Proselytizing the Pope

Pope Francis recently gave a speech on his Top 10 tips for bringing greater joy to one’s life. Among the list are

–Live and let live.
–Be giving of yourself to others
–Proceed calmly in life
–A healthy sense of leisure, including backing off materialism, and making sure to turn off the TV during dinner.
–Sundays are holidays to be spent with family

And others, most of which are bland enough to elicit little response. Typical self-help stuff.

However, he also threw in number nine,

“Don’t proselytize; respect others’ beliefs. “We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes: ‘I am talking with you in order to persuade you,’ No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing,”

Sorry, but that’s weird.

“Proselytize” has become a bad word, but it really isn’t. In fact, most of your life is spent proselytizing or being proselytized.

Here is an official definition of this word:

To induce someone to convert to one’s own religious faith.
To induce someone to join one’s own political party or to espouse one’s doctrine.
To convert (a person) from one belief, doctrine, cause, or faith to another.”

Just the other day I was with a group of people eating breakfast and I popped open a Pop Tart. Three different people lectured me on Pop Tarts, which, in the end, is fine–more for me, baby.

People are proselytizing all the time. Now, yes, it would be nice if a guy could eat a Pop Tart without a dissertation on grams of fat. If that’s what the pope means, I fully agree.

But he’s not, he specifically said he’s talking about religious proselytizing. He even went so far as to say “the worst thing of all is religious proselytism.”

Really? Religious proselytizing is the “worst thing?” Worse than child rape? Worse than mass murder? Worse than my attempts to spell “proselytizing” consistently in this post? (Spell check came through on this one)

Seems to me, one of the major points of being a Christian is to “convert (a person) from one belief, doctrine, cause, or faith to another.

Now granted, personal testimony of a life well lived is huge. Never underestimate the role of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God that “converts the soul.”

But to say that the Church should avoid talk that tries to “persuade” people is just ridiculous.

It is, in fact, arguable that lack of proselytizing has led to so much apathy in the Church, leading to much unhappiness. Try doing a little more to persuade others of Christ and joy in life might increase.

But hey, I’m not infallible, so what do I know? No use trying to proselytize the pope, I imagine.

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men

Jesus Taunt at Obama

President Barack Obama responded to a heckler in Kansas City on Wednesday, with Obama responding to the woman yelling, “Jesus is the Lord of Israel.”

“I’m sorry what are you hollering about?” Obama asks the woman, as the crowd noise picks up to drown her out. He then casually replied, “I believe in God. Thanks for the prayer. Amen. Thank you.”

Being interrupted while speaking is not always an easy thing to recover from. Especially if the interruption is an attack, something I’ve only experienced a couple times.

He rolled with it pretty well. I will refrain from comment on his comment or the issue at hand.

September 11 Cross and Dumb People

After the September 11 terrorist attack, a cross from building wreckage was unearthed at Ground Zero.


Upon the completion of the new September 11 museum at Ground Zero, this cross was displayed.

Outraged atheists sued to have the cross removed, claiming that plaintiffs in the case:

“suffered, are suffering, and will continue to suffer damages, both physical and emotional, from the existence of the challenged cross … dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish from the knowledge that they are made to feel officially excluded from the ranks of citizens who were directly injured by the 9/11 attack and the lack of acknowledgement of the more than 1,000 non-Christian individuals who were killed at the World Trade Center.”

A court recently ruled against the atheist group and said the cross could remain on display.

I have two main responses to this story.

1) The idea that a cross can give you headaches seems quite trivial and disrespectful in light of 3,000 people dying. Really? A cross is causing you pain?

2) The fact that cross beams of a skyscraper look like a cross means absolutely nothing. This is not God speaking to us. It’s similar to people seeing the Virgin Mary or Jesus in their toast. It’s called “coincidence.”

If a bent piece of metal gives you hope, you’ve got bigger problems than you realize. You need Christ, not a cross made of metal.

So in conclusion, it is my opinion that most atheists are as dumb as most Christians, just for different reasons.

The Problem With Having Your Problem Go Away

Life has good and bad stuff going on in it.

Bad stuff is often seen as a test.

Some even blame God for the testing bad stuff, which may or may not be true at any given time.

