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Sunday, December 27, 2009

XLVI. To Error...to Forgive

A question was asked one time on a trivia game: "are there more people dead or alive?". Since there are over 6 billion people on the earth as we speak and growing it seemed that the obvious answer would be "alive". (http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock.swf for an unofficial count) But, with more thought comes more wisdom. Six billion today, but there were 4 billion 50 years ago and many of them have since passed on. So the actual answer would be "dead". Think about that. Billions and billions and billions of people have already come and gone since the creation of man. And it all started with two people. Two individuals who by their own desires became two flawed individuals. And since we all came from these two people we carried their flawed genes into our existence.
We are human. We are flawed. None of us are perfect. Could we have actually lived a perfect life? Yes. But, since we are made of earthly flesh which is not spiritual, we have the ability to sin. And we all do. Not one of us will be able to stand in front of God the Father and say, "I have lived a perfect life. I have never hurt anyone. I have never lied. I have never cheated. I have never done anything wrong in any such way or form." No one can say that. If they do then they lie to themselves thereby making them flawed as they speak.
We are human. We have errors. We make mistakes. Even if our actions were not of intent, we still can end up making a mistake that consequences must make amends. Again, no one can stand in front of God the Father and claim they do not make mistakes. For that matter no one can stand in front of any other man and make that claim.
The point is humans will always be a disappointment. None of us will ever be able to live the perfect standard. Billions upon billions of people and only one who was perfect. And what did we do with him? We nailed him to a tree. We all need forgiveness. Forgiveness is a key to the healing process. It's not the only key. But it is needed. Without forgiveness, the ability to forget is never possible. Without being able to forget memories will haunt us. Without forgiveness, the ability to be open and honest can not be achieved. Without honesty trust in others is useless and relationships can not be built. Without forgiveness, wounds can never heal. If wounds can't heal they will kill. Without forgiveness, hope is lost. Without hope...there is no hope. Alexander Pope is quoted as saying to err is human, to forgive is divine. But he is a little misguided. Forgiveness is Divine, but since we are made in the image of God, to forgive is human as well.
We are human. We can error but can we forgive? Are you nailing others to a tree or are you forgiving them? And not only forgive, can we build back up the man who falls? Yes.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

XLV. The Dark Side

Close your eyes for 5 seconds and reopen them. Go ahead, no one is watching. What did you see? Nothing right? But was there really nothing there? No. There was something. There was still a thought going through your mind somehow. There may have been a memory flashing in. There may have been sound on the outside that you could hear. The wind was blowing somewhere. Electricity was flowing from one place to another. Your blood was still pumping. There is more than just darkness. Even though you shut your eyes and saw nothing there were things still going on around because in this universe there is no such thing as nothing!

Have you ever thought about what nothing (real nothing) is? It is void of all known things. Time, space, dimensions, laws are all void in a real nothing. It is something we really can not comprehend because we are in existence. But where did we come from? How did we come into existence? You know the answer. Just say it. God. What did He create us (the universe) out of? Nothing!!
But, some who read this may answer about where we come from as:
  1. primordial soup
  2. from something else
  3. it doesn't matter, it is nonsensical
  4. i don't know
Well, there are some problems with these answer. Let's take them one by one:
  1. Primordial soup-Everything that was made is a huge accident. The laws of the universe just by happen chance formed into consistency and never contradict each other. Out of chaos came harmony. We are here because for some reason an accident happened and we are now caught in this vast experience of existence created by...nothing. How can something so extensive in time, distance, and mass come out of nothing? It can't. There had to be something before something. Of course the atheist will cry foul here. Wait and listen for it. "who then made God?", "infinite regression", "the chicken or the egg?" To understand where the designer came from is not in the capability of the creation itself. A car can not understand the mechanic. A piece of art can not understand the artist. They are two totally different dimensional beings. Convenient isn't it, atheists, non-theists? But it is the truth. God was never designed. Again he is in a higher dimension we can not know until we are with him (or not). Time is a figment of man's imagination. It was made by man to separate days and nights, years and decades, to count his own days. God does not have time. He was always here and always will be. That is why he is called the great "I AM". Time does not really exist. We made it up.
  2. From something else-Humans came from a lower form of primate which came from a lower form of mammal which came from reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish...the amoeba. With each new species of development cam a higher form of intelligence and complexity. If we are so advanced then why all of the mutations that destroy people? Is that a higher form of species? No. Where is the newest form of primate? The only thing we keep finding are primates of the past. When will we see that next evolutionary process starting to take place? Plus, even if evolutionary process is accurate, then where did the first species come from? Oh yeah...see point #1.
  3. It doesn't matter. It is nonsensical. There was a big bang and that is it. Everything before this bang is irrelevant. Irrelevant to what? The beginning of our existence answers all the questions we have. If there is a God that created then we can trust the Bible and what it says. Jesus is LORD, Savior and will return. If there isn't a God then our whole lives are nonsensical. Why are we here? And if there isn't a God, how did we get here? Oh yeah...see point #2.
  4. I don't know. The best answer out of the four. At least it's something to work with and not argue about. It has no wrong conclusion and perhaps has an open ended process of learning about all of it.
Here is the point: those who do not believe in the existence of God are saying whether they admit it or not that this "something" we know as our entire existence, i.e.; time, life, space, etc., came out of nothing. Not the concept we know as nothing with our eyes shut but out of complete nothing, void of all things possible. Some will say that is not what they believe but there will not be another answer given. Now how is that saner than believing in a loving Creator who wanted us to love for Him and gave us a free will. This is where the "prove God exists" argument comes in. Read the following then: http://ideasoftimreligion.blogspot.com/2009/06/xxxiv-atheist.html

Saturday, November 28, 2009

XLIV. You're Okay

Have you ever heard the expression: "You're okay, I'm okay, we're all okay"? Or what about this one: "there are no absolute truths in the universe"? These are two ways humans have tried to justify how we are. In other words they are two excuses for being corrupted and ways to blame others for who we are.
If we're all okay, then why do we argue about being okay? If we're all okay then why do we hurt people? Why do we lie, cheat, steal, murder, hate, abuse, neglect, slander, have jealousy and greed? It's because none of us are okay. Even if we have been the victims of some of the things mentioned we still have a sinful nature. None of us are innocent if we know the difference between right and wrong. We all need help in this world to cope and understand. We all need a savior for the next world so none of us have to die a second time.
If there are no absolute truths in this world then the statement alone is a contradiction in terms. How can there be no absolute truths if that statement itself is supposed to be the truth? It isn't! There are truths, there are half-truths, there are partial truths, and then there are lies. But do you want to know something? The statement above can be shortened to: There are truths and there are lies. Because there are no such things as half-truths or partial truths. There are only truths and lies and both of them are complete. If any statement has a lie in it then it is a lie. That was even learned in math class. If "p" then "q". Remember? If "p" has any false statement within it then "q" can not happen. Or language arts class that got us to realize if any statement has any thing in it that is false then the whole statement is false. Hence, there ARE ABSOLUTE TRUTHS because there ARE ABSOLUTE LIES! The question though is, where does truth come from? Only one place can truth come from...the beginning.
When someone is trying to tell the truth, if they start from the middle of the story then odds are the story is not accurate. This is why evolution can not be completely accurate. It starts at what is found and works its way backwards to explain the present. Creationism and Christianity starts from the beginning and keeps moving forward. This concept is lost on those who are non-believers. But that just holds truth to scripture. 1 Corinthians 1:18-30:
  • 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
  • 19 For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."
  • 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
  • 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
  • 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
  • 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
  • 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
  • 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
  • 26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.
  • 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
  • 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are,
  • 29 so that no one may boast before him.
  • 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

Today, the ones who look for wisdom in this world and make up their own truth is what this piece of scripture calls "Greek". And what Paul calls "the Jew" is what we could say today are those who know the truth yet refuse to obey it.

