Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Peace on Earth?

I know this is probably a bit late, but I wanna talk about Christmas. Yeah, I know the holiday is over, but I heard this in a Christmas day sermon, and it impacted me in a deep way.

There's a song called "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." I used to think it was an original song by Casting Crowns, but apparently this song goes way back. It was originally written as a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who was quoted as saying, "How inexpressibly sad are all holidays," and, "'A merry Christmas' say the children, but that is no more for me."

So what's the deal? Why would someone who doesn't find joy in the holidays write a song about Christmas? Well, if you take a close look at the lyrics, you would understand. The song is all about the fact that the writer doesn't understand why everyone's talking about "peace on earth" and "good will to men" when there is so much pain in this world. The song quotes:

And in despair I bowed my head.
"There is no peace on earth," I said.
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth; good will to men."

The background to the song sheds light on the bitter words that Longfellow penned: composed in 1864, a few months before the Civil War ended, Longfellow wrote amidst the emotional turmoil of the death of his wife, Fanny, who was burned to death in an tragic accident. In this accident, she caught fire from candle wax, and died the day after receiving her burns, despite Henry's best efforts to put out his wife's flaming body. To top off this pain, he learned that his son was shot underneath the shoulder blade - a wound which would force Henry to take his son into bed-ridden care.

After unsuccessfully dealing with the hurt surrounding his circumstances, Longfellow came to a turning point 3 years after his wife's death, and on Christmas Day of 1864, he penned the words to this poem, which rebuts his previous bitterness with a resounding victory:

"God is not dead, nor does He sleep.
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth; good will to men."

So, in this Christmas season, filled with all of the fakeness and hypocrisy that surrounds it, don't be fooled into thinking that your hurts and distresses should just be filed away with a big smile to show to the world. For all those who deal with suffering, especially during this season, I'd just like to encourage you with this: God is not dead, nor does He sleep. He sees you, and knows you're hurting. So, reach out to Him, and be comforted by a Saviour who is well acquainted with sorrows. (Isaiah 53)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I find that human beings are experts at making excuses. It's a gift, really. I mean, there is no other creature on this planet that has the ability to justify it's shortcomings and weaknesses. In the animal world, weakness = getting eaten.

But we all do it. Our lives are filled with it, in fact.

"I thought I told you to take out the trash." "Oh, my bad. I would've, but I was playing Call of Duty."

"You told me you were gonna be able to hang out today." "Oh, sorry man. I got tied up with my other friends."

Now, at the same time, I do understand that certain excuses are acceptable. Not being able to follow through with your promise of going to the movies with your friends because your dog just died is understandable. But there's one specific excuse that always gets to me. It sounds a little something like this:

"I would spend more time with God everyday, but I'm just not a disciplined guy."


"I wish I could forgive my father, but it's not easy for me."

Moses did the same thing in Exodus 3, when God asked him to go tell the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go: "But, Moses said to the LORD, 'Oh, my LORD, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue."

God's response is amazingly simple: "Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now, therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak."

In other words, God points to a deep truth that I always want to drive home: God did not pick us because of our merit. If He needs us to do anything, He'll give us the strength to do it regardless of how terrible we are at it.  So let's stop making excuses, own up to our weaknesses, and let God work past them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mack Trucks

I was driving with my dad one day, and he pointed something out, which for some reason, has stuck with me ever since. He pointed to to a big construction truck and said something along the lines of, "I've been seeing more of these big trucks, lately. You know, that's a good thing - more big trucks means a better economy."

I guess he figured that more trucks equated to more construction, which in turn equates to a better financial position. In any case, this is not an economics lesson, and I'm not trying to make a point about finances. But I do want to get at something important: Hebrews 11.

"What could Hebrews 11 possibly have to do with Mack trucks?" you may ask. Well, I'll get to that in a second.

Anyways, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, Hebrews 11, in a nutshell, is all about faith. It goes through a ginormous list of the outcomes of the faith of many famous Bible characters. It's like a Who's Who of immensely holy people. Almost every verse basically follows this pattern:

"By faith, (insert epic Bible name here) did this crazy thing, and had this crazy result."

Some of those crazy results include having children as numerous as the stars in the sky, making walls fall down by walking around them, and escaping death. So, this begs the question, "What is faith?"

Well, if you would stop interrupting me so much, I would tell you. In this context, faith is simply trusting God to follow through on His promises. So, if one were to trust God to do just that, I bet we would see a lot more risk-taking in the walks of believers.

"What do you mean by 'risk-taking?'" you say? Wow, you feel no shame in interrupting me this much, huh? As I was saying, if we believed the promises of God, we would probably be willing to step out and pray for healing with complete expectation. We would not be afraid of not knowing what to say when we are attacked for our faith. We would trust God to walk into certain situations that, at first sight, feel dangerous and uncomfortable, like proclaiming our Jesus loudly to anyone who would hear it.

Back to the trucks. Just like seeing large amounts of trucks on the highway is indicative of a burgeoning economy, large amounts of risk-taking should be indicative of faith in a Christ-followers' life.

In the end, the strengthening of our faith through prayer and pleading leads to pretty good things. Check it out: "for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Raise your hand if you want to be perfect.


...............~~~=~~~~..........::::::::....,:,,,,::~.........::::~+?: ........

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sponsoring the Bench Warmer

I feel like we get confused sometimes.

"Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." - Exodus 3:5

So, dirt, right? Dirt is not holy. Dirt is dirt. It's dirty. Anyone who gets around it also gets dirty. My point? The dirt did not earn its own right to be made holy.

Take Moses, too. For crying out loud, he knew that he wasn't the man for the colossal job God had planned. Don't believe me? Moses himself said, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?" - Exodus 3:11

In other words: "Uh-uh. I know you ain't talkin' to me." And if you were him, you probably would have said the same thing, considering the stutter and murderous past and all.

But, no. God told him specifically, "I will be with you."

Look at the even bigger picture: God wanted Moses to go up to the Pharaoh and tell him, "The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God."

First of all, keep in mind that Moses is telling the king of one of the most powerful empires in history that the God of the universe is advocating a nation of slaves. Essentially, that's like Google sponsoring a high school, junior varsity, bench-warming basketball player.

Well for those of you who haven't seen what I've been getting at, I'll shoot straight from the hip:

We tend to think that it's all about how good we are.

Now, I've written about this in the past, but I wanted to get at something I missed about what happens when we believe our strength comes from our own will-power: when we fail, we have no where to go.

Any failure or sin will always lead to us believing that we need to just try harder. And when we figure out, after failing countless times, that we can't try hard enough, we are left with nothing no hope.

In all of the examples given, God was working with the bench-warmers, high school drop-outs, and all-around sinners. Why? To make the world understand that the miracles produced at the hands of such people were the result of God's great power, not the strength of the people He recruited.

