Sunday, August 30, 2015

Our Gordian Knots Need Jesus The Great


PHRYGIA WAS AN ANCIENT kingdom in what is now central Turkey. According to legend, once upon a time Phrygia was without a king. One day, a pagan oracle declared that the next man to drive an ox-cart into Phrygia’s capital city, Telmissus, would be the new king. That man was a farmer named Gordias.

Gordias’s son, Midas (who later became the king with the golden touch), decided to honor his newly exalted father by dedicating the ox-cart to the Phrygian god, Sabazios, and he tied it to a pole using a knot so complex that it was considered impossible to untie — the Gordian Knot. Another oracle pronounced that the one who would solve the riddle of the knot would rule Asia.

Centuries went by and the ox-cart remained securely tied to the pole. Then Alexander the Great came, conquered, and happened upon the knot. Being the decisive warrior-leader he was, he dispensed with the inscrutable knot by slicing through it with his sword. And he went on to conquer Asia.

The Gordian Knot has become a parabolic symbol of intractable complex problems and Alexander’s sword (c. 333 BC) has been a parabolic symbol for decisive, out-of-the box leadership solutions.

Our Gordian Knots

In the kingdom of our souls, we each have our Gordian Knots, don’t we? Some of them are impenetrable intellectual quandaries over God’s sovereignty and human responsibility, the nature of suffering, the origin of evil, God’s eternality, the Trinity, and so on. We press on these and discover our limits and hopefully learn to exult with Paul in saying,
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (Romans 11:33)
The more painful knots are the complex spiritual, emotional, and psychological entanglements of indwelling sin or the temperamental weakness, disability, circumstantial adversity, and traumatic past experiences. Combined together, these often shape how we think and what we do in ways that confound us.

We try to untangle them. We try to figure them out. But the more we work at them, the more complex we find the knots to be. Counseling and certain kinds of therapies can certainly help us the same way teachers, discussions, and books can help with intellectual struggles.
Counseling will only help us to a point. Therapy doesn’t possess the power to cure us. We discover our limits. And we cry out with Paul,
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). Who can untie these sin-permeated, hopelessly intertwined knots of pain?
None of us can. The most gifted human pastor, counselor, or psychological expert is unable to fully untie the knots that entangle us. Nor can any of us make a sword ourselves that will cut through them.

Our Conqueror Has the Sword

The answer to our cry is the same answer Paul declares in the next verse:
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:25)
There is one who can solve the riddle of our Gordian Knots. He is the conqueror. “He is called . . . The Word of God” and “from his mouth comes a sharp sword” (Revelation 19:13, 15). And with that sword, all that is sinful in us and all that is part of the futility of this age (Romans 8:20) will be cut away.

On Cavalry, Jesus the Great dealt the decisive blow upon every sinful knot of every saint who would ever belong to him. In this age, every promise of God is yes in Christ and has power to cut through our knots with truths and set us free, if we will believe them (2 Corinthians 1:20, John 8:32). And in the age to come, every Eden-induced Gordian Knot will have been destroyed.

Loose the Sword on Your Knots

Some knots you will never be able to untie on your own. But there is one who can undo them. Jesus, the Creator of our bodies and psyche, the Maker of our souls, the One who really knows how we’re wired and what we need, essentially counsels one primary thing for our troubled hearts: “Believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1). Jesus wants us to look to him, listen to him, and trust in him.

The key to dealing with our Gordian Knots is not ultimately introspection and analysis. Effective counseling and therapies will aim to help us see more clearly what lies are interfering with our believing in Jesus so we can counter them. But the key to freedom, the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) that will cut through the knots of lies, is believing Jesus’s words (John 8:32, John 15:7).

The words of Christ are living and active and the sharpest sword (Hebrews 4:12) and in him every promise of God is yes for us. He alone will set us free (John 8:32).