Why is this important? Because without the absolute truth in our life we can never be okay. If we all live by our own personal truths and not the standards of God then our lives, experiences, values, ideologies and what have you collide. This is when all of the aforementioned problems come into existence.

Atheism, Humanism, Liberalism, and other "isms" that might be out there start to destroy these standards. Even though these groups can not always be grouped together nor be used interchangeably they still end up doing the same thing. They will try and take the value of truth, real truth, and distort it. Some do it out of ignorance, some for spite.

You're not okay. None of us are until we get back to the Absolute Truth: John 14:6

  • Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Yes, it seems unfortunate, but sometimes, the truth hurts.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

XLIII. Influences

People come into our lives for one reason: to influence it. Whether we want them to or not they do. With each new face we see either in passing or in acquaintance we are changed. But which ones change us the most? Here are the results from last month's poll: "What influences the most?"
  • (51%) Church/Religion.
  • (22%) Family.
  • (14%) Friends.
  • (5%) Music/Art/Reading.
  • (2%) Personal interests.
  • (2%) Something else.
  • (0%) Politics/Government.
  • (0%) Celebrities (all kinds).
  • (0%) World Issues.

It seems the ones that influence us the most are the ones that shape our beliefs. Things that go on around us such as those in our environment apparently really do not influence us as much as we say. If we are upset with the way things are going on in the world it won't change who we are. And there is a biblical concept with that. Happiness is external. Joy is internal. We may not like the way things are going but if we have the right belief system then those things can not harm us. Zero in this poll back that up by saying world issues, although may bother us when we here it, do not change who we are. Neither do politicians nor celebrities as well. Which is kind of strange because who do politicians get to endorse them thinking that it will change who votes for them? Celebrities! And the pomposity of some celebs who think if they say something then others will follow. Take Alec Baldwin who said if George Bush won in 2004 then he would move to Canada. The only good thing that Alec Baldwin has ever done was play in Betelgeuse, and even in that role he played a dead man. No one cares what you say Alec, or you Susan, or you Barbara. All of these said similar things during the 2000 campaign as well. And unfortunately, they are still American citizens living in the US. I guess they are just as much as liars filled with empty promises as liberal politicians.

Eighty-seven percent are influenced by those we grow up with or shape our beliefs. This is why it is so important to fill your minds with positive thoughts and beliefs. This is why a morality system is needed. Not one that changes with every new world issue or newly elected leader who promises change, but one that is solid and never bends or breaks, one that stands forever. Isaiah 40:8

  • The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.

Sorry atheists, church is still one of the biggest influences in our lives. You can keep your personal interests (2%) and teach your own children but stay out of the rest of our lives.

XLII. Types of Church Goers

From one man's perspective in the last ten years, subject to change:
On each given Sunday there are 7 types of people who attend church. Each person will have their own personal reason to be there such as to learn, or lead, or listen, or even be cynical. But each of the seven groups will also have their own characteristics and needs as a whole that will differ from the other six. Here are the 7 groups:
  1. The Leader (The Minister/Elders)
  2. The Teacher (The "Scholar"/Advice giver)
  3. The Mature (The Worker)
  4. The Newbie (New Babies in Christ)
  5. The Rider of the fence (The Hurting)
  6. The Non-believer (The Skeptic)
  7. The Visitor (The Out of towner)
In a small church, let's say 100 people, there is usually only one leader, the senior minister or as many will call the pastor. What the pastor is,is another post and will not be the focus on this thought. This is the main visionary and will do much of the work that deals with spiritual matters. At this point there will usually be two or so teachers, hopefully elders, that will take some of the duties when the minister needs a break. They will probably be elderly gentlemen who are set in their ways but would like for more people to get involved. The ones who will get involved at this stage are the mature Christians who have been around for a long time. This will almost be half the church. Most of them will be either from the same family or close-knitted friends. Because of this group, they will invite other friends they wish to be a part of the church, and some will come from their invitation. This is the Newbie, which will be a small percentage, maybe 10% of the attendance. The Newbie does not know how to get involved and feels out of place. This group will be your revolving door group. Many will stay for a while, many will leave due to this out of place feeling. Then there will be those who are riding the fence each week. Another 40% or so will be there because they are seekers. They don't know why they are being called to church but they are hurting and are looking for shelter from this world. This will be the largest group who will become of course the next "Newbies". This is the group that can make a church look like they are growing or dying. The you have the non-believer. There will usually be a small number who show up just to see how skeptical they can be of church. They are dragged in by a spouse, or child. They will sit quietly in the back pew and wait for someone not to greet them so they have an excuse of not to come back and say that Christians are not that friendly. And then as always you will have a visitor or two you hope to give inspiration to so they can take something back to their home church. However, being a small church will not really give them much to take since they will be closely arranged, cliquish if you will.
If this church survives and grows to about 200 what happens to these groups? The numbers and their feelings will change. Some of the elders will become younger and start to become leaders and share responsibility with the minister. They will start to have visions of their own about what the church can be and will really get things going. They will train others into the teacher position so more classes can be taught. At this point there will be 3-5 leaders instead of 1. There will be now around 5 teachers to take on classes while the leaders are getting programs that are needed to start. The mature Christian group will not grow that much since they are still the workers and some will see what it takes to be committed to the church and keep it going and will not want to move forward with their faith. The Newbies will have almost tripled because family members have invited other family members and more friends but will stop not want to get completely involved. Those riding the fence will not grow in percent but will in numbers and be the largest group you have. They will have shown up in numbers because they start to hear what the church is doing around the community and will want to check it out. And of course that will bring even more non-believers just by pure natural growth of all the other groups. And since the reputation of the church is starting to spread more visitors will tend to go to your church than somewhere else. This will be your thriving church. Once you hit the 200 mark, the church starts to change.
What happens if this church keeps growing and hits maybe 500? The leadership starts to stop growing. There are plans to start programs but some will not see that as part of the original plan and will leave or step down because of that. Some may stay and remain teachers because they still feel a connection to the people. But now some of the teachers start to feel overwhelmed due to all the programs/lessons that need to be explained to the people. The mature group may grow in numbers but the percentage is becoming smaller and smaller, again because these are the workers and the field is ripe for harvest but the workers are few! At this point, the Newbies is your largest grower of the groups. They are riding the highs from the thriving church and are desiring to learn more, another reason why the teacher becomes overwhelmed. At this point many of the elders will not do the teaching since they are too busy starting programs and trying to figure out budget needs. But if they do not stay teaching then you will lose many of those who are new and they will become a revolving door (in and out of the church or go somewhere else feeling the same out of place feeling as before). And now that you have a growing reputation many non-believers will be at your door wondering what the big deal is. At this point, visitors start to become part of the furniture, no one really notices them anymore.
MEGA CHURCH! Your church hits or is close to 1000. The new creature of creation, the thing God created on the 8th day. A whole new mentality sets in. The leadership still hasn't grown that much, but now due to because they are afraid someone will change their vision. Egos may have already set in and that is not good for spiritual growth. You now may have plenty of teachers but some will be outside the vision (even perhaps outside the "denomination" and will not be allowed to teach because will teach others something differently than what the leaders want. The mature Christian at this point can't take it anymore and will start to leave. They are tired of the leadership not doing things for spiritual growth. And at this point the Newbie group is so large that the leadership thinks they are doing all the right things so they will turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to the Mature Christian. They will focus on this group for all of their programs. But they will not get them to the next point of growth. The vision is tunnel. Those riding the fence in a mega church feel comfortable because they are lost in the crowd. No one really goes after them because the closeness of the groups is not that tight. They do not feel pressured and so will never know that they need to get more involved and learn more about who Christ is. Where are the teachers? They are out-numbered because many of the Mature who could be teachers are gone due to frustration of the leadership. Still growing though in numbers are the non-believers. They finally become friends and regular attenders but have no clue what the story of Christ still is about because all of the programs are about finding yourself in today's world. To them these lessons make sense so they stay. But they never will know. And visitors? Who?
The point is: church needs something for everyone. Leaders need to get away and reflect. Teachers need help and support from the leaders and perhaps need to be the same people. Mature Christians are the core and need to be fed and not forgotten about their needs too. The Newbie needs guidance and something will get them to go deeper into the word. The rider needs something that makes them want to be a part of something but with substance. And the non-believer needs something to believe in. Stop watering down the Gospel of Christ, it's for everyone.
All sizes of churches can work. But you have to look out for the warning signs and deal with them. Too many time churches focus on the Newbie and leave nothing else for the rest. The leaders think they are doing right because their numbers keep growing. They forgot it's not about the numbers. It's about a spiritual warfare. If all you do is worry about the Newbie then the Mature Core of believers will fall away and all you have left are babies who can't take care of themselves.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