So have faith that "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ," and that He will give you the strength to do the things that He planned out for you.

I'll leave you with Proverbs 3:5-8:
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
   and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
   and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
   fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
   and refreshment to your bones."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Charlie Chaplin and Conformity.

I just had a conversation with someone last night who knew me from long before. He recalled that I was kind of an oddball when I was younger. He remembered this because I used to wear a Charlie Chaplin bowler hat and walk around with a cane and pocket watch.

Don't hate. I used to love Charlie Chaplin.

Anyways, most people would think that I was different because of the way I dressed. And outwardly, yes - I was. But, in reality, this was just my way of trying to get people's attention and admiration. I figured if I could be different enough, then people will notice me. And that was important to me.

So, when looking at the Biblical mandate to "not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind," I was ultimately failing. (Romans 12:2) Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for self-expression, but isn't Jesus Christ the person who we really want to express through ourselves?

But I digress - that's a topic for another day. What I really want to get at is this: we try so hard, especially in this homogeneous, American culture, to fit in to what the world deems as "acceptable."

So we don't dare talk about Jesus to our friends or people we meet because we don't want to be perceived as crazy. We also won't think about refusing to go to a movie with friends because we don't want to be viewed as a goody-goody snob. We'll laugh along with the crowd when the group jokester tells the most raunchy, filthy "joke" he knows.

And not only do we refuse to set ourselves apart from the world, we actively try to be like the world!

Don't believe me? Well, why do you dress the way you do? Why do you use the local slang that you use? Why do you make every effort to make sure that there's nothing to make you look different from your peers?

But it all goes back to the heart, right?

So, if this is true, then the guy (like me) who is outwardly different from everyone, in an attempt to gain approval, is just as messed up as the guy who goes to great lengths to be the same as everyone else, just to be accepted.

Our conformity, in other words, has nothing to do with who we are outwardly, but what ideas we're agreeing to internally. And the idea is this: I need other people's approval in order to be satisfied.

I find it helpful to always remind the few people who read these writings (Hi, Mom!) that I usually write what I do because it is personally convicting for my life. I still have problems finding my complete satisfaction in Christ. Major ones.

But let's look at what it means to be satisfied with having only God. Once this happens, we will be free to do what the Lord asks of us and not give a flying flip about what other people think. We'll be that weird guy always talking about his Jesus to everyone he meets. We will be mocked. We will be hated.

But we won't care. Because Christ is enough.

We'll be able to nod our heads right along with Paul when he says, "I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content." (Philippians 4:11)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Life after Deaf

I tend to waste a lot of time on youtube. Unfortunate, but true. It's actually something I'm trying to do less of, 'cuz it contributes majorly to this laziness issue I have.

Well, as I was surfing youtube a while back, I discovered this video: 29-year-old woman hearing for the first time.

In short, this is just about the most powerful 1 minute and 31 second video I have ever seen. There's something intensely deep about being born deaf and then hearing all of the sounds the world has to offer a ripe 29 years later.

Monday, November 14, 2011


I have no story this week that connects to what I'm going to say. I have no anecdotes or quips to make a strange tie to the subject of this post. I have no links to off-the-radar information or jokes. I simply want to tell you about something which is probably a stronger reminder for myself than it is for you:

I am not above anyone, nor am I in a position to tell you anything about faith or life in general.

Through recent mistakes and sin, I've come to realize just this. I'm messed up. But let me make something perfectly clear: it is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ that I have been forgiven. And it is through His forgiveness that He has allowed me to be in any position of leadership.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Disease of Self

Let's do a little experiment: go on your Facebook and look up the pictures of that party that you went to last week. You know, those pictures that you haven't looked at yet? Yeah, those. Check 'em out and look at 'em one by one. And now let me ask you something:

You've been looking for yourself in every picture, right?


Why? Glad you asked. I believe the answer is pretty simple: we are self-centered.

"No!" you say. "I help other people all the time!"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Letting Go of Letting Go

II have trouble letting go of things. Fo real. Like if someone does me dirty, I hold on to my resentment against that person for as long as I can. And it usually gets worse over time.

However, let's look at the flip side: for the stuff that I really should be holding onto, I always forget about. Whether it's

Remembering to take the bread out of the oven


Remembering that thing I studied the night before the test


Remembering someone's birthday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Butterfly Effect

I've always found quantum physics and strange scientific theories fascinating. Granted, I don't understand a lot of it and most of the science behind certain theories goes way beyond my head, but, nevertheless, I still thoroughly enjoy off-the-beaten-path science.

An example of this is what I just saw this weekend. It's called superconduction. I'm not really sure what kind of sorcery is behind this, but they assure me it's real science: Superconduction Levitation.

Or how about stuff like light speed travel? Or even better yet, what about tachyons, which hypothetically travel faster than the speed of light? Such a particle would arrive before it was sent! And that, of course, takes a shotgun to the brain of science.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Simple Math

(The ideas contained herein originate largely from ideas that I heard from John MacArthur and Matt Chandler, but their roots are found in Scripture.)

Math always came pretty easy to me. As I progressed throughout grade school, I was pretty handy with numbers. Granted, I never got to the crazy stuff like Calculus or Trig, but I could tackle math with ease most of the time. However, for what I'm about to talk about, you might have to change what you know about math.

For most people, their lives follow a simple equation:

money + success + career = happy

Friday, October 7, 2011

Caesar Dressing, Coffee, and Boxes

The other day, I was sitting in the kitchen, about to start eating some food. So I grab the salad that was in the refrigerator from the day before and throw some Caesar dressing on it.


Only, at this point, my mom (who's rather sarcastic) says to me, "That's Caesar dressing with some salad." And it's true. I did put a lot of dressing on it. How else does one get rid of the taste of veggies?

Saturday, September 24, 2011



If you were to encounter someone with this name, how would you pronounce it?

"Leah?" .... Nope.

"Lei?" .... Uh-uh.

Give up yet?

Friday, September 16, 2011


I was pretty abnormal as a child.

And when I say abnormal, I mean to say that I was unusually orderly and driven. I was very disciplined in having a good daily routine and making myself do and learn things that were difficult. But I would do it for my own gain. I would look forward to how something could benefit me in the future, and then work towards it with intensity.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Three Square Meals

I never really liked it when people asked me a question that they already knew the answer to. For example:

"What are you? Crazy!?"


"Didn't you think that was a bad idea?!"

Granted, these kind of questions normally come from a place of sarcasm, which makes their intended effect

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Confession

I recently (today) wrote a spoken word piece dealing with some of the stuff that I've noticed in my life. If you don't know what spoken word is, it's basically a very free-formed version of poetry. Here's an example.

