The Step

Posted in Uncategorized on October 4, 2011 by religionsucks

Perhaps nothing novel to say this time apart from today was my last day doing plumbing. I’ve been doing it for about twenty years. Most of that time was very heavy work. It was rare I got to show my crack whilst under a kitchen sink. Rather I was trying to engineer ways to remove 800 pound radiators from multi-million dollar homes without making any scratches. I was hand digging holes six feet deep to repair old sewer lines. Needless to say my back took the toll. Pain medicines and muscle relaxers have been the norm. It was just too much. Sadly, I never minded doing hard work. It was a challenge for me. If it’s hard, it’s worth doing.

So today was it. I cleaned out my company vehicle, loaded my tools up and went home. Now  begins a new venture. A step of faith is under my foot. I will be attempting to speak to youth camps, colleges, churches, schools, wherever. It should be interesting to say the least.

Not Cool Enough For That Tattoo

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2011 by religionsucks

I believe I’ve mentioned it here before, but I do not have too many friends and I’m completely happy with that. I’d even be fine if I had fewer than I currently have. I’m one who does not need nor want a plethora of friends. Western culture cultivates shallow people and shallow relationships. I dislike both. My true friends have consistency. They understand there is more to life than what meets the eye and this often has come from their own burdened lives.

I’ve spent a lot of time in tattoo shops. Hanging out with friends, getting tattoo’s myself, or watching people acquire new regrets. I was visiting one of my buddies one day at a shop he worked at when he showed me a drawing of sweet Virgin Mary that he’d drawn up for a customer. And the customer was there. As I recall, she stood there, perhaps a little nervous about this new venture, this new ink, and looked at me as I told her something to the extent of  “You’re not cool enough for that tattoo”. I’d never met this lady before. Didn’t know her past, present or aspiration for future. Just another customer. Just another tattoo. No connection. I left the shop for my own venture.

I’ve spent a great deal of time in church. At times I would say “unfortunately”, other times I would say “thankfully” I was in church. Church has become typical for me most of the time. I would go as far as to say “devoid of the Holy Spirit”. There I often sit, trying to get some redeeming lesson from what the man up front is saying, more often than not wandering off into my own little Bible study of Colossians 1 and the supremacy of Christ over all. Church is viewed as learning from the pastor. Over the years though the greatest lessons I’ve been taught haven’t come from the pulpit but rather from the pew and often from the back row. The ones who don’t fit into church but love Jesus. The ones who know what “hard” means. The ones who have lived hard lives and don’t try to hide it. The ones who are beat up, drug around, kicked, laughed at. The chain smokers, the drunks, the tweakers, the bikers, the strippers, the forgotten ones. Unknowingly they have ministered to me. They have taught me what the pulpit could not.

When I walked out of that tattoo shop that day, I never thought I’d see that lady again. I have a knack for thinking incorrectly I would suppose. During that time, I was leading a small Bible study that was for those whom the churches have forgotten. Those years were difficult, but I will never forget them. None the less, in walks little miss Virgin Mary tattoo lady. Oh crap. I might also mention that my words often come back to get me and now I believed it was about to happen again. Pray to the Virgin Mary, pray to Jesus, pray whatever, I just knew she was there to give back to me what I dished out to her. I didn’t actually mean she wasn’t cool enough for the tattoo.

In the following months and now years, I would come to know Wendy. A young woman who has had her share of hell on earth. I would come to know her and the grace she gives to others. By the way, grace is giving something to someone who does not deserve it. Grace is what God has extended to us through Jesus Christ. The concept of grace has recently been taught to me through Wendy more than any pastor could have for the simple fact that she has not talked about it, she has lived it. I have watched from the corner, as I often do, as Wendy has given to others when she herself had nothing to give. She has extended love to the unlovely and compassion to those who hurt. Wendy is as tough as nails, but only because she has been forced to lay on a bed of such. To the heart though, she walks as a follower of Jesus. I’ve said that a follower of Jesus isn’t someone who just says a prayer and asks Jesus into their little heart, but rather someone who takes up their cross and follows him. That’s Wendy. Mere words do not describe how she has ministered to me and for that I am eternally grateful. I am honored to call Wendy “friend”.

Wendy, someday the wrongs will be made right by a good and just King. Until then we will continue to trod along through life, living to be a blessing to others and when the accolades come, we simply point to the cross. Thank you for being the friend that you are.

 

Do You Hate Your Life?

Posted in Jesus, Lordship Theology on September 5, 2011 by religionsucks

“Cannot” does not mean the same as “may not”. If my child comes to me and asks for candy instead of dinner, I respond “You may not”. If my child comes to me and asks to turn into the moon, I respond “You cannot”, it is physically impossible.

