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!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Digging Deeper

I have random thoughts all the time about crazy things. So here is one of them. Have you ever tried to think about what it would be like to drill to the center of the earth? What is it really like? Is it hot like scientists say it is, or for that matter, is it hotter than hell? Now, what about drilling to the deepest depths of our souls? What is that like? If we can do this, we will see where our heart lies and if we are really following God's will.

But what does God say about His will for us? If we look in the book of the weeping prophet Jeremiah, we will see exactly what He has in store for us if we just see it through His eyes. Too many times, we look at chapter 27, verse 11 from a selfish and arrogant standpoint. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Many times we only see the first part, "plans to prosper you and not harm you," and not the last part, "plans to give you a hope and a future." His plans do not involve this earth as much as they involve eternity. His plans and His will, involve way more than we could ever fathom.

To see His will, we must look way beyond ourselves and through a different set of eyes. He will always take care of us in the things of life, if we only take care of Him in the things of eternity: in other words, getting off our high Christian horses and getting to the dirty work of bringing people into relationship with Him. There is no higher will from God than this. All other things are trivial.

I hope that this makes you think about God's will in a new way. Just by writing this post, I have searched within my soul and seen an ugly side to it. My heart has been changed and I must change the way I see what God's will is. My prayer life will change. My outlook on life will change. I will hopefully change to ensure that I am following God's "plans to give [non-believers] a hope and a future" with Him.

Pushing myself off my own high horse,
Jesus Freak Out!

Think About This

For today, we all need to spend some time thinking about what it is that Christ has planned for us. Ask some deep and soul-searching questions about what you think is His will. Why do I say this? Because if we all think hard enough, and look deep within the soul of Jesus' ministry here on earth, His will and plans for us can be far from what we envision. Take this into consideration: are we on the spiritual level or are we thinking in terms of this world, this society? Our lead pastor at CATB is going to be talking about some "Lions" to chase this weekend. If we prepare for the message ahead of time, there won't be a shock to our system or conscience when the Spirit begins to move us into action.

In tomorrow's post, we are going to discuss what God really has planned for us. Until then, pray for His will to come to you. It may surprise you how simple it really is.

Doing my own soul searching,
Jesus Freak Out!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Quote for Thought

Here is a little brain teaser on leadership. As an Air Force officer, this was my mantra for all the years I led the finest and bravest. It ended almost all of my e-mail traffic.

"Leadership is action, not position."
- Donald H. McGannon

Funny thing is, Jesus never mistook his position as the Son of God. He lived out what it was to be a leader, a follower, a servant and an example to us all. Mr. McGannon said it well.

The Verdict is In (I think)

So I have received some really good feedback from many of you and I want to thank you for all the encouraging words and advice. Now I have a better view on where God is leading me with this new-fangled electronic media.

I am still going to post everyday that I can.................but, 3-4 out of the seven days are going to be all about the Word and where we can go as Christians with our faith. The other 3-4 days are going to be about finding out about our world, our society, what makes it tick, and how we can dive into it and start making a change for Christ. I am going to go at this from all angles and from all sides in order to make it what our "great" politicians like to call "comprehensive."

Why do I feel led down this path? For one, I am interested in our world and what makes people in society think the way they do. Second, the more we understand the world Christ has made us a part of, the more effective we can be in reaching out to those in need of Him. I am going to throw a lot out there and see what happens. But, this will all be based upon Christ's teachings and the great book of Scripture.

My goal for this blog, however small it may be, is to inspire, encourage, praise, edify, enlighten, make us think, plant the seed, and overall, honor God in the work he has laid out for us. You will see all sides of a life devoted to Christ, yet struggling to be that, and hopefully look deep within yourselves as we journey together with Christ. I am no expert, philosopher, or writer. I am not specially gifted. I am just a thinker.

I encourage you to use this as a tool for those you interact with who may not know Him. Send this to them and pray that a spark will ignite the fire (I know I will be praying for it). I do not want fans, I just want all of us to reach out to everyone we can for Christ. So let's plant the seeds of Truth and let God rain down and grow them. This is going to be fun and hopefully fulfilling.

