Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year everyone, may this be a year for you and for I, in which we grow closer and closer to God, and that in his radiant presence we find the numerous shackles of sin tumbling from our limbs as our eyes lay be-fixed on the giver of life, the redeemer of man, our blessed, resurrected and glorified Lord Jesus Christ.

It's all about Jesus.


 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Keystones to a Christian Awakening: Reclaiming America in the Wake of a Progressive Nightmare

American Christian Church
"Separation of Powers"
America is in trouble.  The very foundations of the country are at risk.  There has never been anything like America.  Our country is a Christian nation.  This nation functions best on a very specific formula.  The formula includes the Constitution, checks of power, democratic republican governmental systems, and a firm emphasis on religion and morality.  

I was born into the United States during an odd time in her history.  It's a time when forces within the country have begun to successfully root out the once dominant Christian culture.  They've done so through a variety of means, through media, hollywood, through legislation, through the courts, through academia, the sciences, and through the universities.  

The false caricature of the Christian faith was successfully perpetrated onto my mind.  I believed Christianity was a backwards tradition that needed to fade into the past.  I believed in the goodness of man.  I believed in the successes of modernity and globalization.  I was believing a worldview that did not match with reality.  The reality was much different.  It was different in my experience and it was different on the world stage.

So I had to discover for myself, the truth about western civilization.  It's a truth that's been carefully buried.  It's been excluded from textbooks and blocked from public schools.  It's ignored and minimized by universities.  No wonder it was so difficult to learn and comprehend.  But never-the-less I discovered it.  I learned about it in books.  These books are not talked about at public schools or modern universities.  

I'll pause for a moment to give you a list, if you'd like to learn more along those lines:
1. How Should We then Live? by Francis Schaeffer
2. The Truth Project DVD by Focus on the Family
3. The Sky is not Falling by Charles Colson
4. Seven Men and the Secret of their Greatness by Eric Metaxas
5. Awakening the Evangelical Mind by Owen Strachan
6. We Cannot be Silent by Albert Mohler
7. The Soul of the American University by George Marsden
8. The Dying of the Light by James Burtchaell
9. Icons of Evolution by Jonathan Wells
10. Signature in the Cell by Stephen Meyer
11. Can Man Live without God by Ravi Zacharias
12. Culture Shift: The Battle for the Moral Heart of America by Albert Mohler
13. The Silencing by Kirsten Powers
14. Christ and the Media by Malcom Muggeridge
15. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
16. Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
17. God and Government by Charles Colson
18. The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
19. I don't have enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norm Geisler, Frank Turek
20. The Global Public Square by Os Guinness
21. Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig
22. Seven Men Who Rule the World From The Grave by Dave Breese
23. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed by Ben Stiller DVD documentary
24. Mining for God DVD documentary by Brandon McGuire
25. Why I'm Not an Atheist at Princeton by Ravi Zacharias  

These books, documentaries, and DVDs are well worth your time. Believe me on this.  I had to discover this stuff on my own, because I was raised in the pale orthodoxy of the public school and the secular university.  Both places were permanent stomping grounds for immorality, multiplied by the depravity poured out by the mainstream media.  I wish I could put this in lighter terms, but I can't.  It's the truth.  We can all see it.  Parents wonder what's happening to children?  Well, it's no accident.  It's a blunder.  It's a blunder by those of secular persuasion who refuse to realize that their progressive revolution has left a moral vacuum that is destroying civilization.  

Interesting isn't it?  Scary?  Yes, certainly.  But what's interesting is that it's not new.  It's happened before.  As the word of God says: "there is nothing new under the sun."  It happened in ancient Rome, and it's happening today.  It happened time and again in the ancient nation of Israel: one generation would follow God, the next would lose touch with their roots, and their children would ruin the nation and God's wrath would come upon them as a due consequence of their sinful culture.

We have school shootings.  We have sexual depravity.  We have divorce and broken families.  We have loneliness.  We have a vacuum of meaning.  We have addiction rising.  We have crime rising.  We have alcoholism.  We have teen suicide.  We have abortion.  We have pornography addiction.  And sex addiction.  We have murder.  We have child sex trafficking.  We have pedophilia.  We have economic domination.   We have a serious problem in western civilization.  

The solution?  For most, the solution is more government!  And that's a natural response.  For those who refuse any moral code or religious thought they must appeal to force.  They must appeal to the government.  They must apply force to a de-stabilizing situation.  

Yet I think even the most progressive forces are worried and disturbed by the corruption rising in not only government, but also in business and finance.  The rising corruption makes appeals to more government and more regulation futile.  We realize that when we give government more power, an already corrupt institution becomes more corrupt.  It becomes a feedback loop, a catch 22 ever amplifying itself toward disaster.  

Why is this happening?  Because a vitally important check and balance has been removed from the American equation.  Indeed it is the only reason America can function as a free society at all: It is the check and balance of morality, religious thought, and the public propensity to push for the common good.  That has been debased.  But it hasn't been removed.  It's been altered.  Now it's the progressive ethic, behind the general theme that America is bad, America needs to change, America is oppressive, America is racist, America is sexist, America needs to embrace gay marriage, America needs to bring in the population of Mexico, America needs to abandon it's sovereignty to the United Nations, and on and on it goes.  It's a very confused and irrational sentiment, more of a reaction against America than any sort of plan for it.  And these new attitudes omit morality, in favor of "liberation" in every area: sexual liberation, drug culture liberation, liberation of the LGBTQ community, liberation of women, liberation of nature, and so on and so forth.  Yet so often a supposed liberation ends up being shackles in disguise.  

Religion has been declared evil by society.  Progressives push hard to remove it from all public discourse.  Organized religion is always considered bad, always.  But spirituality, me-centered stuff is good.  That's the new ethic, and boy is it a mess.  And it doesn't work.  

