What will people think when they read that you're a Jesus Freak?

This is a group of noders who have sincerely and publicly declared that they are Christian. This is to say that according to their own lights and the teachings of their church, they have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

/msg per ou to be added or removed from this list.


Testify!

Venerable members of this group:

per ou, Lometa, jaubertmoniker, milspec, Mer, swirlsbeforepine, abiessu, VT_hawkeye, bis, flyingroc, Anml4ixoye, iambic, Habakkuk, Nora, Nero, doulos, pylon, bookw56, Sofacoin, bipolarbear, Inflatable_Monk, Ahab, tinymurmur, Quizro, teos, Erin Lee, drownzsurf+, FireBanshee, weivrorrim, LeoDV, anemotis, telyni, The Lush, Bakeroo, j3nny3lf, Transitional Man, Radar, 18thCandidate, Kit, Kizor, fortheloveofgod, eruhgon, Federalist, kohlcass, tentative, yudabioye, Tom Rook, Mnky, nocodeforparanoia, Scout, Shizzle Melon 69, edebroux, cipher, Intentions, RossBondReturns, A.M.Gulenko
This group of 56 members is led by per ou

On a chilly, yet refreshing morning here in Fairbanks, Alaska, I woke up and remembered an itsy bitsy spider for some odd reason. This remembrance brought on some interesting thoughts. But first, I must tell you of my clash with... the itsy.. bitsy.. spider..

One evening, I was minding my own business in the kitchen, rummaging about trying to find something to digest. Amidst my burrowing, I suddenly became thirsty. Water, I thought, I must have. I innocently reached out and grasped the cupboard knob and pulled open the door. My innocence was met with a violence to my eyes. There, above the assortment of mismatched and odd-sized cups, was it. The spider.

There it crouched upon its web of confusion. Although perfectly still, it seemed to move its surrounding air in a swirl of death. For some reason, rage began to boil my mind as my eyes met its beady little eyes. Avast, foul beast! I cried within my mind. I shall make sport of thy death, thou vile rogue which hast violated mine abode!

In a feverish frenzy, I retreated to amass my weapons which I would undoubtedly hurl at this grotesque intruder. My mind raced as I assessed the situation, choosing to arm myself with but one weapon---one of a horrible, destructive nature. I got my candle lighter.

Gripping this weapon of mass destruction in my hot palm, blood racing through my veins, I pulled up a chair so as to get close to the enemy. I wish I could say I smelled its fear, but I believe that was my own. Strategy was key. If I allowed the pea-sized brute to escape, it could regroup for a surprise attack. Failure was not an option.

My eyes locked onto it. There were no countermeasures this goliath could employ---nothing would deter my sight. According to my strategy that I had formulated when pulling up the chair to the cupboard, I would activate the lighter first before nearing it to the behemoth, and then... I did so, and with a swift move of my adrenaline-fueled arm, the monster was engulfed in relentless flame.

It took mere milliseconds for it to shrivel up into a crispy little knot as it fell from its web, which had all but disintegrated in the heat. My enemy was defeated...

This is encounter with the arachnid gave me some thoughts on that crisp morning. Just a little while ago, I was sitting there, eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, when suddenly, a feeling of insignificance, yet total self-awareness, befell me. I realized how...human...I was, and somehow insignificant, in a sense---but also my awareness of my own existence became very sudden and real. It was odd. And that is linked, I think, somehow, to my battle with the itsy bitsy spider.

This spider, sitting on its web in the cupboard, was minding its own business, unaware that it was on someone else's territory. I don't think it meant any ill will, but nevertheless, it was occupying a space with a human who, at times, does not realize how instinctive and anamilistic he can be at times. No doubt, it saw me see it, and how I scurried about in horror. Yet, it didn't move at all the whole time. It just watched. Whether out of stupidity or just being unaware, it met its impending doom with a sort of complacency. Spider's are generally more intelligent, being a more powerful type of hunter, than their counterpart bugs, but compared to the vast and essentially infinite intellectual capacity of a human, it is nothing. But something so insignificant as this nothing-spider caused this highly intellectual being (by comparison, anyway) to resort to the most simplistic of reactions: instinctive and animilistic.

The only thing I can say now is, Farewell, my fellow creature. I have yet to model your still resolve in the face of inevitable and unavoidable doom.

