Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's Time To Wake Up

As a man entered heaven he was immediately brought before God and the following conversation took place:

God: Welcome my child

man: (On his knees, trembling and struggling for words) Thank you Father.

God: Rise and answer some questions for me.

man: (Rises to his feet, comforted by God’s command and gaining control over his shaking) Anything you ask Father.

God: Who is Jesus?

man: He is my Lord. My Savior and Redeemer.

God: Son. I do not wish for the textbook answer. I wish for you to describe Jesus. Who is He?

man: He is you. I mean…He is your Son but really you. There is this Trinity thing with circles interlocking…let me draw it.

God: Enough! Child…listen to my words again.

Who is Jesus?

If I were to ask you what makes Him laugh…what makes Him grieve…what His favorite things about you are…could you answer me?

man: Well, I think holy things make Him happy and certainly sin must grieve Him. And…I believe He really likes my charitable personality.

God: Are you merely guessing or do you KNOW my Son intimately? I am certain that I could ask you the same questions about your wife and get real answers!

man: Well I…I read all about Him and did everything I could to be Christ-like!

God: You did indeed read. But surely you know by reading that a personal, day by day relationship is what I offer. Yet you most often called upon Me when in trouble or in need...never seeking a daily relationship. Do you count me only as a Jeanie to be summoned for your three wishes?

man: (Gripped with fear and trembling yet again) No...no Father.

God: And as for the charitable personality…can you give me an example from your life?

man: (Regaining some composure and confidence) I sure can Lord. Look! Here are all my tax papers showing the donations we made not only to the church but several organizations for Cancer Research and Underprivileged Children’s Funds.

God: Yes…that is all good. Have you any examples of non-compulsory, charitable giving that did not get you a tax credit?

man: I don’t understand.

God: Exactly. You don’t understand. You lived a life of bare minimums, not the abundant kind that I promise. You were right and good to come to Jesus for salvation. You understood Him to be your Savior and placed your faith in Him that I would judge you worthy of heaven and you are my child. But if you had dared to live for me…oh the blessings that you would have seen. Oh the treasure that you would have here in heaven. It would be so glorious!

A man sat outside your office building for fifteen years in need. Not only was a dime never handed over by you but not a word was ever spoken.

The mission trip to Mexico I put on your heart was ignored and pushed aside because LIFE was too crazy at the time.

Then there was your neighbor just two doors down that lost their job and foreclosed on their home. You said not a word to them and offered no assistance financially or otherwise.

LOVE your neighbor as yourself is the command, is it not?

Son…you are unfortunately not alone in this. People spend so much time fearing hell that they just do what they can to stay ahead of flames. What I intended for you was so much greater than damage control and bare minimums. You would have been dangerous for the enemy and royalty in My Kingdom…if only.

man: If only?

God: If only you had listened.

man: (Confused at first about what this meant his mind finally recalled) That small still voice.

God: Indeed. As a child you knew it to be my voice. You took delight in our talks and treasured my words. As you grew…you came to believe my voice was just a passing thought in your head. Then there came a day when you had learned how to shut out my voice as soon as I began speaking…knowing that I was going to ask something of you, covict you of sin, or to do something you deemed “uncomfortable”. Then you would go to church expecting me to show up in a BIG way…and leave disappointed that you just weren’t “feeling it” like you used to.

man: (Now trembling more than he had previously & overwhelmed with the grief of what could have been). LORD! I am so sorry. I spent my time begging your forgiveness for sins when my biggest crime was ignoring your voice and being obedient to your Will. How can I make this right? How can I show you my hearts desire is set on you and your plan? Oh…if only I could go back knowing what I now know!

BEEP….BEEP…BEEP…BEEP…BEEP

man: (Startled awake and fumbling for the OFF button on the alarm clock, he finally silenced the intrusive noise and sat on the edge of his bed, covered in a thin film of sweat). It seemed SO real…SO intense.

Small Still Voice: It was.

man: Lord?

Small Still Voice: Yes.

man: What would you have me do?