What often escapes our thinking is that the absence of bad stuff could be just as much of a test.

King Hezekiah’s story is told to us three times in the Old Testament.

Hezekiah got sick, prayed to God, and God granted him 15 more years of life.

Sweet! Hezekiah was so pleased with his recovery that when visiting guys came to congratulate him on his health, he showed them all his treasures.

Soon those visiting guys became bad guys who took all his stuff. Pride goes before destruction.

Jeremiah warned besieged Jerusalem that the brief reprieve of the Babylonian attack was temporary, they’d be back and finish the job they started.

Jerusalem and their false prophets didn’t believe him. They all got wiped out.

Many assume that a healing or an infusion of cash was a great intervention by God.

It could be.

It could also be a test to see if you want God or if you just want problems to go away.

Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

Britain’s Devil Boy

Britain’s Sun Newspaper is facing criticism after putting a picture of a young boy on its front cover with the mark of the Devil on him.


Some have suggested the mysterious mark is a hairdryer burn. What? Come on, you mean there might be a logical explanation?

Others think the only bad thing is that the newspaper is exploiting a child. News people exploiting others for a story? No way!

Either way, I know I’m outraged. Tremendously. Also scared. Scared and outraged. I might not be able to digest my breakfast properly now I’m so scared. And outraged.

Can Demons Text? Only if They’re Teenage Demons

A priest in Poland claims to be getting demonic texts from a teenage girl he failed to exorcise a demon from.

“The author of these texts is an evil spirit who has possessed her soul.”

He said that the devil and his followers were not shy about using modern technology but that in many cases their actions were not identified as being the work of evil.

He said: “Often the owners of mobile phones are not even aware that they are been used like this, however in this case it is clear.”

He said one of the text messages read: “She will not come out of this hell. She’s mine. Anyone who prays for her will die.”

So many places a guy could go with this one, from priest jokes to Polack jokes to jokes about teenage demons texting.

It’s too much. I don’t know where to go with this.

The Subtle Danger of “Living For Christ”

“He’s living for the Lord” is the type of phrase people say that irritates me.

Perhaps it’s best heard in “their kids are living for the Lord.”

Based on what I’ve observed, “living for the Lord” is followed up by a list of accomplishments to prove the claim.

Usually the list is something like this:

He goes to church.
She teaches Sunday School.
He’s a pastor.
She’s a missionary.
Their kids go to a Christian college.

In other words, “living for the Lord” means–I am doing lots of things for Jesus. He must be so happy to have me down here doing all this for Him.

In reality, it’s mostly about the person and their accomplishments, and very little about Jesus.

The classic example is the person who performs their musical number before a church audience in a very showy manner, then during the applause says “It’s for Him, it’s for Him.”

No. It’s pretty much for you and we’re all pretty aware of that.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

This verse is quoted frequently, and without fail, the application is “So you need to live for Jesus, that’s what Paul did.”

But that’s not what Paul said. He didn’t say, “For me to live is to live for Christ.”

For Paul, Life Is Christ.

Did you get that? Life Is Christ.

Jesus Christ once said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He is the life.

Paul said in Galatians, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”

For to me to live IS Christ.

We don’t just live to do things for Christ; we live the life of Christ.

That is New Testament, Gospel reality.

No longer I but Christ.

I must decrease, He must increase.

This encompasses all of life, not just a couple things you got around to doing, most of which you did for pay or recognition of some sort.

The Gospel promises new life. Live it. It’s better than your life.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Hell is filled with people who thought they lived for Christ. Gospel reality, is deeper than this.

Why the Church Hates the Story of The Rich, Young Ruler

On the way home from a family get together, we were listening to a Christian radio program discussing the story of the rich young ruler.

What do I do to get eternal life?

Keep the commandments.

Did that.

OK, give away all your possessions to the poor.

The rich, young ruler went away full of sorrow.

Modern Christianity hates this story.

If someone were to ask us what to do to get eternal life, we’d launch into some doctrinal dissertation about how “you just believe man, you don’t do anything.” Or perhaps the militant Calvinist line of, “Well, nothing, if you’re elect you’re in; if not, too bad.”

Either way, we are fairly disgusted with Jesus’ response here. It’s not right. We would never tell someone to keep commandments to be saved, and certainly wouldn’t tell rich people to give away their stuff.

