Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rekindling, Supporting, and Encouraging

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her....." (Eph 5:25).

"Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged." (Col. 4:21).

"Because He himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." (Heb. 2:18).

It's three for one days at the Thought of the Day. The next set of milestones I am setting out for myself have to do with all of my relationships in life: my beautiful wife of 7 years come January 19, my son of 3 years, all of my family since I was born, and all the men and women I come into contact or relationship with as I go about trying to spread the Truth. Forget the chord of three strands, this is a cable of numerous strands and it will never break as long as Christ as at the center. Some strands may break, some may fray or become weak, still others will become stronger than ever when strained. All in all, it comes down to my relationship with Christ that will prove the strength of the cable. So here are my goals relationally for 2009:

1) Rekindle the passion in my marriage. How? The hundreds of ways I used to when we were dating. Send her love letters, write her poems, flowers, as many dates as possible, LISTENING, remain steadfast in our weekly night together, and many more.

2) Support my son through encouragement of his interests, involvement in his activities and passions (even though they may not be mine), dedicated play time every night that I am home with him, and exemplifying Christ both in his presence and away.

3) Lastly, encouraging all those I meet whether they know Christ or not. It takes more effort to break down than it does to build up. Through connection with people, Christ will shine through, I just know it in my heart. Believers or not, we all share the same struggles, temptations, and desires. I must not be afraid anymore to share the struggles of being human while seeking the face of Christ. How am I going to do this? Make the effort at least once a day to pray, call, e-mail, text or visit those who I am establishing a relationship with.

Wow, this year is going to be full. Hopefully it will be full of Christ, passion, and purpose. But my goals are not finished, tomorrow, on the first day of 2009, I will outline the easiest and most common goals that everyone shares: physical.

For those of you who follow this blog, I urge you to share your goals for the year here. All those who read them will be encouraged and pushed to set their own. And by sharing with everyone, we can be supported by the others to reach and achieve our very own milestones.

Trying to be a California wildfire,
Jesus Freak Out!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Brain Dusting

"A man is praised according to his wisdom, but men with warped minds are despised" Prov.12:8.

Wisdom of this world and of Christ are 2 totally different things as we have discussed in previous posts. But, warped minds come in all shapes and sizes. And I can tell you that the television has an uncanny way of doing just that: warping our minds.

It's time to clean the dust off the synapses and begin exercising my mind. This means opening my mind to new points of view, criticism, and most off all, Christ. To do this, I must intellectually stimulate those brain cells that have been in hiding for a while. I used to love to read. Instead of reading, this past year I have found numb refuge in the television. It's a great way for me to unwind at the end of a day full of flying and students trying to kill me or help me on my way to a violation of the Federal Aviation Regulations. But, it is a mind crime to think that the television could substitute for something as pure and simple as reading. It's time to run for the bookshelf instead of the remote this year. Here are my goals for 2009 to help me keep my brain from atrophy:

1) Read one new book ever 2 to 3 weeks. Breaking this down, that's 17-26 new sources of information a year!

2) Read one chapter of the Bible each and every day. Really this shouldn't be all that difficult seeing as some chapters are shorter than a TV commercial to read. It's not like I am going to read Psalm 119 every night (check it out, 176 verses). While reading them, I am going to study them as best I can using other sources of information.

3) I am going to engage my wife or son (he's only three but way smarter than I was at that age), or a good friend in a conversation that pushes the limits of our spiritual and intellectual thinking without talking about politics. It's like a workout partner. I want to do this as often as possible. I don't have a definite milestone on this one.

Our minds are the only things that cannot be stolen from us by this world unless we give over the keys to them. I have almost lost my own mind control. It's time to wrestle it back from the screen and free think for Christ.

Knocking myself on the head with my ringfinger,
Jesus Freak Out!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Time to Prepare

After a longer than expected hiatus from writing, I am now throwing myself back into it full force again. The holidays have been good and bad for me, but all in all, God has taught and still is teaching me some valuable lessons about how to live my life for Him and not myself. Most of all, I was hit in the face today at church. My life has no real plan right now. My plan is haphazard at best and I am still trying to find myself professionally, spiritually, and relationally. Over the next few posts, I am going to try and find my own purpose while working to help all of us find ours.

First and foremost, we must have a spiritual plan in our lives in order to keep our souls focused on the real purpose for our lives: living for Christ in all that we do. "...whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1Cor 10:31). This is way too broad to be a milestone, but it must be the driving force behind all that we plan and do. With this in mind, here are the spiritual milestones that I am setting for myself:

1) Open the door to a relationship with one new person a week inside or outside of church. That makes 52 people during the coming year that could potentially start a new relationship with Christ. Sweet! It's lofty but do-able.

2) Dedicate time each day with Christ. Read, study, and pray. It's that simple.

3) Hold true to a devotional with my wife and son once week. Family time is almost as important as time with God. It's time to move this to a higher priority level.

4) Keep this blog going for another year with posts at least three times a week, and six when possible. It's another lofty goal that other bloggers have told me is difficult......and it is. But, I know that through dedication and sacrifice, it can be done.

These are just my milestones written out for you all to see. Some I will meet, others I will fall short on, but I am going to try my best, doing all for His glory. I challenge each of you to do the same. Set your priorities in the right Light, and nothing is impossible.

Spring cleaning a few months early,
Jesus Freak Out!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Meaning of It All

I am posting for the first time in awhile. Life has been crazy with a move and Christmas and throughout all of this, I have finally found, on the eve of Christmas, why we do as we do: God and family. Something happened tonight that put me into a mood that I will not soon forget. My brother did not attend our family gathering for the first time in a while and I was upset. I wanted to give to him something he has not had in a long time: peace and solitude from all the commotion of life. He is a hard working, family loving man who has one of, if not, the toughest jobs on the planet: law enforcement. Of course I reacted in a way that was wrong and unjustified and I have sought his forgiveness. But that is the meaning of it all. That is the reason for this day each year.

"For God so loved the world, that he sent his only son, that whosoever should believe in Him will not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Our pastor used this same verse at church this evening, but I felt as though it needed repeating here. God sent His Son for our forgiveness. To think that I could not sacrifice my own pride for my brother, is downright criminal (no pun intended). And to think that God's sacrifice was not enough for the one I had to make tonight. I sought my brother's forgiveness after a long conversation and some tears. I try to love him without condition, for I am merely human, but will always love him, come what may. And so God loves us. He will not abandon us or forsake us. And he sent His Son into the world on this Christmas day as the sacrifice for us. And for me to be so bold...........God forgive me.

Please enjoy this time with family as there are many in the world tonight who cannot spend it with theirs. Family and God: often times, they are the only things that we have to solely rely upon. I did not mean for this to be downtrodden. Christmas is a time of joy and celebration. Celebration with family and joy in their presence. Joy in our lives knowing that our Savior was born on this day and celebration in His reason for coming to this earth. Thank you Father for your sacrifice. Thank you Jesus for your life!

Merry Christmas,
Jesus Freak Out!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Walk Away

First, I will be back this week on a limited basis. It's Christmas, we moved and we are trying to get settled, so it will be sporadic. For today though, I want to thank my friend Neal's beautiful wife April for this next post. She is one heck of a writer. Check out her BLOG.

Most of the time, when we read stories of “God calling,” we focus on what God’s call cost the men and women who obeyed. God’s call cost Abraham security with his family; God’s call cost Esther comfort in her position of authority; God’s call cost Mary her reputation; God’s call cost Paul his freedom and eventually his life. The cost is usually what we pay attention to.

There is an untold story, though, that is absolutely essential if we are going to maintain life-long consistency in responding to God’s call. It’s after the call. It’s after the struggle of whether to heed and obey. It’s after the adrenaline-rushing moment of others realizing what you’re doing. It’s after the attention goes from you to God. It’s after the sense of yes!-it-was-worth-it.

It’s the walk away.

When God calls, he calls us toward something. It may be a physical move to another city, it may be a changed habit, it may be a shift in the dynamics of a relationship, it may be a form of denying yourself. In the act of moving towards that something, we are walking away from something else.

When the dust settles, when the decision is made, when the words have been spoken, we find ourselves a little further from the norm and from what’s socially accepted. Although we’re closer to God than ever before, there can still be a sense of loneliness. The friends who once partied with you cannot understand why you won’t. The coworkers you used to gossip with don’t even include you in regular conversation because of your change. Even Christian friends aren’t comfortable with your new convictions and are quick to drop a sarcastic line to let you know.

It’s in the walk away from our old lives that we must be on guard from a fearsome enemy—pride. It was pride that we wrestled with in order to initially obey God. And now pride will try to seduce again. This time, it’s in the form of spiritual pride. After answering God’s call and embracing the change, pride will try to offer us comfort for our loneliness. Spiritual pride soothes the ego and feeds an us-versus-them mentality. It encourages us to judge the ones who haven’t walked away or answered a similar call. The worse thing about spiritual pride is it keeps us from drawing near to God with our pain.

