Tag Archives: christianity

Peace has Spoken

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Image In Mel Gibson’s graphic  movie “Apocalypto,” the viewer beholds an artistic take on the Mayan culture prior to 900 AD.  In reviewing the facts portrayed in the movie one will discover there is some exaggeration and a mix of Mayan and Aztec cultures that have been melded together. Nevertheless, the movie shows what I believe lies at the core of the human experience.

The movie shows vast altars built high into the skyline with Kings and Queens standing on top of these handcrafted towers that over look the people. On top of these altars they sacrifice humans to their gods, to appease them, to keep peace.  In a time when it took the sweat and bloodstained hands to plow the land to receive subsistence and to gather water to survive. When the right amount of rain and sun was the difference between life and death. It was a time when the scripture “Those who do not work, do not eat,” was lived everyday (2 Thessalonians 3:10). I had a rude awakening to this the other day as I was shopping at ALDI. I got to the freezer section and the freezers were almost empty. I am among the generation and the people who are so disconnected from the earth that we literally forget that the food in the stores comes from someone working the land. I throw away the last few crumbs in a bag or spoiled food out of the refrigerator without a second thought. Because to me all I need to do, is go to the store and buy more, right? As I saw these freezers empty, I asked myself, “Oh my goodness, what if we could not just buy more?” “What if my subsistence depended upon my ability to gather, farm, sew, create transportation, kill livestock, what if rain and sun were a matter of life or death to me?”

Why did the Mayans and the Aztecs sacrifice humans? And to what god? Why did they think that the sacrifice of humans or sacrifice in general did anything? Since the beginning of time humans have been trying to figure out how to be at peace or one with this earth we have been placed on to live. Let me paint a picture for you…

The cave man comes out of his cave and sees the big glowing ball of fire in the sky, and then how it descends at night. He works the land and see that he needs rain or water for the plants to grow, yet he also needs that glowing ball of fire. That ball of fire seems to be the most powerful thing in his world. The cave man plants some seeds and rain will not come. His family starts to starve, the cave man does not know what to do, the cave man asks the big glowing ball of fire to please hide itself and send rain. The cave man pleads with the ball of fire, saying I will do anything, please send rain. The next day it rains. The cave man sees his request has been granted, the big ball of fire, must be in control of all this…the cave man decides it must be his job to  keep the big glowing ball of fire appeased, happy, maybe I shall give it something, maybe I should show the ball of fire that I noticed my request has been answered. Maybe if  I can please this supreme being, my family will live?  Maybe when there is no rain he is angry? Maybe if there is rain, I have done something to please this supreme power? So the journey begins, the quest to live at peace with the Universe. Humans have been trying to figure it out for a long time. Thinking that somehow we can appease the gods or the great powers that run this place.

Shalom in hebrew means peace, The Strong Concordance defines the word shalom as:

“Completeness, wholeness, peace, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony; the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalam meaning to be complete, perfect and full, thus shalom is much more than the absence of war and conflict; it is the wholeness that the entire human race seeks.”

I believe this to be true, I believe that each human has a soul or a spirit and I believe at the center of all that we are, we long for PEACE. True peace, peace in all its fullness.  We try to figure out what do do with the sickness of our soul everyday. We don’t feel  good enough, we carry shame, we feel guilt, we want to resist pain and hurt, to bypass loss and death, and we cannot do it. And when you are a good person and try to treat others well and you work for your family and you still lose your son unexpectedly, you ask why? And you screw up and make a bad decision and you hate yourself for it and you cannot forgive yourself for this stupid decision you made, and you don’t know why? When you have been hurt by someone else and you feel it is so undeserved, and you don’t understand how someone could be so cruel? You look around and the darkness, the pain, the hurt of this place is so deep, so overshadowing, it all seems hopeless. We will drive ourselves crazy trying to figure it all out, what is fair, what is not, why this happens, why this doesn’t, the root of it all is there is an epidemic that has penetrated every human that walks the planet, it attacks everyone, it is no respecter of persons, it is the complete depravity of the soul.

