Saturday, July 09, 2016

The Crossroads we are at as a nation

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It seems that we at a crossroads in America. In a way, you can call it prophetic if you want, there are two verses that I see that seems to be where we are at in American politics.
Isaiah 2:4 He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

However, I wonder if the US will choose this verse instead. I hope not.

Joel 3:9-11 Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare a war; rouse the mighty men! Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up! 10Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, "I am a mighty man." 11Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, And gather yourselves there. Bring down, O LORD, Your mighty ones.…

The first is referenced as a future prophecy concerning the Messiah coming peace. The other is in the context where Israel was mistreated by the surrounding nations and was judged by God for harming His chosen people. It was more about having a weaker nation rise up to take on six stronger nations that were unjust in the eyes of God. My view though is in any war, lives on both sides are lost. In a sense, a call to war was also a judgement on Israel However, this is the kind of people they were:
They have also cast lots for My people,
 Traded a boy for a harlot
 And sold a girl for wine that they may drink. (Joel 3:3)

The enemies of Israel had no value on human life thus were so judged as to receive their value of others. My fear though is that someone like Trump or Hillary will use such a verse to drive us into a war under the false premise we are the just ones and have the right to give out the justice to those we deem unjust.
The saddest thing is that Jesus message on the Cross-was of being the Just and the Justifier. Meaning, in Christ Jesus we already have the judgment of being loved and accepted and have no need for more war and blood. I hope we all choose the right path.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Stingy Christians.

"No one should take my hard earned money and give it to someone else."

I hear this often from Christians lately.

Let's talk about "earning" Did you earn Grace? Did you earn mercy? Did you earn forgiveness? Did you earn the Love of God?

All you have is from God. It is up to you whether you obey the teaching of Jesus and be like the unforgiving servant or the one who squandered his money gift to only have it taken away and give to someone who the kind deemed more worthy. It is up to you to believe Jesus's word or not. I think I want to do the work of the Father and let Him worry about war. I would rather work toward peace and give grace, mercy, love, forgiveness away for free just I received it. I think Jesus is right... don't you?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Just another day at Wendy's in Billings MT

I was just at Wendy's and saw four people who rather freaked me out. I could not figure out if they were upper management, buyers, or sellers. After they were about to go outside one want over and gave a big hung to one of the workers. As they chatted the woman outside looked annoyed and agitate even checking her watch. I guess she was annoyed that the woman was keeping them from looking at the outside trash. Their movements were like reptiles. I wondered again as I watch one of them come in and straightened the rug what they were up to. Then they went and stood in the bathroom doors talking about the bathrooms. It was strange.

I had enough so I called out to them and asked them what they were up to. They said they were upper management and they were doing some inspections. I asked, “Really, is this place somewhere I should worry about?” They looked a little shocked at that and said, “No, this is a great place.”

“Good.” I replied, “I have been in KFC and McDonalds where I literally slid across a greasy floor to the counter to order food.” They laughed at that.

 I then stated, “You four sort of are freaking me out. I see you looking under the garbage and moving rugs.” I pointed at one of the men, “And this guy was straightening rugs out before you all came back in.” I went on… I mean, it was creepy – like, if I saw you all in here again I would walk out.” Again, they looked shocked. One laughed and tried be a bit softer and asked “Why?” I straight out stated, “It looks like you are just looking for something wrong so that you can fire someone. I felt the high tension the minute I walked in.”

I mentioned I was lower, lower, management… Meaning --- The customer.

The manager then appeared and she looked a bit butch to me. I am not judging her but with her hairstyle and the way she moved it just seemed that way. I pointed out to her and said, “She’s doing a great job. In Fact I bet my daughter may get that same hair style someday.” We exchanged a bit more and then I added, “You look stressed, like you don’t like you job. At least try to look like you’re trying to enjoy your job.”

As they walked away, the manager with the cool hair came by again instructing a little old lady in how she should scrub out the garbage can containers. I felt sorry, as the little old lady seemed like she could not even bend down to do such a job. Even more, she seemed to be rather stressed. I told the manager that I appreciated her and that we received our food a bit too fast – so fast that we were still standing there just after we ordered and my daughter did not get to hear her nickname be called out. I wanted them to call out ccrocks! I told her that it was the personal touches like that that made me want to come back to a place.

You see, a place of business needs to read the customer and take notice of how they present themselves. I felt stressed, as I could not tell if these four people even liked their jobs or were reptilian aliens who had never seen a Wendy’s before. If I, as a customer, walk in and sense this anxiety, I may not return. This is what I told them.

After they walked away I turned to a fellow customer who seemed to be amused by our exchanged. I stated, “ I guess I just had to bust someone chops today – why not upper management.” He laughed at that. When we drove away, my daughter asked, “What does, ‘bust someone’s chops mean’?” I replied, “It is a way to remind someone they are also human.”

BTW- This Wendy's is one of the best ones in town. It is also, where they train the managers for their other stores. They hold this one on a much higher standard than all the rest.

I bet there is a lesson in all this concerning the Church… let me know what you think.

Monday, April 11, 2016

To obey is better than sacrifice… However, is there more than obedience?

Based on a photo by Some rights reserved:

To obey is better than sacrifice… However, is there more than obedience?

Something I have been pondering for a while. In fact, last night I even woke from my sleep with this idea running through my mind.