The difference between Paul and the Pharisees that Jesus condemned was simply in the walk away. Paul left family, left political and religious positions of authority, and left places of comfort all in responding to God’s call. When he walked away from those things, he bathed himself in humility and filled his heart with praise for God. He never forgot where he came from. The Pharisees, however, in their acts of righteousness, succumbed to spiritual pride during the walk away. Both Paul and the Pharisees knew the word of God. Both obeyed and made great sacrifices. The difference? One kept worshipping when the miracle was over and the other boasted of its success.

When God calls, we are blessed in our obedience. The Father smiles, the hosts of heaven pause and the world takes note. When the moment is over, though, we are wise to guard our hearts from pride. It’s not only our moving towards what God calls us to that counts as worship. It’s also in the walk away.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Movin' On Up

I just want to let everyone know that I will be taking a break for the next week from posting. My wife, son and I are moving into a new townhome and this week is going to be non-stop busy moving small things all week, big things on Saturday, and then cleaning the old place on Sunday. On top of that, we will be attending all the fun Christmas-time events in between and working. I am going to try and get a few guest posts up for the week, but it is going to be hit and miss. I will begin anew come next Monday. Until then, be safe, and keep on reaching out to those who do not know Christ as this is a time and a season where they need Him most.

With love,
Jesus Freak Out!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Excellence in All We Do

I am not trying to tout on my work ethic here, but ever since I started working, I tried to be the best I could at anything I was doing, whether it was fueling airplanes at the local airport in college or prosecuting my unit's little corner of the War on Terror in Afghanistan. It's a pride thing with me that I have to get over, but I always wanted to be better than the next guy. I always wanted to be the BEST!

Now, let's apply this to our walks with Christ. As we live out our lives, hopefully with the guidance of God, we must strive to be the best at everything................for HIM! Too many times, and I am probably the most guilty, we try to be the best for someone or something else, beit ourselves or those who have power over us. Our priority is skewed. Proverbs 16:3 sums up in 12 words how we should look upon our labors daily and for the kingdom: "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." It's that simple. If we do everything as if we were doing it for Christ himself, then how can it go wrong?

Now, don't take this as if I am saying that nothing could possibly fall short just because we are doing it for Him. What I am saying is, our outlook on life will change dramatically because our priority is on God and not on ourselves. When we serve ourselves, good comes for a short while but it cannot be sustained because we see failure through our own eyes. When we serve God, good will come forever because our success or failure is not measured in human terms. When we fail with God, we still win because we learn and grow. When we fail with only ourselves, we just fail and most of the time we can't see the forest for the trees.

Dusting the TV screen for a better persepective,
Jesus Freak Out!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Service Before Self

Sorry for not posting yesterday. I got the funk and could barely stay awake last night. So on with it.....

The next core value that we lived our Air Force life by was Service Before Self. As we can easily see here, this is and should always be the mantra and ethic of a Christ follower. Our service to Christ, to our fellow follower, to those who do not yet have a relationship with Him should always come first before even ourselves. This society we live in is all about looking out for Number 1. Our number one should be God in the whole scheme of living for Christ. Service, just as Jesus exemplified through the washing of His disciples feet at the Last Supper, is the ultimate sacrifice we can make.

"One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty" (Prov. 11:24 NIV).

We must give of the time, money, talents, and work ethic that God has given us. Remember, it is not ours. It is on loan from God to serve His purposes. Service Before Self is not just a mantra, it's an attitude change.

Getting over myself to serve,
Jesus Freak Out!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Core Values

For the next three days, we are going to keep looking into the book of Proverbs, but I wanted to diverge a little and talk about something that was integral to my tenure as an officer in the Air Force. I know that I talk a great deal about this time in my life, but it was big part for the better part of 12 years and many of my life lessons were learned as a leader in this country's military. While in the Air Force, we followed three core values that were the bedrock of our service commitment: Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do. As you can see, these three core values can be applied to our lives outside of the structure and mission of a military force.

Let's look at the core value of Integrity First. I always defined integrity as what we do when no one is watching. I try to live out this mantra in my daily life. It's easy to do the right thing when others are observing what we do. Politicians are a great example. So what does this have to do with Proverbs and living our lives for Christ? "The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out" (Prov. 10:9 NIV).

The heart of this passage is in "walking securely." As Christ followers, we must walk with Christ securely through our day to day activities and actions. We must ensure that our integrity remains intact through the example that we set. God must be a part of everything that we do. When He is foremost in our decisions, in our responsibility, in all aspects of our lives, the Spirit then guides our every decision. When the Spirit guides our every decision, we become integrity personified and the light of Christ will shine through us. Also, our guilt does not consume us and we walk securely knowing that we have done as God commanded. Second thoughts are God talking.

What do we do when we are alone, flipping through the channels at night? What do we do when we are upset about our boss' decision? What do we do when there is a whole bunch of money on the line but the deal is shady? Our conscience is our integrity. When we ignore our conscience, we ignore Christ because the Spirit of God IS our conscience when we are "walking securely" with Him.

Just got Godfreeze and it hurts,
Jesus Freak Out!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Absolut Green

"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." (Prov. 14:30 NIV)

Black Friday. Uuuuuurrrrrrhhhhhhhhh! This day absolutely terrifies me because of all the crazy things that happen, all in the spirit of "Christmas" or "the holidays." We hear about fights over the newest video game system, or some special talking Elmo doll that is out of stock, or over the closest parking space at the mall or department store. It's absolute insanity! It's absolute envy!

This holiday brings out the best in some people, and the absolute worst in others. We see the evils of jealousy, envy, covetessness (don't know if that is a word), and despise. Sometimes it's all because we don't have what the next person has. It's a destroyer of men and frankly, it's a destroyer of the soul.

Peace in a relationship with Jesus Christ is our only refuge and hope of overcoming that feeling of,"How come they get to have all that and I don't. IT'S NOT FAIR!" When we focus our efforts on what God had in mind for this season, i.e. celebrating His Son's birth, we can come to a peace with the world where having everything is not what it's all about. Christmas is about giving, and God gave us the greatest gift of all during this season: His son Jesus Christ. Let's celebrate that the most this season.

Turning the channel on my soul,
Jesus Freak Out!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Beast of Burden

"Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest." (Prov. 14:4 NIV)

Oxen are some of the strongest animals in the world. They were the semi trucks of the ancient world and during Jesus' time here on earth, they were the economic life blood of an agrarian society. Oxen were used for tending a farmer's field, getting the harvest to market, and pretty much any other heavy labor task. Their strength was unrivaled by any other animal of the time, save the elephant.

If we think about it, Christ is our ox. Our community is the field that is ripe for the harvest and we are the farmers and field hands doing God's work on a daily basis. Maybe the verse should read,"Where there is no [Christ], [the church/our life/their life] is empty, but from the strength of [Christ] comes an abundant [number of people coming into relationship with Him/working for Him/doing His work]." Or, we can just take this verse at face value and believe that when God is in our lives, we will be blessed abundantly. Both are true statements and both will happen when we put our strength in Christ. But focus on the first, and all the blessings will come in due time.

We have a great many things to be thankful for this holiday season. We have breath in our lungs, we have a shirt on our backs, we have food in our stomachs, and we have a roof over our heads. We may not have a great deal of money in our wallets, but that is only relativity. I was awakened this Monday as our home team assisted a ministry in downtown Tampa for the homeless. It was their Thanksgiving meal and I can tell you that I was humbled to say the least. I am thankful for all that I have in this world, but most of all, I am thankful for a loving, gracious, and merciful God. Without Him, lost would be an understatement.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Thanking my Godly stars,
Jesus Freak Out!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Due Diligence

"The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor." (Prov. 12:24 NKJV)

Lately I have been in a rut with some aspects of my life. My career path is in jeopardy with the economy and the blossoming of a new family. A family has an impact on my career path? Yes, I have to ask myself what's more important, a wife and 2 beautiful children, a or cool career flying cool airplanes. I am stepping out of that "comfort zone" introducing the Truth of Jesus Christ to people, but when I pray, my mind tends to wander. I am having trouble focusing on the goals and being diligent about taking action on them.

Forever I have been a procrastinator extraordinaire. I don't get diligent until it's 2 minutes to midnight or the work really peaks my interest. I work best under stress, but this life with Christ is not a sprint, it's a marathon. It requires patience, not sloth. It requires action, not reaction. It especially requires hard work, time, and a selacious appetite to do what it takes for Jesus Christ. It's time we (I), change our habits and attitudes and push for Christ in all that we do, whether it's talking with people about God's greatest gift to mankind in His son Jesus Christ, or turning off the TV and getting done the honey do list that has been growing since eternity.

Hooking up the 12 volt for a jump start,
Jesus Freak Out!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Contempt of Character

For the next few weeks, we are going to delve into the book of Proverbs and look at the endless treasure trove of "one liners" that can serve us all as we go about our walks for and with Christ. Solomon has been heralded as one of the wisest men ever to walk this earth, save Jesus Himself, and we can learn so much about how to live out our daily lives by just reading the superficial meaning of his words. We are going to look beyond just the words and see what God was really using this man for.

"A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue." (Prov 11:12 NIV)

Often times we live out our lives holding a certain contempt or resentment towards those who may have hurt us or caused us pain. We see the world through a narrow looking glass where we are the victim and the world is our oppressor. With this attitude, we tend to demean or "deride" those we only think we know. We become prejudiced. We become jaded. Life takes on a demeanor of deep seeded anger towards our circumstances, 99 out of 100 which we created ourselves. Let's flip the pancake and look at the other side.