John Sung was a Chinese revivalist, evangelist, and prophet. He was one of the most influential Chinese Christians of the revival of the 1930s. Sung preached with a strong emphasis on repentance, and was a very powerful man of prayer.

Early life and education

John Sung was born in Hingwa, Fujian province on September 27, 1901. His father was the pastor of a Wesleyan Methodist church. In his youth he assisted his father with church duties, including leading sermons when his father was too ill. He was nicknamed "Little Pastor". In 1900, he left for America to pursue higher education. He studied at the Wesleyan University of Ohio, and later Ohio State University and Union Theological Seminary. He worked menial jobs full time to support himself, and earned three degrees within 5 years. However, as a result of all this work he became backslidden and doubtful.

Transformation

Sung received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on February 10, 1927 during a time of repentant prayer. After this experience he was strengthened and more fervently preached the gospel to those he met, including his peers and teachers at the seminary. Some believed he was mentally ill, and he was committed to an insane asylum by seminary authorities. He was incarcerated for 193 days (about 6 months), during which time he committed himself to nearly continuous bible study and prayer. He read the Holy Bible from beginning to end 40 times.

This spiritual renewal was to be his training for his role as a revivalist in China. He did not graduate from the seminary, and returned to Shanghai in November 1927. He threw all of the academic awards he earned into the ocean on the trip, except his doctorate diploma which he saved for his father. This was an outward display of his full commitment to the gospel. On returning to China, he passed up academic and employment opportunities in favor of preaching the gospel.

Ministry

John Sung preached in Min-Nan region for 3 years, with messages centered on spiritual rebirth, salvation, and bearing a cross. He joined Bethel Bible School and formed the Bethel Evangelistic Band with some of the other graduates. He became the school's field evangelist and focused his sermons on how to deal with sin. When not preaching he was mostly reserved, but was full of intense emotions behind the pulpit.

Sung emphasized that repentance should be made as a whole group, and taken step by step in detail. During sermons, he listed categories of sins, and if one had committed any sins within a category they must be admitted to during group prayer. Full of excitement, he often jumped onto the pulpit to preach. He also made use of props to aid in getting his point across, and would usually sing a hymn for up to 30 minutes at a time.

He spoke out against hypocrisy, including against ministers and pastors in attendance. Sung was known to intercede carefully for a large list of requests for many hours. He kept small photos of those he prayed for. He was a great example for the Chinese church as a man of prayer, and allowed nothing to interrupt his time in prayer. Sung defined faith as "watching God work while on your knees". Many sick and crippled came to him for healing. The blind received sight, the lame walked, and the deaf and mute were made well when he prayed for them in the name of Jesus.

Later life and legacy

Sung was sick with intestinal tuberculosis through the later years of his ministry. He overcame this difficulty and continued to preach, often in a leaning position to lessen the pain. He suffered with painful, infected ulcers in his colon. Sung died at the age of 43 on August 18, 1944. He was the most influential Chinese evangelist of the 1930s. Sung helped found the Church Assembly Hall with Watchman Nee and others. He led many thousands to Christ in China and Southeast Asia, and had a profound impact on the church.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Sung
http://articles.christiansunite.com/article2068.shtml

For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21-24

"(21) For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (22) But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. (23) But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; (24) yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake"

--St. Paul

I remember the first time I saw this. It completely baffled me: Why in the world would someone be just as well off living as dead? Most people think that death is the final step... the final curtain to life before we shuffle off this mortal coil. For those who have relationships with our heavenly father, though, that couldn't be furthur from the truth.

Let's take a look at how Paul contrasts the two options. He starts off by saying "to live is Christ". What does he mean? Well, earlier he said:

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me"
(link)
What Paul's getting at is this: For those who have chosen to give Christ control of their life, quite literally, living is Christ. They've given themselves over to the one who created them in the first place.

Fair enough, but what about death somehow being a gain? Listen again to the words of Paul:

"Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord -- for we walk by faith, not by sight -- we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord."
(link)
If I'm hearing Paul correctly, he's telling us that those who have relationships with Christ will be at home with him in eternity when they die. To those who love Christ enough to give their lives away to him, that's a pretty hefty gain.

For Paul, and indeed for all christians, living is Christ, and dying is gain. Either way, they win. Having the one who designed, created, and sustains them within a whisper of a prayer gives them a winning life; and departing to spend an eternity with a loving heavenly father gives them a winning death.

