What Jesus really means is...

So I started reading this book called Radical by David Platt that really made me think about my faith in light of my culture or what my culture has formed it in to. I've only read the first chapter and already it takes me back to my first true thoughts of Christianity. I get so angry with myself because I've allowed culture to take over me. When I first became a Christian I knew what it meant to allow God to take over, I knew what I was getting myself into. I knew that I would have to give up my desires, my family, and friends. I knew that I would have to give myself up entirely. It's funny because I also read the Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis that year and he addressed the very same issues that this book is addressing.
It's funny because I knew these things, the things that the book is addressing, but I was pushed to think the opposite. Like in the Scriptures it says that I must hate my family (not so literally, but compared to how I should love Jesus, it should be like hate). I didn't of course literally hate them, the Scriptures is all about love, but I shouldn't let them get in the way of what God wants me to do.
How that looked when i first became a Christian was helping out in church. That's something so simple and yet my family would always say that i would place church above family. I never mean to put church over family, but I was compelled to help where help was needed rather than attend another birthday party, in whom I see or talk to this person everyday anyway. (I do love my family by the way). I'm sure this sounds terrible, maybe it does.
I made a commitment to follow Jesus and that meant giving up everything. It means picking up my cross (or in the writers words, my "electric chair") and follow him.
I don't know what that means right now though. I literally almost have nothing. I have no career waiting for me right now after college. I have no money to give. I have a loan I need to pay off when I get out of college. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. One thing that has come to mind right now though is that I have never spent enough time on people. I stay in my circle or on my high horse. My time is the only thing I can give. And I know what you're going to say, "you don't need to give up everything, God doesn't want you to go hungry or live on the streets." Yeah I know he doesn't, but when I see things like one church costing $23 million dollars to be built, and only $5000 going to the poor and hungry in another country, it makes me wonder what is more important, me having the minimum to survive, worshipping outside rather than a comfortable air conditioned church, or having people in starving countries go hungry for my selfish desires.
And this is what Jesus asked from the beginning. I have never seen a man more prone to pushing people away than Jesus. He told people to sell everything and give it to the poor. He said don't bury your father, let others do it. He said pick up your cross and follow him.
I have never seen a religion ask for anything like this. And ignorant people love to say that all religions are the same or lead to the same place.
I really encourage you to read Radical by David Platt. Hopefully it'll change your mind about being a Christian. Either it will let you know that you will be mediocre all your life or push you to be what Jesus actually meant by following him.



So I was finishing up a book caled Tactics for my Evangelism and Apologetics class and was stopped by the use of the word rebellion. When I usually hear the word, it's more of kids rebelling against their parents or the Devil rebelling against God. The reason I was stopped by the word is because I had just read Paradise Lost as well for my British Literature class. adam and Eve rebelled against God. However, in the book Tactics, the writer says that we could try whatever tactic to pursued someone to see the problem with their world view, but sometimes there can be such a stubbornness in the heart that they choose not to listen to practical reason. The writer says that it is because they choose to rebel against God. Of course, I'm sure no one truly means to rebel against God, but if the facts are right in front of you, even if you see God Himself, there is still the likelyhood that someone will still want to rebel. Look at Adam and Eve, they walked with Him in the Garden, actually talked to Him face to face, and still rebelled.
Last night in church, Brandon and I went to church at the Ascent: Christ Fellowship in West Palm Beach, and usually I'm not one to like the Ascent very much, (no offense just not my taste, good solid church though) but sitting there and listening to the Pastor speak made me realize how far from God I am. Like I'm doing pretty well, I'm not doing any major sins, I've been doing good, but my relationship with God is just not there. I'll go through the motions of praying before my meal and stuff like that, but I have no relationship with God. I hate these periods in my life where I refuse to push myself to talk to God, listen to Him. Of course, this is kind of weird to say that I'm rebelling, like I said, I'm not doing anything wrong, but my heart refuses to worship God. Not because I hate God, but because I want to do my own thing. My excuse is, "I don't have time to read my bible this morning, I need to finish studying for my exam; God wouldn't like if I failed my exam."
This little rebellion that I'm going through now isn't the first time its happened, and I'm definitely not the only Christian that has felt this way. Our hearts want to rebel, our hearts want to satisfy their own desires. I'm not saying I figured out how to get out of these funks, I wish I had the answer and if any of you know it please share it, but the only thing I can tell you is that sometimes we just have to go through those motions, not to be religious of course and show everyone how good of a Christian we are or wutevs, but to keep glorifying God. My heart doesn't want to praise the one who created me, but I will push through. I love this poem that I read by George Herbert called the Alter.