To obey is better than sacrifice. But, to love is better than obedience.

There is a progression of growth with God throughout the OT. God seems to move his chosen people away from false religion and false gods. The old gods were easy to appease, often with simple sacrifices of the people abundance. However, at times harder sacrifices were also offered. Even human sacrifice was often used to appease the gods – be the victim of the sacrifice willing or unwilling. We see echoes of this as Abraham is challenged to even sacrifice his only son. Fortunately, Abraham was stopped and another sacrifice – a ram – was offered in his sons place.

However, religion is sort of a shallow game. We see in Job that Job is a righteous man. In fact, he is a righteous gentile – which is strange to realize in a Jewish book. Job moves from giving daily sacrifice to God for safety of his family and property only to lose most of it. His peers and even a priest – and ultimately God Himself challenge him. We see Job move into a new realization that he was doing for God that he is in need of a Redeemer. Job realizes he is doing his religion but actually did not see God. God reveals Himself to Job and it is then Jobs begins a new relationship of understanding with God and in a sense, Job gets a new life.

We then turn to 1 Samuel, and read “to obey is better than sacrifice”, which is an admonishment against Israel’s thinking that they can do what they want and just give a sacrifice and get away with it. In relationships, this would be very unhealthy. God desires a relation that is deeper than sacrifice – God desires obedience.

Now, this is where it gets tricky – this is when Jesus comes into play.

Churches today still teach that we must obey, but forget that Jesus was the One Man who was able to be obedient. “No one is righteous”, as Paul states. We make up things like, “With the help of God you can be obedient” and miss this is still mixing grace and works. No, grace came through love, our works are now to be acts of love, and that God Himself is doing the works in and through us by His Spirit.

The bible teaches obedience is something we are to do – but this obedience is impossible. Jesus fulfills the Law by His obedience and then teaches us that the Law is fulfilled by Love. Loving God and loving others.

I know that I could make this easier for you if I gave verses to read – but I suspect many already know the bible well enough and recognize the verses I have given a light brush over. If now, feel free to engage me in a deeper discussion.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

When Jesus returns will He find faith on the earth?

Jesus once asked in lament, “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8 ESV) I ask, when he returns, will he find a faith in God .

When Jesus returns will He find faith on the earth? Or, will Jesus find a bunch of jackup gun toting, Muslim hating idiots about to destroy everything.

If there is a Great Judgment soon, I bet many will be surprised which side of the judgment they find themselves.

Hate is not a Christian virtue.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My thoughts on inerrancy and infallibility

Believe me, if you asked me about 10 years ago about this I would be giving a much different answer. Personally, I found that the way I use to read the bible (literally) was harder and lead me to some wrong understandings. Often, I was confronted with the idea that some thoughts could not be "God's word" as they were lies coming out of Satan's mouth as in the case when Satan is tempting Jesus. I realized that to say, "I read it literal", was to limit or add to what the text stated and often gave the wrong focus on the story or text. 

I do not believe inerrant and infallible mean anything as far as the Bible is concerned. In fact, it was not spoken as such until the fundamentalist talked of the bible in the 1920s. Then later in the 1970s, the Chicago Statement, (I believe that was what it was called), made it more mainstream. However, even Francis Schaeffer felt the compromises made over the words diminished their meaning. While he was a advocate for inerrancy and infallibility just noting that his not wanting to sign the Lausanne Covenant for not having “inerrancy” in the Statement shows how important at one time those words were.

Later, I walked amongst the Baptists, the Assemblies of God, Calvary Chapel, Vineyard, and Methodists who all had different definitions for inerrant and infallible, which also by this time became a litmus test to see if someone was truly saved or just a liberal. However my biggest issue is the feeling of intellectual dishonesty in saying the Bible is inerrant and infallible is that we do not have the original texts so do not have a source to prove the claim. There may be enough evidence to claim it but still no proof.

I prefer, as I told my Regent University teacher to use better words. He seemed to be slightly annoyed when i presented this. I wish I had a catchy acrostic. LOL!

1. Credible, as it has been handed down for generations and has remained the same.

2. Reliable, as there are thousands of manuscripts that show consistency in the transference and translations.

3. Relational. Unlike no other book does one read and learn in a relational way about God from God.

4. Authoritative. As it is the holy and sacred scripture gifted to us by those believers who came before us. It is inspired, but not as if dropped from heaven but rather filtered through humans who God inspired to write as the Holy Spirit directed.

I found, at least for me, that these give me more freedom to read, interpret, understand, enjoy, and learn from the Bible. Most of all, these descriptive words keep the book a living book for me. I believe the Holy Spirit moves within the pages and if one approaches the bible humbly he or she will come away with a deeper understanding of Jesus and who they are as a person.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Loving others is a valid choice

I often replay a conversation with a pastor friend of mine that happened a few years back. I explained that I choose not to judge gay people and that I choose to love people as Jesus directs me. His response was, "You still need to take a stand against sin." I was a bit dumbfounded at that moment.
Here it the thing. Love is a valid choice if not also one of the two commandments from Jesus. Jesus did not come to judge us, but came to save us. Love was His mission. I wish I had the answer I have now for such a response...
I would say, "Then what the hell did Jesus die on a Cross for if not for love?"