Some have even said “Jesus didn’t know grace.” A mind-blowing statement if there ever was one.

After discussing this passage for a half hour, the host said something like, “Jesus’ point is that all things are possible with God, but not with man. Jesus wanted this man to be like a little child and just believe. We don’t do anything. Jesus already did everything, all we do is believe.”

Again, I find this funny, since that is the exact opposite point Jesus made to the guy.

Yes, all things are possible with God. Yes, the verses before this story talk about the faith of a child. I’m cool with that.

But the way to have the faith of a child is to not rest on you. Which means you DO something to eliminate trust in yourself.

The rich, young ruler was told to get rid of his riches. If he did this, he would be left with the dependent faith of a child. Children trust their father will provide lunch, clothes, shelter, etc.

Rich, young rulers trust their bank accounts for that stuff.

We are saved by faith and faith always DOES something. Read Hebrews 11, the great chapter of faith, and note how each person with faith DID something.

The idea that faith means I do nothing, that doing something means I’m a legalistic Pharisee trusting in my self-righteousness, is a gross exaggeration of the Bible’s points about faith, grace, and works.

It’s time for the Church to take the Bible’s words seriously and quit destroying it to bolster a theological pet.

“Strong” People Are Only Hurting Themselves

This is a pet peeve post. If I am talking about you, I mean no offense, just trying to help.

Every once in a while, I see this thing on Facebook that says something like, “The problem with being a strong person is that no one ever asks how you are doing.”

I find this an odd statement for several reasons.

1) A person who has to tell others they are strong is not a strong person. A strong person really doesn’t care about what others think of them, so they have no need to tell people they are strong. As proverbs says,Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth.”

2) Strong people, by definition, don’t need others to ask how they are doing. Being “strong” means you are able to handle everything. Strong people don’t need people to care about them.

3) This statement is implying that the strong person isn’t strong, which is why they want a sympathetic question asked of them. If you have a need for someone to give you permission to whine, you are not a strong person.

4) Being strong is not the point. Paul said, “When I am weak, then am I strong.” This Facebook statement is a humanistic, girl-power kind of statement that has nothing to do with biblical notions of strength.

We are to be strengthened in the Lord and in the power of His might. If you are doing this, you won’t have to try to act strong in front of people to keep your facade of strength, nor will you need to mope about how no one asks you questions.

When you are weak, embrace that. Stop taking yourself so seriously. His grace is sufficient.

When you say statements like this, you are proving what everyone already knows about you: you’re not really strong, you just think you are.

You’re not strong. Being strong in yourself is no virtue. Be strong in the Lord.

Perhaps if you embraced this point, you’d have more people caring about you.

How Should the Church Respond to Blasphemy from the World?

What should Christians do when the world blasphemes Jesus?

Islam is quite sensitive when their guy is “blasphemed.” Islam is a man-made religion with a man-made God. If you want to know how men think, take a look at Islam.

When Muhammad is picked on, Muslims want to kill people.

Therefore, when Jesus is picked on, Christians should largely ignore it and be loving and forgiving.

The latest blasphemy against Jesus Christ is from the Cartoon Network and their new show, Black Jesus.

“The show takes place in Compton, California and is based on the premise of “Black Jesus” bringing happiness and positivity to the hood. Throughout the show, Black Jesus will come across gang-bangers, non-believers, and alcoholics (among other things) which will make his job of making the hood a happier place extremely difficult.”

There is no way this show will not be blasphemous.

So, should the Church be outraged, boycott, and throw a hissy-fit?

When the Church does this, mostly we just do the world’s marketing for them.

Instead, the Church should ignore this one, and the next one, and the next, as the hits will keep coming.

We live in a world that is run by the Devil and his minions. Satan is the god of this age, the prince of the power of the air. He has control over the entertainment industry, I don’t think there’s much surprise in that observation.

Let him have his fun. Who cares. Jesus wins.

The larger concern should be: does your life accurately portray Christ?

That’s enough to keep a guy concerned right there.

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

What to do to Get Grace from God

There is a reason why some people get God’s grace and others don’t.

Some say the reason is that God irresistibly shoves grace down some people’s throats, while not giving grace at all to others. No one knows why God does this, He just does. Deal with it.