"A broken ALTER, Lord, thy servant rears,
Made of a heart, and cemented with tears:
Whose parts are as thy hand did frame;
No workman's tool hath touched the same.
A HEART alone
Is such a stone,
As nothing but
Thy power doth cut.
Wherefore each part
Of my hard heart
Meets in this frame,
To praise thy Name:
That, if I chance to hold my peace,
These stones to praise thee may not cease
Oh let thy blessed SACRIFICE be mine,
And sanctify this ALTAR to be thine."

Poem is supposed to look like and alter by the way. The heart is a stone, we can refuse to praise God, but its funny how Herbert uses the word stone because Jesus said in the Scriptures that if the people do not praise Him, the stones will cry out (Luke 19:40). So even if Herbert does want to keep his mouth shut because if His rebellion, how his heart does not want to praise him, trying to be as hard as stone, either way, the stones will still cry out. Stones do not have mouths by the way, meaning that even through the rebellion we will still praise Him. The stone (heart), though it does not want to cry out, even by being a stone, what God created it to be, will still praise Him. I will praise my God, even though my heart is a stone; hopefully my heart will melt and I can praise Him out of Love, but right now I am going through the motions, taking it one step at a time.



Habakkuk 2:18-20 "Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. Woe to him who says to wood, 'Come to life!' Or to lifeless stone, 'Wake up!' Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it. But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him."

About almost every single prophet discusses idolizing. In the book of Habakkuk, the people of Babylon have idols that are seen by everyone, but these idols are made by man. They do not exist for the good of the people, but of selfishness. It reminds me that sometimes I can create idols and I expect for it to speak to me, but then it disappoints me because I wanted it to satisfy my desires, but only God can do that. Nothing can satisfy my deepest desires but God.
Then in Hosea 13:2, he writes, "Now they sin more and more; they make idols for themselves from their silver, cleverly fashioned images, all of them the work of craftsmen." It is hidden, it is fashioned in a way that other people cannot see it, and maybe even themselves. And Hosea is writing about the people of Israel, the chosen people of Israel. How could they do such a thing, but when I read this I had my own secret idol. I'm supposed to be a part of a model society that is discussed in Micah and yet I fail over and over again. The work that God has started in me must finish and I need to be made anew and not for the sake of being able to be with the person I want to be with and not to receive any reward, but because God calls me to a righteous life, a life that gives my God delight. I got rid of my idol and now I am focusing on my LORD. God will make me new so that I can do the work that He has set for me to do and hopefully I won't have to do it alone.
Sorry if this doesn't make any sense. I have such a problem with idolizing people that God cannot bless me in my relationships. I am satisfied in God because He is good and perfect, but I am not satisfied in myself in Him and I need to reconcile that. I need to bring back purpose and not see myself as worthless. Please pray for me so that I will be reconciled. I need to go back to when I was 14 and no one could stand me because every word I spoke was of/for God. Every little detail of my life, I asked God to guide me. I need to go back to that. I'm outs.



I talk too much sometimes. I usually vent or talk about me and my past. I know I talk too much. I sometimes forget that I need to listen and observe. Be there for people and allow them to cry. Like losing a daughter.. That's pretty rough. Or having a father who doesn't care, or seems not to care. Wanting to fulfill a dream, but having something pulling you back. Love, family, dreams.
My generation and those after me have become a people that have been forgotten. It seems crazy to think of that. Businesses keep making new things. Its for us isn't? Churches say that they are working for the next generation (or something like that). We have stopped thinking though. We have stopped caring. We have stopped trying. We've become a lazy people. My generation and those after me are stuck in the virtual world, unrealistic and relative.
We are also a people of loneliness. We don't choose to be though. We allow ourselves to be distracted. We want to forget reality. I see things I don't want to see, so what do I do? I detach myself from the situation. We're really good at that. I busy myself so much, so I won't allow myself to think. Then when I have free time I try to fill it up, so I don't have to think. When I think I remember what I have seen. I remember the late night cries from my mum. I remember the arguments between friends. I remember the little boy that is left alone, though his parents are there. I remember me.
I decided to start listening. Listening to my clock tick tock. Listening to the birds outside. Waiting.