Through Solomon, God was talking about how we treat those we don't know, those whose circumstances we may not fully understand or care to understand. Each person that we meet is a unique individual fully created by God and in His magnificent image. We must treat each and every one of them as such. There is no sin greater than another; there is no wrong against someone that is so heinous that we must become the judge, jury and executioner. It's not our place. Again, we try to take the place of God when we act as such. It's our job to introduce and help nurture a relationship with Jesus Christ through firm principles and loving strength. The example we set through our words and actions, may be the example that someone looks at as the character of Jesus Christ. Think about that next time we want to speak before thinking.

Pulling the 10.5 out of my mouth,
Jesus Freak Out!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A New Lease on Living in Christ

I had a revelation the other day while I was driving down the road. I started thinking about all the people that Jesus spent His time with. I also thought about all the people that we see today who are just like those He loved most. Jesus' heart was after those who were broken, not the ones that were already "fixed." But, He saw them from a different perspective. Of course he saw them as sinners. What's funny though, He did not see them as we see most people that we call "sinners."

Too many times these days, we so-called Christians see non-believers for their sins before ever seeing them for the people they are. We see the druggie, the alcoholic, the homosexual, the player, or the greedy businessman. We don't see the person. Jesus always saw right past the sin to the heart of the person. He saw the hurt, the pain, the longing for love, and the yearning for belonging to something special. It's time to change our perspective.

When Jesus met the sinful woman at the Pharisee's house in Luke chapter 7, this was his exact perspective. Granted, her heart may already have been seeking Christ and forgiveness, but if Jesus saw her exactly as the Pharisee saw her, then her perception of Christ would have been totally changed. But her heart sought after what she knew to be true. If we can change our perspective towards that of Christ's heart, then those we encounter will see that we do not conform to the "Christians" of this world.

For too long I have watched as supposed Christians disgrace the very nature of Christ's heart. As a disclaimer, I do not presume to know the heart of Christ. If I did, I would have Him figured out and that is simply impossible. We must see others through the eyes of Christ and not those of a Pharisee. There are many people out there whose hearts are aching for us to love them for where they are, not where we expect them to be. We must look past their sins, look deep into their hearts, show them Christ's love, and leave the heart changing to God. When we supplant ourselves into Christ's role, we take away His power and make it our own. It is not ours to own.

Using my wide angle lens on life,
Jesus Freak Out!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Not Enough Indians

The last part of Paul's charge to the church was to "discharge all the duties of your ministry." Well, let's define our ministry first. You don't have to be a youth pastor, or a lead pastor, or the head of some great foundation, or run your local churche's ladies group to have a ministry. We have ministries of our own in our homes and in our workplaces. Just because it isn't titled Church at the Bay or Metropolitian Ministries, doesn't mean that we don't have ministerial duties to perform. Everyone we meet or come in contact with is a ministry opportunity, whether they are Christ followers, and especially if they are not.

We have to look beyond just our churches to see that we can minister to anyone, anywhere, anytime. We don't need fancy names and associations to be a minister. We can start at home, at school, or at work. Ministers are like assistants or administrators to the boss (that would be Christ). When we "discharge all the duties," we are working directly for God, doing as His Spirit prompts us to do, and there is no such thing as a title when it comes to ministry.

Tomorrow, I will introduce an interesting perspective on non-believers. Until then......

Stepping up to the plate,
Jesus Freak Out!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not Your Momma's Televangelist

A couple of posts ago, I was going to finish discussing the last 2 portions of the post concerning keeping our heads in the game. In the next portion of verse 5, chapter 4 of Paul's second letter to Timothy, he writes about "endur[ing] harship" which I have blogged about before. The next 2 short statements are important as well.

First, "do the work of an evangelist." By the title of this post, you can see what first comes to my mind when I think of evangelism. Televangelists can be far from what God had in mind. Evangelism, or an evangelist, neither has the authority of an apostle nor the gift of prophecy, or even the responsibility of pastoral care of a congregation. An evangelist is simply someone who carries the gospel message to places it has never been known, with origins in Acts with Philip. Hmmmmm, places it has never been known. How about our own community?

By definition, we can all, and should be, evangelists. Personally, I don't like titles, especially when they have the negative connotation in our society like this. But, we must call a spade a spade. Now, we don't have to stand on the street corner and spout off about the end of the world, or protest at an abortion clinic and demean those who go in. That is stupidity, not evangelism. We must "gently," yet firmly and truthfully speak of Jesus Christ, why He came to this earth for us, and about the life change that will come in a relationship with Him. That is evangelism.............and we have to start NOW.

Take it away Johnny,
Jesus Freak Out!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Acting Childish

Why do we teach our children not to talk to strangers, get in a car with them, or scream bloody murder if they should do something to them? Because we know that children can be all too trusting and put too much faith in someone they don't know. So why would God say that we should be like little children?

In Luke chapter 18, Jesus shows us why we should be like children. "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the the kingdom of God like a little child will not enter it" (v. 17). So what was he saying? While children can be trusting and open, adults are the complete opposite. As adults, we tend to be guarded, skeptical, and downright stand-offish towards what we can't see or touch. We always need proof. That is why we as adults are far too trusting in ourselves and not in the ultimate power of Christ.

To set the example for those who do not truly believe, we must show our child-like faith. We must show that our trust in the power of God is 100%, and that no matter what, we know in our hearts that Christ will ultimately be our saving grace.

Tapping my inner child,
Jesus Freak Out!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Personal Journal

I have started posting my personal Journal as a blog now. I am not all that consistent with doing it because I need a habit pattern to form to really get something done regularly. But, I will update this at least once a week. This is therapy for me and you will see all sorts of interesting stuff. I'm not looking for support, sympathy, or pity. I'm doing this to help others and to seek advice from those with much more "experience" than I. Please take a look and let me know what you think. There are only a couple of posts right now, but more will be coming. Have a blessed day and be safe.


God Bless,
Jesus Freak Out!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Eureka! I Found It.........

Well, well, well. We have finally found where our heads end up as Christ followers sometimes. I know I have found my head here a time or two and it wasn't fun when God said,"Let's here that pop my son." Whether it's here, or in the sand, or in the clouds, or wherever, sometimes we need to swiftly remove it from that location and start using it for God. In Paul's second letter to Timothy, he talks about this very thing: "But you, keep your head in all situations, endure harship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry" (2Tim 4:5 NIV).
In a previous post, I talked about enduring the hardship of being a Christ follower. In the next two, I am going to talk about the last two charges that Paul gives us. Until then, enjoy your weekend.
Pulling hard,
Jesus Freak Out!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Generosity Cured the Cat

Many times, as followers of Christ, we give monetarily to a charity or donate loads of our outdated stuff to Goodwill to make ourselves feel good about the work we do for Him. But, all too often, God overlooks these small acts to see where our hearts truly lie. Don't get me wrong, these are all noble enterprises that will be seen by God, but what he truly asks for is us, not our "stuff."

"A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed" (Prov 11:25 NIV). Solomon may be talking about being generous with what God has blessed us with tangibly, but more important, this can and should be applied to our generosity of time. Time is one of the most precious resources we have. It is the one thing that we own, can never have or get enough of, and that vanishes in an instant if we don't use it..........wisely. It is irreplaceable. Instead of the time value of money, like in investments, we need to look at this like the God value of time. Investing 5 minutes just listening or talking with someone in emotional need is worth more than all the gold in Fort Knox.

When we are generous with the time God has bestowed us with, we are being "good stewards" of more than just the tangibles. Generosity of money is only superficial to the giving of time in helping someone come into relationship with Christ, helping them through a tough struggle in life, or just lending an ear to bend. When we give of our time, we show someone and possibly the world what Jesus Christ also gave us: unlimited time in marriage with Him if we believe, live, and accept Him.

Money, Shmoney,
Jesus Freak Out!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

Well, after taking a few days to relax from blogging, take in the election, take in the fact that I'm gonna be a dad again, and learning to fly a new airplane, I am back at it again 6 of 7 days a week.

Lately I have been having a spirited conversation with a close family member over e-mail about the new scene of our political landscape. Yah, I know, I must let it go and be the better man. I must concentrate on showing the truth over showing my political views. But through this conversation, I believe that God has been shining through. I have been called names, persecuted for being a believer, and cursed for some of the things that I have said. But, I have been working hard not to boil over and fight back in the same fashion. I think it is working.

As Paul was working to set straight the ways of the believers in Corinth, his first letter highlights a mighty truth in how we should conduct ourselves when we are attacked for our belief in Jesus Christ. "When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly" (1 Cor 4:12-13 NIV). So, how do we react when we are attacked and persecuted for Christ? Do we complain and whine that God is not treating us fairly? Do we lash out at the person sending the grenade our way? Or do we show humility and strength by taking our lick on the chin and smiling in spite of the heart ache?

It's a difficult road as a Christian. It is a road often mired by defeat, isolation, humiliation, and embarassment. But when we seek the face of God in all that we do, we can endure through any persecution by shining His light on the situation and not stooping to the level of the attack.