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Don't Look Like The World

Too often Christians look just like the world around them. Why is that when Scripture describes us as a Light meant to illuminate the darkness? Through prayerful consideration of this topic, I believe God gave me this illustration to share with you. I want to encourage those of you that have let the enemy in to tangle and mangle you up in these webs, blocking out your light...to break free and turn from the bondage for good!Hebrews 12:1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

What is your Nineveh?

After some time off and a growth lesson I'd like to share some of what I've recently learned. I hope this edifies The Body of believers that God leads to watch.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Letters From Strangers

This is a request for brothers and sisters in Christ to consider prayerfully. Watch the video as it is self explanatory and get in touch with me if you feel led to write a letter of encouragement to Dennis.

In the video I ask YouTube bretheren to send me a PM indicating their interest. Since that is not possible on this blog, let me know in the comment section if you'd like to participate. Or if you have my personal email address, send me a note using that media.

Thanks in advance for watching and considering this request.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Truth Group

About a month ago I went to Edmond Oklahoma and met other YouTube Christians. The gathering was rather small but I met some pretty amazing folks. Among them was Daniel. His channel on YouTube is called "TheTruthGroup". I've learned a lot about him and his story but am certain that I only have the tip of the iceberg...so I look forward to keeping in touch with him and watching his ministry.

Like me Daniel grew up Methodist and in the Dallas area. The video below might as well be my testimony to a "T". Also like me, he did his own research and study, soon revealing that Christ was the way, truth, and life and that He'd been right there in front of him for so many years. He has worked in some really cool ministries and now manages his own. Right now he is travelling Coast to Coast for Christ with nothing more than a backpack of bare basics, depending on each town to take him in or point him to a place to camp-out and find food. Along the way he has documented many of the folks he has encountered and the reaction to his ministry. I highly recommend looking through his videos and getting acclimated to his journey thus far.

Perhaps one of my favorite stories was actually quite sad and very ironic. He came to a town called Bethlehem. He contacted one of the local churches to ask if he could sleep in their basement or pitch a tent on their lawn. The pastor told him to hike another seven miles north and that town could probably help him out. Essentially Bethlehem told him that there was no room in the Inn. Guess who took Daniel in and gave him refuge for the night? An atheist. Daniel, of course, took the opportunity to share the Gospel with this man before parting ways the next day.

Anyway...check out this video as it rings so true for me when taking a look back. Thanks be to God for showing me (and Daniel) The Way!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Shh...Don't Talk About That

Let's face it. The Christian narrative from Genesis to Revelations is well..."other worldly" in many places. In fact Genesis and Revelations are two prime examples. Growing up in the modern church though I've NEVER ONCE heard a pastor talk about some of the more outlandish issues from the pulpit. I suppose that makes some sense. To be too speculative about prophesy can bring about false predictions and loss of faith. Many a pastor bold enough to bring the bizarre up, likely met with a church split or was chased out. When our narrative seems like it could be a front page article in The Enquirer...we'd rather ignore it than gather together and figure things out.

Recently a good friend of mine that used to attend my church came and visited. He too is fascinated by End Times studies and brought up the topic. He was talking about the theory of how certain fantastic sounding things in Revelations could actually be this or that (usually something very mundane in comparison to its Biblical description). Here is the question I asked him and subsequently want to ask you:

If you believe in an inerrant Bible...that the earth was created in seven days, that a flood covered the earth, that Noah built a boat and rescued animals, that the Red Sea was parted, and that God Himself sent His son to do miracles for 33 years, die and save you from eternal damnation...WHY wouldn't you think the End Times might also be rather fantastic and exactly as its described?

