Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Secret War

I just finished watching Expelled, and am tempted to write a review. Overall the movie wasn't bad, but propaganda of any kind tends to grate my nerves a bit. So all that said, the movie dealt mainly with the idea of a culture war in which the establishment is somehow repressing religion in an almost conspiracy like way. My take on the situation is that people don't like God. Simple as that. The bible says he is the cornerstone the builder rejected. Why does there need to be a mass conspiracy for people not to accept God? I think we sometimes forget that to the world our beliefs are strange. The idea of the Hebrew God is something that even religious experts claim not to fully understand, so why would the world get it? Instead of fighting a war with legislation, videos, and all the nastiness that the world shows us why not fight back with Christ?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Balancing Act

It's amazing the contrasts that the bible uses, and it seems like a good way to sum it up is balance that can only be achieved in God. Today I realized 2 aspects of this, and would like to hit them one at a time. Personal responsibility vs equality. These are two things that don't mesh well in our modern society, This almost Marxist view that everyone is equal in every way and deserves equal treatment combined with an almost capitalist view that your responsible for your own mistakes. It's strange really. I'm to care for the poor, even if they made themselves poor. I'm to care for the fatherless even though I'm not the man who ran out on the child. I was raised to believe that people were responsible to do right, and if they didn't then they should be made too. If a man bet everything on the stock market and lost it all it was his fault, and his job too make it back. If a father ran out on his child then he should be forced by society to take on the responsibility of father hood or be an outcast. If someone is poor, the work another job. I have this view that people are responsible for changing their own things, and when it fails, they are responsible for the failure. Yet I'm called to meet people at the same level that Christ met me. That means taking them as they are, forgiving everything, and continuing to forgive. Yet a part of me wants to see justice. After all if their to be held accountable then saying go and sin no more wont do it. Many times I forget how small and insignificant I am, and that it's God in control. That it's sin that makes us all equal in debt and God that holds us accountable. That we truly are all the same. Ryan uses the phrase Imago Dei, or image of God. We are all made in the image of God, and it's only in God that true equality, and true justice exist and are found. The answer isn't a political belief, or money, or anything we can do.... The only answer that truly makes a difference is God.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Holy Men Were Struck and Overwhelmed

These last two days have been crazy! Here that? C R A Z Y!

Here's a rundown of what started Thursday afternoon.

I was supposed to have Friday off, but on Thursday my boss asked if I could work a couple of hours as she had to take Robbie up to Stayton. "No problem", I thought. I decided to go with it and just wake up a little earlier to run my errands before work. Upon waking I started my day by skipping prayer and being in the word since I figured I'd make it up later in the day, My ex girlfriend sent me a message out of the blue, and I never got around to the scriptures.

So the score is

days in the word: 2 for 3

It should be 3 for 3, but I made the mistake of trying to fit God in my day, instead of fitting my day into my time with God.

There's so much in these last two days I could talk about, but its not what's on my heart right now. Truth is I've been pondering the idea of what a bond servant is again. I don't understand my natural reaction of abhorrence at being a slave to God. If I'm honest with myself then I really have no choice but to be a slave. My only choice lies in what I'm a slave too, sin or Christ.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Copyright Violation

I was reading through my last post and realized that all the areas I posted on are similar to ones that some other guys I know are struggling with. I promise I didn't steal them, they really are areas I need to work on. When people around me are honost about their struggles it encourages me to take a look at my own and often times I do better with my commitments in these situations. There are more areas that God has shown me I need to work on, but I'll post on those a little later. So far I have done well with my list, but then again it is just day one.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Spring Cleaning

Tonight I had one of the most real and intimate experiences with God in a group setting that I've had in a long time, and I usually hate using phrases like "real and intimate". God has blessed me with an amazing group of guys that allow me to participate in their small group that they have on wednesdays. After missing two weeks in a row I'm so thankful to be back, and thankful I didnt miss tonight. For a long time now I've been putting of choosing between my God and myself, and tonight he showed me that if I truly wish to choose him there will need to be some changes. In order to help me be accountible I'm gonna post them so that that way I can't exclude them from the list later.

1 My relationship with a friend needs to change. My interest has gone from one of close friendship, to one of a romantic desire, and if I intend to put God first I need to close that door now so that I'm not tempted later.

2 My recreational activities need to change. I've been struggling harder then ever it seems with sexual desire. Before pornagraphy was just a means to an end, and even though I needed to get it out of my life I allowed it to take root, especially when I was in a relationship with Sonya. Now that I've let it take root it seems that that desire is more then just mental, it's something deeper. I need to fill my life and time with God if I'm to have any chance of overcoming it.

