Thursday, August 31, 2006

A door or a fence...

I realized today that for some people in my life, I have been a door and for some I have been a fence.

My desire would be that my influence, friendship, parenting, spiritual leadership would open up people to the kingdom of God and most importantly the King of the kingdom. But for some people they could not see that door but were only retrained by me. My life was a fence and not a door. I kept them from something instead of becoming a doorway to something. The mystery of all that is that the person often determines what I am by who they are. For some I become a door that leads to life and for others I am merely a fence that they see as a barrier to something they think they need. When I am out of the is the fence....and the dog runs wild.

Sometimes we pray to be a door but are only a fence and at other times we think we are a fence and in reality we are a often depends on what path the traveller is on and at what given point of their journey they are on.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bob Dylan video: When the deal goes down

This Bob Dylan video from his new cd is really good. It's rich in texture like an old home movie your grandparents would have made, it evokes memories, places and people. It will hit an older generation more because of the images used but I still wept. Plus Scarlett is a modern Marilyn Monroe which doesn't hurt the video either...great style, the director is a master at evoking emotion through capturing a moment we all have been within. Plus Dylan always gets me for some the way...15 minutes till I buy my concert tickets...the iTunes pre-public sale goes on at 10am, Yippeee!

Scarlett & Dylan video

Monday, August 28, 2006

Our first wedding in the community....

I had the privilege of performing the wedding of a couple that lives above our church this last weekend. Dan and Marsha have become new friends of ours since we moved into their building. Dan asked me a few months ago if I would marry them and have the reception at the church, we agreed and these pictures are from the wedding.

It was cool to be able to help make their day special, Our church people really put a lot of work into making the evening a night to remember.

Destiny & Dad

Destiny & Dad
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Hanging out with my daughter at my birthday bbq...Oh, where did my little girl go?


Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
The church suprised me with a 36th birthday party on Sunday and this new BBQ as a gift. Oh ya baby...Smokin!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Modern Times...

A couple more days and it will be here...and if all goes right, I will be seeing Dylan in Portland in September.

Here are some good Dylan Vidoes:

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Taking the juice from grapes...

wine among us.JPG
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
"I am sending you grain, new wine and oil
enough to satisfy you fully...
He sends you abundant showers
both autumn and spring rains as before.

The threshing floors will be filled with grain
the vats will overflow with new wine and oil...

You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord God
who has worked wonders among you..."
-Joel 2:19, 23-24, 26

This grape vine is growing behind our church. I took a picture of this ripening cluster of grapes that face our building. They are a prophetic testimony of the word of the Lord to me in seasons past. The Lord visited me in a very difficult season with a deluge of revelation, refreshing and promise download that impacted my life powerfully. It was one of the most intense times of my spiritual life. He promised that He would send me wine...

Yesterday as I was going up towards the church a bunch of little kids came from behind the building and had handfuls of grapes. I asked them what they had and they showed me and then two young girls offered me some to taste. The juice squeezed onto my hands...juice stained my hand.

The Lord has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm,
I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies;
Nor will foreigners drink your new wine for which you have labored.
But those who harvest it will eat it and praise the Lord;
And those who gather it will drink it in the courts of My sanctuary.
-Isaiah 62:8-9

What a set of is awesome to stand in the midst of the unfolding fulfillment of these words. I would have never thought how and where and with whom these words would come to pass. God's ways are mysterious indeed!

The Lord says, "The time is coming when there will be all kinds of food. People will still be harvesting crops when it's time to plow again. People will still be taking the juice from grapes when it's time to plant again. Wine will drip from the mountains and pour from the hills.

I will bring my people Israel back from captivity; they will build the ruined cities again, and they will live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink the wine from them; they will plant gardens and eat their fruit.

I will plant my people on their land, and they will not be pulled out again from the land which I have given them," says the Lord your God. -Amos 9:13-15

Angels, Books & Coffee

We added some great photos that my Dad took on a trip to New Orleans a few years ago. I framed them for our Necropolis Book store in our church. They turned out amazing. Good work dad, look out, people are wanting to purchase them now!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Know Me...

Know me...
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
“My soul – never be satisfied within a shadowy Christ. … I cannot know Christ through another person’s brains. I cannot love him with another man’s heart, and I cannot see him with another man’s eyes. … I am so afraid of living in a second-hand religion. God forbid that I should get a biographical experience. Lord save us from having borrowed communion. No, I must know him myself. O God, let me not be deceived in this. I must know him without fancy or proxy; I must know him on my own account.” -Unknown by me

The birthmark of those born of God is this nagging, unquenchable thirst that gnaws on the soul from the inside out.

It certainly does not originate from the putrid human heart that would rather feast on the refuse of the sows pen then dine at the table of the Divine. It's own presence then signals an invasion, a holy planting of the desires of God in the dark soil of fallen man's spirit. It is a sign of hope that if God would choose to place the celestial embers of His own longings in our hearts than He will also blow on them until they become the flames that He purposed them to become.

