Faith


“Jesus and his disciples went on…On the way he asked them, ‘Who do people say I am?” They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am” (Mark 8:27-29 NIV)?

Do you know Jesus? I mean, do you really know Him? This is a question we must all ask ourselves. Perhaps, like the disciples we know what others say about Jesus. The world offers endless answers to the question Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” Some say He was a good, moral and ethical teacher and we should all strive to be good people like He was. Others claim He was just another prophet. Yet, others believe He never even existed.

This is the most important question we will have to answer in our lives, “Who do you say I (Jesus) am?” If you listen close enough you may hear Him whispering it. I can’t answer that question for you, and you can’t answer that for me. Yet, if we are willing, Jesus will spend time revealing Himself to us in this Lenten season. As we enter this season of discovery we need to let Jesus into our daily lives so we can answer for ourselves who Jesus truly is to us.

Lent is a unique time of the year where Christians all over the world set aside several weeks to search their deep thoughts, reflect on the direction of their lives, examine what motivates them from day to day, and contemplate how they can surrender more to Jesus. It is a somber time of wholesome spiritual reflection, self-examination, and change. It is an opportunity to reaffirm to ourselves, through the inner working of the Holy Spirit, who Jesus is. It is an occasion to contemplate how the reality of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection impacts our lives.

Christians go about this in different ways. For instance, some may read through a Christian classic like Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Others “fast” something in their lives such as a particular food, coffee, or TV. And yet, some commit to waking up earlier to pray, read through a Gospel devotionally, or keep a journal of what the Lord is speaking to them during this season. Whatever method we use, we need to remember that they are merely tools to center us and help us focus on God.

Therefore, as we anticipate the coming of Easter Sunday, Lent is also a hopeful time of joy and celebration. After all, Lent is a journey to Easter Sunday where we rejoice that our Savior has risen. He is ALIVE! And He has the power to save and transform us into His image. The fact that He is alive also offers the reassurance that He is present and ready to help answer His question, “Who do YOU say that I am?”

Gracious Lord, we pray that you will help and guide us during this Lenten season. Lead us in exploring our answer to this question and who we are because of what you have done for us. We pray that this will be a season of discovery and transformation for all of us. We look forward to the glorious sunrise on the day we celebrate the reality of the resurrection of our Lord. Amen!

*Adapted from my Lenten message for a chuch newsletter.

At the beginning of Thomas á Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ he speaks of the most important thing a Christian can do in their life time is to study Christ.  Yet it is not enough to merely study him but to imitate him in our everyday lives.  The very practice of doing or saying what  Jesus said or did is to experience a bit of life through the mind of Jesus Christ.  Think about it, when Jesus didn’t ignore those who were often invisible in his culture (like children) but embraced them.  Such an act changes a person from the inside out.  One learns to see the disenfranchised with compassion and love.  Or when Jesus said to turn the other cheek or walk the extra mile for an enemy.  This sort of sacrificial living teaches that life is not all about us and that even the hearts of our enemies can be softened.

We can also examine the lifestyle of Christ, how he spent significant amount of time away in prayer.  We all need this time of prayer and fellowship with God.  We can often fall into the trap of feeding our rational/intellectual side of being human and neglect the other basic need of being a social being as well.  We need that time to simply have relationship with God.  This is vital for becoming like Christ.  Paul encourages us in Romans to have the mind of Christ, to renew our minds.  A very big element of this is spending time, getting to know Jesus.  What does this do?  It helps us to truly think, act, and speak like Jesus.  I believe that this is the reason for so much nonsense in the world and even among so-called Christians who appeal to a gospel, that Paul says in Galatians 1, REALLY ISN”T A GOSPEL AT ALL.  Why?  Because they have perverted the faith of Christ, the apostles, the early Church fathers and mothers, and great men and women of God down through the ages for a lie.  How?  Because they do not truly know Christ or have not spent significant time in his presence getting to know him.  Instead they follow their passions, imaginations, feelings, emotions, lusts…to create something that though it sounds biblical because they use scripture, it is not biblical at all because they twist scripture.