3 I need to get of my computer, off my bike, and into the word. I am a major slacker when it comes to spending time with God. God needs to be my all, not just a thing I occasionaly look at out of guilt.

4 I need to let Christ shine through me. I've always been afraid of being one of those "religious people" but I need to worry less about how others view me and more about where I'm at with God

5 I need to live Christ. There's no way to make this simpler. I can't just help around the church and call my life good. My faith needs to go beyond me.

So those are the things God has demanded I change so far, and I will add them as he shows me more.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Five Foot Thick!

K this will be TMI, but hang with it. Just under the little toe on my right foot I have a thick callous. Sometime in high school I decided to start cutting it off when it formed, and its actually kinda fun. Anyway, tonight Ryan talked about having a calloused heart, and it hit home. I still stand by my convictions that money doesn't fix things, and that we can never cure the worlds ills. Yet as I write this I can't help but think of how calloused I am. Taking care of the poor isn't about fixing their economic situation, it's about showing Christs love. I've truly failed in this. I've always felt there is some point where enough is enough, if someone won't help themselves, then shouldn't we say hey enough, I love you, but you're on your own? After tonight I know that's not the case. My job isn't to make people responsible, just like it's not my job to fix their situation. If Christ met me where I was, then it's my duty as an ambassador to meet them where they are.

Rich, Creamy, and Smooth

Okay, I promised I would write about the good in my life, so here goes.

1. I have been blessed with great people in my life, from my friends and family, too my extended family at work. For a long time I've struggled with a feeling of not being accepted, and looking at my life lately I've come to realize that God has truly blessed me with some great relationships.

2. In a time where nightly news reports talk about potential mass lay offs in the future I can't help but be thankful. I understand that having a job isnt important to life, but God has given me one, and it's one I love.

3. Even if I'm not a concert pianist or a master carpenter I do have skills that make my day to day life more enjoyable. I love music, and can even play some. I love food and am a decent cook. I love riding and though I wont win a Tour de France I have my favorite stretches of road right outside my window.

4. Life is a thing to be thankful for. Even though heaven is better being alive means God still has a purpose for us, and thats alot to be thankful for.

5. God's love is an oft overused answer, but it's true. The reason it's something to be thankful for is that all love we recieve is underserved.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Its not about money

this post was supposed to be about the good things about life, but there's something else on my mind right now. I just watched a video that said we need to stop being consumers, and start spending money helping those in need. It then went on to say that with only 10 million dollars we could provide the whole world with potable water. I have no problem giving money to causes, but money won't fix things. People want to cure homelessness, so they give allot of money towards buying old hotels and apartment buildings to fix up into hostels, that the homeless won't even stay in due to rampant violence and substance abuse problems. Engineers spend lots of time and money building reservoirs for villages in third world countries, only to have the locals use it as a watering hole for cattle, a bathing area, and a refuse pit. We have this wide eyed view that we can fix all the worlds ills. Truth is better men have tried and failed, and it's all because we as humans can't fix the human condition. We are sinners, and the only person who can cure us is Christ. As long as there is sin in the world our plans will never succeed, we will never cure our condition. Should we stop trying? No. Let's be honest though we need to try, but we need to be honest that things will fail, and therefore our focus should be sharing the gift Christ gave us. You want to help the homeless, don't try to cure it, go and help them yourself, meet them where they are. Go to Africa or India and boil their water for them instead of giving them your money. Christ could have cured the world, but instead he met us where we are, and gave himself for us.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Life Sucks

Usually I have a pretty even outlook when it comes to life. I don't think it's super great, and I don't think it super sucks. So to help myself with coming up with benchmarks I've decided to look at it on both ends. So the fun part first eh?

1. Work

I love my job, alot. The thing that sucks is that Robbie may be going into a home next month and I've been givin the opportunity to potentially be his one on one at the new house. There's a catch though. In order to work for the company I need to get my drivers license. Not only do I hate driving, but I'm major stressed because I need to get my app in before the process becomes official, and I have no license yet.

2. Church

I am now head teacher of our 3's class for second service and I hate it. I'm one of those people that likes to just do what I'm told rather then boss others.

3. Friends

I realize more then ever this year how much I've dropped out of a solid relationship with some of my good friends, and I don't like it.

4. Love

This time last year I was in love. I had met a girl I cared deeply for and after being together over 6 months I was certain that I would love to spend the rest of my life with her. Sadly she didn't feel the same and we broke up. After continuing the relationship for awhile hoping things would work out I gave up, we had a big fight and I haven't talked to her since. When we were together she was almost all that mattered to me, and now at times it feels like there's a void in my life. To top matters off I ended up being physically intimate with her, which made things so much harder. Now I have an emotional void, but also a desire for physical intimacy that I didn't have before.

