Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I know that the most of you that are reading this are Christians and that I don't have to give any speech on keeping the CHRIST in Christmas.
So I wont.
If you have email I am sure you have had many MANY emails on the subject and are probably sick of hearing about it, because most of time you get those emails from people that you may personally question their faith.
I mean we are Christians right! WE KNOW ALREADY!!!!
And if any of you where just nodding in agreement to what I was saying...
Shame on YOU!!!
Don't get me wrong, seeing the same message over and over again is annoying. However, in this world were the "non-believer" is trying to make it harder and harder for us to celebrate God and all He has done for us, we should be happy to get those messages. Because it shows that the silent majority in starting speak up.
Let's just make sure that this speaking up is because we want to see a change towards Jesus, and not just because it's Christmas Time.
This is the time of our Lord, so I am going to do something I normally would have trouble doing, and I am going asking others to do this as well.
Pray for the world, "Peace on Earth, Good will towards men..."
Most of you know that I have very strong Christian beliefs, and true to this countries founding traditions, there are others here that have very strong beliefs in other religions of their choice. There feelings are just as strong as ours no matter how misguided we may think they are. That being said, nod, smile, wish these people a good day, show them respect, so that they in turn have no reason not to respect us as followers of Christ. "Do on to other's as you would have them do on to you.."
Lord we are quickly approaching the time of the birth of our Saviour. I know that the view's and testimony I place here can be and are sometimes meant to be harsh. Lord, please know that everything I do here and through out my life is in an effort to please You. As for those who do not completely know You and those who choose not to, I ask that you please show them mercy, give us as Christians the strength to not insult them and show that Christianity is not about worshiping people, or idols, but that Christianity is about the purest of LOVE. Help us show that we as followers of Christ, worship You, for You are Love, Mercy, Compassion, and Hope. Lord please help us show those things, Love, Mercy, Compassion, and Hope, so that we can try to be more like You.
In this Glorious Time if the Birth of Your Son JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR!!!
I pray to You,
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Other than your spouse, (whom should be the very first person you think of when about your earthly friends) how many friends do you have? BE CAREFUL!!
I have heard a few views on this, both right and wrong. Some examples of what I have heard are:
- You can NEVER have too many friends
- You should be able to count your friends on your thumbs
- A good friend will bail you our of jail, a great one will be there with you
- A friend is someone who will never judge you, but is never afraid to tell you when you are wrong!
I am sure that many of you have heard these sayings and many more. Some are true and some are "so so" at best. Let's see if we can break this down. I guess I am going to give what I think is the closest truth about the idea of friendship.
A friend (to me) should be a person that loves you more than themselves. They will ALWAYS be just a phone call away. They will not judge, but would sacrifice the friendship to help keep you on the right path. Last but not least, no matter where they are, or what they are doing, a friend will drop what ever it is that they are doing and will be by your side in a time of need, with out question or ever expecting it in return, no matter what.
Everyone else, no matter how nice, is an acquaintance.
I am very proud to say (aside from my wife) I have two people that I call my friends. They know how they are and know that I am their friends as well.
Thanks guys for everything over the years!!
See, to me that is the true job of a friend. This is what Jesus is doing, wants to do, did do, and will continue to do for all who love him and strive to know him. Jesus wants to be our friend.
I was talking with my 9 year old son a couple of days ago and it was his comments that got me thinking about this topic. See he had a classmate that he was playing with at school whom my son was starting to build a friendly relationship with. My son had mentioned something about the Bible, (details escape me and are not relevant) the classmate stated that he did not believe in the Bible, or Jesus, or even God for that matter. My son (bless his soul) was not happy about this reaction and (as school boys that age do) stated that he could no longer be friends with the classmate.
I asked my son why? Why do you think that you can't be friends with a person who does not love the Lord as you do? He said to me that, if he does not love the Lord then he is a bad person and I don't want to be around him.
Ahh!!! Opportunity!!! I jumped from my chair, grabbed my Bible, and said to my son, "It is our job as Christians to seek people like your classmate!" "You don't have to talk about Christ, but if your classmate knows you believe and live in Jesus' ways, and then sees the choices you make, it may help him to some day find Christ!!!"
I through open my Bible to my favorite story!!!