The main thrust behind this poem was basically me seeing all of this sin in my life that I keep returning to like a dog to its vomit. I've just been getting sick of who I am in the flesh and tired of all of the things that weigh me down in my relationship with Christ.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


There really wasn't much to say. He sat there cryin' his eyes out in the corner of the loud theater room at camp, and me and my friend just watched, not really knowing what to say. It seemed that the only appropriate thing to do was to ask him if he wanted to pray. He nodded and we walked outside to where we could get some silence and quiet.

George stood there with his head down and just kept bawling. And I'm not talking about some small sniffles and tears. He was crying with all that was in him to cry. To the point that extended past caring what anyone thought about his current condition. In fact, his tears kept him from fully explaining what it was that he was so emotional about. So we prayed. Me, my buddy, and George's leader prayed over George knowing relatively little about what was impacting him so much.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Lot of the Righteous

Someone once asked C.S. Lewis, a Christian author, "Why do the righteous suffer?" He replied, "Why not? They're the only ones that can take it."

Suffering for the cause of Christ is a touchy subject, and doesn't receive a whole lot of attention these days from a lot of pulpits. For whatever reason, suffering has become something that would rather be pushed aside for those "radicals."

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Step Away

People love a scandal. They love the juiciness of stories and gossip. So, in what I'm about to tell you, my desire is not to gossip or tear someone down.

He was a great worship leader. He sang really well, picked very good songs, and was very organized, as far as I could see. He even spoke some really intense stuff about our faith sometimes. From the outside, Larry was pretty much what every senior pastor wants in a worship leader. Now, Larry isn't really his name, but for the sake of privacy, I'll hold back on his real name.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Legit Granny

My grandma passed away about five years ago. She was just about as cool as a granny could be. She used to arm-wrestle my brother, give great back scratches, and had the strength of an ox. She grew up in a Communist country essentially as a peasant and had lived her whole life intimately knowing what back-breaking labor was.

In a word, my granny was legit. In fact, she was 2 legit 2 quit. (Yeah, I just laid down a Hot Rod reference. What of it?)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dash God

"Let's meet at My house Sunday, before the game."
                                                                 - God
Ever seen one of these before? If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'm referring to the auspiciously placed billboards seen all over the country (especially the Bible belt) that have sayings like these. I've been on the road a lot lately and I see one of these every once in a while. Another of my "favorites" that I spotted in Atlanta says, "JESUS" on one side, and on the other, it says, "COMING SOON!"

Monday, June 13, 2011

Kingdom Eyes Update

Ok, I'm a sinner. I think we've established that. And as a result of my sin nature, I may have led you astray. In simpler words: I lied.

In an earlier post, I stated that I would probably be writing 2 posts a week, on account of the fact that it was summer and I would supposedly have more time to write. Well, let me give you my list of excuses reasons as to why that has not ocurred.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Dry and Weary Land

I dunno what it is about my family, but we like to travel. Like, a lot. Granted, that’s died down a little in the past few years, but I’ve seen a lot of places all around the world. However, I cannot claim that I’ve ever been in the desert.

But at the same time, I can say with certainty that I have been in the desert. Confused?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ego Hotline

If life were an Ego Hotline, I would be on the receiving end of it. Fo sho.

Even as I wrote that, there was a desire to think, "Hey, now that was a sweet metaphor! Betcha no one else thought of that..."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Perfect Filter

My brother is a huge fan of tea. I mean I guess that's cool and all, but that isn't really "my cup of tea," if you know what I mean. (I get the "punniness" from my dad. It's a gift, really.)

His passion for tea goes way outside those white little pouches. Trust me when I say that my brother gets loose when it comes to tea. That is to say, loose tea leaves. (Eh? Eh? No? Ok...) He buys the dried leaves, mixes them, and comes up with his own brews, incorporating spices and the like. It's his specialTEA. (Ok, maybe that one was a little too much...)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The High Calling

I get pretty aggravated on account of my hobbies. I take part in a number of activities which no one else seems to care about or do. So my progression in those hobbies is fairly difficult without anyone to discuss relevant issues with.

These writings do not count in that category.

As a writer with a particular theme and place in the spectrum of Christianity, I've found a group of online bloggers, writers, and believers who are ultimately writing towards the same goal: pursuing Christ.

Think of it as an interactive, internet magazine, where a range of topics are addressed and discussed.

I highly encourage you to visit their website: The High Calling

Friday, May 6, 2011

Brownies, Youth Camps, and Repentance

Now, before you jump to conclusions, let me tell you first and foremost that this is a brownie - scratch that, this is The Brownie. That's right, this is the king of any brownie that was privileged to be labeled as such. I was at a function (sounds fancy, right?) recently, and I was graced with the honor of eating this food. Here were some of my thoughts as I partook in this wonder (accuracy of thought process may be a little, or a lot off):

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Kingdom Eyes Update

Ok, so you might've noticed that some things have changed around here. And if you haven't, well, please go check your eyesight because I like my roads safe.

Anyway, let me address three simple updates, in no specific order.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Building the House of Deceit

Let's conduct a little experiment. When I say a word, I want you to tell me the first thing that comes to your mind. Ready?


Friday, April 22, 2011

Dead Man Walking

I enjoy cookies and milk. Scratch that - I am passionate about cookies and milk. Call that crazy and sinful - you'd be right. But whatever the case is, there's very few things that beat eating a meal and then proceeding on to a glass of milk and some macadamia nut / chocolate chip cookies. I glorify God for this wonderful combination. But have you ever gotten out a glass, milk, and a box of cookies, only to discover that the milk has gone bad in your fridge? Pretty bad, huh?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition

War is something that Christians don't really like to talk about. Well, let me rephrase that: war is something that most Christians don't like to talk about. Now, as I bring up the term of war, you're probably thinkin' about Iraq, bullets, and bazookas, and you probably don't want to talk about it. I dunno, I feel like every time war is brought up, everyone treats it like the moldy cheese in the back of their fridge (they know it's there, but don't want to touch it, and would rather just not think about it.)

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Slap to the Face

This is my attempt to relay a story from a good friend of mine, and my accuracy is dependent on what I heard. Nevertheless, this story is valuable for its general lesson, not its details.

My friend, who we shall call (for the sake of privacy) George, runs a Christian club called Campus Life Jam Club, which is headed up by a Christian organization called Youth For Christ.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Motivation of Discipline

As a kid, I used to lie a lot. It was pretty bad. I've commented before on how easy it is to see the horrible nature of man in children and I was no exception to the rule.

Well, anyway, as I was saying, I used to lie profusely. And when I say that I lied, I'm not just talking about lying to get myself out of a jam, or lying to blame someone for something I did. Don't get me wrong, I did those, too, but often, I would lie for the simple purpose of lying. I would lie about random things that wouldn't benefit me in any way because of my lie. As I said - pretty bad.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The House Diet

My dad's been a pretty thin guy all of his life. I dunno why, maybe it has something to do with metabolism or some smart scientific thing like that, but that's just the way he's always been. And he's never had to work hard at it, which I believe is a blessing. Whatever the case, my dad is getting to a point in his life where, if he doesn't work hard to stay in shape, he forms what I like to call the "spare tire." It's not a large amount of weight, but it is there nonetheless. It happens to almost everyone I suppose.

