2018 is over today…
As part of my annual New Year celebration, I watched a few episodes of The Twilight Zone. One that stood out was “Four O’Clock” which is episode 94 (season 3, number 29) because it reminded me of the Church I attended Sunday, December 30th.
Rod Serling opened the Twilight Zone episode with this:
“That’s Oliver Crangle, a dealer in petulance and poison. He’s rather arbitrarily chosen four o’clock as his personal Götterdämmerung, and we are about to watch the metamorphosis of a twisted fanatic, poisoned by the gangrene of prejudice, to the status of an avenging angel, upright and omniscient, dedicated and fearsome. Whatever your clocks say, it’s four o’clock, and wherever you are it happens to be the Twilight Zone.”
The gist of the story is based on a short story by Price Day with the same title “Four O’Clock” (I suggest reading it) and it revolves around Oliver Crangle who documents evil people and the evil they do. He is obsessed with pointing out the evil and knows that at four o’clock that same day, he has arranged that every evil person will be magically transformed into a two foot high person so they will be easily seen and recognized. Only he and his parrot know this will occur. He has spent his life documenting the evil of others and is content to know they will be punished all at the same time.
So, what does all this have to do with the Church I attended? Well, I’ve noticed a focus on pointing out the sins of others. The faults of the New Age Movement. The evils of Rock Stars. And on and on. Well, I took notes… but you may not see what I am talking about from them. I was really trying to look past all that and hear the message. Let me share what I noted:
The message for this Sunday’s service was: New Life Resolutions… (think more than a year) and the pastor taught from 2 Peter 1:1-11 (I use the International Standard Version (ISV))
From: Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus, the Messiah.
To: Those who have received faith that is as valuable as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus the Messiah.
May grace and peace be yours in abundance through full knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord!
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the full knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence. Through these he has given us his precious and wonderful promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, seeing that you have escaped the corruption that is in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, you must make every effort to supplement your faith with moral character, your moral character with knowledge, your knowledge with self-control, your self-control with endurance, your endurance with godliness, your godliness with brotherly kindness, and your brotherly kindness with love. For if you possess these qualities, and if they continue to increase among you, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in attaining a full knowledge of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah. For the person who lacks these qualities is blind and shortsighted, and has forgotten the cleansing that he has received from his past sins.
So then, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election certain, for if you keep on doing this you will never fail. For in this way you will be generously granted entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Messiah.
So, allow me to share the notes I put into my phone as I listened:
(The pastor described 1st and 2nd Peter as Dark corners of New Testament along with Jude)
The faith of Peter – The Rock (Not Peter himself as the first Pope, but the faith given him by the Spirit)
Flesh vs spirit (the battle continues)
Bond servant of Christ – Simon Peter (a bond servant is one by choice)
Seek ye first… Matthew 6:33 International Standard Version (ISV)
But first be concerned about God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all of these things will be provided for you as well.
(But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. – KJV)
The base of the pyramid supports the rest. (my note in response to what was said)
God is not partial, all are welcome.
Grace and mercy… grace and peace multiplied to you. This was the note I wrote, it is from 2 Peter and the emphasis was that grace and peace are multiplied when you learn more about God.
2 Peter 1:2 King James Version (KJV)
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
Then there was more about adding brings multiplication… as though by adding, things get multiplied… something to do with math, I guess.
This got me thinking about Mercy, Grace, Peace and what I think about them. I then thought how I would emphasize that mercy is when you don’t get what you deserve, grace is when you get what you don’t deserve, peace is what you get when you have the other two.
Then I listened a bit more and had this pop into mind:
God in a box… pop goes the spirit. I thought about the music normally accompanying a Jack in the Box.
Next I wrote down:
His divine power grants to us everything… vs 3
God moved the fulcrum for better leverage… the cross.
Jesus is more than fire insurance… (then I wrote) how many of your sins were still in the future when he died for them?
I started to muse and thought of who wrote:
Gospel of John and Revelation
Gospel of Luke and Acts
Gospel of Mark
Gospel of Matthew
Josephus? I wrote this thinking of the theory that he also wrote the four gospels… see Caesar’s Messiah by Joseph Atwill
Romans 12.2 – a new mind: think different
Do not be conformed to this world, but continuously be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God’s will is—what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.
A few more random notes followed (not what the Pastor said, but what I was thinking):
Complete in Christ… all done. Think as if it is done. Everything is done because it is done.
All scripture is God Breathed…
A form of godliness but deny the power of God.
What do you think? It matters!
Analogies are imperfect yet terribly powerful and versatile. shadow dancing
Many are called but few are chosen (who does the choosing?)
Then the pastor encouraged us all to memorize the following: 1 Peter 1:5-7
For this very reason, you must make every effort to supplement your faith with moral character, your moral character with knowledge, your knowledge with self-control, your self-control with endurance, your endurance with godliness, your godliness with brotherly kindness, and your brotherly kindness with love.
So, along with all this, he also said things which really irritated me, like the only thing Liberals want is more dead babies. I was, however, a bit excited because he did not mention President Trump for most of the service, but near the end he said he was happier with Trump than he would be with Hilary. At that point I put my phone away and stopped taking notes. Those two comments stood out enough that I remembered them without noting them on my phone.
Anyway, the point I am trying to make is summed up in a quote from Mike Warnke – “If you spend all your times doing the do’s, you ain’t gonna have time to do the don’ts!” To me this says it would be better to teach what people should be doing right instead of teaching what other’s are doing wrong. It seems the church is fear mongering. I could go on with some of the things I heard from the church members after the service, but I won’t at this time. I am just worn out from it all.
I would like to remind those who are afraid of FEMA camps and the future rounding up of Christians:
Isaiah 41:10 International Standard Version (ISV)
Don’t be afraid,
because I’m with you;
don’t be anxious,
because I am your God.
I keep on strengthening you;
I’m truly helping you.
I’m surely upholding you
with my victorious right hand.”
Rod Serling closed the episode thusly:
“At four o’clock, an evil man made his bed and lay in it, a pot called a kettle black, a stone-thrower broke the windows of his glass house. You look for this one under ‘F’ for fanatic and ‘J’ for justice in the Twilight Zone.”
(If you’d like to see the synopsis of the episode, go here.)
Happy New Year!