XLI. The Beginning of Man

Were we as humans part of an accident waiting to happen? After the accident occurred were we as humans waiting for our existence to appear after billions of years of evolutionary change? Did we have to wait our turn to become the dominant species or were we always here, in one shape or form? With some exceptions, the following generalization should be pretty accurate. The pure Creationist will tell you that man has always been here since day 6 of God's creation. The Christian scientist may add that man has always been man but it did take billions of years for him to exist. The pure Scientist will tell you that man as we know today had to wait his turn but may have had ancestors being the dominant species for millions of years. The non-believer, non-scientist will not have any idea anyway. What was the beginning of man?

Could man just be an ape like creature that has developed into an intellectual monster over years of genetic change and mutations? Why is man and ape so similar to each other? There has to be a connection. Perhaps there is.

Man is animal-like. But by scientific definition, man is an animal. He belongs to the animal kingdom. He belongs to the primate family. But he does not belong to the same genus and species as with other primates. Here, he is on his own. There must be a reason why we are not closer to each other. Even science claims there is a difference at this point.

Evolutionists claim that we have many ancestors but can not really find that "missing link". Each new find they will use as part of their evolutionary thought process which they will claim makes them right. But with each new discovery there usually is something just not making the complete connection. Evolution means small changes over a long period of time. Most species that have been found are still too far apart in their genetic make up from each other to be that last link. Why? Probably because there is no final link. Usually, when they find a "link" they only find one of its kind. Maybe this one just happened to be the malformed creature of its genus. Sometimes there have been more than one of that link found in one place or even spread out in the world but if you look at the species they claim to be humanoid, homind, or man-like you can judge for yourselves. The following website has concept drawings of what some feel these creatures would look like: http://www.archaeologyinfo.com/species.htm. Perhaps they are just apes that have been extinct. We have killed off many of species of primates already. The mountain gorilla could be one of the next ones to go.

Man may be animal but only because God made man from the same material that he made animals; flesh. But there is a huge difference. Man may be the same on the outside but on the inside, not organs and things but deeper than that, man is completely different.

Life itself varies from its makeup from life forms to life forms. Plants are alive. They reproduce. They have "blood" in them. They "breathe". But they can not think. They do not reason. They are not animals. Fish, birds, Amphibians and reptiles are alive. They are animals but they are cold blooded animals. Their instincts rely on their environment. They migrate due to weather patterns. They feed off each other. They do not reason and therefore are dependent upon their surroundings for survival. Mammals are alive. They are warm blooded. Many can reason and can survive outside their environmental settings. Their brains are larger than the rest and therefore can not only react in a flight or fight mode but can investigate the situation. Man however is beyond all of this. Plants are monochotomous. They have physical reaction but that is it. Animals besides man are dichotomous. They react physically and mentally to its surroundings. But man is trichotomous. We not only have physical bodies for reaction to our environment and mental capabilities to reason and investigate but we have a spirit within us given by God. We have compassion, we can predict outcomes because we have a conscience and can learn from our mistakes. We have a morality system. The problem is many think we are just animals and so we act like animals. We act on instinct instead of values. When we fall on desperate times we act like animals. We fight or fly. When we rely upon God we remain different from the rest of creation. We are not animals in this instance. We are spirits with flesh. Our beginning came from a Creator. Our beginning starts with our Creator. The beginning of man is in God's image.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

XL. Nature of Man

The time period known as the Enlightenment was technically started by the scientific revolution and the likes of Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, and Rene Descartes. But there were others of this time period who thought of human nature not just science and math which those who are mentioned were. These people were called Philosophes and one of the most influential and first of these thinkers was an an Englishman, Thomas Hobbes. He believed that man is naturally selfish. And because of this selfishness man could not be trusted with certain things, so a strict government was needed to ensure man would not destroy himself due to his evil nature. But another Englishman, a little time after Hobbes, was John Locke who said man is naturally free and this is why man has war. He is searching for the solution to stay free. Both had lived through the English Civil War and saw things they never wanted to see again. But are either one of these men right in their final assumptions? Here are the results from last month's poll: What is human nature like? (Note: this poll had been somewhat manipulated by certain atheists who read this blog. Which is fine, the results of this poll do not make any one right or wrong)

  • 50% We are neutral with the ability to be either good or bad.
  • 26% We are naturally bad since we are born into sin.
  • 10% We are naturally good since we are born innocent and can only sin when we reach the age of accountability.
  • 8% We are naturally good since God created us.
  • 4% We are naturally bad since we have the ability to sin.

To answer this question we have to take it with different views.

Let's start with physical evidence. How do we enter this world? Do we live like Orkans (Mork and Mindy)? Do we start by being hatched, fully grown with the potential to do harm to half the population because we are large creatures? No. We are born small. We are born with no protection. We are born naked and vulnerable. We are helpless human beings who need nurturing and discipline. We are born innocent, free of the world's troubles until we hear, see, touch, smell, and feel what the world offers us.

Mental evidence. Do we know what we want when we are born? Do we know what we want when we get older? Do we ever know what we really want? If we had everything we needed would we still try after certain things? Or do we only want these certain things because the world puts it in our minds that we need them? Go back about 100 years ago. What would be considered needed? A stove, a house or roof over our heads (which would include bed and all household items), perhaps some mode of transportation. But now what do we consider needed? A cell phone! Not just one that calls people, but one that can take pictures, maybe even video. One that can hook you up with the Internet, watch movies, play games, and have "apps" for everything you can think of. A house! Not just one with beds and a roof, but one that no one can afford because that is what is being built everywhere so someone can make money. And since we have to keep up with the Jones' then a two bedroom house won't do. A car! For the same reason as the house. And for all of these things we are willing to go into debt beyond our own means of paying any of it back.

Emotional evidence: We all need some sort of love. The original account of love is between man and God. God also created an earthly love between man and woman. But when people can't find love in either of these two ways they have to start creating different kinds of love to fulfill their emotional needs, thereby creating different lifestyles.

Spiritual evidence: Going back to the original relationship, man and God. Of course the more appropriate way is to say God and man. But over time man has decided he doesn't need God and has tried to force Him out of every aspect of life and then wonders why He never helps in times of need.

What does any of this mean? We are born innocent. We are born with the ability to do right and wrong. We have the ability to live a perfect life as in the example that Jesus gave. But since we are flesh, we are imperfect beings and that allows sin to enter. Do we have to choose sin? No, but we do. Why? Because of the things around us that tempt us and we try to push away God and Godly things.