So if you yearn, if you hear the VOICE, be it faintly or with the crack of sound like thunder...rejoice that You have become a part of the focus of His delight. It is evidence, not the only clue, but one of them, that He is drawing you into Himself. You are a victim of the plan of God, to be known by Him. He has chose to reveal Himself to you and the tremors of that revelation are the holy longings within your quaking soul.

"I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee. Jeremiah 33:3

"Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the Living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such a way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatsoever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts. -A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Be thankful this morning that you have been graced as the object of His desire and love. Be humbled by His mercy, that He would choose to awaken you to true life. Be encouraged, that your hunger is a sign that he intends to feed you...Himself.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The sword of the Lord

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Take up the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God -Eph 6:17

A birthday gift to myself...a Braveheart broadsword.

Aye, fight and you may die, run, and you'll least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade all of that from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take away our lives, but they'll never take our freeeedoooomm! -William Wallace

Jacob's Well phase two...

jacob's well phase two...
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Well the miracles just keep unfolding around here at Jacob's Well. We just got the go ahead to expand into this side of the building. We will be adding a kids church and youth church in this red part of the building in this picture. From the left side of the door of Dairymart to the end of the building will be ours to house our growing church.

It needs some work inside but the space will work awesome for what we need now and will need sanctuary wise in the future. We are excited to get to work and put into reality the various dreams that our kids church leaders and youth leaders have in their hearts.

We are simply taking steps as God leads and provides and as He adds people to the church. We are staying in our economic means and acting in faith at the same time. Such a stretch but oh it feels so good!

Knowing God means...

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
"For if I am ignorant of the nature, extent and limits of what I can and must do with reference to God, I shall be equally ignorant and uncertain of the nature, extent and limits of what God can and will do in me-though God in fact, works all in all (1 Cor. 12:6). Now, if I am ignorant of God's works and power, I am ignorant of God Himself; and if I do not know God, I cannot worship, praise, give thanks or serve Him, for I do not know how much I should attribute to myself and how much to Him. We need, therefore, to have in mind a clear-cut distinction between God's power and ours, and God's work and ours, if we would live a godly life." -Martin Luther from his work "The bondage of the Will"

Knowing God is essential to a healthy Christian life. Knowing what He does and doesn't do is critical to understanding Him. The light He gives us about Himself is revealed in His word. We can and should only walk in the light we have been given. To choose to ignore this light or deem it unprofitable to search it out, study it, pray through it and let it illuminate our spiritual minds is lazy.

Study to show yourself approved (2 Timothy 2:15) is as needed as well as singing, fellowship, prayer, sharing Christ and serving those He has called us to love. In fact if we have little knowledge about who God is, What God does and what He has called us to do, can we really do all those other things effectively?

"What I really lack is to be clear in my mind what I am to do, not what I need to know...the thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wishes me to find the idea for which I can live and die." -Soren Kierkegaard

In the gospels Jesus shares about a moment when He will separate those who knew Him and those who didn't know Him. I never knew you is a haunting echo that will reverberate throughout eternity. Our eternal destinations are bound up in knowing God. I do not want to hear such a statement coming from the Lord, so I use the means that He has provided to come to know Him...His word.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Does God Elect Persons Based on Their Foreseen Faith?

Another great article that will require a bit of studious reading but
well worth the diligence.

Why Do We Pray For Others' Salvation?

Interesting article on the subject.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Kona fetch...

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
She loves the water.

Time in the blue....

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Life seems so much easier from this spot...we spent the day at the lake with the kids and Kona. Everyone enjoyed the beauty, the water and the oppurtunity to breathe a bit more relaxed like.

Monday, August 21, 2006

V is for vendetta

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Watched this flick the other night, I liked it. It seems to have come and gone without much stir. It's from the matrix directors and in the tradition of those films, there is a lot of heavy thinking going on behind all the action. A lot of political stuff, culture war issues, so if that stuff bothers you stay away...they use the homosexuality issue to hammer a few points pretty hard. I think they were grasping for the most outcast issue to make their points though. It made me think though...especially when I was watching the news the other night, makes you wonder what is real and what is spin. Oh and Natalie Portman is in this film too...any film with her in it is easy to endure.

face of an angel

face of an angel
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
It is not only Christians who can paint with beauty, nor for that matter only Christians who can love or who have creative stirrings. Even though the image is now contorted, people are made in the image of God. This is who people are, whether or not they know or acknowledge it. God is the great Creator, and part of the unique mannishness of man, as made in Godís image, is creativity. Thus, man as man paints, shows creativity in science and engineering, and so on. Such activity does not require a special impulse from God, and it does not mean that people are not alienated from God and do not need the work of Christ to return to God. It does mean that man as man, in contrast to non-man, is creative.- Francis Schaeffer

I saw this in a store but it was too expensive but I couldnt get it out of my head. So a few weeks later i went in again and talked the girl down on the price. I told her this angel was meant for our church...she agreed. Now she is at rest in our building where she belongs.

