Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

I don’t think I know you

You have this droopy face
They say full of pain and love
How can pain and love co-mingle?
How can pain and love be equally yoked?
The mystery and the scandal
That pain was the result of love
But I think they are wrong
For you see that pain and love don’t
Combine into this one droopy face
With a crown that represent all
Humanity’s accomplishments
We built pyramids from sand
We raised dirt into mountains
We took trees and created gods
We scarred the earth in search 
Of that precious mineral which one day
Would bring majestic heights to us
Yet all of our abilities as the human race
Come together in one rip
One  twist
One tryst between thorn and pate
I don’t know you 
I think they don’t either 
You, who held the quarks and their kin
From imploding and scattering
Quasars and galaxies spin endlessly
On your words
The stars sing your praise
The trees bend and weave your song
The birds and beasts know no other King
Your throne is the mountains
Your footstool the plains 
The ocean is your cup
They do not know you
Open their eyes so that they may know
The man who bore man’s crown
-ing achievement upon his brow
So that when you next come
They may recognize the crown
Made not by man
But by love

Read Full Post »

We look to the Sephirot tree,

Elements and holy founts

Yggdrasil seduces our minds

The mighty serpent intertwined

The tree of eternal life

Its fruit ever slightly out of reach

The healing properties of the shaman’s staff

The wood that splinters and cracks

The five points promise sanity

The emanations do hold sway

Three fold rules and “do no harm”

Constructs that double back

Snakes that bite and trees that kill

Cursed is the hanging man

Writs and wards and hallow ground

Bones and guts divine demands

Scry His fate, the Son of Man

See humble words transform

There is little power to your spells,

Your lore, your trees, your charms

The tree of life is forever gone

From this world we are in

The coiled serpent lusts for flesh

That was never really his

Step down off that unhallowed hill

Swallow thy pride and thy wit

“Fillet of a fenny snake

In the cauldron boil and bake.”

The false prince, throne usurper

No longer dances ‘round the pole

His King has set His footstool down

The Universe at His beck and call

Run to King Jesus, you who yearn

For rest beyond the dark

He who died that you may live

And rose to complete His work.

Read Full Post »

The heart.  It is a symbol of Love, of Happiness, of a liking of something.  It is the picture of the word Love.

 

In our culture, Love has taken on several connotations other than strong, binding feelings between two or more people.  But this is nothing new.  “I love my wife” one might say.  “I love my Child.”  “I love my dog.”  “I love my couch.”  “I love that TV.”  “I love that movie.”  “I love the sunlight.”  “I love that joke.”  “I love to run.”  “I love…” and the list goes on and on and on.

 

We can love people.

 

We can love animals.

 

We can love inanimate objects.

 

We can love actions.

 

All of this loving we show with the picture of a heart.

 

But what about the actions we don’t love?

 

When a politician lies, saying one thing before election and doing another thing after, how do you view this?  When someone cheats on you, how do you view this?  When someone steals from you, how do you view this?

 

Do we “Heart” a lie?  Do we “Heart” a cheater?  Do we “Heart” a thief?

 

Why would you?

 

Would you even associate a “Heart” with one of those wrong doings?

 

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus does.

 

Jesus associates the picture of the “Heart” with wrong doings.

 

The religious leaders of the day were concerned with actions.  They had the original law given to them by God.  They also had additional laws given to them by men that far outnumbered God’s laws.

 

They were looking at “Behavior.”  They were interested in “Behavior Modification.”

 

Jesus ripped that point of view to shreds when the religious leaders asked him why his disciples broke “The tradition of the elders.” (Matt 15:2)

 

Jesus turns the accusation around on the religious leaders, breaking down their dependence on law and tradition of men.  He concludes with the truth that “Out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.  These are the things which defile the man.” (Matt 15:19,20a)

 

I am not here to give a complete breakdown of this.  It is an interesting study but I’m not that humble or well versed to lead you through it.

 

What I want you to see is that Jesus takes our view from one’s behaviors and turns it to the source of the behavior, one’s heart.

 

When you lie, that is a sin.  But that is not the end of it.  There is something deeper than the lie.  The heart is the source of the problem.

 

This hit me when I read it.  “The fact that I get angry, tell a lie, gossip, is because of something in my heart?”  This is something I learned long ago but forget every day.  This is why we need Jesus.  We can’t modify our behaviors because we cannot get to the root of the problem.  Only Jesus can transform our hearts, making us more like Him every day.

 

So, the next time you lie, cheat, gossip, or sin any other way, look at your heart.

 

 

Psalm 51:10

“Create in me a clean heart, oh God”

 

Peace,

Bill

Read Full Post »

Ephipanies:


Lets start off with the most impacting one so, if you get board and do not finish, you’ll at least have read this.