Psalm 51

Sometimes there are times when I just flat out mess up. At the time, everything seems alright, but once its happened, you can't take it back. You have to keep moving forward though. The Devil wants everyone to mess up, he wants to take away our testimony, but I love the fact that even through out faults and our sins, God will use it. David, in this Psalm, messes up big time (committing adultery with Bathsheba), yet he asks God to forgive him and he will use his weaknesses to strengthen others. What a God I serve. At least i know that David's weakness, gives me hope because he was still known as a man after God's own heart. We need redemption. 1 Timothy 1:5 says, "The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith." To love is to have these three things, and to love God is to attain these three things. Obey God.

"Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;
you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

Cleanse with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.
Save me from bloodguilt, O God,
the God who saves me,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.

In your good pleasure make Zion prosper;
build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Then there will be righteous sacrifices,
whole burnt offerings to delight you;
then bulls will be offered on your alter."


Hologram pastor

So I was listening to the Christian radio here in West Palm and one of the topics they were discussing was pastors that use holograms to preach to their church without them being there (of course). They were asking what we thought about it and I considered it and now I am writing about it. One lady on the radio said that its okay if the pastor is just preaching at another church, not if its pre-recorded. That's a pretty good answer, I guess... So many churches are trying to grow out that it does make sense. However, the church starts to lose meaning. I'm reading through the books of 1-3 John. It's all about love since John was the apostle that loved. Anyway, in 2 John at the end of it he writes, "I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete." At a time where their only way of communication is either by writing to each other or talking face to face, he would rather speak to them face to face. He does write that he has much more to write, but he would rather see them, talk to them, fellowship with them, live life with them. So to go back to my main topic, a pastor as a hologram, is the dumbest idea I have ever heard. What happened to the church? Are we just a product of our time/culture? I thought we were supposed to be different. Christianity is all about relationships, not just learning more about the Bible. We were meant for relationships, not to just get through life. Just some thoughts... I'm outs


Be Holy

Leviticus 19:2b "Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy."
How that penetrates my heart. I desire to be holy. It is so hard to obey and yet all I want to do is please my God and be holy like He is holy. I desire it so much and yet it is the hardest thing to attain sometimes because of fleshly desires. I want to do my own thing. I want to live my own life, yet God tells His people to be holy like He is holy. It is so much harder to do, but I contemplate it day and night. I want to be holy.


I don't need it

I was contemplating life today. I wish I did more of that during college. A lot of the great minds write about the contemplative life and the active life, and I'm sure a lot of people can vogue that I have lived the active life in college. I was placed in leadership positions at school that can be (I guess) commendable. I've been nominated for things, but I never have saved the world. I just got to help one person at a time pretty much. I guess that's commendable. I guess I'm just tired of being noticed. I'm tired of receiving praise. I'm tired of being noticed. I just wanna do what God has placed me on this earth to do and just go home, my heavenly home. I don't need a prize, I don't need any praise, I don't need any recognition. Just let me do what God has placed me on this earth to do and I will be happy with that. I used to want to be recognized. I used to desire to be remembered. I lusted after power. And now, I want to be put in a hole and forgotten. Let me be in the background. Allow me to blend with the crowd. No I'm not depressed, I'm just tired for receiving the praise that God deserves. I'm not a saint, I just failed a lot and learned from my experiences... God did it all pretty much. I'm outs.


The world had stopped

The world has stopped for about an hour or two
though I expected it would keep going.
Everything is still in their place and
nothing has really changed, but
I wish it did.
I came back to my room and did
what I usually do, and for some reason
I thought it would be different.
I thought that if I did the same thing
something would have happened and
change my life completely.
But everything is still the same.
The world has stopped for about an hour or two
because I didn't change.


Day to Day faith part dos

So I love how after I read something and think about it, God loves to test me on it, and when I mean God tests me, I mean gives me opportunities to practice what I've learned. Anyway, I wrote in my last post how Abraham had day to day faith. He finally understood what it meant to have day to day faith in God after the experience he had to go through with his son. Well in high school I remember I had to make a choice between marching band and a missions trip my junior year, which ultimately meant that if I went on the missions trip I would ultimately lose my friends in school. I was pretty okay with it, God has bigger plans, but I never expected to go through a similar situation in college, at a Christian school. Of course its not the same thing, but now I understand that when you do the right thing people won't understand why and you have to daily live by faith that God will provide for you in everything, not just in my future, but in my daily activities. Well this probably makes no sense to you, my reader, so I'm outs.


