Thursday, September 30, 2010


I’ve invited my friend, Jon Zens to be a guest columnist this week. His article, Finding the Mind of the Lord Together might “rock the boat” at bit, but is a must read, especially for couples!

"Who's in charge?" is a source of friction in many marriages. Latching on to the traditional concept of "male headship," a number of Christian husbands use this mantra to abuse or marginalize their wives. I would like to suggest that there is a healing paradigm that would liberate couples and vastly improve marital relationships—seek the mind of the Lord together. This paradigm is unfolded in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5.

1 Corinthians 7:1-5 is the only place in the New Testament where the word "authority" (Greek, exousia) is used with reference to marriage. Yet it is not the authority of the husband over the wife, or vice versa, that is in view, but rather a mutual authority over each other's body. 1 Corinthians 7:4 states that the wife has authority over her husband’s body. One would think that this would be a hard pill to swallow for those who see "authority" as resting only in the husband's headship.

In the context of this passage Paul states that a couple cannot separate from one another physically unless there is mutual consent (Greek, symphonou). Both parties must agree to the separation or it shouldn’t happen. There is, then, nothing in this text supporting the contention that the husband’s "authority" should override his wife's differing viewpoint.

John Piper suggests that "mature masculinity accepts the burden of the final say in disagreements between husband and wife, but does not presume to use it in every instance" (What's the Difference?, p. 32). But 1 Corinthians 7:5 challenges Piper's assumed maxim. If the wife disagrees with a physical separation, the husband should not overrule his wife with the "final choice." Biblically, such separation can occur only if both husband and wife are in "symphony" (unity) about such an action.

Now if mutual consent applies in an important issue like physical separation from one another for a period of time, wouldn't it seem proper that coming to one-mindedness would be the broad decision-making model in a healthy marriage? Piper feels that "in a good marriage decision-making is focused on the husband, but is not unilateral" (What's the Difference?, p. 32). Yet in light of 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, I suggest that decision-making should focus on finding the Lord's mind together. Over the years the good ideas, solutions to problems, and answers to dilemmas will flow from both husband and wife as they seek the Lord as a couple for "symphony."

1 Corinthians 7:5 throws a wrench into the works for those who would conclude that the husband has the "final say" under presumed authority commonly known as "male headship." Paul teaches that unless the couple can agree on a course of action, it should not be executed. I suggest that this revelation invites us to re-examine what the husband's headship really entails (cf. Gordon D. Fee, “1 Corinthians 7:1-7 Revisited,” Paul & the Corinthians: Studies On A Community in Conflict, Trevor J. Burke/J. Keith Elliott, eds.).

It is safe to say that most evangelical husbands have been affected by the "final say" position embedded in traditional ideas about "male headship." I would invite believing husbands to meditate on 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, pray about it before the Lord, and discuss it with your precious wives. I think you will find that seeking the Lord together and waiting for the "symphony" that brings unity and peace is a far better way to function together in a Christ-honoring marriage. The traditional top-down, hierarchical, the-man-is-in-charge model is out of sync with Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5.

Remember, 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 is the only place in Scripture where the word "authority" is mentioned in connection with marriage. The really striking thing about this "authority" is that it is a mutual authority over each other's body, and has nothing to do with the husband's alleged "authority" over his wife. The truth is, compared to traditional ideas about male headship since the 3rd century AD, Paul's perspective here is revolutionary—especially when it is recalled that in the first century AD women were often viewed as property or chattel.

*Jon is editor of the quarterly publication Searching Together, manager of a Christian bookstore, and author of What’s With Paul and Women?: Unlocking the Cultural Background to 1 Timothy 2and A Church Building Every 1/2 Mile: What Makes American Christianity Tick?



Thursday, September 23, 2010


Flu season is on its way and the health care system has been gearing-up to “help” you with their armory of vaccines. As some of you may recall, I wrote an article last year about the risks of vaccines. If you would like to read it, it can be found at

If “Big Brother” were truly looking out for our health, something would be done to eliminate the adverse effects of vaccinations. Instead, they are escalating! The awareness of this might have something to do with the high percentage of health professionals who are rejecting flu vaccines!

There is plenty of information available that attempts to scare us into receiving flu vaccines. On the other side, there is increasing documentation which warns against them. However, it seems that we are lacking in adequate and accurate information about flu prevention!