“The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible.” – Letter to Archibald Blair, January 8, 1799; Patrick Henry, Moses Coit Tyler ( New York: Houghton Mifflin Co; 1897), p. 409

We need a firm moral framework.  We need religious thought which provokes good behavior.  Much like the ten commandments.  We need strong families.  We need a strong, righteous, and moral public who are deeply inclined toward good.  And only in Christ are man's hearts truly tended toward the good.  Those factors combined produce the most important check against corruption, the American people, the moral majority.  Without it, there is no check against tyranny.  There is no stability which can enable liberty and freedom for all.  Without religious thought and moral behavior, the USA will have to become an authoritarian nanny state.   

In the public square we have become an atheistic country.  It's true.  We are still relatively free to be religious in private, but in public it is not allowed.  In fact biblical Christian views are very quickly becoming considered the new hate speech. Think of the way the media attacks Christians who stand for their faith.  Think of Kim Davis, and the family bakery fined over 100k for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding. (Source: Charisma News)  What happened to right of conscientious objection?  In addition, a Christian fire chief in Georgia lost his job for writing a book about the Christian view of marriage, on his own time. (Source: The Washington Post)

In the past eight years the progressive agenda has proceeded forward.  The United States is beginning to look strikingly similar to secular Europe.  Ironically also, as western countries abandon Christianity, eastern nations and African nations are building their future on the Christian faith. (Source: USA Today)  Oh the ironies, they never end do they?

We can never understand what's really going on in the west or the world without understanding that God's word is the truth and the Christian worldview are the eyeglasses by which we can clearly see the world and ourselves.  

They can't see where they're taking the country.  That's why this secular progressive movement in our culture is so terrifying.  It matches perfectly with the growth of depravity, crime, school shootings, and sexual immorality.  As the moral center of the nation is eviscerated, immorality grows.  As immorality grows, corruption grows.  As corruption grows, government must grow into authoritarian madness to stem it's tide.  Yet it can never stem it's tide, because the corruption isn't the source of the problem, it's a side effect of it.  


"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens." -George Washington, Farewell Address

What is the way back?  There is no way back.  We're here and we're moving forward.  But there is a way forward. The way forward is for Christian transformation in areas of government, academia, sciences, culture, media, arts, and the public square.  We can't so much "retake" lost institutions or cultural settings, but we can innovate and step ahead of the secular progressives.  

Will it really be so easy?  I'm not saying it will be easy.  But the secular progressive movement in this country, the growing immorality and corruption; well, it's been a completely failure.  This convoy of subversion is mired in the mud. This "new way" of doing things just isn't working.  Everyone can see it, corruption is everywhere.  School shootings and gun violence are growing.  The younger generation is terrifying in their callousness and apathy.  The television media spew out filth and contempt for conservative principles and Christianity regularly.  Miley Cyrus music videos are like demented pornos.  Modern music is a sex fest of twisted perversion. Corruption is destroying our banking systems and subverting our economy.  Big business is mired in over-regulation. The biggest businesses fight tooth and nail to keep small businesses out of the game, so they can establish monopolies of markets.  They call that crony-capitalism, which the Washington Cartel is only too happy to help along through corporate welfare

Is it all really so shocking?  To a Christian it makes perfect sense.  You remove the moral framework,you remove the religious meaning and you've left a vacuum for corruption and moral relativism to destroy the society. We humans do not tend naturally toward good.  We tend naturally toward wrong-doing and ways we should not go.  Many of us can attest to that.  Many of us have often taken the wrong path.  And we've seen others time and again, against all logic and reason, turn again and again to situations and people that harm them and destroy them.  Humanity can only tend toward good, and sustainability as a free society in the tender love and presence of the creator of the human race, God almighty, the architect of space, time, and the universe.

We need God.  It's the only hope for western civilization.  We need God.  We know that here.  We know that.  So what can we do to change the course of human events in the west?  Well, there is a lot we can do.  I'd like to briefly articulate a strategy for a bold transformation of our current culture.  The keystone is this: We must be creative, defiant, and dogged in our determination.  We can't stick to the old ways of doing things, we have to innovate, we have to create, we have to be ahead of the game in every area.  Does that mean changing the message of the gospel?  Of course not.  But the message of the Bible, the gospel, the scriptures is fluid.  The content doesn't change, but it's application is always adjusting for the current times and attitudes.

Here are five possible strategies, ideas, but I encourage you to come up with your own strategies.  Create your own ideas and put them into practice with the long term objective of transforming western culture.  In the power of Jesus Christ all things are possible  (Thanks to Dinesh D'Souza for his October 17th presentation at Copper Springs that inspired some of these ideas.)

1. Be a Christian Social Media Juggernaut - This is the most accessible item on our list.  Anyone can do this, I can do this, you can do this, you don't have to be at the forefront of some Christian fleet or organization to do this.  Social media is a gem.  We all have a voice on social media.  We have the potential of hitting 10 times, 100 times, and even 1,000 times as many people as we would impact on a daily basis otherwise.  All you have to do is create free social media accounts and start posting.  Post on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, Blogger, and many others.  Know where the Christian content is on the internet: on Youtube, Biblegateway, YouVersion, and start sharing.  Expand your friends, your followers, and keep posting.  The key is: do this long term, don't ever stop.  Keep posting, keep building your presence, and do it for the Lord.  The biggest problem with this is that we can start to think that it's all about us.  That is deadly territory.  Pride comes before the fall.  Stay focused on Jesus.  But just keep posting, day and night, no matter what anyone says, keep posting, keep building new accounts on new platforms, stay ahead of the game, spread the good news.  God will do the rest.  