During the time that I have been a born again believer, I have been interested in missions.  Reading stories of Hudson Taylor and Jim Elliot, I wanted to live their lives (well, Taylors life anyway.)  I have always been interested in stories of men with great faith.  I seemed to find myself in vicinity of people or events where missions were stressed and expounded upon, whether it be a backyard mission field or a field where no man has gone before (leading to my hope that there are indeed aliens on other planets).

Then, around 2005, I realized something tragic.  For everything that was in me and that I had read, learned, and discovered, I had found I had been secretly and unknowingly made American.

What I mean by this is that I came upon and could not answer the question “Why should I go to another land and tell them about Christ?  What makes my way better than ours?  What can Christ do for them?”

Please, do not mock nor slam me.  I had gone off the reservation so to speak.  I had immersed myself willingly and fully into the culture in which I lived while still holding onto Jesus.  The stretch was killing me.  I was trying to hold onto a God who abhord sin with one hand while lauding the sin with the other hand.  I feel like (and I’ll prob get flak for this as well, one way or the other) this all culminated with watching the movie “Kick-Ass” and “The Hangover”.  I had, as Stephen King puts it, “forgotten the face of my Father”.

Then something marvelous happened.  It was a month or so after I had left a girl I had been close to.  I was depressed and walking down a storefront sidewalk, just wishing that somehow I would disintegrate into nothingness.  I looked up for a rare moment and saw a guy around my age walking towards me.  I put my head back down and switched to the side of the walk he wasn’t on.  As I did so, I noticed him doing the same so we would have no choice but to do that awkward dance where you have to avoid running into someone.  (in my naivety, I probably could have been setting myself up quite easily for getting mugged.  Thankfully I’m a pretty big guy so it’s less likely but still a concern).  I make to move again and he stops me with a look  “Hey man, can I ask you a question?”

Usually I’m one of the best when it comes to ignoring vendors and hawkers.  But I was out of my element and I nodded.  “Sure”

The conversation that ensued was something I vaguely remember but its more of the point, not the actual conversation.  He asked me what I believed.  I told him he needn’t worry, I was saved.  If it were me, I would have smiled, said congrats, and walked away.  But this guy had the nerve (and the Holy Spirit) to keep up the convo.  “Can I ask you then, what did Christ do when he died on the cross?”

Now, if you know me, one of my life goals is to know everything.  Well, it was anyway but that’s a different paragraph.  So, I laid out a pretty decent three point argument as to why Christ had to die.  I went back to why He came to Earth, to show that we might have truth and that the truth would set us free.  Then I went to talk about another aspect…and he stopped me.  “Dude, its pretty simple” he said with a smile that was meant to teach, not scold.  “He died so that we don’t have to.  I’ll be praying for you.”

I have a lot of bible knowledge.  I know the stories from Ehud to that guy that Paul raised from the dead when one of his sermons got really boring and he fell from the window.  I had grown up reading about Gideon, Elijah and Elisha, and Manessah.  I even knew about that Tubal-Cain guy who made the awesome swords before Tim Lahaye wrote about him (in that cancelled Babylon rising series that I didn’t read…ok, I read them but they weren’t good.  Just kinda interesting.  Whatever, stop judging).  But as I stood there, I realized, I had no idea why Jesus came to die.  Not really.  I had an idea but I couldn’t even tell this punk kid who thought he could evangelize to me.

So I started looking into how to evangelize better.  I signed up with a program in my church to share the gospel with people in the area.  Back yard evangelism at its greatest.  I wasn’t very good.  I had always chalked it up to evangelism not being one of my gifts (not realizing that it wasn’t a gift, it was a command) but now I was determined to be get this witnessing thing down pat.  (I havn’t and I’m praying God would help me with witnessing when I need to because I really am no good at it still).

But as I studied with the group, I kept hearing how it was based on how to get to be with God for eternity and escape hell.  So I pulled back and thought about it.  OK, so Christ died so we could escape hell?  This sounds…manipulative.  So why did Christ die?  So we could be with Him?  What if they don’t want to be with Him?  Then what?  What is the gospel?

The more I looked at it, the more I felt that it was “Accept Christ and your life becomes a whole lot better, physically, spiritually, and relationally.  You probably wont get richer but it’ll be a good life here. (note: my church was not preaching the prosperity gospel, I was just not putting two and two together yet, just listening to pop culture Christianity and not truth).

Then it happened.  I must have read a million pages, listened to several different pastors, watched humanity for so many years when it finally clicked.