Day to day faith

So I read an interesting work by Kierkegaard and he talked about Abraham's faith. In the Bible it says how is faith was great, but Kierkegaard takes it a step higher and explains what kind of faith Abraham had. His faith was a day to day faith. Anyone can have faith in future things, its called hope, but to rely on God for our day to day needs is what Abraham had faith in.
When Abraham was going to take his son to be offered as a sacrifice to the LORD, Abraham went through it without hesitation. He knew that even if Isaac was sacrificed God would provide in another way, either the promise was supposed to be through his first son Ishmael or Sarah was going to have another son. Either way, Abraham had faith in future things, but Abraham did not sacrifice his son. What exactly was going through Isaac's mind at the time? After this incident, what kind of faith did Abraham have? He had to cut himself off emotionally from everything because what he was doing was morally wrong, but to even go through what he had to go through is something no one else can even comprehend. Abraham had faith in the future, but God was teaching him day to day faith.
Sometimes I wonder why I go through the things I do. I have faith in my future, I know that God has plans for me and its going to be wonderful, but as a college student, I hope I don't take the wrong step in the wrong direction. I need to have faith that God will guide me there. Yeah I have done a lot of mistakes and if I told people they would shun me out as a sinner (which everyone is), but through those things God helped me have faith, even when I think I take the wrong steps, it is a step closer to his ultimate plan.
Side note - read Kierkegaard's "Fear and Trembling" really good!
I'm outs



So I'm a bit confused about something and I was hoping that you might be able to help me figure this out. I have heard that no man can do good apart from God, which I can see why some people would say that because we all have selfish desires; however, those same people say that God is in control of everything, meaning we are all (believers and non believers) living life how God planned it to be. So my question is, if we cannot do good apart from God, but everything we do is in His plans, hence glorifying Him, then doesn't it mean that we are in some way doing good by being in His will? Maybe this is a very simple question, but I'm just still a bit confused and I was wondering if someone can clarify for me. Thanks!
I'm outs


Christ against culture?

So I'm presently reading a book called Christ and Culture, and there are a lot of different views on our relationship with the world and what the Bible says about humans and culture. It's really quite interesting. Anyway, one of the viewpoints is Christ against Culture. One of the examples used in this viewpoint is Tolstoy, a famous Russian writer from the 19th century. Tolstoy believed that the Church was a creation of the devil. It was an interesting take on the church that I have never heard and it made me think. Why did Tolstoy hate the church? Some people can see why he would say that, like the church should be growing and take on the culture so the church can be better used for the people, but there is a line that could be crossed that can make the church evil. Take for example the move of individuals who wanted to live a life of solitude when Christianity became tolerated. Why would they do such a thing? There are some good reasons why, but didn't Christ say before he left this earth to go into all the world and proclaim his name?
I'm not sure where I'm going with all this, but I think its interesting to think about these things and wonder why. Wonder why people did the things they did. I'm not an advocate of Christ against culture, I really believe that we can be set apart from the world, but still be a part of it, but I like to wonder. Any thoughts?
I'm outs.


Never cease

So I'm reading this book called The Life of a Slave Girl. In the very beginning there is the title and two quotes underneath it. One of the quotes goes like this "Northerners know nothing at all about slavery. They think it is perpetual bondage only. They have no conception of the depth of degradation involved in that word, SLAVERY; if they had; they would never cease their efforts until so horrible a system was overthrown." This blog is not about slavery, but that last part of the quote really got to me as a Christian. In the Bible it talks about being a slave to sin and also about being a bond-servant of Christ. As a Christian, I was a slave to sin, every Christian was a slave to sin, but because of God's love and grace, He brought us out of it. When Christ told his disciples to go into all the world and tell everyone about Him, I don't think He even had to say anything because as a Christian we should want to tell everyone we know about Christ and what He has done. However, looking at the people around me I kind of see why Jesus had to say something; living in this life of ease can make us forget what we're supposed to do. We as a people can forget what it meant to be a slave of sin because if we really understood, then we would never cease our efforts of telling people; we would keep on talking until our last breath.
I encourage you to remember what it was like. Love those around you, and never stop.
I'm outs