Jesus or Barabbas?

Sep 24

Jesus or Barabbas?

Which is more harmful to Christianity and to the world–having an incorrect doctrine of the Trinity or displaying un-Christlike behavior and attitudes towards others, especially unbelievers? I believe it’s the latter. Maybe I am speaking out too much, but I’m starting to see the repercussions of the great carnality that has continued to exist within contemporary American Evangelicals–including me.   The alarm was already started with people like A.W. Tozer about the carnality he saw in our worship gatherings. He would be appalled today. For a long time, we have been consumed with growing empires, fighting amongst ourselves, and gaining political power/influence. I see little difference between us today and the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. And like the Jews of that time period, we are repeating the mistake of expecting the Messiah to deliver us from Roman tyranny.   Jesus refuses to do so, and it feels like we’ve traded Him for Barabbas.   Barabbas represents the flesh–Jesus the spiritual. We must not shame Jesus publicly all over again, the correct party to crucify is the flesh. I do not think the full nature of the systemic problems will be appreciated by us until several generations from now. And I’m also starting to believe that it won’t be seen until after we’ve been paired down by genuine maligning from the rest of society. In the past, I’ve said that while I don’t wish it, I think persecution is coming. I’m slowly starting to wish for it. I don’t see another solution, and I’m tired of seeing Jesus misrepresented systemically. Christians think the answer is “revival,” in which they mean seeing a societal change toward God. I don’t think that’s going to happen, nor do I see it as the solution to American Evangelicals’ problems. I think the only solution is American Evangelicals being stripped of influence and respect to the point where we must turn away from our strategies, alliances, and self-importance, and return with humility to the...

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Being Thankful During COVD-19

Aug 08

Being Thankful During COVD-19

Some of what I’m thankful for during the coronavirus pandemic:   I eat a lot healthier, now that we don’t eat out at restaurants. Fast food is no longer part of my life whatsoever. Lack of work during March, April, and May meant I started running a lot earlier in the year and now have new personal records. Not traveling or eating out means our budget is healthier as well. Work from home means I’m not putting 20k+ miles per year on my car or $$$ in the tank every week for now. If you want to be part of the car leasing industry, check Where to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities on Ford Transit Custom Lease. That lack of commute means I can now eat dinner with my family most evenings, as well as binging Family Matters together with them. Not going to church has meant the emergence of a family Bible study together. Remote depositions means I can cover work anywhere in the country, not just local ones. I went from the worst financial month I ever had to the best month I have ever had in the life of my business. After a challenging last 2 years in ministry, forced isolation is what the doctor ordered. While others have been suffering through it, I’ve been getting healthier and stronger. My perspective on American life and American Christianity has been enlightened by what I have witnessed these past 6 months. Having to wear a mask and being prohibited from doing normal leisure/social activities has given me a greater appreciation for things I used to take for granted, as well as helped me better appreciate the plight of people around the world whose living conditions are much worse than anything we’re suffering.   All in all, while I would not have wished this upon myself or anyone else, I appreciate working to adapt to new realities rather than fighting for what is taken away....

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What Matters To Me/Us?

Jul 14

What Matters To Me/Us?

What do you care about? I am slowly figuring out that one can only care about so many (or should I say, few) things, and that caring for one thing means not caring as much about another thing. I’ll speak to this personally, and then church-ly. If you are experience pain in your wisdom tooth the best that you can do is get a wisdom teeth removal.   Personally: Black lives matter to me. Unborn babies matter to me. My neighbors matter to me. But I do very little personally for these people. Because I matter to me too. And, unfortunately, I matter to myself more than other people matter to me. My family matters to me. I’m currently trying to work harder at being there more for them than I have in the past. A daily prayer/Bible study time matters to me more now than before as well. Having enough work coming in to provide for our finances continues to matter to me. Finding a church home for my family matters to me. Making time to play the piano matters to me. Finding a home for us to purchase matters to me. The money from the sale of our old home that I put in the stock market until we find that next home matters to me. The political and selfish climate of the church during Trump’s presidency and during COVID-19 matters to me.  After these things, I just have very little energy for other (possibly more important) things to matter to me in a practical sense. My small group should matter to me. Children who are being trafficked should matter to me. People around the world who have never heard about Jesus should matter to me. And on and on it could go forever. There are certain people on my prayer list–they matter to me. But most of my prayer list currently consists of things that I feel like matter to God regarding who I am as a person on the inside. The few things I’ve mentioned mark my current limit of how many things can truly matter to me. I wish I could care about more things, but I simply can’t. We almost had a contract...

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All Church Concerts Cancelled

Mar 20

All Church Concerts Cancelled

NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC: Due to the coronavirus, churches can no longer hold free concerts on Sunday mornings.   I guess Christians at home will need to find another way to experience “God” without turning the living room lights real low, the kids moving around the kitchen spotlights with fog, and dads sipping coffee to mom’s professionally-crafted musical performances as she follows her click-tracks. Sound silly? Why then do we feel the need to resort to these kinds of things with our Sunday morning family?   Having resigned as a pastor and trying to find a new church home, I am discovering that so many popular churches don’t expect, nor do they facilitate, the congregation to deeply seek after God together. Rather, they work hard to produce a felt mood that the congregation can latch onto. Every athlete, from the fitness enthusiast to the professional, is on a journey to improve every day for that reason is important use supplements like beta-alanine.    It’s as if churches have decided that people don’t really want God; they want a faith in God to get them through their current situation. Jesus said in John 6:26, “You are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” Could He say today, “You are looking for me, not because you see my glory, but because you got your pick-me-up and had your fill.”?   I experienced a lot of pain over my resignation. Afterwards, at various churches, I heard a lot of “God will get you through whatever you’re facing.” I got this message through the songs that were sung and the sermon that morning. Ironically, that was of little help to me. Of course, I’ll get through this! (But it sure does stink real bad for a long time.) Almost everyone gets through whatever they’re going through, whether they even believe in God or not. Nothing lasts forever. (The same will be true for coronavirus.)   The truth is, I haven’t necessarily needed to hear (or feel) anything at church; what I have needed is to see something different. Hearing is just words, seeing indicates truth. I look forward to...

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I Had A Dream!

Feb 09

I Had A Dream!

Sorry for misquoting MLK Jr, but last night I had a dream I actually remembered, which hardly ever happens. I came in from the snow into the back row of a small group or classroom setting, and the teacher was asking everyone to share about their experience with suffering. I had something to share about how God helps us in our suffering. Then people started sharing their stories of suffering. One person shared a very personal example of suffering (I don’t remember anything about the story, but only that she was in tears as she told it). Then a few people started expressing empty platitudes of how God can remove our suffering, and how knowing God makes everything better in life. I could tell it was hurting the woman who shared the personal story–not helping. I could also tell that the rest of the group was dismissing these platitudes as well, so I quickly raised my hand so that the teacher could call on me and I could give some encouragement to her and others in the room who were getting upset. I began sharing how even though God may not remove our suffering all the time, He knows our suffering and walks through it with us, although it was much deeper than that. I felt like I was communicating some much-needed words of truth that if only believed would make a difference in each person’s life. However, as I was talking, it was clear that everyone was tuning me out, including the woman who had shared her personal story. During my appeal, she walked out of the room in tears, rejecting what I had to say. As I looked around, I realized that everyone was tuning me out. I was upset about this, because I knew what I was trying to convey was of utmost importance. But it was to no avail. As I was finishing, I looked more closely at one of the students. She had painted her face white while I was talking and had the most stoic facial expression, not moving an inch. As I looked around the room, everyone had done the same thing while I was talking. Everyone’s face was now white, motionless,...

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