Friday, October 30, 2009


Dear Sister in Jesus, I am recently new to the Diagonal community so I am not wise in the ways of all its worshipping communities. You know you don't know me at all so perhaps I should share a little about myself. I have been a Christian since Dec. 1973. I have worshipped in homes, house churches, in believer's gatherings, and in "regular churches". I have been baptized in the Spirit, witnessed healings, and have experienced sufferings and some persecution due to my Christian beliefs. So it was with some perplexity that I read your editorial in the recent Diagonal Progress questioning our desire to fix or rebuild our worshipping church building. Because you utilized some scripture passages familiar to me, (because like you I seek to study God's word and worship Him in Spirit and Truth), I sought to search God's word for wisdom.
First: Proverbs 12:15 - The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. Perhaps not really knowing us well, you are assuming that we don't listen to advice or God's counsel.
Second: Proverbs 1:20-33 - Out in the open, wisdom calls, she raises her voice in the public square- How long will you love your simple ways? Repent at my rebuke. Whoever listens to me will live in safety. While as a kingdom citizen and a sister in Christ, you offer us counsel: as the Thessalonian's church didn't presume to preach to the Phillipian's church, because their issues were all different, both believing bodies all sought to worship God as they were led by the Spirit. As you are my sister in Christ, I love you, but I don't presume to tell you how to parent your children, be a good wife, or even how or where to worship. Why because your worshipping body and biological family are personal to you even though we are all connected by the Spirit of Christ.
Mark 7:1-9- The Pharisees saw the disciples eating with unwashed hands and expressed displeasure that the disciples and Jesus weren't keeping to the traditions of the elders. Jesus responded: "You have let go of the commandments of God and are holding to human traditions. If human traditions mean worshipping in a church building, I wonder why Christ, Peter, and Paul, often worshipped in a synagogue. The reason many began to worship in house churches was due to the persecution by the Jews and the Romans of that day. You mentioned "that God isn't interested in providing a place for people to worship in their own way." You are wise. We must always worship him in spirit and in truth whether in a home or a church building.
John 4:24- God is Spirit and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth. You are correct that God's worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth. What is perplexing to me is whether you wonder if we at United Church of Diagonal are not doing that. If I were a member of an organized church a few decades ago, I certainly would agree with you, because at times I have a questioning spirit and an abiding animosity against most system type organizations both having been a social worker for many years for the state of Iowa and involved with organized religion. However, I have been blessed through my marriage to a pastor (of many churches over the past 31 years) to have experienced the love, support, and caring of many church families which I might not have experienced if I weren't married to a church pastor. This is all the more poignant to me as I lost my parents at a young age as well a a teenage sister, if it weren't for support from church family, I am not sure I could have continued to stand. When one loses family members, one truly appreciates finding family among God's children in and out of the organized church.

However the Lord has pruned and tempered me and I recognize that I must wait and listen for His leading and not presume to judge situations with my earthly wisdom. Romans 14 1-4. Accept those whose faith is weak without quarreling over disputable matters. ..... "Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To their own master they stand or fall. And they will stand for the Lord is able to make make them stand." I believe with continued seeking of the Lord in prayer and scripture as well as godly counsel, the Lord will be able to make us stand and He himself will be the Lord of the decision about our future church building.
Thank you for being faithful to love and pray for us and we will do so for you as well.

In Christ:
Nora Giese

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I was recently asked to respond to the following concern:

“Our two teens are not attending church with us and we are not making them. I don't want to turn them off of the church, but want them to go. I thought about actually making them go every other week or once a month so that we can go as a family. My husband is hesitant to do this. What do you suggest? I am praying about it...but when we are at church all I can think of is how the kids would really enjoy it if they just would give it a try.”

Because I am a proponent of an organic community church, this is somewhat difficult for me to respond to without going into details about my opinions regarding “choosing” and “going to” church. I’ll make every effort to be sensitive to and stay focused on your concerns.

Allow me to begin my response with a caution: As parents we have a tendency to attempt to manipulate our children into doing what we want. Although this may be subconscious on our part, our children are most often able to read through our controlling efforts. Before taking any action, ask God to show you your true heart. Honestly consider if you are truly concerned for your children’s best interest or seeking to meet personal needs in this situation.

It is so important to openly and honestly communicate with your children about your concerns. Express your desire for them to go, as well as your fear of forcing them. Ask them why they aren’t interested in going. Make every effort to listen with a genuine attitude of caring about what's in their hearts. A negative response on your part will alert your children that you are seeking your desire rather than truly being concerned for them. In fact, such a negative reaction toward them is a good litmus test for you of where your heart truly is.

