Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 9:30 AM
Friday, February 25, 2011
In her post for Spiritual Sundays this week she wrote about having to relieve herself in a pit latrine which is just a hole in the ground with no place to sit. When using this pit your have to squat in just the right approach.
Mercy me. Tell me again about your comfort zone city slickers.
Micey is a nurse and this is not the first time for her to uproot herself and head off into the mission field.
People who see their dreams come to pass are people who have backbone and refuse to settle for less than whats in their heart.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 7:12 PM
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
"A blessing to others." Now there's an idea.
When am I going to get started on that?
Every day I'm wanting God to bless me. And he never fails.
I am blessed to be a blessing.
Again, here's the question: When am I going to start blessing others?
Ok, ok, I get it. I'll start looking around. You know, trying to be more observant.
You know. Like that woman sitting on the KFC parking lot in a car with the front end all banged up and a small boy in the back seat. The police are just leaving the scene of the accident and she looks all confused about what to do next.
No,silly. I was thinking of something more high, holy, spiritual, other worldly. No, that's too practical.
I'm sure I will know how to be a blessing if and when the occasion calls for it.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 9:34 AM
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 9:36 AM
Saturday, February 19, 2011
I have known the heights of joy and the depths of despair. The thing that kept me on my feet was the words of encouragement.
As a child, teen, college student, young married, young preacher, old preacher--all along the way, the encouragers were there lifting me up, encouraging me on.
I feel the same is true of you. Hopefully it is. However, sadly there are some in life who either are not encouraged or for some reason they are unable to respond to it.
I have made up my mind that in my final season of life I am going to be an encourager. The world needs encouragers.
My wife, my children--other family members encourage me.
Blogging friends I have never met--encourage me.
One such friend living here in the Phoenix area wanted to hear me preach. When she heard I would be preaching in September she made plans to hear me. The churche's schedule changed and I didn't preach.
At Christmas time I sent her a CD of an old sermon from the past. She sent me an email telling me that she cried when she read the note I included. She sent another email the next day saying she listened to the sermon and then later another email that she had returned to it again. Her kindness warmed an old preacher's heart and encouraged me.
I have been writing about those who have encouraged me. But what I really want is to encourage you to be an encourager. Just do it. You will always be glad you did. It's a good thing to do!
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 10:28 AM
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper
By Brant Pitre
OVERVIEW: In this splendid book Pitre answers the questions: What was Jesus' purpose in instituting the Eucharist during the feast of Passover? And, most important of all, what did Jesus mean when he said, "This is my body...This is my blood"? Pitre explores ancient Jewish beliefs about the Passover of the Messiah, the miraculous Manna from heaven, and the mysterious Bread of the Presence. As he shows, these three keys--the Passover, the Manna, and the Bread of the Presence--have the power to unlock the original meaning of the Eucharistic words of Jesus.
AUTHOR: Brant Pitre is one of the most exciting new Catholic scholars in this generation. A professor of sacred scripture at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, he received his Ph.D in New Testament and ancient Judaism from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. He travels widely to speak about the Eucharist and its origins in ancient Hebrew tradition and he is the author of Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile.
MY REVIEW: This is one of the best books I have read on this subject. It is scholarly and yet so well written that you do not bog down and want to give up. Brant Pitre is able to take ancient Hebrew tradition and open it up to give meaning to our worship today. The most important question he deals with is what did Jesus mean when he said, "This is my body...This is my blood"? He does an outstanding job with this and he helped me understand the Catholic teaching on this better than I have ever understood it before. However, I remain convinced that the bread and wine of the Last Supper are symbols and are not miraculously changed into his real body and blood. I do not believe in transubstantiation! I do believe in miracles. I just do not believe this is one. Now, what I believe about this has nothing to do with the value of this book. As I said before, Pitre makes the best presentation of the Catholic view that I have ever heard or read.
Author Scott Hahn said: "Clear, profound and practical--you do not want to miss this book." New York times bestselling author, Carl A. Anderson said, "What an exquisite view of the Eucharist as a personal encounter with Christ and the first Eucharist as a humanity-wide encounter with God!" And I like the comments of Elizabeth Scalia, managing editor at Patheos.com., "Brant Pitre puts the Eucharistic Christ into thrilling context by examining the realities of Jewish life in the first century. Believers and nonbelievers alike will better appreciate the rich cultural, traditional, and scriptural wells from which Eucharistic understanding has been drawn and developed since Jesus of Nazareth first proclaimed, 'my flesh is real food, and my body real drink.'"
