? Pt. 2

Ink opponents typically ignore the verse that says God “inscribed” a picture of his people on his palms (Isaiah 49:16, NASB; the AMPLIFIED BIBLE says “tattooed”), and instead ominously quote another Old Testament verse: “You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:28, ESV). Understanding the context of the Leviticus verse, however, is imperative.

God gave this command to the Israelites around 1444 B.C. (right after the parting of the Red Sea) to forbid them from practicing the idolatrous customs they’d picked up in Egyptian captivity. Their captors had a nasty habit of slashing themselves to express grief and to appease their pantheon of imaginary gods. Example, ”So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed.” 1Ki 18:28 NIV

The Egyptians also tattooed their bodies with symbols of pagan gods. So Jehovah, the only true God, essentially said to the Israelites, I don’t want you to practice those silly superstitions anymore. You’re my people, and I love you. The heart of God’s message isn’t about body art, but about reminding the Israelites they belong to him.

These prohibitions seem to relate to pagan religious customs which should be avoided, including pagan mourning rites (vv. 27-28) Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R.B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983–c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary: An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

“Make any cuttings in your flesh” (v:28): the reference here is to the practice of making deep gashes in the skin while mourning the death of a relative. This was done to provide life blood for the spirit of the dead person rather than to express sorrow. On account of the dead: as indicated above, this describes the purpose of all the actions in verse 27 as well as verse 28. P├ęter-Contesse, R., & Ellington. (1992). A handbook on Leviticus. UBS handbooks; Helps for translating (Page 296). New York: United Bible Societies.

Do we today follow God’s original intent for Leviticus? Because if Christians today adhered to the literal application of every moral and ceremonial rule handed down to the Israelites, no one could eat shrimp or cheeseburgers (Leviticus 11); moms would be “unclean” after childbirth (40 days of separation from society after a boy, twice as long after a girl), so new mothers couldn’t go to Beth Moore Bible studies or Curves or book clubs for more than a month (Leviticus 12); menstruating women would have to separate from friends and family for seven days during that time of month (Leviticus 15); no one could wear clothes woven from both linen and wool (Leviticus 19); and everyone who went out to eat after church could merit a possible stoning (Exodus 31).

The great news of the gospel is that Old Testament law no longer binds Christians. Avoiding tattoo parlors or Red Lobster doesn’t make you righteous - Jesus’ death and resurrection do! While you need to remember your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16), you don’t have to let other people’s sense of religious propriety constrain you. However, if our bodies belong to God, we should make sure we have His clear “permission” before we “mark it up” with tattoos or body piercing. An important Scriptural principle on issues of this nature that the Bible does not specifically address is that if there is room for doubt as to whether it pleases God, then it is best to not engage in that activity.

Next post- The Implications

Monday, July 14, 2008

Is it Really Body Art? To Ink Up or Not?

A number of years ago my son Jason asked if he could get a tattoo. Rather than be shocked by his request I was cool and said why didn’t he wait a few years until he was older and if he still wanted one I would get one with him. ‘What did I just say,’ I said silently to myself?

I thought back to the church plant in Scotland I was involved in many years ago, I would watch in amazement as young people would come out of tattoo parlors sporting (showing off) tattoos glowing with vibrant colors! Did they not realize that they would eventually turn a 'darkened black/green not so pretty mark' on their bodies?

In fact, in Bible College, I remember one student who got some of his tattoos removed but not without considerable pain and scaring. Of course, that was before the advent of laser that has now found a new use (according to the ads) among those who don’t want their tattoos anymore.

A pastor friend called me this year and wondered what I thought of staff people having tattoos? Of course I now actually have some that do. I tried to give him some pointers, not sure I helped.

A couple of weeks ago three children’s workers returned to the lodge sporting what looked like actual tattoos, one of them on the calf and the other two had theirs in the small of their backs. They asked me if I was shocked. ‘Of course not,’ I said. Of course I was wondering if the mountain air and altitude had gotten to them and if I was next. (They were henna tattoos that faded off over a brief time) Whew!

And now many are asking about the tattoos of Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Healing revival. Does and can God use an inked body for His glory?

So it is obvious that Christians are now getting tattoos. Many are going through the doors of ‘questionable tattoo parlors’ and allowing others to put their hands on their bodies and ink them. Google this issue, and you’ll see opinions varying from “Go for it!” to “You’ll go to hell for it.” Many Christians as well as Pastors are grappling with the tattoo question.

I have been studying this issue (as any pastor should) having read countless articles, have had numerous discussions (or were they heated debates?) and I have arrived at a peace in my mind about it. I will attempt to put forth some ideas and will give references if I have them or can remember them.

Next post- What does the Bible say about tattoos?

Also, at the end of this series I will tell you whether or not my son and I got tattoos!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wear Yourself Out!

Ex 18:17-18 Moses' father-in-law replied, "What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. NIV

I have run 5 marathons and I am acquainted with hitting the wall. I’ve known first hand the cramping and exhaustion that often occurs. I have experienced the complete physical depletion!

You can imagine my surprise that over the past few months I have arrived at a point of physical depletion – all without running any marathons!

It all started with a few Saturdays on a project at home where I literally exhausted my body. Plus add to that the fact of God moving at the Vine and my praying upwards of an hour for people on numerous Sundays. Then add a trip out of town, stress of meetings, and sleepless nights. What does all this spell- exhaustion!

I hit the wall physically! I wore myself out in spite of knowing Jethro’s counsel to Moses!

An upper respiratory infection running for 4 weeks! Fungus infection in my throat! My immune system compromised! That is the price I am paying for not pacing myself. As a response to all this, my Doctor, my wife, and son put into affect an intervention. I have been confined to my house for rest since Thursday. No work, no tennis; just rest----

I am feeling somewhat better and I hope to preach Sunday- on Ex 18:17-18!

