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Surrendering to Be Free PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Sunday, 11 November 2012 17:13

Apple chrome Logo (from I keep my eyes open for ideas for these bulletins, sometimes it seems more than coincidental that two items cross my social media streams so perfectly to highlight a potential subject. In one case, it was a random tweet that someone I follow must have retweeted combined with a Gawker article where the author explains an electronic wrestling match he had with, of all people, the late Steve Jobs (of Apple fame).

I'm not sure why those two didn't inspire the article the week I ran into them, but luckily I keep a note with sermon and article ideas...and I was reminded of them again today as I scanned through my list of potential topics.

I mean, you really don't want another article connected with the presidential election do you? :-)

First, the tweet. This is what @lanalue wrote (Sorry...I didn't grab a screen capture at the time):

You will only experience the amount of freedom that u are willing to surrender to God.

Hmmm...seems contradictory, doesn't it? How many soldiers would say that they surrendered for freedom? You don't surrender for freedom...since it means (if you aren't just shot) you are going to become a prisoner of war.

Yet @lanalue is telling us that our freedom is directly proportional to our surrender to God (not inversely proportional as we would expect).

So, how can Steve Jobs shed more light on this apparent contradiction?

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A Christian Voter's Guide (2012) PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Friday, 02 November 2012 16:31

Ribbon with the word 'Vote' on itBack in my original "A Christian Voter's Guide," I suggested some basic principles in deciding how to vote:

  • Vote based on your worldview
  • Some issue are so significant they almost dwarf all others
  • You should be fully convinced in your own mind
  • There is a lot at stake when it comes to the direction our country takes

I still stand by all of those (although I recommend you read the original article to better understand their individual applications).

This year, at least in my universe of Christians discussing politics, the most contentious issue is whether a Christian should vote at all. For instance, having both candidates claim to be Christians, but neither likely to actually be, for some, means we should vote "absent" on November 6, 2012. (This is not the only reason given for not voting.)

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Last Updated on Friday, 02 November 2012 20:11
Pick Me! Pick Me! PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Friday, 26 October 2012 16:10

One of the reasons I like being around young children is because their excitement is infectious—even when it is about inconsequential or mundane things. Michelle and I have been blessed by the fact that Augie is especially able to appreciate life's ordinary occurrences. There is no school day where he isn't thrilled to hear the words, "The bus is here" or where an evening meal of noodles doesn't excite him. While the rest of the world is trying to find the next best thing, Augie is enjoying life's smallest and most repetitive events. I will miss when his little-boy, heartfelt "Fanks" disappears, but I suspect it'll be replaced by a grown man's "Thanks"; somehow I can't imagine the contagious glow that permeates his being will ever disappear.

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Righteous Children of God PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Sunday, 09 September 2012 19:13 this point I will allow any of you who consider the subject of proper biblical hermeneutics boring to stop reading this article...

Still there? :-)

Well, for those of you who are braving what could be a really dusty, boring dialogue...get a good shot of coffee and let's dive in!

Of course, you may not even know what the word "hermeneutic" means. My Mac's dictionary is short and sweet, stating it's "a method or theory of interpretation." Giving that topic it's proper attention would take far more than a single bulletin article, but let's go with a couple simple rules that perhaps we can immediately agree upon:

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 September 2012 19:36
The Patience of Sunny PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Sunday, 29 July 2012 18:29

Augie and SunnyThe English language owes much to the Bible, especially the King James translation. Even the most non-religious often use expressions directly from its phrasings or stories—for instance, "the patience of Job."

And Job did seem a pretty patient man. Even though he "was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil"1 (Job 1:1), things went terribly south for him. First he lost his vast riches and all his children, but even in the midst of his grieving we learn that "in all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong" (Job 1:22). Then, with no knowledge of why the former or latter happened to him, he was "struck...with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head: (Job 2:7). His wife then encouraged him to give up his integrity and "Curse God and die" (Job 2:9)...

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Last Updated on Sunday, 29 July 2012 18:39
SDMF and Hell’s Angels PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Sunday, 15 July 2012 21:52

Although I can appreciate almost any style of music that includes a melody, I am especially drawn to tunes with heavy guitars. Over the years, Ozzy Osborne has had a knack for not only putting out songs with great guitars—he also attracts especially talented guitarists. (For those not familiar with Ozzy, he first became famous as the lead singer of Black Sabbath—another guitar-laden band.)

Perhaps Ozzy's most famous guitarist is Rhandy Rhoads, who is considered one of rock's best even though he died at the age of 25 in an airplane accident. Rhandy's death was hard on Ozzy...but life does go on, and Rhandy was ultimately replaced by Jake E. Lee, who was later succeeded by Zakk Wylde.

Which almost gets us to the acronym in this article's title. :-)

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Last Updated on Sunday, 15 July 2012 21:54
What About the Children? PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Sunday, 08 July 2012 12:00

My good friend Winslow reminded me that I had left another article hanging. At the end of "What If'ing the Lord Almighty," which included rather disturbing incidents in the Bible where God's judgment didn't work out so well for children, I wrote:

So, how do I explain how a righteous God has children abandoned, swallowed up by the earth, "devoted to destruction," or drowned?

Although I may posit an answer in a future piece, the space limits of a bulletin article mean that I must leave it as an exercise for you. It is an answer an unbelieving world needs because vocal scoffers attempt to damn our God by bringing up every harsh incident that offends modern sensibilities...

Now, I will admit that I left myself enough wiggle room ("I may posit") that I didn't necessarily intend to do a follow-up. Was it a cop out? Maybe. However, after a game of phone tag with Winslow which included a voice mail message asking I finish what I started...well, here goes.

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