In Jeremiah God speaks of false prophets crying out, “Peace, Peace” but the message and warning from God was that “there is no peace” but judgment.  Why is this important to recall?  Because we need to be in tune with God the Father and be aware of what is coming down the pike.  We need to be able to heed his warnings.  We need to be able to know the truth when we hear it and know what is false.  There is a lot of false teaching out there as we speak.  We live in a very pluralistic society where people are making up beliefs as they go along.  While studying philosophy in my undergrad, one thing that drove me nuts was that there was a philosopher for every crazy belief you could think of.  One day my professor said, “Philosophy is a dangerous thing, with the right charisma and eloquent rhetoric, a philosopher or orator could prove that a toothpick is God.”  Sounds ridiculous huh?  Well there are people that teach that god is in everything, in all matter and that that matter possesses the essence of God.  Therefore if God is in a tree and that toothpick came from the tree that housed God…the toothpick is God too.

So what is the safeguard to all of this.  Praying, and sticking to the faith you have received.  Pay attention to that check in your spirit that says, “You know…that sounds all nice and stuff but something isn’t right here, something is off.”  St. Irenaeus was a bishop in the ancient Roman province of Gaul in the second century AD.  He was very close to the time of the apostles and had received the faith that had been handed down to him by very trusted and faithful men.  In turn he taught the “barbarians” in Gaul, the simple folks who could not read or write.  Yet he says in Against Heresies if someone came and began to teach them a different Gospel than what the apostles had handed down to them they would recognize it immediately as a lie and would turn and run the other way.  It is a faith that many have suffered for, died for, and guarded, not only with their words but with their hearts, minds and lives.  We need to honor them by taking our faith as seriously as they did.

The moral of that story is that it is better for most Christians to not even listen to deception and to flee from it instead.  Now God has called many throughout the Church ages to practice what is known as “apologetics” or the defense of the faith.  Yet these individuals are usually deeply grounded in the teachings of Christianity and are very familiar with why we believe what we believe and most of the details behind our faith.  But the truth of the matter is that most Christians do not have the time, the resources, the interest or the calling to engage in this.  We are all part of the same body with different gifts, passions, and callings that are equally as vital and useful to our community as the next.  I have no ability in leading worship because I sing like a sick duck.  Yet I am thankful for those who are called into this ministry who can lead us into the presence of God through worship.

I say all this because it is necessary in our day to stay anchored in the faith and know what that faith is.  There are a lot of false gospels as Paul says in Galatians, but they are no gospels at all.  In fact, he says “If anyone teaches you another gospel than the one we have given, even if I or angels come doing so, let him be cursed.”  Pretty strong language that wouldn’t go over big in our day.  But his language emphasizes the urgency of his warning.  This is why Jesus was so sturn with those who departed from the true faith, same as the apostles, same as the early Church fathers and mothers.  Thomas Oden says in his three volume work Systematic Theology that “the vital question for Christians is not rather it is palatable but rather it is true.”  We are not interested in only the things we like about scripture but what is true…what is scripture and the teachings of Jesus and the apostles claiming is true.  That’s what we want to know.  That’s what we need.  That’s what God expects of us.

So I have a rather abstract thought for you today but it’s one that really got me thinking.  I’ve been reading a book called Monk Habits for Everyday People: Benedictine Spirituality for Protestants, by Dennis Okholm.  Don’t ask why I’m reading it, I just read everything that crosses my path.:) That is not always a good habit but it get’s me to look in books I probably would usually shrug my shoulders at. 

There is a chapter about “listening” in the book.  You know that action that most Americans are really poor at…especially in the Church.  Everyone wants to talk but few want to listen even though the proverb says, “Be slow to speak and quick to listen.”  Anyhow, in this chapter Okholm brings up the point that most of us listen to the external but not the internal.  That is to say, we fill our ears with music, conversation, TV shows, News, the sound of cars, jack-hammers, emergency sirens, constant chatter etc. 

We hear what we are trained to listen to.  To further this point Okholm gives an example of a naturalist walking down a city street at night with a friend who lives in the city.  As they are walking, the naturalist turns to his friend and says, “I’m surprised at all the crickets in the city.” 

The friend responds, “What crickets?  What are you talking about?”

“Can’t you hear them?” the naturalist asks.

“I don’t hear anything.”

As they continue walking down the busy city street the naturalist grabs his friend’s arm and they come to a stop in the middle of the sidewalk.  The naturalist drops a handfull of coins on the sidewalk and suddenly a whole group of people on cell phones, iPods, reading newspapers and magazines in the remaining sunlight, and talking to people next to them, come to a sudden halt to bend down and pick up the change and pocket it.

We have been trained to listen to the things that our culture has informed us is important.  But are we trained to hear the voice of our Lord?  Do we hear the voice within us?  Do we hear what is really going on inside of us?  Is there anything going on inside of us?  Is there anything there?