Give me a drink...

woman at the well
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Here is a shot of a great statue I found for our church building. It fits the whole Jacob's Well theme...woman at the well, etc. It stands about four feet tall.

too funny

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
made me laugh

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Theology and beer...

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
It is better to think of church in the ale-house than to think of the ale-house in church -Martin Luther

I think old Luther hit on something here...maybe everyone would be more congenial when hammering out theological issues if they had a nice dark beer smoothing out the conversation.

Just a thought....cheers!


Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
I am not a hyper-calvinist, who gets mired down in secondary matters, but rather I pray, evangelize and do good works because I believe that the sovereign plan of God is accomplished through me and His people.

It amazes me how quickly we can say "this is what I believe" or "summarize another beliefs in short-statements, catchy phrases or disparaging comments. Where is the grace to listen, to seek understand, to search the scriptures? I can tell you this, if we approach the lost with the same lack of grace as we do each other...we will not find open hearts. Firing off a set of prepositions like a full metal jacket GI on the shores of Normandy isn't the approach we should be aiming at when we share truth. It's not who can cut who's throat first.

It is my hope that as a Christian I can learn to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Especially about issues, ideas, doctrine or situations that I may not be fully educated on. We are commanded to study to show ourselves approved, that means we have to have a commitment to know what we believe, why we believe it and where we find these beliefs in scripture.

I think it is imperative to wed our personal study to a historical tether as well. Understanding what has been taught by the church through out church history is critical to understand the outworking and interaction and consequences of ideas and doctrines. Knowing how and where and why certain doctrines emerged or were codified is essential to walking in humility in the journey with the word of God.

Is one familiar with the historical church creeds and confessions and the reasons those were put down on paper. Are we aware of the different doctrinal heresies that drew together the church fathers to frame responses to the truths being taught or attacked by various teachers?

And even after all of that study, are we willing to bow our intellect and emotions to the the ultimate no-man's land of...mystery?

I quote G. K Chesterton in his great book "Orthodoxy" : Imagination does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom...Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite. The result is mental exhaustion...To accept everything is an exercise, to understand everything a strain. The poet only desires exaltation and expansion, a world to stretch himself in. The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.

In the words of the great preacher of yesteryear:

If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other. I do not believe they can ever be welded into one upon any earthly anvil, but they certainly shall be one in eternity. They are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the human mind which pursues them farthest will never discover that they converge, but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring." -Charles Spurgeon

I think no greater words can be said but...only after one has done the work to earn the right to say those words.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Pelagian Controversy

The Pelagian Controversy


            At the beginning of the fifth century one of the greatest heretics of the church emerged – Pelagius.  Pelagius is known on the historical scene as a blue-eyed British monk, with the surname of Morgan, who’s fame emerged from Rome in the beginning of the fifth century.  He studied the Greek theology, especially that of the Antiochian school, and early showed great zeal for the improvement of himself and of the world.  However, he taught deviant doctrinal points on the freedom of the will, the understanding of sin, of grace, and of the grounds for justification. 

            Augustine taught that the will was active under the umbrella of the sovereignty of God.  It is active in its own desires, which, before the fall was disposed to either holiness or evil, though it had not been corrupted yet, and after the fall as wholly corrupted and evil in every desire.  Pelagius taught that men were not affected by the fall of Adam, but only become sinners after they sin.  Pelagius also taught that there was no need for divine grace (in the way Augustine taught) for every command given in the Bible was something that God wanted me to obey, and that demonstrated they could obey it apart form any divine help.  It is always possible for human beings to discharge their obligations before both man and God.  Humanity, then, is born sinless, and only becomes corrupted by choosing to sin over choosing to do good – two equally possible choices. 

            Grace, for Augustine, was the sovereign mercy of God given to wicked men through the mediation of Jesus Christ and the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.  For Pelagius it was simply the human ability of reason.  Pelagius also said that grace can be seen in the moral commands of God and the moral example of Jesus Christ.  Grace simply informs us of what must be done.  Humanity, then, is justified on the basis or merit.  Augustine taught that justification was based on divine grace that must be placed in us by the power of God.  Pelagius rejected this and saw that men must do good before God because the commands of God argue that men have the ability to do what God commands.  Augustine, however, as his prayer indicates, did not believe this at all: “God, command what Thou wilt, but grant to us what Thou commandest.”  The council of Ephesus condemned Pelagius as a heretic in 431 A.D. for non-Christian views of sin, grace, justification and the freedom of the will.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

amen, brother...

alice cooper
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
"Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that's a tough call. That's rebellion."
--Alice Cooper


Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
"I've tried everything in my life. I was baptized Lutheran and brought up as a Jehovah's Witness. My mom was Jewish. I experimented with black magic and witchcraft and read the satanic bible. But I became a Christian about three years ago and that's a positive thing." --Dave Mustaine from Megadeth in an interview with CanWest News

the secret to marriage....

