Test results are in

Test results are in…
Sometimes those words can be dreadful, other times, a sigh of relief may accompany them – it all depends on what the results are.

Unfortunately, if we look at the US results for religion, the test results are in and they are really obscure, at least to me.

A look at the 114th Congress – the one taking office this year, reveals 92% claim to be Christians. 57% of them Protestant, and about 31% Catholic (15% Baptist). Interestingly, this is greater than the average of the US at 73% Christian, 49% Protestant, 22% Catholic and 17% Baptist. (Source: Pewforum.org)

If this is our leadership make-up, then what is happening in America?

Of course, we must be conscious of the fact that the results above are based on self-assertions and not fact-based evidence.
So if over 90% of our government is Christian, and almost three quarter of our nation is Christian, why don’t we see more Christianity during our day? My guess is it’s because of me.

You see, I don’t flaunt my Christianity. I don’t have a bumper sticker that says “Got Jesus? – it’s hell without Him.” I don’t wear my Christian T-shirts everywhere I go. I don’t say a prayer before making every decision I need to make. I don’t witness to every stranger I meet. I don’t go to church every time the door is open. I don’t give to every poor person I meet. I don’t show love to everyone in every opportunity I have. I don’t invite everybody I know to church. I don’t . . .

You see – it’s my fault that Christianity isn’t visible in America. Can you do anything to help?

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)

I say tomayto, you say tomahto

In the world of “my truth” vs “your truth,” many confused people feel that there can be two “truths.” Problem is – there is only one truth.

Unfortunately, because our society has gone from one of free speech and individual rights to one of “say what you want, as long as it doesn’t offend the minority,” our culture has deteriorated sharply.

The majority only has the rule in voting, except that anyone can vote despite your citizenship.

Sorry, I digress…

In our world of many “truths,” we must be careful to distinguish what others say – from what the Bible truly says.

Today, people are constantly expressing their views on politics, race, sex, and religion. Well, everybody except us. Yes, that’s right. Everyone out there is publicizing their beliefs, while we Christians sit back quietly in our chairs, trying not to offend anyone, being an example of “acceptance.”

Well, I’m sorry to say that Christ did not teach us “acceptance” (of foolishness). In fact, if one reads the Bible, it is clearly evident that Christ had no trouble offending others, when they were blatantly off in regards to religion.

  • He threw tables over in the temple and used a whip to drive wicked people out (Matthew 21:12, John 2:15).
  • He rightly accused religious leaders of praying and fasting publicly only to impress man, not for spiritual reasons (Matthew 6:5-7, 6:16-18).
  • And He verbally assaulted others saying “woe to you hypocrites” (Matthew 23:13-33) and corrected other’s teaching saying “You have heard it said…, but I say to you….” (Matthew 5:27-28, 31-34, 38-39, 43-44).
  • He even corrected His own disciples and friends on many occasions (Matthew 18:1-5, Mark 10:13-14, 10:23-27, Luke 10:41-42, Matthew 14:15-21, Matthew 26:21-25)

Next time when you have the opportunity to take a stand for Christ – will you stand up, or sit back in your chair? Jesus said “Whoever is not with me is against me…” – Matthew 12:30a. Who are you with?

Geometry time…

A2 + B2 = C2

To many people, the equation above is recognized as a common mathematical formula, despite whether one knows how to use the formula.

Similarly, many people recognize Scripture such as “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

Is there a point? Yes, the formula above may seem insignificant to many people. And for many people, you are right. Most would never have to use the formula, although it is taught to the majority of our children in public schools during geometry classes.

However, the Scripture is not taught in our schools, and therefore WE have a responsibility to educate our children in not only teaching it to them, but explaining what it means. For most Christians, it is very simple to understand that God gave His Son as a sacrifice and atonement (payment) for our sins. However, to a lost person, the passage is somewhat Greek to them.

So please take the time to explain to others that God loved us to a point that He was willing to give up His life, His Son’s life, in exchange for our life. That’s true love – to love another person enough to give up your own life.

Will you spare just a few minutes of your life to tell someone how to save their life?

An apple? a day

Common saying: An apple a day keeps the doctor away

I don’t know if that’s true, but it does seem to help keep one healthy.

