Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Convicted


That word has a fairly negative connotation. And perhaps it’s fitting that it does since most of us do not want to be accused or found guilty of misdoing. But that is exactly what has happened to me recently and I believe God Himself is the one that convicted my heart. All truth be told, there are several personal items that He has revealed to me for correction but I want to share one with you now.

On the way home a few days ago, I had the imagery of my nightly routine flashing through my mind. There I was in the middle of my twins and wife as they went on with their routines. There was much love in the room and I was never made to feel that I lacked the care or concern necessary for being a good daddy. However, I noticed something for the first time. I was constantly looking at my blackberry, checking for emails, burying my head in a book, or watching TV whilst my twins played around me…not with me.

Up until this daydream revelation, I had always considered my time at home to be productive and well utilized. I considered that being in the same room with the kids to be somehow equivalent to actually engaging them on a personal level. I quickly felt…convicted. And while it did carry some negative feelings with it, I was mostly relieved to have identified a problem that could now be worked on. Most of us don’t willfully sit by observing big problems in our lives without any desire to address them. We instead get our heads buried in the sand and most often go without noticing anything is awry.

The last two nights have been wonderful. Upon entering my home from my commute home I have greeted my wife and kids, put my phone aside, and actively engaged my family. We’ve played hide & seek, pick-up sticks, made paper balloons, awarded stickers, and even driven around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. Instead of the twins making up their own fun and playing in my vicinity, I have been leading the charge and becoming the actively involved daddy! It comes pretty natural to me since I am such a kid at heart anyway. My only regret in all of this was not discovering the problem sooner. Don’t get me wrong, I have not spent the entirety of the last three years disengaged or uninterested. But I have let too much of that time go to waste. No more!

I can’t wait for another round of hide & seek tonight!


Post Script:
1. A friend sent me this video and in part…this inspired much of what I am working on right now with God and my family.

2. For more "daddy fun" consider reading
this older post of mine. It’s fictional but one of my favorite pieces. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Accountability


What does this word mean to modern man? In today’s climate it seems the popular thing to do is point fingers, give excuses, and deflect blame. I mean…who really wants to be responsible for their every action, decision, and word…right? Plus there is an added dynamic that being “held accountable” comes with some not-so-fun aspect of being called out on failures. Not IF they happen but rather WHEN they happen. This eventual certainty leaves many of us dreading the correction that comes from the figures in our lives that hold such a role.

In Christian circles we have something called accountability groups. When I first heard of such craziness the following thoughts were entertained:

· Who would willingly tell a bunch of guys/girls everything about themselves?
· Do they really tell each other EVERYTHING?
· What if someone confesses to something just off the charts crazy?
· What if I was that person and everyone ended up just staring at me blankly with jaws dropped?
· After “telling all” who wants to then sit and listen to the group tell you how wrong you are and how to fix yourself?
· Ah…those groups are for guys that NEED constant correction because they cannot control some kind of addiction/sin/behavior in their lives.
· Will I have to hold hands and sing Coom By Ya!?

Granted, much of these thoughts had perished by the time I first started meeting with three close friends from church but an inkling of these former, self-preservation ideas still remained, unsure of what I might expect. My concerns must have been more common than I first thought as several of the first meetings were punctuated with surface-driven chatter, most of which was an update on all things business. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being able to discuss my business dealings with other professionals but what about our families, our marriages, and our individual walks with Christ?

Well, we’ve begun transitioning into that very place and I must report…it’s great. I am not sure when it happened to me but my guess was somewhere around the fourth grade. I became painfully aware that complete transparency, sincerity, and genuine depth of character was not a good package to present in a dog-eat-dog prep school. I gave my bullies more than enough ammunition to take digs and pot shots at random for years. I finally got good at “playing the game”. Dad called it “Fake It Till You Make It.” You did what you had to do survive even if that meant sacrificing the genuine you.


Perhaps we all go through a similar transition. And perhaps that explains the general reluctance to have REAL, DEEP, MEANINGFUL relationships with people. But I find that sad. And for my most recent experiences with these men…I can no longer let fourth grade haunt me!



Post Script:

This morning my group met and for the first time to my recollection I had a brother correct me. I had dreaded this possibility for so long that when it happened, I braced for what I expected to be a hard blow. But my internal flinching was unnecessary. As Scripture calls us to…my brother was very gentle with his observations of me. I can equate the overall experience to having someone tell you that a chunk of broccoli is stuck to your teeth. At first it’s pretty embarrassing. But very quickly you come to appreciate that this person not only had the nerve to let you know but the care and compassion to help prevent further embarrassment.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Zombies and Unicorns

There are a multitude of reasons for a Christian to know everything there is to know about their faith. One obvious reason might be that a person should know and truly understand what they believe before just “blindly” labeling themselves. But for the purposes of this rant…I am going to address this very Scriptural reason:

1 Peter 3:15-16 (New International Version)
15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

This verse is one that I often reflect upon when describing my desire and calling to engage in amateur apologetics on the internet. I have no shortage of Christian critics and atheists that will question, challenge, and demand me to defend what they deem to be silly (at best) or even dangerous & harmful (at worst). There is no effort to be subtle about the fact that most of these people believe our planet would be much better off without Christians on it. They believe us to be deluded, crazy, weak, brainwashed, indoctrinated, cultic, and a menace to society’s ability to move forward. After all we have the moral doctrines that have been holding back the advancement of humankind now for centuries…right?

When I first began this pursuit, I made a mistake. I assumed that I had a very comprehensive knowledge of my beliefs, my Bible, and that these critics were just uninformed. They were just following the P.C. hype being sold through our multi-media lives and had never taken any actual time to investigate Christianity. I made this assumption mostly based on my own experience and discovery of Christ…not because of any desire to prejudge or stereotype an entire group of people. And while my conclusions do indeed find people that match the criteria, more often than not, the majority of the people I deal with end up being much different. In fact, many critics not only know everything that you know but they end up knowing more than you.

So the obvious and looming question at this point is: How would you ever expect to present a case for belief in Christ if the person you are talking to knows more about your own faith than you? I am not deeming it impossible mind you. Some of the best apologetics have nothing to do with facts and scholarly information so much as they deal with the heart and the human condition. However, most hard-core critics reject any initial appeal to emotion and subjective witnessing until or unless you convince them that this door is worth opening to you from a logical stand-point.

