Releasing The Fifth Gospel (Introduction)

Beginning a study in Bobby Conway’s book “The Fi5th Gospel” and occasionally going off on my own tangents…

First Samuel 12:24

“There are five Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Christian, but most people never read the first four.” Rodney “Gypsy” Smith, 19th Century Evangelist

We can all admit to the power of the Gospel proclaimed, read, and lived. With a simple sermon, I watched Billy Graham bring a football stadium full of people to Christ. Peter in Acts 2:14-41 brought about 3,000 to Christ. The Good News of Jesus is beautiful in its power to change the lives for anyone who believes, without exception. John 3: 16-18 sums it up nicely from the mouth of Jesus:

 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

“There is no…

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God Needs Workers For The Harvest

My other site.

First Samuel 12:24

Ever since I wrote Represent at my Ronin’s Journey blog the burden to equip people to live out their faith has grown. How I try to teach it is by trying to live it myself and share the successes and failures. I picked up The Fi5th Gospel by Bobby Conway after I read a post here at Cold Case Christianity. I was going through the book again with a pen in my hand when I had an interesting night at church…

We had ended the teaching part at FirstNLR and a voice rang out in the lull during the music. Suddenly a man in the back started speaking in an unknown language. I locked eyes on him until he finished, thinking to myself, “now the interpretation” in the pattern that Paul told the church in Corinth. Seconds later another voice carried through the sanctuary clearly as another guy started…

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The Apologist’s Secret Weapon: How humility can become a bridge to the Gospel

Often I see back-and-forths on Facebook wishing I had a response. One of the reason’s I’m diving into apologetics more is because I have very smart friends who ask penetrating questions. One it challenges me to look deeper and I want to have a reasoned response. At the moment I am deep in study on being an investigator and able to present. This tells me it’s alright to not have an answer…yet.

The Deaf Culture: Michele Westfall on being deaf since birth

A good read if you wondered about deaf culture. I’m going to see what thinking in sign language is like to put myself in my wife’s shoes.

The Longform Interviewer

Deaf CultureMichele Westfall was born without hearing. So were her two sons. ITM talked to her about life, sounds and the Deaf culture.

The Deaf culture includes communities affected by deafness, and it’s a natural part of the life of Michele Westfall and her two kids, 8 and 5 years old. In their household ASL – American Sign Language – is the language used to communicate in, and life without sound is no obstacle.

But what’s it really like to never have heard anything, and what is the Deaf culture that seems to be close at heart to Michele and her family?

Interviews That Matter: Do you have any form of perception of what some things might sound like, even if the believed sound is just made up in your mind?

Michele Westfall: Not really. Since I was born deaf, I don’t have the proper frame of reference to know what…

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Lessons from Mark

As I go through Mark some things are made clear to me. For example three lessons from the chapters: teach to people’s levels, the four different types of people, non-believers/trendy/uncertain/faithful, then come to Jesus in Faith and anything is possible.

Then Mark 6 in The Message had a lot of practical information leaping out at me.

1: Some can’t let go of your past no matter how drastic the change (verse 4)
2: Do what you can for those who come to you (verse 5)
3: Be content where you’re placed (verse 10) sounds stoic to me
4: If still not welcomed then quietly leave (verse 11)
5: Herod shows not to over promise, measure your words carefully. (verse 22)
6: Even when tired and hungry, care for those who come to you in need.

That’s a great chapter.

Mental Defenses Continued; Part Two

The list continues in Week 23 of Ronin’s Journey


Then there is Identification, modeling yourself after another’s character or behavior, what I did growing up as well as now to a point. After the accident, I took on the traits and behavior of a couple of my favorite personal protection authors, Rory and Marc. I believe these channels into the three main mechanisms I use.

Altruism, it is not a personal strength in most areas except one, which I will get to next. Being told that I was a mentor to someone, which surprised me. Humbling even. I admit I have my mentors, have taken the parts that fit my personal matrix best to make me a better…well…me. That is my advice to others on that. This flows into Introjection where you integrate an idea or object into yourself. Honestly, considering the over 30 books on defense I would have to say personal protection is that idea for me. Luckily, I am old and mature enough not to harbor many delusions of grandeur of saving the day. A few though, but who doesn’t want to save the damsel in distress? Still not dumb enough though.