We are born naturally good and innocent (keep reading)! God created us and He creates nothing evil. Yes, He gave us flesh, to interact with the physical world; to allow us to have pleasure in this life with all five senses. But our true identity is not of this world. We are spiritual beings first! We are good! If we were born neutral then we are born without the Spirit of God and that is not what happens. God has given each and everyone of us a spirit to live our lives by. But we choose the easier route; the one that our minds and bodies can get pleasure out of the most (Pleasure is not the problem, desire for the wrong type of pleasure is). If we are born bad, then we are saying that God created all of us to die in hell first, and then only sent Jesus to save us. And that is not the case. We were created innocent. We were created to live for Him. We have the ability to sin because of free will, something He gave us to show how much He loves us. This free will has been tainted by those who do not live by their spirit but by the flesh. This caused the world to die, Genesis 2-3.

We are innocent until we take the first step in the wrong direction and disobey God with our own desire, hence the age of accountability. We all reach this age and it is at this moment we die. Paul said all fall short of the glory of God. But that doesn't mean man is naturally evil, but that God knows man needs help. So, He sent Jesus Christ to help. Sorry atheists, the evidence speaks for itself.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

XXXIX. I'm Sorry.

I usually do not personalize my postings. But I need to tonight. Thinking of you...
There is a tragedy that is happening in our country; our own genocide that we keep failing to address. Our children are growing up in a way they were never meant to grow up. Why? One word.
The species that God told to be in charge of the family, to make sure that the bond of love stays strong in his household and to watch over each one in his care so that the devil will not snatch them. We have failed. We have walked away from our responsibility. We have ran when blame came our way. We call children hurtful names. We put them down. We abuse them. We neglect them. What have we done? We need to fall on our knees and ask forgiveness from God and them.
Young men do not have the examples of what they are supposed to be in their lives and they become over-bearing monsters to the women they marry and to the children they conceive. They follow in the footsteps of the jerks who left them alone and become hateful maniacs willing to hurt those around them because they don't know how to love anyone.
Young women do not have the love from a man who should be there to protect them from men who are not worthy of their daughters. They "fall in love" with the first man who pays them a compliment because they don't know what love from a man really is. They become lonely people who think no one cares about them and feel like they have no where to turn.
Good job men. What you have done is turn these beautiful innocent little children into waifs. What you have done is turn these pure little lambs into beasts who want to destroy themselves. They drink to forget what has happened. They get high to live in a fantasy away from what has been done to them. They cut themselves thinking the pain they cause themselves is easier to take than the pain that we have caused them because they trusted us and we have let them down. The physical pain will heal but the emotional scars will not. When the cutting isn't enough they feel like they have to do something else. And then the genocide begins...
Young men, young ladies, it's not much but I am sorry. I am sorry for what has happened to you. I am sorry that someone you loved has abandoned you to the life you have. I am sorry that the man who is supposed to be there as daddy is not there for you or has done things to you that a daddy should not have done.
(Personal) For those who know what I am talking about, I love you. I wish I could help your daddy be a daddy. I can't take their place but you can always use me if they can not be around. But even more importantly, always remember there is a Father in Heaven who will always love you and wants to be your daddy (Abba) as well. I pray for you.

NOTE: This thought has been referenced in on an athiests blog.  They tried to rip it apart but all they did was misunderstand what the real story is.  They tried to make me sound like a sexist.  When the real message here is that men are jerks!  Men do too many things that are wrong and against women.  If men did the right thing then most actions against women would stop.  Would someone tell me what is wrong with that idea?

Friday, October 9, 2009

XXXVIII. Obama Nation, Part II

The following is of course a play on words from "Abomination" of desolation, which is a term the Bible uses to describe the ultimate evil.
Before you go on please reread the following post from October, 2008
The man who sets himself up as God and desecrates the temple is supposed to be a man of peace. What man is more about peace than the man who wins the peace prize? Hmm????? If the first posting is anywhere accurate then what we are looking at is the opening of the seals. He is supposed to be a man who promises peace yet decieves the world with his lies. And apparently the world has been decieved by him. A man who has done nothing but "campaign" for his own benefit is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Did he get rid of nuclear weapons? Did he solve the Mid-East problem? Did he end any wars? Did he get 50 million people the right to vote? Did he keep our current allies happy by maintaining their security, i.e.; Poland? Did he solve the world economic problem? Heck, has he fixed anything in his own country yet? All of the answers to the questions above is "NO!". This is the same man who campaigned on the promise that he would withdraw our troops from Iraq the same day he would take office and has failed to do so. Which smart Americans knew was a promise that could not and should not be kept. Only stupid Amerikans were duped by that one. This is the same man who right now has no exit strategy for Afghanistan. The same man who criticized President Bush for not having one, is now sitting on his hind end not listening to military leaders about needs to be done (troop surge) and is allowing more and more military to die without cause. And this is the man who gets a peace prize. By the way, no one who has been in leadership of any country should be awarded any kind of distinction of this caliber in only 9 months of work. This is not a political ideolgical argument. This is a common sense fact. But the world has been duped by this man. If those who awarded him this prized did so on account of his dreams and speeches on peace then the world should get a peace prize as well. No one wakes up and says "I sure hope we have war today, it's too peaceful". We all want peace. We all want a better world. Just because one "hopes" for it and promises "change" does not make him the one we all should bow down to. Can any one answer: What has the man accomplished?
In the first posting is a list of a small timeline of events that may happen with Anti-Christ.
  • a leader who rises up and becomes a world leader
  • miracle performer
  • will deceive the world
  • will get rid of religion so he can be worshiped
  • will have a false prophet go before him
  • will come back from a fatal head wound
  • pretends to be a man of peace and prosperity
  • rules for 7 years, 3 1/2 of peace, 3 1/2 of war

Well, when the first posting was written only one of these steps were fulfilled. If he won the peace prize for nothing then he has done three of these steps. In less than a year he is on his way. Watch out Isra'el. Could Joe Biden be the false prophet? He might as well be. He's been a false lawmaker for decades. And he's not good at anything else, so why not?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

XXXVII. Go out into All the World

One of the biggest commandments we are given in the NT is found in Matthew 28:19-20. Most people would know these verses as the Great Commission. Now Jesus said that the two Commandments that are most important are Love God and your neighbor, which are summaries of the Ten Commandments found in the OT. But how do we show love for our neighbor? Sure, don't lie about them, don't covet what they have, don't murder them or steal from them. But what is the greatest thing you can do for them? Show them Christ. How? The following is a result from the latest poll, "How Should We Witness?""
  • 71% said our lifestyles should be an example
  • 65% said in everything we do should be a witness
  • 60% said through charity
  • 40% said through sermons and church
  • 37% said something else besides the choices
  • 31% said by mail
  • 28% said through politics
  • 17% said through church activities only
  • 14% said door to door
  • 2% said we shouldn't try and leave them alone

This was actually quite sad to see these results. At least 4 of the choices should have been 100% with maybe even one more. If you are a Christian, you are called to live a life that is an example. Be holy for He is holy, 1 Peter 1:16. If your life is not an example of what Christ called you to be then you are NOT witnessing. You are destroying. This goes for choice #2 as well. In everything you are to be witnesses. This goes beyond just your reputation. This is about your character. The difference is this: Your reputation is about what people think about you when they are around you. Your character is what you do even when they are not around. Are you still the same person? In everything be a witness. If you can't witness to yourself how are you supposed to witness for Him? Of course we will all fall short. We will all sin and not be perfect but that doesn't mean we have the freedom to not care and not try. We are called to give to charity. We are supposed to be good stewards of our money and one of those ways is to care for others. This is different than being forced into charity. We are supposed to give with a cheerful heart out of our own discord. Only 40% said be witnesses through sermons. Yet, most of the church today is focused on seekers. How can you focus on those who are wanting to know more about Christ if you do not have a sermon that tells about Christ? Now church is more than just the sermon and the sermon should have something in it that makes even the mature Christian think and want more. But too many sermons and programs deal with "40 days of purpose" and "how to be a better person". If you teach about Christ these points will be hit anyway. Why have a six week program called "if you only had 30 days to live"? Last time this was checked, 30 days is shorter than six weeks. Teach Christ and the rest will follow. These are the ones that should have been 100%. Ashamed.