Let me just give you two examples of things that caught me by surprise.
1. Unicorns
2. Zombies

It’s an unspoken rule of the Christian critic to label God, Christ, and our beliefs with what they deem to be similar monikers but laced with insult. For instance, they often call God the Invisible Sky Daddy or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Pink Unicorn. To them God is every bit as mythological and worthy of belief as any of these fairytale alternatives. In one such discussion I called one critic out telling him how absurd the name-calling was and to “get real” with his objections. His reply?

“Well there are unicorns in The Bible!”

I knew this guy well enough by this time to determine two things: (1) That he knew his stuff and would never make such a claim unless he had some type of backup and (2) not to let on that I was completely shocked by his statement having no clue what he was talking about. Well what was he talking about?

In the King James Version it just so happens that nine different verses of Scripture refer to something called a “unicorn”. (Numbers 23:22, Numbers 24:8, Deuteronomy 33:17, Job 39:9, Job 39:10, Psalm 22:21, Psalm 29:6, Psalm 92:10, and Isaiah 34:7). Now before you conclude that the King James translation must be in error, I might point you here. While it helped me to read the explanation that this animal was more likely a one horned Rhino, the experience left its mark on me. I ate some humble pie for having learned a lesson from someone outside the faith.

That leads me to the Zombies. A completely different person kept referring to all the zombies in Scripture. At first I thought he was pulling the classic insult of Christ’s resurrection story by equating Him with our Sci-Fi modern-day view of a zombie. However he kept making this assertion in a plural form as if there were many of these creatures. I decided to ask him what specific story he was referring to, careful yet again not to let on that I had no idea. He pointed me to the following:

Matthew 27:50-54 (New International Version)
50And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. 54When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son[a] of God!"

Granted…this time the word “zombies” was not actually used in Scripture. However, this guy had managed to point me to a part of the resurrection story that I had either read dismissively or failed to see at all.

Why do I bring any of this up? Well, whether you feel called to apologetics or not, I believe every Christian has a duty to know their Scriptures, their doctrines, and their faith’s claims. I don’t think any of us ever get to a point where we stop learning completely. But I do think the average believer has a long way to go in equipping themselves with Godly knowledge. But that’s just my opinion.

Take this brief quiz and see how you do. No google or biblegateway cheating allowed!

1. Who were the Nephilim?
2. Does Scripture ever mention Satan being in the Garden of Eden?
3. Did Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Solomon practice monogamy or polygamy?
4. Did Jesus have any brothers and sisters?
5. What Biblical character owned Mr. Ed’s ancestor?
6. Did Adam and Eve eat an apple?
7. Were there rainbows before the flood?
8. How old did Noah live to be?
9. Why were James and John known as the “sons of thunder”?

And finally a bonus question: Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons? Since I don’t know for sure, I will give ten points to the most creative answer!

Quiz answers are in the comment section.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Baptism

There are many beliefs and preferences surrounding this topic. Some believe in the infant kind…others just the believers. Some sprinkle…some dunk. Some claim it is a required mark of salvation…others say it’s just an act of obedience. With all the various options I know you all have just been sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for me to weigh in, haven’t you?

No? Oh…well, then I am going to tell you what I personally feel led to do at this point and invite your comments anyway.

I was raised in the Methodist denomination and as such my folks had me sprinkled as an infant. I have no inherent problem with their choice to dedicate me in this way. I also fall into the category of belief that another baptism for me is not exactly necessary. It is clear as we read of the criminal on the cross next to Christ that salvation is only by grace and belief in Jesus. There was no time for that man to hop off his cross, get dunked in the Jordan, hop back on his cross, die, and go to heaven.

That being said, the church I attend now performs believer’s baptisms and they dunk you like a freshly baked chocolate chip cooking into a cool glass of milk. Yeah…I know that’s a strange comparison…what can I say…I’m strange! I have felt a tug on my heart now for several months to finally submit my doughy goodness to the dunking booth. Why you ask? Well, not because I think my salvation requires it and not because I believe the sprinkling efforts failed to take but rather for these very important reasons:

  • I believe God is asking me to and this is a chance to show obedience
  • Baptism is an outward and public sign of your born again status
  • I want to publicly confess Christ as my Savior and give Him the glory
  • Christ set the example for us in Mark 1:9-11 and I desire to be Christ-like

From the looks of things, the next baptismal service opportunity will be November 30th. So I will contact the church and make sure my name is on the list of participants. I would encourage you to think about this outward act for yourself and pray for God’s leading! In the meantime, I look forward to your thoughts…go to the comment section posthaste and let me know what you believe.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Let Go...


I have recently discovered an amazing strategy when it comes to disputes and confrontation. Being the passionate person I am, it is very difficult to avoid a firm stance and a battle royale so that MY POINT is made. After all my point is the right one...right? This happens in many areas of my life but for the purpose of this post, I want to address the marital implications. I have been married now for almost seven years but have been a fixtue in my wife's life for nine. I can tell you that we are best friends and love one another dearly. I cannot imagine a life without her. Yet she and I still seem to subject ourselves to passionate confrontations now and again.

It does not come naturally for either of us to just let go, put our pride aside, and let God settle things. No...it's my job to convince her of how right I am and it's her job to convince me of how right she is. Let the games begin! Unfortunately its not a game and its not much fun. Who wants to be at odds with their best friend and life's love? Granted these things are not the norm and they don't usually last very long but even five minutes can seem eternal when angry darts and arrows fly.

One day after a heated phone call between us...I hung up the phone and angrily puffed a prayer to God along these lines..."Lord, you are going to have to do something here because I just can't seem to understand what to do." Though I was angry and semi-convinced it was all my wife's fault I seemed to understand that I played a part in where the conversation had led. Thusly I continued my talk with God asking that he work on both me and my wife.