I met a man who had been married for 66 years. "Amazing. 66 years!" I said. "What's the secret to such a long, happy marriage?"
-"Well," he replied, "It's like this. The man makes all the big decisions... and the woman just makes the little decisions."
-"Really?" I responded. "Does that really work?"
-"Oh, yes," he said proudly. "66 years, and so far, not one big

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What I believe...

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
The emerging church is broad, and one could argue that it defines itself by the center (Jesus) rather than the boundaries (doctrinal distinctives). I generally like this approach, but I wonder if it's worth drawing a few more boundaries while still holding to the center. To switch to a soccer metaphor, without boundaries, the ball is never out of play and the game gets a little silly at times.

In response to questions about what I believe, here is a detailed though not exhausted account on most of the major theological points:

In listing these, I do not expect everyone to agree, nor do I require everyone to agree with me. Most of our leaders have various thoughts about the secondary doctrines but on the core essentials we should be in agreement for the sake of unity, teaching and guarding the faith entrusted to us by our fathers (Jude 1:3).

I do not post these to divide but to clarify.

Monday, August 14, 2006

It's all blue....

community pool
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Here is my daughter Destiny enjoying our neighborhood community pool. It has two diving boards, a low and a high dive. High dives seem to be disappearing more and more these days. The great thing about this pool is it is free for kids. Not a lot is free these days, so this is extra special in my book.

Of course this is a illegal photo because after taking this, I was informed that taking pictures of your kids is not allowed at this public pool. No signs mention this but I guess the perverts have stolen yet another one of our freedoms. Soon we won't be able to do much of anything anymore due to liability. It really ticks me off, if I start thinking much about it. I can't take a picture of my girl jumping into a pool because some sex offender somewhere might get off doing the same thing...eek gads where will it end?

Restorer of paths to rest in...

new benches
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
You'll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again. -Is. 58:12 (The message bible)

Here is a shot of the new benches and flowering planters that we have outside Jacob's Well. They provide a beautiful place to sit in our little neighborhood.

Soon we should have our vintage Jacob's Well sign up above our front door. Crazy to have a church building with no sign and be growing even though people have to hunt for you...

For you dave...

Who says matter, doesn't matter?

bad art
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
"Christian artists don’t seem to be focused anymore on making great art. That’s our main problem, not what our message is, not what we are trying to communicate, not how we are breaking down these barriers, but the fact that we are failing to make good engaging art is our main problem…Our industry, the way it is set up, who the gatekeepers are, it doesn’t encourage making unique art…We have a radio genre that is on the whole pretty uninteresting, and it’s pretty bland artistically." -Derek Webb

As we continue to flesh out the visual and textual culture of our facility that our church meets at, I find these same critiques guiding our process. So many Christians continue to slam the arts through a false spiritual view that somehow matter doesn't matter.

The church isn't a building, it's a people but the place you meet says a whole lot about the type of people you are. Just as a home reflects the values, the character and the interests of the people living in it.

"Whenever Christians, and evangelicals in particular, have attempted to ‘reach the world' through the media – TV, film, publishing and so on – the thinking public gets the firm idea that, like soup in a bad restaurant, Christians' brains are better left unstirred." -P.G. Wodehouse Addicted to Mediocrity.

Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and how we treat those temples matter. It is a reflection of our honor towards the One who indwells or uses that temple. On the same note, our facilities should reflect, embody and proclaim something about what we honor as a culture of people.

"Art historian and L' Abri theologian Hans Rookmaaker reminds us, "Jesus did not come to make us Christian, Jesus came to make us fully human." By this he meant that Jesus' purpose is to make us new creatures, who can once again reflect the image of God in all it's splendor--intellectually, spiritually, creatively, morally and relationally."

It amazes me how living in a poor economic neighborhood brings this issue out dramatically. So many people in my area...don't care about what things look like. The constant pull towards despair, negativity, destruction, poverty, hopelessness is reflected in the environment. You can hear the whisper in the wind that says "What's the point?"

But God has called us as care takers of this planet and the point is, all things are to glorify God...including your yard, your gut, your buildings bathrooms and the art you pick or dont pick to put on your walls.

Does God care about these things? Take a walk and look at His creation and you tell me if being in His creation tells you something about Him and what He values.

"We are missing the point of Genesis, where God, the Great Craftsmanlike Artist," looked at all He had made and said, "it is good." -Dick Staub

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Head! Down!

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Somethings happening to my head...