Have you ever wondered why the health-care system rarely educates the public on appropriately preventing influenza? While my goal in this article is not to get on another soap-box about the whys of that,

I can assure you that the
FDA, pharmaceutical companies and World Health Organization
are all sleeping together
have little desire to prevent transmission of communicable diseases
here or around the world!
With this in mind, what measures can we take to protect ourselves?

My focus in this article is prevention, not treatment, with the goal to educate on how to boost the immune system so that you become resistant to microorganisms which lead to illness.

We’ve heard over and again the importance of proper diet, fluid consumption, exercise and eliminating stress for maintaining ultimate health. However, there are additional ways that we can arm ourselves against the onslaught of harmful viruses which may not be so commonly conveyed:

Vitamin D3 – I am not referring to synthetic D2 found in most supplements and fortified foods which has been shown to be toxic. D3 comes from UV exposure, fish oil, eggs, organ meats and fats.

Although, studies indicate that most of us regularly have low D3 levels, that level declines even more during the flu-season. As a result, our body’s natural antibiotics diminish making us more vulnerable to contracting influenza.

What dosage is right for you? Vitamin D needs vary with age, body weight, body fat, sun exposure, health status, etc. The following wesite is very helpful in determining your needs: One can also order kits at this site for testing D3 levels.

Probiotics - are live microorganisms thought to be healthy for the host organism. Because 80% of our immune system resides in our digestive tract, studies have shown that by building the “friendly” bacteria that naturally reside in our digestive tract we can effectively reduce episodes of flu symptoms.

Probiotics are most often consumed through cultured yogurt with a label which reads, “Live Cultures” or in supplement form. Since it is not wise to trust every label, you can find a list of products that have passed the stringent testing of ConsumerLab at .

Supplemental probiotics are especially necessary if you have been on antibiotics which destroy these helpful organisms.

Herbs - “An ounce of herb is worth a pound of medication”! The following herbs have been proven to be effective immune system builders and antiviral agents:
o Goldenseal
o Garlic
o Ginger
o Astragalus
o Echinacea
o Peppermint

I would especially like to focus on:

o Tulsi (Holy Basil) – one of the most effective adaptogens known. An adaptogen helps the body adjust more efficiently to stress.
 Dosage: infuse 2 teaspoons in 8 oz boiling water twice daily.
o Olive leaf extract – provides protection against a wide variety of viral strains.
 Dosage: 1 dropper full in tea, juice or water twice daily.
o Oregano oil – possibly the most powerful antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal remedy available.
 Dosage: three drops three times per day in one teaspoon of honey, maple syrup, or olive oil.

Our body responds most favorably to herbs if we use them six days a week with a random day or two off.

Although they may have good intentions, medical doctors are trained to prescribe medications for health problems, but are typically ill-informed regarding prevention. Regardless, it isn’t necessary to live in fear over whether to risk the dangers of the vaccines or the viruses. If we are willing to do our homework and take responsibility for our own health, we can avoid most, if not all contagious diseases. I hope this article gives you a good start!


P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts or topics you’d like to ponder.

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

Thursday, September 16, 2010


An upright bass is a giant “fiddle” which a person plays standing next to it. I love the story behind the bass fiddle that I learned on and I thought you might enjoy hearing it:

A musician friend of my brother was fishing with some buddies. He snagged what he thought was a large fish. However, as he started to reel in his “catch,” he realized that it was much bigger than a fish! In fact, he needed help getting it in without breaking his line, possibly even his pole! He summonsed his friends for help and they worked together to land the “monster”! Much to their surprise, their “catch of the day” was an old bass fiddle!

I’m sure that there were many speculations among these fishermen regarding how on earth this bass ever ended up in the river and how long it’d been there. I can almost hear the “fishing” tales flying!

The instrument lovers of the group concluded that they must attempt to preserve this new friend. With TLC, they gave it a new back, using floor under-layment and screws, a fresh coat of paint and a new set of strings. One final thing was necessary! It needed a name! So … they called it “The River Boat”!

Knowing that my brother, Art, wanted to learn to play a bass fiddle, “The River Boat” was passed on to him. He played it for several years and was told by a number of seasoned musicians that it was the best sounding bass they had ever heard!