So with this established I want to point out and perhaps I’ll write more later, about the Lordship of Jesus Christ. My intention is to alert people to something that should deeply trouble us all in regards to “being a Christian”.

First, considering the day and age in which we live, I would like to address a name that is used regularly in many circles today. “Christian” is a word that means Christ One. It is a word that once held significant meaning, yet today it means very little. Ask 100 people what “Christian” means and you will get many different answers. This reminds me of the saying “when the tide is low, every shrimp has it’s own pool.” So many people are so excited about their little pool, and occasionally, another shrimp will join in their festive splashing. Such happy little shrimp.

Nearly everyone refers to themselves as “Christian”. Those who claim to follow all ten commandments do it. People who never go to church do it. People who go to church on Easter and Christmas do it. People who never miss a church service do it. People who will only attend churches of a certain denomination do it. People who say they haven’t sinned in 26 years do it. All shapes and sizes and creeds and sexual orientations do it. We’re all freakin’ Christians! Fortunately though, we aren’t the ones who determine who is a Christian, and who is not.

I’m thinking of this guy who lived a while back who was pretty much a big deal. Oh ya, Jesus is who I’m thinking of. Pretty much a hardcore kind of guy. Didn’t own a home, not even a tent. Made stuff out of wood. Pulled together twelve nobodies and changed the world as we know it.

Lot’s and lot’s of people are excited about Jesus. Sure there’s a bunch of people who aren’t so excited, but perhaps that’s because they know more about what he said than those who are excited??? Probably not, but it’s fun to think that way. So people are excited about Jesus because he forgives sin like when you not only fantasized about sex with somebody other than your spouse (which is sin), but actually did it, last night. Now you’re thinking about it all the time (sin) and when your next little horizontal bop can happen again. And Jesus forgives sin like cheating on taxes and yelling “Jesus Christ” when your sports team sucks. People are so in love with Jesus because you got wasted at the bar and couldn’t keep your pants on. Jesus is so cool because he forgives and forgives and forgives and we can go to heaven. Yay, Jesus!

Luke 14:25-33 Jesus uses the word “cannot”. He uses the word in his definition of who can and cannot be his follower (remember that cool word we all use “Christian”). He says you cannot be his follower if you aren’t interested in losing everything in life that you hold on to. Not your mom or pops, your kids, siblings, degree, job or anything else. As a matter of fact, you must even “hate your own life” if you are a follower of Jesus.

Becoming a follower of Jesus doesn’t mean you say some little prayer and BAM! you’re in there like swimwear. To be honest, there’s no indication that you even say a prayer to become a follower of his. You just do it. You turn your back on your life that you’ve jacked up already (repent) and look to Jesus as your only hope. In the passage I mentioned, you count the cost. Look at the fact that following Jesus means that you hold on loosely to everything. It’s not yours anyways, so why hold on to it? The passage states that people who do not count the cost and then get in over their heads are laughed at. Christians have become the laughing stock of our culture and it’s not because of Jesus. It’s because most of them are half-hearted pansies who try to keep a tight little grip on the things of this world. When those things are taken away, they cry like an infant who’s had their rattle removed from their chubby little hands. Spoiled babies now fill church buildings, not warriors of the faith. Sadly, they still attend churches because cheap grace is spoken there. Itching ears get scratched and we feel good about it.

God, What Are You Doing?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 29, 2011 by religionsucks

This afternoon I got to meet up with my buddy Jason. Jason and his wife just lost their four month old son in an accident. In the ambulance, the paramedics got the baby’s heart going again. Hope arose. In the hospital they were told he would not make it. Hope faded. They were about to remove him from life support and the little guy started moving again. Hope arose. After multiple tests, the doctors said there was nothing. Their son was brain dead. We all prayed from the day of the accident on. Eventually, Jason held his son as life support was turned off and his little heart drifted off to nothing. Hope. Where is it?

The Necessity of Communism

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 3, 2008 by religionsucks

The United States needs it. We’ve taken our freedoms for granted. We’ve become complacent with the things that matter most and have lost sight of what is morally correct. We’ve cried out to God, but only when tragedy struck, other that that, we’ve tried to sue Him. Jesus is still a name that is ignored and we’d rather look to horse shit for our way to peace. We are not to be envied, but pitied by all men for we put our greed before life itself and the beginning of life has been deemed “a viable fetus“, and that life is merely an option. Then, if that fetus is allowed to live, they are taught that a socialist is the best choice for president of the United States, while they learn about the dictators of Russia in their world history classes and they don’t see the parallels.

I believe that at the root of it all lies the Christian church in America. They’ve lost their first love. They’ve become luke-warm. They’ve compromised the truth for popularity, for money, for pride and fame.