Mail, politics, and door to door. Three things that probably bug people to either see or talk about or have happen to them. But are they witnessing tools? Yes! However, if you get something in the mail that does not spark your interest or seems like it is just junk mail, do you actually read it or throw it away in the nearest recycle bin? Exactly. Are churches spending way too much money on mailing and advertisement through the mail? Perhaps not because a life is worth it, but maybe create something more readable and interesting to the public. People can't stand politics in discussion and many think it should not be used with religious ideas. But we are also called to a royal priesthood and a holy nation. Now this is not exactly what this verse means but it still can be used as an example. We are a "nation", a universal nation of believers. We need to take a stand against the ideologies that take a stand against Godly values. We need to be active and vote for those who lift up Christian morals as well as a sound policy, not just for those who give empty promises of change and economic prosperity. What is wrong with door to door evangelism? People are always going door to door trying to sell things such as window replacement, newspaper circulation, lawn care and stuff. They have a product they believe in and want to show people. What happened to this idea in witnessing? We are too complacent in our own homes and think all of that should happen in the church. If we can't get them into church then that idea will not work.

Who knows what the 37% of other would be so if you have an idea let all of us know. And the 2% who said leave them alone are probably my friends who do not believe in God yet still go to all of the Christian blogs and websites to argue their case. Which actually is a good thing because maybe we are all they have which is another reason why we have to be a good witness.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

XXXVI. Pastorized

(Some confusion of my statements caused others not to understand, so this has been edited. Hopefully it makes better sense. If not, I have two watching over my words and will guide me more. Some of the comments now may seem like they don't belong, but I used them in my editing)

There are four characteristics of a good pastor. To understand how these four describe a pastor we need to know what a pastor really is. The word that is used in the New Testament we get pastor from is the Greek word "poimen", which means to shepherd. However, there is a more direct translation into English from Latin (spelled the same way). To put it into clarification, it is one chosen by God to guide His people and watch over them spiritually, such as a shepherd does with sheep.

There are two types of pastors or shepherds. There is the preacher/teacher who is hired as the giver of the Word every Sunday morning to a local congregation. He is a spiritual leader. He feeds the sheep the Word of God. And there is an elder. An elder is also a spiritual leader but also needs to run the affairs of the church. He sheperds by making sure things going on in the congregation is sound, biblical, and correct in doctrine. An elder also has different titles that he can go by: bishop, overseer, episkopo, presbyter, even congregational leader. They all mean the same thing, i.e., shepherd.

A common mistake by too many churches is that they say the preacher is an elder. And that is not necessarily accurate. A preacher can be an elder but doesn't have to be one and is not automatically one. Or to sum it up: an elder is a always a preacher, but a preacher is not always an elder. The scripture that people will distort for this view is 1 Timothy 5:17
  • The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.

Somehow the words pastor and preacher became the same word and excluded elder and that would not be completely accurate. That is not what this passage is saying. It is saying that some preachers will come from the eldership. Not all elders preach. But one who does preaching is especially worthy of a high honor. Too many times churches that are small or ones with weak leadership allow the "pastor" or even claim the "pastor" to be the chairman of the elders when in actuality the "pastor" is only the preacher and is also under the authority of the elders.

Pastors (both types) are visionaries. They see the way a church can grow and be lead. But they present their ideas to the eldership. The eldership should pray about it and see if the vision is from God or from man. Too many times the visions come from man and his own ideas and that causes pride. It becomes his project instead of God's. So with this in mind let's look at what a good pastor does (in this case, this is referring to both types of pastors).

  1. Preaches Christ-centered sermons. 2 Corinthians 4:5 says that when we preach so to speak, we should do so not to uplift ourselves but to spread the word that Jesus is the Christ. If a pastor preaches about how well the church does all the time and what it stands for then that pastor is not fulfilling his job. If a church is doing well, it doesn't needed to be patted on the back. It is supposed to be doing good things. What the pastor should do is always have a sermon that makes Christ the center of all things. That doesn't mean that once on a while they can talk about problems we all face but they still need to make sure that Christ is somewhere in the lesson. Some pastors (preachers, ministers) spend too much time on just prophetic messages or financial freedom. These are fine to talk about but too many focus on those things.
  2. Shepherds the flock with a tender heart. If you take Jeremiah 3:15, Ezekiel 34:23 and Acts 20:28 it is easy to understand this. Acts says it clearly that we need to watch out for ourselves and for all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has placed us over as overseer. Be shepherds. But when they do lead as Jeremiah says, they should do so with understanding and knowledge. In other words they shouldn't be judgemental and/or harsh when they are pastoring. They need to lead such as a shepherd does with his flock. He doesn't whip the sheep, he gently nudges them back into the herd.
  3. Watches over people and keeps them accountable. Hebrews 13:17 says that leaders need to be obeyed because they watch over us in a spiritual way. And we need to be careful for them as well because they will be held accountable for us. Too many times people leave the church due to some situation, whether it be a physical, emotional, or spiritual problem that has risen. But even worse, when a spiritual matter arises and the pastor does nothing about it and the person leaves then bad blood, if you will, has been spilled and no one cleaned it up. If it is a spiritual matter then it is the job of a pastor to clean it up. If it is a emotional problem, then it is someone with the gift of counseling to intervene. If it is a physical problem, then most of the time it is the problem of that individual and nothing really can be done.
  4. Teaches and gently instructs. 2 Timothy 2:25 says that if someone is hurt or needs help that we should teach them (or oppose them) gently. Because the person may have gone through a lot to get to where they are at and if they see a spiritual leader take them down just like the world did then what separates us from the rest of the world? A pastor needs to be able to take some of the heat yet not dish any of the heat out.

So in essence a pastor needs to be a spiritual example that leads with compassion, understanding and knowledge. He needs to be tough yet gentle in his ways. The ego needs to be checked yet the vision needs to be explored. He does not have to come from a Bible Seminary but has to be God-lead. He is a spiritual leader but not the spiritual leader.

Monday, July 13, 2009

XXXV. The Tithe

Last months poll asked: What effects your attitude the most about giving to the church financially? Most churches like all of the other institutions dependent upon finances are hurting economically. But the church should be different. First of all it is not an organization like so many leaders try and make it. It is an organism! It lives and breathes. Secondly, the church is not dependent on the product. It doesn't have to sell anything to survive. Third the church is also not dependent upon any advertising. All of these of course financially speaking. The church is commanded to give as an Old Testament law. One tenth of all we own is supposed to go right back to God. Abraham set up this action in Genesis 14:20 before it became a law.
  • 20 And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Abraham did it out of faith. Then when the Israelites left Egypt, many had no clue what faith really was so God put into law for them to understand. And from here on is was etched in stone.

  • 30 A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.

Remember a tithe is a tenth of what you have. But there are other references needed to understand what the tithe really means. It's not only a tenth of what we own, but it's the first tenth of what we own. We are given examples of what this means when we see Cain and Abel. Cain gave his portions to the Lord, but Abel gave his first portions and the Lord blessed him.