Man is born into sin.  Its not a thing where if you live perfectly, you’ll make it.  Its something that taints you from conception.  Because of this sin, positional and active, we deserve hell.  But here’s what happened.  Jesus loved the world/loved the elect and thus died in our place.  Now all we have to do is accept/be called and accept the gift of grace God extends to us.  If we accept, we will have a hope that we will be with God forever in a place our hearts long for.  We will see that, though we face trouble and tribulation, it will be made for good in us in the end and will help us to glorify God more.  If we do not accept, we will live a meaningless troubled life here on earth and spend the rest of eternity in hell.  This culminates in answering the American question.  Those in China (or other lands) do not need to hear of Jesus because they need to be westernized or made to fit in our culture.  They need Him because they are dying and have no idea without us telling them.  (I’m speaking in general terms regarding their inability to hear of Christ because the Chinese church is blossoming under persecution and making headlines at least in America).

If this sounds like something you knew and were not in the dark about, awesome.  I am happy for you.  This is for those like me who have lost the simplicity and truth of the gospel.  This is why we must continually teach ourselves the gospel.  So we do not forget it.

 

Starkiller:

Here is where you can veer off my page.  The rest is just because I havn’t written in a while.

I was in Blockbuster the other day and saw Star Wars Force Unleashed II for $10.  Now, I played the first one halfway through and got aggravated.  But I was hoping that this would be a little better and for ten dollars who cared.  So I bought it.  Who doesn’t love taking down baddies with a lightsaber?  So I started around 6 at night Saturday.  I was playing and around 1:30 or so in the morning I beat it.  I had to do a double take.  There were a total of 2 full worlds.  You start at Kamino, got to a cool planet that I forget the name of (Tantooine?) run to Dagobah (which isn’t even a real level), get onto a ship that goes back into orbit around Kamino, and then go down to Kamino (déjà vu much?).  Very round robin of them.  You get to fight a small contingent of baddies (the empire  must have killed everything else).  In fact, I feel like there are more combo moves than there are variations of bad guys.  Maybe.  I don’t feel like checking that out.  There is the traditional Dark side, light side choice at the end (which totally throws off the whole progression of the game cuz your really not having to choose whether or not your sith or jedi) and a nice little cut scene for each. So all in all, while I do enjoy watching armless stormtroopers fall to the ground, it gets repetitive (making me glad I chose easy setting).  All in all I give it 2 out of five stars (not one because I almost had fun playing it).

Allright, too many parentheses.  My bad.

 

Packer:

I just finished a book by J.I. Packer called “Knowing God” (part of my recent desire to learn more about the gospel).  Thing is I have been working on it for about a couple months now.  Non fiction has never been an easy read because I have to remember what I’m actually reading more than this happened and that happened so it always takes a bit longer.  It was excellent.  I might actually do a blog about it soon (hopefully with less time between than this and last post).  Packer broke it up into three sections.  Why we need to know about God, What we need to know about God, and How knowing about God can work in our lives.  All is well written and well laid out.  It’s also interesting as it was written during the 70’s and is still relevant today.  One of those books.

 

Bronte:

I know, I know, there is supposed to be an umlat over the e.  well, draw it in yourself.  I’m too lazy right now to put it in.  Last year, I saw an amazing production of Wuthering Heights by masterpiece theater with Tom Hardy and some girl who divorced her husband for Tom (ironic).  I loved the movie though and decided to read the book.  Unfortunatly, I decided to read it while I was reading Packer’s book, a book by CS Lewis, a spy novel, some computer books, and a Joshua Harris book (not I Kissed Dating Goodbye…ok, it was but I was curious.  Don’t judge).  Anyway, it took me a while to read.  It was an easy read despite what I had heard though.  And I felt proud of myself cuz I was picking up on things I usually wouldn’t, like symbols, and foils and the such.  Its funny too because out of the whole book, the only happy part is the last page or so.  Just a warning.  (I had read the notebook in between (please don’t judge (I seem to be saying that a lot lately)) and thought it to be a sad book for how it ended but it was nothing compared).  I liked how it portrayed the Hollywood love for what it really leads to- betrayal and misery.  Honestly, she left you.  You’ll meet someone else.  Don’t ruin her family because of that.  I did find the novel a little under populated.  You would have thought everyone in England was either watching Charlotte’s Rochester’s house burn down or Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet dancing around a heavy mass of sexual tension (im very proud of this sentence).

 

Steve Jobs:

In the days after Mr Job’s passing, I kept hearing how he will be missed for what he has given to Earth.  I feel like Apple did it best when they actually mourned him for himself.  I heard some friends talking about his death and how, even after all he had done, and all he had produced, he was still standing before God with only his acceptance/denial of Christ (not sure which one as I don’t really know anything about his views on God).  They said he couldn’t bring all the things he had made with him.  To which I replied “There’s no app for that.”  Probably too soon and a little uncaring but it was still a thought.  Anyway, point is, this reminds us of the urgency with which we need to share the gospel with unbelievers because we don’t know how much time we do have left.