We end with Emotional Self-Regulation where you respond to experiences with a range of emotions from experiences, or I am rationalizing the suppressing of emotions. However since being quiet is in my nature I have my doubts. Emotions are addictive so losing it in a group can get them worked up or the authorities called. Find healthier ways to get them out such as writing or among your closest friends, you open up more. Do not repress however do not react irrationally either.

These unconscious coping mechanisms fit me among 45 different ones ranging from pathological to mature. Then you have the three focuses in coping strategies, appraisal, problem and emotional, usually combined and adaptable. I decided to harness the unconscious methods combined with these strategies, first though, I will define them.

Introspection and Listing My Defenses; Part One

Week 23 was such a gold mine of info I’m posting most of it in three parts. Enjoy this excerpt from Ronin’s Journey


An interesting observation was made to me one day; it was that I am acting out a part, very well in fact. A combination of the different parts I played growing up, usually superheroes and western characters as I wrote about previously. The theory was playing the part buried my real personality when I was growing up. So I tested it, looking deeper I questioned my family. I was told that dad was my hero, personality wise I was quiet, read, and drew with a love for superheroes and Garfield the Cat. Mom said I was not particularly cuddly to begin with, unless I was hurt, then I wanted her. I had always had a stubborn streak and rarely cried since ‘only babies cry’.

In retrospect, I had not changed much at all, leaving me to direct my attention elsewhere. Looking deeper into Freudian Defense Mechanisms I learned quite a bit, intellectualization being the primary one covered earlier. To refresh our memories, it is where you distance yourself from those sucky feelings by focusing on the intellectual parts. Listed as a neurotic defense along with isolation and withdrawal. That just feeds my introspective nature even more, however there were other unconscious defense mechanisms coming into play.

Listed as healthier, mature mechanisms I found humility, mindfulness, humor, and identification on the lower end with higher doses of altruism, introjection, and emotional self-regulation. Looking deeper at the minor ones I will start with humility, after a hell of a wakeup call you get a more honest look at yourself and it can be humbling. Quite honestly, I was a self-important ass; my friends must have the patience of saints. Mindfulness, being aware of the moment, in my case I am studying myself in action with my surroundings.

Curiously, humor was the most interesting one, and I wonder if it pertains mostly to so-called ‘dark humor’. I bought a book on a baby’s body language by Desmond Morris so I could understand my infant goddaughter better and found a theory on how laughter develops in it. Morris’s wrote that when you do something that startles the child they start to scream until something in their head realizes it’s okay. This is processed fast enough the scream’s exhalation is cut short into choppy laughter. It is a joyous relief that what scared them is not happening anymore, so I am wondering if nervous laughter and dark humor is the pressure relief valve. You ever been in a wreck and laughed nervously or joked afterwards? I have, I was very happy I was safe.

If you’ve ever heard someone who’s seen or been in a tragedy (paramedics, cops, etc.) make a joke about it or an aspect of it, it’s okay. It’s a way the brain unconsciously processes this instead of snapping or burying it to explode later. It shows up frequently in my grief journal, like the entry noting people hoping for a good New Year. My standard for a good year is much different, like having no one dead or in jail, except it was crasser.

What Then?

Been away for awhile, had a tragedy strike and my head isn’t into writing essays quite yet. So I’ll leave this one for you to chew on from a friend.

Seeking Shadows

An age old pondering, and one I’ve contemplated too many times to recount, in what happens after we die; after our hearts stop pumping blood, after we cease to have a heartbeat, after the last breath slips from our lungs and past our lips. What then?

There are plenty of theories:

Christianity/Catholicism: Each person goes to either Heaven or Hell, based on the lives they lived. There you await the Second Coming.

Judaism: If you are Jewish, you enter into Gan Eden ( The Garden of Eden ), where you eventually raise up and merge with God.

Islam: You go Al-Janna ( The Garden ), where you lounge and relax.

Norse/Germanic: If you die in battle, you may be selected to go to either Valhalla or Folkvang, otherwise you go to Helheim. You either linger, or you are possibly reincarnated.

There are many more, some similar, some not. There’s also…

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