Matthew 9:10-13 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick." "... I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners."
My son looked at me, smiled, and went on his way. I have no idea if he gave his classmate another chance. But I know he was listening.
Jesus spoke to many, and taught only a few. In the end, even the few He taught and held close, betrayed Him. He knew this would happen and predicted it. However, He did not betray us.
My challenge is this, look around you, aside from family, do you have any real friends. More importantly, are you someone else's friend?
Lord, as we approach the day that started it all, I find myself looking for gift's for people that I am not really sure why I am buying for, while at the same time I struggle to find things for the people I love the most. Because of Your love for us, You gave us the greatest gift of all, Your son Jesus Christ. I think that is where the struggle lies, see stuff is easy to get for those who are acquaintances, but it is hard to find a gift for someone that you love, because it is so hard to try to match the real feelings with "stuff".
Lord You gave us Your Son because You love us, I give You the only thing I can in return. My heart. Lord I ask You to help me be a better person tomorrow than I am today, help me help others in their search for the truth, help me, be a friend.
In Your Holiest of names I pray,
Friday, December 12, 2008
I am also VERY firm in my beliefs of the following:
- NOTHING comes before God
- The Man (Father) is the spiritual leader of the household (family)
- As the spiritual leader of my household, it is my responsibility to make sure that the Lord is in our lives, and in a way that is welcoming so that the family does not feel forced, but wants to worship.
- Sunday is the start of the week and the only way to start the week is in Gods house worshiping him.
The third one is the problem. Like I said I feel sports are a very important development tool. The children love to swim and the meets are the only way they can reap the values of their hard-work during practice.
The organizers of the swim league are, in my opinion, teaching a very bad lesson to these children. (age range from 4-16) They are scheduling these meets to last all weekend, and no matter what time your race is, all swimmers must arrive at the pool for warm up very early in the morning. They must also not leave until after they have raced. This is fine for Saturday, but this leaves no time for worship on Sunday. The coaches are (unwittingly I hope) placing swimming in front of God.
How is it that God has taken such a back seat to so many peoples lives that they will gladly go to a sporting event instead of Church! How are we supposed to teach our children about the value of worship and the love and faith of Jesus Christ when we are teaching them that the Lord can be worshiped when we find time?!?!
On that same token, ff I tell me children that they can not go to the meet because of Church. I fear that they will resent me for it and despise Church and the Lord as well because I "Forced" them to go. I want them to go because they want to, not because they feel like the have to.
I know that many professional sports are play on Sunday. The difference is, at every one of those events, there is a Church Service held in the site of the event so that the athletes can worship the Lord on Sunday.
Luke 16:13 - No Servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will devote to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
Lord, I am trying to show my children that Your love, and faith in You, come second to nothing. I ask that You to please help me and guide me in this leadership path that I am on. The faith those children will have in You resides on the choices I make and the example I set. With out you in their hearts they will have no direction, they will have no purpose, and they will not be ready when Your Son comes back to us on the day of judgement.
Please help them understand that it's my love for them that wants them to open up so that they can feel Your love, and that as they grow up and have children of their own, they would be inclined to follow and continue what I have (with Your help) started now.
In Jesus' Name we Pray,
Thursday, December 11, 2008
That being said...
Over the past couple of days, (months for that matter due to this being an election year) political figures have been in the news for one reason or another. It is an unfortunate trend that we are seeing more of a negative view of our political leaders than good. (One guess to why that is) Now don't get me wrong I am not saying that all politicians are crooks, liars and thieves. I am sure there are many political people that are good. Not to mention that I would be judging them if I were to make a statement like that, and that is not for me to do.
We as Americans are loosing Faith in our government. Not too long ago, the American people trusted the government, and believed that Washington worked in our best interest all the time. What went wrong?
A prime example of what I am talking about would be the recent events surrounding the governor of Illinois. I am not going into detail, but this guy is some real trouble!!!
Now we as Americans have this great power to choose who we want to run our country. This is a right given to us by the God fearing Founding Fathers of this (I still believe) great nation of ours. Hold that thought, I will come back to this...
I have heard a term used quite a bit regarding Christians as the "Silent Majority". But why are we so silent?