 

If you have made it to the end of this post, I congratulate you.  It was long writing though it has been long over due, and I really don’t proofread my work (so have fun with that).  Hopefully you all have a little more desire to share the gospel, not because America is better, but because they need to hear it with an urgency that is born of the brevity of life.

 

Peace,

Bill

Read Full Post »

Today is the third day I have been on my medicine.  I am typing this on a computer so it might be longer than my last post (via iPhone).  So far so good.  No indication of the side effects mentioned (including some crazy rash deal that didn’t sound too attractive).  All my life I have always been the guy who hears a symptom and immediately thinks that I have that.  The day a diabetic did a presentation in health class I was convinced I was diabetic for about a month, maybe more.  But nothing yet.

I have been feeling…different though.  Lighter, fuller, pleasant.  I am less lethargic, feeling more productive, sleeping sounder.  Before, I felt as if I was walking through a wilderness and a darkness was overtaking me and smothering me.  I felt as if I had reached the end of my existence, that my universe was empty past a couple feet in front of me.  But now that’s changed.  I’m wondering how much is a placebo effect.  I mean, only three days have gone by and its only been 25 mg at night.  But I was talking with my mom last night and she stopped and said it was nice to see me smile again.

So why do I tell you this?  Why bear my mind to you?  I have had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for about 21 of my 25 years.  But most of my life, and probably for the rest of it, I struggled with letting Jesus be my Lord in everything.  I would always hold back an aspect of my life.  Growing up I wasn’t athletic, I wasn’t coordinated, and I wasn’t charismatic.  I wasn’t brilliant but I always felt I was smarter than average.  And after years of being told so, I believed it.  While others had their sports skills or friend skills, I had my mind.  It was the most precious aspect of my being I possessed.   I always thought that if I lost my limbs, if I were kept in solitude, or if I were incapacitated, I would be ok because I would have my mind, my thoughts.

Then I encountered God in His Holiness.  In the space of three years, my whole world started to fall apart and the life I had built up started to fall apart.  I fell into depression that I thought would go away but it just got worse.  The thing I loved most was broken.  My mind.

There is the story of Jacob in Genesis where he has deceived everyone in his life and has no one to turn to.  He is going back to his home land and he hears his brother, whom he tricked out of his birthright, is coming to him with an army.  Jacob sends presents and gifts and waits.  While he’s waiting, he is all alone and he meets a man.  And then they wrestle.  The man sees he is not winning and he touches Jacob’s hip, laming him.  Theologians say that this was a Theophany, an incarnation of God, or a Christophany, an early incarnation of Christ.  Jacob falls to the ground but he holds on to the man for dear life and asks for a blessing.  And the man blesses him.  I always wondered what this was about.  Then I was reading “Knowing God” by J I Packer and he described the wrestling match as God taking everything from Jacob so that Jacob only had God to rely on, not his deceptiveness or his intelligence.

Then it hit me.  I was always so worried about losing my mind, I had made it first in my life that it had become an Idol.  It had taken the throne of my heart that God was supposed to be sitting on.  And maybe the only way I would be fully God’s was if my mind were taken out of the picture, broken down, made less than I wanted, so I could not rely on it any more but had to turn to God fully and whole-heartedly.

That being said, I have not arrived.  I am the same sinner I was three years ago.  But I feel God is changing my heart for Him.  I feel as if He is transforming my heart by renewing my mind.  I have been dropping all the pretenses.  I am nothing without God.  If he were to let me go, I would surly fall into Sheol.  I know I have a long ways to go.  I have a whole life to become like Christ.  I will probably sin in two seconds, two minuets, two days and feel like I have undone everything that has taken place.  But I am under God’s grace and nothing I can do can change that position.  Amen.

Peace

Bill

Read Full Post »

Praying HandsEvery Tuesday night for around 28 weeks out of the year, my church does evangelism-in the form of door to door, predetermined visits to those who ask, and visits to church members for purposes of ministry and outreach.  Last night, me and two other members from my church, IBC Howell NJ, visited someone (nameless for the purpose of privacy) who had been attending our church recently.  We sat down with her and the gentleman leading the team started to ask her where she was in relation to God.  She said she was searching and had seen some change in her behavior as she started attending our church.  Then our team leader started to share the gospel with her.  He showed her the verses that laid out what salvation was, why we need it, and how we can accept it.  Me and the other member listened and prayed for both of them, his words and her response.

She accepted Christ that night!

I was ecstatic.  I had heard the gospel preached many times, given it myself, and had to date seen only two people come to Christ outside of large gatherings.  I am not an experiential person.  People who feel Jesus in the room have probably had too much sugar.  But last night, I really did feel as if Christ was in that room.  I confess I teared up, though I was only listening and praying in the background.  But it was so amazing.  I have a new sister in Christ now!!

Peace.

Read Full Post »