Before long my phone rang and it was her on the line. She was calm and told me how sorry she was and that we needed to keep our focus on God. Wow! Miraculous. Amazing. (And other crazy adjectives!) Sure enough God helped settle a situation that would have normally taken thirty minutes of arguing and another thirty minutes of compromise and apology. I cannot say that either one of us has perfected this model. We still forget and turn the focus in on ourselves. We still fight battles and die on hills that never should have been defended in the first place. But I can see growth in our marriage and a maturity that never existed in the earlier years.

Perhaps Jerry from YouTube says it best in his most recent video. He and his wife Carol are two Christians that, like me, put out videos and encourage people through an internet medium to follow Christ. Most of their videos are short, to the point, and packed with wisdom. I am thankful for their participation and teaching of me and other believers. And it's with great pleasure that I share the very video that best sums up this life lesson:





Saturday, October 25, 2008

Goodbye Old Friend


Enjoy this treat from my archives. I thought it deserved to see the light of day again.

My mom tells me that I first became friends with him as an infant, though I have no memory of it. Through childhood I had a few run-ins with him again but we were not very close. It was not until 7th grade that we became really big buds. We spent tons of time together, shared dreams, and did a lot of growing…both physically and mentally.

It was during this period that I first started hearing some negative murmurs about my pal. Things like, “you spend too much time with him” or “he makes you lazy.” It bothered me some but I was content and just didn’t see it. So the friendship grew stronger and lasted through high school, college, and my early twenties.

Then it happened. I met my wife and we got serious pretty quickly. She knew my friend and confirmed what I had been hearing over the years. My wife was gentle about it but under no uncertain terms, told me that my friend was not helping me to be very mature, not motivating me to get things done, and usually just wasted my time. See, she is energetic. She has lists and things to accomplish. She was a wonderful student and when I met her she was climbing the corporate ladder. I love her so much and was quite impressed with her ethics that I began to listen…though a bit hurtfully.

I spent less and less time with my pal but occasionally made time to visit while my wife was busy shopping with her mom or otherwise occupied. She knew about these visits and did not really protest too much. In fact, she sometimes encouraged the visits knowing that she had errands to run. But for the most part our friendship suffered and I suppose that is expected as you grow up. Responsibilities, marriage, family, work, and so many other factors tend to get in the way.

Recently though, I had to completely tell my friend goodbye. Since it has been a long time coming, the pain of our departure was not as horrible as it could have been in an earlier day. But alas, I had a rush of memories flood into my mind and an emotional string was pulled as I explained the reasons why.

“You see,” I told him, “I am having twins now. My wife and family were already a bit negative about you being in my life but they really discourage our friendship now. You are not going to be good for me if I am going to be a good father. “ He took it hard but seemed to understand. I tried to promise that we would meet up again one day but I could not make any guarantees.

So my friend, I bid you farewell. You were there for me when I needed you and it is with regret that my circumstances have forced us apart. Parting is such sweet sorrow (or something like that)

Farewell…Dear Sleep.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Old Address

This past Sunday I had the privilege of leading discussion at our home group. We were studying the latter part of 2 Corinthians 4 and the first ten verses of chapter 5. In both sections of Scripture comparisons are made to our temporary physical state, comparing us to clay pots and even tents. Inevitably both of these containers will have an expiration date and meet with decay…much like our bodies in the here and now.

A discussion question I put forth was essentially this: Knowing this truth, why is it then that we cling to this life and all of its trappings?

Having formulated this question prior to our meeting my answer was “because this is all I know.” YES…I believe that heaven and an eternity wait for us but NO I have not experienced it first hand. Makes sense then to struggle with letting go of the only thing we know.

However, before I could articulate my answer…others essentially said what I wanted to say and Billy B captured it perfectly. He said, “I struggle with remembering the eventual destination because I still live at the old address.”

There it was. It was a simple but very fitting analogy. How can we look forward to a new home with 100% effectiveness whilst we still occupy the old home? How can we understand just how bad the plumbing, flooring, electrical, and appliances are until we experience what a new home has to offer?

Now, please don’t conclude from this that Christians have any reason to make excuses for sin, for clinging to the worldly, for chasing after the material, or putting our own physical lives in priority over God. However, be encouraged that in your struggles, there is a logical reason for the difficulty. Do what you can to look out of the window of your old home and imagine that new one. We never know when the moving truck will pull into our driveway and take us there. But maybe we can prepare by asking our buddy Jesus to come in, dwell with us in our old home, and help pack things up…even discarding what we really don’t need?

What do you think?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Christians Can't Have Fun!


It would be one thing if this sentiment only came from the average atheist who might incorrectly assume that our adherence to Scriptural Doctrine combined with our desire to satisfy a seemingly impossible-to-satisfy-entity would render such results. However, I often get this kind of attitude from fellow Christians. The essence of their argument? Time is short. The subject of God and belief in Christ are serious, important, and paramount. We need not waste time with fun. We can do that in heaven!

I get it. I even agree a teensy weensy little bit. But the time is short argument to me can be flipped the other way. Enjoy yourself a bit. Use humor and entertaining methods to HELP spread the Gospel. Who wants to join the ranks of the constantly morose? The Bible talks about Joy in very definitive ways. And while it begs us not to attach our Joy to anything material and worldly, it does inherently make things clear that we are to partake in it. How does the children’s song go again?

“I’ve got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart….to stay.”

So forgive me and these other Christians for what you are about to watch. It might prove us a bit guilty of having fun! I actually recorded myself lip syncing this entire song and may post my full participation if demand for it is made boldly enough. (Hint, hint!)

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

FAQ's


With the recent turn of events in my personal relationships with friends, I have decided to let people know about my blog and YouTube channel. Though I will still gladly go by TheEdge rather than have my full name posted, my audience has now been expanded to include many from what you might call "my real life". Just since yesterday I have been emailed or called by two different people from my home group (that's code for Adult Sunday School that meets in homes rather than at church) asking about my blog or telling me that it was featured on Finishing Well...the blog site of a good friend and Pastor at my church. That exposure combined with a few other outlets will likely beg the need for this post. Essentially I want to answer some of the questions I have already been asked and preemptively answer some that are likely to come.




