Wiping out the Bad Guys


With a population of the earth in excess of 7 billion people, we’d all be better off if we could eliminate the bad guys.

So let’s say for purposes of discussion we have at least 2 billion bad guys on earth.  Now, really—that’s a lot of bad guys and a whole lot of people.

But practically speaking, you and I know this would not rid the world of trouble for we’d still have over 5 billion.

Destroying another 4 billion bad guys would still live us with 1 billion which is a remarkable number of people.  Again, we know this would not solve our problems.

So then, let’s erase 9/10ths of them just to have enough people to keep things going.

This would probably work out for a short while, but eventually, our strife with one another would re-emerge.

Okay.  Now.  As I see it, I’ll wipe out everyone but me.  I’m then, the only guy left but after much introspection I determine I’m probably not all that good either so I bump myself off leave—no one!  OF course, logic would dictate that NO bad guys would exist, none would be around and the earth would indeed be a perfect paradise.

And I think it comes to that we ever we wonder about God and why so much evil dwells with us.  As of yet, God hasn’t gotten rid of all the bad guys for really, no one would be left.

Thus, we are left with a terrible dilemma. Lo, I put forth an answer.  And that answer is that we should focus on our self and make sure we don’t fit into that category as a bad guy. In erasing our self from that category, we concentrate more like Jesus in order to make this world a better place.  And in the meantime, we’ll leave all the bad guys to God.

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When God doesn’t do what we want Him to do


Okay, here is the pitch: we want God to stop war, suffering, hunger, hatred, sickness, injury, mayhem and any other displeasing thing or event.

Aside from strong evidence that God has assisted us over and over again in fighting the bad guys in stupid wars, we remain defiant to God, even denying His existence.

I find that last poser rather amusing. You see, we remain angry at a God we say does not even exist, knowing all the while that He does.

This is so true that when God doesn’t do what we want Him to do, we rebel, deny, curse, repel, distance ourselves==anything but face up to the Truth of God.

We come to believe that Man invented medicines, when it was God that created all things.

That Man created computers, automobiles, technologies and all the other material ‘things’ we have come to love and enjoy.

Never mind the fact that it was God who put all these things there for our use, we credit man and not God.

In the process, we clench our fist and stomp our feet at God when our loved ones are taken away from us.  Our behavior is similar if we are passed over for a promotion or a new job or fail to get that new car or home or girlfriend or status.

And even when all of the above is attained and fulfilled, the receivers ‘forget’ God for now they believe they don’t need Him.

The residual result is identical and the same: We detest our creator, our maker.  We blame God for the behavior of man insisting all alone that we have freedom and autonomy.  And repeating the cycle all over again:  when things don’t go our way, we blame the God of whom we say doesn’t exist.

Beyond Words


At least one feature of modern civilization is the engagement of ideas through the use of words. Expanded upon that now is through the use of computers, videos and other media devices that elucidates concepts as purposed by man.

One of those tools is the Holy Bible.  Aside from the Bible we have endless books, pamphlets, essays and others that involve oratory skills.

In fact, we embrace so much of these, it could be said that we have ad nauseam, a perpetual river of ways and means to understand God.  There seems to be more ‘experts’ on God and His divine nature than on any other topic.

This being the case, we should have the Godliest nation in the world, but almost the opposite is true.

Oh, we have our various doctrines, and tenets, our catechisms and viewpoints, at times engraved in stone.  But what we lack—is the conscious action and results that go beyond words.

In fact, I attest that the summation of our words means less about us in opposition as to what we actually do that states for us who we are.

To this degree it is not so important about what we say as to what we do.  Taking this even further, words mean almost nothing at all.  Actions speak for themselves.

Thus, it is NOT how much scripture I know or can quote, it is how much scripture I can live and produce by example of my discipleship.

While it is a virtue to study, to learn and to grow in wisdom by use of our mind, it is even more virtuous to provide legacies about our behaviors—what we do.  In this manner, I’m speaking in terms of our behaviors to others in service to them.

This would indicate that teaching (learning) is only one have of the equation—that doing via behavior is the other half and if possible, the more important half.

