Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Crazy question

Posted: December 4, 2012 in Devotions, religion
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This morning I am reading the Gospel of John and there is a passage that always makes my head spin. Jesus is in Jerusalem and goes to the pool at Bethesda. There are many people there that we would refer as disabled. The ESV uses the term invalid, the blind lame and paralyzed. They were waiting for a pool of water to whirl to get in and be healed. This is where this man was. He has had a disability for 38 years. Jesus asks him a question, “Do you want to be healed?”

This is where my head spins. This guy has been an invalid for 38 years and is waiting to be miraculously healed by a pool of water. This to me seems the act of a desperate man begging for normalcy. Why in the world would someone ask him if he “wanted” to be healed. Of course he wants to be healed! Or at least that’s my first impression. Obviously Jesus asked him for a reason.

His response was that no one was there to help him. That someone else gets to the water first. He never actually said yes. This baffles me. If someone asked if I wanted to be healed. If I had been struggling for 38 years. If someone had the nerve to ask such a question, I would want to yell at them of course. Why ask such a crazy question! Or would I?

I also take note that his particular disability is not named. We can infer that it may be something with his legs as he said he needed someone to put him into the water. In reality it’s not mentioned because it’s not important. What is important is that he needs healing.

I think the question,”do you want to be healed?” is a question we do need to ask ourselves. We can all look inside and see some issue we are struggling with. I’m not talking about a physical issue, but an emotional or spiritual issue. Do we really want to be released from our struggle, or as the man at the pool, are we making excuses because we have grown accustomed to the struggle.  That the issue is now the norm and for it to be taken away we may feel as though part of us is leaving?

John 5

The pool of Bethesda.

My wife and I went back to our home town, Winterset. It was the Cover Bridge Festival. I don’t get the big deal but it’s fun none the less. You see people from around the world come to a small town in Iowa. They celebrate John Wayne’s birth and the Bridges of Madison County. (I have not watched more than 5 minutes of the actual movie.) It is a big deal for small town Iowa. It brings excitement and hope for many of the small shops that are still in town.

We have only been gone from that town for about three weeks. It is amazing to see how much God has worked there. I heard stories and saw the direction our church there is headed and it creates a deep excitment. I knew when I left that town that God was moving and moving big. It uplifts me knowing God has the control of that town.

It reminds me that God is the one that controls all growth and change. With the new direction God has called on my life and my families life, it’s encouraging. I am praying through what God might have me do and I realize how it’s His plan and not mine. He is asking me to play a role in His story not mine.

I am reminded that God is in charge of all changes. It could be a new ministry, a new name, a different church, or a new town and it is God that needs to be the director of the change. This takes humbleness. We have to step aside and ask, “What direction do you want?” If we don’t do that we won’t have the oppurtunity to truley see what God wants to do.

Sunday I had the privilege of watching a couple of friends get baptized. They proclaimed Jesus as their savior and made the public profession. It was very encouraging to witness and know their hearts. It’s part of the blessing you receive when serving God and looking towards His glory.

There is a passage that hit me this weekend through Pastor Mike’s teaching. It is John 17:20 “My [Jesus] prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.”  I was taken back and had to reread it a few times. Jesus, back when walking on earth, prayed for me. Through scripture and the testimony of the apostle we join in Jesus’ prayer. He took the time knowing who I am, who you are and prayed for us. Wow!

So what did Jesus pray to his father for us? I don’t know about you but it must be pretty important for us.

That all of them may be one. Jesus prayed for unity, that the family of God in the form of the church would have unity and a straight direction under Christ. God wants you and me to come alongside one another and join together under God and set aside differences. We should be able to unite under the direction of scripture and the purpose God has prepared in advance for us.“May they also be in us (that is in Jesus and God the father.”He also prays for the reason behind this unity, “so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

To see Jesus’ glory. Jesus wants us to see Him as God. We should bring worship and celebration over Christ’s sacrifice and redemption He brought us. We need to realize that God the Father gave this honor to His son Jesus. This also was done before time even began. Is your mind blown? ‘Cause I can’t imagine that. Maybe the biggest way we can see His glory is through service. The apostles saw the work of God more than those that just showed up and listened. When you become active in your walk you begin seeing God work in amazing ways. You won’t help but get excited about the glory of Jesus.

Romans 8:31 puts it this way “If God is for us, who is against us?” Jesus has prayed for us as individuals and as a united body. We should be encouraged and uplifted to continue in our pray to God through Jesus. We shouldn’t be afraid to step up and step out to help those hurting. We need to remember that Jesus loved us so much he not only prayed for us but died for us and for those we meet daily. Let’s share that with them.

God bless.

Posted: September 24, 2012 in religion
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I am almost shocked by this article is on CNN. It is a great article about Hell and if it is a real place or not and some information about it. It’s a real discussion that needs to be had. I believe the Bible is clear about the reality of Hell. What do you think? Check it out!

CNN Belief Blog

Editor’s note: The new documentary “Hellbound?” explores Americans’ ideas about hell. We asked two prominent Christians who featured in the film to give us their very different takes on hell.

My Faith: The dangerous effects of believing in hell

Editor’s note: Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times bestselling author. His latest book is “Crazy For God.”

By Frank Schaeffer, Special to CNN

Is it any coincidence that the latest war of religion that started on September 11, 2001, is being fought primarily between the United States and the Islamic world? It just so happens that no subgroups of humanity are more ingrained with the doctrine of hell than conservative Muslims and conservative Christians.