And despite how much I think I don’t like to eat fruit, it really is pretty enjoyable. Interestingly, it’s only when I’m eating fruit that I remember just how good it is. Any other time, I think I’d rather enjoy some good ‘ole caramel candy that’s been frozen solid.

What’s interesting though is that after the fact, the fruit sits nice and quietly in your stomach, while the sugary candy seems to well up and if you’ve eaten too much can upset your stomach.

Christian saying: A chapter a day keeps the devil away.

I don’t know if that’s true, but it does seem to help keep one healthy.

And despite how much I think I don’t like to read, it really is pretty enjoyable. Interestingly, it’s only when I’m reading the Bible that I remember just how good it is. Any other time, I think I’d rather enjoy some good ‘ole TV watching.

What’s interesting though is that after the fact, the Scripture sits nice and quietly in your soul, while any other sin seems to well up and if you’ve had just a little, it can upset your whole day.

Dear Church Goer,

Dear Church Goer,

I am so happy that I saw you in church on Sunday. You were sharply dressed and had your Bible in hand. In fact, the Bible looked very nice, almost new!

I saw you when you stood and sang praises to God. I even saw you pass the offering plate, pitching in a dollar or two.

I was proud when I saw you in the pew, apparently deep in thought, pondering what the Pastor was preaching. What’s better, you corrected your children’s behavior, making them sit quietly so as not to disturb others. It looked like you even provided them a phone, possibly with a Bible app to keep them focused on church.

After church, when I came to talk to you, I couldn’t find you. You had disappeared. I wanted dearly to tell you how proud I was of your Christ-like behavior. But somehow, outside the door, you and your family vanished.

I saw another family that looked like yours, but the children were bickering violently, and the parents were screaming profanities at each other about something that happened that morning.

I hope to see you again next Sunday. But it would be really nice to see you outside of church….

“…merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in His sight.” (Romans 2:13, NLT)

God misses YOU!

God misses you! How do I know?

As a parent, you too may have experienced the love that can only be enjoyed when a child is in your arms. Unfortunately today, my child was “too busy” for me, and I didn’t get my normal dose of cuddling, loving, and hugging that I’m used to. And now I feel a hole where Wesley’s love has always filled my heart. I know he still loves me, and I still love him. But today, that little area reserved for him is just a little empty.

I think that God, too, feels that way sometimes when we fail to spend time with Him. We get busy and wrapped up in our lives that we either miss church, fail to pray like we should, or simply don’t spend time with Him reading our Bible and reflecting on His words.

When we veer away from God, our life begins filling with sin. We begin to be tempted more and more every day, every hour, every minute, and every second. And when we stray from God, it’s harder and harder to return. Maybe it’s because we feel guilty because of our sin, or simple disobedience. However…

Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! … Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. – Romans 7:25-8:1

See, it simply doesn’t matter where we are, where we’ve been, or where we think we’re going. God is still there, providing a way for us to return to Him. Just like me: as a parent, I’m holding out open arms, waiting for the next moment Wesley realizes that he needs me. He’ll return to my arms, and I’ll lavish my love on him like every day before today. Yet God has so much more love to give than I could ever imagine. All we have to do is return to His arms. Will you return to Him today and give Him your love?

Doesn’t that just “get you?”

Someone says something really spiritual or you hear about an event where great things happened – and you weren’t the one to say it, or you weren’t there. Why can’t that be me?

Today as I was randomly selecting a passage to read, 2 Samuel 2:1 took me here:

“In the course of time, David inquired of the LORD, ‘Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?’ he asked. The LORD said, ‘Go up.’ David asked, ‘Where shall I go?’ ‘To Hebron,’ the LORD answered.

How many times have each of us prayed – … earnestly – waiting and seeking an answer – yet it seems that God just didn’t respond. I’ve been there hundreds of times, and just reading this passage made me jealous of David (and God’s response).

Then I wonder . . . if I did truly hear from God, how obedient would I truly be? If I asked God today what He wanted for my life, would I respond if I heard Him?

I think back to the day I received (or “accepted,” I should say) my calling into ministry. I know that had that day came earlier in my life, I’m not sure how I would have reacted.

As a lost child, [mind you not “bad,” but lost], would I have laughed at the Lord had He told me to preach the Gospel? Would I have blasphemed God right to His face had He told me what He wanted?