In other words, it is not important that we demonstrate to others how important or smart we are with our words, it is imperative not to lip-sync behaviors, but to actually do them.

Yes, we can read about it and it all sounds wonderful, but to experience those perceptions by living them one-to-one is the interaction of life itself. The difference is as such that it means that we experience Christ and know Christ through his church as opposed to knowing of Christ through words.

Last, if I were a doctor, a surgeon, and you needed surgery, would you want me to merely read a medical manual about the procedure, or to actually perform the surgery for real.  Trust me.  I believe you’d want a lot more than mere words.

 

 

IN THE ABSENCE OF GOD


Posted April 22, 2010 05:53 pm

IN THE ABSENCE OF GOD

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It is so easy to dismiss the presence of God, His Church and the work that is daily performed. In fact, it seems that the secular world takes a full time job doing nothing but making fun of the endeavors of the Christian church. A strong sense of history would paint another picture: the more recent history of Nazi Germany with the almost total removal of the church. There, we witnessed the cold, black hearts of men when the removal from God was off the agenda and where the plate rapidly filled with lawlessness, criminality, death and destruction of millions—most which were innocent except for the one fault of being born. Almost identical to Germany was the absence of God in the atheistic communistic rule in the previous Soviet Union. The bones of millions that fell by the wayside are testimony to precepts that are dictated by societies in the absence of God. We might remember our friend Mao in China. In excess of 30 million perished. There is Cambodia where once again, millions expired in the Pot regime, all in the absence of a creator with moral laws. We see the expressions of man doing things ‘His way: drive by shootings, drugs, robbery, murder, and even worse crimes. And in the thick of all of this: the church takes a hit because it believes in the incorruptible of Jesus, the Christ. Jesus is the man who espoused God as the epitome of love and a love which was to serve and to yield, not murder nor maim. In the absence of God, we have reached our pinnacle with greed and a hunger for avarice. We dispose of people of who are no longer useful, reject patience, detest honor and castigate those that attempt to make life better, the world a better place to reside. In the absence of God, we have ‘rights’, we have demands, insistence, and the total lack of responsibility. In the absence of God, we blame God; blame his church for the failures of the world. Isn’t it so convenient to prop up the scars and blemishes we have imposed on ourselves to a scapegoat? In the absence of God, we find rebellion and deceit. We witness imposters, false promises, lies, and in the end, we have destruction. Finally, in the absence of God, we see ourselves all alone, with nothing to hold on to but the loss of our heritage and the sins of our handiwork. I find anything better, anything welcome in our lives, but the total absence of God. At the rate we are going, soon, we might also be absent as well. For soon, we will no longer recognize the world that we have created in the total absence of God.

Not You.


At one time or another, everyone has been in the situation where they were looking for help but found that somehow they were not qualified.

Earned too much money

Didn’t earn enough money

Was not a refugee

Wrong sex

Not a veteran

Not a minority or wrong race

Not enough education

Too much education

Lived in wrong geographical area (Zip Code)

The list goes on.  None the less, programs always have a particular criteria for qualification.  In social programs provided by the government or by faith based organizations, one much pass through the hurdles in order to become qualified.

The bottom line is this when it comes to solving your problem.  There is no program that remedies your flight, your situation.

Enter our Lord, Jesus. Jesus does not offer a program per se.  Jesus is a people person.  His basic qualification process is a simple one where you admit to being a sinner and needing God to control your life.  That is it.

Next comes one-to-one assistance as Christ then walks with us through the journey of our problems and provides solutions.  There are no hoops to jump, no real criteria other than being human, and no being good enough or any check sheet of past histories.  All are qualified who seek help.

And this should teach Christians and the church something about service to others. With programs, people will seep through the cracks.

Too, nothing compares to one-to-one personal service to God’s children. Face to face ministry solves the shortcomings of programs.  Also, programs at times can be extremely impersonal, cold and removed from human experience and emotions. Programs and their hoops can weigh down people so much that they are in fact nothing more really than back breakers and spirit breakers—the very opposite of their intent.

