The True Vine

It’s quite amazing to me how much insight the seemingly insignificant objects and circumstances of our lives have to offer us if we’ll just stop for a moment to look and listen. Like word pictures on a life size screen they patiently wait for us to focus on them to impart to us their message.

Last week I gathered together the remnants of the partitions that I had moved from the ministry center and used them to construct a playhouse for my daughter. It worked out nicely because I also had several bundles of shingles that had been left sitting in the yard by my brother in-law to use for the roof and this was the proper motivator for me to deal with them.

As I was sitting outside admiring my handiwork one evening in the relative coolness that so blessedly replaces the intense midday heat of August,  my attention was drawn to the artificial vines that I had draped across the structure. I was impressed by their realistic appearance as they moved with the occasional light summer breeze.  So beautiful! Unlike the real vegetation in my yard that was starting to wither from the heat, they were unchanged…

I saw these real grapevines growing and so I snapped this shot to use for comparison.

They look as if they’ve been through a hot summer. Most of the leaves have wilted and fallen off allowing a better view of the delicious fruit they’ve given their all to produce.

All of this vine viewing caused me to take a serious look at my own spiritual life.

Is my Christian life just about appearances?

Do I really have a connection to the true vine?

Given the choice,would I rather not “get real” if it meant that I couldn’t remain unchanged and indifferent to my environment?

Am I really so superficial that I’d prefer to be something with practically no value primarily because it required nothing of me other than to go through the motions?

Am I “okay” with never bearing any real fruit because deep down I know what a drag it is being a fake…

John 15:1/5

1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

My recent evangelistic/ministerial efforts fell pretty far short of what my hopes were for them but I feel as though I learned many valuable lessons in the process. I’m still very interested in seeing my vision of a ministry center happen, I think it’s a great idea that could produce a lot of fruit!

Basically the idea is for the church to connect with people by providing assistance with many of the common issues that are causing both the churched and unchurched so many problems today. It’s more than just mentoring, it’s free help with things like exercise classes and health maintainence information, diet and food issues, money stewardship, family skills and counseling, substance abuse and addiction support meetings. All centered around the practical application of biblical principles as the solution to every need!

Why not put it all under one roof and make it convenient and organized so that people could be more easily helped? There would be paid teaching/training positions as well as a lot of volunteer work done by members of  local congregations which would provide their members with great opportunities to  stir up the gifts within them as they serve God and their communities!

According to the statistics I’ve read put out by The Barna Group we’re losing the battle for souls in this nation. If I were to speculate as to why that is I’d have to say that it seems as though the church has gotten a reputation for being about all of the wrong things. We’re hypocrites, child molesters, thieves and con men in peoples eye’s who it seems really only care about one thing and that’s money!

And according to author Anne Rice who recently “quit” Christianity,

we’re primarily known for what we’re against, not what we’re for…

What better way can you think of to let people know what we’re actually “for” ?

This can be accomplished by promoting what it means to live victoriously in a tangible way they can easily relate to.  As the true vine we’re called to love above all things, which can perhaps be defined as being willing to ask,

“How can I help?”

We as the church must attempt to reach everyone that’s “wrestling” with all of the weapons that have been formed against them by the powers and principalities of our enemy. The only way that we can lose is If we continue to do nothing but sit back and wait for the lost to come to us instead of going to them.  Instead we should be open compelled to do whatever it takes to share the good news of salvation and deliverance with everyone who’s life is plagued by the effects of sin!

The Father gave us the resources to build multi-million dollar churches, He left us with His Holy Spirit to help us, and He sent us Jesus who defeated the Devil for us so that none of these weapons can prosper against us unless we allow them!

What will we as the church do with all of that?

I guess that depends on who and what we really are…

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

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FREE!