However I noticed a trend in my father. He likes to build houses. Even though that is not strictly his "trade," he enjoys doing it. But whenever he starts to build a house, I have noticed that the pounds slowly shed off of him as he's working. He becomes very passionate about the house and wants to see it through to its completion.

Well I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I tend to get passionate about whatever project I'm involved in, whether it be building something, playing a sport, or working on an issue. Granted, I'm a pretty lean guy, if I do say so myself, so I don't really lose weight when I get engrossed with these projects. If I were to lose weight... well, let's just say you might not be able to see me if I turned sideways.

But here's what I'm trying to get at: passion. Often, our passions define us. For example, the first thing you think of when I say Angelina Jolie is that she is an actress. That is her passion. Upon a moment's notice you wouldn't think to yourself, "Oh yeah, Angelina - the mother," or "Angelina - the cook." She is defined by her passion - acting.

The Bible has well been aware of this fact since - well, since it was written. Jeremiah 2:5 said to the people of Israel that they had "worshiped worthless idols, only to become worthless themselves." In other words their passion (worthless idols) defined who they were (worthless). You are what you eat. However, by the same token, if one pursues what is noble and holy, that person becomes noble and holy. See what I mean?

The apostle Paul knew quite a bit about passion. In Philippians 1:21, Paul explains, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." His every waking breath was completely devoted to the cause of Christ. It is the ultimate passion, and it is, in fact, the only passion that truly "delivers," if you will.

Lemme explain: every passion that can be had on God's green earth will always end in what Matt Chandler likes to call the "culdesac of stupidity." Here's what it looks like: someone pursues something and, in the end, it doesn't end up satisfying him. So, instead of finding something else, he figures that more of the same will eventually bring him purpose and meaning.


It is for this reason you see greedy men who fill their bottomless hands with more money. It is for this reason you see madmen in power who never stop at conquering just one nation. It is for this reason you see middle-class families buying bigger and better homes, cars, and wives.

We are insatiable creatures, and we try to fill ourselves with everything but that which will actually work. Only in Christ is there true joy. Only in Christ is there real pleasure. Only in Christ is the last piece of the puzzle a perfect fit.

Now, come often times when I write something which I myself struggle and war with. These are areas that I have not attained the "end goal," and I most certainly don't measure up to what is required of me. This is one of those areas. It is with this in mind, I urge you, brothers and sisters, let us "press on" towards the goal, sharing in our difficulties and in our victories.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Severed Hand

I tend to be a very active individual. I do a lot of sports that seem to encourage experiencing physical trauma. One of these such sports is longboarding. I really enjoy it. And for those of you who don't know what a longboard is, it's like a plus-size skateboard that imitates snowboarding/surfing on concrete.

Well, one day I was bombing (aka. "riding down") this sweet hill, at the bottom of which there was a turn. To make a short story shorter, I messed up on the turn and ended up slamming into a wall with my arm, giving me some very nasty road rash all along my forearm. So I got up, ran up the hill, and realized that I was pretty messed up. Blood was running all along my arm and I couldn't really move it too much without a crazy pain sensation running all throughout it.

A part of my body had now become useless.

And now, it is months later that I see some kind of correlation between what happened that day and what the Bible talks about. 1 Corinthians 12 talks a lot about the issue of believers being united as one body. And I would like to pick a certain verse to pull out and show you, but just trust me when I say it's a better idea to just go and read the chapter before I go onto saying anything else. Do it even if you've read it before. It'll help. Trust me. I'll wait till you get back...

Done? Fabulous! Let's get moving.

There come a few times in a believer's life when the truth of Scripture and the advice of a fellow believer all connects and hits him like a sack of bricks. I don't know of anyone who puts bricks in sacks, but that's irrelevant.

One of these such truths came to me when I was listening to a pastor by the name of Matt Chandler that pastors a church called The Village out in Texas. Anyway, here, in a nutshell, is what he said in one of his podcasts:

You don't attend a church. You belong to the church.

This completely changed the way I looked at what the church is and how it functions. First of all, let's define some terms here. What is the church? Ephesians 1:22, when discussing the church, claims that it is "His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way." Furthermore, 1 Corinthians 12:13 goes on to say that "we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body." So if you're a math guy:

(church) = (body of Christ) = (all followers of Christ)

So, no longer is church a building, but a group. And no longer does it matter if there are many of these groups all over the world, for we are one church, united by one Spirit.

And as members of one body, we obviously have responsibilities as parts of the body. We aren't just an insignificant cog in some massive machine. No, we have a very specific, important, detailed job in the working and function of the body of Christ!

There's an old Casting Crowns song called If We Are the Body, and the main lament of the song is in the chorus

But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?

If we are the body of Christ, why are we limping? Why can't we hear right? Why is the church the skinny nerd competing in a weight-lifting competition?

We have not fulfilled our duty. And let me say this: our duty as believers is not to come and sit in a nice pew in an air-conditioned room and listen to somebody pour out their soul once or twice a week.

Our duty is to give our gifts.

Let me explain. As human beings, we all have talents and abilities that God has bestowed upon us so that we may use them for His glory and our good. (see Matthew 25) But these days, as the body, we find a lot of people who come to church, suck up what is given to them, and never give of what they have.

Spiritual gluttony, as far as I have seen, is exactly what I just described. We take and take and take and take the offerings of the people of God and never even think of giving back. So we becom, if you will, "spiritually obese." We may hand in a couple of bucks when the offering plate comes around, but we don't consider investing any of our time and effort into helping and contributing of ourselves.

So find your place. And I'm not saying that every ministry is for everyone. A guy who has no idea how to handle kids and is not gifted with that is probably not gonna be used in the best possible way working with kindergarteners. But we do each have our place. We know what our place is when we are using our talents, abilities, and efforts in an area that is suited towards those things.

It is with these things we find that we will form a church body so powerful and efficient that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Who's ready to tear down the gates?

Friday, February 25, 2011

I Hate This Part (2)

[I've revised this post a bit. Hope y'all like it.]

Well, here it is. Part 2. If you haven't read part 1, you should probably start with that.

Ok, so let's read John 4:24 once again: "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth." (Some versions of John 4:24 replace the word "truth" with "word." I believe both are acceptable since John 17:17 says "Your Word is truth.")