I will never shut up about social media engagement.  If you can't at least post for Jesus, then you are a unmitigated coward and you need therapy because your so afraid of offending anyone or putting your views out there.  Take a stand!  No fear.  Do it long term, day in and day out, when no one cares and wonder "What's the point!"  That's the just the moment when God is working power changes in the world.  Don't get tired of doing good, soon enough you'll reap the harvest.  

2. Develop a strong presence on Cable/Satelite Television - Think big right?  Today, right now, Cable television is 100% enemy territory.  In fact, Cable even carries false caricatures of the Christian faith on the supposed "faith" channels like the Church channel and TBN and others.  It's a perfect package to keep a twisted culture away from the Christian message.  The true message never, ever touches the airwaves.  That is not acceptable.  I'm gonna think really big right now.  Imagine twelve Christian channels.  Imagine twelve humble Christian channels, with no "phone numbers to give us your money" or infomercial-esc programs to "purchase our dvd" or "buy my book."  People, especially young people are tired of consumerism packaged in the guise of Christianity.  How dare they anyway?  Lord rebuke them!  It's so awful because it's a bodyguard of lies surrounding the real God of creation.  

Here's a dream for you: Imagine twelve stations, perhaps various strong Christian organizations taking responsibility for a single channel each?  Now that would be something special.  Of course the greatest concern would be the big shiny camera and it's corrupting abilities.  They are legendary.  But here's a dream list.  May God bring it about, because the real message is blocked on the airwaves.

Channel 1: The Family and Christian Growth - Focus on the Family
Channel 2: Christian Charity efforts - Salvation Army/Samaritan's Purse/Cru
Channel 3: Christian Politics and Activism - Liberty Counsel/Heritage Foundation/Freedom Works
Channel 4: Christian News and Views - Christian Post / Charisma News / Life Site News
Channel 5: Religious Liberty Watch - Liberty Institute / Alliance Defending Freedom
Channel 6: Overseas Missionary Work & the Persecuted Church - Team / Send / Persecution.org
Channel 7: 24 hour child Sponsorship Opportunities - Compassion International
Channel 8: Christian History and Documentaries - Christianity Today
Channel 9: Christian Educational Videos - Liberty University / Prager University / Biola University
Channel 10: 24/7 Sermons - Sermon Index / Various
Channel 11: Christian Movies, Entertainment & Talk Shows - Socrates in the City / Living Waters / Lee Strobel / Eric Metaxas Show / Dennis Prager Show / Mark Levin Show
Channel 12: Christian Apologetics & Philosophy - RZIM / Reasonable Faith / Cross Examined / Ratio Christi

3. Christian Entertainment, Movies, and Music - Imagine a culture constantly informed by Christian media and entertainment.  This is something that is having a powerful effect with movies like God's not Dead, Do you Believe, Son of God, and War Room.  Christian Cinema is vital and needs to expand into new areas.  Think big and think outside the box.  How can Christians transform Hollywood, the music industry, and the mainstream media?  More and more these institutions are turning out garbage, because without moral underpinnings art and culture become decadent and shallow.

4. Transform the broken Education System - The current college education system is broken, so is the public education system.  How could conservative Christians provide a better option?  Could we utilize the internet?  How could we make it more affordable?  Entire generations of kids are leaving schools without even basic knowledge about the world around them.  Young adults are going to college and leaving with bizarre ideas about how the world should work.  And they're leaving stacked to the eyeballs with crippling debt.  It's a broken system, how can we be salt and light to education? 

5. Run for Congress or State Legislature - Or support someone who is doing that.  Be politically active, it's your duty as a Christian who obeys the ruling authorities, which in our government means we are required to participate for the good of the nation.  We live in a Democratic Republic remember?  We elect the governing authorities.  Our obligation is to be involved, due to Romans 13.  We need principled Christians in core leadership positions on the local, state, and Federal levels in our government.  Many Christians have done this.  Consider the Appeal to Heaven caucus.  Think of Ted Cruz or Ben Carson or Tim Scott or Mike Huckabee.  They are Christians who saw a need for change in our government and they decided to do something about it.  Is God calling you to full time service in politics?  Click here for links to relevant Christian and conservative political organizations.

In conclusion, these ideas barely scratch the surface of cultural engagement.  Be creative friends and think outside the box.  More importantly be dogged, devoted, and determined.  Never give up and never stop pushing for these changes.  A tireless minority can indeed bring about brush fires of transformation in the minds of men.  Pray hard, and pray often.  Work hard and work often.  We will not go quietly into the night.  We will not give up without a fight.  We're going to take a stand.  We're going to change the world.  We must be humble, creative, and dogged in our determination. Godspeed brothers and sisters, it's time to change the world.  

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

“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.” -Matthew 11:25-30 NIV
 
Vintage Photo of U.S. Capital
Stock Photo of Statue of Liberty
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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas: The entry of Jesus Christ into Human History

source
Merry Christmas!  May the Lord Jesus Christ be at the center of your celebrations this holiday season.  Truly truly Christmas is all about Jesus Christ.  

Does the date really matter?  Not really.  Are some of the Christmas traditions rooted in paganism? Yes they are.  Yet despite those concerns, this Christmas can and is all about Jesus Christ in my heart.  It should be the same for you.  Set new traditions and new standards within your home, to make Jesus Christ the center of your Christmas celebration.  There is nothing wrong with that.  There is nothing pagan about that.  

In the Bible God taught us to observe days of thanksgiving to remind ourselves how God has shown us love and mercy. Feast dates were instituted by the nation of Israel to remind them of the moments in history when God had helped them, like the exodus from Egypt.  There isn't anything wrong with using the calendar year to keep our hearts and minds centered on Christ.