1. How long have you had a blog? Since January of 2006.




2. How long have you made YouTube videos? Since October of 2007




3. What got you started in these ventures? I have always been a creative person with the need for an outlet. In my youth it was through sports and art. In my early adulthood it was through Photography and writing. Since 2006 it has been blogging and in 2007 vlogging. The blog was simply a fun exercise meant only to improve my writing skills. I first started as Poser Rantings and will explain what that means in a question below. I wrote about cycling, my Faith, my twins, current events, and even tried my hand at a few fictional posts. Its only been recently that I have decided to exclusively cover matters of Faith and Apologetics. Most of my other articles have been taken down in order to drive home the new effort for a singular focus. However if you dig through the archives there are still several fun posts that are not specific to a Faith-based theme. When I first discovered that YouTube had this underground level to it where real people were exchanging videos essentially talking to one another about their lives and their beliefs...I was hooked...at first just being an observer. It came to a point where I wanted to put my two cents in and having only a blog as a tool, I would write a counter post argument to an atheist that used various logical fallacies to make certain claims. On more than one occasion I would point that party to my post only to get a reply along the lines of "dude...make a video if you want to respond to me." It took a while but that is exactly what I ended up doing and how I became hooked on Evangelizing to the lost and the atheist skeptics.




Why were you doing this anonymously? I had several reasons but here are the top 3:




  • One of my first articles was about my previous church and my anger toward their inability to teach me the salvation message. My parents and many friends still attend and it was nice to get things about that situation off my chest without my identity being broadcasted.


  • That led me to realize that I had the freedom to get gritty and dirty with just about any issue or institution in my life and be as real and as honest as I wanted to be. Sure it cost me what could have been a longer list of readers but it was worth it.


  • As this turned more into a ministry, I had Biblical reasons for keeping quiet. I used verses that talk about tithing, praying, fasting, and doing good deeds in secret and equated that with how I was choosing to minister. Granted there is nothing in the Bible about blogging rules and guidelines, so I realize this was a bit of a stretch.


Why are you now willing to make yourself known?



In order to put this in proper perspective I must take you to the past, about a month ago to be more accurate. My cell phone rang as me and the family were returning from an outing. I did not recognize the number and let it go to voicemail. Usually someone dialing the wrong number will realize they made a mistake and don't leave a message but this particular person did. Turns out it was a friend of mine using a phone number that I did not recognize...let's call him Billy. The message he left went something like this"



"Um...yeah...I am trying to get in touch with The Edge from Poser Rantings or perhaps YouTube. Just wondering if he is there and if I can speak with him?"



I must have turned white. My wife immediately asked me what was wrong and I replayed the message on speaker so that she could hear it. Her reaction was a bit different from mine. She started laughing and said, "Ha, ha...you've been found out." Part of me was excited. Part of me was freaked out. What all had I written that might be taken the wrong way? What videos might be good vs. those that are dumb or hard to understand? I was evaluating everything I had ever done in hopes that this real life, personal friend of mine would remain well...a friend. I didn't want to call Billy back. I was too embarrassed. I equate it with someone finding your personal diary/journal and reading your most intimate thoughts.



However, I finally called and he had nothing but positive things to say and has since become my biggest cheerleader...even encouraging me to share this with our home group and other friends. He even asked why I was hiding my light under a bushel (like the children's song). I had never thought of it that way. Billy had a point that I had never considered and after much prayer, I've now taken his advice.



Why did you call the blog Poser Rantings and why is it now Humble Offerings? They both essentially mean the same thing. As a Gen X child of the 80's a "poser" was often what other boys called you if they deemed you a "wanna-be" of any kind. It got its start with the skater crowd as you would often be labelled a "poser" if you tried to blend in with the real skateboarding athletes. I was a poser in that regard for sure. I wanted to be good at in but alas skateboards were only another method to get from point A to point B rather than something I could do endless tricks on. So when I started my blog I felt a bit like a "wanna-be writer" and felt the name was appropriate. Rantings is more a modern addition to our culture essentially a modification of the word rant. And since this is where I let my opinions fly...that name also felt appropriate. This blog used to be multi-topical. It's only been in the last year or so that an evangelism fire has been lit underneath me. As such I have taken down much of the previous fodder leaving only a few odds and ends in the archives that are not faith-related. I may re-introduce some articles though in the future...we'll see. Humble Offerings is the new name though the URL to this site is still http://www.poserrantings.blogspot.com/. I sincerely hope you enjoy what you find here and I would also love your feedback in the comment sections!



Hopefully this answers most of your questions. Feel free however, to ask me anything that I may have left out.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fireproof


My previous life afforded me enough time and cash to go see at least two movies per week. At one point I seriously considered writing movie reviews professionally. That is…assuming anyone would hire me and actually PAY me to keep doing one of my favorite things in life. Like many a great idea from a bachelor aching to gain employ from pursuits such as playing video games, that one too fell by the wayside.

I figured that married life would bring with it a decline of this uber hobby of mine but I was in for an even bigger shock. I literally NEVER get to go to the movies. And by NEVER I mean once per year. To me that is never. I rent here and there but even that frequency is set to turbo LOW. Reasons abound for this predicament but here are just a few:



  • Married life brings with it a combined budget. Who knew my wife would not be keen on the idea of putting 50% of our income toward movies?

  • My wife would rather a root canal than to have to sit through most movies.

  • Turns out that Parenthood makes it even harder to get to the Theatre.

  • My twins are JUST NOW at the age where a movie might be understood but we are limited to Disney & Pixar.

  • I never know what’s playing. I used to be well informed since every movie has previews to what’s coming out. Alas that source is gone.

With all of this prefaced, you must understand how HUGE it is that (a) I did go see and movie and (b) that I have the audacity to write a review on it – seeing as how AMC demanded to have my Frequent-Movie-Goer Card back! Boy are they mad! Now that you have soaked in the proper implications of this set up…feel free to move on.

Fireproof is a Christian film from someone OTHER THAN Mel Gibson. I know…how did that happen? The gist of the plot centers around a married couple in Georgia that is going through a not-so-fun-time. It’s so not fun that the “D-word” is being used, threatened, and even left to dangle in view of many a hungry divorce lawyer. Whether you have ever been to such an abyss or sent flying over it, you will relate to some portion of this couples strife. We have all let our tempers get the best of us. We have all acted irrationally and inappropriately. We have all come face to face (lest you be newlyweds or single) with the hard reality that a marriage relationship ACTUALLY takes work.