So I've tentatively tried to cover what worshiping in Spirit involves. Now comes the truth aspect. There generally tend to be two camps of people. One camp spends a lot of time reading the Scriptures, memorizing, learning, and studying it. They are normally very wary of the work of the Spirit and tend to put God in a box. The second camp is a group of people who base almost everything they know off of the work of the Spirit and place more importance on that than in studying the Scriptures and knowing what they have to say for their lives.

To borrow from an idea of Matt Chandler, I think these two groups should hang out a lot more than they are, cuz maybe they'll rub off on each other. Honestly, they're both wrong. As illustrated in the verse we just read, there needs to be balance of the two arenas. Going to extremes on either end of the spectrum is wrong and does not align with God's will.

In fact, it is safe to say that these two areas (Spirit and truth) are thoroughly intertwined and cannot be separated. This is evidenced by Ephesians 6:17, which claims that "the sword of the Spirit... is the word of God." (Emphasis added.)

Let me make a short list of some people and I'll ask you what they have in common:

1. Paul
2. King David
3. Any of the Old Testament prophets
4. Martin Luther
5. John Calvin
6. Jesus

So? What common characteristic do these people (and God) share? Well, let me tell you: they all knew the Scriptures in and out. They lived, breathed, and consumed the Word of God daily. So, I must draw a conclusion from this:

Any great man of God must be a great man of knowing the Bible.

Don't believe me? Let's think logically. If you expect to be a godly man or woman, how on God's green earth do you plan to accomplish such a thing without knowing what being godly means by finding out through the Word?

The Word has many different functions. 2 Tim. 3:16 says that "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." Also, Heb. 4:12 claims that "the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." King David even claims "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you," and "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Psalm 119:11;103)

So we can see that the Word of God provides a flood of purposes. It is used for teaching, reproof, correction, training, conviction, deliverance from temptation and evil, comfort, and more. But let me make a point to leave you with an impression of one of the many reasons to know the Scriptures:

We live in a world ruled by Satan.

He will take every chance he gets to destroy the credibility of our faith. Lucifer has managed to make people think that every Christian is a fool and ignorant because he doesn't know how to think. So, the times we live in require us to be able to know our faith and be able to defend it.

Scriptures testify to this fact when we are told that we must be ready to preach the word "in and out of season." (2 Tim. 4:2) In 1 Pet. 3:16, we are commanded to always be ready to defend the hope that we have. It is upon this verse that the entire idea of apologetics (a fancy word meaning "defense of the faith") is founded! So be ready, at any moment's notice, to be able to stand up for what you believe in thorough logic and reasonable thought. We do this by learning the Word of God.

Let's look at Timothy. Timothy is a character of the New Testament who was a disciple of Paul's. Paul wrote two entire books of the New Testament simply addressing this guy, and one of the things that he says to him is "Watch your life and doctrine closely." (1 Tim 4:16) Read that again. Did you miss the part where he put "life" and "doctrine" on the same level? Sounds pretty important, huh?

Often, words and phrases take on meanings that were never intended. For example, there is a trend in today's culture with the word "faith." It is often preceded by the words "blind" or "leap of." But let me say this - I would not follow anything with my heart which did not first make sense to me in my brain. There is a direct correlation between what I believe with my heart and what I know with my head. And it comes out of a result of knowing the Scriptures. Thoroughly.

To know what the Bible says allows me to be able to defend myself from the onslaught of seemingly intellectual arguments against my faith.

So know your doctrine, and guard it with your life.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Hate This Part (1)

I hate two-parters. I mean, really. Whenever I see some youtube video that says, "AMAZING VIDEO .... part 1/2" it just irritates me. Perhaps that has something to do with my generations problem of wanting every piece of information in bite-sized pieces. But, alas, I must throw up a two-parter. Take it how you may.

Peanut butter and jelly. Dogs and fire hydrants. Bagels and cream cheese. McDonald's and obesity. What do all of these things have in common? They go together. Sure, each of these things on their own are pretty good, but together they unite forces to form a brilliant combination. (except for that last one, maybe)

The Bible also points out certain things that go together. Let's take a look. John 4:24 says that "true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth." For the sake of the whole "two parter" deal, let's examine what that means as it relates to the first part: worshiping in Spirit.

Y'know I'm mostly tired these days. Tired of sin. Tired of worldly pressure. Tired of the world's slow, agonizing decay. But out of all of the things I'm tired of, I have to make the distinction of something I'm sick of, and what is that?


Let me explain. There are certain prerogatives, commands, and promises in Scripture, like using faith "the size of a mustard seed" to "move mountains." Or Jesus telling us that we can do "even greater things" than He did. Or "for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Or thirsting for God like "a deer thirsts for water." (which is an intense, soul-wrenching desire coming from the pit of despair) Or loving Christ so much to the extent where your love for anything else, even your own family, looks like hatred compared to how much you love Him.

These are all ideas that we, as Bible-believing, church-going, small-group-leading Christians believe, right? We say, "Yeah, I believe that can happen. I hear all the time about people in Africa or Asia doing great works of the Holy Spirit." But that is where we have missed it ladies and gentlemen.

Those promises are not for "those radical, powerful Christians over there," they are for US. It isn't for the SUPER-Christian, who spends his days with his head in the clouds, it is for the Christian. These are not radical ideas that apply only to those people, but they are EXPECTED from us in our normal lives!

That being said, we should, according to what was said before, move mountains, do works greater than those of Christ, live in complete pursuit of the Father's will, thirst intensely for the presence of God, and treat everything in such a way that it looks like nothing compared to the "surpassing greatness of knowing Christ." Right?

So why AREN'T WE!?

We've become so SATISFIED! We take the measure of Christ that we've had so far and say its enough! We aren't willing to dive into the ocean of God's glory and drink the power of the Holy Spirit!

Now, at the words "Holy Spirit," some Baptists might be going wild right now. They may think that "I'm going Pentecostal on them." But let me remind you, brothers and sisters, that the Holy Spirit is not a Pentecostal thing. It's a God thing.

So what do we do? Realize the problem, and never do anything about it? Cuz lemme tell you, I've seen so many people recognize sin in their lives, feel a conviction, and never follow through with taming that issue. That does absolutely nothing to help you, God, or anyone. So what I'm asking for is action.

Luke 11:5-13 says it better than I ever could:
"So I say to you: ASK and it will be given to you; SEEK and you will find; KNOCK and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

There it is, guys. SEEK the Holy Spirit. It's really not complicated. Pray for the faith that He will reveal Himself to you, because He promised that He will! If you don't believe that God follows through on His promises, you might as well just stop reading now, cuz you've got bigger fish to fry.