Aus' tala' pastala

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
That's what I used to call him when he was little. Today Austin turns a big 10! Hard to imagine....time flies by so fast. Austin is the still one of the sweetest boys you could meet, all heart. Doesn't ask for much, but gives so much to everyone around. Our family wouldnt be the same without his care. He's always the one who reminds me to lock the doors or check concerned. Wish him happy birthday if you can.

chickafied church boys...

girlie men
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
The problem in the church today is just a bunch of nice, soft, tender, chickafied church boys. 60% of Christians are chicks and the 40% that are dudes are still sort of...chicks. It's just sad.

We're looking around going, How come we're not innovative? Cause all the innovative dudes are home watching football or they're out making money or climbing a mountain or shooting a gun or working on their truck. They look at the church like that's a nice thing for women and children. So the question is if you want to be innovative: How do you get young men? All this nonsense on how to grow the church. One issue: young men. That's it. That's the whole thing. They're going to get married, make money, make babies, build companies, buy real estate. They're going to make the culture of the future. If you get the young men you win the war, you get everything. You get the families, the women, the children, the money, the business, you get everything. If you don't get the young men you get nothing. -Mark Driscoll

Friday, August 11, 2006

Man is a suicide...

Man is a suicide...
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
“Man is a suicide – he has destroyed himself; a homicide – his influence destroys others; a deicide (a god killer) – he would, were it in his power, annihilate the very being of God. What a proof of this have we in the crucifixion of the Son of God! When God brought himself as near to man as Infinity could approach, he exclaimed, ‘This is the Heir; come, let us kill him!’ and they proceeded to consummate the crime by nailing him to the tree.” -Octavius Winslow, No Condemnation in Christ Jesus (Banner of Truth: 1853/1991)

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. Eph 2:1-2

It amazes me how difficult it is for some people to embrace the truth about themselves as revealed in the scriptures. Many people often say that the world doesn’t need to hear from preachers that they are sinners; that they need to hear about God’s love and mercy and His free grace or they will be driven away. I understand the thought behind this but only to a certain point.

If you would have listened to Jesus preach the sermon on the mount and many other sermons, you would have walked away with a complete revelation that you are a sinner in need of a savior. Who can look and not angry and not sin, speak and not say something damnable? Who can be perfect as the father is perfect? Who can love their enemies, give everything away to the poor...on and on Jesus rose the bar of righteousness. His teaching exposes the sinfulness of man like the powerful rays of the sun exposes every shadow. Forget the light of moses law...the law of Christ incinerates all hope of anyone to save himself. Christ is the Light and the revelation of His holiness and truth exposes our hearts to be the dead corpses they are. Apart from Him we can truly do NOTHING!

Left to ourselves, “Man is a suicide” as Octavious so powerfully points out. Maybe if you were raised in some good homes, were a average kid, had a comfy life and didn’t get exposed to much of the hellish hounds of depravity that roam free in most unguarded families...then maybe you wrestle with the diagnosis of scripture.

But for the isn’t so.

We know we were dead in sin. Putrid in our lusts, vengeful and seething with wrath towards goodness and things holy. We understand the prescription of death given by God for our situations. We understand’s grace we don’t understand. Justice we can talk about, it’s mercy that eludes us.

Fallen angels we know...redeemed ones are a mystery to us. Broken wings we can understand, it’s the mended ones in flight that capture our groveling hearts.

One can not fully understand the remedy unless he understands the disease. That is the point of these posts on “My obligation to the Barbarians”. I hope as I delve into it more you can begin to see and understand the heart of darkness better and will see the glory of light and all it’s redemptive power even better.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Would God save a drowning man?

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Perhaps you have run into an earnest Christian, that when opposing the biblical teaching of the "bondage of the will", "salvation by grace alone" and "election" will use the common salvation analogy which likens the unsaved to a helpless drowning man. That a loving God gives us free choice while drowning whether we will reach out and take His hand to be saved or not. That only an 'evil' God, they say, would leave or not attempt to save people who are drowning in a lake. "How could a loving God be so cruel just to leave them there drowning," they argue.

Read it all here:

lady in the water...

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
“I want to believe! I want to be like a child again. -Mr. Leeds (Lady in the water)

"The objection to fairy stories is that they tell children there are dragons. But children have always known there are dragons. Fairy stories tell children that dragons can be killed." -G.K. Chesterton

I know this movie has got hammered by the movie critiques but I liked it, a lot. In fact the more I chew on it's messages the more I am impressed. It has weaknesses for sure but it is plump full of truth that can be munched on. I can't wait to start our Truth in Culture discussion group, this flick will be a part of that class for sure.

"I am concerned with a certain way of looking at life, which was created in me by fairy tales, but has since been ratified by the mere facts." -G.K. Chesterton

More on this movie:
Finding faith in the water:

You must become like a child:

For those about to rock...

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
It begins...