Can you tell I get a bit passionate about the topic? I do indeed. Yet even I tender my words, guard my knowledge, and recognize the social taboos of speaking about this stuff. But here is what scares me the most. It doesn't scare me that Christians have been looking to the skies for the return of Christ or even desiring it within their lifetimes. It doesn't scare me that from Paul's day till now we have had Christians inaccurately predict the day and time (despite Scriptures claim that none can know the date and time). What scares me is that secular, non-believing, atheistic, worldly sources all over the planet are now coming up with VERY similar narratives to our Christian one. Of course theirs explains away angels falling from heaven as being aliens from other planets, world-wide weather phenomena as consequences of climate change, and one world government as a necessity for peace...but all the facts are still the same. It almost makes a person wonder if Satan isn't trying his darnedest to spin an alternate but factually accurate narrative to (a) keep the multitudes from having an end of days conversion and (b)continue his plan to deceive knowing his time is growing short.

I guess this is me...finally beginning a dialog about this hush, hush material. This is me, confessing that prophesy is fascinating, that Noah, the Red Sea, the burning bush, and all the wondrous and miraculous things of The Bible are indeed part of my belief system. I would really like Christians to start talking about these things. I would really like to see Pastors teach from the pulpit boldly about topics they typically have to secretly discuss with trusted inner circles of friends and fellow pastors. I would like to know what you know and I would like to share what I know. I don't know about you...but its a burden to study this stuff all alone. AND...if things really start getting interesting, I don't want to feel guilty for not saying anything prior to that last trumpet call.

I leave you now with a video from a five part series of videos from Glenn Beck. I have not watched parts 2-5 yet but will very soon.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I am last

In passing a billboard the other day I was reminded of an amazing website and ministry called "I am second." As I continued driving and meditating on its impact and message I was moved to expound on that idea a bit more. You see, I don't think we are even second if we properly understand Christ's teaching and example. I am in fact...last. What do you think?


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Revival

As is often the case in my life, God used an everyday experience to communicate His truth to me. Here are a few things I learned with this most recent example:

1. The Church is undergoing a revival right now.
2. God first has to tear down and strip away the facade in order to get to the foundation for rebuilding.
3. This often looks ugly and messy while He is working on us.
4. The changes can take a while instead of being immediate.
5. We can be even less functional than we once were as we endure the refining.
6. The end result will be worth it, will be markedly improved, and will be beautiful.
7. He wants you to willingly under-go this process.

Feel free to lend your thoughts in the comment section
!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Look in the Mirror


This cartoon was posted on Pastor Mike’s blog. As I soaked it all in it first gave me a chuckle. Then it slowly penetrated and became applicable not just to those it brought to mind…but to me. That’s the rub, isn’t it? Don’t you just hate it when the mirror is held up and you have nowhere to turn!?

I have come to a place in my walk with Christ where I have adopted a pretty dogmatic stance on many doctrines and practices in the modern church. Perhaps this is partly a reaction to my former, easy-going, politically correct way of doing life in the past. I tend to operate in extremes and feel that God IS and HAS BEEN teaching me balance in the last couple of years.

So let me apologize and ask for forgiveness if while growing and learning I have forgotten the “not-being-a-jerk-about-it” part!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I Am Second...

I am learning more about this website and ministry but don't yet know enough to report much. So far I have seen a few celebrity testimonies and then the one posted below. All of the testimonies that I have seen are very powerful and I take nothing from that. But Pete is a Dallas based Pastor that I have had the privalage of listening to as he was a guest in our church after a VERY difficult tragedy had occurred. He helped mend many broken hearts in that moment and reminded us ALL as he does in this video...who is FIRST!


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Fire Insurance?

Were you saved by the fear of Hell? This begs the question that, if so, are you coming to Christ for sincere reasons? A fellow Christian Tuber asked as much and this is my two cents. Essentially I think we all come to the frightening knowledge of who we really are in comparison to God and His holiness. However, while that revelation may be a motivating factor, it is the love of Christ and the abundant Joy of understanding the gift He has given that fosters not only a blooming relationship but the deep desire to spread The Good News. Enjoy!



Friday, June 26, 2009

We The People...

It has been a very long time since my blog topic of choice smacked of politics. And I am not inclined to get back into it to the degree I once participated but must at least turn your attention to something I feel is important for today.

First watch this video below. Then scroll down to read the letter that I sent to the President and my Represenatives. Whether you agree with everything this man is saying or not, surely you will agree that our "representation" is not listening to us very well!