Take time to go to your "secret place," and shut everything off. And I mean everything. Cell phone? Off. Tv? Off. Lights, radio, and ipod? Off. Take time and yes, read the Scriptures, but come before the Lord instead of just reading about doing it. "Don't rush into His presence with words, as fools do," but come before him and "be still." Ask God to calm your mind down from all distractions. Ask God to reveal himself to you, and communicate with you, but then here's the hard part:


Don't just say "I want to know your voice," but then not listen for it! Spend some more time in silence waiting upon the Holy Spirit to do something. And if He chooses to not reveal Himself at that time, don't be upset. This require a daily discipline of actively seeking Him and wanting to experience His glory, and may take a lifetime to achieve. But don't be discouraged. To borrow the advice of a little sea creature, "Just keep swimming."

This, my friends, is one of the biggest reasons that the American church has so failed. The church has failed, and we always blame problems on the church, but the only problem is, well, we are the church. Although not Scriptural, I believe very strongly that "we need to be the change we wish to see in the world."

And older people tend to say, "Well, the only reason that person is saying that is because he is young, and there is a tendency towards extremism and sensationalism in youth." But, once again, I'm not talking about extremism, or being a radical.

I'm talking about following Christ.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Main Character

"I love these socks."

"I love my wife."

The word "love" seems to be thrown around pretty regularly these days, with no real distinction between different uses. For example, if you truly love your socks in the same way that you love your wife, people would consider you a freak. (And rightly so, might I add.)

It has been said that hate is a strong word. But, by the same count, so is love. Or at least, it's supposed to be. To give a metaphor that I believe to be apt, the word and concept of "love" is as overused as Farmville updates. And there seems to be no concensus on what it actually IS.

So how is it that we go about defining such an elusive idea? Its abstract nature is surely a daunting premise to even consider tackling. But at the same time, we find that the Bible tells us that the greatest commands are to love God and love others (Matt. 22:37-40), so it's pretty important that we get to the bottom of it.  Well, let's attack it with a sword.

*Cough* I'm talking about the Scriptures. *Cough*

Now, one of the greatest passages that ever discussed the subject of love is 1 Corinthians 13. I strongly encourage you to go read it right at this moment. I'll wait 'till you get back.

Done? Perfect. Now, if you read carefully, there's a lot of things that the passage defines love as. (patient, kind, humble, not arrogant, not rude... etc.) But out of all of these things, I have seen a common denominator.

He who loves is not focused on himself.

The life of someone who is consumed with love finds that he is completely focused on giving of himself for his God and his neighbor(everyone). I paraphrase an idea I once heard to illustrate this idea: he is no longer the main character in his own story.

Now that we have some affirmation from a passage of Scripture, let's take a look at one of the greatest examples of love. The one which Christians base off all of their understanding and appreciation of the concept:


I'm gonna try to keep this short: God created man. Man sinned and rebelled and continued to do so continuously. He took the precious gift of life and used it for his own selfish desires and whims. So God kills everyone cuz He's angry with them, right?

Wrong. Even though He was extremely upset because of the rebellion of man, he sends down His Son to die to take away the sins of a people who want nothing to do with Him. He sends Christ. The perfect spotless Lamb.

The Lamb loved us so much that he allowed His creation to spit on Him, mock Him, whip Him, and crucify Him so that they could be regenerated to a new relationship with Him. And as much as we don't want to believe it, we would have been right up there with the mob, watching Him die in excrutiating pain, and yelling insults. We are as much to blame now, for our sin, as they were to crucify Him. We deserve the same punishment.

Let me help you understand this idea of our responsibility for His death with a little illustration: If you were the only person on the planet, Christ would have died for you and only you. But if you were the only person on the planet, a question remains:

Who would have crucified Him?

The utterly inescapable answer is that we are just as much at fault for His death as his murderers were 2000 years ago.

And here comes (what I believe to be) one of the greatest single words in Scripture...

"BUT God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

This is His love. And it's not just a general, blanket type of love. It applies to each one of us. Individually. In other words, we could just as well say, "while (insert your name here) was still a sinner, Christ died for him."

This is what I believe the Scriptures show as love. But it is a dual relationship. We cannot just suck up and continually receive love from the Father without spreading it to others.

So receive it.
Give it.
And live it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Rooms of the Heart

Kids are great. Really. I honestly get a lot of joy and wonder at seeing how kids understand the world through new and amazed eyes.

But kids are crazy.

I mean, I'm just gonna be real here: kids are just bad people. Granted, we all are, but as we grow older, we learn how to hide and mask our evil nature. With kids? Plain as day. You can see just how wicked they are at heart (Jer. 17:9) in just simple daily life!

Think I'm crazy? Think about it. And this is an example that parents will understand perfectly: when you ask a young child, as his father or mother, to do something you're probably going to hear a simple response. "No." And I have seen it happen without fail with kids. Sometimes they listen because they've been taught, but their most natural and organic response is to rebel. It's in their hearts. Plain and simple.

So, ok, we can see it in children, but what about in our own lives? The book of Jeremiah says that our hearts are desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. Consider that a moment. That means that your super-religious grandma, Mother Teresa, and even the pope are wicked at heart!

Our wickedness spawns rebellion, folks.

And here is what tends to happen a lot in churches today. We start attending, stop cursing, stop partying, "get our lives right," and begin to think we're straight with God. We've dealt with a lot of the sin in our lives and now seem to be living the "good Christian life." But there's a catch isn't there? Out of all of the sins we've dealt with, there's still one area that we want God to leave untouched.

We've all heard that Jesus comes "into our hearts" when we get saved. And that's absolutely true. But lemme tell you what someone explained to me: the heart has many rooms. When the Spirit enters your heart, he wants to go in EVERY room. But we tell Him, "Hey man, it's cool you're here and everything, and I'm glad for all the stuff you've done for me... but don't go into the bedroom."

*Buzzer sound*

We will often let God deal with almost all of the sin in our hearts, and go into almost all of it, but we still have that one area that we've always ignored and hoped it would be left alone. For some it may be porn. For others it may be anger. For still others it may be flirtation. Hatred. Addiction. Greed. Jealousy. And that's just to name a few.

God tells the mountains to move and they move.
He tells the rivers to flood and they flood.
God addresses the secret sin in our hearts and we say, "NO! Don't go there. Everything else but there."

How dare we? This is the God who created you! Lemme tell you, he has just as much power to "un-create" you, if you know what I mean.

When people have their sin addressed, they can respond in some pretty strange ways. They can ignore it. They can fight it. But lemme warn you of a really dangerous way of dealing with it. Some people will realize their sin and then do something else to make up for it.

So, instead of the issue being dealt with, they say, "Hey, I know that I'm supposed to battle with the lust issue in my heart, but instead I'll just join the youth band and join my church's outreach ministry." They do this in hopes that God will overlook their sin because of all of the "good" stuff their doing.

Have you ever heard of a murderer being released from jail because the judge saw that he was helping the homeless? Didn't think so. Our good doesn't outweigh our crime with the government, and it doesn't either with God.