I have heard, and read from Christian speakers, and pastors alike that there are basically two types of people that call themselves Christians; The "Sunday Christian", and the "Christ Follower".
The Sunday Christian is the person that lives how they want Monday - Saturday. They will not speak of the Lord, they will live in Adultery, Greed, Pride, Envy, and so on. But come Sunday, they thump that Bible as hard as they can, as if it makes up for the week of denial of the Lord. I feel these people want to love the lord but are scared to truly let go and that they are just a touch or a revelation away from moving forward to the next level.
The Christ Follower still lives in sin, but they try to live their life everyday in the guidelines and rules set forth by the Lord. We will engage in discussions about our faith and are not ashamed.
However I do believe one thing. That both of these groups of people are the majority of the population of the United States. This give us power to make change. No matter what your political affiliation.
All over the place we are seeing God being taken out of our lives by the relatively small number of people who are "Offended" by God. OFFENDED!!! Yet they are not ashamed to speak up.
It does not take much research to see what this country was founded on. Even all the way back to when the Pilgrims first came to this country. This country was founded on a love and fear of God. That's why the ten commandments are on the grounds of so many court houses and government buildings. God was in the heart of the people who made this country. "In God We Trust!!!"
God gave us free will. There are those who choose not to believe. And there are others who choose to believe in another God. If they do not want to worship The One True God then that is their choice. But I asking the silent majority to stop being silent. Use the power that our countries God fearing founders gave us and stop letting the minority take God away from us. If we do that, if we push that God issue, if we stop being ashamed, we will see our country, our environment, and our lives get much, MUCH better.
Matthew 15:7-9 (7)"You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:" (8) These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. (9) They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men."
Lord, I thank you for giving the Founding Fathers of this country the strength and resolve to stand up, and build a nation based on Your rules. But lord I see that image fading, I see crime and violence escalating and corruption building on our once great nation. I truly believe that we are not to far gone. But Lord we need Your help. Lord I pray that all of us who call ourselves Christians can rise up and take a stand to not let Your name be erased from our lives. I do not want to have to one day worship You in secret for fear of my life, or my freedom. Please Lord guide the leaders we have in making sure that You stay in our lives and in our laws, so we as a nation may live in Your light, love and grace.
In Jesus Name we Pray,
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
After a long and exhausting volley of light sabers, our hero, Luke Skywalker, is laying on his back on the edge of a catwalk, he is missing part of his lower arm from the previous fight. Darth Vader walks up, able to finish off our hero, and offers a choice. Reaching out his hand Vader says "Come with me and together we will rule the Galaxy!!" Luke responds "Never.. You killed my father" Vader Replies "No Luke... I am your father!!" Luke screams in disbelief "NNNOOOOO!!!!!!!"
OK I know for many of you as you read that you were picturing the movie and the scene. The odd part is that I am sure you are wondering, "How does this have anything to do with being a Christian?" And on the face you would be right, but lets read between the lines. Jesus spoke in parables, lets look at it like that.
It's actually quite simple, God, our lord and Father, is constantly reaching out to us, trying to get us to join him. When Luke was at his lowest point his father reached out to him, the Lord reaches His hand out for us everyday. The old testament devoted an entire book on how to "correctly" worship the Lord. It's the book of Job. Job was very blessed with land, live stock, and family. He always thanked the Lord for his wealth. Satan told God that he could turn Job against Him. God said you may do what ever you want to Job, but you may not kill him. Satan took everything, and I mean everything. Job never turned on God. Job stated over and over, This is my masters will, and I will accept it. Job knew that as long as he held his faith and trust in God that no matter what happened, he would come through. If you would like to know the "rest of the story" I urge you to read the book of Job.
Directions: go to Psalms, and take a left. If you run into Esther you went too far.
I once heard a quote from a WWII officer it said: "There are no atheist's in fox holes." It is unfortunately true. Many people are quick to take credit for their good fortune and when things go right, but when they go wrong, these same people begin to pray for help and ask why? We become passive when we are good, and faithful when they are not. But the entire time God is there reaching out to us hoping that we take notice, take his hand, and feel his love, Always.
We are all Gods children, and His love for us is far grander than we can even imagine. This is why when Jesus teaches his disciples to pray the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 he starts it with "Our Father...." This was not by accident.