The War Prayer

It was a time of great and exalting excitement.
The country was up in
arms, the war was on, in every breast
burned the holy fire of patriotism; the
drums were beating, the bands
playing, the toy pistols popping, the
bunched firecrackers hissing and
spluttering; on every hand and far
down the receding and fading spread
of roofs and balconies a fluttering
wilderness of flags flashed in the sun;
daily the young volunteers marched
down the wide avenue gay and fine
in their new uniforms, the proud fathers
and mothers and sisters and
sweethearts cheering them with voices
choked with happy emotion as they
swung by; nightly the packed mass
meetings listened, panting, to patriot
oratory which stirred the deepest
deeps of their hearts, and which they
interrupted at briefest intervals with
cyclone of applause, the tears running
down their cheeks the while; in the
churches the pastors preached
devotion to flag and country, and
invoked God of Battles, beseeching
His aid in our good cause in
outpouring of fervid eloquence which
moved every listener. It was indeed a
glad and gracious time, and the half
dozen rash spirits that ventured to
disapprove of the war and cast a
doubt upon its righteousness
straightway got such a stern and angry
warning that for their personal safety's
sake they quickly shrank out of sight
and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came - next day the
battalions would leave for the front; the
church was filled; the volunteers were
there, their young faces alight with
martial dreams - visions of the stern
advance, the gathering momentum, the
rushing charge, the flashing sabers,
the flight of the foe, the tumult, the
enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit,
and surrender! - then home from the
war, bronzed heroes, welcomed,
adored, submerged in golden seas of
glory! With the volunteers sat their dear
ones, proud, happy, and envied by the
neighbors and friends who had no
sons and brothers to send forth to the
field of honor, there to win for the flag,
or failing, die the noblest of noble
deaths. The service proceeded; a war
chapter from the Old Testament was
read; the first prayer was said; it was
followed by an organ burst that shook
the building, and with one impulse the
house rose, with glowing eyes and
beating hearts, and poured out that
tremendous invocation -

"God the all-terrible! Thou who
ordainest,

Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy
sword!"
Then came the "long" prayer. None
could remember the like of it for
passionate pleading and moving and
beautiful language. The burden of its
supplication was that an ever-merciful
and benignant Father of us all would
watch over our noble young soldiers,
and aid, comfort, and encourage them
in their patriotic work; bless them,
shield them in the day of battle and
the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty
hand, make them strong and confident,
invincible in the bloody onset; help
them to crush the foe, grant to them
and to their flag and country
imperishable honor and glory-

An aged stranger entered and moved
with slow and noiseless step up the
main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the
minister, his long body clothed in a
robe that reached to his feet, his head
bare, his white hair descending in a
frothy cataract to his shoulders, his
seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even
to ghastliness, With all eyes following
him and wondering, he made his silent
way; without pausing, he ascended to
the preacher's side and stood there, waiting.
With shut lids the preacher,
unconscious of his presence,
continued his moving prayer, and at
last finished it with the words, uttered
in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms,
grant us victory, O Lord our God,
Father and Protector of our land and
flag!"

The stranger touched his arm,
motioned him to step aside - which the
startled minister did - and took his
place. During some moments he
surveyed the spellbound audience with
solemn eyes, in which burned an
uncanny light; then in a deep voice he
said:

"I come from the Throne-bearing a
message from Almighty God!"
The
words smote the house with a shock; if
the stranger perceived it he gave no
attention. "He has heard the prayer of
His servant your shepherd, and will
grant it if such shall be your desire
after I, His messenger, shall have
explained to you its import - that is to
say, its full import. For it is like unto
many of the prayers of men, in that it
asks for more than he who utters it is
aware of - except he pause and think."

"God's servant and yours has prayed
his prayer. Has he paused and taken
thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -
one uttered, the other not. Both have
reached the ear of Him Who heareth
all supplications, the spoken and the
unspoken. Ponder this - keep it in
mind. If you would beseech a blessing
upon yourself, beware! Lest without
intent you invoke a curse upon a
neighbor at the same time. If you pray
from the blessing of rain upon your
crop which needs it, by that act you are
possibly praying for a curse upon
some neighbor's crop which may not
need rain and can be injured by it'