Disclaimer: This family member is a great person with a huge heart. They are passionate and they did not cross a great line that they did not apologize for. I can only hope that I reacted in a Christ like fashion when I responded each time.

Hit me again,
Jesus Freak Out!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Awesome Day

Just a quick post for today on some news that my wife and I received. We went to see the doctor and we are going to have our second child!!!!!! I am so excited, stressed, scared, anxious, excited, motivated, moved, excited. Oh, did I say excited. God has blessed us with the most wonderful gift in the world and I plan on doing all that I can to be the best father and mentor to Ethan and our new addition.

Too excited to write more,
Jesus Freak Out!

A New Day Has Dawned......

Whether we like it or not, this country has spoken and we have elected a new president. The greatest thing about this whole distasteful election season is the fact the we have come so very far in over 200 years of history. What once divided a nation and nearly tore it apart, may now be the uniting factor. The first black President in the history of the United States will take office in a little over two and a half months. Dr. Martin Luther King would be proud of us. I'm not talking about being proud of the issues that may get solved or of gloating that "the right" man won the election. I am talking about how great this country is at overcoming adversity. Not matter what, though, we must continue with our one and only job: exposing the Truth of Jesus Christ to the whole world.

Our country faces a time of unprecedented and unknown challenges. The best thing we can do is "Pray continuously." And that I will do with more vigor and a renewed trust in the grace and mercy of our Savior.

With hope for the future,
Jesus Freak Out!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


A little more explanation to my post from yesterday.

God has a soft spot in His heart for those who come to Him, seek forgiveness, and begin a relationship that is like no other. We must do the same. It is hard sometimes to forgive someone who does the same thing over and over, comes back and asks forgiveness, and then does it again. God does not ask us to hound people for the sins they commit. He asks us to admonish them, and then pray. Then pray some more, oh and then pray some more. Wait for it, and then pray again. When we hound someone, whether they are a believer or not, it pushes them away from us and from God. Jesus never pushed anyone away that was not on a high horse and needed to be knocked off. We must still love them no matter what. That does not mean that we approve of their actions or act as though they are acceptable.

Let God do the work of correcting and let us do the work of praying. It's our only solice, escape, and answer to anything. Results are not immediate. It could take days, months, years or decades. For that matter, it may never happen, but it will be in God's plan for everything. Leave it to Him and do the work that we must: pray and be strong for our brothers and sisters. Say it once and then get down on our knees. I guarantee the other person will not forget what you have said and that God will do what He feels is necessary. It's not our call.

Saying it once and loving them always,
Jesus Freak Out!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hate the Sin, Not the Sinner

My momma told me this for most of my childhood and adulthood. It still rings true in my mind as I go about doing God's work to the best of my meager abilities. All too often we see this not ringing true with us as we view the lives of those around us, be it they are fellow Christ followers or those we are pursuing for Christ.

In Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, he addresses this issue in a round about sort of way when it comes to our fellow Christ followers. But it can also apply as we approach non-believers. "If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has all of you, to some extent............Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him" (2 Cor 2:5-8 NIV).

When someone is truly sorry for a sin they have committed, this means that we forgive and emotionally forget. It is impossible to mentally forget. If we don't, we risk doing damage to that person on a level that can be irreparable. And we put ourselves in God's place by leveling judgment, instead of love. It's a fine line that we all have trouble defining. But we must find the inner strength to get over ourselves and find the common ground.

This was hard for me to explain without being lengthy in one post so I am going to clarify my remarks further tomorrow. Please chime in with your thoughts.

Saying it once and leaving it there,
Jesus Freak Out!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Baptism by Fire

I have heard this saying more than once in my life and it had nothing to do with Jesus Christ. When I was a brand spankin' new 2nd Lt in the Air Force, I was put in leadership positions that some could only say were baptism by fire. At 23, right out of college, I was in charge of groups of aircraft maintainers as large as 180. It was daunting, and I was entrusted with a great deal of responsibility from the get go, with no prior experience; sounds a lot like someone else we know.

When John the Baptist was preaching and paving the way for the coming of Jesus' ministry here on earth, he told all those who came to listen to him that, "I baptize you with water, but [H]e will baptize you with the Holy Spirit" (Mark 1:8 NIV). Other translations say that He was coming to baptize us with fire. Until now, I did not really know what this meant. It is now clear.

Our "baptism by fire" and the "Holy Spirit" means that God has put us in charge of spreading the Truth. If we have truly changed our hearts towards the things of Christ, then upon our baptism, we are filled with the Holy Spirit and entrusted with the responsibility of spreading the Truth. As brand new Christ followers, we do not have a great deal of experience. But that is exactly who God is looking for to spread His message and help Him bring people into that relationship. If God were advertising for the job of a Christ follower, it might read something like this: "No experience required just a heart willing to follow. Will provide all things needed. Faith a must."

Applying for my position,
Jesus Freak Out!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Quote for Today

And today I am just going to send you a little something to spring you into the weekend:

"A great mind is one that can forget or look beyond itself."
- William Hazlitt

Looking to look beyond myself,
Jesus Freak Out!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Best Job in the World

What a crappy job! (No pun intended, well yah there was). But can you imagine if this guy was/is a Christ follower? I could here him now, deep inside the bowels of this elephant, "God, this is the best job ever. If only I could serve you better through the work that I am doing."

This is the exact attitude we need to take as believers, whether we are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or the proctologist for an elephant; whether we are on a mission trip to the deepest parts of the Amazon or just walking down the city streets of Tampa. "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Cor 10:31). When we rely on God for our strength and guidance and seek to please Him in all that we do, we glorify God. Look to God in all things and I guarantee that He will bless your life. It may not be money, it may not be fame, but it will definitely be peace and solice in a world full of disorder.

With this mentality, that is, doing all we can to glorify God, we shed light on the amazing grace that Jesus bestowed upon us through His death. When we shed this light by our attitudes and outlooks, we show the world and those who do not believe that Jesus Christ will change lives and that there is someone to serve that is greater than ourselves.

Deleting my current outlook on life,

Jesus Freak Out!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Blame Game

"The man said,"The woman you put here with me-she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." (Gen. 3:12 NIV)

Ah Ha! There it is stated in the Bible. Woman was the reason that man is sinful. See. I have been saying this for years. They gave us the apple and we listened. Okay, really, not. I was just joking. If you took me seriously, then I have some beautiful waterfront property in Nebraska to sell you. As you can see from the previous paragraph I am playing the blame game. Just as Adam did when God confronted him on his disobedience, I have shifted the blame from man to woman. Logical, right? No way.

As Christ followers, we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard. That standard means that we take responsibility for our own actions and not shift the blame onto others or something else. This is my favorite affair excuse:"It was my wife's fault that I couldn't be faithful because she didn't give me the attention I needed." Are you nuts? Blame feeds our selfish nature and when we sense a threatening situation, like when someone points out something undesirable, we lash out and throw around blame. Time to stop the game and pull the mirror in front of our faces.

When we can step up to our mistakes and take our licks for them, then we can be a phenomenal witness to the non-believer. We also send a message to those around us that we have integrity inspired by Christ. And then they will see Christ. Actions always speak louder than our words.

Flipping the mirror,
Jesus Freak Out!

Who's to Blame?

Think about how much responsibility you really take for your actions and keep this passage in mind, Genisis 3:12. Tomorrow we are going to talk about the blame game and how we can avoid getting sucked into it.

Until then,
Jesus Freak Out!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Opinions are Like Butts

Yep. We all have them. Sometimes though, we just need to keep them to ourselves. I have found that as I age, my opinions become more and more like ranting and moaning than spouts of wisdom. I am really getting annoyed with myself over the fact that I feel as though I need to express my opinion just to be heard. I like to pass it off as venting, but it's really not. It's whining. I'm not a big fan of whining. For crying out loud, I am trying to break my 3 year old of the practice. It's time I break myself of the same.

The book of Proverbs is among my top 5 favorite books in all the Bible. The wisdom and teachings that lie within its pages are timeless and true. Chapter 18 verse 2 is no exception: "A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinion." Well there's a shot to the pride. When we spout off our opinions, we must think first, lest we dig ourselves a hole to lay in and then wollow in our self pity and centeredness. It's time we shift our focus from vinegar based tirades about meaningless subjects to thought provoking discussions with others about Jesus Christ.

The other key piece to this Proverb is "understanding." We must look at life through the eyes of the beholder and not down from our lofty perches. When we put ourselves on a pedestal, that is when our opinions become whining with no understanding in them. When we understand someone's position in life and begin to see it from their point of view, God begins to focus the picture on how we can reach out to them and clear the brush from the walkway so that He can knock on the door to their hearts.

Breaking out my machete,
Jesus Freak Out!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Blessed are the Prosecuted?

"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:10 NIV)

Oops, it's persecuted not prosecuted. Persecution is bad in human eyes, until we see through our blood colored glasses. As Christ followers, we will face tests and trials of our integrity, principles, and "moral compass." We will be the brunt of so many jokes; we will be the focus of so much scrutiny; we will be tested against a perfection that we know cannot be attained. Our persecution will be painful, unwarranted (in our eyes), and mostly unpleasent. But we must perservere. We must see our circumstances as single frames in an epic movie that is the chronicle of our lives. We must look at the big picture; we could be persecuted as a strengthening of our resolve for Christ; we could be persecuted because of the example we set; we could be persecuted over the fact that we are different from another person.