Friday, August 28, 2015

Fox For Nashville's Latest '8 Years, Megan' Ad


He will make a much better mayor than Megan Barry ever can.

Megan voted to raise the property tax rate on homeowners 13%, costing taxpayers over a hundred million dollars....She voted to massively increase government spending---by $398 million---but failed to spend it wisely....Funds that pay for pension and health care benefits owed to Metro employees are $3.1 billion in the red. That's not good for retirees, and it's not good for taxpayers who are on the hook for it...Megan Barry won't be good for Nashville. BTW, great ad above David!

Friday: Is Stock Market Turbulance Over Or Just Beginning?


WHILE I DON'T PRETEND TO BE THE ULTRA-SMART MONEY, I've thought since the great market rout of 2007-2009, and subsequent housing crash that followed, we've been living in an artificially propped up economy for the last few years that would eventually crash to epic levels of pain and suffering. Markets have been manipulated for years.

Are we now at the bottom? Or are global markets just rehearsing for greater drops ahead? Only time will tell, but our federal debt and spending is becoming unsustainable, the Federal Reserve is out of the quick fixes of lowering interest rates any further---how much lower can you go from ZERO, ZIRP?---the Chinese economy is coming back to Planet Earth after years of flying high and finally consumer debt is at all time highs.

We've been living the euphoric high-life that we thought would never end. My own opinion is that the financial crisis----and a totally new chapter in global markets---is just getting started. The good times may not be completely over, but they are slowly grinding to a halt. In other words, caution is advised on all fronts, including paying down debt and tightening our belts. I would also SELL the bounces right now, rather than BUY them. Major volatility is not our friend.

Prudence is the order of the day and  should always be. Sure, we may have some more bounces, especially if the FED gives the markets what it wants---assurance that interest rate hikes are not imminent.  But overall, FED valium won't be the last word or any kind of saving grace.

Here is a fascinating article at ZeroHedge today on what China's U.S. Treasury liquidation means to our economy.   It's well-worth a read to contemplate what a $1 trillion QE in reverse might mean to us in the months ahead.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Later Today: Why I Endorse David Fox For Mayor and What I've Learned From Being A Successful Mediator

BUSY, BUSY DAY TODAY  but I intend to get back later to talk more about why I support David Fox for mayor and will vote for him in early polling next week.

I also want to talk about what I have learned about mediation from decades of being a court mediator ahead of the mediation I will participate in Wednesday with Mike Shmerling and Abe's Garden. From much experience,  I know what  makes for success and what dooms a process even before it begins.   One thing is for sure:  I don't fall for stunts and heavy-handed tactics before a good faith mediation begins. No one should.  But that doesn't mean some people won't try.

In my years of being a mediator with a very good track record,  I've seen truly amazing things be resolved in the most creative ways. I've witnessed much healing take place even after years of conflict.  I've seen people walk away saying it was almost miraculous what took place during mediation. On the other hand, some things---especially when a participant takes a winner-take-all, terrorist attitude---simply can't be successfully mediated or mediated at all. Some people go into mediation thinking it's a mini trial. It's not.  Mediation is about finding win-win solutions and trying to help the other person achieve what they most care about.

Again,  mediation, to be successful, is  a win-win game.  There are those people who can't get their minds around that concept.

It's an entirely different process.  Mediation works in  90% of the cases I've mediated, but you've got to put your guns down and leave them at the door.

Guess we'll see what happens Wednesday.  ******* UPDATE: Our mediation failed to reach a win-win agreement, so we'll be heading to trial in late November.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Thought


IS THIS TRUE FOR YOU? It certainly is for me.

Once a man or woman really understands the nature of sin---a self-inspired narrative in which we write the script of our lives and leave the Almighty God out---and begin to repent, it gets easier to see more and more of the unredeemed aspects of our lives.


