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Christianity Politics

Sad State…

Christians on Trial

Sometime in the near future in Indonesia three Christians will be executed by firing squad; what is their crime? Attempting to convert Muslim children to Christianity. This shouldn’t be so surprising hey have been here before and Jesus warned us things like this would come again. What makes the issue worse is that at the same time they have already released Abu Bakar Bashir, Abu Bakar Bashir, 68, had served 26 months for conspiracy in the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.  So, yes you understand correctly, they are letting a terrorist walk and executing the Christians.

However, I do not actually want to make this a political article, what would I do?  If I faced the police when I ministered instead of the occasional angry parent, what would I do?  If the worst thing that could happen to me was being tortured and killed instead of feeling bad because I did poorly, what would I do?  If I was faced with real persecution instead of a game room, what would I do?  Would I still follow after Christ, take up my cross, would I hold my head high as the lion’s cage was opened?  Or would I turn and run and beg for my life?  Would I deny my savior to save my skin?  I hope not but I suppose that isn’t something you know until you are there, just ask Peter.
Origional Article

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Christianity

Dreams drifting away.

Wow talk about reading an article that speaks to where you are. As we get older and the dreams of youth seem just as exciting as ever and yet seem less attainable than ever it is a tough time. That is why people go through mid-life crisises. I read a book called the Dream giver while back and it really helped me to put some of my dreams into perspective.
THEOOZE – Articles: Viewing Article

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Christianity

Real Live Preacher

This is the article that sort of inspired my last post. I think it is well worth the read.

Real Live Preacher

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Christianity

My Bible

I am 52 chapters behind, and that number was 81 chapters three days ago.  I am part of a group, a small group though it may be, that reads the entire bible twice per year.  That is “cover to cover” in six months, 6.5 chapters a day.  I hadn’t read in a while and so when I looked at my reading plan, and my spreadsheet (yes I am a geek) it tells me I am a failing in my plan.  I am a minister, I am leading the group that does this and I am failing, however I will persevere.

I read the bible not because I am supposed to, or because I like to brag.  I read it so I can hammer people in arguments, no just kidding.  I read it because I love it.  I am reading something that has been read by prince and pauper alike for the last two thousand years, struggled with it, wrestled with it and surrendered to it.  And now I write the next chapter of Christians who come in our story and stumble after Jesus.

The bible and I have an interesting history.  When I decided to become a Christian I didn’t know anything about Christianity to speak of.  I had a bible because I had been going to Campus life for a while and I wanted to have one, so my mom bought me a student bible and I toted it with me.  When I decided to truly follow after Christ I told God I would follow what the bible says because I have heard so much arguing between Christians that I didn’t want to be involved in, so I would just read and believe the bible.  If only it was that easy.

I used to think it was a type of magic answer book, but it is a story, more accurately THE story, and my story.  It is the story of our God and his people for better or for worse.  It is the book that ties me to my God, and allows me to know my family history and thereby giving me a little glimpse into our future.  That is why I read it, because it defines me, rebukes me, reminds me, guides me, loves me, and kills me.

So, I may be 52 chapters behind heading into 1 Kings which is somewhat slow for me but I will read it because I want to know my God.

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Christianity

Iceburg Christianity….Part II

Well Dale that is a very good question, and I am so glad you asked.  I think that lesson can be learned from a story in Luke 10:38.

Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.
40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,
42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” 

 There is so much time we spend “doing God’s work” like Martha.  We are busy preparing for services, or prayer meetings, or bible study that we forget to sit at the feet of Jesus.  I know as a Youth Pastor I sometimes feel that I am doing all the work myself, which isn’t so because I have a great core of leaders.  But when we focus more on doing stuff for the Kingdom than sitting at the feet of Jesus and allowing is Spirit to engage us and change our lives, we are only living ice burg Christianity. 

How do you sit at his feet?  That is a more difficult question.  Some people read their Bible, some read a devo, some pray and worship, some people even go hunting.  You need to find out how your relationship with God works because it is different than mine.  I can’t tell you exactly what to do, try Lecto Divina and other contemplative worship practices, do it several times a day to stay focused on the Lord find what works for you and God.  Keep pushing, and do not get caught up just working so hard that you missed the point. 

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Christianity

Iceburg Christianity…

Iceburg
I have always loved this picture and although I think it has been proven to be a doctored photo that does not affect my illustration today.  You will notice that in this photo you can only see about 10% of the whole, while the rest would remain unseen under the surface of the water.  I feel at times that this is a great picture of Christians in our churches today. 

When we come to God there is about a 10% part of ourselves that everyone can see and this 10% is the part of our lives we normally change.  We begin to come to church, maybe we stop swearing, or smoking, or what ever, but there is this whole huge thing below the surface that we never really let God get to because it is below our line of vision and if no one can see it isn’t that important.

            The church doesn’t really help in this area, we tend to focus on the surface, superficial issues in a persons life.  We have this hierarchy of sin where we put certain ones on top that are more important to preach about than others, and in reality they are the effects and not the cause of our issues. 

