Syrian Refugees, Selfless Compassion and Pro Life

My heart breaks, for a lot of reasons.

For teens on drugs, for babies that are killed in the womb. Recently my heart breaks for Paris and Beirut. For all the families that have to move forward without loved ones. My heart breaks for all those who are being displaced by war and senseless acts of violence. My heart breaks for ISIS members, and I struggle between wanting them all dead so their hate can not harm anyone else and wanting them all to come to know Jesus and renounce their acts of hate.

There are a lot of feelings involved in wars and terrorist acts. Fear, hate, sadness, compassion, longing for hope, seeking peace.

These feelings can drive our decisions, like the decisions to set up camps for Japanese citizens during WWII.

There is a group of people in need, and are we just going to shut our doors to them from fear? We are just going to leave them stranded and in need outside, while we are inside where it is safe and warm?

I completely understand the risks involved. I understand that there are wolves in sheep’s clothing, but there are a lot of genuine sheep and very very little wolves. When did compassion become a pick and choose event? When did compassion equate to having to stay safe?

I believe as Christians we are called to selfless compassion, selfless service; not safety. The Savior of the World (Jesus) did not save the world by putting his safety first, but the other way around. So shall our compassion reflect the selfless acts of our savior. Our compassion should not be a reflection of our political party lines, nor should it be used to garner political support.

Our compassion should be rooted in God’s love and given freely out to those in genuine need. And there is genuine need.

And one last thing:

If we are pro-life in the womb, we should be pro-life out of the womb. If we only support fetuses living, but do not support people, what is the point. We will only grow the baby to hate them later. Lets value all life, at all stages of life.

 

 

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Read the Bible in 2 DAYS!!!

PersonalCreations.com, who posted this info-graphic (which is also below) about how long it would take the average reader to read a given book. According to the info-graphic the Bible takes 43.79 hours to read. This is if you read at a speed of 300 words per minute (hopefully those are all small words or I’m really slow).

Since there are 24 hours in a day, that means you can read the Bible in two days with about fours hours to spare. OR you can read it in 2 months, reading an hour a day. This makes those Read-the-Bible-in-a-Year plan look like a walk in the park.

Please include attribution to PersonalCreations.com with this graphic.

How Long Does it Take to Read

10 Reasons Your Homework Wasn’t Done @ Christian School/College

1) I was slain in the spirit all night…
2) God didn’t reveal the answer to me…
3) The spirit did a Philip thing were he transported me to another country but didn’t transport my homework with me….
4) I had to fight some demons in the next apartment over….
5) Jesus said follow me, and I don’t see Jesus doing homework….
6) My roomate kept speaking in tongues all night which distracted me…
7) A revival broke out in my one person bedroom so I couldn’t get to the assignment…
8) We were busy destroying images of Baal…
9) I was too sore from worshiping so hard…
10) The worship drummer ate my homework…

Lineage

Lineage.

This simple word packs a whole lot of history. For some of this word can bring great pride and for others it can bring up old scars. With Christ we not only become a new creation (a new person) but we get a new lineage as well.

We get tied into a family that stretches back to the beginning of time! We can stretch that lineage back to Jesus and the apostles. That is so mind blowing to me that we are great decedents of the Apostles! And we are the decedents of many great men and women of the faith and many people, who even though not famous, were still obedient and faithful to Jesus’ calling.

In this lineage there are no mistakes, we are all the result of the same thing: God’s Grace and empowerment of the Holy Spirit to go for more. This grace and empowerment often worked through kind and loving people that loved God more than themselves.

As I reflect on my own spiritual lineage, I am blessed for the many men and women that poured into my life and sacrificed many things for me. These men and women will forever be held dear in my heart. It brings me great joy to know them and to know their story. They have been through a lot and have done a lot and I am blessed to have many great examples of how to live a passion filled life for Christ. Their examples and friendship have and will continue to spur me on in my own path and calling in Christ.

For those men and women I say this:

THANK YOU!! I love you all dearly.

-Joe

139

“For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.

When I awake, I am still with You.”

-Psalm 139:13-18

Thought of the Day: A Trusted Phrase

Christians use a lot of catchy (and often cheesy) phrases that get used over and over and over again. They probably get so ingrained in our minds that we forget what they actually mean or what they originally was intended for. One phrase that is used over and over and over again (and has every right to be used that often) is “God loves you.”

“God loves you”

Sometimes a Christian can hear that phrase so much that the full meaning is forgotten, the weight and freedom of that truth is washed away. The fact that God loves us should never get desensitized from our hearts, because it is a ground breaking truth.

God, the creator of the universe, love us not for anything that we did but just the fact that he created us. We fell away from him and he still loves us!! He loves us so much he sent he came down and died for us (another phrased used often). When does a God ever die for his people, only once. This fact should never get old.

I think part of Paul’s success was the fact he was always in awe of Jesus. Paul never found Jesus boring or old news, he never let go of how much Jesus saved and restored him. Paul always gave the glory and honor to Jesus day in and day out.

We, as Christians, must stay in awe of Jesus, we should shoot for getting goosebumps every time we hear the phrase “God loves us,” because we remember what that actually means. We need to stay engaged with Jesus like it was the first time we encountered his saving presence.