5. Weight

Let's face it, I'm fat. I ride my bike everywhere, I eat less then my friends, I eat healthier then them for the most part too. Truth is I have lost weight, and I know I could do it again, but the desire to be thinner isn't more then my love for food. But like all Americans I want the body without the work.

6. I live at home

I really don't mind living at home, but I'm 22, so it feels weird inviting my friends to come hang out at my parents place.

7. God

I'm surprised I didn't think of this till last, but it makes sense considering. My relationship with God is not where it should be, but instead of meeting God where I'm at and letting him change me, I just keep going in the wrong direction.

My Fear Realized

Last night as I was tossing and turning, trying to go to sleep, I finally realized my fear. I'm afraid of being wrong. I have this fear that everything I know in my life might not be true or real. It affects my relationships with others, and it's why I keep God at a distance. I've known for a long time that I have this fear, but until last night I never realized how much it limits what God has givin me. Everythng I say, or do, starts a little arguement in my head, and I withdraw....

Monday, October 13, 2008

uhhhhh I forget

I know I had something deep God had shown me, but I always forget before I can get to my computer to write it down. These last two weeks have been crazy in terms of all the stuff going on. Yet for some reason I have no problem finding time to slack off, instead I've been sacrificing time in areas where I shouldn't. I've barely been in the word the last two weeks, and other then meals and at church I haven't spent any time talking with God. God has been faithful though even though I haven't. He's blessed me through my Sunday school class with the threes, he's given me great friends who help keep me spiritually connected in spite of myself, and he's given me great people in my life.

Anyways, tonight Ryan talked about a...... ummmm...... Some kind of activity he had to do in class. He encouraged us to think on our fears, and how we view God. Still not sure I fully know or understand mine, but I did learn something. I learned I am the prodigal son and I still have yet to return home. I've kept God at somewhat of a distance in my life. I know I don't like this, and I know what I need to do about it.... I have a long way to go before I get home to the feast.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Whole New World

I really need to get out there more and be Christ to people. Back in highschool I was involved in work projects, would share my faith more, and volunteered at the church all the time. Now with my work schedule it's far more difficult. I work with Christians most of whom are more mature in their faith then myself, I really am a bit reclusive, and lastly ever since I started working full time it's like my free time has become super valuable. Truth is though God has called us all, and my free time is no more valuable then anyone elses.... So ya, I really need to get on the ball.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The JC Gang

Last night I watched a documentary on one of the most controversial figures in the early church, Paul. The documentary portrayed Paul as changing the beliefs of the church to fit his ministry to the gentiles and ignoring early church doctrine. It then went on to say that modern Christianity is based off of Paul's teachings and is therefore not the same Christianity of Christ and his early followers. I've heard this allot lately, and all though there is a grain of truth in it, it oversteps history and takes a step into fantasy.

1. Early Christians weren't revolutionaries, they were radicals. Early Christians WERE Jews. That's the whole reason Paul persecuted them. After Christs death any Jew who accepted him as the Messiah was committing blasphemy in the eyes of the Jewish establishment. These early Christians weren't out to buck the Jewish establishment. In fact they were just like every other Jew except for the fact that they believed Jesus was the Messiah.

2. Paul accepted the idea of following Jewish law when you became a Christian. Paul never said that it was wrong to follow Jewish law once you were a follower of Christ. In fact his view was that Christ had come for everyone, and therefore the law could not become a stumbling block to new converts.

3. The early church leaders met with Paul and agreed with his ministry. To often Paul is portrayed as a radical who corrupted the early church. In reality though Paul had the support of Peter, the rock on who Christ built his church.

4. Early Christians didn't live in communes. This one is a strange one because people forget to give it context. Early Christian communities were very localized. It wasn't like modern times where you had Christians scattered everywhere. These communities were built around their churches where the believers gathered. In this sense the Christian community is like other communities of it's time. During this time the main transportation was foot traffic or animals, so even the distance of 10 miles could be a hindrance in meeting with fellow believers. So early believers formed communities

There's more that could be expounded on, but meh.

God is

Tuesday at lunch we got into a theological discussion and it led to some varried conclusions amongst three of us. Dan, Ryan, and I were eating at Thai Lotus and Ryan was telling us about his class on Women in the Bible. This led to the discussion on the gender of God. We all three were in agreement (at least I think we were) that the gender of God wasn't important to who God is. But that brought up something else that was interesting. Why do we try and assign attributes, and debate over who God is? God is God (obvious). These minor things we debate over don't change who God is, rather they just serve our perception of God. If you really want to know God then read your bible and act on what you read. Okay I've lost my place....

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Discipline was the thing!