Mr. President,

I write you with all due respect for your office and leadership of our great country. I do not make it a habit to complain, point fingers, and shirk my own responsibilities to personal accountability. We are a nation of people, not just one dictator or a small band of representatives that blindly makes decisions. Yet that is the picture many of us are getting in this current age. I must ask you...why?

Why are we turning into the very thing(s) that our ancestors fled from? The very institutions that made them cross miles of ocean, risking life, limb, and property to start anew? I know that you alone did not get us here. Many steps were taken before today that led to this destination and many before you led the way. But now…it is you that leads us and you that can make the choice to turn around, to set a new path, to correct the ills of so many that got us here.

On the outside of my envelope there is a web address that will take you to a YouTube video. The man in the video is dressed like Thomas Paine and takes a little more than six minutes to voice what so many of us are thinking and feeling. I must urge you to watch this and really listen to those you represent. Make America great again! Unify us as One Nation under God instead of fostering the factions of lobbyist groups and special interests!

Please take the time to watch this and then act.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeYscnFpEyA

A very concerned citizen,

Jim


I would invite you to write a similar letter, include a bag of your finest tea, and send these to your specific representation.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

40 Days...


In some ways life, in general, is one long test or trial. But most times we distinguish times in our lives that are better than others and thankfully we don’t always suffer hard times, or the desert places. Scripture clearly warns us (much to the prosperity and health gospel preacher’s dismay) that we will endure temptation, trial, and difficulty. However, in those times we are not only offered some type of comfort but we are also commanded to be thankful and joyful through it all as it is meant to mature you and prepare you for His purposes.

The rub for us is that we don’t always see what He is doing at the time. We only get the benefit of hindsight, not foresight. So as scary, upsetting, frustrating, and painful as these forty day/month/year trials may be…I want to encourage you to remember the hope you have in Christ. I want you to remember that He offers comfort and a way of deliverance. You may have to wait longer than you’d like…but He will not forsake you.

I’d like to challenge you to think about times in your past (since hindsight is now possible) and identify the hand of God in getting you through. What lessons did you learn? What purpose can you derive from that experience? Did it give you a testimony that you can now share with others? Have these times produced some of the most powerful moments in your life?

I’d like to invite you to answer those questions in my comment section AND watch my YouTube video on the subject:






Enjoy the journey!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Heart & Mind


Many atheists and theists alike seem to be overly impressed with the human brain and its use for finding and truly knowing truth. Don’t get me wrong, I count myself as a Christian that has good reason for my belief and lean not on the “just believe” mantra. But faith is a component and faith is not a matter that is understood with pure intellectual effort. This is perhaps the biggest reason that atheists hold so dear to their world view. How dare we ask them to consider to do as God asks them…to give of their heart!

Perhaps one of the best examples in Scripture of just how much “head knowledge” will get you is in the example of Solomon. Son of David and King of all Israel he was literally given the opportunity by God Himself to ask of anything. Instead of endless riches and long life Solomon merely asked God for wisdom. God, being pleased with this answer, gave him what he asked for going so far as to say, “there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.”

Do you understand the implications of what has transpired here? Essentially God is giving Solomon wisdom to such a degree that no other man, before or after him would possess. Kind of interesting when you consider the brilliant minds that have graced this earth, isn’t it?

Yet how does Solomon’s gift help him in pursuing truth, in pursing a relationship with God? Examples can surely be given that it did indeed help him. He had a very unique insight on how things work and how to righteously discern. Yet how did this man with such a wonderful gift end his journey here on earth?

Well after taking on hundreds of wives (many of which were from foreign lands – a forbidden practice) and concubines Solomon set about worshiping the gods and idols of these women betraying God. “The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD's command. So the LORD said to Solomon, "Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates.”

I wonder if you noticed the word “heart” in that piece of Scripture? Though this man possessed as much knowledge as any one human will ever experience…he still failed to have the relational heart of faith that God requires of us. Our wisdom and knowledge are certainly good things. I would dare not condone thoughtlessly practicing your faith or pursuing truth. But we have more to give of ourselves…do we not?