Stay in awe of Jesus, and cling to the fact that “God DOES love you.”

Real Men Don’t Take Their Ladies to See ’50 Shades of Grey’ (My Thoughts on the Move)

I could go into a long explanation of why men (and women) should hate 50 Shades of Grey but it comes down to this:

Will you let your wife, girlfriend, sister, friend be engulfed in the same struggle that you have endured or currently enduring.

I think as men we should not only tell other men but women as well about the dangers of porn and the effect it has on your life. If we are called to protect, then let’s protect on all fronts. If you know its wrong for you to do it, why let someone else stumble.

I know there is a growing movement for women to have as much “freedom”/recognition in viewing porn as men currently do. There is now a lot more marketing aimed at women, so they can be sucked into the same struggle as men. Many people (including  psychologists  and other such authorities) say ’50 Shades of Grey’ is an important book because it has awoken the female eroticism & fantasies. It’s basically a win for women. But how is it a win, when having porn (or anything outside of your spouse) as an sexual outlet often leads to hurt and emptiness?

We are not just sexual people, that is not our full identity. When we just limit ourselves to a sexual identity we rob life of its texture, of its dimension. When we limit relationships to just sex, then we demean that relationship and that person. God made us more the just creatures of sex. Compared to God’s plan, sex is just a small piece. Its a good, fun piece, that has its place but a small piece indeed.

I’ll end by writing this:

If there is equality then let there be equality in freedom not in the chains of pornography. All porn is wrong for both genders, at all ages, for all relationship statuses.

Why the Church needs more Jesus and less Us

Scrolling through Instagram I found an interesting hashtag: #godisfake. I wasn’t shocked by this hashtag (its the internet, people have different opinions and thoughts), I was more sadden because this person has been deceived. After clicking on the hashtag and seeing some of the posts I was shocked about something. I was shocked at the fact that most of the posts weren’t attacking God on the subject of logic but on the subject of strength & power. The posts ranged from God not healing people to people dying of hunger and God’s hatred, all posts had a mocking overtone.

This grieved me and convicted me. Jesus came and unleashed the power of the Holy Spirit. He healed the blind, lame and sick. He prophesied over and about many. He told us to feed the hungry (spiritually and physically). He told us to care for the orphans and widows.

But what has the mainstream church concerned itself about? Has it been about the hungry? Has it been about the sick? The ones dying physically and spiritually? Has it been about the oppressed? NO. It has been about our own validation. It has been about being right and trying to make people confess that WE are right. This is not the same as making disciples and spreading the Gospel, and inviting people to confess that GOD is holy.

I had a speaker once say (paraphrasing) “If some isn’t healed when we pray, does that mean God is still God?”

I think as a church we have manufactured our own Jesus- one that doesn’t take faith, but work. A Jesus that fits into a box where we can fully explain him and give all the right answers. A Jesus that depends on us instead of us depending on him. Note- This is different than Jesus using us to spread the gospel and giving us specific callings.

The Church as a bride has gone into the business of defending a cause instead of promoting a Savior. We have twisted Christ into a check box, a demographic, a political statement. Instead of a savior that we can be passionate for and with. He is our leader not us.

So since he is our leader, are we putting proper techniques and flashiness as a more important objective then the Gospel of Jesus Christ? People need to see the love, grace, justice and power of the triune God. They need to know the sinless Son of Man who died for their sins. People need to see healings, they need to see the lame walking. People don’t need more of us, more of our programs or opinions. They need to know and experience Jesus. They need to know there is God that has power and sovereignty, and has partnered with his creation to carry that out.

A lot of this post is my own conviction crying out, it is my own introspective questioning. God has been changing a lot of my heart in terms of how I approach/do ministry both at church and in the workplace. And this is an amazing spot to be. It is better God disciplining and teaching me now rather then later.

My hearts cry today is very much “Lord let them know you!!”

Global Wage Comparison= I’m rich!

No I’m not a CEO, or some athlete or a movie star. I don’t live in a mansion or a house (Shout out to all the renters out there), graduated college so there are those loans. I could complain…..I could…

But I do live in the United States and have a job in IT. I knew I made decent money but today was a good reminder of how well I have it. A friend posted a link to a CNN site (here) that compares you salary to the United State’s average and the World’s average. I decided to  combine my salary with my wife’s and learned (not shockingly but very humbly) we are very well off. We are make about 300% more then the world’s average, which is $19,188 (USD) a year! God blesses me in ways I can’t imagine and in ways I just take for granted.

But what next? What is the use of knowing how you compare if you don’t do anything about it. Since the classes from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace our financial plan has been this (there are more steps in Ramsey’s plan but the main outline is this):

  1. Pay off debt
  2. Set up savings for future/retirement/children
  3. GIVE, GIVE, GIVE
  4. …and MORE GIVE, GIVE, GIVE

This just makes me want to steps 1 & 2 faster. There are people that need our help, and while we can’t care for everybody we should take care of those we can.  

I’m not perfect in this, and there are times were all I want to do is spend everything on myself. But today I have been very humbled, and very inspired.