Fear not because when we look at the latter half of this verse, we see something Jesus has said before. This was probably said twice because He wanted to ensure us that when we follow Him and bear our cross daily, our reward lies in heaven, not on earth. Persecution as Christ followers is not fun or enjoyable, unless we see it "Through This Lense."

In deep thought,
Jesus Freak Out!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Elephant or Jackass?

Here is my political statement for the rest of my life: I am getting out of worrying about politics anymore. Our pastor said it right one weekend; it doesn't matter to us as Christ followers who gets in office because it has no bearing on how we will execute the Great Commission. No matter what happens, we will still strive to reach those who do not have a personal, growing relationship with Jesus Christ. That's all that matters; not our mortgages, our 401Ks, or our retirements. Our only retirement is in the saving blood of Jesus Christ. And that's a retirement plan that will never fail: EVER!

I will finish with the Beatitudes tomorrow. Until then, Go Rays!

Voting for Christ,
Jesus Freak Out!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blessed are the Cheesemakers?

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." (Matt. 5:9 NIV)

Okay, I had to use my other favorite throwback to Life of Brian. So what do we understand this to be? Anyone who is peaceful and serene will be called a son of God? No. Anyone who ensures that all parties are happy will be considered a son of God? No, but can I have close calls for 1000 Alex?

I believe that Jesus was talking about keeping the peace between us and non-believers. When He went and taunted the Pharisees, He was not keeping the peace for good reason. He was telling them where they were wrong in their teachings. Now, when we meet non-believers, we must not be confrontational. That is just spitting in the face of God and telling Him that He is not in control: we are. We don't want to go down that road. We want to present the Truth in a light that honors God. I'm not saying don't defend; I'm saying don't taunt or flaunt.

But we must be confrontational with the false teachers. Why? Because they do nothing but damage. I'm not talking about denominational feuds over doctrine. Those battles can be stupid as well. I'm talking about downright lies about God's teachings (liberation theology is an example). It's not about us and what He can do for us. It's about Christ and what He can do for His kingdom through us.

Jesus Freak PEACE Out!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hearts of Gold

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." (Matt. 5:8 NIV)

Hmmmm. Pure in heart. That is just a hard concept to fathom for anyone at all in today's society, even if we are Christ followers. Pure in heart can be such a relative term and so hard to define. What's pure for one person may not be pure for another. I mean, for crying out loud, teenagers nowadays are trying to redefine virginity. But is this all really consequential to what Jesus was saying? Not at all.

Pure in heart is a term that can only be defined in terms that are relative to God. We must have a heart that seeks Him and seeks to know Him. What society and "morals" define as pure are nothing compared to what God does. Our moral compass must now point to true north; that is, it must point up. Everything we do must be focused on Christ and His work for us. In the words (lyrics) of Metallica, "Nothing else matters."

We will fail. We will lose focus. We will not be perfect. But, if we can purify our hearts the best He can, then we "WILL see God." And when we see God, we see that anything is possible. The next time we hesitate to talk with someone about Jesus, focus on Christ and He will provide you the words. I guarantee it.

Pasteurizing my own heart,
Jesus Freak Out!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Blessed are the life sparers?

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." (Matt. 5:7 NIV)

We must think of mercy in other terms than what we see on TV and in the movies. Most of the time, the first vision we may think of is that of someone sparing another's life. But having mercy in this quote means something much deeper. Think of Christ's mercy more as compassion; compassion on us for the "filthy rags" that we are.

As ad-ministers of His message, we must also show compassion on those who do not know of or about Him. We must also show our "mercy" on those in need; the defeated, the hurting, the misled, the lonely, the ignorant, the conceited. Showing our compassion goes further than any words or Bible quotes ever could. When we show "mercy," we exemplify Christ more than any other way. Our life, when lived according to the example of Jesus Christ, can be the greatest testimony ever given without ever speaking a word. Then, when non-believers ask why we are the way we are, God has opened to the door for us to speak the Truth.

Lastly, we must not concentrate on the latter portion of this quote. If we do this, then we are only compassionate because it benefits us, a.k.a self-centered. As you can see in the verse's order, showing mercy is the first priority. The rest will fall into place when we don't even think about it.

Knocking the self out of my own centeredness,
Jesus Freak Out!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What has this world come to?

I was not going to post today, but I at least have to let you all see this one. I heard about this guy on the radio who is sueing God. I about had to pull over for fear of laughing myself into an accident at 70 mph. Please check out this article and let me know your thoughts. Have a great day at church and I pray that God will move you in new and productive ways.

Rolling on the floor with laughter,
Jesus Freak Out!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Self-Righteous........Right?

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." (Matt. 5:6 NIV)

So what Jesus was saying was those who are self-righteous will be satisfied? Let's define righteousness, or the adjective righteous, real quick before we get ourselves in trouble. The great Webster's dictionary defines righteous as, "acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin." Righteousness then, in essence, would describe someone or something that is working in concert with the divine law or moral code as a Christian and who is free from sin or guilt. Jesus is talking about yearning for that, not being that. Being that would mean we are being self-rightneous, a.k.a. better than who we really are.

Many Christ followers act as though they are better than everyone else through judgment. "Well he is an alcoholic so he doesn't deserve to be a part of this church." "Sally sleeps with this guy because she doesn't value herself so we should just give up on helping her. She's just not acting like a Christian." Why don't we stop being "self-righteous" and just pray for, labor for, and work together with those who are struggling or do not believe, instead of just standing on the sidelines hurling our discontent at them. Let's turn that mirror on ourselves before we turn it on other people first. Strive for OUR own freedom from guilt and sin, then we can help others along their journey. My wonderful mother always said hate the sin, not the sinner.

Jesus said that we must pull the plank from our own eye before pulling the splinter from our brother's and sister's eye. Jesus loved us enough to bestow grace and forgiveness upon us. It's about time we do the same for our brothers and sisters........unconditionally! There are far deeper truths to this one verse, but that's enough for now.

With one massive set of tweezers,
Jesus Freak Out!

Blessed are the Greek?

"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." (Matt. 5:

Anyone who has seen Monty Python's Life of Brian knows what this title is about. It's about confusion and misunderstanding. That is what the Beatitudes are all about. Most of the times we misunderstand what God is trying to tell us through the words of His son Jesus Christ. If we look deep, with an understanding heart for Christ, we can see beyond the superficial, self-centered meaning of His word.

He doesn't say blessed are the weak and weary, He says, "Blessed are the meek..........." In other words, blessed are the humble before God, not man. Humility is something that we all learn from an early age through trials and tough situations. But humility before God only comes with a broken heart. I'm not talking in the love sense, I'm talking in the God sense. We must be broken before God, as His Son was on the cross, because that takes the focus off of us and puts it on connecting with Him. If we can humble ourselves before God, I mean really put our own inhibitions aside, then we will become closer with Him and find a connection that spurns growth, but most of all, action. God has a way of forcing us to eat crow too, but he prefers that we eat it willingly, even if we have to put ketchup on it. It hurts but it works.

Toes and fingers are not enough to count the crows,
Jesus Freak Out!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blessed are the Cry-babies?

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." (Matt. 5:4 NIV)

I know that I have had my share of times of mourning: the death of my great grandmother who was a very special lady to me, my father's open heart surgery, the present pain of my mother, and the fact that I am no longer twenty-something........physically. But was Jesus really telling us that when we mourn, we will be comforted? In a superficial sense, yes. We know that as believers in His death and resurrection, we can take comfort in knowing that when someone we care for dies, if they knew Christ, they will join Him again when He returns for them. But, on a deeper level, Christ was talking about the mourning that we do everyday.

It pains me deep within my soul that there are people all over this world, even in my own house and workplace, that do not know Christ yet as I do. Yes my son knows who Jesus is, but he is not old enough or spiritually mature enough to make that decision to follow Him. But there are people that we all know personally and deeply that are resistant to joining Christ in a personal relationship that will both challenge and reward them. We always ask the question why. Why do they not know Him like I do? Well, that comes down to us. Have we presented the Truth to them in a way that connects them to Christ? What avenues can we take to better show them the awesome power and glory of our Savior?

Now for the second part of this quote (I use quote because these are the soveriegn words of Jesus Christ and not just lines in some book). We are comforted. When we realize we are not affecting salvation and sanctification on them, that only the great I Am can do that, then we can take comfort in knowing that all is in His hands. What power do we have to save them? None whatsoever. But try we must still, to present them the Truth in a respectful manner that is indicative of Christ's love for us. We must be gentle but straightforward. The grace they receive will not come without some emotional "blood," sweat, tears and pain........just as Jesus experienced on the cross for us.

Hurting deep inside,
Jesus Freak Out!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Poor in What?

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:3, NIV)

It sure as heck doesn't say blessed are the poor in money, or stuff, or friends, or careers. Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit......" What exactly did He mean by this? It's a mystery that biblical scholars have been trying to solve for 2 millenia now. But, Jesus was not complicated. He was't cagy and He was't mysterious when He said this. He was straightforward.