Galatians 5:13

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

If you’re anything like me you love that word, but it’s meaning can be rather confusing. The first rule of economics tells us that there is no free lunch, that it’s either already been paid for or the bill is yet to come. Knowing this, we’re more likely to be skeptical of things that are free, and even less trusting of the phrase “At no cost to you” I guess it just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

I said ring, perhaps I meant hook…

The difference between the two is subtle, “free” denotes  something we aren’t beholding to anyone for, that we might indulge ourselves in without impropriety, without feeling encumbered by any sort of obligation. That being thankful for is merely good manners on our part, not a requirement.

Whereas, “at no cost to you” suggests something else that most people aren’t as comfortable with. Just knowing that there was a cost to someone at some point registers with most people as something that’s “owed”. Even if it’s merely some due consideration such as being thankful, it’s seen as being a liability or as undesirable.

As I was thinking about what these words mean I wondered if there was a worthwhile comparison involving these two definitions and some of the ways in which the gospel is presented to people.  Peoples misconceptions concerning Gods free gift of salvation can be a stumbling block,  as an ambassador of Christ I feel it’s useful to understand them. I’ve always believed that if the gospel was presented to people from the perspective of grace they’d have no reason not to accept Christ!  Unfortunately, most of what I’ve heard seems to come across kind of like this,

“You’re a hopeless sinner on your way to hell! Accept Christ’s free gift of salvation, and then spend the rest of your life trying to be good enough to keep it”.

Yes! You are a hopeless sinner and Yes! salvation is a free gift, but once you accept it you’re NOT on the “Holiness” hook,

holiness isn’t the way to Jesus, instead it’s Jesus who is our way to holiness!

Yes, God wants us to be Holy, but it doesn’t count for anything if we’re just doing it to save ourselves! I think He wants us to be holy out of our love for Him, not to be coerced or guilted into it or be told that our salvation depends on it. That doesn’t sound like grace, which is the UN-merited favor of God, that sounds more like a doctrine of works or the “at no cost to you” type of free.

2 Timothy 1:9

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

The point I’m going for is that man has great difficulty accepting that salvation is a free gift, or in understanding what love really is. Perhaps because all he’s  known or experienced is the “strings attached” type,  it could be that the obligated version of “free” may be all he understands.  I feel like that’s pretty common in this world, but this is the greatest example of real love!  Even though man may be much more familiar with the worlds lesser examples of love or more comfortable with seeing himself as being “worthy” of salvation, that’s not the real gospel message. Many Christian’s also prefer variations of that perspective because they feel it somehow puts them above other people in Gods eye’s which is of course “dead wrong”, many non-Christian people want nothing to do with “it” or them for much the same reason!

My favorite saying related to this topic is,

We’re not saved BY works, But instead FOR works!

Love is always a choice! Serving the Lord is my greatest joy! Living a God honoring life is something I attempt to do out of my own freewill because of my love for God and other people, in response to a love that was first shown to me! It’s not out of any sense of obligation, my salvation is a done deal! Therefore there’s nothing to “earn” or no ongoing dues that I must pay, I believe that I was blood bought, not blood “pawned”! The only thing I owe is to tell others what Christ has done for me and that is absolutely no problem!  Some of what is preached by “Christians” is intended to stir up guilt and condemnation in people which tends to have the  effect of turning them into unhappy, self righteous, “religious” people!

I’m so not into that…and I can understand why the world isn’t either!

Why? Because it’s a game you’ll never win, forever comparing yourself to others caught in some sort of tail chasing spiral that either falsely puffs you up or brings you down…fun huh?

I’ve heard this preached many times,

“We could double the attendance here in a month, all we’ve got to do is tell people they can do whatever they want and still go to heaven”

Why not say that? It’s a bit of a challenge as I see it!

Go ahead and put that on the sign in front of your church and when the people show up we’ll tell them about the love of Jesus and how He chose to die for all of our sin’s. We’ll show them a little piece of that love in the Christian fellowship we’ll extend to them. We’ll be patient and supportive while the Holy Spirit works in their heart and their walls of resistance are broken down by the great love of Jesus!  And when that time comes and their ready to accept what Christ did on the cross as being for them and recognize it as being the only way to wipe away their sins we’ll pray with them that Jesus would come into their heart and be Lord of their lives! Then, If they’ve truly had a born again experience I think you’d be safe to tell them,

” Go ahead and do whatever you want! Do whatever your new best friend the Holy Spirit will abide!”

