Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Oh Church, How Could You Forget?

I do not ever recall someone pulling a gun out and Superman turning away quickly to fly away;forgetting that he was the Man of Steel who could withstand bullets,can you?

In recent months we have seen the Church continue in some strange unorthodox behavior. One of which is so disturbing because it involves so many church leaders.

1. A church in the South made headlines for removing a special needs child from a worship service because he was a distraction. The church stated they do not want any distractions to ruin their service. Wonder what they would do if the Holy Spirit came in and distracted the service,would they kick Him out too?

One of the problems within the Church is the worship service turning into merely an entertainment venue to simply entertain us with talent. The Church has forgotten what it's purpose is.

Probably the most disturbing aspect of the Church that is rising today is the religious-powers-that-be forming a coalition mixing Christianity with Islam,and calling it Chrislam. Over 130 Christian leaders collectively state that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.

Perhaps they should have first consulted with the many Muslims who have converted to Christianity. I have sat and listened live to three stirring testimonies from former Muslims. And two of them had the same occurrence:

Each one found themselves alone in a room and demanded both Allah and God to show up right there and then if they were for real. And of course, you know Who showed up in dramatic fashion!

The mixing of Islam with Christianity is just another bad example of the Church compromising with today's society,instead of encouraging society to adapt to the teachings of Jesus.They have forgotten that the power of God can change lives.

I am still puzzled to this day as to how the Church has gotten to this level of forgetting the power of God, becoming either: seeker-sensitive,or only providing entertainment to build up attendance and wealth,or simply trying to build themselves up to a higher level.

What ever happened to building the Church up through God? I recently did a word search throughout the Bible on the word power. No where in the entire Bible will you find that either: God has lost His power,God does not do the miraculous as He had done the last 2,000 years, or has put a time limit on His power.

One of the first names of God in the Old Testament is Elohim, which means
Powerful God.

There are many out there who are struggling through economic hard times, illness,family issues,and a lack of faith. If you want to build your church today you simply need to provide the people with the one and only true hope,Jesus Christ. God has not lost His power:to forgive,to heal,to satisfy,redeem your life from destruction,to give you grace, peace and understanding. Psalm 103 instructs us to not forget all of His benefits.

And to those who want to promote Chrislam I leave you with this from Rick Mathes, a "true Leader" involved in prison ministry. Rick sat down with a Muslim and discussed God versus Allah,he then asked the man,

"Would you rather have your Allah, who tells you to kill me(non believers of Allah are commanded to be killed)in order for you to go to heaven, or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am going to heaven and He wants you to be there with me?"

It would be great if the whole Church could just remind herself of the old hymn
The Blood Will Never Lose its Power and then actually go out and live it.

The blood that Jesus shed for me,
way back on Calvary;
the blood that gives me strength
from day to day,
it will never lose its power

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Athletes Behaving Badly

Last week 2 of the 4 major sports crowned a new champion. But what quickly became more newsworthy were some of the athletes behavior before and even during their championship games:

The Miami Heat basketball team were already under a microscope stemming from celebrating a championship a little too prematurely. Before the season even began the 3 superstar free agents Bosh, Wade and Lebron, who concocted a plan of playing together in Miami and conquer the world, were touting the idea of winning 7 or 8 championships.

So the much "sports hatred" for this team was already riding high before their final match for the title against the Dallas Mavericks.This NBA Finals was a tale of two different teams: one team of brash cockiness (Miami) and the other a team of veterans who played with class(Dallas).

In game 4, Maverick's star player Dirk Nowitzki played with a 101 fever. He would play most of the game,score 21 points including the winning basket. A couple of days later before game 5, Wade and Lebron would mock Dirk's sickness in front of the media. And you know what happened next? The classy Mavericks would go on to win the next 2 games and win the NBA crown.

As for the other crowning champion, hockey's Boston Bruins came from behind in the series to win game 7 in Vancouver. And they did it with style and class. The Vancouver Canucks were touted as being the favorite because of the veteran leadership and talent on their team. They had come close to reaching the Finals the last 2 seasons only to see that goal come up short.