Enjoy the journey!

If you'd like to see my video presentation on this subject click here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Works Based Doctrine...


In the Land of YouTube I am often the most challenged in my faith. There are multitudes of people with multitudes of ideology and well presented argumentation for you to stumble across and quickly find yourself in a faith crisis. Thankfully God has guarded my heart and even in times where I may question, the prayed for answer comes. Most times these topics are not atheist versus theist but rather one doctrine versus another. I may do a post that illustrates this kind of struggle regarding hell in the near future.

For now, I want to expound on some conclusions I’ve come to regarding the supposition that our salvation has any root in a works based doctrine. In my last post many of you may have been lost unless you took the time to watch a video exchange between myself and a YouTube user named Jordan. But in that post I bring out the thief on the cross next to Christ who is promised “paradise” by Jesus Himself. I then ask the following questions:

What did this man do to earn the promised paradise?

Was he baptized?

Was he circumcised?

Did he correctly understand Christ’s humanity vs. His deity?

Did he have an understanding of the Trinity?

Did he believe in free will or predestiny?

My point was simple. Doctrine and all the “add ons” of our faith while important to our walk/relationship to God may not be as necessary as some might assert. Is it a good idea to understand Armenians in light of Calvinism? Sure. Is it good to discuss baptism dunking versus the sprinkle? Why not? But do we so bog down our lives and go down the road of legalism that we become paralyzed. I think not.

There are those that make the case for a works based salvation. They quote Scripture by chapter and verse to show the A-Z requirements on our parts to first be worthy and then remain worthy as we grow in our faith. I’ll admit at times that I have even let doubt enter my mind and ponder whether I had missed something. But soon a thought-stream similar to the following hit me and I believe I have an answer:

1. Being that no man (save for Christ) has ever lived a life of perfection…what is the standard that one should heed in order to live this works based faith?
2. Let’s assume for a second that the accountability clock only begins from the point of accepting Christ having all past sins forgiven. Do you believe it possible from that day to your very last to live a complete life of perfection?
3. Let’s now assume that you can and do live a complete life of perfection from age 25 to death. Do you think a pure, perfect, righteous, and holy God will then forget all of your dealings previous to 25?

If my former pastor is to be believed (and I believe him) this is a pass/fail test. That means anything less that a 100% perfect grade will constitute failure. So unless there is an advocate, a pure and sinless representative willing that He should stand up on our behalf and offer His life as a payment for our failure…we have nothing much to hope for…do we?

Last but not least, I think we are prideful to ever presume that it was something we did, something we accomplished that “earned” us salvation. Last I checked, Jesus Christ completed the work on the cross! Our works, though filthy rags are simply a joyous response to the overwhelming Joy we have once we come to the reality of our salvation. We do it not to earn anything, not to impress our Father, but simply as a thank you and as an act of worship and obedience. When we fail, we are grieved, led to repent, and then all the more thankful for His mercy as we obtain His forgiveness.

Enjoy the journey!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Discussion with Jordan from YouTube

Jordan,

I’ve debated on whether to make a video or not in discussing our exchange further and at this point have decided upon a letter. Since this discussion may be of some interest to our mutual viewers, I will likely post it to my blog and supply a link for those that desire to see my next offering. As it stands I already tried to shoot one video but scrapped it since it was too long and not as concise as I’d like.

A Word of Thanks
First let me thank you for the kind words. If I never accomplish anything on YouTube but being known for projecting a positive view of a mainstream Christian, then perhaps that alone is sufficient. Hopefully you know that my affinity for you is equally shared or else I would not take the time to stay in touch or worry about your decisions. I find your search for truth refreshing and courageous. I find your zeal admirable and your presentations humble. Though our doctrine is rather on opposite ends of the spectrum the heart behind it all is quite similar!