Why? Because they’ve been set FREE!

From my perspective either you believe that greater is He that is in me, or that greater is he who’s in the world…That there’s power in the blood of Christ to save us and keep us, and to forgive us, no matter what we’ve done or what we will do, or you don’t! I believe that coming to know Christ is a life changing experience, and even though there are times that we’re all going to fall short of the mark I’d put my faith the power of the Holy Spirit over that of the world anytime!

1 Corinthians 7:22

For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.

I know that some of what I’ve written here could be easily misinterpreted. So just for the record let me state that in no way am I advocating using grace as a license for immorality or sin, neither am I saying that I don’t thoughtfully consider or that I take for granted the great price that Christ paid on the cross for my salvation.  Doctrines of works and of grace can both be taken to flawed extremes.  Personally, I feel as though I want to do my best in this life, to always choose love. But I know that I fail at it and that if it weren’t for the Gods grace I wouldn’t have any hope at all! I believe that because God is all knowing and loves us so much He made it very simple and totally free for us to be saved!

Thank You Father God!

Gods In It…(Pt.3)

In some ways this is the most difficult part for me to write because it tells the story of how I went from being a regular three time a week church attendee to striking out and”accidentally” establishing a ministry of my own. It’s difficult because what I’ve got to say is critical of certain aspects of not just my church at the time but mainstream churches as a whole. Over time what I began to see and hear became very frustrating to me, the message I kept hearing was that we need to be a church outside the four walls but as far as I could see there wasn’t any real practical or specific plan as to exactly what that means other than to just “be a good person” or “invite someone to church”. Being able to confidently share your faith with others is a weak spot with most Christians. But from my perspective, after all of the ways I had witnessed the Lord’s provision in my life through all of the circumstances I’d been through it was very natural for me to tell others how good He was to me! Over time what I was hearing just ceased to minister to me.  I wondered if I was being spiritually prideful or if I was just tired of sitting in a pew week after week hearing the call to GO being given but not feeling as though it was something most took seriously. I tried to make suggestions for various outreach activities but they were all ignored or dismissed. There’s an old joke about a church that was seeking a new minister, they were particularly impressed by one man and asked him to return and speak to  their congregation again, he does but he gives the exact same sermon! The elders met together and asked the young preacher “don’t you know any other sermons?” he relied “Sure, and as soon as this congregation start’s practicing THIS one I’ll preach another!”

One Monday morning in October of 2009 I couldn’t get my car started and wasn’t able to figure out exactly what was wrong with it and fix it for 26 days.  During that time I was unable to attend church and when I finally did get my car fixed I just didn’t want to go back. What happened was kind of sad but in another way it was a blessing because it forced me to make a change that I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have otherwise made.  The next twist was what I thought was a God ordained partnership with a new friend I had found. Instead it was another necessary nudge that also helped serve the purpose of moving me from being a pew sitter to a well, whatever it is I’ve become…An evangelist, a counselor, or perhaps just a Christian who’s wiling to trust in a God that has brought him through so many things, and in His promises of a plan He has for my life to establish me and not to harm me!

In the beginning of this three part series I used a card game as an illustration to expound upon the ways in which I believe God has shown Himself in my life. Playing cards requires that you pay attention to what’s in your hand and that when you have something to “lay down” it’s best to go ahead and just do it. To me that’s what my blogging has always been about, trying to tell or “lay it down” to others that it’s not about what we may go through in this life, it’s who you go through it with that gives it meaning or value! Every story I’ve told here is about how God showed up in the midst of my circumstances and kept me from hitting bottom. I’d also like to say that what I’ve written here is a very abridged version of many, many ways God interceded on my behalf, far too many for me to even mention!  Nobody in my family has ever been hungry or gone without any thing they really needed. Even during the worst of it, when I lost my home, He made sure I had enough money to rent a truck, that I had help moving, and most important a place to move to! God knows me so well, and He knows what I can take and what I can’t take.