Ask them if it would help to have a leader from the church come to visit with your family. In fact, it may be helpful if a few teens could come along and visit with your family about their experience at that church.

Your teens need to know that you sincerely need their input regarding whether or not this is even a good church to attend. Be sincere when you ask for their input. Teens are often more aware that "something's not right here" than we adults who have been raised in the institution. In fact, teens’ lack of interest in “going to church” is often because they have been turned-off by the institutional system. Whether they realize it or not, they are looking for the organic life which Jesus desires for His people.

Sometimes it seems more helpful to teens to start them out working with a project that the youth are involved in rather than dragging them to a “church service”. For example; while helping the homeless downtown, they will become acquainted with other teens and adults from the church and get a feel for whether or not there is life-giving water flowing out of those people. This may be the best place to start.

I hope my response has been helpful. I’m honored that you've included me. I will surely be praying for your family. Keep me updated.


Thursday, October 22, 2009


As a young girl, after the Halloween celebrations at school, my siblings and I would don our costumes once again and head for town. Our goal was to cover every street of our small community, displaying our costumes and collecting our grocery-bag full of treats. It was an exciting time not only for us, but for the adults who treated us at their doors. I never gave much thought to why we did this. It was just something everyone always did.

However, my excitement toward and celebration of Halloween began to change in my early years of counseling. I recall very clearly the first person I’d counseled who had been involved in ritualistic abuse. As someone who had escaped the cult, she was trying to deal with her heinous past; much of which occurred on Halloween. Initially, I had difficulty believing that her stories were even true. However, had I known in years past what I discovered from my follow-up research and training, Halloween would have never been a day of celebration for me.

Taking a look at its origins with the pre-Christian Celts, we discover:

• Samhain, November 1, marks the end of the Pagan year. This festival of the dead can be seen in nearly every culture since Babel.
• Beginning at dusk on October 31, the Eve of Samhain was the most important time of the celebration and considered to be very holy. The thin veil thought to be between the spiritual and physical worlds on this night supposedly made it possible for the dead to return to the places where they had lived.
o The finest food and drink were set-out and doors were left unlocked giving the dead free passage into homes = the origin of "trick-or-treat."
o Because not all spirits were friendly:
 images of spirit-guardians were carved onto turnips and set at their doors to detour “unwelcome visitors” = the origin of jack-o-lanterns.
 to protect themselves from the spirits, people masqueraded as demons hoping to blend in and go unnoticed = the origin of wearing costumes of demonic creatures.
• The focus of the festivities was a great bonfire (derived from “bone fire”).
o used to aid the Celtic Priests in their fight against dark powers. Being ritually devoted to the gods, the bones of sacrificed animals and human were set ablaze. This practice of burning humans was legally stopped around 1600.

As Christianity spread to parts of Europe, Samhain was renamed “Halloween”, meaning “Hallow eve” (an evening set apart for holy use). But…., “holy” to whom? Instead of abolishing the pagan customs of Samhain, they were blended in with Christianity. Weren’t the Israelites warned against such blending when they entered the Promised Land [Deuteronomy 18:9-14]?

People today typically excuse their involvement in Halloween by declaring that it is simply “innocent fun”.
Yet, who can deny that Satan is glorified when we dabble in pagan customs
such as masquerading as evil creatures and decorating with occult symbols?
Isn’t this what defiled the ancient nations [Leviticus 18:24-30]?

Incredibly, according to Sandi Gallant, a nationally recognized expert on occult crimes investigations, although they are skilled at hiding their practices, many who oppose Christ are known to observe Samhain today, preserving the practices of the ancient Celts; not unlike the stories reported to me in counseling.

Yes, Halloween is highly celebrated. According to a national survey done in 2008, Halloween spending was estimated to reach $5.77 billion! However, as followers of Jesus we need to guard against being compromised by accommodating ourselves to the world. Although we may not be participating in the gruesome practices of the pagans, why do we want to be a part of this pagan holiday at all? Doesn’t our Lord warn us to:

"Abstain from all appearance of evil" [1Thess. 5:22]?
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." [Romans 12:2]
"You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils:…” [1 Corinthians 10:21].
“have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" [Ephesians 5:11].


Thursday, October 15, 2009


I recognize that other than what I’ve shared in my articles, many of my readers know little about me, including my intentions. While it is never my purpose to be judgmental, argumentative nor disrespectful, I must be faithful in speaking in love what I believe is Truth. As a result, I’m aware that a number of my articles have created some controversy, including the one regarding the Diagonal Community Church.

