Called to Rebuild has moved!

Well, the transition is complete and Called to Rebuild is no more! The new blog can be found at As you’ll see I went with a whole new web host and domain for the fresh look. This will mean a ton of cool new features which I’m just now beginning to explore, but unforunately it also means that my subscriber list has been lost. Those of you who have followed this blog will have to re-subscribe over at the new site. I do apologize for the inconvenience. 

I hope to not lose anyone in the change-over, which is why I’m writing one final post here. If my writings have interested you to this point and you’d like to continue receiving notifications of future posts via email, please hop right over and subscribe while it’s fresh on your mind. You’ll find the subscription form on the sidebar to the right of the page, just beneath my profile picture. And if you’ve never been a subscriber, now would be the perfect time to hop on board! 🙂

While you’re at it, please feel free to share the link to my new page on your social networks (Facebook, Twitter, ect.) or with friends and family whom you think may be interested in the blog.  I plan to have a more official “grand opening” post at the new address in the coming days, so please make the necessary adjustments to keep yourself in the loop!

Until then, grace and peace to you, and thanks for reading!

The War Prayer

Hello, all. I know I’ve said this at least twice already, but the new blog is on the way. Having a few difficulties in the transition, but believe me, it’s coming. 🙂

In the meantime, I thought I would direct your attention to a little book I read recently by Mark Twain called The War Prayer. I would love to hear the reaction of every evangelical Christian in America to this book.  The War Prayer is a fictional tale, written during the Philippine-American War which took place in the first decade of the twentieth century, about a man who interrupts the service of a local church to inform the patriotic congregation of what their prayers to God for victory in their nation’s latest campaign really mean.

This book is for anyone who has ever felt uneasy about the rampant idolatry of American Christianity’s unchecked devotion to “God and country.” Twain (whose real name was Samuel Clemens) was aware of this terrible wickedness, and The War Prayer was his not-so-subtle way of exposing it.

From the preface:

To Dan Beard, who dropped in to see him, Clemens read the ‘War Prayer,’ stating 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 be published after I am dead.’

Thankfully The War Prayer was published, and I highly recommend it to all my readers. It’s so short it only took me ten minutes to read, so really you have no excuse. Find a copy, read it, let its message sink into your heart, and then I would love to hear your reaction.

Just content to be a son

Greetings friends and fellow bloggers. Tonight I would like to share a third poem which has long held special meaning for me. It is called Just Content to be a Son by George Warnock. I do believe I have shared this poem on the blog before but, like Paul said to the Philippians, perhaps it will do you some good for me to repeat myself once more. 🙂

By the way, the coming of the new blog title and design is imminent. Acquisition of the new theme has been made and all that is lacking at this point is the setup. Apparently these things are a bit trickier than I first realized. Either way, it won’t be much longer now. 

But without further adeiu, I give you Just Content to be a Son:  

Just content to be a son
With no ambition to succeed
In realms of earth, and have no need
Of popularity’s acclaim,
Or purchase for myself a name
In serving Christ; for He must be
The Lord throughout eternity.
To see His face and hear His voice,
And do His bidding is my choice.

Just content to be a son,
A son of God without a home,
To stay, or go, or wait, or roam…
Hither and yon without a plan,
Led of the Spirit, not of man.
I’ll have no monument of praise,
But I’ll have peace in God’s own ways;
And though I tread this earthly sod,
I’ll walk with Him, I live in God.

Just content to be a son,
Misunderstood, and yet I know
The path I take shall overflow
With life abundant and with grace.
I only need to run the race
With patience, waiting, seeing Him…
Hearing the still small voice within.
If others want the earth to quake…
I’ll hear His voice when I awake.

Just content to be a son,
No words to say… but what He says;
No work to do… but what He does;
No fear or worry, anxious care,
I live with Him, His yoke I share…
No name to make, He writes His own
Upon the heart’s pure glistening stone;
No life to live, I lay it down,
I’ll share His cross… and live again.


Last post I shared one of my favorite poems, Who am I? by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A few of my readers were kind enough to supplement the offering with one or two of their own, which you can read in the comments section of that post. 

Another poem I have enjoyed very much over the years is Rudyard Kipling’s If, which was first introduced to me by an old friend from Bible college days. When I read the lines I was immediately struck by the wisdom of Kipling’s words. In particular the verse “if all men count with you, but none too much” has come back to haunt me time and again throughout my own brief sojourn through this life. 

Kipling was an English poet who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1907. Here’s his poem, I hope you enjoy it.

 If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son! 

Who am I?

In the future I’d like to incorporate more poetry on this blog. There are at least three or four poems that come immediately to mind which have special meaning to me, and one of them is Dietrch Bonhoeffer’s Who am I, written from prison in Nazi Germany some time before his death in 1945. Dietrich writes,

Who am I? They often tell me
I stepped from my cell’s confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a Squire from his country house.

Who am I? They often tell me
I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly,
As though it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me
I bore the days of misfortune
Equably, smilingly, proudly,
like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat,
Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
Tossing in expectations of great events,
Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all.