Thinking out loud,
Jesus Freak Out!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Say No to Drugs

"Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'" 1 Cor 15:33

Remember the infamous words from all of our parents: Don't give into peer pressure! My dad didn't have to tell me all that often because he was a police officer. I also had 56 other "fathers" in the small town of Dunedin that would ensure I didn't give into the peer pressure. It's funny though, Paul is telling us not to give into peer pressure, but there is also an underlying message here.

Paul was quoting the Greek poet Menander when he wrote this portion of his letter and he was referring to the naysayers of the resurrection. What is he trying to tell us? Stay away from all the sinners or risk being corrupted? Not at all. We are all broken people and the broken are the only ones who can relate to other broken people. We know where we have been and where we are going, but as Christ followers, it is our mandate to reach those who do not know the forgiving power of faith in the resurrection of Jesus. So what to do?

How about jumping in head first and reaching the broken where they are? Paul was just trying to tell us that we must be on guard not to fall into the trap of falling away from Him and risk the ruin of our character. God knew us before we knew Him. Now he wants us to tell others about that time and how He changed our lives. Don't be afraid to mingle.

Jumping into the snake pit,
Jesus Freak Out!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Need Your Advice

To the wonderful people who read this blog everyday, I need your help. I have some folks that I highly respect and trust as spiritual advisors, letting me know that I am going to burn myself out soon if I do this everyday. I tend to have a little too much pride to let someone tell me that I can't do something, and then I end up eating crow because I did not take their suggestion. But, I want to hear from the peeps.

I need to know if this blog is serving the needs of its readers? Because if it is not, then I am not being as effective a reacher for Christ as I can be. Are you reading it everyday or just every other day? This will help me to tailor this blog to be a more effective weapon for Christ and for you all.

I hope and pray that the words Christ is inspiring me to write are useful to you as you go about battling for Him. I know it has been rewarding for me to serve you and the Lord doing this. But I feel that Christ also wants this tool to be as hard hitting and thought provoking as possible.

So I beg you, please comment and let me know what you think. Give me an idea of how many times a week this would help and what you think about anything else. I'm not getting tired of it yet, I'm just being pricked in the heart to do more for Him.

Let me know PLEASE,
Jesus Freak Out!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Resistance is Futile

Who has heard of Ultimate Fighting Championship? If not, it is a mixed martial arts form of fighting that has blossomed in the US over the past few years. The goal is to knockout your opponent just like boxing, or get him to submit. Submission is attained when your opponent taps out and gives in. Have we tapped out for Christ?

The book of Acts chronicles many of the fledgling steps the Christian church and its founding disciples took to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. In Acts chapter 7, Stephen is talking to the Sanhedrin about their holy hypocracy. Acts 7:51 says: "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!"

Do we resist the Holy Spirit? Do we talk a good game, yet go out and stay mum about our faith? It's time for us to stop being "stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears." (Information note: circumcision was an outward symbol of belief in and submission to God, held close by the Jewish religion).

It's time to "circumcise" our hearts for Christ and go out and talk the game we do on Sundays. Everyday of the week is the day Christ has made for us. We must submit to the Holy Spirit and take each opportunity we have to spread Christ's message of eternal life with Him.

In the armbar for Christ,
Jesus Freak Out!

My Other Soccer Number

For those who attended CATB this weekend, you got to here us play Van Halen's "Jump" to help launch our move to the gym. I didn't post it last night because I didn't want to give it away to the members of CATB. It was awesome! JP did a phenomenal job playing David Lee Roth although he didn't quite get to hurdling the drum set and breaking his leg. So here at Number 7 on our list of When Non-Christian Musicians Accidently Reference Christ:

Band: Van Halen
Album: Best of Van Halen Vol. I
Song: Jump
I get up, and nothing gets me down
You've got it tough, I've seen the toughest around
And I know, baby, just how you feel
You've got to roll with the punches to get to what's real

Have a great week and I know that we have all seen the toughest around (Jesus Christ), so it's time to get to what's real.