Let's step back for a second and look at the first word of the verse. Blessed can also mean happy or joyful. So we should be happy that we are poor in spirit? Nope. Jesus is trying to tell us that those who are NOT self-righteous and "self-sufficient" (NIV notes) will be blessed by God and join Him in His kingdom, as well as find joy in seeking the things of God. When we seek the things of God, and not those of this world, we see that joy comes to our life in greater abundance. Because when we seek the things of God and His kingdom, then we take away all disappointment in the failures of this world and look forward to Christ never failing us again. And He never will. Ever!

So we must always seek to be "poor in [our own] spirit," because that is when we will assuredly "inherit the kingdom of heaven."

Stepping out from under my own spotlight,
Jesus Freak Out!

Monday, October 13, 2008

New String

My apologies to all of you for not posting this morning. My family and I just returned yesterday from Destin and I was beat. I know, it's not good enough for you and it's definitely not good enough for God. So I humbly ask your forgiveness and I will forever ask for God's on many more issues than this. And so I digress.......

For the next few days, I am going to write a string of posts on one of the most influential, controversial, emotional, figurative, and inspiring portions of Christ's famous Sermon on the Mount: the Beatitudes. For a long time, I have wondered what a beatitude was. Just by looking at the Latin root of the word, we can see what it means. From the great encyclopedia Britannica, the famous phrase from each verse, "Blessed are" or, Beati sunt, is the key to the title in this section of Matthew's gospel.

I, too, have a couple root words for the Beatitudes: I call them the "Be-Attitudes" (I don't know that this has ever been used before in a book or pulpit, so I am not intentionally taking anything from someone who deserves credit). Verses 3-10 of Matthew chapter 5 describe 8 "attitudes" that we should have as followers of Christ. We need and should Be these Attitudes. That is what I mean. As we go through this study of each verse, you will hopefully see what I mean. Please do not mistake this for some kind of grand expression of faith. I just believe that we should emulate all that Jesus was talking about. Can we do this always? No one is perfect. But we must keep striving. And so the series begins........

Trying to be an attitude,
Jesus Freak Out!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

On the seventh day He rested......

I originally was going to do this, but never have. So today, I am going to rest, at least from this blog. I have a 7 hour drive ahead of me so I will begin anew tomorrow. I am praying for you all and hoping that your day is filled with fun and family.

Tired of driving and I haven't left yet,
Jesus Freak Out!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pain Paradigm

Have you ever taken joy in the pain of another? It hurts me to watch grown men knock each other silly in cage fights and boxing. I always wonder why someone would want to put themselves through that kind of torture, again and again. Have you ever taken joy in someone being murdered? 99.99% of the population would probably come back with a resounding "No." But, 100% of Christians take joy in the murder of Jesus Christ. You are probably saying to yourself, "His rocker is definitely tipping back on its legs now?"

The band Kutless, an alternative Christian band, produced the song "Passion" that celebrates the pain and killing of Jesus Christ. This is a hard concept to wrap our minds around, but think about the words. "Jesus endured the pain; Paying a debt I owed and created a paradox in me." Believing in the saving blood and grace of Jesus Christ truly highlights a "paradox" that those who believe can understand, but is not out of reach for those who do not. Here is the kicker lyrics though: "Nail pierced hands they run with blood; A splitting brow forced by the thorns; His face is writhing with the pain yet it's comforting to me." Now look at the picture behind the title of this blog. I have broken down crying over these lyrics before because I finally got what Christ did for all of us and why I take joy in His death.

Everyday that we celebrate Christ and the forgiving power of the crucifixion, is a day that we, in reality, take joy in the agonizing pain of another human. Granted that human was God incarnate, but he was still a human being. The hardest part is trying to explain the joys of celebrating this horrific scene to non-believers. I'm not saying that I jump for joy at Easter and scream,"Yeah, Jesus was murdered and it hurt Him really bad!" The hurt part is not why we celebrate. The grace part is why we celebrate because each of us knows that we should be the ones up on that cross, bearing the pain of nails through our wrists and feet, a dingy crown of thorns jammed into our scalps, and a scourging we could only describe as our worst nightmare.

We must take this picture and translate it into a palatable scene for those who do not believe. If we can be moved to do this, it only solidifies for non-believers why life will change when they take up that personal relationship with Him. It's our time to show why Christ laid down His life for His friends.

Shifting my own paradigm,
Jesus Freak Out!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tough Love Can Be Ignorant

"Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." (1 Cor. 8:1)

Well, I had a reality check today. Coming from the Air Force and from a family who enjoys a little good natured humor at someone else's expense, I will jump in on the banter quite often. It can be fun to throw that witty comment out there and here everyone around you say "Oh, snap!" (street slang for "Wow"). But what is it really doing for that person, or for that group? It just tells them how ignorant and self absorbed I can be.
When we are around our friends or family, there is a time when we need to set ourselves aside, think What would Jesus do (I know, it's a cliche, but effective), and set the Christ-like example for others to follow. Imagine what someone who knows us as Christ followers would say when they heard what we were saying? They might say,"Oh snap, and he calls himself a Christian?"
So today, and from now on, let's take the time to build someone up in love, instead of tearing them down in so-called fun. There is a time and a place for jeering that is in good taste and in the spirit of building up. There is also a time and a place to build up in love. When it is all focused on the mission of Christ, then good natured taunting can inspire or push someone to that next level. But when it pushes someone away from our ultimate mission, we have failed our Savior.
Humbled and changing,
Jesus Freak Out!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Pain and Agony

First, I would like to dedicate today's blog to my wonderful, beautiful, loving, and kind-hearted mother who is enduring a barrage of tests at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. I ask for your prayers, both for her and for the doctors who are working with her. She has an undiagnosed neurological condition that the doctors have been trying to figure out for a few years now. We are hoping on some answers and not looking for an ounce of sympathy.

Why do I tell you this? Because for one, this woman had to endure the agony of my child birth, and what's worse, she had to endure the agony of my childhood (and I was a hellion!). But what else is special about this woman, is the fact that she is one of the strongest individuals, both physically and mentally, that I know. Her strength does not come from within herself. She is not proud or self-righteous or conceited. Mom's strength comes from her relationship with Jesus Christ.

For a long time, with her condition and other personal issues, she shook her fist at God and asked why this had to happen to her. Until one day, she realized that God was her strength and not her enemy. She realized that when Jesus was bloodied and bruised, in pain and agony on the cross, becoming sin for the forgiveness of the entire human race, He was enduring more pain and agony than she could ever possibly imagine. And that whatever pain there was in her life, in her world, if he could do that for her, she could endure this for Him and trust in the strength of a relationship with Him.

Marilyn McBride is not a martyr or a saint. She is just like all of us. My mother is special to me as she is to many other people. But she is also special to Christ. God has a soft spot in his heart for every single person, whether they know Him or not. But, those who trust and know Him will occupy another type of spot in heaven. This is our goal, to assist our God in filling up heaven and abandoning hell. We must strive for this above all other noble causes in the world.

Mom, with all my love in the world,
Jesus Freak Out!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Treasure Hunters

A big chest bump goes out to Brian Heckman for this post. This comes from his personal thoughts while chronicling his walk with Christ.

For several months I’ve spent some time wrestling w/ Matt. 6:19-21…chasing “treasures in Heaven” rather than treasures of life. It’s not easy. Often it doesn’t make sense, especially now, when money and time aren’t exactly in abundance. But when seen through God’s perspective, it’s actually fairly easy to see that so much of what we live for isn’t really what matters.

What does matter are the treasures we are rewarded in Heaven…treasures we can earn & enjoy right now by locking arms with God and doing His work while we have the opportunity. Individually, we can’t fix Wall St., or our national debt. But today, we can invest in a struggling friend who doesn’t know Christ. We can push a Christian friend this afternoon, to take his next step towards God. We can teach our kids how to pray to God. We can love our spouse like God loves us. We can serve big in our local church.

What has been eye-popping, is how God has responded when we obey His nudge, and do His work. Our friends (and their kids) are getting baptized, co-workers are committing their lives to Christ. Non-churched friends are checking God out in our small groups. Marriages are finding hope w/ God, and w/ other couples chasing after Jesus.

Where can you make a difference today for eternity? If you are out chasing treasures in Heaven, how are you seeing God respond?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Doctrine, or not to Doctrine (The Final Chapter)

So it comes to an end, but with our goal. Ever had points in your life where you felt as though there was no goal, no direction, no purpose to what you were doing? I am struggling with some of that right now. But, we must never forget that our goal is not here on earth. Our goal lies in heaven, in the form of a God that is waiting for us with open arms to hopefully say to us,"well done my good and faithful servant."

So is our goal heaven, or is our goal salvation? But wait, we have already been saved so that means we have met our goal. Negative, the truth eludes us. "The word is near you.......That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:8-9). Are we living this as our doctrine: yelling from every street corner that "Jesus is Lord?" Are we living this as our doctrine: believing in a resurrected Christ? We can say that we believe all we want to, but if we don't live it out, we are fooling ourselves and leading many people in a deception of what God is all about.