"You have heard your servants prayer -
the uttered part of it.I am
commissioned of God to put into
words the other part of it - that part
which the pastor - and also you in your
hearts- fervently prayed silently. And
ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant
that it was so! You heard these words:
'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!'
That is sufficient. The whole of the
uttered prayer is compact into those
pregnant words. Elaborations were not
necessary. When you have prayed for
victory you have prayed for many
unmentioned results which follow
victory - must follow it, cannot help but
follow it. Upon the listening spirit of
God the Father fell also the unspoken
part of the prayer. He commandeth me
to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots,
idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -
be Thou near them! With them - in
spirit - we also go forth from the sweet
peace of our beloved firesides to
smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us
to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds
with our shells; help us to cover their
smiling fields with the pale forms of
their patriot dead; help us to drown the
thunder of the guns with the shrieks of
their wounded, writhing in pain; help us
to lay waste their humble homes with a
hurricane of fire; help us to wring
the hearts of their unoffending widows with
unavailing grief; help us to turn them
out roofless with their little children to
wander unfriended the wastes of their
desolated land in rags and hunger and
thirst, sports of the sun flames of
summer and the icy winds of winter,
broken in spirit, worn with travail
imploring Thee for the refuge of the
grave and denied it -for our sakes
who adore Thee, Lord, blast
their hopes, blight their lives, protract their
bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their
steps, water their way with their tears,
stain the white snow with the blood of
their wounded feet! We ask it, in the
spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source
of Love, and Who is the ever- faithful
refuge and friend of all that are sore
beset and seek His aid with humble
and contrite hearts. Amen."

(After a pause) "Ye have prayed it; if
ye still desire it,speak! The
messenger of the Most High waits."

It was believed afterward that the man
was a lunatic, because there was no
sense in what he said.

Mark Twain (1835-1910)


For more than ten years, Mark Twain opposed the war and imperialism as a vice president and outspoken publicist of the Anti-Imperialist League. From his return to the United States from Europe in 1900 until shortly before his death in 1910, he expressed his opposition to imperialism in numerous essays, stories, and sketches, public and private letters, and interviews and speeches. Mark Twain's involvement with the anti-imperialist movement was one of the longest and most significant political affiliations of his life, and it was widely recognized during his lifetime, inspiring editorials and political cartoons from California to London, Bermuda to Canada, and probably further a field. But like the Philippine-American War itself, and turn-of-the-century imperialism more generally, this part of Mark Twain's career is rarely recognized today.

Sometimes published as an essay or in poem form, Twain places the reader in a church where a clerical figure is blessing the troops as they go off to do battle. The sermon uses powerful language and summons pictures of righteousness.

A full text was collected in Europe and Elsewhere (1923). Twain apparently dictated The War Prayer around 1904-05; it was found after his death among his unpublished manuscripts. He wrote a friend saying, "I don't think the prayer will be published in my time."

Written in response to the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902 Mark Twain wrote the satirical story The War Prayer in 1905 followed by a scathing indictment of the U.S. troops and in March of 1906. They had massacred 900 Muslim Filipinos -- men, women and children -- at Bud Dajo. The Filipinos were trapped in the volcanic crater and fired upon for four days from the heights above until all were reported killed only one young girl survived the horror. Twain continued to comment on the war and U.S. imperialism until at least 1908.

Albert Bigelow Paine had, during his time as trustee of the Mark Twain Papers, originally published extracts from The War Prayer in his 1912 biography of Mark Twain with the comment that the author said he had been urged not to publish it. According to Paine, Mark Twain acceded to its suppression by stating, to colleague Dan Beard, who had dropped in to see him. While he was there Clemens read The War Prayer, telling Beard that he had read it to his daughter Jean, and others, who had told him he must not print it, for it would be regarded as sacrilege.

    "Still, you are going to publish it, are you not?"

    Clemens, pacing up and down the room in his dressing gown and slippers, shook his head.

    "No", he said, "I have told the whole truth in that, and only dead men can tell the truth in this world.

    "It can only be published after I am dead."

Outraged by American military intervention in the Philippines, Mark Twain initially tried submitting it to Harper's Bazaar. The women's magazine rejected it for being too radical. As he had predicted the piece wasn't published until after his death, in the November 1916 issue of Harper's Monthly, when World War I made it even more timely.

This poem is public domain.

Sources:

Albert Bigelow Paine, Mark Twain, A Biography (Harper & Brothers, 1912).

identity theory | the war prayer by mark twain:
www.identitytheory.com/social/twain_prayer.html

Zwick, Jim. Duration of Philippine-American War: 1899-1913, February 1999:
http://www.boondocksnet.com/centennial/sctexts/zwick99a.html

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