Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Then they remembered Jesus’ words."

Easter bunnies and egg hunts are the main stream ideas of Easter. I don't remember when I came to the realization these "extra" things added to such a holy day were part of the worldly smoke screen to shift focus away from Christ. I am glad to know this day still has more meaning than bunnies and eggs for many, many, people.

"The women were awestruck and bowed down in worship. The men said, "Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up. Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?"

Then they remembered Jesus' words." Luke 24:5-8

Will you remember what Christ has done for you and I today? Will you bow down to worship Him today? What power and freedom we find in Christ and anyone can come to Him!

May each of you have a blessed Easter or Resurrection Day.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Heresy Among Believers

Maybe it has always existed, I mean from ten commandments came 600+ laws, dancing leads to many things and appropriateness is "important," but as I continue to read and grow in the scripture, I have become to see these thoughts (among others) as heresy in the church. I am certain some of these thoughts were well meaning, but i believe they are not Christ-like.

Personal preference or opinions versus scripture. Luke 4:1-13 is known as the "temptation of Jesus," Satan tempts Jesus and each time Jesus responds with scripture. Scripture reigns supreme in every situation in life, not our personal preference or opinion. Adding and taking away from the Word of God is sin. When various rules, schools of thoughts or tradition is counter to scripture, you should throw it out. Scripture should never be superseded by an opinion in all matters.

The acceptance of different generations. I believe this can be called Trans-Generation Ignorance. Trans-Generation Ignorance is the lack of knowledge about the various thoughts, trends, social interaction, patterns, norms, etc., from one generation to another generation. Trans-Generation Ignorance can tear apart a church body, push wedges between people, therefore not expanding the Kingdom of God (which is here and now).

Let me give you an example: if you are more concerned with the clothes someone is wearing, than the urgency concerning heaven or hell doesn't really matter to you because you can't get past clothing.

This reminds me of Jesus visit to the, "Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed," in John 5:1-15. These very people desperately needed Christ, at one point Jesus asks, "would you like to get well?" The sick man's response is, "I can't, sir, for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me." 

Did he almost miss the point because his focus was on something else other than Jesus' offer of healing? I'd say he almost missed out because he was more concerned about getting into the water and not Christ. 

"Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyze," can be anyone, look different, be a different age and communicate differently than you; choosing to disregard these differences is close-minded and is potentially sending some who is not like minded as you, to hell. (also see John 4:1-38, Acts 8:26-40; these are a couple of my favorite examples).

Real. Everything we say, see, do or not do goes noticed by someone, young or old, someone is watching; while being mindful of this, the 18-30 age range is looking for authentic faith. We are looking at the Hebrew and Greek text to find out what the scriptures teach, not some sugarcoated story or some rule that someone taught was scripture, but is not. Real is being honest, staying true to the word and doing your best at living it. When we slip and fall, we want help back up and not a slap in the face, kinda like scripture teaches.

Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."

I love this passage because it talks about the real change that comes when we follow Christ. The Greek word for transformed is metamorphoĊ to change into another form, to transform, to transfigure. When we accept Christ we become different and that difference is now our molding into Christ-likeness.

Freedom. Freedom. Freedom. In Braveheart, William Wallace says, "There's a difference between us. You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure that they have it." 

Christ came to make sure we have freedom. Jumping back to Romans 7:6, "But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code." With Christ comes freedom, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery," Galatians 5:1. As we set out to share the gospel, reflecting Christ in and through us, we do it free from bondage! 

Bondage could look many different ways: caught up in legalistic traditions, opinions that supersede scripture, judgmental attitudes, etc.

I want to charge myself and anyone else to expel heresy in your sphere of influence; not to attack, but live out your faith in such a contentious manner that through your words and actions you abound in the real freedom of Christ.

God bless.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

More Taylor Swift Theology

"And I remember that fight, two-thirty AM
You said everything was slipping right out of our hands
I ran out, crying, and you followed me out into the street 
Braced myself for the goodbye, cause that's all I've ever known
Then, you took me by surprise
You said, "I'll never leave you alone." 
You said, "I remember how we felt, sitting by the water.
And every time I look at you, it's like the first time..." Mine by Taylor Swift
I have written about Taylor Swift's lyrics before and I guess it can be deduced that I am a Taylor Swift fan, but really I hear her lyrics and think about God.  I heard this song recently and could not get these lyrics out of my head. Not only does it apply to Kari and I because when you have two little ones, 2:30 AM fights happen, but it also applies to my relationship with Christ.

There are times when we get to the point when we are just mad at God, almost to the point of fighting. We are losing sleep over it, praying or not praying about it, but it feels like He is so far away. Running away really isn't an option with God, but you feel like you should.

He chases after you. Matthew 28:20, "...And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” We think we aren't good enough sometimes and He comes after you, puts His arm around you and says, "I'll never leave you alone."