            Gal 5 tells us what the fruits of the spirit are  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,             If, instead of focusing on God’s gifts and blessings, we focused on becoming more like Christ and walking in the fruit of the Holy Spirit, I believe all of the under water things will be taken care of and the above water 10% will be taken care of by default. 

 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 24 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 23longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

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Christianity

Stuck in my Head…

I am not a big fan of “worship” music. Todays stuff just doesn’t have the gravitas of some of the old hymns, that I love but the hymns didn’t have the musical quality so hymns redone is about my favorite things. That is all just a side bar because this is a song that I LOVE as a worship song but most people will just think it strange. It, however, speaks LOADS to me.

The Insyders
Album: Fight of My Life
The Hunted (Click here to listen)
Warning it is a pretty hard song…

I’m hiding in my secret place Built up in my mind
Searching for the rest that I can never find
My wrists held with metal Shackled to the floor
Torture like this I’ve never seen before
I dream about revenge And how sweet it will be
When you’re locked up in this cage Staring back at me
The colors fade to black darker than my sin
I cannot give up now I cannot just give in
I’m wrestling with a beast I cannot see his face
He spits on me and does not care He puts me in my place
His dictatorship is vile His kingdom built on pain
Pure evil poured on everyone Is how he plays his game

Psychotic, deranged, crazy, insane
Poke me with a stick I’m locked up in this tiny cage
You have me I’m yours treat me how you will
With hate and fear until emotion I don’t feel
You bellow and laugh, turn your head away
And with a snap of the chains Now you become the prey
The shifting of your eyes The shadows my disguise
Stumbling while you run But you can never hide
The terror begins, the hunt is on
The tables seemed to turn I hear the scary song
Or is it just the score Of this movie gone astray
You’ve had my soul on layaway And now you’re gonna pay

Darkness and evil surround me As the hunt begins
Good vs. evil Me and you round one of Armageddon
I’m coming your way so hurry Releasing God’s fury
One Judge no jury Your demise you’ll meet so worry
My sworn enemy by any means I’m gonna Bring you pain
Representing heaven In this life or death game
Maintain my cool though My heart’s like an engine
You had your turn now it’s time for mine, Revenge and
Rage controls my body Your tears are running down
But it is only fitting that You’re the hunted now
So I’ll hunt you down with the Wrath of God within me
Not here to take your life Though you can give it up freely
Hear me in the night as I make you go insane
As my non-stop chantin’ starts To seep into your brain

Dear God, I beg for mercy On the souls that tortured me
I ask that they be shown The grace that You’ve shown me

The end is upon you I’ll release my anger on you I’ll destroy you then you will know that I am the LORD!


For decades and decades You’ve hunted us down
Body count rising or descending to the ground
The concrete jungle closes The silence surrounds
The only thing heard is Your heart as it pounds
Sweat pours from your skull Afraid to turn around
Looking over your shoulder What was that sound?
Sick of it all no more you can take
The running’s slowed down Your spines about to break
My sights lined up you don’t have a clue
Should I make my move, what should I do?
The chase is almost done The oppression forgot
I’ve escaped with my life by the grace of God.

I know it uses some imagery that you don’t expect to hear in a worship song, but it works for me, maybe I am all alone on this one…

Categories
Christianity

Choose this day

Choose this day…

I guess I am just a crap or get off the pot kind of guy (never thought you would hear that in a ministry blog huh?), I agree with the Prophet Elijah:

1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

I think the people answered him “not a word” because they didn’t like their lifestyle being challenged. They were comfortable where they were stuck between two Gods, two ethos, two lives. It is not my job as a man of God to allow people to remain comfortable, it is my job to pull you kicking and screaming if I have to toward God.

The question we face today is the question we as a people have faced for centuries. Who will you serve? And will you do it will all of you being?

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Christianity

What a legacy…

Hebrews 11:4 (NLT)
4 It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. God accepted Abel’s offering to show that he was a righteous man. And although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us because of his faith.
     “All things done for self will past, and all things done for Christ will last”, so goes the old DC talk song.  Abel’s legacy lives on thousands of years later due to his faith, because he was a righteous man.  My Pastor spoke just briefly about this at a leadership picnic last night and it has remained with me all day.  We don’t know exactly what Abel did to show his righteousness but we know God accepted his sacrifice and we know that God lists him here in this passage because of his righteousness.  What will you legacy be?  Will what you do still speak to people days, months years, centuries later?
     If what we do, we do for the sake of ourselves then it is sure to pass away like the snow in spring barely to be a memory in our minds replaced by next years winter.  However the legacy we leave for our God, which is a legacy for the ages.  The book of Nehemiah lists the name of the men who worked on rebuilding the wall, I think because God wanted to show that he keeps track of the work done for him and on his behalf.  If he listed in his Word the names of brick layers how much more will he list the names of those who build his kingdom?  I think of Don Nonnenman the man who helped me to know Christ as real and his legacy as it continues through me and my youth ministry.
     In the movie Gladiator Maximus makes a very profound statement:
          Maximus: What we do in life echoes in eternity.
     The question lingers, what will your life echo?