Simplicity Explained Further
To address your video let me start where you began and that is with the topic of Simplicity of belief. I agree with you that questions and further study and polling Pastors does and will lead to the “complicated”. It is human nature to make mountains out of mole hills. However, there is a reason that I base my simplicity stance on although I did not mention this in my initial presentation:

Luke 23:39-43
39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
40But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."
42Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[
f]"
43Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."


Now I realize it can be dangerous to quote Scripture to you. This may even be a story that you don’t believe. For purposes of my rebuttal though…it is enough that you know that I believe this account. So from that perspective I ask you:

What did this man do to earn the promised paradise?
Was he baptized?
Was he circumcised?
Did he correctly understand Christ’s humanity vs. His deity?
Did he have an understanding of the Trinity?
Did he believe in free will or predestiny?

Simply put, all this man did is put trust in Christ in his last hours on this earth. I realize that people may not agree with the conclusion I come to from this. But it seems pretty obvious that we most certainly make this thing called Christianity much too complicated!

The Virgin Birth
You seemed to understand the broad strokes of my counter arguments. My only need for clarification on this issue stems from minor details that perhaps you failed to consider or perhaps I failed to make obvious.

1. I now understand that my theory about WHY you dismiss the Virgin Birth account to be baseless. It was a theory and I only meant to call you out on it as a means to verify or dismiss it. I also get your points about the story not necessarily going hand in hand with your stance on Christ’s deity. Thank you for explaining that to me!

2. The passage of time. This was a very weak part of my argument. Perhaps it should not have made the cut. I do want to clarify for you though that I never state that Mary might have forgotten. I do however ATTEMPT to make the point that 30 years may have clouded her resolve and/or allowed for doubt to creep in. Mary never ceases to be flawed and human although she played a very special role and was chosen by God for such a wonderful purpose.

3. Where to draw the line in parenting. Where I totally disagree with you here is when you state that Mary’s job as a parent was over because he was a grown man. Please tell that to my folks! Granted, their role in my life is much different now. They do not dictate rules and consequences nor do they provide shelter, clothing, and nourishment. But I can certainly tell you that should rumor reach their ears that I have gone mad or perhaps become addicted to drugs or any manner of negative/destructive behavior…they would show up at my door as Mary did with her son. We need to remember that Mary is the ONLY woman in all of human history to ever raise The Messiah. What she does or does not do is surely forgivable considering the lack of any previous experience to draw upon.

4. Mary’s failure to understand The Plan. I have no quarrel with you regarding Mary’s understanding of how important Christ is or would be. I do not think that hurts my point about her perspective on how that destiny would manifest. The ENTIRE reason that the Jews of that day failed to recognize Christ as their coming Messiah was exactly due to the unconventional way in which He fulfilled His work. Nobody expected their King to die on a Cross. Nobody expected a carpenter from Bethlehem to understand Scripture, to teach, to heal, to cast out demons, and to confront the Pharisees as He did. They all expected a warrior King that would conquer their enemies and reign on high. Even when Jesus literally told of his coming death His own disciples failed to understand Him. Again…I think you expect something of Mary that is unreasonable. She acted very human in her reaction to the gossip that reached her.

5. Mark VS Mathew, Luke, & John. Perhaps you can assist me with a bit of confusion I have. You assert and it seems common amongst others (especially Christian skeptics) that Matthew, Luke, and John all borrow heavily from Mark and go so far as to include things that Mark fails to record. I have no problem with this claim so much as I have a problem with the conclusion. You seem to think that any additional stories that are not in Mark must be fabricated and are not trust worthy. I wonder where you get the idea that Mark recorded a comprehensive accounting of Christ and His experiences? If you and I set out to write about 911 having both lived during this tragic set of events would our recounting be exactly the same? And let’s suppose you write your account first. I read it, borrow heavily from it in my book but add things you left out? Would my book be any less trust worthy?

Let me conclude here and thank you again for the discussion. I hope to continue our journeys comparing notes with one another as we go! I feel confident that God is accomplishing a work in both of us and that He will finish what He began. I am excited to see how it all pans out.

In Christ,

Jim

Monday, May 04, 2009

What Happened to the Evidence Series?