After of few years of learning on and enjoying “The River Boat,” Art had an opportunity to purchase a beautiful, nearly new bass fiddle at a very reasonable price. He decided to take the offer, but knew that he didn’t need two basses. Knowing that I’d always wanted to learn, he said to me one day, “Why don’t you take ‘The River Boat’ home with ya?” Realizing that “The River Boat” had become Art’s close “friend” with sentimental value for his musician friends, I choked back tears and responded, “Really? Are you sure? What if I accidentally damage it or something?” He assured me that he’d like for me to take it and not to worry if something would happen to it. I felt so honored!

I had so much fun learning and felt a connection with my brother every time I played “The River Boat”! Often when I played publicly, I would share its story and then talk about how God took the trials in my life and transformed them into something which beautifully glorifies Him, just as He did with “The River Boat”!

One day I opened its case and one entire side was coming unglued and pulling away from the rest of the instrument! I panicked … then I prayed!! I called my musician friends and asked them to pray for the necessary extensive surgery! Having heard its story, it seemed that everyone who played in our band felt a special fondness for “The River Boat.” They were all devastated! A few days after the shock had settled, Gary & I worked together to loosen the strings and loving re-glue this instrument which had become a dear “friend.” Although we had no clue what we were doing, “The River Boat” seemed to make it through our amateur surgical abilities just fine, thanks to all the prayers!

A few weeks later, I had placed “The River Boat” on the ground next to our motor home while we were loading other instruments etc. after a music event. The shadows were settling in such a way that Gary couldn’t see as he came around the corner. He tripped over “The River Boat” and his knee landed right in the center of its belly! Not wanting to see the damage, I slowly opened the case and found that its body was shattered! I felt sick! My first thoughts were, “How will I ever tell my brother? He trusted me with his “friend”!

We were scheduled to play in a few days and there was no way that we could attempt the necessary surgery and have “The River Boat” ready on time. In fact, we weren’t sure that “The River Boat” would ever be playable again! So… we made a quick trip to visit a fella who made bass fiddles. He had several available that I could choose from, but my heart kept coming back to one that was painted Ocean Blue. It reminded me of “The River Boat” story. We brought “Big Blue” home and I’ve been playing it since.

We eventually took the time to painstakingly put “The River Boat” back together and returned it to my brother who was very understanding and seemed pleased with our reconstruction. In fact, he planned to hand it down to another friend who wanted to learn.

Yes, “Big Blue” and I are now good friends. However, there is a place in my heart for the “The River Boat” that another bass will never fill!


Thursday, September 9, 2010


This past weekend we attended an “organic church conference” in LeRoy, MN. I’m not even sure where to begin in describing the experience. There were only a few of us in attendance, but the presence of Jesus was very strong!

The couple who hosted the “conference” are two of the most hospitable people I think I’ve ever met. They obviously had little to share financially. However, not wanting those attending the conference to incur the added expense of hotel rooms, meals, etc., this couple hosted all of us in their home! When the wife wasn’t preparing meals for us she’d say, “There’s food in the freezer and pantry. Help yourself to whatever is here!”

These “goat farmers” welcomed us to their humble abode with open arms, having deep appreciation for what the Lord has provided them. They shared that when they told their new neighbors which house they live in, their neighbors’ response was, “Oh! We didn’t think anyone even lived there!” With barrels, palettes, machinery and appliances scattered all about their yard, there was barely room to walk. However, between and around each “treasure” burdock grew profusely! If you know anything about burdock, you know that their pretty flowers turn to burrs which stick to everything that touches them! Regardless, goats love burdock and many of them were freely roaming the yard eating these tasty “wild flowers”!

Between conference sessions, some of us helped feed and milk goats while others prepared meals. Because I’ve had a desire to obtain a milking goat it was interesting to learn about their milking system and exciting to milk a goat for the first time! One “city slicker” attendee wasn’t nearly so fascinated. Unaccustomed to farm life, he was utterly disgusted with the number of flies! I teased him about how nice it would be when both hands are busy to have horse skin to shake the flies away!

Gary & I had parked our motor home in the driveway of this farm. Throughout the night the little goats were curiously clunking around underneath and inviting themselves to climb up and down the steps to our front door! The roosters worked in unison and were like a non-electric alarm clock, snooze option included! Before dawn was even thinking about cracking, one rooster would sound his alarm….and about ten minutes later another would sound his reminding prompt. They took turns until we finally gave in and got out of bed!