Friday, August 21, 2015

No Commentary Needed, As DOW Torpedos Down 530 Points


Carrington Speaks On Behalf of Husband David Fox's Run for Nashville Mayor

SURE, SHE'S BIASED. FOR GOOD REASONS. Carrington is smart, capable and accomplished in her own right, and she knows a good man when she sees him. She knows a good candidate when she sees one.

David Fox will do a great job for Nashville in prosperous times as well as downturns in the economy. He knows that prosperity isn't just about spending more, more, more, full steam ahead. Prosperity is a way of life that takes into account the various global economic cycles that inevitably come or will come. It means living within one's means and growing too.

Lefty Megan Barry naively thinks that David's is a mindset of austerity, but she's just plain wrong. It's a mindset of wisdom and sustained prosperity in good times and bad. Hers will bring train wrecks down the road. Megan will run city government with extremely partisan and special interest cronies and insiders from the left and the far left.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hammocks On Rubber Rafts Through the Big Kahuna---A Jackson Hole Original


WAS JUST FLY FISHING THROUGH THE BIG KAHUNA WEEK BEFORE LAST,  but not even in my wildest dreams,  would I consider riding a hammock attached to a rubber raft or paddle board through some of the roughest white water in the canyon of the Snake.  Call it age, wanting to live to fish and hike another day, or stodgy wisdom....even with life jackets,  this seems beyond insane.

Still many of these kids here either grew up living or summering in Jackson with lots of experience in extreme sports. This so-called business venture and 'test-flight' seems a  bit un-unserious to me....but whatta I know.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mayorial Candidate David Fox


He should win by a landslide.

Unfortunately, Nashville has become a big, very liberal city that's outrunning itself in dealing with unimaginable traffic, billions in unfunded liabilities and decaying sewer and other infrastracture. Fox is a businessman and fiscal conservative who wants to deal with these unsexy problems.  He has the West Nashville, business and conservative vote. But will it be enough?

Fox does not have uber-liberal developers like Mike Shmerling with whom I am currently in litigation.  Shmerling is other mayoral candidate Megan Barry's darling fair-haired boy.

Megan Barry is a protege of our present big spending Mayor Karl Dean. She's  a marvelous public speaker (good delivery, scary message), and promises every resident of Nashville all kinds of new entitlements  (as her guy uber-Shmerling chomps at the bit). Her politics are to the left of Nancy Pelosi. Many people I talk to think she would be a true disaster for Nashville, not to mention Nashville's finances and credit ratings  down the road. But she doesn't care about any of that. She's got much of the black, and all of the feminist and LGBT vote. She also has much of the radical environmental vote.

Megan whines that she's for prosperity and that Fox is for austerity.   But that's not true:  Fox is for a level of sustained prosperity that can stay more constant during down financial times as well as good--so that the highs and lows are less disruptive during recessions that inevitably come with the economic cycles.

David has his work cut out for him in the last few weeks before election day on September 10.  He's not a great public speaker and needs to find a fine debate coach PDQ.  If not, he will lose the next debates and the election.  But almost everyone I know and respect, including me, is supporting Fox big time.

David, get thee to the finest debate coach money can buy and quickly.  If all else fails,  call  Donald Trump. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday--Spirit of Lethargy in the Church

PASTOR MIKE ATKINS AT RIVER CROSSING IN JACKSON, WYOMING TALKS FROM ISAIAH 51:221 AND JEREMIAH 1:  The enemy loves it when people are lethargic---as Satan says, Lie down so we can walk over you.

Powerful sermon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

What Does 'Sola Scripture' Mean?

THE REFORMATION PRINCIPLE sola Scriptura has to do with the sufficiency of Scripture as our supreme authority in all spiritual matters. Sola Scriptura simply means that all truth necessary for our salvation and spiritual life is taught either explicitly or implicitly in Scripture.
It is not a claim that all truth of every kind is found in Scripture. The most ardent defender of sola Scriptura will concede, for example, that Scripture has little or nothing to say about DNA structures, microbiology, the rules of Chinese grammar, or rocket science. This or that “scientific truth,” for example, may or may not be actually true, whether or not it can be supported by Scripture—but Scripture is a “more sure Word,” standing above all other truth in its authority and certainty. It is “more sure,” according to the apostle Peter, than the data we gather firsthand through our senses (2 Peter 1:19). Therefore, Scripture is the highest and supreme authority on any matter on which it speaks.