You will not recognize a single actor except for one very grown up Mike Seaver from Growing Pains. Yes, Kirk Cameron is the front-man for this flick and depending on your previous views of him…you will either be pleasantly shocked by his ability to act or not surprised at all. I was somewhere in the middle since Mike Seaver never won any Oscar’s to my recollection. Suffice to say he was amazing and really had to work the full range of emotions as Fireproof often brought me a belly laugh one minute and a lump in the throat the next. Ok…I cried, alright! It wasn’t just a lump in my throat. I have allergies…the theater was dusty…something got in my eye. Leave me alone.

Without throwing out spoilers I will tell you that my absolute favorite parts take place in the firehouse where Kirk works and with his next door neighbor. The cast chosen for the firemen were wonderful and very relatable every day average Joe’s. The writing in this movie often flirted with going south to cheesy-land but thankfully much effort and attention was put into keeping it on shore away from any threat of shark jumping.

In summary, if you respect me even one ounce of one iota, you must go ye to forthwith to http://www.movietickets.com/, find a theatre playing this near you, buy tickets, and watch it. I cannot recommend it any higher. Out of 5 stars it earns 12. The budget and the acting will not get this movie the attention it deserves but the storyline and the moral point are what knock it out of the park!



If you’ve already seen it, lay the comments on me. Agree, disagree?



If you have not seen it, come back here and let me know when you do!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Saved At Last


The third installment of my testimony series speaks for itself and therefore does not need much in the way of textual explanation or back-up. I was lost but then was found...blind but now I see. Amazing Grace is such an appropriate name for that song and so fitting for us that have come to Jesus.

The key for this transition and glaring realization of what salvation really was and what I must do (surrender) in order to delight in it was figuring out that I NEEDED saving. My ego has had to undergo several humility lessons of which (during this time) was that I really wasn't such a good person. That my deeds were NOT going to win favor with a Perfect God. I started to really look inward and evaluate just how good I was? The answers startled even me as I compared my life's decisions to the Holy standard found in Scripture.

Taking the 10 commandments alone, here is how I fared the exercise:

1. You shall have no other gods before me -
Well let's see...I had put myself before God, money, employment pursuits, girls, entertainment, and the entire search for happiness ahead of Him. Otherwise, I was square since I had no inkling to start worshiping Zeus (sarcasm intended).

2. You shall not make for yourself an idol -
This one goes hand in hand with the first command for me and thusly I have concluded that I was toying quite a bit with idolatry just by placing so many things as higher priority over God in my life. So I didn't have to be carving an image of Ra in order to be found guilty here!

3. You shall not take the Lord's name in vein -
I cannot begin to count the number of times the OMG phrase has slipped from my lips. It is so common place in our society that it barely gets notice even from the most devout.

4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy -
First of all the Sabbath is Saturday. Not sure if all of you knew that or not but it is. Being a protestant evangelical I have yet to find many churches that even offer the option of worship on this day. But let's argue that Sunday is an acceptable Sabbath Day for a second. Have I kept this day holy? Do I go to church on all 52 Sunday's per year? Do I refrain from yard work and rigorous activity? Hardly.

5. Honor your mother and father -
Hmm...I certainly love, care, and respect my parents. But so long as I have dishonored them with my actions, words, or decisions...I bet I've failed at this command as well. The heated exchanges mom and I used to have were certainly not a good display of honoring her!

6. You shall not murder -
Ha! I got this one covered...no murders here. Oh wait! In Scripture Christ claims that if we even have anger in our heart for our brother we have committed murder. Doh!

7. You shall not steal - While I have nothing in my past to keep me in pace with
Winona Ryder I am quite certain that I have taken an item or two that did not belong to me. And I am sure the victim of my work was most often my brother. My faded memory at the moment sure is convenient.

8. You shall not bear false witness - Also known as "do not lie". Oops!

9. You shall not commit adultery -
Yes! Finally one that I haven't...oh wait...Christ raised the bar yet again when He said "even a lustful thought was counted as having committed adultery in your heart." Guilty as charged.

10. You shall not covet -
So long as that means that I should not desire all the toys, gadgets, and goodies that my neighbor, friends, and family might have that I would like to have...guilty again!

What happened to that shiny view of myself? What would I say to God in order to justify my claim of "being a good person"? Some of you may think I am being a bit TOO harsh with the Ten Commandments evaluation. Let's say I agree for a second and we loosen up the criteria. You must remember this is a pass/fail test. A score of 98% still means you missed the mark. It is only through the sacrifice of He that passed with flying colors that we even have a chance!

Enjoy this final post in my testimonial series! Please feel free to comment and ask anything.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Lost Years


As promised here is the second installment (of three) to my testimony. The title says it all...I was lost. Many of us have a rebellion stage that can start as early as the teenage years and last well into young adulthood. My particular journey while rife with worldly living also included an insatiable component or need to search for purpose, meaning, and truth. Many describe this need as a "God-shaped-vacuum" that is built into all of us. I cannot speak for everyone but I certainly feel that accurately describes my experience and feelings.


It is scary to be lost. Even scarier to stay lost. I had no idea what I would find and actually set out to investigate every available answer to my big questions be they from secular, pagan, new age, mind sciences or even eastern religious sources. I was pretty determined to find any other answer besides the churchianity version I had been given for years and years. So imagine my shock when I found true Christianity and began discovering how different it actually was from what I had grown up believing!


This journey took over three years to complete. But please do not get the idea that I am a finished work and that there is nothing left to figure out. As you will see in my final installment (likely to post tomorrow) I have figured out that the REAL journey only begins with finding Christ. Salvation is the starting line, not the finish line as many might erroneously believe.


Enjoy part two and feel free to leave thoughts and comments!



Friday, October 03, 2008

Churchianity


I can’t believe it. Well actually I can to some extent. A slang word that I have adopted and since used as part of my testimony is actually in Wikipedia

Saving you the time it takes to click the link, the word and its definition are as follows:


Churchianity is a pejorative term used to describe practices of Christianity that are viewed as placing a larger emphasis on the habits of church life or the institutional traditions the Christian Church (Ecclesia) than on the teachings of Jesus. It can also be used to describe churches across many denominations where the central focus has moved from Christ to the church. Hence the replacement of Christ with church in the word churchianity.