Christ is great.  Christ is the real deal.  We need to make sure we never forget, and always focus deeply on Jesus Christ.  We humans are people of habit.  When we get in the habit of recalling Jesus in this time, we can keep him front and center. 

God came into human history.  He suited up in the form of a person, Jesus Christ, to save his people.  He went on a rescue mission to save humanity.  

There was no hope before Jesus Christ, there was only sin and the rule of evil.  Evil has destroyed our planet.  It's given birth to every horror imaginable: child sex slavery, starvation, diseases, abortion, genocides perpetrated by secular dictators, divorce, broken families, wars of greed and wealth, racism, sexism, violence against those with differing views, and even the horror of the genocide of entire races of people. Think of the Jews during World War II, the people of Cambodia during the genocide, and millions of Africans during the Rwandan civil war.  

Many get so upset when Christians say that the world is an evil place.  They seem to think there is no evidence.  Yet there is so much evidence all around us!  Have they not lived in the terrible 20th century?  They have, but they are blind.  They have their secular humanist glasses on.  Many today can't see past the borders of the United State's wealth and affluence.  Despite their own propensity to bash and mock the American way of life, they live in a cocoon of safety provided by it.  Despite the rhetoric, the problem of sin and evil is obvious.  

God didn't make those things.  We did those things.  God gives us the choice.  He lets us choose how to live.  Do we do good or do evil?  Most today choose passive selfishness.  And apathy is the same thing as doing nothing.  It's not helpful.  Some choose good though.  They're the ones constantly mocked on television, internet, and newspapers.  They're labeled as crazies for standing for things like religious freedom, conscientious objection, faith lived in public life, or standing for Christian sexual ethics.  They're even mocked for praying.  

Jesus Christ came into the world to save people like us, lost, self-destructive, addictive, selfish, consumerist, and given to random sexual encounters at bars on Friday night.  We've prostituted ourselves at bars, at parties with friends, to people we hardly know, just for the fun of it.  How deep is our moral confusion, how inexhaustible is it?  Yet Jesus came for people like us.  He came to save us who go from divorce to divorce, for us who give ourselves to every stranger we catch feelings for.  He even came to save the LGBTQ activists celebrating their sinful behavior in a parade, who spat on a Christian minister who accidentally walked too close to the procession.  I saw a graphic describing the evolution of gay rights, it said: 1990 - we want tolerance. 2000 - we  want equality. 2015 - bake the cake bigot!  And the graphic showed a rainbow colored gun pointed to the head of the baker.  Oh how the oppressed have become the oppressors.  Yet Jesus came to save us who oppress the innocent.  Jesus came to save us who abused and mocked the gay community.  Jesus came to save those lost within the gay community.  He came for us all, and we would only turn to him. 

He came to save a culture that considers ministers less than scum, and Caitlyn Jenner as heroic.  He came to save those who were actively in rebellion against everything he stood for.  Jesus came to save us, the ones lost in sin.

The message of Jesus Christ is that it's never too late.  You're never too far gone.  You're still completely open to the chance of calling out to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of all sin, to turn from your old ways and embrace the way of holiness.  

Sin has destroyed our world.  Sin has destroyed us in many ways, some more than others.  Yet the most terrible situation of sin is that whenever we do evil and live in these awful ways, we sin against God himself.  God understands perfectly, right from wrong.  He knows all the right ways to live.  And he's told us those ways.  Yet we didn't listen.  We mocked the Bible, despite how history had hung around it.  We mocked the Christian faith, despite how our country was founded on it's precepts.  I've done those things personally.  I was once the chief mocker of the Christian view.  But now I'm an advocate.  I sinned against God himself, the creator of the universe.  Have you done the same?  Have you contributed to the evil state of our world?

If so, it's not over for you.  It doesn't matter what you've done.  Have you had an abortion?  Jesus will remove that sin.  Have you engaged in homosexuality?  Jesus will remove that sin.  Have you hurt your family?  Jesus will remove that sin.  Have you stolen from others?  Jesus will remove it.  Have you been lazy and selfish all your life?  Jesus will free you from that.  Have you raped someone?  Jesus will remove that sin.  Have you been hateful?  Jesus will remove that too.  Have you killed someone?  Jesus will remove that sin too.  Have you hated God and mocked his name?  Jesus will forgive that sin too.  He will make you white as snow, gifted in his righteousness, and set you on a new path of repentance from all evil.  He will change you into a person who lives in holiness.  He will wash away all your sins and give you new birth into a living hope.  

This incredible sage began about 2,000 years ago in a little town in the middle east.  A baby boy was born in a manger because there wasn't any room at the motel.  Isn't it ironic that the one who made the world from nothing couldn't find a hotel room?  Much less a hospital for a safe birthing procedure!

We've all heard of the wise guys who showed up right?  I imagine they were quite perplexed for some time.  Maybe they had dreams about the birth of a special person who would change the world.  I've often had strange dreams that leave me wondering for days.  Maybe they dismissed those dreams as simply the odd clamorings of a human mind.  Until one of them noticed a bright star.  Perhaps he had seen it in a dream.  And he started to follow.  And the others followed.  There they found the new born Jesus Christ.  

Could they have comprehended the mystery?  I doubt they understood fully.  They probably looked down on the baby and thought: "I wonder what this could mean?"  Yet I bet there was also an incredible sense of awe, though they didn't quite understand the awe, they were compelled within to worship this child as their Lord.  Amazing, isn't it? 