But there are many important questions on which Scripture is silent. Sola Scriptura makes no claim to the contrary. Nor does sola Scriptura claim that everything Jesus or the apostles ever taught is preserved in Scripture. It only means that everything necessary, everything binding on our consciences, and everything God requires of us is given to us in Scripture (2 Peter 1:3).

Furthermore, we are forbidden to add to or take away from Scripture (cf. Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Rev. 22:18-19). To add to it is to lay on people a burden that God Himself does not intend for them to bear (cf. Matt. 23:4).

Scripture is therefore the perfect and only standard of spiritual truth, revealing infallibly all that we must believe in order to be saved and all that we must do in order to glorify God. That—no more, no less—is what sola Scriptura means.
“The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.” —Westminster Confession of Faith

Friday, August 7, 2015

Congratulations to David Fox For Making the Nashville Mayorial Runoff!


 GREAT RACE,DAVID! LET'S GO ON TO VICTORY ON SEPTEMBER 10!  David is a fiscal conservative who is fighting for what he calls The Nashville Way which is disappearing from our city at warp speed, often at the hands of  unruly developers.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

What Trump Is Accomplishing in This Election Above All Else

WHETHER TRUMP GETS ELIMINATED IN HIS PRESIDENTIAL BID sooner, later or never remains to be seen.  I've stopped trying to figure it out.

What I see as Trump's greatest contribution to the American people so far is his bringing out the weaknesses and worst in his opponents.  After watching Trump day after day,  when I then saw Rick Perry, all coiffed and coached to be presidential for the last four years,  I instantly knew he was done.  Finished. Too tamed down.   I was not in the least bit surprised he didn't make the cut for tonight's Fox News debate though I like him.

Now we see Jeb Bush unleashed and name calling, generally coming across as petulant and majorly entitled to a group of supporters.  This will be interesting, but my early call is Jeb will go downhill from here.  I've never been a Bush3 fan but this is not becoming at all. He's whining and playing Trump's game.

Another one bites the dust? Who knows?  I could be wrong and am often.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

UK Falling Out-of-Love With Tea and Biscuits Even As US Continues Its Infatuation With Coffee and Donald Trump--The Jolt--And Awaits Thursday's Super-Caffeinated Debates


Blogging has been light not just because it's summer here in Wyoming and I spend a lot less time online, but also because I don't have a lot to say at the moment as I watch, mesmerized like all of us,  by the spectacular fall of Hillary Clinton like a stale, soggy tea bag out of caffeine and the meteoric rise of Donald Trump, The Caffeinated Talker-Doer. At the moment, I can only claim to be a spectator in this unprecedented circus.

Let's put it this way: Donald Trump is to politics as a triple caffeinated latte with extra whipped cream is to our morning cup of Joe. We're hooked and we can't get enough of The Jolt.  It's the American Way.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Pastor John Piper Explains Christian 'Hedonism' and Man's Chief End

TO GLORIFY GOD AND ENJOY HIM FOREVER. Or, Christ is most magnified in us when we're most satisfied in Him, and when we truly want to spend time in His Presence and in prayer.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Hamilton---Think I Want to to See It

HAMILTON! A CLASSIC IMMIGRANT STORY. NOT A CLASSICAL ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT STORY. Back in those days, our country didn't bring in just the masses of lowest common denominators. It's the hottest show on Broadway but not without backlash of sorts. I also realize if it has an elitist, liberal and politically correct axe to grind, I could be persuaded to lose all interest and not give it a second thought.