The following verse in Isaiah really sums it all up for me.

Isaiah 54:17

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

Our enemy comes only to kill,steal,and destroy! If the trials and troubles that you have in your life can steal your joy or make you doubt Gods great love for you than his weapons have prospered! It’s only through the blood of Christ and the sustaining power of Gods Holy Spirit that we can have victory over life’s most difficult challenges. For what was meant for evil against us, only God can turn into good!

One of the most common questions I’m asked by people regarding what I’m doing in my ministry is “How are you funded?” and the answer is that I’m privately funded by Jesus!

Say What?

That’s right! He’s sustained me through all things and now and has moved me into the position I’m in and even though I only make about 13,000 a year I’ve been able to financially support my ministry! I live a wonderful life It seems like I always have plenty of money for life’s little extra’s, going out to eat occasionally or just buying something I need, it’s absolutely true that you can’t “out give” God!  He’s made a 17yr old car that I got as a gift with over 255,000 miles on it last for two years and just last week I was given another car that’s the exact same model and color except it’s 10yr’s newer and in immaculate condition!

He’s made sure that my daughter always has nice clothes to wear because He knows that there’s no way I would be able to do what I’m doing if I thought she was being made to suffer because of it or if it prevented me from taking care of her. I’m sure that there will be some people who read this and say “Your circumstances were the result of your own bad choices!” Sure I’ve made some bad choices, who hasn’t? But if I had gotten the choices I wanted I would’ve gone back to work driving a truck, remember? or “I think that there are quite a number of other more practical ways to explain everything that you’ve attributed to God“, and in response to that I say, “You’re right! But this is my story and I’m going to tell it how it make’s sense to me, I was there, I lived it, and from my perspective it definitely doesn’t make sense to me any other way so I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree as to whether “Gods in it” or not!

Well, I’ve laid all of my cards out on on the table, and slid my entire pile of chips into the pot. And all I want out of the sum of my life’s experience is to be able to say that when it came to my faith, “I wasn’t just shuckin’! To be able to say that my belief in God not only sustained me but moved me into action, and that I chose to step out in faith and answer what I feel is the call on my life which ALL Christian people have. To live, despite the circumstances of my life in such a way that others just have to say…

Gods In It!

Matthew 5:16

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Gods In It…(Pt.1)

Note to readers: This blog is a narrative of an as of yet still unfolding story which is my life. I’ve never done a three part piece but due to the complexity and length of the story I felt it was necessary. I do hope that you enjoy it…


Do you see the working of the Holy Spirit in your life on a regular basis? As human’s we’re entitled to see the events and circumstances of our lives in any way we choose according to our own beliefs. It’s the central feature of our free will to acknowledge something or nothing supernatural as playing a part in our lives. Many people believe in only what they can see, in the works of men or in their own abilities, some in luck and coincidence, still others see everything as having an intelligent plan behind it, they believe that everything happens for a reason, that there are no accidents and everything happens “on purpose”. I think this synopsis covers most of the bases, personally I believe that because God loves me He is vitally and passionately interested in every detail of my life! I can look back upon the years of my life and see His hand on me, places where He guided me, counseled me, and delivered me from and through so many things. I can also very easily see His love for me through His care and provision in my life. One thing I’ve noticed about how God seems to work is that when He does something it’s never about just one person. Whatever He does always affects many people who are related through circumstances in a positive way.

Gin rummy is a card game where you collect cards that have some sequential relationship to each other and then lay them down for points. The ultimate goal is to match up every card you have into a set of some type leaving you card-less and thus achieving  “Gin”!

