Friday, February 27, 2009

Contenders for the Faith

Here's a scenario for you, you're at work and you overhear someone talking about Christianity to another co-worker...Great right? Except that after listening to the conversation for an appropriate amount of time you realize that what the person is saying about Christianity is fundamentally wrong, or perhaps it's just a misrepresentation of the covenant of grace VS legalism...

what do you do?

There's a reason why politics and religion aren't considered "polite conversation"

the ability to disagree without being disagreeable is a very high art form!

Black people and white people sometimes don't get along that well, we fight amongst ourselves like brothers have been known to do and things can sometimes get carried away, WAY carried away, scars are left, grudges are held.

I may have beat on you, but there is no way I'm going to let anyone else beat on you!

Why? because we're a family! And despite our differences, dysfunctions and disputes you're still my brother and I love you!

(please don't tell that around,okay? if he found out it would be the end for me)

The body of Christ is composed of family members, as such I think that we need to be strong enough to bend but not break. THAT is what shows real strength to an unsaved and watching world! If you're in a relationship with someone and you don't have the ability to communicate with them honestly then what you have is "acquaintance's" not a know what I mean! I see it as important that we present an atmosphere to people where questions and discussions are encouraged, not an atmosphere of spiritual eggshells that we all walk on.

Gods word has many examples of people arguing. Conflicts can be opportunities to clarify ideas, expectations and goals. They may bring into the open what needs to be changed. Even good change rarely happens without conflict.

Ephesians 5:11
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.13But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light

To reprove: To confute, admonish, convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke (Strong's Concordance)

I believe that our enemy appreciates it when Christian people stay silent rather than risk possibly having to defend their faith or having someone take out their religious frustrations on them. (that happens) When Christian's are more concerned with not stepping on anybody's toes darkness is "un-disturbed" and satan doesn't have to re-tell all of those lies he's told people.

Jude 1:3 (King James Version)

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

My pastor once told me that any good sermon has to end up being about the blood of Christ. It's at the core of who we are as Christians and THAT is something definitely worth contending for.
If we as Christians are squabbling over are stuff like "who WAS Cains wife?" or "what color should the new carpet in the sanctuary be?" then yeah, we need to just grow up and learn to "let it go," but when we see stuff that might serve as a stumbling block to people I think we should speak up. Some people here on 360 feel bothered by people who have questions, or by people who are rude, or argumentative, not me! There's nothing in this world that my Lord cannot use to attempt to save someone, no darkness that He can't shine on, He's not offended! Can you see the absurdity of ME being offended? He loves them, and I think that maybe I hadn't oughtta too! LOL I choose to take any opportunity I can, wherever I can, In season or out, to share His love with people!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now?

Just about everyone has heard this catch phrase pitched by one of the largest telecom providers in the U.S. It's a brilliant marketing concept that works because we can relate to it,because everyone who has a cell phone has said it at least once if not hundreds of times.

The point being, as the commercial says, "It's the network."

You can trust us, we don't mind being put to the test because we know how important it is to you...and if it's important to you, well....thats the whole reason we're here!

WOW! that's service, It's the kind of service you'd recommend to a friend or to a family member.

It's the kind of service you can trust when your very life may depend on it.

That's why they're number one, why they can't build cell towers fast enough to keep up with the demand!

Friend, given what you and I know about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ are we anywhere near as enthusiastic about sharing Him with others as we should be? (we have a "network" too)

Psalm 34:8 (King James Version)
O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

I love sweets, there's a salvage grocery store close to me that recently got in a shipment of Russell Stover thin mints and peanut butter cups. They're so good, and they're selling them for dirt cheap, so after I had tried them I came back and bought some more. I wanted to share them with basically anyone and everyone I could! (LOL) They're SO cheap,and so good, there's just no reason everyone shouldn't enjoy them!

Salvation is like that, (except it's not "cheap")

John 3:16 (King James Version)
16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

2 Corinthians 6
1 As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. 2 For God says,
“At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.”
Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.

It's a free gift to us from God! And sweet? What could be sweeter? Imagine standing before God on judgment day looking over the edge there and seeing hell and then looking over the other way and seeing heaven, knowing absolutely that the life you've led here would qualify you for uh, (down there) where there IS no cell service, and the only network consists of the minions of the devil conspiring as to how to most painfully torture you!

Romans 6:23 (New International Version)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

WOO-HOO! I do feel like running and jumpin! I am going to shout it out to whoever will listen!

Timothy 1:15 (King James Version)
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

We as people tend strongly to talk about what we love! I'm thinking of making a bumper sticker that says...

Ask Me About My Savior!