As I said before, I do not agree with Pitre's doctrine of transubstantiation but I love his scholarly research and clear presentation of ancient Judaism, ancient Hebrew tradition the Eucharist and its origin. If you are a student of the Bible and interested in church doctrine you will appreciate this excellent study.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 10:34 AM
Tuesday, February 15, 2011FALL TO GRACE
A Revolution of God, Self and Society
By Jay Bakker with Martin Edlund
OVERVIEW: In this book Bakker explores the true nature of grace and what it means in everyday life. With disarming humility, poignant observations, and spot-on-theology, Bakker both challenges Christians to reassess their understanding of salvation and entices non-Christians to give Jesus a chance.
AUTHOR: Jay Bakker is the son of disgraced televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. At the age of eleven his parents' PTL ministry was caught in a high-profile accounting fraud scandal, and his family was devastated by his father's affair and his parents' subsequent divorce. A disillusioned Bakker turned to drugs and alcohol and left his childhood beliefs behind. But along the way an interesting thing happened: Bakker came to understand, through all his pain, what God's grace was really all about. Jay was assisted in writing by writer, Martin Edlund.
MY REVIEW: The best thing about this book is the subject―grace. Jay Bakker had been around churches his whole life, yet he didn't discover grace―true grace―revolutionary grace―until he was twenty years old. Even then, he said it took him fourteen years to really get his head around it and begin to understand its implications. When I read his words I thought to myself, "that's about how long it takes most of us, if not longer."
I can remember seeing Jay or Jamie as he was called as a child, on television and feeling sorry for him. As a child and as a man Jay has endured and lived through a lot of crud. It's not my place in this review to dredge up the past. The life he and his parents lived is an interesting story and one that helps understand Jay's discovery of grace. He tells enough of that story in his book to help you understand his "fall to grace."
So, if you are interested in the life of the Bakker family, the PTL ministry, and their rise and fall, you will appreciate this book. As with most books and views on theology, I found a few things to disagree with. You may also but this is a good book and one I hope you will read.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 12:25 PM
Monday, February 14, 2011
Every dream has only brought me pain
All my life I've always been so blue
— C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 9:16 AM
Friday, February 11, 2011
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 11:44 AM
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Not that I have anything against the celebration of the love of a man for a woman and a woman for a man.
I just have something else in mind. Today I'm thinking about the love we have for God.
I really don't know much about the history of Valentine's Day, Saint Valentine and all that stuff. And I will be doing something loving for Charlotte next Monday. But like the celebration of Christmas I don't think the celebration of my love for my wife should just be one day a year.
The love I have in mind today is found in Mark 12:30 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
A sect of Judaism known as the Pharisees compiled a comprehensive list of religious dos and don'ts―six hundred and thirteen of them.
Jesus peeled them back to one statement―the Great Commandment.
It may sound simple but it isn't. Jesus called it the most important commandment.
This is the love we need to get excited about. This is the love we need to go all out for!
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 9:03 PM
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
(THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS EXCELLENT. IT IS FROM MICHAEL HYATT'S BLOG. READ IT AND SEE WHAT YOU THINK)
Most people assume that I am an extrovert, because I am a CEO of a large company and do a lot of public speaking. But things are not always what they seem. Many leaders I know are introverts. They can “turn it on” when they need to, but are much more comfortable away from the crowds and the lights. The real difference between introverts and extroverts is in what energizes them. Ask yourself this question, “Where do you get your energy: by being alone or by being with others?” Or conversely, “What drains you: being alone or being with others?”
Introverts—like me—are energized by being alone. People drain us. Extroverts—like Gail—are energized by others. Being alone drains them. These are not hard and fast rules but general tendencies. I enjoy being with people and she enjoys being alone—this is just not our dominant way of recharging.
- I am content to spend time with a small, tight-knit circle of friends. I am not really interested in meeting anyone else. I have enough friends, thank you very much. Gail, on the other hand, views strangers as “friends-she-hasn’t-yet-met.” She loves meeting new people. The more the merrier.
- My idea of a great vacation is being somewhere alone—just the two of us. I want to spend the time reading or taking quiet walks. She, on the other hand, wants to meet the locals and go on sight-seeing adventures. The more activities, the better.
- I want to leave immediately after church—being with all those people is exhausting! On the other hand, Gail can’t wait to get to coffee hour. And she takes the hour part seriously. If she is not the last one to leave, she feels cheated.