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine!

Beautiful words. I can relate to so much of the emtion conveyed through these verses, as I’m sure you probably can, too. If you don’t know much about Bonhoeffer I would encourage further study. His was an incredible life and message.

In the coming days I’ll share some more of my favorite poetry. In the meantime I would love to hear from my readers which poems you enjoy. The comments section is yours, so fire away! What is one of your favorite poems?

The problem with talking about “my” church…

…is that it reeks of sectarianism. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe for a second that most of the people who use this language when referring to the congregation they’re a part of mean it like that, but when I come along talking about “my” church as opposed to “your” church I am denying a great deal of the New Testament revelation concerning Christ’s church in doing so.

In the New Testament “the church” is identified simply according to the place where the community of Christ-followers is gathered together. A few times this is seen to be in a private home, but mostly it is confined to the boundary of a specific city or town. The local church is just that-all the disciples of Jesus in a given locality.

To talk about the church in any other way is to perpetuate the centuries-long confusion that daily arises over the rampant (mis)use of that word.

Some Christians are very frustrated with their oft-attended congregation. They are disappointed with the leadership’s lack of social concern as opposed to the more liberal-minded gathering on the other side of town, for instance. Yet other Christians are very proud of the work and assumed identity of their particular group, finding it hard not to boast about the way “their” church follows more closely to the heart and teachings of Jesus than others do.

And again I say, it all reeks of sectarianism.

Please don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not ranting and I’m not upset. And I don’t claim to know the way any better than the next guy. I myself experimented with a handful of other brothers and sisters for about three years in a more “organic” expression of church life and we too failed to impact the world in any significant way. So I will gladly take my place in line and join the swelling ranks of those who talk like they know what’s up when evidently they really don’t. 🙂

It’s just that when you’ve seen something you’ve seen something, that’s all there is to it. And when you’ve really spied something of the truth-something which you would gladly compromise on if you could but you can’t-then the only recourse is to pursue it.  

All I know is, I cannot in good conscience talk about “my” church and “your” church like I once did. It took a heavy dose of revelation and lots of practice to break those old habits and bring me to the point of actually changing my speaking. In other words, I had to train myself to begin to speak in a language that better reflects the reality of Christ. And the journey is not over, obviously. 

Wherever we are, we all need a greater consciousness of our oneness with fellow seekers. The more we get in touch with the actual source of life the more our living and speaking will reflect that life, and vice versa. There is no merit in merely imitating the language and forms of first-century churches, as that would be counter-productive to our calling. Our calling is not to follow a form or a model but a living Person. This is the true meaning of “organic.” At the same time, however, we may certainly gauge the success of our own following by looking at the standard of those who have followed him closely in the past.  

Jesus said it best when he pointed out that what is in a man’s heart will inevitably come out of his mouth. The way we talk about things reveals our understanding of things, and the church is no exception to that rule. When I talk about “my” church in contrast to “their” church in reference to other believers who live just across town, a few blocks away, or in some cases only a few doors down, all I am doing is showing the world that I have no idea what the church really is.


The story of Adam & Eve

Through the past six years I’ve worked on and off at a local Christian bookstore. While the experience is rare you still can find something on the shelves from time to time that is actually worth reading. Not long ago I purchased one such product-a chunky white paperback with a pencil drawing on the front of it bearing the title The Lost Books of the Bible & the Forgotten Books of Eden. Within its covers I found a collection of Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphical writings whose dates and places of composition can only be guessed at.

Some of the stuff I’ve read in this book so far is downright silly. Other parts, however, are nothing short of intriguing, even beautiful in both style and content. Of the latter, one of the titles I took immediate interest in was a two-part saga simply called Adam & Eve. Come to find out it is the story of Adam and Eve after their banishment from the Garden by God, starting from the day they leave Eden and ending with the assumption of Enoch into heaven before the Flood, a story I never even knew existed.

Sounds interesting? It did to me.

The book is far too long to go into much detail about here. While there is certainly some of the aforementioned silliness contained in its pages (for instance, at one point God delivers Adam from the devil’s attack by stirring a great wind and blowing the serpent, whose form the deceiver had again taken, far away onto the shores of distant India), there is still a very great deal worth taking note of.

The dialogue between Adam and Eve when they compare their new, fallen condition to the way their minds and bodies were in the garden is most intriguing, and the promises made to them by God that one day He Himself will come as their Savior are nothing short of profound. Once, upon Adam being overwhelmed with fear at the darkness of the cave he and Eve were living in, the story goes that God came to him and said,

All this misery that you have been made to take upon yourself because of your transgression will not free you from the hand of Satan, and it will not save you. But I will. When I shall come down from heaven, and shall become flesh of your seed, and take upon myself the infirmity from which you now suffer, then the darkness that came upon you in this cave shall come upon me in the grave, when I am in the flesh of your seed. And I, who am without years, shall be subject to the reckoning of years, of times, of months, and of days, and I shall be reckoned as one of the sons of men, in order to save you.