What I'm asking is that you deal with it. Find someone who can help you. (A pastor, youth leader, or fellow Christian) Tell them about the problem. The Bible shows that their is great power when you confess your sins to your fellow believers. Get someone to keep you accountable for your sin and who will check up on how you're dealing with it periodically. And you'll find that when you are able to be completely open about your deepest sin, you will find the most joy and freedom in the Spirit.

But don't just let it go, because your blood will be on your own hands.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Imagine a large group of people, sitting down in a vast room with rows upon rows of benches. All of the people there made it for their once-a-week appointment to hear an older gentleman give a sermon about Christ and the Bible. He gives a very well-thought-out message and may have even been led by the Holy Spirit to speak powerfully and with conviction.

If you thought that what I was describing to you was church, you would be wrong.

Now, bear with me for a little bit before you sign me off as a nut-job who doesn't even know what this cultural phenomenon we call "church" is. If we look in the Scriptures at the time that follows Christ's death, we see what the church looks like and how it formed. I am sorry to say that what we have today cannot be usually described as "the church."

A lot of the early church days were documented in the book of Acts. We see that the church is simply a body of believers living life together in their pursuit of Christ. Now don't get me wrong, the scene I described to you is in no way something bad.

It is; however, only a starting point.

The members of the early church knew that their Christian walk could not be lived out once a week in a building with four walls. It involved community and sharing. People (who normally should not even be put in a room together) would form bonds so strong that it could only be explained as supernatural and a work of the Holy Spirit. They would confess their deepest, darkest sins to each other, rejoice in one another's victories, carry each others' burdens, give to their brothers in need, and form a community so strong that not even the gates of Hell could prevail against it! (Matt. 16:18) They were a family in every sense of the word.

Now I'm sorry, but I don't really see too much of that happening nowadays. What I do see is gossiping, backstabbing, people getting lost in a crowd, hidden pain, and discontentment. My friends, this should not be so! We weren't just saved from our sins, we were saved to the body of Christ!

We do not attend church, we belong to it.

There needs to be some serious re-evaluation of the condition of the churches today. A revolution in the way we connect and live life together as believers in the same God.

I will leave you with two things.

There is a man by the name of Francis Chan who used to pastor a church in California. After listening to a lot of what he speaks about, and how he speaks about it, I know that Mr. Chan has a huge calling on his life and is obsessed with God. This is mainly the reason that he felt such a large conviction when presented with this scenario:

An ex-gang member who had been saved out of his life of darkness had started to visit pastor Chan's church and had been going for a while. After a certain amount of time, Francis noticed that the gang member had not been there for a few weeks. He e-mailed the fellow and asked about his disappearance. The gang member's reply went on to say that he came to the church with a gang mentality. He clarified and said that in a gang, members are so tight and connected, that they are considered to be the same blood. They would jump in front of a bullet for each other. Their lives were as interwoven as any could be.

The ex-gang member did not find this type of community in the church. Shame on us. And I do say "us" because I am also to blame for trying to live "my own life."

While mulling over this Biblical idea, I got to thinking about how fake people (including me) tend to be in the church. This inspired me to write a little bit of poetry.

Ankle - Deep

What's wrong with our churches?
What's wrong with our lives?
Why is God angry?
Why does He cry?

He hates our parades,
He hates our disguise.
He hates that His bride
Carries out her demise.

We think He won't see
What we hide from ourselves.
Even we can't take in
The lies that we tell.

The "self" we portray
Is so painfully fake -
Like drowning inside
An ankle-deep lake.

They say love is deep
That Christ's love is wide,
But maybe we're all swimming
In the kiddie-pool tide.

God has given us the ability to live out this community because he knows that it is fulfilling and joyful. Yes, it is at times embarrassing, (when sharing sins) but when we open ourselves to our fellow believers, we find that life becomes something to be shared and celebrated. Something intentional.

Something supernatural.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Legs Made for Walking

There come a few times in someone's life when they meet someone who is truly different. Those are the moments that I try to treasure and take hold of. For me, one of those times came last week.

I belong to (not just attend) a church and its youth group. As an 18 year-old, I am one of the leaders at this group. I used to be terrified when my youth pastors would say something along the lines of, "Go and talk to someone you don't know," but recently, God has been tearing at my seams and stretching me, so I try as much as possible to gravitate towards the youth who are lonely and aren't talking to anyone.

So last week, I met someone, who (for the sake of confidentiality) we will call Simon. Simon is different. Not by any choice of his own, but by something that he has had to deal with all his life. He has a deformed left leg. When I saw him hobbling around on his crutches, I made it a point to go talk to him and make him feel welcome.

He was one of the nicest guys ever. In fact, the reason I used to be terrified to speak to new people was not because I didn't know what to say, but for the simple fact that most high-school students don't know how to carry a normal conversation. I feared the awkward.

Simon was not awkard.

I basically spent most of my time with him all throughout the night, and I learned a lot. He was born with his defect, and he's been having surgeries on and off for the past 16 years. (His entire life.) I believe he said that he's had somewhere around 20 surgeries, with little rest in between. He loved to snowboard. (Shocker, eh?) Simon showed me his brace (which had pins all throughout that were jabbed into his leg at various points.) He's dealt with extreme pain his entire life (but seemed kinda freaked out when I told him about the pain from braces for your mouth. Go figure.)

But here's what got to me about his whole situation: he had just gone through his last surgery ever and only had to wait 2-3 months (if everything went well) before he could begin his new life with a leg that is almost exactly perfect. After 16 grueling, painful years, he was intensely impatient to get the brace off and start living life.

His entire life was spent gearing up for this final moment of liberation.

And that, my friends is what our lives should be like.

Paul the apostle says, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Phil. 1:21) I never really understood what that meant for a long time, but lemme try to lay it out for you. Paul is trying to say that if God gives him another day to live, then He will use it for Christ. But if God decides to take Paul's life, then it is better because he will finally get to go to Heaven.

Just like Simon is spending his entire life looking forward to being freed from his physical problem, Paul was looking forward to being freed from his physical body to finally be at Heaven's gates.

I used to think that Heaven would be boring. A drag. And plus, I had other things I wanted to do before I got there!

In other words, I imagined myself with a bunch of other people sitting around playing harps and singing all day. Every day. For all eternity. And that's just the beginning. But recently, the Holy Spirit has been showing me that Heaven will be better than anything on this earth (including those things that I wanted to get done). It will be pleasurable and joyful beyond our wildest dreams.

We will be continuously in the presence of the living God! How crazy is that!?!

And if that doesn't excite you, I encourage you to look at Paul's life. He looked forward to being in the presence of God because he had tasted bits and pieces of God's glory, power, and majesty all throughout his life.