We are also given a promise of what happens when we tithe. Malachi 3:8-12

  • 8 Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings.
  • 9 You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me.
  • 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
  • 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty.
  • 12 "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty.

If we do what we are supposed to do then the body of God (Christ) will flourish. So why is the church in economic problems like the rest of the world? Here is the result of the poll:

  • 35% say that they are doing what they are supposed to be doing. Nothing hinders them. They give their tithe.
  • 30% say that something is getting in the way but it was not a choice given.
  • 20% say they do not like the programs that are going on with their local congregation.
  • 5% say the church is only worried about money.
  • 5% say giving isn't just about finances.
  • 5% say they can't afford it.

All of the above are either misinformed about what they do or are excuses not to give. Even if 35% do what they are supposed to do and the rest only do half then the church wouldn't be in the economic situation it is in. God has promised this! So, there must be more to it. The New Testament also talks about giving. But it goes into more detail in a way. The Old law also in Deuteronomy tells us we need to give according to the portions the Lord has blessed us. So if we make a lot then we should give a lot. But the New "law" says we need to give so much that our left hand doesn't know what our right hand has done. And since we have freely received stuff then we should freely give. Jesus also says that even though money is not the most important part of giving in Matthew 23, He says that we should not forget the law about it. Paul later tells that we should give according to our hearts. But our hearts are supposed to be filled with compassion for others. So why is the church still in economic despair? How about those excuses? The 20% who say that they do not like the way the church is running programs is not a valid reason. If they do not the way that local congregation is running then they need to give it somewhere else. The 5% that say the church is only worried about money is only showing selfishness and the fact that they do not know what the church actually does. This type of person is the one on the fence who wants to believe but can not find it within themselves to do so. So, they look for an excuse of not to give. This is also why some will fall from the curch because they get focused on the the money over the substance of what church is really about. The 5% that say giving is not only about finances is true but do not miss the law of giving! Give with a cheerful heart, money is part of the "game of life".

But even if these would be valid excuses the leadership needs to take these things into account. If 20% are not giving due to the fact that the church is not doing what it is supposed to be doing. Then why not look at that and see if changes are needed? Sometimes leadership gets bogged down with treating the church as an organization. But as it has been said before, the church is NOT an organization, it is an organism! If 65% are not giving or doing what they are supposed to be doing then maybe the leadership needs to look into that and be more open about the finances and how we are supposed to treat it. The 5% that say they can't afford it do not know what they actually can or can not afford. Maybe they have never tried it. These are also the ones who are young in their faith.

Ahh...faith. It comes back to this again as it started with Abraham. Giving is about faith. When you give have faith in what is done. Have faith that God will keep His promise.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

XXXIV. The Atheist

When you talk to an atheist it seems like the conversation always goes back to a couple of things. So this posting is to any person who calls themselves an atheist. The main question is just out of curiosity so please do not think this is coming at you with a curled fist. But when you talk to atheists who pride themselves with science and the intellect, they all say the same thing:

Prove God exists.

So here is the question: What proof do you want? Let's see if the answer can be guessed of what you want.
  1. You want DNA proof. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen. We can't get DNA from anyone born 4000 years ago unless they have been mummified. And even today according to Maury Povich, DNA is only 99% accurate with all the science we have. So how do you expect to get this?
  2. You want physical proof besides DNA. Be honest how can you prove anything physical? Touch, smell, taste, hear, sight. You can find millions of people who say that the life of Christ was real and that the events in the Bible are real. The Bible is considered a history book. It's funny how some will take one author such as Homer and believe his stories and say that he dipicted his time period perfectly or at least close. Yet, the Bible through the NT had four views (eye witnesses) to the life of Christ and not one of them contradict each other and still people claim it's not real. So if they don't beleive that then how can you prove Jesus Christ lived? We can't find Jimmy Hoffa and he lived in our time. Does that mean he didn't live?
  3. You want to able to add him up and find him mathematically. Are you 2+2? No one can be added up and say ahhh, you live because math says so.
  4. You want to define him grammatically. There are too many words that can describe him as there can be for you and everyone else as well.

These are the proofs demanded from those of the science age. But even science hasn’t caught up to what we want to know about our own world let alone a God who created everything. So no matter what, the answer isn’t going to be satisfying to someone who is not open minded about it.

So when the conversation and the intellect is shut down and you get no answer the atheist always turns to “well, if God exist then why all of the death and destruction”. And there is no great answer for that because we will never understand why anything happens. Sometimes we can’t even understand why we do the things we do when we don’t want to do them. It may not be the best answer but a starting point is found here at an older posting on this site: http://ideasoftimreligion.blogspot.com/2008/09/xi-death-becomes-us.html. Again, it will not suffice the close-minded but it’s a start.

Then it seems when that answer doesn’t help, the atheist always starts to reveal something wrong in their life. A father left. A mother died. A child is sick. They were abused when they were younger. It always ends up with experiences in their own life. So they start to question WHY?! That is when they all turn to intellectualism, because they are trying to find the answers to their own life. And when they can’t find it on their own they blame God for all of the problems and decide there must not be a God.

And for some reason many decide to get involved with Christians in discussion groups to try and prove them wrong. Why? Why can’t you just let someone who believes in Christ just believe in him and let them go? Do you go to Muslim sites and argue with them? Do you go to satanic sites, Buddhists sites, or any other and argue? The best guess is no. If this is wrong then let us know.

Here is the actual answer to the last question: It’s a cry for help. Otherwise why waste all of your valuable time arguing about something that does not exist? Do you go to fairy tale sites and take all that time to argue if pixies do not exist? If God doesn't exist then there is nothing to argue about is there?

You are looking for answers. And that is great. You are intellectuals. That is great. But sometimes God is simple. Sometimes God is not in the earthquake, he is in the whisper. Sometimes he is not in the sky with a lightening bolt waiting to throw it, but he is in your deepest, darkest room, in the loneliest of spots waiting for you to ask to show who he really is. If this is wrong, then tell us why are all of you on these sites? If this is right then why not just leave these sites and comment on your own and invite people to read. It is understandable that some want discussion but when it comes down to this topic, it becomes words of insult and brutality. It no longer becomes a discussion.

Ahh...but you won't answer the question anyway.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

XXXIII. What are we up against?

Do you know what you are up against in this world? First of all, 2000 years ago Jesus said that the world will hate you because of Him. Two thousand years have passed and His words ring true.

If you are a Christian, you are hated!

If you talk about God in public, it has to be a generic god. It can be a supreme being. It can be an intelligent designer. It can even be a creator in a sense. You can mention Mohammed. You can give facts about Buddha. You can quote Confucius. But mention Christ and you are an idiot.

You can become a Muslim terrorist and you are separated from other Muslims. But if an abortion clinic bomber happens to be "Christian" then all of a sudden we are thrown into the same bunch as that one person.

You can be a liberal and you are considered passionate. You can be a moderate and you are considered mainstreamed. You can be a conservative and just be considered old. But if you are a Christian conservative then you are a right-winged fanatic.

You can teach science and you are allowed to because you are helping someone learn fact. You can teach language arts to help develop some one's speaking abilities. You can teach history because you are using the past to explain the present and future. You can teach all of these because you are teaching someone how to better themselves. But if you use this education to teach about Christ then you are "preaching" and forcing it down other's throats.

You can send someone to a psychologist because they need help with their mind. You can send someone to a physical therapist because they need help with their body. You can send someone to see a psychiatrist because they help with their feelings. But you can not send someone to see a minister, even though they need spiritual help (and they usually need spiritual help first) because apparently God doesn't intervene or the problem is with our surroundings and has nothing to do with spirituality.