When I first heard this term, I latched on to it immediately because it best describes my experience with my childhood church experience. Somehow I made it through twenty years of teaching but missed who Christ really was and what He required as a response to His sacrificial death. Was it all my fault? Am I that dense? Wait. Don’t answer that.

In the spirit of humility and the interest of accountability I have indeed accepted SOME of the blame. However after coming to know Christ and accepting Him as my savior I started looking at my childhood church with a fresh pair of eyes and I was greatly disappointed. They were indeed playing to an agenda of political correctness as well as a plan to get the unchurched "butts in seats". Part one of this plan I already have a problem with but part two SOUNDED noble enough. Except the execution of part two was to further water down what little message I felt was being put out there in the first place. After all why teach Biblical meat to newcomers that can barely handle the milk?

My answer: Christ never changed His message or who He was depending on who was in the crowd in front of Him. He came to deliver truth. And that applies to every person in every walk of life and at every maturity level.

I present to you part one of my testimony as it currently stands on YouTube. I apologize for the sound quality as this portion of the series was captured on my webcam and corresponding poor quality mic. However, the content is what I hope to impress upon you and get your feedback on. Sadly, I feel this is not a unique experience to me. Sadder more is that I believe Churchianity to be taking deeper roots and becoming the norm rather than the exception.

What do you think?






Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Don't Be A Nerve Ending

Weird title huh? Yet that is quite possibly the best way to describe how I allow myself to function in the world. Still confused? Well here is a bit of background and then I will post a letter I wrote to my wife via email today:
Background:  I had a wonderful night yesterday evening talking with my wife, making family decisions, rededicating ourselves as a couple (instead of two separate individuals) in our walk with Christ, praying together, and reading The Word. This morning I even got a call from her while en route to the office thanking me for being a good man, husband, and daddy. It made my day!

Fast forward a couple of hours and I call home needing some information from my wife. She misunderstands what I need. I then get irritated and raise my tone a notch, repeating my request but trying to emphasize my words in a way that makes better sense to her. She repeats her previous statement making it obvious that my communication was NOT hitting the target OR her reception was off. Either way, I am now full-blown-frustrated and raise the tone to the "inappropriate zone". She figures out what I need, gives it to me, says sorry in a way that immediately makes me feel all kinds of horrible and we hang up.
I cooled off, then wrote her an apologetic email asking that she forgive me and that I was really upset and embarrassed to have punctuated our great night and morning with a nasty reaction like that. She responds with a loving encouragement back at me...and I began to write the following:
Dear Wife,

Thanks for the understanding and willingness to accept my apology. One of my biggest struggles is in the arena of making snap judgments, snap decisions, and snap reactions to both good AND bad stimuli. At times I maintain control as its described in Biblical terms so long as I take two seconds to process the information being relayed to me. Even IF it still constitutes an emotional response (so long as I have the right attitude and focus on God) I can push the emotions down, take a deep breath, quell the frustration, and act appropriately.

It’s in those moments that I just react without thought or any kind of process that I mess up. In those times I tend to make myself a nerve ending…easily manipulated and controlled by whoever or whatever comes along and wants to play puppeteer. Stroke my ego…nerve ending Edge responds with positive emotion. Frustrate me (for any number of crazy reasons)…nerve ending Edge responds with negative emotions. And while my Myers/Briggs rating of ENFP gives me decent ammunition for explaining my “nerve ending” personality, I take full accountability and really, really want to change. So long as I let the wind blow and affect my attitude, I am in a bad place. Conscious effort to change combined with being better in tune with God is what I believe to be the eventual recipe for success. Just help me along the way and when appropriate remind me to stop being that nerve ending. The only caveat to that is…nerve ending Edge won’t like the reminder until he lets go of the control panels.

Love,

The Edgy One

I share this with you in hopes that you relate. Stimuli is all around us. The world WANTS you to react to ALL of it without thinking, without processing it, without questioning it, and certainly without God or moral values to compare them by. I hope my little realization helps you in your journey.
COMING SOON:

I just complete a three part series on my personal testimony. All three parts will be posted here soon with corresponding commentary of the textual variety. Until then you can watch all three parts by going here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Apologetic Resources

In my last post I shared the idea that I might put together a page or several pages of resources that have been helpful to me in my adventures of amateur apologetics. Though I have no formal training and though I rely heavily on my own self-styled version of sharing the Gospel, I do often get in over my head and have to research in order to offer my critics the best possible answers. This page will be the "rough draft" version for now. I hope to modify and add to this as time passes and who knows? Maybe an entire web-page separate from my blog can eventually blossom from this idea. Enjoy!

My YouTube Channel - This is where I am currently engaged in apologetics. My blog is a good source as well but only recently have I been active here again. And of course I hope to always identify real world opportunities to share with people. I am not sure if my videos will be a useful resource for you but my hope is that you at least can get an idea of the types of people I am talking to and what kinds of questions they tend to throw at you.

Lee Strobel - This man was instrumental in my conversion to Christianity. He was an atheist with a law degree reporting for a Chicago based newspaper when his wife first announced that she had become a believer. Feeling quite upset about this fact after spending many years in marriage to a fellow atheist, he set out to disprove and debunk everything about the Faith. His journey through that process is captured in the book called, The Case for Christ. However the hyperlink I am inserting here will take you to video series called, The Case for a Creator. There are 7 parts to the series...so be sure to watch them all.

Randall Niles - One of my videos, called Statistical Probability called for me to do some research. I wanted to know the odds of one man being able to fulfill every prophesy made about Christ. Of course the point was to demonstrate that Jesus must be who He claimed to be since the odds of anyone actually being able to fit the prophesies in question were astronomical. My search led to a site hosted by the above named man. Interestingly he, like Strobel, was once an atheist. Also interesting to me was that he was on YouTube. I have since contacted Randall and done what I can to promote his channel. He is an awesome guy and has tons of resources that should help you out. His websites alone would take you months to dig around in.