Following the example of Jesus is the first route we should embrace.  Where programs are designed by human, just as with anything else we have, we will have blemishes and failures.  One to one encounters cannot fail if trust is firmly embedded with Jesus for He promises to help.

With Jesus, there is no longer the answer, Sorry there is nothing for you.

Invisibility


A man who believes he is invisible walks into a doctor’s office and asks to be seen.  The secretary, after conferring with the doctor announces, “I’m sorry, he can’t see you right now.”

Now all of this would be funny but in some ways the anecdote above addresses some of the problems facing today’s society.

If you are a small potato on the world scene one of the best ways to survive is for you NOT to stick out.  In short, you become invisible.

To remain invisible you appear compliant: you never make ‘trouble’:  you blend in:  you conform to the rules and to the institutions:  you become nothing more than a factory cog:  you are invisible to the police without blemish and the list goes on.

In fact, it becomes so bad we come to the point where we fail to know our neighbor or be involved within the community at all.  Taken this to extremes we have even reached the point where many parents don’t even really know their kid.  Out of sight, out of mind.

Mostly feeling powerless, we shrink ourselves and hunch ourselves over, bent as if we were completely powerless.  The idea behind this is—no one will assail a person who appears harmless, devoid of power.

Even in church, we possess the type of personalities whereas no one really even knows we are there.  And obviously, we are the same with God.  If we are careful, then God won’t see us in order to correct us.

No, we don’t do any harm, but then again, we fail to accomplish any good either.  We are chameleons, learning to morph into any background without being discovered.

To that effect, we brag about how no one takes offense to anything we do.  They don’t take offense because in truth, no one even knows we are alive.

We talk alone, sing alone, walk alone, suffer along and live in fear—all alone.  In this way, we believe we are not exposed to the elements that can harm us.

Much of this is even taught within our schools.  We sit in lined up desk, much like a factory assembled conveyer belt, looking much the same as everyone else with absolutely no individuality. In so doing, we are referred to as ‘good students’ who never cause any problems.

And in the process of failing to think, to feel, to breathe our own air, we soon project and harbor the dead emotions of those committed to an asylum.

The opposite life is promised by Jesus. Jesus promises to grant us LIFE.

And life means to quicken the dead where we’ll create a ruckus where at least the world will know we are alive.

To that degree, we no longer blend in.  We become outward, reaching out for other people, to know others and to provide service to others because of the goodness of the life that is within us.

The idea here is that we are no longer worthless objects within a corrupt world.  The notion is that our presence has meaning to us and to others.  And when that happens, we have feelings that are alive.  We have a spirit and emotions that are vibrant and healthy and a being that promotes growth for all.

There is no virtue in becoming invisible.  We are not to be lonely and isolated, but separate insomuch only that we invite people within our life to share that life.

The end result is that we are prominent.  We project power as we are willing to give from the inner core of ourselves.  Finally, we can attest that while we might not be perfect, we are there—we are proud and we are no long invisible to the entire world.

 

 

 

 

 

We all Want to be Loved


“Christendom has done away with Christianity without being quite aware of it.” Soren Kierkegaard

Acceptance, inclusiveness, identity, purpose are formulated around the notion that social consciousness is an imperative need. This social consciousness is the desire, the drive to feel that we belong.

We have a deep desire to be respected, to be well thought of and in short, to be loved.

John 15:18

“The world hated me before it hated you.”

Notice now, if we go to the sayings of Jesus we are not speaking such as with the Columbine kids who were not well liked.  We are speaking of situations where the world hates us because we do the will of our Father through Jesus.

Just look at the terrible role models put forth by the world:  We have rock stars galore, politicians, billionaires, sports heroes, inventors, etc. The word points to these people as to people of various accomplishments.

In the middle of these things we also search out and attempt to win approval of others. Truly, no one really wants to come across as a rebel.

But this is NOT what Jesus told us to do.  He told us specifically that the world will love their own and we are to FORFEIT our life in order to gain it.