My card game began back in February of ’06 early one morning when I fell on my slightly damp and slippery rough sawed oak front steps and completely tore my rotator cuff. After my surgery I was off of work for about 6mo’s. During that summer my wife also unfortunately lost her job as a nurse because of a procedural error she was blamed for which resulted in her nursing license being suspended. In August I went back to work and was digging myself out of the deep hole I was in when I was told my child support would be going from the 400.00 a month plus 150.00 towards arrears that I was regularly paying to a new total of 700.00 a month because of some medical bills I’d never seen but that I was now liable for. Also, it was decided by the government that I and my daughter needed to be automatically enrolled in the health care plan offered by my employer which cost me over 300.00 more a month, she already had insurance but hey, more is better right?

(as an aside,they also passed another law that had a dramatic and effect on my situation)

In order to try and cope with this financial tsunami I decided that the only thing for me to do was to try and get a better paying  job.  After completing an over the phone interview, J.B. Hunt told me that I was hired and that I should go to St. Louis, Mo. and report to orientation classes which I did.  ( I’m not sure how it has to do with the overall story but I feel as though I need to mention that my father passed away in July of this year which was immediately prior to my trip to St.Louis) Three days into it they told me that they can’t hire me because I have a preventable accident on my record. I was involved in an accident while driving an 18 wheeler in ’05 but I wasn’t cited for it by the investigating DOT officer’s.  After I quit working for them the company turned the accident in to the driver advocacy council (DAC) as being my fault which essentially black-balled me from getting any driving job. I came home in disgust, and a gentleman whom I had talked to previously about logging my property called me up out of the blue and said he could get right on it! I made a couple thousand dollars that I used to try and start up a home based internet business with a friend of mine which promptly failed. Everything I became involved with failed pretty much right away, nothing I tried worked out!  I remember at one point I was desperately trying to sell firewood, it was a Sunday and I had a load sold that was about three quarter’s finished. I decided that I wouldn’t finish the load because it was Sunday and I wanted to observe the sabbath. That night it rained hard and the next day when I tried to get my truck out it sank down to the axles in mud! That truck sat there for probably 3 months before my stepson brought out his skidder and winched it out.

I was getting discouraged…

A Peculiar People…

According to the Strong’s Concordance, the word peculiar in the verse below actually means to be “preserved”, to be an acquired people who have been bought by Christ. To me that sounds like a people who are His possession, who are by faith sustained and have put their trust in God alone and are the beneficiaries of His great promises. A people who are grateful, and who are eager to express their gratitude!

1 Peter 2:9 (King James Version)

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light

I read something recently I feel is related that really resonated with me.

“Jesus is looking for people who can display the fruit of the Spirit, not religious nuts”

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m always interested to hear other peoples interpretation’s of scripture and I try to keep an open mind because I definitely have a great deal to learn!  I also greatly enjoy enthusiastic praise and worship that’s done by people who’re really seeking to glorify and praise God! I believe in the Holy Spirit and in the manifestation of His presence through the spiritual gifts. I’m a person who appreciates my freedom in Christ and fully extends that right to others, who’s not trying to limit God, keep Him in a box, or reduce His blessing’s to any formula.

What I’m attempting to describe here is something different, something along the lines of when peculiar becomes “Weird”…

I doubt that there’s a single person who’ll read this who doesn’t know exactly what I mean! We’ve all known (or perhaps have been) people whose “Christian” beliefs are perhaps a little off the mainstream or even downright strange. And as we listen to them explain the biblical basis for their “revelation” or describe to us the angle that we must tilt our heads at to see it, somehow we just can’t seem to shake the feeling that based on the lack of apparent “fruit” in their lives they must instead be “nuts”. Have you ever noticed how little children seem to have an uncanny ability to recognize “weird” people and will instinctively get away from them? I’m not talking about people who just have a naturally off-beat personality,  I’m talking about people whose weirdness is instead an intentionally contrived facade wrapped in a cloak of religiosity.

One thing that’s been made very clear to me on my “spiritual journey” is that what I really find attractive are those Christians who display a committed, sustaining, genuine and balanced approach to their faith.