So let's put on our pads, break out "The Playbook," start digging in our feet, and let's push the whole defensive line of Hell back into the dispicable pit it came from (I had to use your analogy Hal. It was a great one). We must not rest on "our own" righteousness, but on that of the one who saved us.

Suiting up for gameday,
Jesus Freak Out!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Doctrine, or not to Doctrine (Part III)

I actually took a day off from this for you and for me. Now your e-mail is not clogged and I got some downtime with the family. Plus, I was sulking (lazy) over the agregious loss that Auburn took against Vanderbilt. Now we continue........

We left off talking about the reason God created us "in His own image." Now we will talk about our mission in reference to doctrine. Just like any great warrior, we as Christ warriors have a mission. Like we said before, doctrine has a place, but it must not supplant the mission that God has for us here on earth. When we rap ourselves in a doctrine, we put ourselves on a pedestal and we judge other people based upon that doctrine. If they don't believe as we do, then they are wrong. Well, when we think like this, we are wrong. Now there are some fundamental doctrinal truths that must be the foundation for a relationship with Jesus Christ. These truths are for another post.

We all have a mission from God, though, and He stated this before He left earth to be with the Father. Jesus, after rising from the dead, gathered with the 11 disciples on a mountain outside of Galilee and had this to say to them, and us: (Matthew 28:19-20) "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." We know this as the Great Commission. In plain words that all of us could understand, Jesus laid our our mission.

We have to put aside all of our petty differences as Christ followers and set our sights on the things of God: reaching those who do not know Him with the Good News of His saving grace. It's not our mission to save people: we do not have that power. We must reach out to them though, and plant the seeds of truth. Any other distractions are just the work of another trying to refocus us on his desires.

Longwinded as usual,
Jesus Freak Out!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Doctrine, or not to Doctrine (Part II)

We left off trying to define the roll of doctrine in our faith. There have been so many arguments as to who or what group is right based upon what the Bible "says." I wonder how they would feel if we told them that they were playing God, showing their arrogance, or as a friend of mine put it, "put[ting] God in a box." What, Christians, arrogant? But we love God? Or is it that we love God and know exactly what He tells us through the Bible because we have Him figured out?

Our arrogance takes many forms. Remember how we talked about knowledge as the wisdom of the world, and Not God? Now, apply that in this situation. Is our "knowledge" of God and the Bible His wisdom or ours? When we think that we have God figured out, let Him know.........and then watch what happens. Too much doctrine is what will lead us down that road. Heck, David Koresh had a doctrine he preached about and based upon the word of God.

So here is what I propose: a reason, a mission, and a goal (and please do not take this as the right answer). Christ could have something completely different in mind. I have not figured Him out, nor do I expect to ever figure Him out while I still walk on this earth. This is just what I feel led to say.

Our Reason: that is, our reason for being here. A #1: to glorify Him. We were created to praise, honor and worship Him...........in all that we do! Glory to God comes in many forms. "So God created man in His own image," (Genesis 1:27). Remember how we pay tribute to and honor someone famous: stars on a sidewalk, statues, headstones at gravesites. God created us to honor Him and our intent is to glorify Him through the actions we take on His behalf.

A little different take on glory to God. More to come on the mission we have tomorrow. I don't want to make this too long.


Jesus Freak Out!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Doctrine, or not to Doctrine (Part I)

What is the definition of doctrine as defined by the all knowing Webster's Dictionary? Doctrine is defined as "(a) something that is taught, (b) a principle or posistion or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief (dogma), (c) a principle of law established through past decisions............" So how does this apply to spreading the Good News? Well, doctrine can, and often does, interfere with what Christ really intended for us.

Now, sound doctrine is good, and a basis for what we believe in. In Paul's second letter to Timothy, he writes "For a time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." But define sound doctrine. Sexual immorality, adultery, idolatry, etc. are all sins that sound, biblical doctrine is based upon (don't construe that the wrong way). But when do believers go too far with doctrine? I believe that when we begin to argue internally to the "church," we begin to miss the whole context of why God put us on this earth and why He then sent His Son to die for us.

Tomorrow, I will try and define the role of doctrine, how we can try and avoid in-fighting about it, and then set forth a mission and vision that can be applied to all denominations. We all follow the same God and there are truths that have applied to believers since God created the "heavens and the earth."

Reshaping my direction,
Jesus Freak Out!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Like a Rock

When we look at the people of this world, who do we see as the smartest and wisest of those among us? The scientist, the philospher, the author, the businessman, the professor? I think not. I am probably the most foolish person out there. "Why do you think that" you might ask. Well, I am someone who just craves knowledge and always wants to answer the question of Why. I like to learn. So how does this make me a fool?

Lately, most of the posts have come from Paul's first letter to the people of Corinth. I have been studying this book of the Bible a great deal lately, and I have found that it has some of the most valuable insight into how foolish we can be in comparison to the wisdom of the Father. Verse 20 of the first chapter sums it up in four little questions: (NIV) "Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" Paul is calling out the supposed "wise men" of Corinth and putting his finger right in their chest. Wise in the world does not make someone wise in Christ. We can have all the street smarts or book knowledge crammed into our puny brains, but what good does that do for God's kingdom? Nothing. A high school dropout is more wise than us if that person is a follower, believer, and all around bearer of Christ's Good News to the world.

What's the big picture here? We can learn the entire Bible by heart and still be like a rock in Christ's eyes. He doesn't want us just memorizing His great word and then spouting it back at people. He wants us applying His great word in the work we do everyday to help bring people into relationship with Him. It is more productive to Christ tfor us to bang our heads against a wall then to just spout off what we learned from the Bible to non-believers. When we can show them how God intended His insight (Word) to apply to their lives, God's wisdom will then shine through. Make no mistake, it is not our wisdom that speaks when we talk about Him.

Searching for wisdom well above my pay grade,
Jesus Freak Out!

Inspirational Quote for Today

Here is just a little pick-me-up for today. This will be short and sweet.

"A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge," (Thomas Carlyle) and I will add, "the key to all success, and the path to healthy relationships."

Trying to change the rock in my chest,
Jesus Freak Out!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Top Ten Reasons Death Will Be Great

So how do we explain to non-believers that we actually look forward to death? Here is a top ten list that I came up with to help out (don't really try these unless you know your audience).

10. Golden streets would just be the coolest thing.

9. We get to see if St Peter is really a comedian.

8. Are the gates really made of pearl?

7. The janitor could be Ted Bundy for all we know.

6. It's a better bailout plan than Washington can come up with.

5. The music is gonna be just killer!

4. Football year round.

3. Global warming will now occur down under only.

2. We get to dog pile Adam.

And the number one reason why death will be great:

.....................We finally get to hug Jesus and say thank you.

It is really amazing to think of what we have to look forward to in life after death. When we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we know that there will be no more pain, no more anguish over the small things. The only thing that we can look forward to is the fact that life will be pure bliss and we get to worship the one and only true God........FOREVER!

So how to explain this to non-believers? I have no idea. If you didn't expect that, then I am sorry. But, only God can lead us in talking about Him and his awesome power. We must rely on God to guide us through the treacherous waters of spreading the word. When we trust totally in Him, then we are walking the right path. Death should not be taboo to talk about. Death should be celebrated. Imagine walking into a funeral and seeing a party instead of a wake for a believer? I have seen it before. We hurt from selfishness because we want them for ourselves. Ever think that God may want them more? Now it can be painful to see non-believers pass on. We then must ask if we did all that we could to plant the seed of Christ.

Noogies for Adam,
Jesus Freak Out!

Scared to Death

The worst imaginable death for me would be to either drown or be burned alive. Fire would just be painful and drowning would be like claustraphobia. Really, though, I am not afraid to die. For crying out loud, if I was, I sure as heck would not let rookie pilots fly me around the sky for a living!

So, why are so many people afraid to die? What is the underlying reason that so many are scared to leave this world? Is it because of the physical comforts that will be lost? Is it the relationships that will be broken? Or is it deeper than that? The truest saying about war lies in these simple words, "There are no atheists (or agnostics for that matter) in foxholes." Why? (I used to bug my parents with this question as a kid. Now I'm getting paid back.) Atheists become believers in a hurry because they are afraid to die.

If we look in 1 Corinthians 15:56, we see that "The sting of death is sin...." Paul is trying to tell us that death hurts because of a lack of faith, plus sin and how it came about. You see, our lack of faith also translates into the fact that we do not put enough of it in the resurrecting power of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross. How is that you might ask? If we had faith in Christ, then we would be looking forward to death because we would get to meet God and live in eternity with Him when he comes again.

So how do we explain to non-believers that, with faith in Jesus Christ, death can be a goal and not a fear? Interesting question to ponder until tomorrow. If you have great ideas, let's here them and I will post them along with mine.

'Til death do us part,
Jesus Freak Out!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"Slider (sniff)........You stink!"

Our heart has an aroma, a smell? Yes it does. If you have ever seen the movie Facing the Giants, then you may know what I am talking about. The aroma of our hearts is the attitude that we carry with us each day. If that attitude is not right, then our life is not right, our relationship with God is not right, and thus our effectiveness as worker bees for Christ is not right. Have you ever skipped church or just stopped your life for an hour or two because the aroma of your heart just wasn't right? I have. It hurt, because going to church is a wonderful thing. I get to connect in a different way with God. Plus, I am a social creature, with a need to be around people and just talk. At church, I can talk about Christ and I can interact with so many different people in a safe environment.