Okholm mentions Anthony Bloom, an Orthodox metropolitan, asking if we were alone as a Christian in prison, stranded on an island, or out in an national park for a couple weeks alone on a sabbatical, with nothing but our thoughts–would we get bored?  Would you (and I ask myself as well) get bored with yourself?  Or is there enough in you to be busy and deep in thought, reflection, and conversation with yourself and God?  Or does God bore you? 

I wonder if I have enough scripture in me to remember and recite in my thoughts to keep me busy pondering and meditating for weeks without a Bible in my hands.  Do you know any verses?  What about a chapter?  A book of the Bible?  I know of people who have actually committed the entire book of Ephesians to memory.  Those people would not be bored but would be delighted by the opportunity.

What about a work of literature?  A poem?  Is there anything inside of you that you could bring up?

And have you been trained to hear the voice of Jesus?  Scripture says, “My sheep know my voice.”  Ever wonder how that works?  Probably because the sheep are in the presence of the shepherd everyday, all day.  Do you listen for the voice of the shepherd?  Would you recognize it if you heard it? 

I for one am going to commit myself to putting more in me, so that I have something to withdrawal on a regular basis.  I think it would be a great exercise to go for a walk in a quiet park with NOTHING but myself and practice listening to what is inside and see if I get bored or not. 

Let’s train ourselves to listen to what is inside and not just what is external filling our ears constantly.  Let’s train ourselves to hear the voice of the Lord.  Let’s devote ourselves to times of quiet instead of turning on the TV or radio in the car.  We turn on the radio in the car like a crackhead grabs for his baggy.  We do it out of habit…we do it without thinking…we are at times wondering how that stupid thing got turned on.  Imagine a world without all that noise.  Let’s be blessed by the sound of silence…and listen for that still small voice.

 

As some of my blog followers know I have written a bit on one of the most intrigiuging atheists whose ever lived named Christopher Hitchens.  He is both brilliant and witty and because of these traits he is quite entertaining to watch and read.  I have viewed many of his debates against religious minds across the board and have concieted as a Christian devotee that he has won each debate hands down.  Until recently I had given up hope and couldn’t quite understand how the Christians couldn’t offer this man a better debate.  Getting my BA in Religion and Philosophy I know of timely arguments that have worked against atheists and in favor of the theist’s worldview and couldn’t quite understand why no one was pulling these out of the arsenal.

One of my heros, Alister McGrath came the closest but allowed Hitchen’s to bring the debate into the arena of emotions and ethical accusations where Hitchens does best and likes to stay focused there.  However, the true debate is not about if many people do evil things in the name of religion.  No one is arguing that.  But that reality does not prove that God does not exist.  What it proves is that people do things that don’t line up with God’s purpose and nature but there own.  There is no other religion that proves this than Christianity.

I have been calling and hoping for a Christian to step up who is at the caliber of G.K. Chesterton in my posts : http://jeremiahstrumpet.com/2011/04/18/christopher-hitchens-vs-the-christian-church/

http://jeremiahstrumpet.com/2011/04/19/the-power-of-testimony-what-the-critics-and-atheists-cant-take-away/

Finally, such a Christian stepped forward and I came across the debate on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KBx4vvlbZ8&feature=related.  A Christian philosopher named William Lane Craig from Biola University debated Hitchens and debated him well.  I am not sure a Chesterton will ever rise again but Craig is close.  He is brilliant, witty, and bold and one may observed this made Hitchens quite uncomfortable.  All of Hitchens rhetorical parlor tricks did not prevail as Craig cleverly fended them off. 

Of course Hitchens’ devotees will defend him to the death and will NEVER concede a defeat, unlike me and other Christians who have honestly admitted such on our end.  Apparently for them Hitchens is inerrant and infallible.  Yet I think those who are truly honest will see that Craig resurrected several of the timeless theistic truths that have prevailed for centuries and finally won the day!!!  (Sorry no pictures…I fired this post off quickly since I should be working on my final paper for my seminary course instead 🙂

There are times in our lives when God can seem quiet and far off.  These periods of time are desparate and lonely.  We may pray and feel like we are not getting any answers.  Then we grow discouraged and often drift further away from God.    We may find ourselves getting angry with him and frustrated.  We may blame him for our feelings, emotions and struggles.  We may even call out, “GOD WHERE ARE YOU?”  We have all been there even though there are some around us who may put-on as though they haven’t.  You know those Christians who act as though they always have it right and are perfectly in-tune with God.  But I think the truth of the matter is life is filled with different experiences that cause us to interact and experience God in different ways. 