Have you ever tried to surf the net for blogs and/or discussion groups? The following is not an endorsement: but there are mock presidential election sites that let you run for president by allowing you to develop your own platform, debate, and run against others. Blog sites are filled with angry people who are missing life. Many are those who have become atheists in their walks of life. If you take time to read some of these people's ideas, you would realize how sick of a human race we have become. You would learn how distorted true relationships with the eternal God are. You would see hatred come across in so many ways and you feel so alone with your thoughts because once someone finds out that you are a Christian, you become a target for their hostilities.

Stand strong. Keep your faith. Learn what you can and do not become content with where you are. Be passionate and show compassion. Be encouraged and be encouraging. Live to learn. Love to live. Learn to love. Because you may not know what you are up against.

Monday, June 15, 2009

XXXII. Only Mature Christians Read

Not many people did the poll this time around (lowest in site's history). But what was told was that most people who read this site has been a Christian for quite some time. Everyone who answered has been a believer for at least 10 years. That is okay but if you know someone who has questions, steer them this way. If you read this site then please take 5 seconds to do the poll.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

XXXI. Simple Complexity #3

The Bible

The Complexity:
Did you know?

  • It was written by men and women, giving us views from both angles.
  • Many of the books actually may have been one at one time but were separated by man due to the subject matter (Ex: Luke and Acts).
  • There is not one contradiction in all of its verses.
  • The OT is about God's people who strayed so far they needed rules written down for them to follow (the Ten Commandments). The NT is about God's people who had strayed so far they needed a savior to help them (Jesus Christ).
  • It's also a history book.
  • It's also a psychology book.
  • There were 66 writings found and kept and put together that gives us a complete story on how to live our lives.
  • It is separated into two main parts, an Old and New Testament, each having its own purpose.
  • It spans about 2000 years but talks about roughly 6000 years of man's existence.
  • It is the best selling book of all time.

But did you also know?

  • The people in the OT at first did not have to live by the Ten Commandments. They lived by faith. But since they lost their faith God gave them a second chance and allowed them to see how He wanted us to live so He wrote down ten righteous acts to live by.
  • The people in the NT did not live by the ten rules anymore, so God knew the only way to save His people was to send a savior, and so today we are living by faith once again. There will not be another second chance.
  • Some of those who wrote the bible or were bible heroes were uneducated, had speech impediments, were murderers, cheaters of money, even prostitutes, yet God used them to tell us what life is all about and changed them as well.
  • Each book represents Christ in its own unique way. So no matter what book in it you read, it's about Christ.
The Simple:
Did You know?
  • It has never lost its relevancy, each subject is still for today's person with problems.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

XXX. What do you want?

Here are the results of the latest poll; What would you like to learn more about from your studies?
  • (61%) More about the deep stuff no one ever teaches about. People want more. There is so much more to the Christian life that we do not know. There is so much more that God wants us to know that we do not explore. There is so much in the Bible that we do not comprehend. There is so much more that we can learn that we do teach. Why are we not there? It could be the culture we are in. We are bombarded with anti-Christian issues and ideas that turn people off. We are lazy. We are selfish. And there are a slew of other reasons. But the main reason here is church leadership. Too many places have leaders that don't teach. Their focus is more on getting programs going that will bring people into the church. There is a problem with that. See Thought XXVIII for that explanation. The people who said this answer are the core of the church. They are done with the milk. They want substance but the church leaders aren't giving it to them. And when asked why they aren't getting it, the answer from the leaders is usually along the lines of "well, you should be teaching others yourself". That is true but then there is no growth for them.
  • (55%) More about why we believe what we believe. This goes to show that no one knows what their faith is all about. They believe things about the Bible and church and all of the things that go with being a Christian. But, they have no idea how they got there. Why do they actually believe in something? They were either raised that way or had a mentor that didn't explain everything to them. The person who answered this is probably someone ready to become part of the core of the church but feels inadequate in their beliefs to become it. Another failure of leadership. Equip the new Christian with some background. Let them know how to defend their faith. Scripture tells us we need to be ready in and out of season.
  • (44%) More about Christ and his relationship with us. This should have been higher. This is the backbone of your faith. This is the treasure that we seek, or should seek. Maybe those who didn't answered this are satisfied with their faith. Never become complacent with your faith. Always grow. Or maybe those who did answer this are the new Christians who want to know more. But then that means 56% need to step up and teach. Either way this number does not show a positive side except that there are some who want to know Christ deeper.
  • (33%) More about the history and books of the Bible. This is probably the more mature Christian. They want to know the background of what they are studying to try and put things into a different perspective.
  • (22%) More about getting through life's trials. Although we need to know these things it doesn't look like many want to keep talking about this subject. Then why do we keep having sermons and Bible studies in our small group settings based on this?
  • (11%) More about Church related issues. This is probably answered by someone who has an issue with the way things are ran at their church. They want to see if things are Biblically sound in their actions.
  • (5%) More about the end times. Maybe this issue has been beaten to death and people are tired of it so no one wants to discuss this anymore. And then again it could be a plot of satan to get the Church unprepared for what's coming. You be the judge.
  • (5%) Something else. Let us know what that something else is. Maybe this number will raise. You answered it now respond to it.
  • (0%) More about the beginning of time. Is it that unimportant? Is Genesis not important?

Now you see the results. It's time for you to comment. Are these correct assumptions and observations?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

XXIX. Simple Complexity #2

The Gospel of Jesus Christ
The Complexity:
Did you know?
  • The term Gospel means "good news". The good news is about how God came down from His throne to live among us to show us the right path to salvation.
  • There are many "gospels" that were written but there are only 4 credited accounts of the life of Christ. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The gospels of Thomas and Judas ARE NOT credible, no matter what Dan Brown says.
  • The earliest one written was about 20 years after the resurrection of Christ; Mark.
  • There were numerous miracles in the Bible however the first miracle of Christ is recorded in only one of them; John.
  • There are 238 separate accounts of the life of Christ in the Gospels.
  • There are no written records of Christ's life from his ages 13-29.

But did you also know?

  • Out of the 238 accounts only 19 are found in all four books. And most of these are about Christ's last week on earth.
  • Every prophecy written in the OT about Christ can be found in the four books.
  • Only one book talks about Christ as an infant; Luke.
  • These words were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Since man can see things in the wrong way the Spirit inspired these men to write down the story of Christ. 1 Thessalonians 2:13
  • There are four books written to show you four different viewpoints; one is for the Jew who can not believe in the Messiah (Matthew), one is for those living in the Roman Empire who need to know Rome was not the only authority (Mark), one is for the Gentile leaning towards earthly ways (Luke), and the other is to show the personal relationship with Christ for all (John).

The Simple:

Did you know?

  • There is one theme in all four: Repent and believe. Matthew 28 16-20, Mark 1:15, Luke 19:10, John 3:16

Monday, April 13, 2009

XXVIII. What's a good size for a church?

What is the perfect size for a church? Keep in mind this is not referring to the Spiritual temple, which is you! It is referring to a physical building of worship.

Here are the results of the latest poll conducted from February 28 to April 10 which asked, "What is the perfect size for a church?".