It isn't always easy to fully comprehend.  I still have my doubts at times.  I think about the Bible, the life of Jesus Christ and the current state of the world... and I wonder to myself: What is all this?  Does it really make sense?  How can the birth of one man, God, and his life, death, and resurrection free me from sin?  How can it give me eternal life?  Why this way?  Why not another formula?  Jesus Christ took my place?  God's wrath for me fell on Christ?  Isn't that a bit intense?  Why would God want to slaughter me, and send me to hell if he's good and loving?  I still ponder those questions.  But there is something else too: Today I'm willing to admit that I don't fully comprehend all of it.  I'm willing to be humbled by life and circumstances to the point that I can receive it, and see it working in my life.  I'm willing to leave the door open to further thought, while confidently trusting in Christ.

I'm a human person, I'm not God.  I can't see every angle.  In fact family and friends have more than once called me out on areas of my life that need to change.  And they were right.  I can't see certain things because of my own prejudice.  It's the same way when I look at the cross of Jesus Christ.  I can't perceive the full meaning and majesty of it.  Often when I look upon it my gut reaction is to look with my old eyes and see an anachronism.  But in the Spirit, I can see the iceberg beneath the surface of the meaning of it.  I can't see all of it.  But I can see more, in the Spirit.

My questions remain, but so does my faith.  I've put my trust in Jesus Christ.  He is my savior.  Do I understand every verse and every passage?  No I don't.  Do I see the work of Jesus Christ in my life?  You bet I do.  Do I feel the connection to him?  Yes I do.  Do I sense a greater implication in the mystery of his life, death, and resurrection?  Yes, yes, yes I do.  

I don't understand all the Bible.  But I trust every word of it.  And I'm willing to put the Bible above my own opinions.  The Bible is right and if I disagree with something in the Bible guess whose wrong?  I am.  You are.  God's word is true, time will show it to be true.

The mystery of Jesus Christ changed the world forever.  If I can't perceive the fullness of it, that's a Justin problem, that's not God's problem and I don't need every single detail to make an informed decision for reasonable faith in a reasonable God who has reasonably saved me from a just penalty for my own iniquity.   

God came into human history.  Emmanuel means "God with us."  God came.  He lived a perfect life.  He went to the cross for us.  He died for us.  He was bodily resurrected for our salvation.  He came to perfect us.  Jesus declared victory over death when he bodily resurrected.  Jesus Christ is alive today, resurrected and glorified seated in authority at the right hand of God the Father. 

And in the future he will present us to God the Father in perfect holiness, and present to us a perfect reality.  A reality with no more sin, death, and misery.  No more death!  I've been working in nursing homes for months now serving there, and I've seen the horror of death.  And something about it seems wrong.  Death is wrong, death should not be.  

Death is a disease and Jesus Christ is the cure.  

So God the Father will remake reality itself a mystery called the coming of the Kingdom of God.  He will build a new Earth and a new universe freed from the plagues of death and sin.  There we will live with God forever in peace, joy, and unending life.  Is it really so unbelievable?  I don't think so.  God made the universe.  We messed it up.  He's given us a chance for redemption.  We receive it, stand as pillars of it in this temporal universe and then when we pass through the shadow of death (physical death) we will live eternally is a recreated universe where death has no place.  That works for me.

I hope it works for you too.  It's the truth about everything.  It's the hidden formula of life, behind all the piffy doctrines of humanism, naturalism, and the false realities of this world.  None of them make sense, they don't add up, and they don't adequately interpret the observable universe.  Christianity does in fact adequately explain all facets of life: origin of life, meaning of life, morality of life, and the destiny of humanity and the universe.  Origin, meaning, morality and destiny.  Test and observe.  Naturalism can't touch that.  It's garbage, half-baked presuppositions based on false beliefs.  



Despite the secular revolution in our country, Christians are pushing back.  They are appealing to heaven, to God, to change our nation.  God is answering those prayers.  Jesus Christ is the center of life.  He is the center of all we do as Christians.  I urge you to use this holiday time to delve a few steps closer to the mystery of his life and his gift to us, his chosen people. 

Focus on Jesus Christ this Christmas, he is truly the savior of the world.  We don't seem to fully understand how much he's done for us, but that's OK, we can praise him and worship him anyway.  Over time we will grow closer and closer to the wonderful savior.  Amen. 

source
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  5. Believing in the Miraculous: The Work of Jesus Christ on the Cross
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Friday, December 18, 2015

The Last Revolution: The Coming Awakening of the Millennials




The divine overarching story of humanity and the universe itself is playing out right before our eyes.  It's happening everyday.  It's all around us.  You can feel it.  It's all encompassing!

It's like a song in the backdrop.  It's like a quiet melody on the wind.  You can feel it when you stare down an empty road in the midst of night.  You can sense it as you stand alone in a wooded forest, listening to the timbers creaking.  You feel the enchantment of it, staring up into the star filled sky.  On the way to work it's happening.  These are the moments of life itself.  Maybe we'll talk about them in the next life.  Maybe it'll just be written down somewhere, and we'll never think of it again.

As I watch a group of pigeons fluttering about on the pavement, I'm amazed.  Deep down I know something so complex couldn't arise from disorder and nothingness.  Such harmonious complexity takes a divine personality.  God is at work, now and especially when I'm not noticing.

The beauty of these wind swept moments are breathtaking, but just as prescient is the sorrow of the darkness of this world.  By darkness I mean struggle.  I can feel that so powerfully.  I have a mind where it takes off, and I can slide down into it, contemplating the incredible scope of the deceptions in this world.  They are massive, entrenched, and powerful.  Over such a short period of time the truth seems to have been entirely swept aside and every manner of filth, depravity, sin, and corruption have taken it's place.  So quickly it seems, so quickly.  One can build such good, and it can be circumvented so totally, so quickly. 

I am the future generation, the millennials, generation Y.  Yeah, it's interesting.  It surely is interesting. We've grown up, at least I've grown up hearing in the backdrop of my daily life, adults whispering: "I feel sorry for the next generation."  Or "I'm glad I'll be gone because the future is bleak."  