I just want to be an average person who’s allowing God to do extraordinary things through me!

Everytime I encounter people who’s belief’s have more to do with emphasizing the differences between them and others it just seems as though the motivation is to glorify them, not God!

The God who’s grace is responsible for them perhaps being any different than anyone!

I believe that what draws people to Christ is the expression of our empathy to them in that we openly recognize our own past and present “brokenness” while at the same time sharing with them what is our great hope in Christ in this moment and for eternity. That we’ve surrendered to the love and forgiveness of our Savior who while we were yet hopeless sinner’s chose to die for our sin’s to restore our souls and redeem us before the Father!

Now that’s “Good News” everyone should be eager to hear!

1 Corinthians 1:2 (King James Version)

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s:

Sanctification is a process, and to be a saint of God is a choice…A choice that we’re empowered to make through the Holy Spirit’s presence in us! At some point in our walk we learn that there’s only one rule, and that rule is love! It would help if we were taught that initially, it would save us from following those spiritual “rabbit holes” and from the discouragement of false starts.

I’ve been wanting to write about this subject for some time, maybe even years! It’s based on the frustration I’ve felt as I see people being spiritually stalled by one particular issue or being in bondage to some doctrinal understanding that keeps them spinning in circles preventing them from moving forward and from being more effective ambassadors for Gods Kingdom.

I have a fantasy about being in Heaven and of the first moments of my realization of it. I’m talking to some people who confirm to me that “yes, I am in fact in Heaven” so naturally my next question is, “Where’s Jesus?’  to which they reply “Oh, that’s Him over there talking to those people at the table” I spin around and scan the room noticing a man standing next to a table full of people, He’s a man, in a glorified body just like me who manages to catch my glance and lock’s eye’s with me for just a moment and smiles. He excuses Himself and begins to walk toward me…and that’s where the fantasy ends. It always makes my hair stand up on my neck and gives me chill bumps to think about someone who is the equal of God who loves me so much to not think it wrong to talk to me like just another person, who even though He IS too Holy chose to meet me and to reveal Himself to me.

Yes I know I’m peculiar, perhaps even weird! But I must admit I couldn’t be happier about it!

Overnight Sensation

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I’ve always been interested in music and I’ve always found it truly fascinating how musicians can pluck an abstract concept from their psyche and express it through some lyrics with a melody and in less than three minutes say exactly what millions of people are thinking and feeling. I once heard Don Henley of the Eagles remark that the song he was about to perform only took him 15 minutes to write, but that it took him 25yr’s to live. Another interview I heard with a different artist impressed me in a similar way, When he was asked about his musics meteoric rise to popularity he remarked that he resented the label of  “Overnight sensation” because it sold short the years and years he had spent working towards his success. All of his patience and persistence, his belief in himself against what seemed to be insurmountable odds, his determination and commitment to see his efforts come to fruition…

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“Overnight sensation?” yeah right…

Are you beginning to sense a concept here or starting to get the “big picture”? No? that’s good because I’ve still got a lot more to say and the last thing I want to do is bore anyone.

Our relationship with Jesus may seem like an overnight or “instant” sensation to some people. I’ve heard the expression, “yeah, Billy Bob went and got religion” like it was maybe a terrible disease or perhaps something he might’ve picked up at a convenience store. Even when they witness a glorious infilling of the Holy Spirit or see a sinner who after being so moved by Gods loving kindness and unending forgiveness falls to his knees at an altar in repentance think of it as having mostly to do with the words spoken during the service…but it’s so much more than that!

It is “sensational” to know the Lord, it just doesn’t happen overnight!