But it wasn't enough for him. That is why he looked forward and upward. Because he knew that Heaven would be so fulfilling and amazing because it is the place where we experience more of God than we ever have here on this earth. He goes on to say that he considers "everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:8)

When the purpose of your life is to point to the next, you will find the most joy in the present.

This life is tough. It hurts. It's got a grenade launcher pointed right at us. But we have hope, because we look forward to when Christ will heal us of all our pain, suffering, and baggage.

We see the kingdom.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Ultimate Irony

Inception. Great movie, right? I thought so.

Honestly, I would say that Inception is one of the most cleverly thought-out films of the past few years. I would even go as far as to say as it's now one of my favorite films of all time. In any case, it was brilliant. If you haven't seen it, check it out. You'll thank me later.

Anyways, on to my point. Inception is one of those movies that leaves the ending up to the viewer to decide how it ended. It's a good way to make a long-lasting impression in all of the white noise of the film industry nowadays. I discussed the movie and its ending with a variety of friends and family and I noticed something. Almost everyone I spoke with, after watching the movie, had gone online and looked up different theories, speculations, and ideas as to the conclusion of the movie. Debates and arguments ensued over the film. They were desperate to resolve (at least in their own minds) the ending. They were scrambling to find out how they story ends. Now here's what bothered me in this entire situation.

Nobody wants to know how their own story ends.

Humanity has a habit of obsessing over worthless things, (like movies) but missing the biggest question. The only question that really matters. This, my friends, is the ultimate irony.

Let me explain. Most people go through life with a "take it and go" or "go with the flow" mentality. They plan little for the future and give minimal consideration to what happens to the rest of their lives past the immediate few weeks, if that. If I can ask you, the reader, to consider one thing, out of all other lans for the future, let it be this: eternity.

At this point, you might be saying to yourself, "What if the after-life doesn't exist?" Hear me out, now. For the person who asked this question, I will encourage you with this:

Find out.

If it doesn't exist, then, hey, who gives a flying flip? But, if it does, what you have to find out is what that after-life is going to look like. Is it going to be kittens and butterflies or poison and snakes? Are you going to spend the rest of eternity in hell or in heaven?

Now, keep in mind, I am not using scare tactics or anything, but I simply want you to consider this: If there is a possibility of hell in the after-life, you have to make sure you do everything in this life to avoid it. You owe it to yourself, if nothing else.

I believe that among the many different philosophies and religions, Jesus stands out. He claimed to be God, (John 8:58), offered the forgiveness of sins (1 John 1:9), and told people that he was the only way to heaven. (John 14:6) So you can't just put Christ in a box with all of the other "theories" that are out there for salvation. He is singular in His statements and ferocious in His claims.

The best part about this? It's not just a belief. It's a relationship with the Person who put you together and gave you the ability to live, breathe, and do everything you do. (including reading these words) It's forgiveness for all of the messed-up garbage we do every day. It's acceptance into His Kingdom, adoption into His family, and unconditional, no-strings-attached love. So much love, in fact, that He died so you could receive these things. His death purchased your freedom.

So take it, and find out how your story ends.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Kingdom

First off, let me start by saying that this is not a blog.

At least not in the way you're used to thinking about it. This is a preparation. A burden. A vision. Although the medium through which this information is published is a blog, the content in these writings has much more meaning, significance, and substance than a "weblog" can contain.

Next, I'd like to stress that I'm kinda crazy.

By all accounts, the things that I will begin to write step outside of the normal bounds of what society has deemed to be "acceptable" and "normal." I will admit, though, sometimes the things that I say are going to be pretty normal and understandable. At other times, however, I'm gonna say things that sound absurd. That's all right, though. 'Cause, see, the things that I'm saying are not my own ideas. They come from Higher Intelligence and I have been commanded to spread these thoughts to the group of people that consider themselves followers of Jesus Christ.

See? That sounded kinda crazy, huh?

In any case, let me also say that this is not about me. I know that I've used the word "I" a whole lot in the last few paragraphs, but that's irrelevant. My purpose with these writings is not that I draw attention to myself, make much of myself, or promote my own pride in any way. That is why I choose to remain anonymous. It is unimportant for you to know who I am by name. However, I believe you should know some of who I am in order to see that I am not a third-class nut-job. I will try to condense what you need to know about me in a few bullet points:

  • I am a follower of the person and works of Jesus Christ.
  • I don't amount to much. I am sinful and wicked. But at the same time, I have a God who can love me when I am unlovable. And for whatever reason, it pleases Him to treasure me as a precious creation of His.
  • I believe that Jesus is one with the Father God (Jehovah), and the Holy Spirit. They exist as three in one in such a way that the finite minds of humans cannot understand.
  • I believe that the Kingdom of God is coming very, very soon, and the people of earth have very little time left.
  • I believe that the Scriptures contained in the Holy Bible are perfect and complete, and whatever I say will be said in an effort to keep with the guidelines laid out in it. 
  • The Holy Spirit has given me certain things to say, and I cannot keep my mouth shut and expect to live my life obedient to God without saying many of these things.
Now that you know a little about me, you have to know yourself. The writings that are to ensue are for those who believe that they are followers of Jesus Christ and the Bible. I don't care if you're male, female, black, white, paper, or plastic. The only criteria for you to be here is what I just laid out. If this is true of you, then you are in the right place. If you are not, I encourage you to give your life to Christ and start living for Him. Not so you can read these silly anecdotes from a silly person, but so you can live the rest of eternity with a purpose and a meaning.

Ok, so now that we've got some of the details out of the way, let's continue on to the juicy part, eh? The reason that you're here.

As I've said, I believe that the Kingdom of God is knocking on our door. What do I mean by that? The world is slowly coming to an end. And by slowly, I mean quickly. Now, at this point of your reading, you're probably thinking about that whole "crazy" thing I was talking about. But bear with me.

If you believe the Scriptures, then you know that there are certain signs that the Bible speaks about. These signs will show the believers that the world is coming very near its expiration date. These signs are glaring all around us, people. The world is in turmoil and is preparing itself for something epic.

The Scriptures show that the righteous will be ready. As Christ-followers, we can often "feel" the rhythm of the coming God - the return of Christ. Just like the bass that reverberates in our core at concerts, we can feel the drum-beat that signals the arrival of the coming of the glory of God. And that, my friends is what I wish to write about. That is my purpose here. To help you get ready. To prepare you for the times that are about to begin.

Matthew 7 refers to people who will come, on judgment day, before the throne of the living God and say, "Hey! Look at all this cool stuff I did for you! I performed miracles and did all of this crazy spiritual stuff in your name!" His response?

"Get out of my face, you wicked ones."

Matthew goes on to say that only those who have their heart right before God will enter Heaven. So if you can take anything from my pitiful attempt at helping you grow, let it be that I desperately desire for you to get your heart right before God. In a nutshell, that's what this whole fiasco is about.

It's what I'm begging you for.