  • 48% said 100-500 people
  • 36% said it doesn't matter
  • 8% said 0-100 people
  • 8% said 1000 or more people
  • 0% said 500-1000 people

Assumptions and observations:

  1. Those who picked 0-100 are the traditionalist Christian. Someone who likes small groups in order to get to know all the people. They are afraid of growth because it disrupts the flow of familiarity. It could also be because these people are control freaks who like to maintain control over situations. If the church congregation gets too big they lose control over certain issues. And that really frightens them. The pros for a small church: some have already been mentioned. There is the familiarity and closeness of people. Everybody knows everybody else. There is a sense of comfort. Nothing really changes so you know what to expect. You can see when things start to get out of hand. The pastor of the church can deal with everyone. This is his flock and he can take care of 100 people or less. The cons of this size are: No growth. people become complacent with what they have become. There is no movement in the community. They tend to stay in their own doors. The leaders become almost dictatorial. Too many of them are related which can cause bickering. Sometimes the church from the outside looks unfriendly. Those who attend have been there forever with very few new Christians.
  2. Those who picked 100-500 are your suburban mainstream congregations with city influence. They are more open to change. They are a little more laid back than the traditionalist. They see the necessities of what has always been done but they are willing to incorporate new ideas to keep it growing. Pros: It's still small enough for a comfort zone. You can get into small groups yet still feel like you are part of the church as a whole. If there are any changes you feel a part of it. People need you to do your part. It is still small enough to where elders can function and help the pastor without stepping into his visionary gift. Cons: changes mean people changes as well. It becomes a revolving door for Christians. They like it at first but can't grasp on to the changes as they happen so many tend to leave and come back only to leave again. Only the core will stay with some new Christians in attendance. But that means you have a mature congregation.
  3. Those who would have picked 500-1000 are your suburban non mainstream congregation. This church is all about change. Pros: They are on the verge of doing something drastic. They are well respected and have made a name for themselves. People hear about the great things that are happening at the place. Small groups take and form their own ministries because there are enough people of similar interests to make an impact. Cons: There is nothing really stable about this church. The constant change forces people to make a decision, either stay and wait it out or leave. Most who stay are either in leadership or they are new Christians who like the fast pace environment. But this leaves an immature congregation. You tend to lose your identity in the church. Yes you are apart of a small group but you seem less valuable as a whole. And many types of people start to feel segregated against. This is probably why no one picked this size.
  4. Those who picked 1000 + are those who apparently are leaders of their congregation. They want to see numbers. Not so they can get a reputation but so they feel they are doing what they are called to do. They feel more like an evangelist instead of a pastor. They want to feed a community not just a flock. Pros: You have mass tons of people who can work. The money that comes in to these places can change the world. They have programs for everybody. Cons: The megachurch mentality. A feeling of superiority, like everything they do must be right since they are so large. The leadership gets lost into the crowd. No one knows who is making the decisions about the church. All identity is lost.
  5. Those who picked it doesn't matter are probably those who aren't leadership per se but are still close to where all the action is. They are the ones who do the ministries or are really involved with them. They get angry or at least depressed when people don't follow their ideas. They don't understand why people argue about issues. They just want to see action and be a part of it.

Keep in mind, the size of the church probably doesn't really matter. What matters is, are you impacting your community? Maybe a church of 100 is a good thing because the community is only 1000 people in size anyway. But then again maybe a large church is good because it's a place where anyone can go and get some kind of program for them. Then again maybe 100-500 is best because you have the best of both worlds. If you grow too fast then start more sister churches in other communities. If you don't grow so fast then stay around and learn.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

XXVII. Simple Complexity #1


The Complexity

Did you know?
  • There are 206 bones in the human body. Each bones has its own shape. Each bone has its purpose.
  • In one day, your blood travels nearly 12,000 miles. Your heart beats around 35 million times per year. Your heart pumps a million barrels of blood during the average lifetime -- enough to fill three supertankers.
  • Your fingerprints are like no one else on this earth...ever!
  • You have anywhere between 50,000,000,000 to 100,000,000,000 cells in your body, all functioning by themselves yet working together to create different parts of your body. Some form bone. Some form skin. Some form organs. And some form blood.
  • Your body has a temperature ranging 97 degrees to 99 degrees. Too cold and you get hypothermia. Too hot and you have a fever.
  • Your brain can remember every second of your life and still have room for more memories for the future. (Now accessing it takes time :) )
  • You are the most complex yet most efficient "machine" on this earth. You run for 70 or 80 years with more parts to keep working on than any other machine that could ever be created.
  • And that is to just name a few.

But did you also know?

  • You are made up of a trichotomy. You are not only a body, i.e., you can interact physically with your surroundings. You are also soul, i.e., you can comprehend and reason around the physical objects and have feelings about things. But you are also spirit, i.e., you have something special from God that separates us from the rest of creation. You are made in His image. You were created to be with Him. Hebrews 4
  • You are the only creature in all of creation to have a relationship with Him. There are no other alien being in all the universe. There is nothing else created like you. You are created in the image of God. You bear His likeness. Genesis 1
  • Your home is not here on the earth. Even though we have the physical on the outside, we are spiritual beings. John 14

The Simple:

Did you know?

  • You are valuable to God. Romans 5

Monday, March 30, 2009

XXVI. Christianity: A Simple Complexity

Hebrews 5:12-13
  • 12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.
  • 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.

Why do we make something out of nothing at times and leave out something to make nothing at other times? Christianity is simple, but it is also full complexities. The term here is not referring to being complexed, rather it is referring to being full of vastness. We live a simple life but there is so much of it we can learn from it. Simple, yet complexed.

Here are some simple things:

  1. Without Christ, there is no hope. We think we can do things on our own. We can succeed in this life with our own physical strength, intelligence, or even luck. But in the end what does it get us? The same as everyone else. He who dies with the most amount of toys...still dies. Without Christ, there is no hope.
  2. No one is perfect. We are made of flesh with desires. Desires uncontrolled cause sin. We all do it. No one is perfect.
  3. We all need forgiveness. Since we are not perfect, we need something to transform us into perfectness. God's forgiveness is what transforms us.
  4. We all need a relationship with God (the Trinity); as a father/child, as a brother/savior, and as a guide/counselor.

But, with these four simple ideas comes a world of abundances that few ever try and achieve. Many go through life using ignorance as blissfulness when we are not supposed to be that way. Have you ever thought about why the Bible was written the way it was? Or why the men who wrote it were picked to write it? Have you ever thought about why there are so many stories about man's character and flaws? Have you ever wondered why we need to go to church, pray, worship and read our Bible? Has it ever occurred to you that we are more than physical beings and was meant to search for your spiritual nature? Those four simple ideas of who we are as stated above can open up a whole new world to you.

Milk is good. It does a body good. But with the milk, we need a little substance. Let's go get some substance. Stay tuned for more.

Monday, February 23, 2009

XXV. The Christian Politician

Can you mix religion and politics?  Yes.  Should a Christian really worry about the political world if they have the promise of being taken care of by the Father?  Yes.  God does not want apathic workers.  Here are some clarifications of Christians and politics:
  1. Politics, although nowhere near the top priority of a Christian, should still not be neglected.
  2. Although God is not a democrat or republican there is still a better choice when it comes to upholding Christian values.
    a. Voting for a candidate that stands for non-Christian values is not proper for a Christian
    b. There is no valid rationalization behind the thinking process of voting for a person standing for non-Christian values. It is still improper. Voting for Obama was wrong. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090123/ap_on_go_pr_wh/obama_abortion_ban
    c. Not voting is inaction and we are always called to action and thereby not the proper thing to do.
    d. The economy does not match morals. Voting due to the economy is okay when all things are constant, but not okay when values such as homosexuality, abortion and civil rights are on the list.
  3. Setting high moral standards is a duty of Christians and politics can be used in that manner.
    a. "Forcing" people into our values is better than having them force theirs upon us!
    b. Yes, although moral standards have to be changed at the source before anything really happens, but having laws helping with that tasks is better.
  4. High-moral leaders have always set the standard for countries, very biblical.
  5. No matter who the leaders is, hopefully everyone prays that they make wise and moral decisions.
  6. The US may not be God's gift to the world but it is by far the closest than any other in history.
  7. The founding fathers may not have had complete Christian values set for this country but they by far closer than what we have today.
This should help all to understand and no one should put politics above faith.

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