We stray away from Him, but He always remembers that moment, sitting by the water, when you surrendered your life to Him.

What powerful words that remind me of a moment I will never forget that happened late one evening at Highland Lakes Camp; when He and I sat by the water, for the first time.

God Bless and may you continue to look for Christ, even in Taylor Swift songs.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Chapter Four: An Urgency

For Chapter Three Click Here

"What in tarnation!" John-Thomas exclaimed when he saw the photos.

Mason recounted the morning to his friend in  a somber tone and Lily filled in the details about the wreck (to a certain extent). Mason was living in his reoccuring dream. He mentioned to John-Thomas, in the den, some of the more graphic images from his dream and stressed the urgency of something strange was happening.

John-Thomas had brought with him a sawed-off shotgun and a .30 - .30 deer hunting rifle. John-Thomas was a well known marksman in the area and Mason only hoped what happen in his dream could be averted.

The three decided to hide in the living room in wait for the creatures to arrive. A large bay window faced the north, hopefully they would be able to spy them before they were found.

My palms sweat and my fingers were beginning to ache as I held the shotgun tightly. I watched John-Thomas load the weapon with fresh bullets, everything should be fine. I crouched near the door, we decided to hide Lily in the attic and John-Thomas crouched in the far corner of the room.

About two o'clock that afternoon the three creatures captured in my iPhone, appeared in front of our spying window. All three, humanoid-bats, walked with an angry demeanor and held guns in there claws.

"Why, why, why did I take there picture and what do they want?!?" I thought in a brief moment of panic. Fragments of a window fell to the floor on the other side of the house.

This concludes Chapter Four: An Urgency

Please note, this is a work of fiction, currently being hashed out here at Insert Title Here. Thoughts, ideas and story is the property of the author.

Chapter Five: Behind the Scenes

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Applying Free Market Principles to Ministry?

A free market is a market in which there is no economic intervention and regulation by the state.
These are some thoughts concerning the free market concept and what it would look like if we applied it to our lives and our ministries. I am not sure why God has laid this on my heart, but here's some thoughts.

You are serving the Lord through volunteering, pastoring a church or insert your type of service here, but it fails. Why did God allow you to fail? I think it is to make you grow better and stronger.

I serve as a Public Relations director.  I am responsible for the camp video, photos, lights, sound and the video media (I think that's it). If I do not manage my team correctly and put them in the places they need to be at the times they need to be there, we will not have a camp video. This can be applied to any ministry, team, church or whatever.  If I do not produce, or my team does not produce a camp video, than I have failed.  At this point, someone would step in, re-structure, evaluate and hopefully I will learn and grow from the failure.

Purpose. The idea of a free market allows for failure (unless you get a bailout, which I will talk about). In that failure, you can take what you learned and improve upon what you had to make your business better.

Bailouts. Bailout, government run business or enabling does not allow for growth or learning. If I run my business and am constantly getting help from the government (ie. outside sourse) how am I becoming a better business?

Spiritual application. God wants you and I to spread His name to all the earth and give Him glory. If we rely on others to get us through all the time, we are:
  • a. Not relying on God.
  • b. Never in a postion to be on our own (dependency).
  • c. Become stagnat in your journey with others and Christ.
Am I trying to tell you God endorses free markets? No. I am only trying to compare a very familiar idea and apply to our lives in ministry.

Thoughts?  I'd love to hear some feedback and your thoughts.

God Bless.


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Chapter Three: The Three Pictures

For Chapter Two Click Here

We could not stop looking at the pictures and I could hardly believe I was looking at something I presumed only to be a dream.

After the wreck, Mason took the unidentified woman back to his home. He began to think, "if the rest of the morning was anything else like his reoccurring dream than she would need to be protected."

"Can you believe this?" Mason asked Lily, the driver of the red Dodge Caravan, "and I'm telling you I have seen these creatures before!"

The images were almost unsightly, but Mason continued to pour over them.

In the first image were three of the larva, two side by side and the other staked on the two. A bald skull of a human head could be identified in the larva on top, as if it were pushing it's way out. The light bounced off the larva revealing two other faint images of humanoid figures in the other larva pods.

The second image captured the creature emerging from the larva pod. The head and what appeared to be an arm-wing pushed out reaching for freedom. In the other two pods, the creatures seem to be searching for freedom also. A leg had broken free in one pod and two arm-wings protruded from the other pod. 

The last image captured the full body of one of mysterious creatures. Standing nearly five feet seven inches in height, the creature had gray skin and was completely covered in a fine similar colored hair. The arm-wing could be compared to that of a bat's wing. The creature stretched it's self upon it's birth as the other two removed themselves from the pods.

"I hit that?" Lily tried to understand what was happening.

"Yes, and if I have seen them before, we will soon see them again," Mason calmly and frankly replied.