Irresistible Grace is heresy, in my mind. It has no biblical support and makes God unjust, unfair, and a liar.

“But doesn’t the Bible say God gives mercy to whom He will give mercy?”

Yes it does. It also tells us why he decides to show mercy to some and not others.

God is just and He is paying attention. What you do matters.

Others, even if they aren’t TULIP brand Calvinists, will say “you can’t do anything to get grace, otherwise that’s earning or deserving it and it’s no more grace then.”

This is also grossly misstated.

Grace is not deserved, this is true. You don’t do work and then God pays you with grace.

That being said, there are still things you do to get grace. It doesn’t show wages for service rendered; it shows the meeting of conditions.

One I have mentioned many times is “God gives grace to the humble.” The arrogant won’t get God’s grace. Period.

The last verse of Ephesians gives us another condition, a condition which is much like humility.

Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

Grace won’t be with you if you don’t sincerely love Jesus Christ.

“Sincerity” means incorruptible, undying. It’s an ongoing and pure love for the Lord. Those who have that will receive grace from God.

I imagine this means something, whether your theology will allow it to mean something is another issue.

Revisionist History, Pride and Judgment Day

“History is written by the winners” is a trite statement, and not true. I know it’s making a point, but alas, it’s not true.

The South lost the American Civil War. They lost big time.

Not only were a generation of men cut down, their entire economic existence was eliminated with the abolishing of slavery.

The South was stuck with 1) a huge loss to explain and 2) an odd position of defending the fact that they fought to enslave other humans.

The South, during the War, was fine calling themselves “Rebels” or “Rebs.” But after the war, they felt a need to rewrite history.

“Was your father a Rebel and a Traitor? Did he fight in the service of the Confederacy for the purpose of defeating the Union, or was he a Patriot, fighting for the liberties granted him under the Constitution in defense of his native land, and for a cause he knew to be right?”

That reads much better than: we fought for the right to enslave others.

“Keeping to this revisionist tendency, rather than propagate undignified titles like “the late war” (too vague), the “Civil War” (too revolutionary), and “the War of Rebellion” (far too revolutionary), in the late 1880’s [Confederate Veterans societies] approved resolutions encouraging the conflict’s official designation as “the War Between the States.” Successive generations of Southern schoolchildren would learn it as such.” (Quotes from here, page 264)

I have even heard it referenced as such. It wasn’t called that til 20 years after the fact.

Losers rewrite history too. In fact, Losers might have more of a reason to influence our memories–they have reputations to re-inflate.

Winners tend to gloat and exaggerate their awesome; losers tend to downplay their losses. Both are primarily interested in looking better.

What are you embarrassed about in your life? Do you feel a need to rewrite your history, to exaggerate your wins or downplay your losses? Do you feel a need to rip others apart to make yourself look better?

All of these things are symptoms of pride. Pride must be killed in you. Changing facts to suit your arrogant needs may work in history, but it does not work before God.

Be real with reality. Deal with it. Take care of it. One day it will be too late and God isn’t interested in your revisionist history.

The Game of Learning

Stupid people abound.

Apparently, being stupid pays off since so many people decide to stay there.

I never understood stupid.

Then again, there are some who think I am stupid, perhaps stupid is relative.

No, I didn’t say my relatives are stupid.

Proverbs 10:23 is translated differently by every translation. But I think the NASV is a  good translation of it, or at least a translation that is the most fun.

Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool,
And so is wisdom to a man of understanding.

Young’s Literal Translation is similar:

“To execute inventions [is] as play to a fool,
And wisdom to a man of understanding.”

“Sport” and “play” are both translations of the Hebrew word sechoq, which is usually translated as “laughter.”

I like that.

Being wicked is fun, a game for wicked people. Getting wisdom is a game, a source of fun, for smart people.

Do you find learning a source of entertainment? Something you would associate with laughter, play, and fun?

If not, I imagine you view learning as drudgery and work, which is why many remain stupid. Stupid either does wickedness, or gets taken in by wickedness.

Proverbs is all about the value of wisdom and understanding. Getting those things is not automatic. It begins with the fear of God.