And then there's my generation... well.  They drink and drug and party quite a bit.  They think they're brilliant artistic anti-establishment.  But a lot of them are dumb, brainwashed pleasure junkies who parrot whatever the media tells them to believe.  They puke out liberal sentiments programmed into them by the television.  They go all out on party, wealth, selfishness, and sex.  They are so assured there will be no consequences and they live in denial when the consequences crash down upon them.  It's such a lost generation.  And nothing I can say changes it, at all.  I could weep for them day and night.  It wouldn't change anything.  Many of them are nothing more than dead walking.  I once was the same.

In sexual encounters at random, in drug highs, in drunken bashes, the trick was this: We thought we were taking.  But it was taking from us.  It's very simple, but profound.  Every single time, every high, every sexual blitz, every crazy night out, we were losing something.  And so many of us have ended up hollowed out.  This world took something precious from us.  It took the sacred from us.  The sacred is like a soft wind, a soft calm, a sort of blanket over the moment.  Warm and fuzzy.  Why?  Because it's true, it's moral, it's right.  It's a peacefulness, a closeness with God.  It's a sense of living in a state of rightness; of being good.  And being good feels so good.  It feels so great.  

With all the sinful depravity of this life, we stripped ourselves of the sacred for the sake of trite pleasures and those pleasures, appearing like sugary treats turned out to be meat hooks that dug into our flesh and turned us into slaves to desires we could never truly satisfy.  There is no end to the need for depraved encounters, sex addicts and porn addicts will tell you they need more and more depraved and twisted imagery to keep themselves sufficiently titillated.  You will hear much the same from the drug addict.  More and more. It's never enough.  

We thought we were so wise to turn from all the foundations, to write our own faustian story.  But it wasn't the real story.  It was a lie.  

And thank God that I discovered the real story.  The story has to be true to change the world.  It has to be true to change me.  That story is the saga outlined in the divine revelation known as the book.  The book changes the world.  Yet it's so hard for us to accept.  It was for me.  Why?  Because it tells me the unvarnished truth about myself.  It tells me all the things I don't want to hear.  It tells me about how I'm the problem.  It won't let me play it off on government, big business, banks, poverty, conditions, or anything else.  It forces me to realize something very simple:  What's wrong with the world is me.  I'm the problem.  And I've got a just reward in front of me because of my own selfish choices: total disconnection from God.  That drives people crazy, how could God send me away from him?  How could he send me to "hell"?  Well, I suppose God doesn't want evil people around him.  And to be honest, we aren't the victims of a mean God, we're the ones who have gone astray.  Our choices have set us on this course, and we all know it deep down.  

A former drug addict like me knows it quite acutely. 

Do you think there's something good about people?  Do you think people are good?  I'll quote the famed atheist scholar John Gray who wrote in his book Straw Dogs, and I quote: "Humanists think there is something good about humanity?  Why don't you try reading a newspaper?"  

Taking a look at the Fox News website (I'm a millennial I don't have a physical copy) the current top story on Fox News is the ongoing investigation into the San Bernardino terrorist attack.  One could pick up a newspaper on any given day and find the truth about humanity.  

The truth about humanity is that we need a savior.  Thank God that we have a savior.  This is the truth about life: I need to reconnect to the divine architect of the universe.  I need God to change me.  The right state of me as a human, is to be in total connectedness to God the creator of life.  I'm meant to enjoy closeness with the Heavenly Father and the enjoyment of his universe.  I'm meant to connect to eternal truths beyond this world.  The very meaning of life itself is to live in permanent relationship with God.  Can you perceive it?  Can you sense it?  Can you feel it?  Can you philosophically conceive of it?  Can you scientifically see the patterns in supposed chaos?  Can you understand the love of God?  And the most important question: Can you humble yourself, to that of a child, to receive this kingdom that is coming into the wreckage of this world?  

It is a divine mystery, the coming of this kingdom.  

Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed,  nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” -Luke 17:20-21.

The kingdom of God is within you.  The kingdom of God is coming into this world.  Can you see it?

Sometimes when I'm standing there, in the darkness at night, examining the streets, watching the roads, listening to the wind and the air.. I can feel it.  I can feel the anticipation.  I can sense the divine poetry of the moment.  I can sense the poetic mystery playing like a song no one can learn.  It's beauty knows no depths, and it sings out, it shouts from every corner of the land, the buildings, the concrete, the trees, the grass, and the waters of the lakes and rivers.  It aches bitterly for the revealing of the sons of God and the final perfection of the universe for the coming of the King of Kings.  I can see it.  I can sense it within, the bitter aching for the rightness of the kingdom of God.

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. -Romans 8:19-23

Yet this life is so fearful.  There are so many giant mountains in the distance.  Just like Atreyu faced on his journey.  Just like Luke Skywalker faced when he hung by a beam at Cloud City.  Just like Frodo examining the gates of Mordor.  Just like Jesus at the garden of Gethsemane.  Fear is a deadly enemy to those of making for home.  It captures me at times, and I can't help but feel weaked by it.  Yet the story continues, the saga goes on.  After all, we have narrative minds.  We're drawn to the story.  We're drawn to the heroic, the great leader, the great hero on his journey to save that which as been lost.  Our own cinema and books often reflect the divine overarching meta-saga of paradise lost, humanity lost in the dark wilderness, and the redemption of mankind through the God-man Jesus Christ.  And the future eternal reign of the King of Kings.  It's beautiful.  It's epic.  It's the truth about life.  It doesn't change.  It's not one of many truths, it's the only truth.  

The stakes are exceedingly high, so high, so high, the souls of mankind hang in the balance everyday.  So many are led astray.  So many evil forces and terrifying strongholds exist.  It makes me want to shutter in fear, and shut down completely! 