Trying to get my Jump on,
Jesus Freak Out!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I am going to leave this one to our theme song at church this week.........and we are going to play it!!! This is outside the box but where else could you expect to hear such a great tune. For those going to CATB, I don't want to give it away so I am going to refrain for today. For all of those who do not attend CATB, I am going to make 2 posts tomorrow and let you know what was played at church. Until then, pray for our country's leaders, pray for your church, and pray for the salvation of all who do not know Christ personally.

Until tomorrow,
Jesus Freak Out!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Shake Your Fist at God

Today is going to be short but it will hopefully pack a full punch in the gut for us all. The book of Job is chock full of verses where Job shakes his fist at God for all the hardship he has to endure. But what do we learn from Job here?

The answer is short and sweet. Ask God why something happens, but never curse Him for it. Life will throw us punches that are harder than Mike Tyson in a 90 second bout. But, we must never shake our fist at God in anger, give Him ultimatums, or plain turn our backs on Him. That would be like stepping in the ring with Iron Mike for a second round and asking for him to knock us out...........again.

How does the old cliche go again, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." It's time for us to add the sugar and make lemonade................for Christ.

Cutting up my lemons now,
Jesus Freak Out!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Stereotypical Believer

When I walk into a store with my uniform on, most people immediately ask one of these two questions: "Where are you going or coming from? What airline do you work for?" It's hard not to laugh sometimes because I am the lowest of the low when it comes to pilots. But that is the stereotype: wings/stripes=airline pilot............................and I don't even want to be a bus driver.

The sad thing is, we as Christians sometimes stereotype ourselves or others when it comes to faith or what we think someone who believes in Christ should be or believe in. In John 3:8, Jesus talks about how the Spirit is free moving, so to speak, and in essence, is not confined to what brand name we humans put on Him. "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

God does not want us to pidgeon hole ourselves into a mold of faith or belief. When we do this, we put ourselves at risk of failing Christ and the work He has for us. Why? Because we do not open our minds and they become closed off to what the Bible "says" and not where the Spirit is leading us through the Word. We must become like the "wind" and shed our earthly beliefs of faith and turn to God's direction for our faith.....or become like salt without taste.

"I can run like the wind blows" says Forrest Gump. Let our souls run in the same manner for Christ.

Strapping on my red and white Nike's,
Jesus Freak Out!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Spiritual Sex?????

Uh oh. Now I've done it. I've touched on that most sensitive of subjects in our lives. Why is this so? Because our culture is so inundated with sexuality and adultery, our minds automatically go to the gutter and they doesn't even mean to. Why does it have to be this way? Why can't we all see the bond of sex as God intended within the confines of marriage? We can if we look in the Song of Solomon or "Song of Songs."

When we peer deep into this most erotic of books in the Bible, we see why God inspired this to be put in His word..............because God knew we mere humans could not understand the true meaning of love and the bond of marriage. There is such passion and reverence in this book. But there is also the deeper meaning. God wants that passion and reverence transcended to our work for Him. What are you talking about you might wonder? Yes, not through sex, but the passion the man and woman in this story talk of, mirrors the passion and reverence we should have for our Savior.

I bet you all think that I have lost my mind? Well, in this world, if we do not look upon God with all passion and reverence, like that of our spouses or future spouses, then how can we say we will truly follow Him? When we are in love, we will follow our mate to the ends of the earth. When we are in love with Christ, we should do the same. Remember this too, true sex is the symbolic marriage bond that brings a man and woman into One being with God (see Genesis 2:24). God wants that "spiritual" sex with us. He wants us to be One with Him.

If you think about it, I haven't quite fallen off my rocker after all.

Pushing the boundaries of deep thinking,
Jesus Freak Out!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Not Exactly Lost Keys

I hate when that happens. I am running 5 minutes late as it is. The last place I put my keys was on the night stand next to my bed. At least that is what I remember. But I will look and look and look until I have found them because I have to get somewhere in a hurry. Sound familiar? I bet it happens to me in the morning just for bringing this up.