Learning God’s wisdom can be a source of enjoyment. It’s why David said he delights in the law of God. Why John says God’s commandments are not grievous.

Once you have a right relationship with God, you know your place and His place, what He says becomes a source of joy, laughter, and play.

There is no place for boring, dry, humdrum Christianity. If that’s what it is to you, get right with God.

Yes, there is work and study, and all of that is not fun, but there is a joy in learning. Find that joy.

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom,
and the man that getteth understanding.

Bearing Life’s Burdens

Everybody has problems.

One of our problems is: what do we do with our problems?

The Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians 6:5 that, “every man shall bear his own burden.

Seems simple enough–got a problem? Then take care of it. Don’t burden others, be responsible, man up, and deal with it.

Paul also tells us, three verses earlier, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

OK, seems simple enough: Do what you can to help others bear their burdens.

So, OK, now I bear my burdens and I’m bearing other people’s burdens? Where am I getting the energy to bear all this?

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

The Psalmist tells The Righteous that they can trust the Lord to help with their burdens.

As you bear your own and other’s burdens, throw those burdens on the Lord.

Remember, His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.

Christ is pulling with you. Don’t forget that.

Also don’t forget that this promise is for “the righteous.”

Perhaps life is beating you down so much because you’re not right with God. You don’t know the right way to deal with problems. Perhaps you are running to other possible sources of deliverance beside the Lord, because your unrighteousness is deceiving you, or making you too afraid to come to God for assistance.

These are possibilities that deserve attentive consideration.

We will know Christ is pulling with us because our whining will decrease and our patience will increase.

You know you are pulling alone when the whining is ramped up and patience is out the window.

Eternity is a long time. We are living for that.

All this stuff here is just trouble waiting to be smashed into oblivion with the glories of eternal fellowship with our Savior.

The Gift of God is Eternal Life

Eternal life is a gift of God; not the gift from God.

It’s possible I’m splitting hairs, but I borrowed the idea from Oswald Chambers, so he’s a hair-splitter too!

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So, what would be the distinction there?

A gift from God means the gift originates with Him. He is the giver.

A gift of God might carry with it the idea that it’s part of God. In other words, God is, in essence, the gift, and this gift brings eternal life.

In other words, eternal life isn’t just a thing God gives you, like getting a bike from your dad for your birthday.

But eternal life is part of being in God, because God is eternal life.

“I am the way, the truth and the LIFE.”

Receiving Christ is a receiving of life.

No God=No Life

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

“. . . we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

Does Google Hate Jesus?

A Google user recently pointed out that Jesus doesn’t get his own “knowledge graph” when you search his name.

A knowledge graph is the little box at the top of Google searches that gives brief details about who the searched person is.

The kind of thing you’ll see if you search Muhammed.

Apparently, Jesus doesn’t get his own knowledge graph result, but other prominent religious figures like Muhammad, Moses, and Buddha do.

Does Google hate Jesus?

Well, I wouldn’t put it past them, but no. Once again, just relax everyone.

“You won’t find a graph for Vishnu, the Supreme God of Vaishnavism, one of the three main sects of Hinduism or Shiva, another popular Hindu deity. You won’t find a graph for Kirshna either.

“There’s no knowledge graph for God, Allah, or Yahweh either. What do Jesus, Vishnu, Allah, and these left-out entities have in common?

“They’re all God, or gods. Sure, Jesus Christ is also believed to be a human, the son of God. But in Christian teachings, Jesus is also God himself. It looks like Google is simply shying away from assigning any sort of god their own knowledge graph.”

5 Ways to Know you are Identified With Christ

“Identification with Christ” is the point of the Gospel.

Identification is more than just calling ourselves “Jesus people” or “Christians.”

What Christ did; we join Him in. That’s identification with Christ.

How does one know if one is identified with Christ? There are many ways, but here are five key ones.

1) Desire to Defeat Sin
Although sin gets little air time, wanting to defeat sin should have been the main reason you came to Christ. You are fed up with your failure and with the world’s empty answers about your soul’s longings. You know there’s more to life than flailing around amusing yourself. You know Christ is the only answer to sin and its problems.

2) Desire to Pursue Righteousness
If you are putting off sin, you will discover time on your hands. What to do with yourself now that you aren’t sinning? Christianity is more than defeating sin; it’s living in righteousness. Put off the old and put on the new. This involves first, knowing what God thinks is right and second, going and doing that.