If I were a member of Diagonal Community Church, only a few years ago I certainly may have responded negatively to an article such as I wrote. I would have wondered, “Who is this woman and what right does she have telling us what to do?” However, because God has recently brought me to a more clear understanding of His Kingdom and my relationship with and responsibility to all of its other citizens, my response today would be different.

Recently Mr. T, in an article published in this newspaper, offered a response to my concerns. Maybe drawing out some of his thoughts will help to explain where I was coming from in my article. Consider with me, if you would that

as a citizen of the U.S., Mr. T believes it is his right and responsibility to voice his concerns about other U.S. citizens making a decision to release a man from jail to attend a ball game. Yet, Mr. T believes that a citizen of God’s Kingdom has no place in voicing their concerns about the decisions of other Kingdom citizens.

Is it true, that as citizens of God’s Kingdom,
we have “no say in the matters” of other Kingdom citizens?
Is that the kind of Kingdom God is establishing?
Wouldn’t this be a “sad commentary” of God’s people?

Isn’t it possible that every decision made by His citizens has an effect on His entire Kingdom? Could it be that at times God uses one of His citizens to reveal His will to another? If so, don’t we have a responsibility to prayerfully consider this counsel? What if the counsel is from the Lord? [Proverbs 12:15; 1:20-33]

Although my cautions will likely have little influence upon the decisions of Diagonal Community Church, God’s Word certainly should. Mr. T describes church as: “… a place where people choose to gather and worship in their own way, to celebrate life and feel the joy of fellowship.” However, I believe that we would be hard pressed to find Mr. T’s definition in God’s Word. In fact, God isn’t interested at all in providing a place or opportunities for people to “worship in their own way.” Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for such ideas [Mark 7:1-9]. He demands that we worship according to His Word! [John 4:24]

While I’m comfortable knowing that my readers may not always agree with me, it concerns me that the people of God have often allowed “what serves them best” to hinder them from diligently seeking Him and His Word until unanimously convinced of His leading in their service to Him.

The children of God who assemble at Diagonal Community Church are my brothers and sisters in Jesus. I’m genuinely concerned for them and desire that they be in God’s will. Regardless of what decision they make, I will continue to love and pray for them.


P.S. For those who may not have had a chance to read Mr. T’s comments, you may read them at this blogspot under "MR. T'S COMMENTS.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


A few years ago, I was experiencing many disturbing health symptoms which manifested much like MS. One of the most frightening was memory loss. Although memory loss is usually considered as a “normal” aging process, it seemed as though my brain was deteriorating rapidly!

Frequently I couldn’t keep track of steps to even such a simple process as following a recipe. Unable to remember whether I had or hadn’t done something, even undemanding processes became over-whelming. I found myself unable to respond when asked uncomplicated questions. The answer was often there, but I couldn’t collect my thoughts quickly enough to articulate it. At other times I would simply draw a blank, when under normal circumstances, I could respond without much consideration. The slightest bit of stress would aggravate these symptoms.

Immediate action was necessary; yet I knew that had I sought medical advice, medication would be the “answer”. Wanting to get at the core and not simply mask the symptoms, I ventured out on an intense investigation.

The most helpful information came from a world renowned neurologist and leader in the field of complementary medicine, Dr. David Perlmutter. In his two decades of practice and research, he has discovered that

“memory loss is not a normal process of aging,”
rather it is a consequence of an unhealthy lifestyle
there are measures to
prevent and restore lost brain function!

Legal and illegal drug use, illness, poor diet and environmental toxins are all brain killers. However, none of these were even a moderate factor in my life. So what was the problem?

As a workaholic who “thrived on stress,” my brain was constantly being flooded with stress hormones which destroy the memory center. After years of functioning in this manner, my brain was showing signs of shutting down. Hoping it wasn’t too late, I committed to making the necessary life-changes.

In order to stop the deterioration and begin regenerating my brain, I embarked on several very aggressive measures:
• lightening my schedule and releasing many responsibilities
• initiating an intense detoxification process
• improving my level of exercise
• taking multiple supplements recognized for rejuvenating sluggish brain cells

Although I’m not totally “out of the dark”, I’ve noticed incredible changes in my symptoms. Consequently, I’m compelled to share what I’ve learned in hopes that it might help others.

