Saturday, November 14, 2009

Has Christianity Lost its mind 1

It has been a while since i last blogged! I have purposed to do this more often and chronicle through some of my thoughts and musings. My hope is that it opens up a forum for discussion. This is part 1 of a several part blog. This blog will focus on the new generation arising.

Helping out - helping up- or just damning!

I have been working in the social service arena for a little while now. I enjoy working with the youth of this city. As a youth pastor i see so much potential in this generation.

Also, I have been recently struggling with the absence of my father. It has been an incredible emotional and spiritual battle. The Lord has been kind, but firm in what i must do as my next step.

In these two area of my life i have seen a connection. Most, some 75-85%, of the students that i help have no father in their life. I have spoken with a local school vice principle and he said if only there were father figures for these kids. I was even at a park the other day with my little girl and their must have been over a hundred kids there. There were only two or three dads present. One of those fathers cussed at his child. ...... talk about ignorant.....

So let me put it together in one thought. I work for an organization that helps kids find employment and skills for live. I am called to an organization that's soul purpose is to help them find eternity. My problem - in the arena of the secular and the sacred i have constantly heard two things.

1. This generation is nothing but a self serving good for nothing generation (said by many Christians)

2. This generation needs fathers

What i am not hearing: I am willing to do whatever it takes in order to ensure they reach their God given destiny.

Now don't get me wrong. There are pockets of incredible people (secular and sacred) who are doing their best to change this. I am speaking to the general order of people, not the exception.

The church needs to step up in culture, quit damning with their words, and stop talking about things so that they may begin to act.

Bitter hearts produce judgmental lips!

My heart truly breaks for this generation. I believe that God is beginning to birth a vision in my life to start a foundation that helps the fatherless find their way.....

thank you for your time as you read this! Please join me in prayer over the hope for our future!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

'TOP TEN' Einstein quotes

This was borrowed from:

I am a sucker for great quotes... and these are powerful ones!

Many Albert Einstein sayings and quotes are highly applicable to missions and church planting. The following are my "top ten" favorites...

10. "The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them."

9. "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

8. "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

7. "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."

6. "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."

5. "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious."

4. "Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."

3. "Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."

2. "The important thing is not to stop questioning."

1. "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Have any other favorites or comments about any of the above you'd like to share?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Word of Promise Next Generation New Testament MP3 Set

What a refreshing resource to have in your hands. In recent years, we have seen many dramatized bibles come out. All of them professionally done with high levels of excellence. Here we have another dramatized bible: Word of Promise Next Generation New Testament MP3 Set. As i said previously this is a refreshing resource to have. I am a youth worker. One of the greatest challenges i face is getting my teenagers in the word. Here is a resource for teens by teens. I am convinced that our teenagers are crying out for something that is specifically geared towards them and their ways of life. Word of Promise Next Generation New Testament MP3 Set does just that. I think that this resource was put excellently put together. The caliber of readers/actors are outstanding, and the translation is unique. I believe that the used a historical translation, which brings a refreshing lens on traditional scripture. If you work with you, have youth, or even know youth, this would be a great resource to place in their hands.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Orthodox Study Bible

Recently I have been able to review The Orthodox Study Bible from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was very excited to review this because I have friends who are practicing in the Orthodox Faith. As I scanned through the pages, I noticed some difference that separates this text from most other texts. The first difference is the inclusion of the extra biblical accounts (apocryphal writings) such as Bel and the dragon (an addition to the book of Daniel). Another apparent difference is found in the organization of the Old Testament books. Traditional Protestant Old Testaments are set to a certain pattern, and the orthodox pattern differs as to the placement of the prophetic books.

Coming from a mainline protestant denomination with I degree in biblical studies I had a hard time with the inclusion of the extra writings. I have learned over the years about some of the historical and theological inaccuracies found in some of these writings. Jewish and Christian tradition has also dictated that most, if not all, of these extra biblical works are not writing with an authority that would denote inclusion of these writings into what we now know as the Word of God (The Bible). I recently asked my friends, who are Orthodox, if this matters to them that these writings are filled with tradition and historical inaccuracy. She replied, “They do not have to be historically or traditionally accurate if they are teaching us about the theological aspects of God.” I disagree with this analysis. I think that historicity, traditionalism, and theology are all necessary in discern the truth behind the word of God.