This is the problem, the maker, the inventor, the master mind, the creator of all things saw fit to fix it.  It started with some rules and laws. Keep these Words and you can overcome this depravity, this immorality, this darkness, the rules didn’t work. He sent messengers, reminding people there is this solution to what you need it is found in the ONE, and the people would say “okay”, then in their times of hardship, they would want something more tangible, something they could see, something more than someone who simply revealed himself in WORD. “We need to make sure all our bases are covered, we need more security than this, this ONE. Two is better than one, they say, so maybe we need more help than just from this ONE. ” The epidemic was so strong, there needed to be an answer that provided a vaccine, a cure, a panacea.  The soul of man could not find PEACE through laws and rules, it could not find peace through striving, through sacrificial systems, through good deeds, through war, through kings or judges. The soul of man needed THE Cure.

This great power who had only identified himself as the ONE, the WORD, the I AM,  had prepared a people group, a bloodline, to which he chose to use to enter this world. He then adorned himself in the dust of earth and came and lived here. And why? For what purpose would this great power leave His home and come to ours? He came to bring the cure. No more striving to be good enough, no more hating yourself, no more guilt,  no more hopelessness, no more shame, no more fear, no more having to sustain yourself, no more hidden pain, no more would the depraved soul be master of our flesh.  The cure has come!

What the Mayans needed, what the Aztecs needed, what the Israelites needed, what the United States needs, what Africa needs, what Asia needs, what India needs, what my neighbor needs, what my family needs, what I need, we ALL need it, we all long for it, we could spend our whole life searching for it in all the wrong places. For this place we live offers generics. It comes in forms of ideology- just think right, self-help-just facilitate the right habits, psychology-just get some good therapy, education-just read this theory, enlightenment-just go learn to quiet your mind, humanism-you have the power in yourself to accomplish all you need, self-love- just love yourself and accept everyone and everything and we will all overcome. My dear readers, you cannot, you are not powerful enough to overcome the darkness in you without the ONE that makes  darkness dissipate. He is the only way, he is the cure, he is the panacea. No one will ever find life, but through HIM. He is the Wholeness the Human Race seeks, he is The Prince of Peace.

This is what I know. We have a choice, our soul can be eternally in distress or eternally at peace, we choose. Peace Has Spoken.

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Paralyzed without Purpose

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Paralyzed without Purpose

Are you bored with life? Do you go to work, come home, watch some TV, maybe go to church or not, try to do good,  yet you want more? Do you feel unsatisfied? I believe there is a purpose, a call, a place for each one of us. I believe it is strategic. I believe it is to expand the Kingdom of the Most High. What are you doing to be part of this expansion? There is a war raging, and darkness wins if the light finds itself paralyzed without purpose

I was recently sitting with a group of women as we each shared our burden for the body of Christ and the world in which we live (Shout-out to D2D ladies!!). It was beautiful and refreshing to be among company that shared the same heart beat. One word that kept resounding through our conversation and time together was “Relationship.” It is funny how something so simple can become so novel. Is this not what we were created for, relationship?? Was man put on Earth to just work and toil and reproduce? Do we have purpose here on this pile of dirt? Is their something greater that beacons us to take our place?

I have recently been inspired by 2 women Christine Caine and Jen Tringale both very compelling speakers and my heart just leaps at the message they have for this time. In my own way I would like to share this burden. It is 2 fold….and it is simple. 1. There are lost people wandering around who need hope and purpose, Christ wants to reach them. 2. Each of us has a place and a role in touching the lives around us, EMBRACE your PLACE.

I want to use my friend Crystal’s story to paint this picture. My friend Crystal is young in her late 20’s. She has twin girls that are 4 and a little boys that is 6 and Husband who is in the Military.  Crystal has worked at Sonic for 10 years. She worked her way up from the bottom and is now the Co-Manager of a million dollar store. When I first met Crystal and heard she worked at Sonic in my small mindedness I felt like I want to rescue her out of that job. “Have you considering going back to school?” “You should work at corporate sonic.” But then you talked to Crystal and she could tell you story after story of how her presence in  Sonic is changing people through relationship. She LOVES her job, she loves what she does, her heart beats for the drug addicts, recently incarcerated and the homeless young people hopping from house to house who walk through her door and want a job. Then she stands beside them and trains them and teaches them about responsibility, about being grateful for a job and a pay check about working hard.  My favorite Crystal quote, “Everything you do is a reflection of who you are, If you are a crappy car hop, what does that tell me about you?”

You see, Crystal has found her purpose for this season of her life. I believe God is so strategic that he knew that in 2013 in Bartlesville, Ok on the corner of Hwy 75 and Nowata he needed Crystal. He needed a beacon of light in that Sonic. He needed someone willing to get down in the dirt and work hard with a people, in place that many do not want to mess with. He needed a Crystal that would not only recognize her “PLACE” but “EMBRACE” this place, this season with all her heart and be light to the lost people around her.

