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New John Mark McMillan: Heart Bleeds

September 21, 2011


From the email:

We drove down from Seattle the night before and I think we checked into the hotel at about 4 AM. We had to check out around noon and the rest of the crew went to tour the Nike facilities, so we ended up a little sleep deprived on the unusually warm streets of Portland for most of the day. I had a hard time finishing the song that I planned to do and after several takes I realized that I was losing my voice. This was frustrating because we had a show that night and I wanted to do my best for the people of the great city. I was in a downward spiral and I lost my confidence. Colt and I ended up sitting on the curb eating lays potato chips and finally decided to hail a cab to the venue. We got there a little early and so i decided to do some vocal warm ups. Colt started filming and we did a couple different shots just for fun. I was sure they wouldn’t work as my voice was hurting but later I watched the play back and was pleasantly surprised. I guess it goes to show that things are not always as they seem.

This is called “heart bleeds” and the people of Portland were phenomenal that night.

The single is available on iTunes. Waiting for the whole album with much anticipation!

Allow Me to Explain (35 of 439) – Ark Contents

September 20, 2011

The back-story is here. The collection is here. You can subscribe over there. >>>

35. What was in the Ark of the Covenant? 1 Kings 8:9, 2 Chron 5:10 vs. Heb 9:4

My family moved so much when I was little that my mother used to instinctively write the date on the cardboard boxes, beneath the description of its contents. True story.

1 Kings 8:9
Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.

2 Chronicles 5:10
Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they had come out of Egypt.

Hebrews 9:4
which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant;

First, the accessories. The pot of manna mentioned in Hebrews enters the story in Exodus 16. Moses is instructed to save some of the manna that the people ate in the desert, as a testimony to future generations. Aaron’s “rod that budded” joined the party in Numbers 17. It was a sign against rebels, to shut them up, “lest they die.”

Second, context. 1 Kings 8 and 2 Chronicles 5 are both describing the Ark of the Covenant as King Solomon brought it into the recently completed temple he had built for it. Hebrews 9, though written later, discusses a time earlier, when the Ark of the Covenant was housed in a tabernacle (big tent) while Israel travelled through the desert with Moses.

And travel it did:

  • Decades in the desert
  • Gilgal (Joshua 4:19)
  • Removed to Shiloh (1 Sam 1:3)
  • Taken into battle
  • … and captured by the Philistines (1 Sam 4)
  • Sent away to Kirjath-Jearim (1 Sam 7)
  • Nob, while Saul was king
  • Obededom’s house, for a while
  • … and then to the City of David (2 Sam 6)

The Ark moved a lot, and not always under the careful eye of the tribe that was responsible for it. Scripture never mentions the pot of manna or Aaron’s rod after the initial command to set each aside. All of the above considered, common sense goes, “You lost them.”

Kings and Chronicles describe a specific event that took place centuries after Moses. Israel – and, thus, the Ark – have travelled and settled. Israel has wavered between following God and not following God so many times that it’s hard to not get frustrated reading through Judges. They’ve been led into captivity and freed, only to be led back into captivity again and again. In the midst of all of it, they lost a small golden pot full of foodstuffs that no one recognizes, and a stick with flowers on it. They’d long since stopped revering these items, it’s not ridiculous to conclude they’re lost.

Moses didn’t lose them, though, so the writer of Hebrews includes them in his description of the Old Testament tabernacle. The writer, here, reveals in great detail how Moses’ tabernacle was only a foreshadow of what was to come in Christ. The manna and the flowering rod are symbolic of Jesus as the true Bread of Life and the eternally chosen High Priest who, though once dead, is alive, now, forever.

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:11-12)

Eternal redemption that He obtained, at great personal cost, for you. If you want it.

Ascent from Darkness: Quotes and Excerpts

September 16, 2011

If you’re looking for a free copy, you want to check this out. Below are some quotes/excerpts from the book, because (1) the book is awesome and (2) there’s some remarkable insight in a former Satanist’s experience.

Parents, pay attention:

I never experienced my parents practicing satanism, but their weak Christian-like practices, along with my mother’s dabbling in psychic readers and such, led me to the conclusion that their trust and faith in the God of the universe was shallow and insubstantial.

Church leaders:

What I witnessed quite often was Christians loving someone into the kingdom and their church; but once inside, the new believer was nearly abandoned. From a dark-side perspective, the battle began the minute the so-called new believer raised his hand. If not loved, mentored, or discipled for a period of time, the new believer … is ineffective for the kingdom and easy prey.

Christians:

I’d go to a service after the praise and worship was finished … then stick around in the foyer afterward and chat up the members. I’d sit around drinking coffee, and somebody would invite me to coffee or lunch. I’d try to get people one-on-one. I’d ask them what they thought about Scripture or the Word of God. It was astonishing how little most churchgoing people actually knew about the God they claimed to serve.

This is Michael’s thought process as he scopes out a local church he’s about to stash Satanic Bibles in and around:

That steeple is an outward sign of faith to the outside world,  yet, I guarantee inside that church is another bunch of lukewarm Christians. What is a Christian anyway? That term doesn’t mean a thing. What is the difference between a Satanist and a lukewarm Christian? Nothing.

I don’t want to spoil the details of the climax of the story for you, so this is a short snippet from the end:

I have learned the only thing that evil can take over is darkness. Darkness invades our lives when we shut out the light of God’s love. But where there is light, there cannot be darkness. Light pierces darkness and illuminates the truth.

Get it.

Book Review: Ascent from Darkness

September 15, 2011

Have a blog? Like free books? Check this out.