I really loved a few things about this study bible. I think that the artwork is professionally done, and brings a life to the time honored stories. Moreover, I really appreciate the addition of the words of the church fathers. Whether you agree with them or not one needs to know what they have said. The church fathers have wisdom and knowledge that can aid us in our search for truth. Another great benefit of this book is the translation of the Old Testament from the Greek. I have about 15 different translations and when studying the Word it helps to bring a fullness of understanding as I see how different translators render certain passages.

My recommendation is that you get a copy of this book. It can only strengthen you by challenging your beliefs. Most Christians cannot explain why they believe what they believe, and my hope is that you will get this book and start to discover the whys behind your faith. My warning is this: if you are still a young Christian read this book with someone knowledgeable in the word. I would hate to recommend this book to you and you fall into confusion or error.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Storms of life

When it rains it pours. Whatever happened to the light drizzle or the warm summer mists. It seems as of late that the floodgates have been opened. We can no longer keep the storms at a safe distance. Keeping them away from our homemade boundaries of safety. When it rains it pours. We sit back and wonder where the sun is, because we can only see the darkness. We know in our hearts that the hope of reprieve is over the next horizon. As we push through we wonder, "will we ever get through the storm and see the light we have always hoped would be there?"

We all go through hard times. We all go through our valleys where death seems to have power over us. Deep down we know that the storms cannot last forever. We know that death cannot stop us. We know that if we persevere we will see the light of a new day. We know that if we will just keep our eyes off the storm, even for one moment, we will see Him holding out His hand ready to save us.

Life is funny at times. It has its up and its downs. It sometimes is sweet and kind, but often cruel. When trouble hits, it hits hard. When one bit of trouble comes more is guaranteed to follow. When it rains it pours.

But God!

Two words. Very simple. Very ordinary. When put together create something deep and powerful. It says that no matter what we go through. No matter how much pain we have. No matter how much trouble life brings us. God has a plan, and a promise never to leave us nor forsake us.

But God!

He has had a plan for you and me since the beginning. His word tells us of the extravagant grace he has extended to us. His word tells us of the promises he has made to us. He has given us authority to overcome. Joy to persevere. Troubles to grow us. Pain to push us. A destiny to call us too. A plan to prosper. A future and a Hope.

Our lives are written on the canvas of heaven and played on the battlefield of earth. Too often we let our situation determine our perspective. Our perspective will determine our situation.

Storms will come in our lives, But God! Darkness will try to find a way in, But God! People will hurt us, But God! We will not find the money to pay for our needs, But God! Two deaths, a kidnapping, and a legal battle in less than three weeks, But God! Cannot find a job, But God! Called to leave the things you desperately love, like the ministry you help to create, But God! Desperate because the storms of life are raging, But God!

Next time when life gets you down. When the rain is more than a drizzle. When faith seems not to be enough. When church hurts you more than helps you. Remember that God has a plan. That God was not caught off-guard by our current situations.

When it rains it pours, But God.... calmed the storms for the disciples, can you believe he will do the same for you?

Friday, September 26, 2008



If you have been in church, for any period of time, you have heard this word frequently uttered. Maybe it was your pastor that gave a compelling message about your freedom in Christ, or maybe you heard it through a prayer elder proclaiming this over you. Perhaps you were reading your Bible and came across this word and images of the troops fighting in Iraq came to your mind. Troops that fight and die for the freedom we so enjoy.

Maybe you are sitting there and laughing to yourself because you realize, as do I, that this overused word is very rarely defined. Or you quite possibly have asked yourself the same question i have asked myself. If i am suppose to be free in Jesus then why do I not feel that freedom at times?

I have a theory why we do not always embrace or feel the freedom that everyone talks about. first let me take a minute to try to define freedom on a very basic level. Freedom is simply not the absent of chains. I believe freedom, as we have it, is the ability to outgrow our chains and bondage through our maturity in Christ.

It is like a bull who has a yoke on him. He grows into his yoke, but eventually he will grow so big that his yoke can no longer hold him. That is the picture i get when one talks about freedom in Christ. As our life matured, apart from Christ, we grew into a yoke, but when we became Christians and started maturing in Christ we outgrow our yokes. As we grow and mature so to does our anointing because it is the anointing of God that breaks every yoke of bondage in our lives.

