Thursday, August 28, 2014

Concerns with the 'Trendy' Church

For the last year, I have been trying to find a new "home" church.  There were many reasons I left my last church, the main one being that I felt like God was calling me to a smaller community wherein I could have a bigger impact.  While attending these different churches over the passed year, a few concerns have arisen about the uprising "trendy" churches.

There is a growing pattern in new churches these new churches.  These are only things that I have noticed, but have weighed on me to address.

1. The lack of a bible. 

In a few of the churches that I had attended, the members of the congregation were never asked to bring their bible to church.  They were advised to spend time in it every day, but for one reason or another, the pastor didn't advise them to bring the word of God to the house of God.  Instead, I noticed that these churches were utilizing the projection screens.

Now, I do not have an issue with churches using projection screens; there are many good reasons to use them: new people may not have a bible, short films to help with a message, updates dealing with kids services, among many other things.  What troubled me most about the using of the projection screens is that the members were encouraged to use them instead of the word and that the pastor himself used them instead of a bible.  In two churches, the pastor didn't even have his bible at the pulpit!  How is a pastor supposed to lead the flock when he doesn't have his shepherds staff?

2. Use of scripture.

Also, continuing on with the lack of a bible is the amount of times the bible was quoted during the service.  In one such church, there were 2 passages quoted during the entire service (10 verses from the second chapter of 1 Peter).  These 2 passages were both quoted within 10 seconds of each other, not a problem because they were both used for the same purpose.  Where the issue arises, is that the service was not about these 2 passages, but rather these 2 passages were used to back up a story the pastor was sharing.  Personally, I want life to back up scripture, not scripture used to back up life - if that makes sense.

3. Lights!

Another concern that I found in these churches is the level of the lighting.  I come to church to learn about Christ.  I should be able to read along in my bible with the pastor, or at the very least take notes.  However, in these churches the lights were so low that I couldn't see the lines on the paper sitting in my lap!  When did church become a concert experience that focused so heavily on so called "worship" that it loses sight of our coming together, not only to worship, but also to study and learn more about our loving savior?


When dealing with things like these, which are quickly becoming the norm, I believe it is the calling of our generation, the next generation, to reclaim the devotion to God that is paramount in church.  We should be convicted to bring our bibles to church; convicted to make sure our pastors are reading from the bible, promoting the use of it in the church; using scripture more often and for the proper reasoning; convicted to make sure that church is an environment not only for the worshiping of God, but also of learning more about Him.

I am convicted to making this happen... will you join me?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Faith and Truth

Today I sinned against my best friend and more importantly, against our Father.

I am human, I am a sinner.  It is not by my own works that I will go to heaven, but because of the sacrifice that my Lord and Savior made for me 2,000 years ago.

My sin?  Well, I am sure there were many that I don't even remember - but the one that hit me hardest today was lying.  I lied to my best friend - my girlfriend.

The lie itself is not relevant.  Neither is the severity of the lie.  The only importance is that I lied.  I broke one of the commandments (I will make a post at a later date explaining the Law and the importance of it in our every day life and in our reaching lost souls.)  The lie was quickly brought to light, and my friend's feelings were hurt - rightly so.

She now wonders what else I have lied to her about? Can she continue to trust me at all?  Can she stay with me now that she has this doubt?  Valid questions deserving answers.  I cannot answer them for her.  She must make these decisions after speaking to Dad (the name I tend to call God).  He will lead her in the right path.  I can justify my reasons for lying to her... but they are excuses... I shouldn't have lied at all.  Now, as is told to us in the word of the Lord, I am reaping what I've sown.

But what about the other ramifications of this?  Yes, I have hurt my friend.  Yes, there are now unneeded issues.  But there is a deeper issue... I broke the Law... I disobeyed Dad.

We should speak truth because God requires it.  Because it is the right thing to do.  Because, using the ESV, the word "truth" is mentioned 139 times.  How important is truth, if God thought it necessary to state it 139 times?!?!?  So I pray, I repent.  But I live with the results of my actions.  I know God will forgive me, now I need to forgive myself.  I need to build that trust back with my friend.

I apologize that this post is not like my normal ones... I am using it more in the sense of a journal than a blog right now.  I will get more on track in the next one.

So let me close this with a scripture, one of many dealing with truth.  Not our truth, though... God's...

Psalm 25:5
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

I hope Dad takes care of you... I hope you listen to Him.  God bless you all!

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Fast

So a friend of mine, my best friend actually, is struggling - and decided to fast.  Because I care for them, I decided to fast with them to support them.  This is the recap of the first 24 hours of my 48 hour fast...

The point of my fasting was to focus on God.  It is to last for 48 hours and I set down a few guidelines for myself:  Focus on God. Pray whenever and for whomever I can.  Do not eat.

Since I worked a 10 hour shift today, these guidelines were rough, but I have managed to keep to them.  I prayed for random customers, I prayed for my friend, I prayed for myself, my family... anything really.  

I asked God at the start of today for a few things: to give me strength, to guide me, to speak to me, to allow me to be open to whatever He wished to teach me.

Ok, now you know what was going on in my mind.

I woke up praying. I asked God to keep me out of today.  To let my focus be on my friend and on Yahweh so that I could be a blessing to my friend.  But when my lunch break rolled around, I was still at a loss.  So I sat in my car with my journal and my bible and prayed again... "God, my loving father, please open me to your word, whatever you wish to teach me, I will listen."  And I opened my bible to James.  As you've noticed if you have followed this blog at all, is I struggle with thinking before speaking.  So why not start there? I wasn't prepared for what was to be given to me...