Each morning and night, once the work was done, we all sat around the kitchen table eating, sharing, laughing, crying, and exhorting one another! There have been few instances when I have experienced the presence of Jesus so strongly amongst a group of His people. Yes, we all brought our part; however, the more I got to know this precious couple the more I recognized the love of Jesus flowing from every pore in their bodies! Consequently, I found myself not wanting to leave their presence!

Have you ever noticed that
those who experienced the presence of Christ, followed Him everywhere?
They didn’t care if they ate!
They didn’t care if they had to walk many miles.
They didn’t care what they had to leave behind.
They just longed to be in His presence!

Before the weekend was over, I think everyone there was more than willing to forego rest and wade through the burdock and goat manure (maybe “city slicker” was even willing to be eaten-up by the flies), in order to be in the precious presence of one another. Why? Because it is the place where Jesus dwells!


Thursday, September 2, 2010


Have you ever been told that you shouldn’t ask, “Why” or that you should simply accept God’s Word for what it says without questions? I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been accused of asking far too many questions! It has even been suggested that I “need to learn to just believe!”

The truth is I haven’t always had so many questions. In fact, I pretty much accepted and taught what was passed along to me for many years. Oh, I studied Scripture. However, I read with lenses that had been tainted from ideas and opinions of others.

At some point, I felt prompted to begin to ask questions and to ask the Holy Spirit to guide me through the Scriptures. When the answers of others didn’t match up with what I was learning, I became very unsettled. I was beginning to realize, like Thomas Merton, that

The unanswered questions
aren't nearly as dangerous as
the unquestioned answers.

Jill Carattini shares in her article entitled, “Kingdom (Without) Questions”

"The kingdom of God is for the gullible," I read recently. "You enter by putting an end to all your questions."

It's true that Jesus moved all over Judea pronouncing the reign of God and the kingdom of heaven as if it were a notion he wanted the simplest soul to get his mind around. But simplicity was not what hearers walked away with. With great disparity, he made it clear that this kingdom was approaching, that it was here, that it was among us, that we needed to enter it, that we need to wait for it, that we desperately need the one who reigns within it....

Contrary to putting an end to one's questions,
the kingdom of God incites inquiry all the more.

What is the nature of this kingdom? Can it be all of these things? Who is this messenger? And what kind of proclamation requires the herald to pour out his very life to tell it? Whatever this kingdom is, it unmistakably introduces to a world far different from the one around us, one we cannot quite get our minds around, with tensions and dynamisms reminiscent of the promise of God to answer our cries "with great and unsearchable things you do not know" (Jeremiah 33:3). It is a kingdom that tells a story grand enough to master the metanarratives which otherwise compel us into thoughtless, gullible obedience. It is a kingdom with a king whose very authority exposes our idols as wood and reforms our numbed minds with great and surprising reversals of reality.

In this kingdom Jesus proclaims we are shown a God who opens the eyes of the blind and raises the dead, who claims the last will be the first, and the servant is the greatest. But his proclamations did not cease with mere easy words. Jesus put these claims into action, placing this kingdom before us in such a way that forbids us to see any of it as mere religion, abstraction, gullibility, or sentimentality....

The kingdom he proclaimed in life and in death continues to unravel our own....

In this world of gullibility, crafted ignorance, and much distraction sounds a clarion call for a new means of perception. Living somewhere between this foreign kingdom of God's reign and the familiar kingdom of earth, some of us never fully see or live in either. Still others somehow find themselves moved beyond the familiar borders of the world they know, to the very threshold of the kingdom of God where, longing to see in fullness and relishing here and now, they discover the one who reigns.

(excerpts from “Kingdom (Without) Questions,” by Jill Carattini, A Slice of Infinity, originally printed 02 July 2010 (www.rzim.0rg). Used by permission of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.)

God isn’t impressed with credulous acceptance of what someone else teaches us. In fact, unless we become serious students of God’s Word, we are easy prey to false teachings. Instead, we are encouraged, “If… you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with your whole heart and with your whole soul” (Deut. 4:29). If the totality and depths of one’s being is required to find God, how can we rightly consider that His Kingdom is one without questions or that a quick “sinner’s prayer” purchases an entrance ticket?

If you find God with great ease,
perhaps it is not God that you have found.
Thomas Merton


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