I mentioned earlier that I had a theory why we do not embrace or feel the freedom everyone talks about. Now i know that this will not be a very popular thought, but i ask you to consider what I say and do a self inventory to discover if this is the truth.

I believe that the church, instead of empowering people to embrace freedom, has taught the people to deceive themselves and others by embracing a "christian lifestyle" that shrouds the truth instead of revealing it.

I am under the impression (since i have not been a Christian all my life) that what we claim to have (freedom) we don't have in the fullness that we are promised. We hide it behind Christian talk (which no one really understands), Christian behavior (isolationism - stay with your own kind), and Christian Living (the appearance that we must be perfect), which in turns causes us to deceive ourselves into thinking we are freer than we really are.

In reality we hide our troubles and hurts behind the mask of Christianity. Locking us in deeper bondage because we are unwilling to share the truth; that we hurt, we have problems, we sin like everyone else in the world, and that our hearts are ugly and constantly need God's mercy to daily transform us into His likeness.

Here lies the problem. We have the truth, we are a people who have Jesus Christ in our midst, or at least that is what we claim. We are taught how to live like a christian, speak like a christian, and behave like a christian. In essence we are taught how to place the mask of Christianity on so that no one will ever see the truth, that most of us really have no idea what we are doing but hope that we can give the appearance like we do.
So how does one abandon their masks? How does one start to live in the fullness of who Christ intended us to be? Let me will give you four factor (not the only four) that i believe can help us live a life that is true to ourselves and true to Jesus.

4 factors in which will help us realize our freedom in Christ:

1. Honest Evaluation - I think that many non-Christians are more honest than the ones who claim to have Christ. Why? Because who do not know Christ know that are not right, and do not live in denial of it. On the other hand the people of God know that they are not right (in the areas God has not cleaned up yet) but hide it behind their masks. We need to take time in silence and mediate on our actions, words, thoughts, attitudes, and perspectives. The true indication of what is in us come from the honest look at what comes out of us.
2. Intimacy - I personally believe that a Christians greatest need and greatest power comes from being in the presence of God. Like the Apostle Paul I believe that apart from God we are nothing. Intimacy is that time when God and I can share our hearts with each other. It is the time when I take what I evaluated to be in my heart before the Lord and ask Him what he thinks about this. Then i ask the Lord about things He wishes to remove from me that i never noticed about myself. Then at the end of our private time together He empowers me to overcome my bondage. I believe that a lot of people stay in an unhealed state because they refuse to be honest before God. If we are honest before God then the miraculous can happen as he showers His truth on our broken hearts.
3. Acceptance - Here is where we tend to have the most trouble. At this point we should have Honestly evaluated ourselves and have been in the presence of God and received instructions. There comes a point in our lives where we must now accept all that we know and all that God has said or reject it. I heard it once said that most visions fail in the implementation stage. I think that is true about life changing events. If we have evaluated ourselves and heard the instructions from the Lord (as confirmed through His word) now we must accept it as truth and implement it in our lives. Our lives never transform based on information but through implementation of the revelation that God has graciously given us.
4. Community - John Donne once said, "No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main..." I think that this is an excellent quote when talking about the people of God. We were created to be in community not apart from it. In our walk of freedom we must realize that God never intended you to walk this process by yourself. We are in need of constant encouragement and constant lifting up. At this point we should surround ourselves with people that we wish to emulate. Do not just put people just like you or I, but put those around us who have been there and can help up raise up to new levels in our walk, our inner healing, and our freedom. There is help for you in this difficult process.

I believe that the the true measure of a life comes from the level of truth in which we live it. We are a people quickly approaching eternity. Everyday that goes by is one day closer to Jesus. The word is clear in one area that we often overlook; We can live an abundant and full life here and now.

I believe that if you will just be honest with yourself, allow God to speak, accept the truth, and find community, that you will be walking in greater levels of freedom. Wouldn't you like to look in the mirror one morning and love the person you see, and not always be ashamed of them?

My prayer is this, that the Lord who is rich in mercy and grace may touch your spirit and bring greater levels of freedom to your life. That the presence of the Lord will be with you in a way that will awaken your heart to the reality of Him and His ways. I thank God for all of You, and we bless you in Jesus' name. Amen.