Life in the hood...

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Oh this the effects of living in the hood or my son getting a hold of my 80's metal? God help me...I think my inner child has manifested in my son.

emo elmo

emo elmo
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
From Elmo to Emo....

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I am going to drink the ocean....

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me. -Psalms 42:7
I’ve got a crazy dream, it’s to drink the cup at a time.
Impossible you say? Yes...about as impossible as knowing God in His fulness, a never ending task. Unfathomable depths for sure. What madness it is to desire to drink the eternal. Yet, he hands me a cup each morning and says..."If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink." -John 7:37.
In fact, if you are quiet you can hear the echoes of heavenly voices in the crashing of the waves that beckon "The Spirit and the bride say, COME, and let the one who hears say, COME, and let the one who is thirsty COME, let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. -Revelations 22:17
God offers us a simple cup to drink with, to come and drink the ocean. The sea of glass that extends out from His celestial throne (Rev. 4:6) invites you to dip your vessel into it's vastness, unknowable depths of infinity. Will you come?
Be humbled by the awakened by invitation...dare to wade in and drink.

A spiritually androgynous prison...

The ministers of the Gospel should be men who are not too easily affected by praise or criticism, but simply speak of the benefit and the glory of Christ and seek the salvation of souls. Whenever you are being praised, remember it is not you who is being praised but Christ, to whom all praise belongs. When you preach the Word of God in its purity and also live accordingly, it is not your own doing, but God's doing. And when people praise you, they really mean to praise God in you. When you understand this--and you should because 'what do you have that you did not receive?'--you will not flatter yourself on the one hand and on the other hand you will not carry yourself with the thought of resigning from the ministry when you are insulted, reproached, or persecuted." Martin Luther (1483-1546)

So true. Actually if handled correctly these little or great stinging goads can push us into greater light for more illumined examination of ourselves as to our doctrine and manner of life. Which in the end produces even more fruit, so our  troubles, be they warranted or not, end up working together for our good. Amazing!

Those who tremble at offending others remove from themselves this path of refinement that is excruciating at times but so beneficial. If we are always afraid of others, of offending, straining, irritating, provoking, rebuking or admonishing or of simply not getting it right all the time...than we are really seeking to save our lives. It might be more of a selfish pride that seeks to protect, pamper and coddle our egos. Most of us are like George, on an episode said of Seinfeld when he cried out in despair..."Everyone has to like me!" 

Give it up, you dont want to become the person that everyone becomes a siren call that lures you into a spiritually androgynous prison. Don't you notice that we live in a culture that mocks differences, oddities, peculiarities or individuality? Everyone pressures you to bow to the great homogeneous mass that is the norm, especially in the church. It is a emasculating pressure that leads you to bondage not freedom...resist it, it is poison. 

For am I now seeking the favor of men or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. -Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:10

"THE" attractive force...

Come, ye workers, be encouraged. You fear that you cannot draw a congregation. Try the preaching of a crucified, risen, and ascended Saviour; for this is the greatest "draw" that was ever yet manifested among men. What drew you to Christ but Christ? What draws you to Him now but His own blessed self? If you have been drawn to religion by anything else, you will soon be drawn away from it; but Jesus has held you, and will hold you even to the end. Why, then, doubt His power to draw others? Go with the name of Jesus to those who have hitherto been stubborn, and see if it does not draw them.

No sort of man is beyond this drawing power. Old and young, rich and poor, ignorant and learned, depraved or amiable-all men shall feel the attractive force. Jesus is the one magnet. Let us not think of any other. Music will not draw to Jesus, neither will eloquence, logic, ceremonial, or noise. Jesus Himself must draw men to Himself; and Jesus is quite equal to the work in every case. Be not tempted by the quackeries of the day; but as workers for the Lord work in His own way, and draw with the Lord's own cords. Draw to Christ, and draw by Christ, for then Christ will draw by you. -Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Good christian top 10

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
The list of "works" in today's christian circles is endless, but this list made me laugh. Oh so true...thankfully the bible teaches a different path towards righteousness, one that is based on faith, the gift of God.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. –Ephesians 2:8,9

Lazy, no good pastors...

Some pastors and preachers are lazy and no good. They do not pray; they do not read; they do not search the Scripture ... The call is: watch, study attend to reading. In truth you cannot read too much in Scripture; and what you read you cannot read too carefully, and what you read carefully you cannot understand too well, and what you understand well you cannot teach too well, and what you teach well you cannot live too well ... The devil ... the world ... and our flesh are raging and raving against us. Therefore, dear sirs and brothers, pastors and preachers, pray, read, study, be diligent ... This evil. shameful time is not the season for being lazy, for sleeping and snoring. -Martin Luther

poor kermit

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
This made me laugh.

What to do with your pastor...