Back in January of this year I began a series on YouTube called Evidence & Faith. It stalled when I came to part four having filmed and edited a video called “Miracles”. Something about that presentation did not sit right with me and I certainly want quality if I am to apologetically outline my journey. After much prayer and uncertainty about what to do, I realized that much of the work has already been done for me. The very author of the very book that I had based part four on had recently released his own video called Miracles, saying exactly what I had wanted to say but much more eloquently than I.


Then it hit me! There are tons of other YouTube channels and persons to help me complete this series. And since this is about God and His Son, not me…why take months and months to put this thing together? So for now…here is the “playlist” or series as it currently stands:

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=5CFD063C06103501

This consists of 15 videos currently but I may add to that number as I am led. The order of these videos is also not an accident but rather very purposeful. My journey does not have to be yours but this was the order of events, facts, realizations, and circumstances that have led me to faith in Christ and the particular views of Scripture I have today. What is missing is the details of the book, Case For Christ. As I find videos that cover more of those topics they will be added. For now Veritas48 covers the most important argumentation from that book…which is that of the Resurrection.

Enjoy the journey!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Happiness...


“We hold these truths to be self-Evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This familiar phrase was penned by one Thomas Jefferson and is part of The United States Constitution. On the whole it sounds good and I am agreeable. Upon closer inspection with Scriptural magnifying glass in hand…those last five words start to gnaw at me. I suppose there is nothing inherently wrong with pursuing and even obtaining happiness. But I must ask: Are we “entitled” to it? If so, at what cost?

I am counseling a man right now that is wrestling with leaving his wife. Details spared the most common justification he gives when asked why is:

“Because I deserve to be happy. God would want me to be happy!”

Isn’t that the mentality of the day? Isn’t that a justification for any and every decision we make as we pursue this temporal, fleeting, emotion? So I ask again…to what end do we as Christians seek our own personal pleasure and happiness? What Scriptures are you reading that I am failing to locate about the topic?

I’m just asking.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hurry Up & Wait!


I am not sure what God would deem as my biggest weakness. But I am quite certain that patience would make the top ten list. Can you blame me? We live in a world of information that travels at light speed. What did we ever do back when we actually had to wait days, weeks, or even months to get word of some major event on the other side of the world?

I would argue that every new generation comes with an even greater sense of entitlement that the one before it. In some ways that is the way the world works. The old complain about the new wanting some respect for having lived through an age where no microwave oven was available. I am already telling stories of hardship to my kids and I was only born in 1975. Imagine that! A Gen X’er complaining of hard times? But I digress.

As I shared in a previous post, I have been going through a growth mode lately doing what I can to understand God’s Will for my life. I have been dealing with the appropriate measure of expectation vs. disappointment and trying to find a holy balance. On one hand I find it depressing to have zero expectation of myself, people, or even God. On the other hand I am realizing that much of our expectation…much of our sense of entitlement…comes from a very fleshy place.

So I’ve petitioned, I’ve text’d, emailed, and cried out to God for answers. “How do I practically apply this revelation to my life? Oh and by the way, can I get the answer by noon…cause I have this thing!”

Nothing. Nada. Silence. No YouTube video that hits me, no word from a trusted friend and Christian, no hushed whisper inserted into my thoughts, no Scripture that just pops off the page…nothing. This goes on for days and weeks. Frustration builds…patience is tested. Then just a few mornings ago on my way to work a song is stuck in my head. I say a song but more accurately a lyric from a song repeated over and over and over and over.

“Strength will rise as we wait upon The Lord as we wait upon The Lord as we wait…”

Wash, rinse, repeat for a thirty minute commute. I finally pay attention and my eyes bulge. The light bulb finally went off. I am supposed to WAIT.

As much fun as that sounds and I’m talking the same level as lemon juice on a paper-cut kind of fun, I was glad to get an answer. And now, I am even happier to know that he is using this experience to teach me patience…to teach me dependence…to realize who I am in the cog of existence. After all...am I on my timing or His? The implications are limitless.