Thanks for praying.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Bridge to Hawaii or Understanding Women?

A man was walking along a California beach and stumbled across an old lamp. He picked it up and rubbed it and out popped a genie.

The genie said, "OK, OK. You released me from the lamp, blah blah blah. This is the fourth time this month and I'm getting a little sick of these wishes so you can forget about getting three. You only get one wish!"

The man sat and thought about it for a while. Finally, he said, "I've always wanted to go to Hawaii but I'm scared to fly and I get very seasick. Could you build me a bridge to Hawaii so I can drive over there to visit?"

The genie laughed loudly and said, "That's impossible. Think of the monumental logistics! How would the supports ever reach the bottom of the Pacific? Think of all the concrete! Think of all the steel! No, think of another wish."

The man said OK, sat back down and tried to think of a really good wish.

Finally, he said, "I've been married and divorced four times. My wives always said that I don't care and that I'm insensitive. So, I wish that I could understand women. I want to know how they feel inside. I want to know what they're thinking when they give me the silent treatment. I want to know why they're crying and know what they really want when they say 'nothing'. Most of all, I want to know how to make them truly happy."

The genie said, "You want that bridge two lanes or four?"

Monday, July 07, 2008

Who's My Neighbor?

A 91-year-old woman who had crawled under her car to look for her keys ended up stuck beneath an axle for two days until her mail carrier noticed letters piling up, police said.

Betty Borowski, of the Milwaukee suburb of Greendale, was found Tuesday and remained in a hospital in critical intensive care Friday, her niece Nancy DiMarco said. The hospital would not give an update on her condition Saturday.

Borowski, who lives alone, became stuck June 29 while looking for her keys; her head apparently got pinned by the axle, Greendale Police Chief Rob Dams said.

"She was pretty well wedged in there," Dams said. "It looks like she crawled under headfirst."

Borowski's mail carrier noticed Tuesday that the previous day's mail was still in her mailbox, police said. He rang the doorbell and then asked a neighbor whether he had seen Borowski lately. He hadn't, so they called police.

Firefighters lifted the car with a jack and removed Borowski, who was dehydrated and confused.

It turned out her keys were in the car door.

Borowski appears to be recovering, DiMarco said, but may have suffered a minor heart attack while under the vehicle.

"If it wasn't for people seeing a situation and following through ... who knows?" she said. "She wouldn't have made it about one more day."

Would you have noticed?

Friday, July 04, 2008


While at the Liberty Fellowship conference this week the presbytery met at the conference. A major change is occurring for me at this time, but let me say straight up that IT DOES NOT INVOLVE MY LEAVING VINE FELLOWSHIP NOR RESIGNING AS PASTOR. Let me give you the details as expressed in a letter sent to LF members by our former Executive Director Jim Darnell (with me in pic):

At our Liberty Fellowship Summer Family Conference at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina I resigned as Executive Director of Liberty Fellowship. I will turn 67years old at the end of August and feel the Lord changing our ministry…

I could not make these changes if Pastor David Kerr had not been willing to become our new Executive Director. God has always been faithful to provide the point man leadership for this Fellowship. When Brother Bill Stamp stepped back from the office of president after many years of service, Danny Tice stepped up to the plate. When Danny resigned God persuaded me to do it for three years. Now the Lord is bringing David into this responsibility.

David Kerr is a man of real character and anointing. He is a good man and a creative leader. I trust him fully. He will do a great job.

What will be my future relationship to the Fellowship? I will continue to be a faithful member attending district meetings and the summer conferences, but not as a presbyter. Beth and I love Liberty Fellowship. I will also continue to oversee those in the fellowship that I have been pastor to for many years. Also, since David Kerr is pastor of a church he will not be able to fulfill all the traveling responsibilities of the Liberty Executive Director. He has asked me to be his traveling arm of the ministry. When he can’t go do a new church building dedication, a local church Bible conference, or a church leadership training session, etc… I will go for him. I made this personal commitment to David and the presbytery.

May God continue to bless you, your family, your ministry and Liberty Fellowship. It has been my honor to serve you. Jim Darnell.

So, there you have it! I have been Administrative Director of LF for a number of years. I assumed the responsibilities of Executive Director this past week. Tammy Barch will be Executive Assistant and carry many of the responsibilities that I previously had. Therefore we need your prayers and God’s grace and abilities to faithfully perform our duties as we continue to serve both Vine Fellowship and Liberty Fellowship!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

News from the NC Mountains-

We are into our third day of Liberty Fellowship Annual Family Conference. It has been awesome! There are not many organizations that attempt a 'Family Conference' anymore because of the logistics, cost, and the hassle of setting up children's and youth ministries to run concurrent to the adult meetings. LF has successfully done this every year since it's beginnings! It really is a conference for the whole family ministering to the whole family.

Mike Cavanaugh is our speaker for this conference. He had flight problems on Monday and was not able to make the first meeting. So, I ended up preaching the first service- God was faithful and showed up and touched the hearts of many people.

Tuesday is always a 'family play day' and families are encouraged to do something together. We had a golf tournament, tennis, white water rafting, kayaking, shopping, eating---- great time had by all.

Mike's main theme Tuesday night was training the next generation. Challenging to us as a fellowship and the changes that are taking place with us right now.

I am up early- 4:15am - planning for the presbytery breakfast mtg, the general meeting, a LF business meeting with all the members, and then my seminar this afternoon on 'How to Handle Rejection in Ministry!' Appreciate your prayers.

And yes, I still remember that tomorrow is my 37th Wedding Anniversary to the most wonderful wife, mother, woman of God that I know on the face of this earth- I love you, Debi!