The one thing I'm proudest of, that I feel most compelled to boast about, is what Jesus has done for me! I'll not stay silent about my deliverance from the lies of the enemy, or about my transformation through the renewing of my mind, I'm going to put my lamp on a post where it can shine!

Revelation 3:20 (King James Version)

20Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Actions,speak louder!

Actions,speak louder! magnify
As you may know, we had a hum-dinger of an ice storm here where I live in Southeast Mo. It knocked out power for an extended period of time and left "tree debris" everywhere in our town. The ministerial alliance in our community got together and decided to go out into the community and clean up peoples yards last Saturday, I volunteered!

2009-Ice218 by CountryGuys.

We cleaned up the large limbs, and cut what would be usable as firewood into stove logs. It was a wonderful feeling to help the mostly older people who really appreciated it!

AK000702 by you.

AK000706 by you.

I was talking to one of the pastors who told me about a lady who's yard was full of limbs. He had offered to clean up her yard but she simply couldn't accept that anyone would do it for free and was very reluctant to allow it. I told him about a man who we had worked for who had insisted on giving us money, after we had explained that we were "volunteers"...he said "I can't see you guys doing all of this work for nothing" I told him "we're not" and that we were happy to do it because we truly believed there was a blessing from the Lord in it for us, and also that we were happy to help him because of what the Lord has already done for us! (set us free from sin). There were some confused expressions on the faces of people, which grew into smiles, and seemed to warm the chilly morning.

the smile on your face by tonebastiansen.

I can totally relate to people being reluctant or being confused by this "free lunch." I can remember how I felt when people told me about Gods gift of salvation,and how I thought it sounded too good to be true. I had, like many people been let down by many things I had trusted in before. The memory of the pain was a strong deterrent to me being able to accept Christ or this "gift" I had heard so much about. Our worldly mindset tells us that there are always strings attached to things that seem to be free, so it's better to pass on things that not only don't make sense to you but that also might obligate us somehow with the fine print we didn't understand when we accepted the "free" item. It's a dark bit of business that our enemy is up to, convincing us that we're unlovable by anyone... that we are hopelessly condemned to blindly fumble through life searching for the square peg to fit into our square hole, and that we're failures, or "losers" because we can't find that "peg" in the things or stuff of this world. I spent the majority of my life doing just that, but it was Gods ACTIONS toward me that opened my eyes and my heart to what He had for me. Not simply the many times he saved me from my own incredibly dangerous stupidity, or delivered me from the addictions I was ensnared by, but mostly for what He did for me on the cross. I grew to love Him after I began to understand how much He loves me! ME! and friends, that is the silver bullet to the werewolf of this world! It is the antidote to what this world has to try and scare me with! whats going to happen with this economy? (God loves me and He's in control) My job...? Whats going to happen to me and my family if,if,if, same answer! I can face anything that this world can dish out, (even death) how? because of the love of Christ, FOR ME! He stood up in my place, He took my punishment, He paid my debt, and someday, I'll go to where He is for eternity! I know, too good to be true right? but it IS Because He is the WAY,the TRUTH, and the LIFE! and He's waiting for YOU!

The Old Tree

Generation after generation it stood, even before the school was built or the playground was laid out around it. Under it's bough's children played, hiding their faces and counting or digging in the dirt around it's flowing roots. Under it's bough's first kiss's and other games were played by dirty faced moppet's, noses were bloodied, honor defended.

It was a wonderful listener! It heard their confessions and brought them comfort...

AK000717 by you. Indeed, It was a grand life!AK000719 by you.

Oh Great tree! I climbed up high to see,
what was out there just waiting for me.
you gave me hopes,
inspired my dreams,
and challenged me don't you see?

AK000715 by you.
So don't cry at my life has run it's course.
my roots still run deep in the soil.
As long as there's children,
and playgrounds,
and Oak's,
I'll abide,with my acorn's and yours.

AK000713 by you.

AK000699 by you.
Just like childhood, all things must pass...
yielding treasures of rock and glass
so life is a mystery, and so then are you
how they got there? we may never know...

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Ice,Ice,Baby! magnify

Whoa boy did we ever have an ice storm! We lost power last Tuesday afternoon ( the 27th) and we were completely snowed in until (Monday,the 2nd). You have to understand I live 2.5 miles off of the paved road and I drive a Toyota Camry so I'm staying put! It's been quite a week without power, no television,no internet, NO LIGHTS, all we had to depend on for heat and cooking on was our wood cook stove which really came through for us big-time!

you can't cook "real" pan fried chicken by you.

The "Star", our bakers choice wood burning cookstove.