You need to read this book. If I could buy everyone I know a copy, I would. I can’t.

But I’m going to buy somebody one. Details below on how you can win it.

Ascent From Darkness is Michael Leehan’s story, and I can almost guarantee you’ve never heard or read a story like this one.

Ascent from Darkness will remove blinders. If you’re a Christian, it will equip you. If you’re a Satanist, it will show you what’s really going on. (I know you think you know, but I dare you to read it.) If you’re an atheist, or of another faith/religion, it will challenge you and – hopefully – give you the courage to ask some hard questions.

Michael gave himself to the devil as a young man in a lot of pain. He tells a very honest story of the pleasure and power he got from Satanism. He details what he remembers of rituals and spiritual encounters, assignments, and experiences. He writes candidly about the struggle that developed and deepened within him, about the times he knew he was wrong but chose pleasure and power and submission to darkness.

The stories he tells along the way will change you because they will change the way you see the world. Some of it is almost too extraordinary to believe.

Like the assignment to murder Pastor Craig Groeschel, as mentioned in the video below. The first time I saw it I thought, “Okay. He thought about it, maybe formed a loose plan, but whatever.” Truth: he spent a year studying the security at that church until he was given the date that the assignment was to be carried out. He knew exactly how to do it. As he sat, armed, in the lobby that morning he was certain he wouldn’t be alive for more than a couple more hours.

It’s intense.

A dozen times I thought it couldn’t get any worse for Michael, but it kept getting worse. And as I finished each chapter I thought, “Okay, here comes the turn-around,” but it kept not coming.

Then, finally, I cried through the last chapter of the book. Michael describes how the Father encountered him, and pulled him from the deepest darkness a human being could experience on earth. (I don’t even mean I was sniffling and teary-eyed: I pretty much sobbed.) Michael’s deliverance is an amazing lesson/reminder of God’s amazing power and love.

If you are a passionate believer, read this book: It will encourage and equip you. If you are a new or lukewarm believer, read this book: It will inspire and ground you. If you are a Satanist, it will teach and free you. If you are an atheist, Muslim, Hindu, Buddist, etc., it will challenge you.

I don’t know how anyone could come away from Michael Leehan’s story unchanged. The way you see the world, God, evil, religion, and your faith – whatever it is – will be rocked.

So, want a free copy? I’m going to buy one for someone. Here’s how you can throw your name in the hat:

Leave a comment. In the comment you must (1) promise me you’ll read it, and (2) promise me you’ll lend it out to anyone who will read it until it’s so dilapidated that it falls apart. I’ll randomly select one comment on Monday (the 19th) evening and email the winner for a mailing address.

Video: Mike Leehan

September 13, 2011

I just got his autobiography, Ascent from Darkness, from BookSneeze. Pretty amazing stuff so far.

Book Review: Has God Spoken?

September 3, 2011

Have a blog? Like free books? Check this out. 

Scores of apologetic works line bookstore shelves these days (where bookstores still exist). Hank Hanegraaff wrote one of a different spirit, however, than any of the others in my experience (which, I’ll grant, is limited).

My issue with most apologetic works lies in identifying the audience. Who does the apologist write for? Some maintain that they write for the atheist, the skeptic, but how many atheists really peruse Amazon.com for a book that sets out to prove them wrong? Maybe a few, and I applaud them.

Other apologists seem to write for believers. They assume a certain level of faith, they default to God is God when they can’t resolve an issue, etc. Some of this invaluably builds-up the faith of believers, but unless they make a serious study of it they can’t regurgitate much of the information.

Enter Has God Spoken? Hanegraaff writes for the believer talking to the skeptic. He seems to know that most atheists will not pull his book off a shelf, and he knows by experience – as host of the Bible Answer Man program – that most believers find themselves ill-equipped to defend the integrity of the scripture. Hanegraaff presents sound arguments, great history, and a strategy to help the reader remember what she reads.

Hanegraaff likes acronyms. He uses them well, and after the first couple of chapters I could easily sit back and recite his main points based on the acronyms he provides. Whether or not he over-uses the tool by the end of the book, each reader may decide. I lost track, although anyone serious about learning the material would probably be able to make the most of all the acronyms with little trouble.

The book in its entirety fleshes out his main acronym, MAPS. He uses MAPS, “to place in your mind the four-part line of reasoning by which you can demonstrate that the Bible is diving as opposed to merely human in origin” (xv). Manuscript Copies, Archaeologist’s Spade, Prophetic Stars, Scriptural Lights.

The last word of each of those breaks down further. To help you remember what is so special about Manuscript Copies, he assigns COPIES to Copyist practices, Oral culture, Papyrus and parchment, Internal evidence, External evidence, and Science of textual criticism. SPADE, STARS, AND LIGHTS all break down to help the apologetics student defend each of their arguments as well. A couple of the chapters have even more acronyms. It might be comical, if it didn’t work so well.

Do you read apologetics? What’s your favorite book or resource?

Allow Me to Explain (34 of 439) – Babylon Role Call

September 2, 2011

The back-story is here. The collection is here. You can subscribe over there. >>>

34. How many of Arah’s offspring returned from Babylon? Ezra 2:5 vs. Nehemiah 7:10

Over 30 families, not to mention the Levites, are accounted for and numbered by Ezra and Nehemiah. Most of the numbers are exactly the same. A few are different, so we’ve pulled each of the differences out as a unique “contradiction,” because it adds more sensational redlines to the pretty picture. *eye roll*

Not to mention it’s weak. We discussed it here regarding Adin’s family, and linked to it again when Adonikam’s family came up. It’s the same story.