Friday, August 26, 2011

Back to School and Life on Mission

Well, I am going to have to take a break over the next few days from the blog as the baby is coming soon. So... Check out this Devo from Dare to Share Ministries. It's about going back to school but you can easily take what they say and practice it in your workplace, community, or home.

Click Here!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Theology Thursday: God, Gods, and the God in Me?

A question presented to me today on Facebook was "What's the difference between deism, pantheism, and panentheism?"  This is actually a huge question, but let me try to give you an answer.  Its important to know these things as Christians because these worldviews are not only present in the religions of some of our neighbors and friends but also in movies and culture.  We need to understand them to be able to communicate the truth of the Bible to those around us.

I'll try to give five main categories along with their definitions, what the Bible says about them, and the negative sides to believing them.

Deism teaches that the universe was created and then later abandoned by God.  Essentially, God made the world and then left and He no longer answers prayers, does miracles, or really even cares about His creation at all.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Obeying your leaders

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.  Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.  Hebrews 13:17

If you're like me, then you love your pastors.  If you're like me, you admire these men and respect them greatly for what they are doing and the walk they have with God.

But if you are like me, then there have been times you haven't liked what your pastors have asked of you.  I can recall a few times in my youth group years when I was a new Christian that my pastor told me to throw away some of my CD's.  (CD's are old things that people used to play music by the way)  For a while, I disagreed and didn't listen and I held onto my Eminem and Insane Clown Posse CD's.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Feature Friday: Rolling in the Deep

I really don't think I need to tell you who this is.  Adele has seemingly come out of nowhere and grabbed the spotlight.  I hear her on the radio, covered on America's Got Talent, and featured on commercials.  There is no doubt that she has an incredible voice and loads of talent to sing the way she does.  Her song "Rolling in the Deep" seems to imprint itself deeply on practically anyone who hears it.  The passion and soul you can hear as she sings it have captured all of our attention.

Have you stopped to pay attention to the lyrics?  For the sake of copyright, I won't repost them here.

She is singing from a broken heart.  The fire that's burning in her heart is one of anger at the man who hurt her so deeply.  Examine the lyrics and you'll see that she carries scars from this relationship.  She got played.  She wishes she had never even met this Romeo.  In fact, she is at the point where she hopes he gets what he deserves and she even threatens him a bit herself!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Theology Thursday: Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

So I've decided to theme the days of the blog a bit.  I am going to try out Theology Thursdays and Feature Fridays.  The blog won't always follow that structure, but I'm going to try to answer theological type questions on Thursdays and do a devotional based off of current movies, shows, and music on Fridays.  Without further ado. . .

I wrote a devo last week about the Mach 20 aircraft and said that we all have the Holy Spirit sealed within us when we become Christians.  Then a friend basically asked, "If that's true, then why do the Christians in Acts 8 have to wait for the apostles to pray over them before they receive the Holy Spirit?"

Let me start by saying that this is not something that all Christians agree on.  When it comes to Christian theology, there are closed issues and open issues.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

That Which We've Seen and Heard

Evangelism is a scary word for most of us.  We feel frightened at the thought of sharing our faith with others.   Factoring family and friends into the equation can actually make us even more nervous and embarrassed.

As a pastor, I've sat through quite a lot of evangelism classes and seminars that offer steps to sharing your faith.  I've heard recommendations ranging from memorizing the Romans Road to wearing Jesus memorabilia like buttons or crosses.  I've studied the tactics of soap box preaching and seeker based Bible studies.

All of those things have merit and can be incredibly beneficial.  But sometimes its the simplest things that work.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Strength in Weakness

Christy and I went to see Captain America in 3D around when it first came out with a friend for his birthday.  While there were a few things that bugged me about the movie, I have to say I liked it.

One of the reasons I liked it so much was the theme that ran through the movie of heroes vs bullies.  A bully is someone who uses his strength to take advantage of others.  A hero is someone who uses his strength to help others.  As you probably know, Captain America got his superhuman strength and speed from receiving an experimental super soldier drug.  The scientist who created the drug has to decide which soldier will be the first they test it on.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mach 20, Spirit Power, and You

Have you heard about this thing?!  I saw it in the news today.

The Falcon HTV-2 is an experimental unmanned aircraft.  It caught my nerd attention when I realized how fast this bad boy moves.  It can reach Mach 20.  Mach 20. . . Mach 20!  That's 20 times the speed of sound for those less nerdy than I.  That means that this thing can move at 13,000 miles per hour!  No wonder its unmanned.  Could you imagine trying to fly that thing?  It can travel from LA to New York City in 12 minutes.  And to think it takes my flight 2 hours to get Christy and I from Chicago to Maryland.

I was thinking about how incredibly fast this thing can move when I recalled two stories from the Bible about fast moving people.  One guy in the Bible gets moving at some pretty incredible speeds, but nothing near Mach 20.  But another guy actually moves faster than Mach 20!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens

I haven't seen the movie yet, but the people who write the Soul Fuel devotionals have!

Check out this devotional from Dare 2 Share Ministries.

Click Here

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I Love Generous People

Do you know anyone who is really, really, really generous?  I don't mean the kind of person who gives you a few dollars when you're a bit short at the movie theater.  I'm talking about the kind of person who just buys people nice gifts out of the blue.  Don't you just love them?!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Was Jesus Created?

Rather than a devotional today, I thought I'd answer a question for you that I was asked recently.  Hopefully this helps you be better equipped to defend your faith.

A friend of mine called me up with some questions the other day.  He was visited by some Jehovah's Witnesses who pointed out a passage and told him that Jesus wasn't God but that God had created Jesus.  Now, if you are a Christian or grew up in church, you know that Jesus is God.  But, would you know what to say if presented with this verse?

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  Colossians 1:15

What would you say to someone who showed you that verse and said, "See the Bible says that Jesus was created.  He was the first born.  If He was created, then He isn't really God."?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Reboots and Mulligans

Have you heard about the new Spiderman movie scheduled to come out in 2012?  Don't believe me?  You can watch the trailer HERE.

You may have noticed something strange.  Its not part four in the Spiderman series.  Its a total reboot.  Tobey Maguire will not be playing Spiderman, there is a totally new Peter Parker.  In fact, all of the actors are new.  It's not even called Spiderman anymore.  Now, its "The Amazing Spider-man" (which you'll recognize as the original comic title if you're a nerd like me).  Marvel is completely starting over and taking everything back to the drawing board.  Its a fresh start.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Giving up the Elder Wand

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!! (Nothing too major, but I do talk about something from the new movie)

Have you seen the latest Harry Potter movie?  I saw it with my wife last night.  Without giving too much away, there is a scene in the movie where Harry gets the Elder Wand.  In case you don't know, the Elder Wand is one of three powerful magical items called the Deathly Hallows.  The Elder Wand is the most powerful wand in the world and with it a wizard would be unstoppable.  And it falls into Harry's hands!

What does Harry do with it?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed, Blessed, Blessing

Its Monday again.  This post will be more of a mix of my own commentary and thoughts than a devotional.  If you like that sort of thing, then dig in.  If not, normal devotionals start again tomorrow.

Ephesians 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

In the previous verses, Paul identifies himself and then prays for a blessing for the saints in Ephesus, namely that they would receive peace and grace from God.  Here, instead of praying for a blessing, He declares "blessed be God".  He isn't praying a blessing over God, He is saying that God is blessed.  The word for "blessed" here is "eulogetos" which can also be translated "praised".  He is saying that God is praised and blessed.  This is a mini declaration of worship from Paul who is honoring God with his words.