The Psalmist offers some perfect examples of these moments of dispair and wondering where God is.  Psalms has several psalms that Walter Brueggemann has labeled “psalms of disorientation.”  These are psalms where the psalmist feels…well, disoriented.  He feels lost, dispair, and even confusion.  One person once told me, in an attempt to shine a positive light on these psalms, that they always end with the psalmist correcting himself or repenting of his doubts and complaints.  Though this is true sometimes, it is not even usually the case.  A prime example is Psalm 88.

1 O Lord, God of my salvation,
   when, at night, I cry out in your presence,
2 let my prayer come before you;
   incline your ear to my cry.

3 For my soul is full of troubles,
   and my life draws near to Sheol.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the Pit;
   I am like those who have no help,
5 like those forsaken among the dead,
   like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
   for they are cut off from your hand.
6 You have put me in the depths of the Pit,
   in the regions dark and deep.
7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
   and you overwhelm me with all your waves.
          Selah

8 You have caused my companions to shun me;
   you have made me a thing of horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
9   my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call on you, O Lord;
   I spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you work wonders for the dead?
   Do the shades rise up to praise you?
          Selah
11 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,
   or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
12 Are your wonders known in the darkness,
   or your saving help in the land of forgetfulness?

13 But I, O Lord, cry out to you;
   in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 O Lord, why do you cast me off?
   Why do you hide your face from me?
15 Wretched and close to death from my youth up,
   I suffer your terrors; I am desperate.*
16 Your wrath has swept over me;
   your dread assaults destroy me.
17 They surround me like a flood all day long;
   from all sides they close in on me.
18 You have caused friend and neighbour to shun me;
   my companions are in darkness (NRSV).”

As you can see, this psalmist has no closure and the reader is left wondering what is the outcome of this distraught person.  This person is obviously angry at God and even blames Him for his sufferings.  Our theology and experience of God could indeed end at this point and we would be left with a God who always ignores us and seems to enjoys our suffering.  Such a theology reminds me of being a young boy.  My confession goes like this: I used to be the “ant bully.”  That’s right.  I used to drown them with frigid cold water, or boiling hot water.  I used to crush them with large stones and do aerial assaults on their villages.  Kind of like the U.S. bombing the snot out of impoverished nations then puffing out our chest as though we abtained some daring feat of heroism. 

Is God like this?  Does he enjoy and get entertainment out of our suffering?  Is he the equivalent of an “ant bully?”  I don’t think so.  Yet often times, we interpret our negative experiences as being God.  Now let me qualify my thoughts.  I do believe in judgment.  I do believe we live in a world where bad things happen to good people as well.  I believe that God can take those situations we are experiencing, rather good or bad, and use them for our benefit.  However, I do not believe everything that happens to us is God trying to test us or teach us lessons.   But I do believe that in all things, at all times we need to draw closer to God.

But why does God seem quiet at times?  Why does he seem far off?  Well, there are many answers.  It could be sin.  It coud be our experiences.  It could be bad theology.  It could be us not paying any attention to him except when we need something.  But I think it could also be God trying to get us to come find him. 

 Is this possible?  What is this some type of game? 

I have two beautiful children and they love to play hide and seek.  However, they don’t usually play the traditional way.  It often begins with my daughter saying, “Daddy, we’ll hide and you count and come find us.” 

So I begin to count and my daughter says, “Ok I’m gonna go hide in my room Daddy and you come find us.” 

They run off to her room and I finish counting.  I make my way to her room, pretending I don’t know where she is.  So I peak in the other rooms and I will hear a little voice say, “No Daddy I am in MY ROOM!” 

So I get to her room and she will either say, “Daddy I am in the closet.”  Or she will come running out yelling, “Here I am!!!”

I wonder if this is how God is.  He may be quiet sometimes to get our attention.  We may find ourselves saying, “Where’s God?”  Hopefully, we begin looking for him in those moments. 

I am reminded of Deuteronomy 4:29 “From there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and soul.” 

And Acts 17:26-28

From one ancestor* he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27so that they would search for God* and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. 28For “In him we live and move and have our being”;

This idea of searching and groping is much like hide and seek.  Why doesn’t God just jump out and show himself.  He is more like my daughter in that little voice calling out, “I am over here.”  “This is where I am, come find me.”  We are encouraged by the words of Jesus to “seek and you will find.” 