3) Humility
Self-righteousness, pride, and arrogance sum up the life of sin. It’s all about you. Now, as identified with Christ, it’s all about Him. It’s no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. You don’t trust yourself. You don’t rejoice in yesterday’s victory; you watch out for today’s coming battles.

4) Service
Other people suddenly show up on your radar. You care more about helping, than evoking sympathy and burdening others with your whiny problems. You stop being busy, and start finding time to be helpful to others. You submit to others for their edification, rather than fighting for your rights.

5) Fruit of the Spirit
Things start happening in your life that never happened before. You grow in self-control and patience. The stuff that used to get you worked up ceases to have that effect. There is a calmness that carries you. You become even-keeled emotionally, and yet feel certain emotions like never before.

There are many other signs you are truly identified with Christ. Each of the aspects of the fruit of the Spirit could get its own paragraph here. Prayer is a huge indicator as well–are you talking to Christ? A desire to read the Word grows. You desire to know God, not just use Him for your temporal blessings. You desire spiritual knowledge to know what to do because you realize how little you know, rather than growing in knowledge to win arguments.

The bottom line is: words matter very little in proving you are saved and identified with Christ. What does your life communicate? Does Christ cross your mind during the day? Do you desire to do what is pleasing to Him? When making decisions, do verses come to mind?

It’s a new life! If you’re still living the old, either wake up, or get saved, which ever applies to you!

Jesus Vine

Jesus once said that He was the vine and we are the branches.

Well, apparently Jesus wanted to drive this point home a little further.


Thousands of car travel along Highway 11 in Kinston everyday, yet most of them don’t notice some unique looking vines growing on a power pole.

“It’s very interesting. It does look like Christ on the cross, and even with the crown of thorns on his head,” said Rick Vernon, a retired pastor.

Vernon admits he’s even gone by without noticing it, but does say it could carry a spiritual message for some.

“Especially for Christians that it reminds them, just the shape of it, and the way that it looks, of what Jesus Christ did for them on the cross Calvary,” he said.

As the vines grow, so too does the meaning it has for some people like Ryan Vernon, pastor at 902 Church in Kinston.

“Jesus says he is the vine and we are the branches, so I think this is significant because it speaks to who Christ truly is,” he said.

The Weak Gospel Creates Weak Faith

Allegedly, America put a man on the moon.

Allegedly, there was a Holocaust.

Allegedly, the Cubs won a National Championship.

I was not there for any of these events.

I have to take other people’s word for it that they happened.

In some cases, I can review video footage.

But was the video footage from the moon, or a Hollywood studio?

There is an amount of faith required to accept any reality you were not present at.

I fear that when Christians talk about “believing the Gospel,” people hear it in similar fashion to believing man walked on the moon.

Faith in the Gospel is much more than believing it happened.

The Gospel is that Christ died for our sins, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

Oh sure, I believe that. Just like I believe there was a Holocaust, man walked on the moon, and the Cubs won a National Championship.

But biblical faith is more than mental assent, it’s more than agreeing with a set of facts about a past event you weren’t at.

Believing the Gospel is about identification with Christ.

Yes, I believe there was a historical event where a man named Jesus, who was God in the flesh, died on a cross, was buried, and rose again.

But biblical faith takes it a step further: I believe I was crucified with Christ, buried with Him and raised up to newness of life with Him.

It’s not just believing a past event about Jesus; it’s taking part in that past event in your own life now.

America is allegedly 80% Christian. Hardly looks like it.

That’s not because polls are wrong; that’s because people have no true concept of faith in the Gospel.

Unfortunately, the Church has fostered this weak faith, a faith that stops short of an identification with Christ that results in self-denial and the dying out of fleshly lust.

Instead we focus on poor Jesus, don’t you feel bad for Him? You should really be nice to people because of Jesus and death and sadness and stuff.

We reap our own lack of faith.

Christ died so you would die with Him.

Christ rose again so you would be raised up with Him.

Do you want this, or is nodding your head at historical fact enough for you?

Hell is filled with people who believed historical facts about Jesus.