Fling him into his office. Tear the "Office" sign from the door and nail on the sign, "Study." Take him off the mailing list. Lock him up with his books and his typewriter and his Bible. Slam him down on his knees before texts and broken hearts and the flock of lives of a superficial flock and a holy God.

Force him to be the one man in our surfeited communities who knows about God. Throw him into the ring to box with God until he learns how short his arms are. Engage him to wrestle with God all the night through. And let him come out only when he's bruised and beaten into being a blessing.
Shut his mouth forever spouting remarks, and stop his tongue forever tripping lightly over every nonessential. Require him to have something to say before he dares break the silence. Bend his knees in the lonesome valley.

Burn his eyes with weary study. Wreck his emotional poise with worry for God. And make him exchange his pious stance for a humble walk with God and man. Make him spend and be spent for the glory of God. Rip out his telephone. Burn up his ecclesiastical success sheets.
Put water in his gas tank. Give him a Bible and tie him to the pulpit. And make him preach the Word of the living God!

Test him. Quiz him. Examine him. Humiliate him for his ignorance of things divine. Shame him for his good comprehension of finances, batting averages, and political in-fighting. Laugh at his frustrated effort to play psychiatrist. Form a choir and raise a chant and haunt him with it night and day-"Sir, we would see Jesus."
When at long last he dares assay the pulpit, ask him if he has a word from God. If he does not, then dismiss him. Tell him you can read the morning paper and digest the television commentaries, and think through the day's superficial problems, and manage the community's weary drives, and bless the sordid baked potatoes and green beans, ad infinitum, better than he can.

Command him not to come back until he's read and reread, written and rewritten, until he can stand up, worn and forlorn, and say, "Thus saith the Lord."
Break him across the board of his ill-gotten popularity. Smack him hard with his own prestige. Corner him with questions about God. Cover him with demands for celestial wisdom. And give him no escape until he's back against the wall of the Word.

And sit down before him and listen to the only word he has left-God's Word. Let him be totally ignorant of the down-street gossip, but give him a chapter and order him to walk around it, camp on it, sup with it, and come at last to speak it backward and forward, until all he says about it rings with the truth of eternity.
And when he's burned out by the flaming Word, when he's consumed at last by the fiery grace blazing through him, and when he's privileged to translate the truth of God to man, finally transferred from earth to heaven, then bear him away gently and blow a muted trumpet and lay him down softly. Place a two-edged sword in his coffin, and raise the tomb triumphant. For he was a brave soldier of the Word. And ere he died, he had become a man of God.
-John Macarthur

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Lifelong companions...

One of my seminary professors suggested to us back in 1970 that we find one great and godly teacher in the history of the church and make him a lifelong companion. That's what Edwards has become for me. It's hard to overestimate what he has meant to me theologically and personally in my vision of God and my love for Christ. -John Piper

More on why you should become good friends with Old Dead Guys here: 

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Through the halls of HELL...

Lost Girl
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Then There Was This Girl Who
wouldn't Go To Change With The Girls In The Change Room
but When They Finally Made Her
they Saw Birthmarks All Over Her Body
she Couldn't Quite Explain It
they'd Always Just Been There...

mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm, Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm
mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm, Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm

-MMMM by Crash Test Dummies

I saw a dead body this evening.

A leg hanging out of the car parked in the restaurant parking lot. Police tape around the vehicle, door open, yellow plastic blanket covering the body in the drivers seat. A dead body slumped back in the seat...I continued to drive by...wondering, praying...feeling a sting in my heart.

I've been close to death before...close enough to catch it's numbing virus in my fragile and growing subconscious. I've stood near it and could feel it's cold breath on my young soul. Suicide is visually freezes you in a numbing, fever like way.

I've seen bloody water...razor blades...and drugs emptied in hopelessness, they were mixed together in a moment that forever seared itself into my tender heart.

How can life be so bad that death seems better...try to wrestle with that as a teenager.

I've held the hands that have tried to end the life of the one weeping. I've seen scars, scabs and tracks. I've heard the sobs of the molested and the confessions of the molester. I have seen the tears of the damned and the rescued both echoing with each falling...with unforgiving tragedy, nihilistic suffocation's and brutal tales that slow your heart until you can hear your heart beating...too loud.

I've seen into black eyes that have no pupils but have dilated into a haunting plea for rescue.

I've seen the face of a young woman who squirmed within a moment of eternity that beckoned for deliverance. I 've seen apparitions...that haunted me, reached for me and terrorized me in the night.

I've watched a man cut his flesh to draw blood at the urging of dark music while the pounding of nails was heard...evil moments that shouldn't be.

This is the world that the barbarians live and die in...the world that God calls us too. A world that will make you bleed and suffer. it will bring you to the end of will find that in yourself you are unable to do whatever it takes. You can not save. Not only that, but those you seek to save will often turn and crucify the very hands that seek to save. Nails for compassion...only His love can fuel a life that can endure that kind of insanity.

Everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to go to hell. But you can only get to heaven through the halls of hell. If you follow Jesus...then you must walk the paths He travelled...the way leads right into the bleakest, the dirtiest, the vilest and most abhorrent seedy places of sin and suffering. Will we dare follow Him as He truly walked?

The sad fact is...more people will have more of a problem with the picture I used for this post than the fact that the content of the post is true and taking place right in their own neighborhoods. God forgive us...

Why the oil stopped flowing...

If you go about with an apologetic air as though you would 
pick up anything that anybody else dropped and be glad to get it, but 
that you do not expect much of yourself; as though you do 
not believe that the grand things, the good things of the world 
are intended for you, you will pass for a very small man. 
-Orison Swett Marden 

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:6-10)

You were created for a purpose...God's purposes to be exact. He has planned in advance, good works for you to accomplish in your life. Do you know this? Do you also know that as the verse above says, it is you that is called to do them. You can not accomplish that, outside of a life empowered, led and filled by Christ Jesus but with His can do His works.

You can hear more by clicking on the Jacob's Well messages on the side bar.

Friday, August 04, 2006

verse of the day

"He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD." (Deuteronomy 23:1, KJV)

wow...I'm an idiot.

How many of these can you answer?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The barbarians lovers...

stripped bare
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
I will also give you into the hands of your lovers, and they will tear down your shrines, demolish your high places, strip you of your clothing, take away your jewels and leave you naked and bare...then I will stop you from playing the harlot. -Ezekiel 16:39-41

God in His mercy comes to us in those times when our "lovers" have left us broken, used up, raped, weary, vile and destitute. God's judgment on our sin is simply God allowing us to go our own way, follow our own lusts, choose our own will. We really judge ourselves.

It is His mercy and grace that "stops us from playing the harlot".

Left to ourselves we will choose darkness...we will follow a way that seems right but in the end leads only to our death. It is His great love that causes Him to break in on our own self-destructions and lifts us out of our insanity. We will choose sin over's in our blood.

The world, the flesh and the devil sing a siren song that lures us away from our Father's house. Left to ourselves we will follow the dark desires that surge and slither in our own flesh. Eventually we will find that what seemed like a delicious opportunity to eat from a luscious piece of forbidden fruit; actually turns to rottenness in our mouths and ferments into bile-like sourness in our spiritual bellies.

Our lovers are liars.

They will tear down the shrines, the memorials of the past. They will seek to raze the monuments once built in praise to your God and His deliverance.

Every High place will be brought low...all your accents will be swallowed in a dismal descent into hopelessness and vanity.

Your precious garments, the robes once weaved to cover your sin will be stolen from you; exposing your nakedness again. The beautifying of God will be trashed...your beauty marred...your virginity scarred.

In the end, after they have had their way with you...they will leave you with nothing...stripped and bare...ashamed and will wail in sorrow and regret...

Unless, He chooses to show you His mercy...thankfully He does.

Through the eyes of a child...

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
This is me as a sweet little girl named Josie sees me. She gave this to me Wednesday after service, she said this was for my Burf Day...too cute.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Necropolis Books...

Necropolis Books
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Necropolis Books: "Where the old dead guys still speak"
He being dead, yet speaketh. -Hebrews 11:4

This will be the name and image of our bookstore at Jacob's Well. I am so tired of always searching for the type of books I want to find and not being able to located them around here. So I am gong to try to become the answer to my own problem, which seems to be the way I always end up doing things. Pray for something and end up being called to become it.

So...Necroplois Books will soon be opening in the Green Room at Jacob's Well. I will start small but I will start. Hopefull through dontations, gifts and enthused old dead guy book lovers, we can start building a collection first and then start selling them too.

I really want to create a place where one can read the Purtians, The early church fathers, the reformers and other great authors that though dead...still speak...through their writings of course.

"Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books." -C.S. Lewis

By despising all that has preceded us, we teach others to despise ourselves. -William Hazlitt, 'On Reading Old Books', 1821

Please inquire of past generations and consider the things searched out by their fathers. For we are only yesterday and know nothing because our days on earth are as a shadow. Will they not teach you and tell you and bring forth words from their minds? -Job 8:8-9

The words of wise men are like goads and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd. –Ecclesiastes 12:11

How different it is with the man who devotes himself to studying the law of the Most High, who investigates all the wisdom of the past and spends his time studying the prophecies! He preserves the sayings of famous men and penetrates the intricacies of parables. He investigates the hidden meaning of proverbs and knows his way among riddles. –Ecclesiasticus 39:1-3

Cicero once said, "A room without books is like a body without a soul."

Many of the books I have, I have not read, I just want to be the sort of person who has read those books."

Vader Sessions...

If you are a Darth Vader van, this is a must is PG-13.
High Speed required to watch too.