In game 7 and on their home ice, the Canucks were down 3-0 in the final period. Their frustration would boil over and they began to take cheap shots and make ridiculous penalties against the classy Bruins. The Boston Bruins coach would call a timeout during the middle of that period and instruct his team,

"Do not retaliate! Just stay within your game and you can win this."

And sure enough, the Boston Bruins would win the Cup, beating the Canucks 4-0.

To play like a champion simply means:

1. Do your best

2. Play within the rules of the game and play with humility

3. Whether you win or lose, go out in style with dignity and class.

4. Honor the other team whether you like them or not

So here's to the mighty Bruins and Mavericks,teaching us how to become victorious the correct way, the dignified way.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

That's What I Am

Human Dignity + Compassion = Peace

This was California's top teacher Mr. Simon's winning essay in a contest in 1965. It was a contest in which you had to write in 25 words or less "How to End The World's Problems". Mr. Simon's answer was just 4 simple words which netted him a brand new car.

Ed Harris plays teacher Mr. Simon in the film That's What I am, based on a true story of an 8th grade class in 1965 California.The story is about a teacher instilling confidence and courage in his students and also deals with the subject of prejudice and tolerance.

And of course, within this 2011 film there are all of the humorous antics that a 13 and 14 year old will go through in school. No matter what era you grew up, you can relate to most of the adolescence high jinx. This film covers every area in funny but poignant ways:

Geek Corner: the spot on school grounds where the so-called geeky kids hung out

Cootie Contact: this story has a very funny way of getting rid of those cooties you may have accidentally come in contact with

The Schoolyard Bullies: every school had one and may still have at least one who will want your lunch money or otherwise it's "wedgie time"

Childish Pranks: I admit, for me April Fools Day was all of 7th and 8th grade combined

Mr. Simon, who was voted top teacher of California in 1964, pairs up for a class project the smart kid Andy with the geeky kid Stanley. The tall,lengthy red-headed Stanley with the big ears was the butt of everyone's jokes. When Andy confronts Mr. Simon and asks why he chose him to be paired with the freakish looking Stanley, Mr. Simon explains:

"You are an excellent writer Andy. I thought pairing the two of you together was a perfect fit. You want to be a writer someday, don't you Andy?"

Mr. Simon would go on and instill so much confidence in Andy that the "writer to be" was able to declare, "I am a writer. That's what I am."

Andy faces head-on the test of courage in working with the school's number one geek,resulting in some: sneers,comments,and pranks. But the friendship between the two complete opposite's begins to grow, most notably because of Stanley. Andy begins to grow within their relationship because he sees first- hand how Stanley handles all the bullying with dignity.

The awkward Stanley enters the school's end of the year talent contest and signs up to sing. And of course Andy and some of the geek squad try to talk him out of it so he wouldn't be faced with complete humiliation. When the talent show comes on they find out that Stanley can actually sing pretty good. Stanley declares,

"I am a singer. That's what I am."

Along with the development of the kids within this great film comes the story of Mr. Simon. One of the school bullies who returns from a school suspension spreads a rumor about Mr. Simon, which in the end the truth is revealed and the rumor is proved false.

I love this story because it makes you define yourself within the boundaries of life.

As for what became of some of the characters in this story:

Andy became a writer, married with children.

One of the school bullies is serving a sentence in prison.

Stanley spent some of his life helping underprivileged children. He then won
$40 million dollars in the lottery and now lives in France with his wife and 3 kids.

This PG film is a good story to share with the family. And may it help you define who you are so that you may declare, "That's what I am".

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Final Term Paper: an A

An Ozark Christian College freshman named Natalia Puebla was killed during the tornado that devastated the small town of Joplin, Mo. The school was not damaged in the storm and classes had ended just a day or two before this tragedy. Regarding Natalia, one of her Professor's commented:

"I still had a stack of papers to grade when the tornado hit. Today I looked and on the top of the stack there was Natalia's paper about the resurrection of Jesus. It's a good paper, deserving of an A, but she knows this truth far better now."

Perhaps Natalia's paper on the resurrection of Jesus may have contained this passage of scripture on Knowing God Through Love:

Beloved, let us love one another,for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another
.(1 John 4:7-11)

Somehow I get the feeling that this is who Natalia Puebla was: someone of love,who walked in love, and did everything in God's love.