But have we ever sought God like we have our lost keys? I know there are many times that I have not. In Deuteronomy, Moses begins outlining the original law (from God) about the forbidance of idol worship. Okay, so Jesus also outlined this during his ministry on earth, allbeit referencing more intangible idols. But Moses was inspired to write the following in 4:29 (NIV): "But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find [H]im if you look for [H]im with all your heart and all your soul." Sometimes, the only time we really seek "Him with all our heart and all our soul" is when we think we have lost something........not when we think we have lost Him. It's time to change our perspective.

Try this on for size: We must find those "idols" in our lives that stand in the way of our relationship with Christ. When we can totally focus on Him by pushing aside ourselves, even when times are good, then we are close enough to here Him talk to us. And when we listen, we will do as the Spirit leads and "seek" not only Him, but for His heart: those who do not know Him personally.

Trying to get rid of my Golden Calf,
Jesus Freak Out!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Wisely Foolish

Thanks to my good friend and CATB's worship leader, Blaine Albright, for this guest post. And he has one heckuva set of pipes on him!

First off, I just want to give my boy some public props- Jeremiah, you have done a great job of getting this blog up and running. It took you less than a week to out-blog me for the whole year (that probably says more about me than you, though...) I'm honored to be a guest-blogging Jesus Freak.

Anyway, I'll stay in 1 Corinthians and build on what Jeremiah said yesterday. 3:18 says "Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a 'fool' so that he may become wise."

I think the operable word in this verse is "thinks". "If any of you 'thinks' he is wise..." Paul goes on to command the church to quit their boasting. The sin of pride has been around since...sin. From Lucifer's fall to Adam and Eve's fruit binge, thinking that we're better than we are is nothing new. The entertainment world has its share of divas, and the NBA has an entire payroll of overconfidence, but the truth is, you and I are just as likely to get stuck in pride. We begin learning (a good thing) and then we lord it over people (pride). We discover talents that God has given (a blessing) and we take credit (pride). We're successful at work, home, school (all good)... but we don't strive to deepen our connection with God... because... WE can do it on our own? PRIDE.

Thomas Aquinas calls it the cause of every sin. Solomon tells us that it is the key indicator of a coming fall. And describing his feelings for the pride of Israel, God uses these verbs (depending on your translation): abhor, despise, detest, and hate. So we can agree- let's avoid that one. But how? I think pride happens when we lose perspective. No matter what we may be tempted to have pride about, if we pull back and look at the big picture, there is something in our lives that demands humility. Most arrogance will be cured by a reality check. So don't wait for someone else to give it to you. God creates, God blesses, God gifts, and God is to be honored. Ultimately, we must avoid pride because God says He will not share His glory. And when God says He will not share His glory, I'm taking that like it's not a's a promise.

(Guest) Jesus Freak Out!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

One of the 12 Angry Men

Ever had a conversation with someone about Christ and His saving grace, then realize that all of a sudden you are on the defensive? I have. It's the most annoying thing in the world, but God does not need us to defend Him or our faith. He needs us to plant Him and our faith, then leave the rest to Him. When we go on the defensive because we are being ridiculed or judged on our faith, that means we think we are bigger than we really are. It's hard because we live in a world where if we don't defend ourselves, we will be run over. Remember, God won't be run over.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul is talking to the believers in Corinth about how to deal with certain conflicts and divisions between members of the church. During this time, Corinth was still a fledgling church and still tempted by some of the immoral things of Greek culture. They were ridiculed for their faith, but the strong remained true to their faith. Chapter 2, verse 15 says "The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment......"

So this means I can judge who I want and not take any trash talk from people? Heck no! It means that we are not subject to the judgment of non-believers. That does not mean we do not listen to them either. The Spirit will definitely touch a nerve (and your pride) when a non-believer points out a fault that you know to be true. Imagine what kind of example that sets? If anyone thinks that I am a good example, please consider therapy. I am but "filthy rags."

Try this on for size: Be a living and breathing examples to non-believers. One of our core values in the Air Force is Integrity First. It's not just a saying, it's a lifestyle. Integrity is one of the few things that can never be stripped from you by someone else, only yourself.