It makes me wonder and sit in awe of how well God truly knows us. It’s almost as if He’ll give us any answer we desire, IF we are prepared to accept the sacrifice, the outcome, or the challenge.

Maybe you’ve been praying for something for a long time that you need an answer to. Why then, isn’t God answering me . . .

HOT water freezes faster than cold water- really?

If you’ve been around any amount of years, you’ve probably heard this claim more than once. In fact, some people swear by it, others disregard it as fallacy and say that common sense won’t permit them to believe it.

For years, I was in the latter crowd, not believing it due to common sense.

But first let’s consider why some claim this “wild idea.” First, it’s been proven that hot water freezes faster than cold water. Now let me clarify this – it’s also been proven that cold water freezes faster than hot water.

Now – how is that possible? Science would require us to have only one “truth.” Justice, similarly, pursues the “whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Background: something not-so-commonly known as the Mpemba Effect happens when hot water freezes faster than cold water.

Interestingly, nobody knows what causes it, although many people have tried explanations which primarily include gas molecules and/or the transfer of heat to the top surface of a container and this super-cools the lower water.

Interestingly, it all depends on the overall conditions (environment, temperatures of both liquids, etc). But to make a stance and a decision myself, I delved outside last night during 20 degree temps to experiment for myself (with my buddyhot_cold_water Wesley on my hip).

Two identical shallow metal containers, 1 with cold tap water, another with 1.5 min microwaved HOT water. 10 minutes later, ice crystals were forming on the surface of the cold water, but not for another 5 minutes on the hot water. Conclusion – cold water freezes faster – duh, big surprise!

But wait, we never checked to see which one “fully” froze first. But then again, that wasn’t the question; the question was which freezes faster hot water or cold, not the “whole container” of water.

So, why is this on a Christian blog? Simply because there are many people out there that deny God and speak openly and freely. Some just say God doesn’t exist, and many others (including their children) believe them. If we all just believed each other, then we wouldn’t be able to think for ourselves.

Worse yet, there are others out there that will use Scripture to “prove” God doesn’t exist! After all, the Bible says “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). [By the way, feel free to look up that verse now, so when the Atheist quotes it, you can be sure and quote the whole verse: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.” – Psalm 14:1a].

So what’s the moral today? Don’t believe everything you hear. Even if it is “true” – it might not be the WHOLE truth.

It’ll be a cold day in …. Greenville

It’ll be a cold day in Greenville, when …

Well, that’s not exactly how the saying goes, but then again, you know that!

But did you know how the saying “God Bless you” originated? Me neither. Despite my best efforts to research this, our historical records only go back far enough to document its existence as early as 77 AD, but not the reason. Centuries later would give rise to the blessing of sneezers to ward off the plague, but the practice seemed to have already been customary.

The real question – do you say “Bless You” or “God Bless You” when in public? Think of it this way – despite your surroundings, there is rarely a person alive that would frown upon being blessed for sneezing today. Therefore it’s a simple way to witness (sort of) when in any environment. Maybe you can make 2015 a year to start with “GOD bless you,” not just “bless you.”

PS – try to stay warm during the next 24 hours, but please don’t fall victim to the belief that cold weather gives you a cold. Germs spread colds, not cold air. If it snows, enjoy it, just stay warm!

Performance Review Time

It’s that time of the year when big (and even small) businesses get down to the basics and review “how did we perform in 2014?” For some businesses, individuals are also rated on their performance and receive bonuses, raises, or pats-on-the-back for a job well done. It’s a question of what did you do to enhance the company’s bottom line?

But the real question is not how well did your business do last year. It’s not even how well did YOU perform as a worker. The real question is how did you perform as a “Christian?”

Did you follow God? Did you grow yourself?

Did you improve His bottom line? Did you advance the Kingdom of God by discipling a lost person, or a new Christian?

Did you join a small bible study group, a prayer group, or enhance your Bible study through a reading plan?

Maybe the answer is no. If so, that’s ok! Why?

Because our God is willing to forgive us for our past mistakes. The next question then is not about making a New Year’s Resolution, but rather a commitment. Are you ready to commit to God that you’ll improve your life this year through growing your relationship with God in 2015?