I pulled my phone from my pocket and dialed John-Thomas number, he had become a close friend. 

"Hello," John-Thomas answered to his friend.

"Can you come over? You have to see something, it is urgent!... And bring your guns," Mason said.

This concludes Chapter Three: The Three Pictures
Please note, this is a work of fiction, currently being hashed out here at Insert Title Here. Thoughts, ideas and story is the property of the author.

Chapter Four: An Urgency

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


It has been brought to my attention some of my readers don't understand what I am posting.

I have a short story in my head that needs to escape, please feel free to read, comment or ignore. It is based on a recent dream that I had and I thought it was worth developing into a short story.

Thanks for reading.

Chapter Two: Strange Drive to Work

For Chapter One Click Here

Typically it takes me about forty-five minutes to get to work. We moved outside of town to Cherryville about three years ago. The boys were doing poorly at Westside High School and it was time for a move. 

Cherryville was a small town, but little did Mason know, a very strange town. For the last ten years various reports of dead cattle, trashed crops and missing small animals had been reported in the local paper. These minor reports went unnoticed by anyone outside of the rural area.

My first wife passed away five years ago when the boys were eleven.  I often think of her, Julie, each morning on my commute. That morning was one of those mornings.

Her sweet words fell warm on my face every morning, "good morning, love," she'd say. We had been married thirteen years when she was diagnosed with cancer. They said she might live three to five years, but it was only six months.

The vehicle, a red Dodge Caravan, in front of me was traveling at a similar speed. As I thought of Julie and our mornings together, my attention was draw away from my thoughts as I noticed the tail-lights of the Caravan swerve to left. Quickly the van jerked to the right and hit the grassy ditch.

The van quickly disappeared into the brush leaving a path of tattered vegetation.  At one point I could only make out the red lights.

After little thought, I found it necessary to stop and render aid. Walking along the path cleared by the van I began to repeatedly shout, "Hello, can I help you?" 

My pace quickened as I noticed a smoldering coming from underneath the hood. The smell of something foul emerged from an unknown source, but what I saw I had seen before.

I ran to the van and pulled an incoherent woman from the drivers seat. She had hit her head on the steering wheel, but it was what she hit with her van that was creating the foul smell. The woman's knees buckled when she saw the black bathtub sized larva in front of her van.

The black tinted larva was iridescent revealing a creature inside. I had seen these creatures before, in my dreams. They were the very same creatures who had tied me up. I quickly pulled out my iPhone and snapped three pictures.

This concludes Chapter Two: Strange Drive to Work

Please note, this is a work of fiction, currently being hashed out here at Insert Title Here. Thoughts, ideas and story is the property of the author.

Chapter Three: The Three Pictures

Monday, April 04, 2011

Chapter One: A Reoccurring Daydream?

It occurred to me that I had played this story out before, but it wasn't until I was lying on my back with my hands and feet bound with the glassy grey eyes fixed on mine.

It started out as a normal day. Normal as normal can be; the boys got up early, my wife slept in and I got ready for work. As the TV played the ESPN jingle, our normal breakfast companion, I ate my bowl of cereal. "Cereal," I thought, "crunch, crunch, crunch."

The sportscaster was talking about game five of the World Series and weather the Pirates would actually win. It was mostly background noise because I had allowed my mind to wander upon an intense daydream I had visited before.

"Dad!... Dad!... Dad!... Mason!" my oldest son, Randy, yelled at me.

Ripped from my daydream I replied, "Randy?"

"We're catching the bus, Dad, see you later."

Randy and James disappeared out the front door and I wasn't far behind them. I could not figure out how I had been tied up and by whom, but did it really matter, it was just a reoccurring daydream.

This concludes Chapter One: A Reoccurring Daydream?

Please note, this is a work of fiction, currently being hashed out here at Insert Title Here. Thoughts, ideas and story is the property of the author.

Chapter Two: Strange Drive to Work

Dreading This Day

It's official, President Barack Obama announces 2012 re-election bid April 4, 2011 5:53:08 AM via a YouTube video.

Some estimate he intends to spend 1 billion dollars to get re-elected and make up some other catchy campaign slogan that will be a lie.

I knew it was just a matter of time.

Count me as a vote against Rockstar President Barack Obama (just like last election).

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Do Hard Things: Quick Thoughts

Do Hard Things written by Alex and Brett Harris is an amazing book which challenges teenagers and adults to raise your expectations of what life should look like between the ages of 12-18 years. I highly recommend this book. Here are some brief notes on some of there points:

What does the bible say about teens? Nothing!

"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me." 1 Corinthians 13:11

1900 is the origin of the word teenager.

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2

The First Scary Step:

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

Don't let fear rule you.

Just a few thoughts taken from the book. Really, check it out. Great read.

God bless.