"Do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." -Matthew 10:26-31

Jesus said, "Don't be afraid, I'm with you."  He says the same to you and I today: "Don't be afraid, I'm with you."  

Jesus Christ changed everything in my life.  He took me from the king of clowns, a drug addict with serious mental issues, to putting me on the front lines of an intense spiritual battle for the hearts and minds of the people of the world.  I found it a bleak situation. The forces of light are not winning, in fact we're thoroughly losing on just about every front.  

I entered former strongholds of light and the power of the Spirit to find the systems of defense crumbling.  I found the guards on the walls were elderly, and no young men had come to take the places of the aged and infirmed.  I found women lost in sex, drunkenness, and selfishness.  I saw beautiful women, with wisdom in their eyes, and zeal for changing the world, I saw them lost, broken, addicted, driven mad by the half baked philosophy of this world, run amok, turned into sex toys for depraved men and destroyed completely.  And I can only think why Lord, I can see the goodness in them, yet they are addicted, lost, emotionally destroyed, and so far gone.  Is there any hope I wondered?  I found the old women passing out of this world, leaving no legacy, because their children had all turned from the faith of the old.  I found broken lines, crusted entrenchments, empty, all the enthusiasm gone, all the zeal collapsed, and I found in-fighting, despairing, and crumbling of the foundations of the hope of humanity, the Christian faith itself!   

Yet I realized something.  God is still at work.  He hasn't gone anywhere.  And even if I see so few young people, so few millennials willing to take up the call... I realized.  I took up the call.  I'm standing here.  I've taken up my spiritual armor, I've taken up the sword of the Spirit.  I've taken up the cause of Jesus Christ in this world, to share the gospel, to be preservation and moral goodness to this world.  Even if no one else does, I'm here.  And I'll keep fighting.  God is at work in the world.  He came to my mutilated remains on the fields of darkness of addiction, and post-modernism and this farce of a culture addicted to television, fine cuisine, self indulgence, and consumerism.  My mind ripped apart by it.  My soul crushed.  And he carried my remains to Jesus Christ who poured his own life into mine, and suddenly from death itself, from total spiritual decay and physical collapse, I stood anew redeemed out of the world by the precious gift of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, his blood for my blood.  He changed everything.  He woke me from the dead.

The story of humanity itself is that of a wayward people fleeing their creator, and of the pursuit of God toward his people, and the coming of God into the nightmare of his own people.  Jesus Christ appeared in the haze of the evil planet Earth, bringing redemption.  That is the saga of humanity.  Every leader has to understand this over-arching narrative, this story.  But it's not just a story, it's not just a narrative.  It's the truth about life.  It's the history and personality of humanity.  It's the full description of the universe around us.  It exists and so do we.  So does God.  And we need God.  Jesus Christ brings us home to God.  In Jesus Christ we can change the world.  But when we try to build a peaceful paradise outside of Jesus Christ, it crumbles in our hands.  So many in this world want peace, but they don't want the prince of peace.  And there can be no peace without the prince of peace Jesus Christ.  

The time is now friends.  This is our great moment.  We millennials have been so led astray by the liberal media, by secular universities in this country, we've been led astray by philosophical lies, we've been led astray by arrogance.  We've been led astray by drugs, alcohol, by the sex revolution, and by the selfish consumer society.  But it's not too late!  It's not too late!  It's not too late!  We can stand here.  Now.  We can change the world.  But we can't do it alone.  If and when we choose to place the Christian faith, Jesus Christ at the center of our efforts to change this world, then we will bring about the greatness we wish to see.  

We want change.  We want to help people.  This is the mission.  This is the message.  Millennials must humble themselves and come to Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness we wish we didn't need.  But we do need it.  Call upon Jesus Christ.  Take up the banner of the truth!  Start a movement.  Start a revolution!  

The hour is late friends.  The forces of darkness are moving in all directions.  Our own defenses have been corrupted and crippled.  Our generation has slipped into many traps and deadly snares.  But it's not too late.  If you can believe that Jesus Christ really is who he claimed to be.  Then there is a chance.  Can you believe?  Can you really believe?  Can you accept it?  Can you accept that and receive Jesus Christ the son of God, the redeemer of humanity as your own personal Lord, comforter, and savior?  

Can you perceive it?  Can you sense it?  Can you see it in every moment?  Can you read it in the pages of the book?  Can you live it?  Will you repent of your old ways?  Will you turn to Jesus Christ?  Will you take up your spiritual armor and fight against the lusts of your own desires?  Will you build boundary walls in your mind?  Will you fight your sinful desires which fuel the self destruction of the human race?  Will you receive the son of God as your redemption, your righteousness, the remover of your sins?  Are you ready for a new life?   Are you ready to be born again?  Are you prepared to know the deepest truths in the universe?  Are you prepared to encounter God himself?  

Today is the day.  

There is still hope.

The light shines in the darkness.

And my generation, young people will come to know it.  

Because my generation deserves to know, like our parents and our grandparents came to know, that they are designed creatures, created beings, designed and crafted by the beautiful, enchanting artist, an architect, a quiet being lingering in the backdrop, listening, loving, and caring for us... the God who made the universe itself.  Can you understand the full weight of that?  Can you perceive the expansive meaning behind that?  God is real.  You should be free to know him.  Like I've been made free to know.  By calling out to Jesus Christ for help, like I called out to Jesus Christ for help.

I write this because I want you know in the most sincere way the meaning I had ached for so desperately that I almost died several times filled to the brim with pills, drink, and drug.  Jesus Christ is the truth.  He is the answer.  In him is the real truth of life.  It's not a game.  It's not an old superstition.  It's really real.  