Part 1 of the story deals mainly with the interactions of Adam and Eve with God, each other, and the devil. Emphasis is laid upon man’s ignorance and repeated failure in the face of temptation, the devil’s craftiness in deceiving, and God’s repeated mercy towards His created couple. Some very interesting things are said about the nature of man, God, and Satan as well. It ends with the birth of their children and the murder of Abel at the hand of his brother Cain.

Part 2 takes up the story from there and proceeds all the way to the falling away of Seth’s righteous seed and the preservation of only three righteous men-Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah-who remained on the earth prior to the Flood. The ending forms a perfect setup for The Book of the Secrets of Enoch, which immediately follows the story of Adam and Eve in the collection of books.

Most readers will no doubt recognize many corresponding elements between the story of Adam and Eve and the more familiar account found in the book of Genesis. Nothing here contradicts that account from what I can tell, but what you will find is far more detail given about the people, places, and events with which most of us are already familiar. If you are at all interested in the stories of antiquity which form the link, as the editor puts it, between “the time when human life began, [and] the time when the human mind could express itself and the human hand could write,” you will want to check out this story of Adam and Eve for yourself. At the very least it forms an interesting supplement to the Genesis account, filling in many of the blanks left to us by scripture. So go grab a copy and let me know what you think.

Looking forward

Life has entered another busy season for me lately. Busier than usual, I should say. However, this is no excuse for a lull in blogging, so I must apologize for my ten-day hiatus.

You didn’t even notice I was gone? Thanks a lot. 🙂

Seriously, though. The new blog title and theme should be coming in the next couple of weeks, so stay posted. I have a lot brewing down deep these days, so hopefully soon I’ll find time to write some of it out. I’ll be continuing with reflections from my organic church life experience as well as providing you some fresh book and blogger reviews.

Statistically, the three most popular posts on this blog have been the T. Austin Sparks bio, my two-year old query on What it means to prophesy, and the 20 best Christian books I’ve ever read.

Tonight I would like to venture out and ask what posts from this blog, if any, have been interesting or helpful to you in your journey? As I make the move to re-structure things around here a bit I would love to get an idea of what it is that makes people care to come back. Plus it’s always nice to hear some feedback from readers, whether positive or critical.  

So then, fire away. What is it you enjoy here at Called to Rebuild? What would you like to see more, or less of, in the future?

Captivated by His beauty

Paul once made mention to some saints about “making melody” in their hearts to the Lord. Yesterday while I was home alone and folding laundry for my wife (ten points for me!), I began to sing one of the songs we used to sing when the church was gathering in my town. My spirit was lifted to the Lord in a tremendous way just by singing to Him, so tonight I thought I would share with you the lyrics of one of my favorite songs.  I’m not sure of the author, but the tune we always used to sing it to was that of “‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.” Only this one is called “Captivated by His Beauty.” Don’t just read it, sing it; you’ll enjoy it far more that way. 🙂

1)Have you heard Him, seen Him, known Him?

Is not yours a captured heart?

Chief among ten thousand own Him

Joyful choose the better part


Captivated by His beauty

Worthy tribute haste to bring

Let His peerless worth constrain thee

Crown Him now unrivaled King


2)What has stripped the seeming beauty

From the idols of the earth?

Not a sense of right or duty

But the sight of peerless worth


3)So the crushing of those idols

Was accomplished from the start

By the beaming of His beauty

The unveiling of His heart


4)‘Tis that look that melted Peter

‘Tis that face that Stephen saw

‘Tis that heart that wept with Mary

Can alone from idols draw


5)Draw and win and fill completely

Till the cup o’erflow the brim

What have we to do with idols

Who have companied with Him?

Check out The Centrality & Supremacy of Jesus Christ

It’s been about two and a half years since I first stepped into the blogging arena. Upon entry, one of the first blogs I stumbled upon was by a guy named David Flowers. The title of David’s blog is The Centrality and Supremacy of Jesus Christ, and rather than try to explain to you myself David’s purpose in writing, why don’t you listen to what the man himself has to say about his literary intent.  

As much as one can consider a friend a person whom they’ve only spoken to a few times via the Internet, I do David. He is well-balanced as a teacher and exhibits a compassionate heart in the way he deals with people. His articles are not your average run-of-the-mill blog posts, either. Every article of David’s I’ve ever read has been meaty and very clearly written. The brother does his homework, of that much you can be sure.

Recently David wrote a post about the new Kirk Cameron movie, Monumental. I would urge all of my readers to check it out. If you are unfamiliar with what Greg Boyd and others have termed “the myth of a Christian nation,” this post will serve as a startling introduction. Food for thought, at the very (and I mean very) least.

While you’re there be sure to subscribe to David’s future posts. And if you have some time take a moment to scroll back through some of his past offerings. What you’ll find will challenge you, inspire you, and no doubt strengthen you. At least it has me.