Neither. The truth is that you need both. Our marriage is so much richer because we are able to draw from two perspectives. My introversion ensures that we go deep and make time to nourish our souls. Her extroversion ensures that we don’t get stuck there, focused exclusively on ourselves. We reach out to others.
The key is learning to appreciate one another—and serve one another.
If your spouse or colleague is an introvert, you need to give him the space to be alone without making him feel guilty for not being more social. If your spouse or colleague is an extrovert, you need to allow him the freedom to socialize without getting annoyed that he isn’t ready to leave when you are. The key is appreciating your differences rather than resenting them.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 9:36 AM
Saturday, February 05, 2011
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 9:03 AM
Friday, February 04, 2011SOUL PRINT
discovering your divine destiny
By Mark Batterson
OVERVIEW: In Soulprint, Mark pours the insight and energy he's known for into helping you experience the joy of discovering who you are...and the freedom of discovering who you're not. The wonderful fact is that your uniqueness is God's gift to you, and it's also your gift to God. A self-discovery book that puts God at the center rather than self. Soulprint encourages you to recognize and explore the five defining moments in your life that will determine your destiny. Along the way, you'll find that you're not just turning the pages of a book. You're turning the pages of your remarkable, God-shaped, world-changing life.
AUTHOR: Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C. NCC has been recognized by Outreach Magazine as one of the most innovative and influential churches in America. Mark is a daily blogger and the author of three best selling books.
MY REVIEW: The year is young, but this is the best book I have read this year. It may be one of the best books I have ever read. Soulprint is a book that everybody needs to read. Yes, needs to read. Few, if any of us realize our true value. Batterson makes it clear that God has given each of us an identity that makes us unlike anyone else. He calls this divine distinction our soulprint. He has a sincerity that comes across clearly in his communication. I felt challenged and stretched by this book in a way that I haven't been in a long time. This book will help you to realize that you have a divine destiny to fulfill. "Most of us live our entire lives as strangers to ourselves. We know more about others than we know about ourselves. Our true identities get buried beneath the mistakes we've made, the insecurities we've acquired, and the lies we've believed. We're held captive by others' expectations. We're uncomfortable in our own skin. And we spend far too much emotional, relational, and spiritual energy trying to be who we're not." In this splendid book, Mark Batterson encourages us by giving us the faith to believe "it's never too late to be who you might have been."
Get this book, read it and discover who you are. You owe it to yourself. When you have finished reading it, pass it on to someone else. I predict you may buy a few copies to give to those you care about.
I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 10:52 AM
Thursday, February 03, 2011
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 10:16 AM
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
The only person I have ever heard proclaim anything even remotely close to what I believe is Franklin Graham.
He was viciously attacked and he stopped stating his beliefs about Islam—or at least I haven't heard him.
The only reasons I can think of for not hearing the truth about Islam is ignorance or lack of "guts" to proclaim it.
I must admit that I am timid and a little fearful to post what I feel.
Maybe it's a God thing. I'm not claiming that. But something in my mind and heart keeps telling me "somebody has to do it."
This morning I came across a great article by Dave Gaubatz titled Radical Islam or Mainstream Islam?
Dave Gaubatz had the knowledge and the "guts" to write this article and to publish it. Since he states what I believe I want to encourage you to read what he wrote and to think about it. That's all. Just read it and make up your own mind.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 8:45 AM
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
I thought long and hard before joining a health club.
Strip down to shorts and a light shirt for exercising? I can do that. It gets hot in Arizona. I often wear shorts.
But have you been to a gym lately? Many of the people running around there look like they could be personal trainers. Well, many of them are. But most of them just walked in off the street like I did.
But they don't look like I do.
Oh some of them do. In fact some of them look worse than I do. I take no joy in that. Well, maybe a little joy.
But the thing that really intimidates me is that some of these heavy lifting, muscle bounds are women—old women.
Last September I decided to step out of my comfort zone. I signed on the "dotted line." I joined the club.
Charlotte and I have been working out four days a week ever since.
We feel great. She looks great. And I am starting to look better. There's hope!
I have been thinking. It's the same way with faith. It doesn't take anymore effort to stay filled with faith than it takes to develop a negative attitude.
I dare you to step out of your comfort zone. God has much more in store for you. Keep believing. Stay faithful. Stretch your faith. See what God can do with your life.
Posted by Clifton Ditmore at 9:57 AM