Although God may seem hidden, he is calling us to seek, search, grope after him.  As we do we are told that we WILL find him.  I am learning in this life that there are many people who are not finding God because they are not even looking for him.  God has initiated relationship by grace but we are called to react and respond to the grace by seeking after him.  It is not a game.  It is not a game that God plays to torture us while all along not planning to reveal himself.  He does want to reveal himself, and he will even more as we look for him.

It can even be said another way according to Matthew 5.  “Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled.”  Hungry and thirsty people go looking for food and drink.  We are all aware of the fact that if we don’t go into the kitchen and LOOK for something to eat it isn’t just going to come to us.  If we do, we are going to die of starvation and dehydration which many people are doing spiritually.  Nor can we wait for someone else to do the looking for us.  I know that my wife will often fix meals for the family so that we all don’t have to go fend for ourselves.  If I just sat in the living room, watching TV and waiting to be served–I would go to bed very hungry many nights. 

The Lord may seem hidden but he is always present but waiting often time for us to find him.  After all, the Psalmist says elsewhere that there is nowhere he can go to escape the presence of the Lord.

 Where can I go from your spirit?
   Or where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
   if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning
   and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
   and your right hand shall hold me fast.
11 If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
   and the light around me become night’,
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
   the night is as bright as the day,
   for darkness is as light to you (Psalm 139:7-12).

Therefore I suggest, if you find yourselves wondering where God is or even questioning if he exists…start looking for him and I promise…you WILL find Him. He will jump out like my daughter saying., “HERE I AM!”

“… and those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” –Nietsche (I am indebted to my sister for reminding me of this quote.  I must add I am aware of Nietsche’s philosophies and the irony of using him as a quote for my article.  The irony here though is…I don’t think Nietsche could hear the music either).

                How do we Christians stand against the attacks of the world, particular the reason of the “New Athiests?”  They say our God is not real and doesn’t exist.  To that I say, “We are dancing to music they just can’t hear.” If they could only experience the power of the over whelming love our hearts experience when he touches us with his gentle hands.  If they could only experience the perfect peace we have amidst the worst storms of life.  If they could only experience the impregnable joy we have when we have no reason to laugh or rejoice.  If they could only experience the belonging to a community of believers when we have every reason to feel alone.  If they could only experience the closeness we feel to a father, friend, companion, shepherd, and king when we are in the presence of the God they can’t see. 

                 What do we say to those who can not hear the music we are dancing to?  What do we say to those who have not felt the touch of the Master’s hand?  What do we say to those who have become so calloused toward the idea of God?  What do we say to those who have not experienced the power that we have experienced?  It’s that experience of God that has caused us to entrust ourselves to him; that experience that has allowed us to know that there is a God who loves us in a way that no outsider could possibly understand with all their human faculties; that experience that has evolved into a relationship that is deeper and more real than any relationship we have ever had or will ever know in this life or the next?  I don’t know what to say sometimes, except “Come. Come. Come and meet the Lord I have come to know and love; this new life; this joy; this peace; this deep, deep love.  Hear the music.  Hear the music and dance!”

 The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’
And let everyone who hears say, ‘Come.’
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift (Revelation 22:17 NRSV).

Let me start by saying this, “YOUR TESTIMONY AS A BELIEVER IS THE MOST POWERFUL TOOL OF EVANGELISM YOU HAVE IN YOUR ARSENAL.”   Piggy backing off of my previous article, it is apparent that the world is filled with Christopher Hitchenses.  That is, our faith as Christian believers is being challenged on a daily basis.  I have watched several of Hitchens’ debates against many Christians and people of various faith backgrounds.  He has debated theologians, scholars, authors, ministers, social activists etc.  As I have mentioned, overall, I think they have all lost the debates to Hitchens for various reasons.  Yet in the midst of all of these debates there was one debater, and one single moment that seemed silent but POWERFUL. 

During the debate between Marvin Olasky and Hitchens, Olasky says to Hitchens (my paraphrase), “I don’t know what teaching you have absorbed over the years that has made you believe the way you do.  But whatever the reason…I pity you.”  Olasky went on to say, “There is something that you and I have in common.  We were both married and then divorced.  In my first marriage, I was an atheist and did not know how to be a husband.  I was a bad husband.  It only lasted two years.  Then I got remarried but this time as a Christian.  Christianity taught me how to be a husband and a father.  I have been married for thirty years.”  WOW!