What God has done for Crystal he wants for YOU. He wants you to completely “EMBRACE” the “PLACE” he has you right now for this season. If you are in a place were you are not happy with your job or life, PRAY. Cry out to God, ask him to open your eyes to your purpose, to your place. As you PRAY, don’t try to squirm out of the place you are  for this moment but learn everything you can and humble yourself to his Lordship over your life. I am sure that if you work or if you do not work, if you stay at home with children or if you juggle a full time job and children, I am sure if you are a single parent, divorced, married, old or young, there are people in very close proximity, that need a relationship with the ONE who gives hope and purpose to a very boring meaningless life. He needs you to be willing to walk into RELATIONSHIP, to open up your life to be used for a greater purpose for a greater good.

Relationship is the way of Christ. He set the bar as he walked into RELATIONSHIP knowing it would hurt at times, it would not be easy at times, it would be be extremely rewarding and it would be extremely fulfilling. He poured out his life into 12 men and through those relationships, He changed the World. Don’t allow the darkness to paralyze us, abolish the darkness with light! He has called you out of darkness into His light for a reason and for a purpose. Lord help us EMBRACE our PLACE.

A twisted “witness”

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My head is so full of thoughts and inspiration I feel like I am going to explode. So I decided to relieve some pressure…. I recently have been made ever more aware of the extreme importance of relationship. Relationship are so important that Jesus chose relationship over position. He could have come as a King that resided over the people, that gave decrees, that set rules and made the masses follow him. By his power and eloquent speaking he could have wooed crowds, and won their hearts with his charm and wisdom. But instead he chose the way of relationship. He plunged into relationships with men like Peter, who one minute would say “I will NEVER turn on you Jesus!” and the next min, Jesus would be saying to him, “get behind me satan!” Those are strong words to say to a friend. Peter was a zealous young man, who jumped out of a boat with all his clothes on to swim to shore when he saw his Master only to be asked “Peter do you love me?” If I was Peter I would think, “what??, I just jumped in the ocean and swam to shore to come see you and you are asking me if I love you? Did this amazing, passionate, outward expression of my love not speak loud enough?” Yet Jesus asked him 3 times, “Peter do you Love me?” Each time it was followed by “feed my lambs Peter, tend my sheep Peter, feed my sheep Peter.” (John 21)

I believe relationship is the most effective and natural way to “go into all the world and make disciples.”  In a culture full of noise,  with people who want to have a voice so people will listen to them, like Martin Luther King Jr., preachers that want to preach a message that shakes you to the core, like a Billy Graham and singers that want to sing that one song that moves your heart to tears, like a Michael W. Smith. Sometimes we fight the life we have been placed in looking for something with more sparkle or position. We are taught that as follower of Yeshua that we should be evangelizing the lost world. And maybe we think we need more power, more position, more money or more sparkle to do so.

Then there is another side, the really awkward, un-natural approach to evangelizing we have been taught. We are suppose to sit down next to someone at Wendy’s and strike up a conversation with them ask them if they know Jesus as their savior, lead them in the “sinner’s prayer,” then finish our Jr. bacon cheese burger, say “see ya” and go on with our day. Who does that? How many of us when we see boys on bikes dressed in suits ring our doorbell, act like we are not home? Why do we respond this way? Because it is NOT natural. I believe this is a twisted idea of “witnessing.”

Christ’s way was simply this; 12 men, pour everything I have into them, period. Along the way others got touched by his ministry, by his love, by the passion of his followers, yet he did not seek crowds or position he just simply WAKLED with 12 men.Who are your 12? It starts at home. I have a Koby, Zekiah and Levi and they need to KNOW Christ. This is a totally skewed take on this verse, but I keep thinking about Matthew 16:28 what difference does it make if I “save everyone in the world” and lose my own soul, my own DNA, my own flesh and blood, my sons. (“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”) Then from home it goes to the people around you. Are we being good stewards of the relationships God has placed in our hands right now. The Lord has challenged me in this season were I am right now to “care for people.”  I am honored to be in a season of life were I have time to think about and care for other people. With everything I am I want to embrace the call or the command Christ gave to Peter, “If you love me, take care of my people.” Be careful that you don’t put your Christian glasses on and think that only means “people in Church.” There are a bunch of people on this Earth that need someone to take care of them. Don’t get the message twisted, WALK with some folks and watch the Lord make disciples. Remember Jesus did not hang out at “church” he was found “eating with sinners.” (Take out the word sinners and replace with people) Jesus hung out with people, he ate with people, he walked with people!