While there are many facets of this process; today, I’d like to elaborate on my supplement regimen adapted from Dr. David Perlmutter’s, THE BETTER BRAIN BOOK:

Borage Oil (GLA)- anti-inflammatory - 300 mg.- 0mg
DHA - cell communication - 300 mg.- 300 mg.
Ubinquinol CoQH-CF - energy production -100 mg. -100 mg.
Vitamin E - antioxidant, anti-inflammatory - 400 IU - 0 mg.
Vitamin C - antioxidant - easily crosses brain-blood barrier -500 mg. - 500 mg.
Alpha lipoic acid - antioxidant, energy production - 200 mg - 0 mg
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) - raises levels of the essential antioxidant, glutathione and chelates toxic metals - 400 mg - 400 mg.
Phosphatidylserine - improves memory and cognitive performance -100 mg.-100 mg.
Acetly-L-carnitine - Neuro: transmitter, energizer, detoxifier - 400 mg. - 400 mg.
Ginkgo biloba - improves blood flow, antioxidant - 60 mg. - 60 mg.
DHEA/7-Keto - improves neurological function, immune function, stress reduction and hormonal modulation - 100 mg. - 100 mg.
Vitamin B-complex supplement - controls homocysteine which causes inflammation, blood vessel damage and cell destruction:
B 1 (thiamine) - 50 mg. - 0 mg
B 3 (niacinamide) - 50 mg. - 0 mg
B 6 (pyridoxine) - 50 mg. - 0 mg
Folic acid - 400 mcg. - 400 mcg.
B 12 (cobalamin) - protects cell covering - 500 mcg. - 500 mcg.


The author of this article does not endorse everything represented on/in suggested links, books, etc. Each of us is accountable to God weigh everything according to His Word.

All content of this article is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. The author sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. The information herein is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This is best left to the Creator of the universe. In all health-related situations, “qualified healthcare professionals” should always be consulted. The author deems THE GREAT PHYSICIAN to be most qualified. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


MY VIEW - By Mr. T


I have to admit that after hearing the news last week, I really felt there was no way what I heard was what was said. Sadly, I heard correctly. A man in jail was released to attend a Kansas City Royals game. I'm betting most of you heard that one. I found that one really hard to believe. What has happened to our legal system that an individual serving time in jail is allowed to leave jail to attend a ballgame? There is no justifiable reason for this one. I guess it is more important that one attends a ballgame than serving jail time. Does it really make any difference that he had this planned for a long time or that his favorite team was playing in KC? He broke the law, was sentenced to jail, but had more important things to do that stay in jail. Sure seems to be a sad commentary on those individuals involved in this decision.

Finally, I want to throw in a comment about our decision on building or renovating our church. A church is certainly more than a building, and a building is not necessary to have a church. However, a church certainly represents more than just a building. It is a place where people choose to gather and worship in their own way, to celebrate life and feel the joy of fellowship. If the congregation decides that is what serves them best, then that is their choice. Those not involved in the church really have no say in the matter.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I was recently asked to respond to the following question:

“The girls where my sister works are making fun of her because she won't go to a sales party since her son has a football game that night. They feel that she should skip the game saying, “He has to grow up sometime.”

She told them that she was taught in church that it is always God before spouse, spouse before kids, and kids before work. They told her they wanted to know where in the Bible it said that. What do you think?”

My response: I appreciate your desire to help your sister understand and live by God’s Word.

Although I’ve also heard this prioritizing taught as a Christian principle, it is not a written standard in the Bible. Obviously, God is to be at the center of every aspect of our lives; including our marriage, parenting and work. However, rather than attempting to force God into this box; our heart needs to be open to His Spirit’s leading in every situation. When we approach life in this way, we will find that He may direct us differently in each instance for various reasons.

To make this point clearer, I’ll offer some examples of how God may direct:

• “Go to the sales party this week. Someone is going to be there to whom I want you to minister.”

• “Don’t miss this week’s ball game. Your child needs the extra support and encouragement.”

• “Stay home with your spouse tonight; he is in special need of your undivided time and attention.”

• “Stay home with Me tonight. I miss you!”

Fulfilling what God sets forth for us each day should be our priority. This may mean occasionally setting aside our children’s events. However, if our children know that our desire is to pursue a God-directed life and they see us regularly living that out, they will honor our decisions. As an example, you might explain to them; "I really feel God directing me to go to the sales party instead of coming to your game this week. I believe there is someone there He wants me to minister to. I will miss seeing you play and will be praying for you and the other players. Would you please be praying for me?"

Missing our children’s events because we are being harassed by others is not a God-directed reason. However, locking ourselves into having to be at all our children’s events is closing ourselves off to His Spirit’s leading in each situation. We must be careful, though, not to use “God’s leading” as an excuse to do our own will in a given situation when we do not regularly show an interest in being led by Him. This will only lead to confusion and anger in our children.