Jesus Scarecrow

A “Jesus on the cross” scarecrow hung on a lamppost for a Cambridgeshire festival was removed amid a flurry of complaints online.


Radka Shaw and her children made the figure for Godmanchester’s musicals-themed scarecrow festival to represent Jesus Christ Superstar.

Comments on the town’s Facebook page ranged from “offensive” to “it’s only a scarecrow, calm down”. Mrs Shaw said she had removed it but would “resurrect” it elsewhere.””

Seriously, people do need to calm down!

If a person truly believes that Jesus is the Son of God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, they should also believe that He is capable of putting up with disrespect.

Remember, He actually put up with being crucified!

He’s a Big Boy, He can handle Himself. Show your faith by being rooted, grounded and firm, not freaked out and offended at every breath of wind.

Don’t Let Humanism Corrupt Your Christianity

Humanism used to be a troubling philosophy. Now humanism is assumed.

Modern Christianity has little to do with Christ, and much to do with humanism.

We’ve bought the line that we are special people with world-changing purpose.

Living a life of quiet obedience to Christ is out.

Making Christ your self-help guru so you can accomplish more, more, more is in.

The only valuable Christian is the one who has a ministry named after him or her.

The only Christian life worth living is one where you and Jesus save the world.

It’s not enough to be still and know God, now we must be busy doing goals with Jesus.

Being quiet and working with your hands is out, being loud, obnoxious and in your face with my goods I want you to buy is in.

Don’t let humans dictate your view of God or yourself. Humans are wrong.

God is right. Concern yourself with His wisdom.

Remember how short my time is:
wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?

Life is short. You really don’t matter. God says your life is vain. Relax in that.

Do you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? Cuz if you did, you wouldn’t have energy for anything else.

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.

You don’t have to change the world.

God does not judge you on your supposed “impact” on the world.

Your life does not have to “go viral” to pass God’s judgment.

God judges your heart and what flows out of it.

“And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God,
and into the patient waiting for Christ.”

Elton John, Homosexuality and Jesus

“”If Jesus Christ was alive today, I cannot see him, as the Christian person that he was and the great person that he was, saying this could not happen,” John said. “He was all about love and compassion and forgiveness and trying to bring people together. And that is what the Church should be about.””

The “John” quoted is one Sir Elton John, bastion of Christian wisdom and doctrine.

The thing he is talking about is gay marriage, particularly allowing gay priests to marry, I guess.

The argument trying to support gay marriage from the Bible is bizarre to me.

The Bible says homosexuality is a sin. You may not like that, but that’s what it says. There really is no way around it.

Typically, the argument for gay marriage is “well, there’s things in the Bible you do that you shouldn’t, so why can’t we do this?” Which, quite frankly, is one of the stupidest arguments I’ve heard.

Many people use the “Leviticus says it’s a sin, but Leviticus also says not to wear wool and cotton together and you do that, so there.”

To truly answer this objection, one has to study the distinctions between the Old and New Testaments, which most armchair theologians trying to justify their pet sins, aren’t going to do.

Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh. Everything in the Word is consistent with who Jesus is.

The Bible is against homosexuality in many places, not just Leviticus, and even in the New Testament. Even in Paul’s “treatise on grace,” the book of Romans, says homosexuality is a sin, but furthermore, a sin that shows God has turned people loose in their sin.

Elton John may have a notion of what he thinks love is, but love is not the removal of righteousness.

So, get back honky cat, leave the Bible to those who know what it says, or perhaps educate yourself and then comment on it.

John Hay’s Opinions of Denominations

Reading a book about John Hay and John Nicolay, two guys who made a career out of knowing Abe Lincoln.

While John Hay was trying to make it in the world, before he knew Lincoln or had a career, he considered going into the ministry.

He decided not to because:

“I would not do for a Methodist preacher, for I am a poor horseman. I would not suit the Baptists, for I dislike water. I would fail as an Episcopalian, for I am no ladies’ man.”

He went into law instead.

Conceived in Iniquity

In Psalm 51 David confesses his sin. “Against Thee, and Thee only, have I sinned” he says to God. Right after that he says,

“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

The majority of the time, this verse is quoted to proof-text original sin–we are born sinners. Since most immediately assume that’s what David is saying, perhaps we miss the point of what he just said.