[I am going to rant for a second here. This mindset of mine can be dangerous though and I hope that we can all learn from what I am about to say. For too long, church is where we went to get our dose of Jesus for the week and feel better. But that is not the purpose of church. Church is not a museum for saints, it's a foundation for sinners. Church is our earthly foundation with Christ being the rebar (strength) that runs through it. It is our starting block to go out during the week and run the race for Christ. We come to church to recharge our spiritual batteries and then get back to His work. We (please put an I in this spot as well) must not stop at church as our way of reaching non-believers. Danger Will Robinson!]

Now to my point about the aroma of our hearts.

2 Corinthians has some strong words about how we "smell" to our brothers and sisters that do not believe. "(v.15) For we are to GOD the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." What a strong verse. What people "smell" on the outside is that aroma of our hearts. For those like me who wear their emotions on their sleeve, this can be difficult to overcome. To overcome our hearts smelling like trash to "those who are being saved and those who are perishing," we must stop, devote our hearts to God, and then continue. I have finally seen what this is like and it was not pretty. But it had to be done.

Febreezing my heart,
Jesus Freak Out!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

History Lesson #1

Why do we study history? I know a great deal of my friends in high school and college who hated history. They always wondered why we needed to know about what this famous dead guy did on this stupid date back in the "stone" ages. But the old cliche still stands: those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.

Much is the same throughout the Bible. Our Christian heritage goes back to the Garden of Eden and God's divine blessing of putting man on the earth in His image to glorify Him. But, as we all know, our blessing turned into sin the day Adam and Eve ate the notorious apple. It starts with Cain and Abel and comes full circle with what is happening in today's world. So why is the Bible so much a history book as it is the divine word of God? Because God subscribes to the old cliche. He knows that if we can look back upon what our ancestors did wrong and right, hopefully our wisdom will prevail and we will see what is the right path. But all too often we look past our history too far into the future and repeat it. Time to change.

Throughout our journey here on this blog, we are going to look at the history of the Bible and the world, and then meld the two together into a cohesive picture. Armed with this knowledge, we can all learn from the past so that we are not so foolish as to repeat it............too often.

Looking to make the same mistake once,
Jesus Freak Out!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It was the best of times.......

I did not intend to make a part two of yesterday's post, but I found a quote that serves to benefit all of us. The great transcendentalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson, once said: "Difficulties exist to be surmounted." Whoa. What a way to look at life.

We know that God allows our circumstances to become the way they do for any number of reasons: discipline, understanding, love, respect, honor, etc. But if we can fuse God's reasoning for what we perceive as problems with Emerson's outlook on them, then we will forever have the courage and drive to push through and make the best of the hand we have been dealt.

Now let us apply this to standing up for Christ and reaching out to those who do not know Him. When we do this, we can accomplish almost anything for God with total reliance on Him. And we can look at difficulties as a challenge and not a burden.

Looking through different eyes,
Jesus Freak Out!

It was the worst of times.........

We can all remember the beginning to Great Expectations. Sounds a great deal like the times we are facing in America today. "It was the best of times;" we all remember them. "It [is] the worst of times;" and could get even worse. How do we handle this as Christ followers? As I see it, there are 2 ways that are foolproof and grounded in Scripture.

First and foremost, we need to rely upon God to provide all that we need, and truly believe that Christ will take care of us. If we look in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus has some explicit guidance: "(verse 25) Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not [eternal] life more important than food and the body more important than clothes?" I added the eternal life to this sentence because I believe that Christ is telling us that eternal life is far more important than anything we could ever need here on earth. Verse 33: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Enough said.

The second thing we must do is pray........and pray.........and pray! 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says it best and most concisely: "(16) Be joyful always; (17) pray continuously; (18) give thanks in all circumstances...." But we cannot be selfish in this prayer. If all I do is walk into my bedroom, take my wife's hand, and pray that God will give us all the money we need and will not let bad things happen to us, I have totally missed the whole point. It's no longer about us. This is the time when the harvest is ripe and we must work hard for God in pulling in that harvest. So many people are searching for answers to the world's issues when all we need to do is present the one and only answer to them. I am not saying that we cannot pray for the physical things that we need. But when the focus for our prayer stays on ourselves, we have essentially looked past God.

It's high time we look past our own circumstances and look upon the circumstance that there are people in a far worse position in life than us: they do not know Christ personally! It's time for us to enact our own bailout plan: let's work on bailing them out of Hell!

No golden parachute here,
Jesus Freak Out!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Stop Shouting

No, this isn't the song my Skillet (for those who know who they are). What we are talking about is the voice. What does a whisper sound like? If I could only get my son to whisper more often, my ears would not ring as much. I'll tell you this, though, when he does whisper, it the sweetest thing that I have ever heard. Sometimes, when I whisper to him, he will whisper back. But sometimes he just goes right on yelling. Sound familiar?

You know what though, we do the same thing to Christ. We scream and shout and throw tantrums when we don't get our way, and all he wants us to do is whisper to Him. The funny thing is, He also whispers back to us, but all too often we are too busy raising our voices over all the other clutter in life to hear Him.

If we look Psalm 107, David talks about how God can calm the storms with a whisper. Wow! Before Jesus even came to earth and showed the disciples how it's done, David was praising God about it. If he can calm storms with a whisper, why do we think that we have any power greater than a storm? It's time for us to stop shouting and listen to His whispers.

I just need to shut up for a while,
Jesus Freak Out!

The Youth of the Nation

Today was the start of our home teams for Church at the Bay. For those not familiar with home teams, they are just small groups that meet and organize at other member's homes, just like the early Christian church did. We are going to have an awesome fall with our home team and I am excited. But, we have a lot to be praying for and seeking from God this time around.

For 21 days, Four fasted for the youth of our church and our nation. Now we must take up the torch and continue. I was fortunate to be able to spend a little time with one of them this evening and get to know them a little better. I was also able to hopefully just reach in and nudge them towards the goal of spreading the Message of God's grace to other youth. It helped me to look deeper into what we can do for them as they journey through life and struggle with the same things that we do: peer pressure, insecurity, love, emotional turmoil, and the endless other battles of life. We must pray most of all, but we must act.

So what is our mission with our church's youth and our own children? Help them. Don't be just a friend, be a parent when needed, be a confidant when needed, be a cheerleader when needed, but most of all, be a role model. We can all start a mentoring relationship with them and watch them grow in Christ. It will teach them, and most of all, it will teach us.

Reaching back in time,

Jesus Freak Out!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Four Letter F Word

FEAR. What were you thinking? Fear is something that has gripped us all at some point in our lives. Whether it was for a split second or for a lifetime, we have all felt its painful grip. I have a fear of locusts (a story for another time) that my wife just loves to taunt me about. But I also have another fear that goes right to my soul as a Christ follower: the fear of God.

Scripture talks about the fear of God in terms of how we should have awe and respect for our Father and Savior, not in the terms we are used to hearing from parents ("Boy, I'll put the fear of God into you!"). We should never be scared of our Creator like that of cowering in the corner because He is going to make our lives horrible over something we did wrong. We should show honor and respect for Him because of His grace and limitless power. By taking responsibility for our actions, asking for forgiveness and going on with the work He has planned for us, we show Him that honor.

Ecclesiastes is a book not all that well known, unless you are a child of the Sixties. The Byrds (yes I spelled it right) produced a song based upon verses from this book, but that is another day's post. In the last chapter, the author also talks about the fear of God in terms of wisdom and reverence: "(v. 13) .......Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."

So what was God's last commandment on earth: the Great Commission! And that entails us going out and reaching our brothers and sisters who do not have that relationship with Him. To fear God, means to respect Him, just like our earthly fathers, and to do as he has commanded (or asked), unlike my 3 year old at this age. It's time to start honoring God with our actions, and not just our prayers.

"We're on a mission from God" (Name that movie),
Jesus Freak Out!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Venture Non-Capital

Well today was a test for me and Christ gave me His grade: FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!. I spent 4 hours in an airplane with one of my students and still failed miserably trying to talk with him about Jesus Christ. I tried, but I know that I did not try hard enough. Do you know why? Because I did not rely upon God enough to take care of my words. I prayed and I worked past some of my own stubborness, but I still failed in God's eyes. You know what though, I improved. It wasn't good enough for God, that I know, but it was an improvement, and I know that as long as I keep trying and working towards the goal of sacrficing myself for Him, then I have a shot at making a difference for Christ.

We are going to fail. We are going to deny Him just as Peter did without even thinking twice. But these failures should make us even more determined to make things right with Christ and do the hardest thing of all: talking about Him to those who do not know Him. And just because we are going to fail, does not mean that we should put our heads in the sand and give up. I plead with you all, and with myself, to keep pushing hard for Christ. It is our most important goal, above no other, in this life.

I will share more and more of my failures with you so that you can learn from me. Yet, I learn best from other people. I beg that you all will share your stories of success and failure with me and the rest of the subscribers, in order that we may learn and grow. We can rely upon one another and pray for one another as we journey for Christ.

My heart is with you all,
Jesus Freak Out!