Searching for you a therapist,
Jesus Freak Out!

My Soccer Number

Well it is Sunday again and I hope that you will all hear a great message from Christ wherever you attend church. The next addition to our list of When Non-Christian Musicians Untintentionally Reference Christ, hits close to home here in Tampa. Our pastor at Church at the Bay always pumps us up to go out in our great Florida town and kick a dent in Hell. There is also a song that our worship leader Blaine likes to play called God of this City (great tune). It alks about how much there really is to do in this town to make a difference for Christ. This addition to the list follows along those lines, but was composed by a well known group. So here it is, at #8:

Band: Rush
Album: Counterparts
Song: Everyday Glory
Lyric: In the city where nobody sleeps
And nobody dreams
In the city where desperation
Drives the bored to extremes

Just one spark of decency
Against the starless night
One glow of hope and dignity
A child can follow the light

Christ, through CATB, is that hope here in Tampa. Christ, through you and your church, are that hope in your town. Don't forget that whatever you do, you can make a difference in someone's life just by taking time for them. Meet Him there and He will lead you.

I also ask one quick prayer for my father and his church. They are trying to make a difference in Chattanooga TN for those who do not have a voice: unborn children (follow this hyperlink). Please pray for them and this campaign in their city.

Trying to make it on time for the meeting,
Jesus Freak Out!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Final Act

We have seen 8 steps so far to putting our trust back in Christ and not in ourselves and this world. The final act is compelling for all of us and we must look at these 12 steps all together to really see the big picture of what it takes to trust our Savior. It is not easy, because we are human. But it IS easy because Christ is not. Without further words, here is the final act in our 12 step program:

9: Let go of our pain. If we look at Jesus' example on the cross, he already took all our pain and suffering away. If we look at our problems, we see that we create most of them ourselves. We are not victims, we are survivors. We will always be stronger on the other side of a trial. Look at what Job had to go through, but he still trusted God. Job 6:10 says: "Than I would still have this consolation-my joy in unrelenting pain-that I had not denied the words of the Holy One."

10: Let go of our decisions. I am not saying that we have to let God decide what we are going to eat tonight for dinner. He does not consume Himself with petty things. He is more concerned about where our decisions in life lead us. Do we make decisions for us or for Him? Psalm 23:3 says: "He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake." Listen to the Spirit. He tells us a alot about our decision if we just listen to the Spirit's guidance.

11: Let go of the future. We must live for Him today. We must seize every moment for Him because if we don't, and He comes tomorrow, we will have failed our brothers and sisters by letting go into an eternity we all want to avoid. Jesus says in Matthew 6:34:"Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

12: Let go of others. In the words of Nicole Kidman in Days of Thunder: "Control is an illusion you infantile egomaniac." I say this to myself a lot. Trying to control others, like our children or our spouses or our siblings, is like trying to control the weather (although some think it can be done). Proverbs 22:6 applies to both children and anyone new to the faith: "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." God is in control, not us.

Well, there it is. The 12 step program, although I ask that you seek God on this and how to go about restoring that trust with Him. Pray!! Trust is the hardest thing to give someone. But it should not be for Christ. He saved us from our sin. How can we deny Him the love and adoration that comes with total and complete trust in Him?

Starting my recovery,
Jesus Freak Out!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Act II- The Next 4

We left off with steps 1-4 on our 12 step program to trust Christ completely. The next four are going to challenge us even more, so here we go:

5. Let go of our own sin. Christ sure has............about 2000 years ago on a fat piece of wood. Why beat ourselves up over something we can't change. God already took the punishment for us so quit punishing ourselves. 1 John 1:9 says: "If we confess our sins, he is fatihful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

6. Let go of our will. Trust that His is right and the will we have for our lives will fall in line with His. Most of the time it doesn't until we commit to following Him. James 4:15 says: "Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'"

7. Let go of our world. Letting go of this world and setting our eyes on His can be difficult. Try talking with an atheist and you will see how hard it can be. He will get us through. Jesus says in Matthew 6:33: "But seek first the kingdom of heaven........."