One last thought. I was watching the Pixar movie “UP” last night with my boys. If you have seen it there is an older man and a young 1293925667546boy in the movie who both need someone! The older gentleman is on a mission and he is going to accomplish his mission, because that is the MOST important thing!!! The young boys is just in the way and if he can move fast enough and do what he is told, he can stay around but he better not interfere with the mission. As I am watching this movie I am asking myself, how many times a day do I do this, to my family, to my co-workers, to the people around me? How many times am I more worried about verbs than nouns. (Doing things Vs. the people/nouns in front of me) By the end of the movie the older man realizes that this little life, this little boys was his mission, and he has to let go of what he thought was MORE important. God’s heart beats for people, always has always will…Take care of my sheep.

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I want an answer…”Christians, Why are people looking to other religions, ways of thought, and atheism to escape guilt, hate, hypocrisy, and judgement? What has happened to the followers of “The Way” meaning Christ’s way?” Someone please answer!

I want an answe…

To worship or not to worship?

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images“Why should we join together on Sunday mornings in an old building? What is the point? Why do we need this? You saying I have to go to church is so legalistic and Jesus was all about breaking the rules, right? I am a Christian, but I don’t go to church, the “church” is people anyway, not a building. I can have church at home by myself.” I have been studying the topic of IDOL worship or Self-Worship and have come up with a few ideas to these questions.

1. We need to worship If you read my post, Self-Worship, this might sound familiar. We need to worship, why you might ask? Because we are caught in the cycle of mankind, the cycle that the Israelites found themselves in over, and over again. “Prone to wander Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.” says the old Irish Hymn. The incitement of Eve by the serpent is the same sin that befalls us everyday, that WE may have a better way to doing things than the great I AM. How absurd, how egotistical, yet it is true. Our actions and our words communicate loud and clear whom we worship. We need to worship for several reasons: a. We need to be put in our place. We need to be reminded that the world does not revolve around “me.” b. We need to fall into the shadow of the most high. It is in His shadow that the “things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of this glory and grace. ” It is easy to throw ourselves pity parties about everything! It is also common to have legitimate concerns, worries & fears. We need to worship to allow the Light of his Glory and Grace to saturate our mind, our perspective and our heart. c. Out spirit longs for union with God the spirit. This is the long lost union that Adam and Eve experienced, this is the union Christ Paid for, that our Spirit may be “one with God, just as the Father and I are one” (John 17:21) d. Our mind needs to be renewed, flushed, cleansed, elevated. Our mind is a battlefield, where the enemy loves to reside. Worship in spirit and truth (we need the TRUTH of the word to renew our minds) is a shower for our mind. e. We need hope. Worship reminds us of God’s faithfulness not only to us but to our ancestors and heroes of our faith. It reminds us of God’s omnipresence and his omnipotence. It reminds us that His Grace is Sufficient.

2. We need Edification and Growth a. Teaching, preaching, prayer, words of encouragement…we need all of these to stimulate growth to cause us to be unsatisfied with our current state of being, to spur us on to Holy Living. b. If we are not growing the only other option is we are decaying. What do you choose, I set before you Life and Dealth choose Life! (Duet  30:19) c. We need our hearts stirred. “If it is stagnant it stinks!” (Karen-girlfriend) Complacency is a sneaky way for the enemy to start seeping into your life. Growth, movement, life are essential in our daily walk.

3. We need to give tithes and offerings a. Tithing is an outpouring of our love for our creator who gives us everything we need. If we are not tithing this is what we are saying to God.

I got this God! I can take care of me better than you can. I do not trust you enough to only keep 90% of everything you give me. I know what is best for me and my family. I will be god over my finances…thanks

When we choose not to tithe we are communicating loud and clear where our trust lies. God never promised his people roses and chocolates all the days of their life. But he has promised us that he looks after the sparrows and the lilies of the field…how much more valuable are you than they? We need to get our butts to church because we need to join together on Sundays to:

1. Worship

2. To be edified and stretched…stimulated to grow

3. We need to give.