Remember:  we are told we known as Christians because of our love, but not that we would be loved as a result.  Yes, you’d think a natural outcome of obedience to God would be that we would be loved.

However—look at our role.  Our role is to preach that people have gone by the wayside and that the comfortable lives they live is corrupted.  We are to teach them, these seemingly good people that their lives are as filthy clothes.  We are to teach them to take up their cross and follow Jesus.

Try telling that to someone who has sacrificed, worked hard for years and finally is able to purchase a new home.  Try telling them to either open their doors, invite the poor, the homeless into their homes or else to sell it, divide it up and give it away.  No, this is not going to happen.

Instead, we are going to tell people things that make them feel GOOD!  Non-confrontational will be our motto. Our task, as educated people will be to placate others and to gently and softly guide people into the mold of Christ.

More often than not, not only will this fail, but we will also find ourselves drifting with the tide into a complacent trance and become completely ineffective and useless as God’s warrior.

So then, we really only possess one recourse and that recourse is in obedience to God’s word and in seeking his proverbial love over the love of people.  In the end, we can one again redefine ourselves as friends of Christ and as real, genuine Christians.

 

 

 

What If All of Them Actually Showed Up? (Preachers Preach and Teachers Teach)


Suppose in the course of inviting thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of people to church that they actually showed up?

Suppose the good guys, the bad guys, the hobos and bums and prostitutes and drug addicts and bankers and lawyers and doctors and policemen and the well-to-do and the homeless were all to show up for church seeking salvation—what would we do?

And there we have it in its totality.  If all the people who are down trodden and those seeking the ultimate in spiritual truths we would do—nothing any different than occurs now.

There would be music, a sermon, an offertory, altar calls and probably a high mention of a building fun to house all the new members.

All of the people would be categorized, rounded-up more or less for the married, the singles, the divorcees and overcomers and the women’s club and geriatrics, and toddlers and teens and the men’s bible study, etc.

You see, nothing would really change. The congregant would determine some mechanism, some type of apparatus to house the masses to simply continue what they were already doing.

There would be no discussion of rallying up this army to go OUT THERE where we should all be doing just as Christ commanded!

If they all showed up, we’d see nothing any different than what we see now.  There would really be no changes to society as society would not even notice as it would have mostly NO EFFECT on or in our communities.

With our masses assembled, we’d possess our armies, our crusaders, the laborers that are all indeed needed, but nothing would change. Nothing would change and that’s probably why the army fails to appear among our churches.  Our churches are passive.  They sit idly by and pay the staff to perform the word that Jesus requires us to do.

The idea of harvesting resources and dividing it out among those who need it would elude the leadership.  NO, they’d want it for more staff and once again, for an inanimate building. The concentration of energies and resources for the nurturement of people would be eclipsed by the vanity of sheer numbers. For the truth of this is we already possess some of these armies, these spiritual warriors among our mega-churches and we know where they gather.  They gather not in the communities that need them, but in large, massive buildings that soak up all the monies that could be serving those who need it most.

So in answer to the question about what would we do if thousands upon thousands of people assembled at the doorways of our churches?  We’d really do nothing, nothing really at all for our world would be exactly the same as before.

Captain Willy’s Whiz Bag of Snake oil and Salesmen


At least 30,000-40,000 different religious organizations exist is America today.  That does not mean we have that many denominations or that many groups have major differences as some critics would love to point out, but it does mean there is some type of blend for anyone—no matter what lifestyle they prefer.

It follows somewhere along these lines:  “Boy, have I got a deal for you!”

Do you want physical healing?  We have an organization tailor-made for your needs.

How about wealth and money?  There are thousands of churches that will respond to this request.

Perhaps you are interested in the Devil or the principalities of demons that plague your entire family.  Yes, of course, sir.  We have a plan along those lines.

If your interest is in more spirituality, more knowledge, understanding, insight, self-growth, forgiveness, deliverance, yes sir:  Some church can attend your needs.

As we all know, much of this is snake oil sales, for many have but really one thing in common, and that’s the fact they are reaching into your back pocket for your wallet with another hand outward grabbing every piece of fried-chicken in sight.