If you watch Hitchens, his demeanor changes and he seems taken back.  He even says something to the effect of, “Well said” to Olasky.  It may be the first time I have seen Hitchens like that.  Why do you think?  I think it’s because Olasky used, and maybe not purposefully, the most powerful element of Christianity we have.  EXPERIENCE!  No one can refute your testimony.  No one can dismiss your witness.  No one can reject your experience.  Why?  Because it is your proof that it is real, that something is going on here that no outsider can convince you with all their logic, reason, and rhetoric otherwise. 

What Olasky was saying was that he has experienced the power of the Gospel in his life and not even Hitchens in all of his brilliance can take that away.  Hitchens, I think, knows this too.  The Gospel has the power to change and transform lives and it has done exactly that.  Hitchens can’t convince the ex-drug dealer or alcoholic who came to Christ and was delivered that there is no power in the Gospel.  In fact, I know some of those people.  I have heard their stories how the impossible was made possible because they had an encounter with Jesus Christ of Nazareth. 

I work with a man who I knew as no more than an alcoholic bum.  God got a hold of him and flipped him upside down and then right side up. He went through a traumatic divorce during all of this and I thought for sure he would go back to drinking.  Yet the power of God that changed his life, identity, and desires stuck with him and he is still living strong for the Lord.  That’s an experienced reality of the power of God in someone’s life.  No one is going to tell that man there is no God and that Christianity is a flop.  I think he might just laugh at such a remark.

I am reminded of John 9.  I trust you have a Bible to look it up…if not you must be viewing this from a computer so you can search that passage on an online Bible.  If you need a Bible, email me and I will get one to you.  Okay back to John 9.  This is the passage where Jesus, rather sanitarily spits on some dirt and makes mud balls.  He smothers the mud onto some blind guy’s eyes and tells the man to go wash the germy mud off.  The man does and could see.  He was healed miraculously!  The Pharisees get their robes all in a bunch and get mad about the healing.  After much interrogation of both the blind man and his parents the blind man says one of the most profound things in scripture.  The Pharisees accuse Jesus of being a sinner and try to undermine him.  The blind man responds, “I don’t know if he is a sinner, but one thing I do know—I was blind but now I see.”  Wow that is awesome!!! 

The man was blind from birth.  Jesus heals him.  The Pharisees pout and have a hissy fit about it.  Who is really blind in this narrative?  Who?  Right…the religious leaders who should have known better.   These leaders were the intelligencia of their day.  You know…the guys who knew it all and were well studied in matters on many subjects.  But their whining and reasonable arguments did not matter a hill of beans to the blind man who could finally see.  HE COULD SEE!  Nobody was going to take that away from him…NOBODY! 

This is my argument against those who want to align themselves against the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ: all the bells and whistles of reason and logic don’t hold a match to what we have personally experienced as Christians.  I have so many testimonies I don’t know where to begin.  I know people who have so many testimonies it would take weeks to cover.  So while we sit around holding debates and theorizing about the God of the Bible and the reality of the risen Savior Jesus Christ being real or not—there are people all over the world experiencing his power NOW.  If you don’t believe me I will point you in the direction of many folks that are in the midst of it and seeing it move like wild fire across countries like China and Sudan.

For those of you who haven’t experienced it I say this…get out of your dead and dried up churches into a church that actually expects God to move and live.  If you haven’t been to church find one that expects God to be real and to move in their midst.  If you walk into a church that hands you a bulletin of how the service is going to go…walk back out… because they have obviously structured and choreographed God right out of the service. 

This may rub some of my Christian brothers and sisters the wrong way but listen.  There is a world that is hungry for the reality of God in this decaying world and they are depending on you to proof it to them.  Stop playing church for goodness sakes and start calling out for the fire of God to fall on you.  You don’t want to?  Then slowly wait for the day when your old church doors and windows are boarded up and ICHABOD is plastered across them. 

God is moving and waiting for YOU to jump in!  Throw off the chains of this culture that are holding you down!  Stop protecting your reputations and securities and get embarrassed for God!  Let him interrupt your controlled life and infuse it with the power of his Holy Spirit.  Does that make you feel uncomfortable?  Right…it’s suppose to. God wants to invade your life and fill it with his presence.  But you have to let him in.  Whatever is holding you back needs to be submitted.  Yuck, not that word again.  SUBMIT and YIELD yourself to God…I promise, you won’t regret it.

As you embrace him he will give you an experience, testimony, and reality that no one can ever take away. 

Blessings!

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