I want you to know so badly, because it's so hard to see behind all the televangelist nonsense, the megachurches, the false teachers, and the way Christianity is portrayed in the media as a sort of backward superstition of the foolish.  But I found something very different.  

I encountered God himself.  He's real.  You can be with him through his son Jesus Christ.  You don't have to like it, but it's the truth.  Please receive it.  Please trust in him.  Please call out to him.  We have much work to do, the hour is late in these spiritual battles.  We need you now.  Join the resistance, join the revolution.  

May the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be yours, always, amen.  



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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

If I could Buy every American Christian a Gift Bag of Books and DVDs it would Include


Christmas gifts are fun to exchange during the holiday season.  We often do it at work or with friends.  Most often we'll exchange gifts with family around the holiday.  I was thinking about what I might give to American Christians to help them live out the truth of the scriptures and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I came up with this list of ten hypothetical items.  Sorry, I'm not Oprah Winfrey, these items won't turn up under your chair tomorrow.  If I had that kind of money I might consider it though!  

This list is not exhaustive, and I could've included many great books over history but I focused on fairly recent books based around ideas that need to grow within evangelicalism.  Thanks and enjoy :)

1. The Bible - even within evangelical Christianity the Bible needs to be read.  It needs to be read much more.  We can watch sermons, listen to Christian rock, and view snappy small group curriculums... but none of those things are the Bible.  The open Bible is the most deadly world changing force in the universe.  Yet many Christians, and I myself have been guilty of this from time to time; we're enveloped in all the evangelical culture, but our bible is closed.  First gift: Here's a fresh new Bible and multi-colored highlighters friend, lets get to work.  It's all in there.

2. How Shall We Then Live? By Francis Schaeffer.  The next gift from me to you is a great title by the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer.  I'm also including the DVD companion.  This is a must read for Christians: Audiobook, DVD series, kindle, nook, even the honest to goodness paperback copy, read this now.  Read it many times.  Worldview, it's about worldview and the shifts happening in western culture. It was written over 30 years ago yet it's spot on for the moments we face today.

3. The Truth Project DVD by Focus on the Family.  Hosted by Del Tackett this DVD series is simply astounding.  I thought it might be tacky or boring, but it was a shockingly powerful march through the foundations of the Christian worldview and Christian apologetics.  Vital, absolutely vital.  Every Christian needs to view this series. 

4. Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton - This is a classic read on the philosophical defense of the Christian faith.  Chesterton wrote powerfully on the paradoxes within our faith.  This one is a must read, your welcome.  Available free on Librivox in audiobook form.

5. The Sky is Not Falling by Chuck Colson - The writings of Chuck Colson are vital to the current Christian generation who are often theologically illiterate, incapable of defending their faith, ignorant to religious liberty threats and the importance of Christian activity within politics. Chuck Colson speaks directly to current Christianity with his critiques on political issues and worldview, as well as engaging culture with the gospel. I have the audiobook version, because I love audiobooks.  Paperback is just as good too though.

6. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis - Everyone should read Mere Christianity.  It's become a staple of modern evangelicalism, which is a very good thing.  C.S. Lewis in this book describes the reason behind believing in the God of the Bible.  This book was formed from a series of broadcasts given on BBC radio by C.S. Lewis regarding belief in God long ago.  But this book remains highly relevant today.  Enjoy.

7. The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler - We live in a time in history when there is a great vacuum in leadership.  Good men are prevented from leading while small men intent on enriching themselves tend to lead in government and in religious fields.  It's an ugly state of affairs.  But thankfully Dr. Mohler has written a wonderful treatise on how to boldly lead based on biblical convictions.  Audiobook format I enjoyed greatly... your welcome.  Be a great leader, do it for Jesus, not for dollars.  We're tired of clowns on television who do it for dollars.  We're tired of "evangelical" rock stars and pastors intent on making money and showing how important they are.  Instead of that, be a leader of conviction.

8. Unraveling the Origins Controversy by David DeWitt - We need to understand our own origins.  We're taught evolution, over billions of years, from rocks to men, but that just isn't biblical.  It doesn't make sense either.  Therefore I'm including an excellent book by Dr. David DeWitt which covers everything on the origin of the universe.  It's an incredible book.  I studied it for a class at Liberty University.  It's great, enjoy.

9. The Weight of Glory and other Addresses by C.S. Lewis - This is a great read/audiobook.  I love it actually.  I got it for you specifically because of one of the essays on it called "Why I am Not a Pacifist."  It was by given C.S. Lewis to a pacifist society in the United Kingdom, during World War II.  A lot of people today seem to think that Jesus was some sort of nicer-than-nice pacifist hippie.  I think it's pretty clear from the King of kings descriptions in Revelation and other books of the Bible that Jesus is not a pacifist.  But this essay in particular changed everything.  I thought Jesus meant love and submission "unqualified" in the scriptures and that any violence or fighting back was wrong.  C.S. Lewis changed my mind.  I went to the scriptures to see if Lewis was right, sure enough, he was.  Enjoy.

10. The Gospel of John (movie) - This movie changed my life.  Well, Jesus Christ changed my life.  But you get what I mean.  I was never very good at reading.  Ironic, since I write so much.  Anyway, when my cousin gave me this movie, which is word-for-word John's gospel (GNT) I must've watched it over one hundred times.  Why?  The words of the scriptures bring the Spirit of God.  So I listened and watched.  Eventually this led me to cry out to Jesus Christ in submission and request for help.  Then my life changed forever.  It's very well done, not corny at all.  Use it as another way to expose yourself to the scriptures.  

I almost got you...
Mining for God (DVD) featuring William Lane Craig, others.
Has Christianity failed You? by Ravi Zacharias
Evolution vs. God by Living Waters (DVD)
Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

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