8. Let go of our needs. Become a servant as Jesus became a servant to the whole world. A smile on someone else's face (or especially in their heart) lasts far longer than a smile on (in) ours. Jesus says in John 15:13: "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (the heart of servant evangelism).

Well, Act II is almost always the darkest part of a three act play. I'm not sure if it is the hardest part of a 12 step program, but with this one it could be for some of us. Trust is hard to give but remember, Jesus shouldn't have to earn our trust since he gave his life for us.

Take care until tomorrow,
Jesus Freak Out!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The First 4 Steps

We left off with wondering what the 12 steps are for restoring and nurturing our trust in Christ. Trust is earned in this world we live in. But with Christ, He should never have to earn it. So, for those of us with trust issues (and that would include every single one of us), here is our recovery program:

Step 1: Let go of ourselves. We cannot trust in God if we are still relying on ourselves for the answers. Proverbs 3:5: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."

Step 2: Let go of our pride. Be proud of God's accomplishments, not ours. A fall from grace brings damaged pride. It hurts far more than just handing it over to Him. Proverbs 11:2: "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom."

Step 3: Let go of our money. It isn't ours in the first place. For those from CATB, Hal had a lot of wisdom (from God) in his talk on money. God is not asking us to give it back, He is challenging us not to keep it from Him. Malachi 3:8: "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' In tithes and offerings."

Step 4: Let go of our desires. It's not wrong to desire things. It's wrong when we let our desires interfere in our relationship with Christ. God will fill our desires without us ever asking if we just surrender to Him and his plan for us. Romans 8:5: "Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires."

There are still 8 more steps to go. Until tomorrow, trust in Him and see what happens. You will be pleasantly surprised by a tremendous decrease in stress.

Trying to let go,
Jesus Freak Out!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Trust. This word conjures up some pretty nasty images in our minds. When we think of this word, we immediately think of all the times that trust has been broken in our lives: the girlfriend/boyfriend or husband/wife who betrayed you (I know I have about a certain girlfriend): the co-worker who let you down or sold you out for their own benefit: children who have let you down with decisions they have made. We hardly ever think of the good in the word trust. Trust, or lack there of, can be a useful tool in the arsenal of Satan to tear us away from our relationship with God. We MUST see past this ruse and see that trust in our God is the greatest definition of the word.

In John 14, Jesus is comforting his disciples after he has told them about his betrayal and death. He says to them (v. 1, NIV), "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." Right from the lips of our Savior. He is telling us that the only way to be completely and utterly in tune with Him is to trust in Him. Our faith is our trust, but not the only trust. How do we trust in God and Jesus Christ?

Tomorrow I will introduce the 12 step program for restoring/nurturing your trust in Christ (okay, so it may not be a full 12 steps).

A recovering trust-aholic,
Jesus Freak Out!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Red Tide

When I was about 5, I cut the back of my head open when I jumped off my brother's back into the corner of a wall (my brother will tell you that it made me dumber). My mom was frantic, and so was I, when I saw the pool of blood on the floor of the kitchen (my brother might also tell you this is where part of my brains leaked out). But, she calmed down, put a towel on my head and got me to the hospital for stitches. The towel she used was ruined because of all the blood that stained it. You know what's amazing though, there was one person who came into this world who's blood has the opposite effect.

In Isaiah, the prophet writes as one of the most figurative and literal forseers of the coming redemption of sin through Jesus Christ's death. One of the coolest metaphors that is used throughout the Bible is the bleaching power of Jesus Christ's blood that was shed on the cross. In verse 18 (NIV), "says the Lord, 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'" Isn't that just insane to think about? The most persistant staining agent in the world will be our salvation! That is just one of the coolest things about our God. He knows how to blow our minds.

Try this one for size: As we go about expanding our comfort zones and reaching out to those who do not know Him, try blowing their mind with some of the cool things of God's redemptive power. Let them know that Jesus is free and that his blood is the best bleach ever invented. They will have to stop and think about that one. It may give them that pause where God will ring the doorbell to their heart....................and they might just open the door.

Amazed as always,
Jesus Freak Out!