And nowhere on earth have conservative Christians been closer to controlling foreign policy than here in the United States. And nowhere on earth have conservative Muslims been more dominant than in the countries from which…

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3 Lessons From Moving

Posted: September 17, 2012 in Uncategorized
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My wife and I are getting ready to make another big move. While we are packing, I am beginning to look back to some other moves I have made in my life. There are some trends I began to notice. Maybe it’s just me but there are some lessons I am beginning to look at from the mistakes I’ve made moving.

1. We pack away too much junk that we will never use.

I may be over critical. I am looking at how much my wife and I are blessed with stuff… and I wonder if there are items we will ever use. There are boxes in the attic that have yet to be opened in three years. There are totes full of decarations that never make it on a tree or out of the box. This items take up space. They take effort to move from room to room and place to place. It’s energy that’s being wasted.

Sometimes in our lives we allow the meaningless to take away all of our energy. We choose household chores rather than spening time with family. We allow busy work to overtake our connections. In church we may focus on the structure more than ministering. What clutter get’s in your way? Is it time to toss the junk?

2. Failure to look ahead and be prepared amplifies the loss of what’s important

It was my second time moving. I was in college and I had gotten sick. This put me behind in my class and I had to make a choice. I decided to drop because of being unable to keep up with college, work almost full time and spend time with my fiance. After dropping I had to move out and move out fast. I didn’t take an inventory of items, I did not label boxes and take care in packing. I just threw things in boxes and moved. This was a mistake, a BIG mistake. I lost something valuable in the move. My wife still holds it against me. I lost her class ring.

When we fail to plan and be organized we will lose what’s impoartant. Life gets chaotic. I know this. We have appointments to hold to, work, school, ministry, friendships and anything else that takes our time. It’s easy to forget to look ahead and get into a rut of looking day to day. I am very guilty of this. But, if we forget to plan ahead and take inventory of what’s important we will lose what is most valuable to us.

3. If you fail to unpack you will never get to use your gifts

After life change or after a move, you must unpack. It is always interesting to find what items that you forgot you had when you unpack. It amazes me how much quality stuff I have that I have never used because I forgot I had it. I’m excited to go through the boxes after we move and figure out the treasures that I have never used.

The same things happen in our personal lives. God has given us spiritual gifts and talents that we never use. We fail to look at what God has granted us in our lives. We must unpack our gifts and talents and see how God wants them used. This means we have to experiment. Try out some different ministries. Try couseling, teaching, praying, serving in any way shape and form. If we don’t we will never see the potential God has in our lives.

 There are many other ideas rambling in my head on what I personally need to learn from moving. This is only the beginning. Maybe you can relate, maybe not. This is my ramble for the day. God bless.

Posted: September 10, 2012 in religion
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What is your take? Do you believe in Creationism? Do you beleive in Evolution? Can you mend the two together?

Personally I believe in the 6 day creation, that God created everything in completion. Evolution is a theory that is unable to be proven. On the side of education shouldn’t the school be teaching to broden thought by teaching more than one theory? Some would say, and I can’t deny it, that the school system is now in the realm of science trying to convince people there is no God. It takes the point of view of atheism and does not allow any other lense of thought.

What are your thoughts?

CNN Belief Blog

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) — Bill Nye does not think that children should be taught to deny evolution, and a YouTube video of him explaining why has gone viral. The CNN Belief Blog’s report on the video has generated around 10,000 comments and thousands of Facebook shares since Monday.

There were some broad themes in the comments, reflecting a debate that is largely unique to the United States.

While Christianity is booming in Africa, Asia and Latin America, creationism is not, Penn State University religious studies professor Philip Jenkins writes in his book “The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South.”

Here are five schools of reaction that have emerged in comments:

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Where were you 9/11?

Posted: September 9, 2012 in Uncategorized
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It is almost September 11th and I saw this video. It reminded me of where I was when the terrorists struck 11 years ago. I was walking in darkness at that time. It is crazy to think that I was in 8th grade when it happened and that the summer preceding was my most spiritual dark time since becoming a Christian. I was 8 when I was saved and baptized but I was a baby in my heart for the Lord.

The summer preceding 9/11 was a time that everything I did I was regretting. I use the excuse my family was falling apart. I use the shelter that I allowed my friends to become my family. I spent that summer smoking and drinking. I would look at the porn magazines my friends had and the stash that I had. At that point in time if a girl walked by and wanted to have sex I would have been ready right there. I spent that summer not caring what was right or wrong. I would talk to store owners and steal from them as I talked to them. I would curse so much as to cause the apostle Peter to blush. (He was a sailor you know.) I don’t share these things to bloat about how bad I was. I regret every bit of it. The worst was that this was all done after becoming a Christian.

This is where God took his spiritual 2 x 4 and knocked me upside the head. I was ditching school with my mom when the first plane hit. We were driving to Des Moines, IA to get me a padded chin strap for football. We were driving down the road when the first plane hit. We both figured it was a freak accident. Then when we were approaching Des Moines the second hit. We couldn’t believe it. The mall actually closed down but the outlining stores remained open. We went to Sears and just stood in front of their TVs watching what was going on.

This is where God began chiseling me. He began to chisel my hearts barrier of my anger and loneliness. Piece by piece the wall came tumbling down. People’s lives were being destroyed by 9/11. My heart began to cry out for those in the plans, the towers and the families. I saw people who were giving their lives to try to save a few people. My selfishness had gone away and God revealed to me the direction I was heading, the hurt and bitterness I was causing myself. He then gave me the choice, which path will I follow. Will I follow my self destruction or will I repent and follow His plans for good.

I knew I had to make a decision. Not for my family, not for my friends but between just me and God. I chose at that time to follow God and not be a rebellious Christian. There were tough decisions to make. There was loss of friends. There were family fights. I praise God for the wake-up call. I praise Him for not giving up on me. I praise Him for forgiveness and strength.

Mathew 11:28-30

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.