The first night after the storm I thought it would be better if I moved the chickens from their open pens into the old goat barn. It was dry inside,and it would be a much better place to feed them because of the ice. One at a time I picked up each bird and walked them over to the dry barn where food and fresh water waited. Most of them were easily caught, (they were very cold and not too feisty) but about a third of them were highly resistant to the idea of being "caught" Hmmm, well, thats a chicken for ya! Even still how strange it seemed to me, I had raised each of them from chicks, fed them, cared for them, even had a relationship of sorts with them (I loved them) but still they feared me...Thats when it occurred to me how similar man is to a chicken! God would like nothing better than to take us all to a better place that He's prepared especially for each of us, to save not just our lives but our eternal souls! To rescue each one of us from our "dire circumstances" and save us from our SELVES. Instead, we cackle off to our own corner and ignore His ovations to us to "Come, take MY yoke (pun intended) upon you...for my burden is light" The things you can learn from a chicken...AK000674 by you.

The Goat Shed

AK000675 by you.

The Chicken Pens
AK000673 by you.

Today is Thursday,the 5th... and we still do not have electricity,this is why

AK000677 by you.

This is the before shot...

AK000681 by you.

This is the after...OOOOH, SNAP!!

here's my yard in the early morning hours, I thought it was an interesting shot,it has sort of an apocalyptic quality to it...

AK000669 by you.

and my driveway?

AK000678 by you.

No I'm not kidding...

But it has been kind of funny at times, I've gotten into the habit of yelling out "there's the power!" or "powers on!" and watching my wife spin around and look to see...I've enjoyed alot of bird watching and taking walks in the sunny frozen-ness. When everything's frozen it just seems like you're looking at a picture of something instead of the actual forest or whatever, nothing moves too much at 5 degree's.

our "Genetic Predisposition"

Electron Microscope Coloured DNA Strand on Black by the_tjb.

In the week since we lost our electricity I've had occasion to do more reading. I came across an article about the famous author Chuck Palahniuk who's most well known for his novel "Fight Club". He said that he hadn't owned a television since 1991, he went on to say that not watching TV helped him to be able to "hold a narrative" in his head. Here's more, "After I gave up TV, I found that I was able to carry longer stories or ideas in my head and put them together until I was carrying an entire short story, thats pretty much when I started writing" My next thought's after reading that seemed like an ephipany to me, as if surely someone's made this connection before right? Could there be a connection between TV and ADHD? If so, why doesn't everyone "get it"?

I've heard that some people are immune to the AID's virus,why? perhaps because their ancestors lived through the black plague in Europe and so consequently their immune systems have the ability to fight it off. African Americans also seem beset with their own particular illnesses, high blood pressure being one of them. One theory as to why goes back to when they were brought here confined in steerage compartments of ships where the ability to retain salt was the key to surviving what must of been the most inhumane of conditions, now they still do but it's killing them. Many people in this country believe that the MRI shots that all children receive at around 3 are responsible for the condition known as autism. In the late nineties I worked with an autistic man as his aide or "staff," I got to know his family pretty well, he also had a younger sister who was autistic. Their parents were really nice people, his father was an engineer who had met his Colombian wife while he was doing some work in South America. I'd really like to see a study done where they factor in the tolerance to these vaccinations and peoples previous cultural exposure to them, (I think there's a connection)

Genetic predisposition.....

Thats a 64 dollar phrase that if you translate properly into the vanacular of a bible thumper like me means "Sin nature". Modern medical science can now tell by looking at your DNA which illnesses or conditions that you might be at risk for. I think that if they looked even harder who knows they might be able to tell a whole lot more!

Aren't you glad that we have the option to be filled or influenced by a different "genetic predisposition"? The Holy Spirit is exactly that! He's been empowering man to conquer his "sin nature" since Jesus ascended to heaven.(perhaps before?) We are the adopted children of the one true God of whom Christ was the firstborn. We have the choice to draw from that lineage instead of from our natural parent Adam.

I think our greatest challenge in life is to look beyond the "Genetic Predisposition" of others and to be well aware of our own. I've heard love described as "that state of being in which one knows all of anothers defects and still feels the same (loves) about them."

Isn't that what God does?

To see people with the "eyes of love"

This morning I was feeling so thankful to God for all He's done and it occured to me how much I love God. I also reminded myself that I love God not because I was smart enough to or anything but "Because He loved me first" and that He is the source of all love and everything thats good in man. God gave so many wonderful gifts to us, we took them and perverted them into sin which resulted in sickness, death and suffering. Who and what man is was permanently changed by that. Sin entered the world through one man "Adam" and the remedy also came through one...Jesus Christ!