If you too are in a desert place, frustrated with life, purpose, meaning, the next step…not understanding The Plan. I invite you to wait with me.
Can you wait on the Lord as an act of obedience to Him being “content in all things” as you do?

I bid you well on your journey!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Celebration Time!

My parents baptized me as an infant in the Methodist church many years ago. I came to understand and receive Christ in my early twenties. This is known as a believer's baptism. I felt the call to do this as an act of obedience to whom I serve! If I am to publicly proclaim Christ as my Savior...why not make it even more "public"?


video

Monday, April 13, 2009

Expectation

Often my walk with Christ comes to a point I like to call “Growth Mode”. For everyone of these I’ve been through I falsely believe…surely I’m almost done and surely I’ve finally graduated.

Those of you that have been walking with Christ for a long time now are likely laughing. And I’ve been doing this thing called Christianity long enough to know wishful thinking versus reality. This is wishful thinking. And so long as I can stand outside of myself even for a brief moment, I become aware of how great that is. For the teacher to stop teaching would be depressing, right? And in full view of eternity…what are these temporal growth pains anyway?

What I have done many times in the past but hopefully not going to keep doing is hibernating during these moments. Concluding, perhaps falsely that I have to get through this next lesson before being worthy of leading, teaching, encouraging others. After all…how can we be such hypocrites as to encourage others whilst we still struggle? Or at least that is the line of lies I’ve bought into most often.

So this time I am going to share what’s going on. And this time it really is not overly painful or overly personal. It’s about disappointments. Ever experienced such a thing? Disappointment. For me it can be the “Aw shucks” variety that quickly fades once distracted or it can become the full force, overgrown, pity-party, defeated resignation.

Name a topic or a person. It’s likely I’ve experienced disappointment in them or it. Most recently as my entire family took ill with a wretched stomach bug I found myself frustrated with God Himself. Questioning why He was allowing this despite of my constant requests otherwise. Now if you are like me…you do this ever so cautiously with images of Job’s testing in the back of your mind begging NOT to endure the real fallen state of this world. And so priority one in my life gets out of whack! What happens after that? You guessed it. Everything else falls out of line, rather quickly.

Waiting on the Lord for an answer to my most recent gripes and disappointments, I ran across a YouTube video about Expectation. The gist? Expect nothing and everything becomes a blessing. Expect everything and live a life of disappointments. Of course there are caveats to this that make it more complex than simple but you get the general idea.

Often when I finally get an eye-opening message like this that I have been waiting on, I then think all is solved. And so I went on believing it so. Oops…disappointed again! How was that possible? Perhaps it's because knowing a concept and putting forth practical application are two different animals? I have not come through the other side of this yet. I still don’t have the kind of maturity it takes to go through every moment of life having zero expectation from God, you, myself, my wife, my co-workers, my children, my…

But I know now that much of this comes from the old man (the flesh). I need to let the new man take his place that Christ should live in me. Here's to practical application! Enjoy the journey.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Historical Jesus

This is part 3 of my Evidence Presentation. Here I tackle the reasons to first believe Jesus Christ was a true, living person of history. While many skeptics already believe this...some do not. And I find it fitting to first establish how I personally came to understand Him as a true person rather than a mythical character.Sources include materials from both Wikipedia and Randall Niles book All About the Journey. Take time to visit his YouTube channel:http://www.youtube.com/reflect7

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fairy Tales

This is part two of my series. I thought it appropriate to first address a common atheistic criticism of Christian belief...the equivocation of our world view to that of a fairy tale. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section!


video

Friday, January 16, 2009

Evidence & Faith

I typically don't put the same content here as I do on YouTube. I really enjoy both writting and filming as an expression of my walk with Christ as two different media. However, I am kicking off a new series of videos that I am very excited and passionate about. I'm not sure if I will post each video in the series here each time or not. So this is part one and my hope is that you keep an eye out for upcoming episodes by clicking on the YouTube tab above. I hope you enjoy and I'd love to get your feedback!


video