In the end.  You are no better off than you were to begin with.  In fact, you are at least with less money for those jokers found a way to get you to give it to them.

Somewhere in our quest for spiritual truths, we seek symbols which will support the reason and mission for our existence. We search for single-minded answers that will guide and shape our lives.  Somewhere too, we search for some symbol or symbols that are in agreement of our own personal agendas.  In other words, we desire to justify who we are and why we are the way that we are.

And even though all signs point to the Master, Jesus the Christ, we somehow skip His words and drive home a wedge that grants greater importance to the words of men, rather than our Lord. Somehow, one person or another will disperse with revelation knowledge and we will follow that rather than embrace the binding words of Jesus.

One would think a person must be a genius or a biblical scholar in order to understand what is known as the simple message of the gospel.

Obviously, most of the Apostles were NOT learned men, but somehow we expect that we should be.

Clearly, there is an understanding of the words of Jesus, but even greater than the words of understanding is the experiencing:  This experience involves actually living day to day, the commandments of what Jesus told us to do.

This mostly can be reduced to:  “Love your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul….and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Where this is not the entire message of Jesus, it is certainly a good start.  For most of us, it would be even an excellent ending.

There is no need for tricks, spells, sleight of hand or a host of other ploys to get us involved with Salvation.

Enter the idea of TRUST.  That is, we trust our God, our Lord and our brothers and sisters in the Lord as we join hands to serve and minister to each other and to those around us.

This is NOT rocket science.  This is surrendering our own desires for the sake of others as dictated by Jesus to us for our own good.  It is a simple acknowledgement that we need assistance and guidance to do that which is pure and that which is good.  There is really no other complication than this.

Anyone who reads of the baptismal of Jesus would realize that Jesus received baptism not because he needed baptism.  Jesus did NOT need baptism to be a Christian, he did it as a humble example to show us what WE needed.

Naturally, Christ was already a Christian and followed himself.  WE are the ones in need to follow HIM.

There was no elixir involved, no Snake Oil, no money or Books involved with endless monthly payments. All needed, all that was involved were people who loved Him enough to do what he asked us to do based on beliefs and faith. Not so strange-Jesus asked us to deny our self and to follow Him.  This does not require endless messages special to a people who are set on not performing them.  All that it takes is a willing heart.

 

Speaking in Red Print


Matthew 6:31-34

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Nothing can be more American than self-sufficiency. On the whole, Americans are extremely independent and actually boast about not only self-rule, but autonomy from others.  No one in this country likes to be servant to another or dependent upon them for subsidence. No, Americans are proud and love to go it alone.

As Christians who profess to be Bible Believing, these bible thumpers don’t exactly express what part of the bible of which they believe.

When we awake in the morning, we awake to an alarm clock that represents all of the authority of the industrialized corporate world.   Many punch into a clock that records their presence, while others are monitored via their behavior as their performance is measured piecemeal.  The commonality we all share as Americans is that we ‘snap to’ it when our Employers demand attention.

My question is:  how well can we say that about Jesus and His words.  Some Bible emphasize his words emphatically by casting them in Red Print so as to stick out.  And in like manner, we seem to avoid His words as they are so easily detected to be shunned.

We shun his words as we are certain to avoid the consequences.  The fact is: we love mammon, money more than we do God’s kingdom.

I am sure, that if you are as I am, you’ll lie about it and ascertain that you are a firm, committed Christian. And even though we utter the words, the actions speak differently. The truth be known, we love our comforts, status, position, wealth far, far more than we love Jesus.  No, we are not about to give up all the things Jesus Commanded us to as he spoke in Red Print. Jesus preached that we had to lose our life in order to gain it.  As true, dedicated Americans, we are too busy working, losing our life to our jobs to give it to Jesus.

I don’t judge those who struggle for a living.  However, I do believe we should be careful about those values we say that we profess.  Much of what we say about Jesus insomuch as to how we believe is false. I don’t believe it is a wanton lie, but on the other hand, it is spoke by man for us to believe as if it were in Red Print rather than the words of Jesus.