You are laying on your back on the edge of an eternal abyss. The Lord is standing over you with His hand reached out saying: "Come join Me, Live in the kingdom of heaven!" you yell back, "NO! you did this to me..." The Lord then opens His heart to you and says, "No (your name here) I am your Father..."
The question is, will you still deny Him?
(I would like everyone to pray with me on this one)
Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us of our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
We spend lots of time just skimming what we see and not really taking the time to see what's inside. Yet when something is flashy, bright, or different, we take notice. But yet many times we still don't take a close enough look to see what is really there. "Judging a Book by it's Cover."
There is a specific instance that comes to mind that happened about a year ago. I was at a charity function with my wife when I noticed this young man over on the side of the room, standing by himself. What made me notice him was not his looks but his sound. He was making noises. Verbal beeps, barks, yips and so on about every 5-10 seconds. These sound bites were not quite by any means, in fact they were quite loud. I remember thinking to myself; What's this guys issue? He's being disruptive, people in the room are looking at him with scowls? If he can't help it then he needs to leave the room.
Soon this young man starts running around the room and gets up on stage and begins to speak at the event, (Yes he was supposed to) and no one seemed supirsed. I kept these thoughts to myself and later asked my wife about him, she told me that he was a great guy, did a lot for the charity organization that we were at and that he had Tourette's Syndrome. The barking and chirping was not to be helped.
See, I judged this young man as having a real disability and began to feel sorry for him. I did not know how wrong I was.
You will hear me say now and in the future that God works in "Mysterious but not Encrypted" ways. This one of those.
On Sunday Dec 7th CBS aired a made for TV movie call "Front of the Class". It is a story of a young man with Tourette's that would not take no for an answer and saw is condition as a tool to educate. The movie was based off the autobiography of a man who would not let his condition bring him down. In fact, he became one of the best school teachers in the state of Georgia!!!
The young man that I had felt so sorry for and "Judged" was Brad Cohen. The man that wrote the book and the man that "Front of the Class" was about.
This judging happened to Jesus many times. Matthew 9: 10-13 tells it all. The Pharisees saw Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners and asked Why? Jesus answered by saying that these are the people that need Me, that's why? He was Judged by what He looked like, He claimed to be the King of the Jews yet He looked like nothing more than a Sheppard, and many never accepted who He was.
Lord help me to see through the surface. Help me to take the time to get to know what is on the inside. I have been VERY guilty in the past of just, jumping to conclusions and not getting all of the facts. After finding You in my heart I have been able to open up more, but not completely. Lord I ask that You help not only me but all of us to accept with out intent. I also pray that You give me and others like me the power to help other to stop judging You by what they see on the outside and truly see You for who You are.
In your Glorious Name I Pray,
Monday, December 8, 2008
So here I go, following my friends advice and letting God guide my thoughts and feelings. But I make no promise of tact. There are things that I see and things that I don't that about my "Christian Brothers and Sisters". I will speak to both and I will ALWAYS finish in prayer.
I am not a pastor, I have never gone to seminary, I have not been taught how to talk about God.
What am I? I am just an everyday guy, with an everyday job, that fit's into almost every statistic out there. I am the guy that bounces and dances to the songs in church, I am the guy that you see singing his heart out to those songs, I am the guy with his pen out in church taking notes and looking up the scripture the pastor mentions(not just reading it in the handout), I am the guy that always has the opinion in your small group!!!
I'M THE GUY THAT WILL STAND ON THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN AND SCREAM MY LOVE FOR JESUS FROM THE TOP OF MY LUNGS SO THAT WHOLE WORLD CAN HEAR AND SO THAT OUR LORD CAN SEE THAT I AM NOT ASHAMED!!!!!
Yeah... I'm that guy.
This is a start, I have no idea were this is going and what it will become. Lord all I ask is that you guide me down this path. For me this is growth, this is a way for me to completely let go and let You be seen through my words.
Lord I pray that even though my words my seem course a times that we all can see that all I am intending to do is show Your truth as best I can, and my biggest hope is that someone who is searching can read this and finally see the truth, the light and the love that You give to us all.
I do this in worship and discipleship to You!
In Your Glorious Name WE Pray, Amen.