Intelligent Design - This science is often misunderstood to be Creation Science. And while the two are compatible they are not the same. I.D. does nothing more than use the scientific method to introduce the theory that everything exists from an intentional designer. It offers no commentary on Genesis, the literal six day creation of the Universe, or who this designer may or may not be. I enjoy studying the topic and find it a useful tool when engaging a very gung-ho science minded critic. There are more sources than what I am linking you to here but please take the time to watch all five parts of this video series.

Online Bible - There are many sources but I use BibleGateway.com more often than not. The benefit to an online Bible is the key word search function. Often I look for specific passages to quote but do not always remember what book, chapter, and verse to turn to. Simply typing in a few key words that I know to be in the passage usually gets me directly to where I need to go. This site has one page in particular that links you to every single book and chapter of the Bible. And most recently they have added an audio feature that I find useful while I am working and just want to listen to Scripture.

Bible Contradictions - Critics to apologetics will hit you with multiple objections but perhaps the most common and sometimes the hardest to overcome is the "supposed" contradictions they have found in The Bible. For instance if you read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John's account of the Crucifixion, each person reports a different amount of women that were at the tomb. Some list only Mary Magdalene, while others seem to report two, three, and four other women with her. To me this kind of detail is ridiculous to scrutinize because the point of the Gospels is not contingent on the amount of women that found and empty tomb but rather that the tomb is consistently empty in every account given. However, your skeptics will challenge you on things like this and its best to bone up and prepare.

More sources to come! Bookmark this page and come back occasionally to view what has been added.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ministry Page?

I've been kicking around the idea of creating a web-page or blog site that was just a great apologetic resource to others that like me, want to offer the world answers about their Christian Faith.

The Bible says,
"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."

I have had that actual burden for one reason or another lay on my heart in the last few years of my walk. I cannot say that I have always been good about it or that I have any statistics from my critics about how successful they deem my efforts. However, I'd rather be out in the trenches than at home cowering for fear of failure. In doing this, I readily admit that I am an amateur apologist. Many more brilliant than I have come before me and many more will follow. My circle of influence and intellect are after all, only as vast/small as God wants it to be.

My particular journey has met with a pattern which in turn has spurred this idea. I would love to have your feedback. I usually set out on the net innocently enough. But it doesn't take long before I encounter someone that has an interesting viewpoint that challenges all of my preconceived notions. You would think more often than not, that these people would be my atheist pals. Yet more often than I care to imagine, I have professing Christians with some really unorthodox beliefs be the ones that spur me to get into a bit of research and/or rebuttal mode.

The latest of these encounters comes from a very well educated Christian man regarding the Bible. He spent a great deal of his life, like me, a fundamentalist…believing in the inerrancy of The Bible. I have to tell you that after watching just one of his vids, I quickly dove in and watch everything he had available on YouTube. He is actually quite convincing to some degree. And while I do not worship Scripture AND while I would still believe in Christ if someone were to ever prove the Bible to have some errors in it, he still rocked my world. It was one thing to have the non-believer in all of their flawed, often uneducated ways…point a finger of doubt toward my beloved “Word of God” but it was quite another to have an educated, brother in Christ doing so.

And like many of my previous encounters, I prayed. I struggled, I questioned, I researched. Wash, rinse, repeat. Often these exercises do end up changing me to some degree as I have never had the egotistical idea that “I” know it all. But then there are times like this one that I find a perfect resource that backs up my former stance. And it does so in a way that I could have never done on my own. Had I not gone out there and done a bit of searching, I might have watered down my belief in The Bible and let that turn into a slippery slope of backsliding. I will post another article that explains why I believe that inerrancy is so important.

Where did the research lead me?
Here. I suggest you look for other sources as well but I have found this to be quite wonderful in and of itself. I have even taken the liberty of duplicating the Index Page in a separate blog post for my readers to use and enjoy on their own. If the actual authors have any problems with that, I will gladly remove it. However, since I am essentially funneling people to their page and since these are believers, I doubt the request will ever come through.

This page covers the 143 most commonly touted Biblical “contradictions”. If there is something not covered here, I would be surprised. So the next time you find yourself in discussion or debate over a “contradiction” meant to prove your Bible fallible, then bookmark this resource and see what comes of it.

I get why my Christian brethren sometimes choose to abandon the inerrancy stance. It is a difficult one to defend. And most times people would rather abandon Scripture than God Himself, so they sacrifice for what they deem to be the greater good. I stand NOT in judgment of those that come to this point. When things like slavery and genocide are in The Bible and presented in ways that lead the reader to believe God might support one, the other, or both…where does that lead your witness? So please do not think that I am critical of those that felt compelled to claim errancy. I just think we are often too quick to take that strategy, when a bit more study can render a different result.

Suffice to say, this will not be the last time someone rocks my world. It won’t be the last time I do not immediately have an answer but eventually find one. I will continue to learn and hopefully help others do the same. And when I am wrong…that is fine. Iron sharpens iron. Hopefully all parties exit the other side having been changed for the better when all the dust has settled.

Biblical Contradictions Answered

Index of "Contradictions"

See why I decided to host this page here.

It may also be helpful to read the Introduction posted by the authors of these works.