It seems weird that David would be using this verse to say, “Yeah, I sinned, Adam made me do it” when he’s in the midst of an emotional confession before God over sin that troubled him greatly.

Perhaps David, upon thinking of his own sexual sin, thinks of his mother’s sexual sin. Note what he said, “in sin did my mother conceive me.”

Conception is not birth. David is not saying, “I was born a sinner.” He’s saying that his conception, the point at which his mother sexually conceived him, was sinful. He was conceived by a sinful sexual act.

That has to be the plainest sense of these words.

Is there any other biblical proof for such a thing?

1 Chronicles records Jesse’s (David’s dad’s) genealogy. “David the seventh:Whose sisters were Zeruiah, and Abigail.” When you read the genealogy it smacks as weird that it breaks to mention David’s sisters, but not sisters of the other sons of Jesse. Hmm.

Abigail and Zeruiah show up in 2 Samuel and says their father’s name was Nahash, not Jesse.

David’s dad was Jesse, but his sisters’ dad was Nahash, an Ammonite, which means David’s mom was either another wife of Jesse’s, or at worst, David was a child of unfaithfulness by Jesse. Either way, David’s mom was married to an Ammonite and David would be looked down on by Jews as being an unclean kid.

This may explain why when Samuel came to view Jesse’s sons to choose the next king, David was left out.

Just a thought, a theory if you will. Not gonna start a new church over it, but I find it interesting.

One other note: 2 Samuel 10 says that Nahash, the Ammonite King, was nice to David, but Nahash’s son was not–he sent away David’s messengers with their beards shaved off and robes cut short. Perhaps there is a little family feud going on behind the scenes in that whole story?

God Can Heel

I was reading lyrics of a Christian song on the internet and saw this in speaking of God:

“He can save and He can heel.”

That cracked me up.

I assume they meant “He can save and He can heAl.”

There are people who like to have God on a leash, keep Him obedient to them, walking by their side, following their orders like a good boy.

Saying that God can heel might be a bit of a Freudian slip (however, I didn’t do well in psychology class, so I might be off on that).

Do we desire God to be in control, or do we desire Him to do our bidding? Do we just look for Him for free health care, or do we submit to His grace being sufficient? Do we desire to obey God, or have God obey us?

What end of the leash are you on?


Esteem Others Better than Yourself and Ignoring Idiots

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.

That’s Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:3. I have always found that verse to be amazing and inspiring.

I have always been a person who has relied on what people thought of me. I have been terrified many times, especially as a kid, about what others thought of me, what if I look stupid? What if they notice my idiocy and mock me?

To be in a place where you don’t care about other people’s judgments of you is amazing to me.

Furthermore though, and even more amazing, Paul says he doesn’t judge himself! I am my worst critic.

OK. Wait, I have actually had worse critics of me than myself. I’m probably my fourth worst critic. The point is, I am very hard on myself.

When you know your own sin, your failings, your lack of results, and perhaps your lack of effort, the easiest thing is to make sure everyone notices how rotten those other guys are.

That’s easier than actually, like, you know, working harder and stuff.

The more we have sin in our life, the more judgmental we become of others.

Paul later on tells us to “esteem others better than yourself.”

So wait, I’m not supposed to care what others think about me, I don’t even judge myself, and yet at the same time I’m supposed to view others better than me?

How does that work?

If I were to go around saying, “It is a very small thing that I should be judged of you,” trust me when I tell you, I’d say that as a big jerk.

But Paul is holding himself to a higher standard than merely what people think. He holds himself to the standard of what God thinks.

If you’re doing the right thing, no one can say anything to you that can sway you from it. If you need to do it for your stand before God, who can stop that?

When we live in view of our stand before God, we want others to do the same. Since we want others to view themselves before God, we cease to be their judge.

Since we don’t have to rip others down to look better, we can honestly esteem others better than ourselves. Only sinners fear morally right people. Morally right people do not need to fear sinners.

The whole thing is tricky, your flesh will mess with you on this one. Self-righteousness is a killer. Judgmentalism is tough to kill in any of us.

But constantly seeing ourselves before the Judge of the Universe will go a long way in helping you esteem others better than yourself, and, at the same time, not being swayed by their judgments.

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