But I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27

"Discipline! Discipline was the thing! Builds character, and all that sort of thing, you know." I used to think Colonel Hathi from The Jungle Book was just a windbag, but now I know he was right. For some reason we have an aversion to discipline, at least I know I do.

We often think of discipline in the dry times of our walks when God feels far. Discipline needs to start far before then though. I realize now that had I disciplined myself to the ways of God during the times of plenty things would be far less difficult right now. It's like when you have a bumper crop. If you do not use discipline and use everything up then in the time of famine you'll starve. When times with God were good I didn't feel the need to be disciplined. I read my bible whenever and prayed whenever and spent absolutely 0 time memorizing scripture. Now in this dry spell I've been in I lack the gumption needed master myself. God doesn't feel as close so that well of desire for God has dried up. So what is going to keep me going now?

Sunday, October 5, 2008


It's amazing how God does things. When he's trying to get something through to you he doesn't just tell you once and hope you take notes. Instead he continually reaffirms what it is he's trying to tell you, as if to say I told you so. Not long ago God laid it on my heart that he truly is in charge of everything, and I need to let go when things don't work out how I expect. This week God's reaffirmed that. Our classroom for our threes class is no more and we were supposed to have class in our "temp" classrooms. However due to the fact that things weren't inspected we instead had to have a massive class of the threes, fours, and fives all in one room. To be honest I was dreading it. I've helped at summer camps and VBS in the past and knew how chaotic it could get. Also my lesson plan was out the window since we wouldn't be teaching. Instead of 20+ three year olds we'd now have 50+ kids. Turns out that my dread was ill founded. Things went off as smooth as they could in a situation like that. Everyone did their part in preparing for it, and God did the rest.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

But I Don't Wanna

Truly I am a selfish person, but I never realized the extent of my selfishness. I constantly give in to my desires and allow myself to become distracted from my relationship with God simply because there are things I want more. I'd rather relax and watch a movie then open my bible. I'd rather not set aside a portion of my day, no matter how small, and no matter what I'm doing, to help another person. I'd rather give in to the desire to sin simply for that little bit of pleasure. So how, when, does this selfish desire become overpowered with a consuming desire for God? Sometimes I tire of the struggle, which is ironic considering how often I just give up and cave in. Part of me truly does desire God and his will. For now the desire for myself is still stronger. I understand Ryan's analogy of the wolves and the stronger on being the one you feed, but as of right now my desire for God isn't strong enough to win out. So my struggle now isn't wrestling with God... But wrestling with myself..... Forcing myself to submit. I may never have that all consuming passion that Paul had, but being sold out starts with desire, and I need that desire. So which do I want??????????

Thursday, October 2, 2008

He's Got The Whole World In His Hands

Tonight was the debate between the two vice presidential candidates..... and I did not watch it, so that's the last I will discuss of it. A friend of mine once said regardless of who wins everything is still in God's hands. Why is it that Christians often forget this fact? I hear Christians and non-Christians alike go on about how we have to elect their candidate or else the world as we know it will end. So what do you think will happen if Obama gets elected? What about McCain? Truth is I don't care what will happen. In the end no matter who wins it's all in God's hands. Granted we have to do our part, and vote as God convicts us, but once we vote that's it, we need to let it go.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Never the Twain Shall Meet

I was talking with a friend one day; and although I can't remember who exactly I have a good idea because of the subject matter. We were talking about Christians being uninvolved in the world nowadays. Christians who are content with sitting in service and giving their money so that others can do God's work. You know the kind,. They never volunteer or serve. Honestly I understand that doing things takes money, and in that respect I have less of a problem with these people then my friend. Yet I understand the frustration they feel. These people are willing to fore go the fullness of what God has to offer them because they simply don't want to serve. This friend was also tempted to dump people like me in this category. I honestly don't spend much time with the homeless or the poor. I enjoy the pleasure of serving the children of our church. In this persons mind the true calling of all Christians is to serve those less fortunate. Don't get me wrong, serving the less fortunate is part of the God's ministry, and I'm willing to do it, but my heart lies with the kids. OK this so hasn't gone where I wanted it to go. I wanted to compare the Christians I described earlier with another group of Christians. I've noticed a lot of Christians lately that think it's their duty to make the government help the needy, and I think they are exactly the same as the money givers. Ironically the people I know who fall in that political category would most likely think what they are doing is far more then what the money givers are doing. In their minds their out there making a difference. In reality their making others make a difference for them. What's the difference between a person saying here's money go do great works, and someone saying here's a vote go make people do what's right? If people want change for the better the way isn't with money, or votes, or buildings. They are all useful things, but our power and ability comes from God, not from a checkbook or congress.