1. God is satisfied/unsatisfied with his works

2. God dwells/dwells not in chosen temples

3. God dwells in light/darkness

4. God is seen/unseen and heard/unheard

5. God is tired/never tired and rests/never rests

6. God is/is not omnipresent and omniscent

7. God does/does not know the hearts of men

8. God is/is not all powerful

9. God is changeable/unchangeable

10. God is just/unjust or partial/impartial

11. God is/is not the author of evil

12. God gives freely/witholds his blessings

13. God can/cannot be found by those who seek Him

14. God is warlike/peaceful

15. God is cruel/kind

16. God's anger endures for a long/short time

17. God approves/disapproves of burnt offerings

18. God accepts/forbids human sacrifices

19. God tempts man/doesn't tempt man

20. God send lying spirits/doesn't lie

21. God will/will not destroy man

22. God's attributes are revealed/cannot be discovered

23. God is one/many

24. Robbery commanded/prohibited

25. Lying approved/forbidden

26. Hatred to the Edomite sanctioned/forbidden

27. Killing commanded/forbidden

28. Blood-shedder must/must not die

29. Making of images forbidden/commanded

30. Slavery and oppression forbidden/sanctioned

31. Improvidence enjoyed/condemned

32. Anger approved/disapproved

33. Good works to be seen/not to be seen by men

34. Judging of others forbidden/approved

35. Christ taught non-resistence/taught and practiced physical resistance

36. Christ warned his followers not to fear being killed/Christ avoided Jews for fear of being killed himself

37. Public prayer sanctioned/disapproved

38. Importunity in prayer commended/condemned

39. Wearing of long hair by men sanctioned/condemned

40. Circumcision instituted/condemned

41. Sabbath instituted/repudiated

42. Sabbath instituted because God rested/because God brought Israelites out of Egypt

43. No work to be done on Sabbath/Christ broke this rule

44. Baptism Commanded/not commanded

45. Every animal allowed for food/certain animals prohibited for food

46. Taking of oaths sanctioned/forbidden

47. Marriage approved/disapproved

48. Freedom of divorce permitted/restricted

49. Adultery forbidden/allowed

50. Marriage/cohabitation with sister denounced, but Abraham married his sister and God blessed the marriage

51. A man may/may not marry his brother's widow

52. Hatred to kindred enjoined/condemned

53. Intoxicating beverages recommended/discountenanced

54. Our rulers are God's ministers and should be obeyed/are evil and should be disobeyed

55. Women's rights affirmed/denied

56. Obedience to masters/obedience only to God

57. There is/is not an unpardonable sin

58. Man was created before/after other animals

59. Seed time and harvest never ceased/ceased for seven years

60. God/Pharoah hardened Pharoah's heart

61. All Cattle and horses died/all cattle and horses did not die

62. Moses feared/did not fear Pharoah

63. Plague killed 23000/24000

64. John the Baptist was/was not Elias

65. Father of Mary's husband was Jacob/Heli

66. Father of Salah was Arphaxad/Cainan

67. Thirteen/Fourteen generations from Abraham to David

68. Thirteen/Fourteen generations from Babylonian captivity to Christ

69. Infant Christ was/was not taken to Egypt

70. Christ was/was not tempted in the wilderness

71. Christ preached his first sermon on the mount/on the plain

72. John was/was not in prison when Jesus went to Galilee

73. Christ's disciples were commanded to go forth with a staff and sandles/neither staves nor sandles

74. A woman of Canaan/Greek woman sought Jesus

75. Two/one blind men/man besought Jesus

76. Christ was crucified on the third/sixth hour

77. Two thieves/only one thief railed at Christ

78. Satan entered Judas at the supper/after the supper

79. Judas committed suicide by hanging/died another way

80. Potter's field purchased by Judas/by the Chief Priest

81. Only one woman/two women went to the sepulchre

82. Three women/more than three women went to the sepulchre

83. It was early sunrise/sometime after sunrise when they went to the sepulchre

84. Two angels standing/only one angel sitting seen by women

85. Two angels/one angel seen at the sepulchre

86. Christ was to be three days and three nights in the tomb/only two days and two nights

87. Holy Spirit bestowed at/before Pentecost

88. Disciples commanded immediately after resurrection to go into Galilee/tarry at Jerusalem

89. Jesus first appeared to disciples in a room in Jerusalem/on a mountain in Galilee.

90. Christ ascended from Mount Olive/Bethany

91. Paul's attendants heard/did not hear the miraculous voice

92. Abraham departed to go to Canaan/did not know where he was going

93. Abraham had one/two sons.

94. Keturah was Abraham's wife/concubine

95. Abraham begat a son at the age of 100 years by God's providence/he then had six more sons without God's help

96. Jacob/Abraham brought the sepulchre from Hamor

97. God gave Abraham and his sons the promised land/they never received it

98. Goliath/his brother was slain by Elhanan

99. Ahaziah began his reign in the eleventh/twelfth year of Joram

100. Michal had five children/one child

101. David was tempted by the LORD/by satan to number Israel

102. Number of fighting men in Israel was 800,000/1,100,000, number of fighting men in Judah was 500,000/470,000

103. David sinned in numbering Israel/David never sinned except in the matter of Uriah

104. One of David's penalties for sinning was seven years of famine/there were only three years of famine

105. David took 700/7000 horsemen

106. David bought a threshing floor for 50 sheckles of silver/600 shekles of gold

107. David's throne was to endure forever/David's throne was cast down

108. Christ is equal/is not equal with God

109. Jesus was/was not all-powerful

110. The law was/was not superceded by Christian dispensation

111. Christ's mission was/was not peace

112. Christ did not/did receive testimony from men

113. Christ's witness of himself is true/untrue

114. Christ laid down his life for his friends/enemies

115. It was/was not lawful for the Jews to put Christ to death

116. Children are/are not punished for the sins of their parents

117. Man is/is not justified by faith alone

118. It is impossible/possible to fall from grace

119. No man is without sin/Christians are sinless

120. There will/will not be a resurrection of the dead

121. Reward/punishment bestowed in this/next world

122. Annihilation/endless misery the portion of all mankind

123. Earth is/is never to be destroyed

124. No evil shall/Evil will happen to the Godly

125. Worldly good and prosperity/worldly misery and destitution to be the lot of the godly

126. Worldly prosperity a reward/a curse

127. Christian Yoke is/is not easy

128. Fruit of God's spirit is love and gentleness/vengeance and fury

129. Longevity enjoyed by/denied to wicked

130. Poverty/Riches/Neither a blessing

131. Wisdom a source of enjoyment/vexation, grief, sorrow

132. Good name is a blessing/curse

133. Laughter commended/condemned

134. Rod of correction is cure for foolishness/there is no cure for foolishness

135. Fool should/should not be answered according to his folly

136. Temptation desired/undesired

137. Prophecy is sure/unsure

138. Man's life 120/70 years

139. Fear of man on every beast/fear of man not on the lion

140. Miracles are/are not proof of divine inspiration

141. Moses meek/cruel

142. Elijah ascended to heaven/none but Christ ascended to Heaven

143. All scripture is inspired/Some scripture is not inspired