Some addicts are treated for their dependency on a substance by taking all of their privilages away. The church needs the same. God, please pull the weeds. We’re killing ourselves.

The Rabbi

Posted in preachers, rabbi on June 9, 2007 by religionsucks

In Jesus’ day there were Jewish rabbi’s as there is today. Rabbi’s taught the law and covenants to the Hebrews. Some of these rabbi’s were referred to as proto-rabbi’s as they would study the law and interpret it differently than the other rabbi’s. They would then start teaching this new/different interpretation of the law and develop a following called “disciples”. Jesus came along and would become the most “defiant” rabbi ever. He not only taught the law, he not only said he came to fulfill the law, he said the law couldn’t save them and he really pissed ’em off when he said that he was God, the Law Giver himself. He said he held the highest position possible in Judaism as the great high priest over all others, including the priests themselves, and no one could come to God, but only through Him. They were infuriated as this took away power. Power to say who was in good standing with God and who was not. He ripped their authority away from their white knuckled fists. By the way, “proto” means first, or before. We then get our word prototype.

Jesus started a group of followers from a rag tag bunch of guys who I would imagine spent a large degree of time boasting of their adventures or arguing over who would be the first in this proto-rabbi’s kingdom. His disciples would argue with other disciples about what each groups proto-rabbi had taught them. The key in all of this though, was that regardless of when he came to earth, date wise, he is still the first, the highest priest, the only avenue to right standing with God. The only way to God.

Now, jump ahead to today.  Christians often refer to Jesus as their “great high priest”, but if you think about it, many if not most of them, align themselves more with a certain teacher or pastor. “Oh I just love Charles Stanley” or “did you read Ravi Zacharias’ newest book?”. I don’t have any problems with either men, and have read and own books written by both as well. The crux is: am I looking to them for my God answers more than God himself? The question of why there are so many denominations is always awake. I believe we, being finite beings, struggle to conclude an infinite God. Hence, we tend to gravitate more to other beings, who we think have understood or have a better understanding of God than we. Chuck Swindoll wrote a book called The Grace Awakening. It’s a great book especially if you were brought up in a very legalistic home. My thoughts on God and his grace/judgement were greatly challenged by his book. I think it was a necessary read for me at that time in my life. The tragedy is though, that too often, someone has said something or wrote something that has a dramatic influence on our life, and we then push God to the back burner finding our answers from another man. This then tends to lead to what the bible describes as “what our itching ears want to hear”.  This is why prosperity preachers are so popular. They claim that God is out to bless you, and who doesn’t want to have more, more, more?

In all of this, the notion of multiple proto-rabbi’s come back even in gentile churches. I posted a couple of times about a guy who finds the five points of Calvinism to  be essential. On his blog, he gives reference to other bloggers or leaders in the church. Ironically, most of what he then writes is then very similar to these other “influences”. Hmmm, I wonder why. At the same  time, he accredits his writings to the word of God. I debate that it is not necessarily the word of God revealed to him, but more the word of God revealed to someone else (for their personal issues) and he has latched on to it. These others, have become his pseudo-rabbis. He says Jesus is his great high priest, but only because someone else read it and said it to be so.

I have to look at my own life and examine who is my rabbi. Is it Zacharias, Clive Staples Lewis, or another? Or, is it Christ alone. I have felt challenged, since I resigned the ministry, to spend more time reading and thinking about what God wrote instead of spending time reading what someone else thinks about what God wrote. It’s so much easier to just cut out the middle man. It’s also a good way to get some preachers wound up. I’ve only found one pastor who agrees with this whole concept. Perhaps that’s why I attend his church.

I’m just doing my part to cut out the middle man. Right?

Evangelism

Posted in Uncategorized on May 31, 2007 by religionsucks

Recently, I was looking over a newsletter from a local Christian school. Being the end of the year, the handful of seniors were asked some questions like advice to underclassmen, choice of college, career, etc. One, under his “future” wrote that he’s “prayerfully considering evangelism”.

I would put this is the same category as saying, “I’m prayerfully considering killing someone”. There really is no option in either. We are commanded not to murder. We are commanded to go into the world and tell them of Christ.  Do people like this also pray about whether they should eat or not. The world needs to hear about Jesus like we have to eat. Without either, we die. If he knew that someone was about to die and could be spared by given the food he had in his hand, would he “prayerfully consider” giving them the food? I don’t want to trash this student. I’d much rather trash those who taught him this mentality.

When I became a follower of Jesus, I understood what John Wesley meant when he said he existed for two things: 1. to give glory to God and 2.to tell the world about Jesus. Perhaps this comes from how utterly screwed up I was before making Christ the center of my life. It was as though I had been given the greatest treasure ever and I wanted others to have it as well.