I suspect that the Holy Spirit might in some ways feel like the musician did who was asked about his success…

They say that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. In the entertainment industry it doesn’t matter if what you’ve done is good or bad, or if it’s right or wrong as long as people are talking about you. Any decent agent/promoter knows that a percentage of those people will like you and patronize your endeavors and that some, no matter what you do, will not. So success is a numbers game, like in sales the old adage is that we throw a sticky substance against the wall… some will stick, some will fall…no salesman can predict that outcome 100% of the time, but God knows who will accept His son and who will not. He knew it before the foundations of the earth were laid,

WOW! talk about your pre-qualified sales leads!

(the very elect of God,those who would choose Him)

The whole impetus for this blog came from something I read about a teen ministry group who were involved in something called “power evangelism”. In the short video that I watched I saw a young man experience a dramatic increase in the mobility of his shoulder and relief of pain after being prayed for. Another group of young girls enthusiastically requested prayer after witnessing it and remarked that they felt “goose bumps” and were visibly moved. The writer was critical of what they were doing for a couple of reasons, primarily because he felt that because none of the teens who were being ministered to in the video were being brought to repentance that the gospel had been “fumbled” or in some way mishandled by them. The writer was also upset that one of the teens had used the term “jacked up” in anticipation of what he was hopeful the Holy Spirit’s effect would be on the group he was about to witness to. The broader subject of the blog was the church’s seeming lack of preparation of young people to be effective ambassadors of Christ which while I might agree with in some respects I’m somewhat at odds with the writers conclusion’s as to the cause or remedy of such. His suggestions of the cause and the cure were one in the same, they included intensive study of something he called “the catechisms”, and scriptural grillings by older members of the church until teens memorize the proper answers and that the lack of these things in our church’s approach constituted poor discipleship training.  I want to be fair here, having Gods word stored in your heart is always a good thing…No exception to that, and you can absolutely use the stories in the scriptures to illustrate the everyday relevance of Gods plan for our lives and His great love for us. However you do it,  effective evangelism is about touching peoples hearts with the love of Christ! Unfortunately, many people will quickly resist Gods word out of a conditioned reflex but you’ll hardly ever see anyone turn away love that’s offered to them. It’s my strong contention that when it comes to reaching people for Christ nobody cares how much you know until they first know how much you care! And yes, Gods word is our complete instruction manual for this, but as I see it all of those words convey the same wonderful message of love to us, what it is, our need for it, how to receive it, and how to share it with others.  Once we get that, the challenge becomes the same as the songwriters, to put it into terms that as many individual’s as possible will receive and be touched by…To be inspired, which is a manifestation of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Our job is to love! love! love! people, to “minister” to them but not to preach at people. Given the scope of the human ego I suppose the temptation to believe that it’s us who’re responsible for changing peoples hearts instead of the Holy Spirit is understandable but it’s His work to deal with peoples hearts…not ours!

Some plant, others nurture, still others work the harvest, but it is God who gives the increase.

I understand that as Christians we are to “test the spirits”  and that we’re to be “fruit inspectors” but I guess I consider it to be perhaps above my pay grade to (in the absence of any obvious heresy) be critical of how the Spirit accomplishes His work.  Naturally, I have to scratch my head and make a pained expression when I see other people trying to.

I’ve mentioned before that I accepted Christ initially as a nine year old boy. However, I then went on to my discipleship with Satan who had a pretty free rein of influence over my life for about the next thirty years. So it’s personal to me when I feel that people are discounting anything or anyway that the Spirit might be trying to use to save someone from the misery that I was subjected to.

My “Overnight Sensation” did happen in the dark…

But because of Gods patience, His love for me, His perseverance and longsuffering, His sleepless nights watching over me and the hedge of protection He built around me, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I’m unaware of,  it was my “Daylight Deliverance” that came from it!

Can you say Praise God?

Our “Genetic Predisposition”

Electron Microscope Coloured DNA Strand on Black by the_tjb.

In the week that’s passed since we lost our electricity due to an ice storm I’ve done quite a bit of reading. I came across an interesting article written by 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 with European ancestry are immune to the AID’s virus,why? Perhaps because their ancestors lived through the black plague in Europe and their immune systems are more resistant or have an enhanced 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 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!