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Now, please tell me you got that?  Basically, for me (who is also being effected by what is happening to my friend) I saw God's promise.  That even though, there is testing right now, it will produce my faith and I will be lacking nothing in God.  Powerful stuff.

At about this time, I also noticed a song playing on the radio... "If I ever needed grace, it's now.  You are strong when I am weak, somehow..."  This song hit me.  Less for these lyrics, which I wrote down quickly to find the song, and more importantly because one of the verses dealt with my feelings of inadequacy.  It soothed my soul.

But this posting is more for my friend, who will read it at a later time.  Before they read their part in it though, I want them to know that I care for and love them dearly.  I pray every day that God blesses them as he has blessed me...

James 3:17 "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."

Read that again my friends.  When you are wondering if God has given you a feeling, a vision, a bit of wisdom... ask yourself: Does it meet this criteria?  If not, then you should question it coming from God.  But understand, just because it didn't come from our Heavenly Father, doesn't mean that He won't use it...

James 1:6b "because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."  

Do you doubt what God has given you?  Did you pray for something, my brothers and sisters, and have it delivered; but now you question it?  Trying to validate it is one thing, but do not question our Lord God.  He is true and he will not tempt you.  He even tells us that numerous times in His word.  Do you worry about what may happen in the future, even though nothing has happened yet?  James 4:14 tells us something to consider...

"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.""

Are you worrying over things that you needed waste the energy on, instead of trusting in Him who will quench your needs; the one who is our shepherd and we will not want with?

There was a lot going on today, I filled up more than 1 page of notes in my journal... Maybe someday, with permission from my friend, I will post the full scope of these.  But this is as much as I want to share before talking to them in person.  I felt that they needed to read this while they were fasting.

Please know, that God is giving me things for me too, but at the time, He answered my prayers about offering advice to you.  He shared numerous things to soothe my soul, that I will share with you, my dearest friend, when you ask.

For my readers, please expect more regular posting from me.  This post, is very weirdly written, and I understand that, they will get better.

Why should you expect more postings?  Very good reason.  I actually started seeing a beautiful woman of God.  A woman who has pulled me closer to our Creator than I ever thought possible.  A woman I love deeply.  A woman who loves me.  A woman I wish to lead to God, and a woman who wishes to lead me to Him as well.  Because of her, I have gotten my "muse" back, if you will.  And I desire to reach as many people with God's word as I can.

So, until I post again I leave you with my familiar parting:
May God bless you and keep you always!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The battle of Anger

Today I’ve been struggling with anger.  While at work, I was wronged by a coworker and when my boss confronted me about it, I became upset.  I was not given the proper method to explain myself, and when I did explain I was basically called a liar.

I went to the bar after work (I was sent home 4 hours early) and after sitting there drinking a drink for about an hour I decided to order some dinner to go and head home to read my bible and talk to God about the evening. 

There were parts of tonight’s conversations wherein I was the person in the wrong, and those have come to my attention, but this study will be more on anger and what happens when it bests us…
I opened the back of my bible and began looking for “anger.”  There were a few verses on God’s anger, but I didn’t see these pertaining to me, so I skipped them to others that I was more directed to look at.  The first group is in Proverbs.

Proverbs 14:20 (ESV) “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a
hasty temper exalts folly.”

Wow – these words hit hard and fast.  Tonight when I began defending myself because I allowed my temper to get the better of me, I couldn’t speak.  I was stuttering and unable to adequately explain the situation.  I wasn’t slow to anger.  When my boss talked to me, I immediately began to try and discern who had betrayed me.  I was no longer worried about the situation, rather, which I had to seek revenge on.   I was not slow to anger, I had a hasty temper and exalted folly.

Proverbs 15:1 (ESV) “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Once again, harsh words began to explode from my mouth and instead of turning it away – my words drew in the wrath of my boss.  I need to spend more time consciously working on using soft answers.

Proverbs 15:18 (ESV) “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets
quiets contention.”

Do you understand that?  I do.  I was so upset after the confrontation that I began to bash the coworker on Facebook.  With some harsh words I might add.  So now I had stirred up anger and with my hot temper I was stirring up strife as well.  Not being a soft spoken, contention quieting man of God that I should be.

Proverbs 16:32 (ESV) “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules  his    spirit than he who takes a city.”

Wow!  Did you see that?  This entire evening I was working to get my place back and my standing at work.  But this scripture says that by letting my anger take control and rule me, I am weak.  The exact opposite of what I was striving for…

Proverbs 27:4 (ESV) “… anger is overwhelming…”

Yeah, trust me (and most of you don’t need to, you’ve experienced it for yourself) when you let anger unleash, it overwhelms everything and you become a slave to it.

Ephesians 4:26 (ESV) “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”

This verse shows us that anger is sometimes acceptable and good.  But it follows it up that we shouldn’t let ourselves focus on it.  We should accept it, and move on, not dwelling on whatever it was that made us angry in the first place.  There are many ways to do this, but whichever way we choose, we must make sure to do it in the love of Christ, not of our own choosing.  Remember the earlier verses if you decided to discuss your anger with someone.

Colossians 3:8 (ESV) But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”

There is a time for anger, as we’ve seen.  But after a time we must move past them.  Let the anger fade.  Refuse wrath (revenge), forget malice and refuse to allow slander and obscene language to leave our mouths.  Harder than it seems, but God gives us strength to do it when we call on him.

1 Timothy 2:8 (ESV) “I desire that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.”

This is a prayer I shall pray tonight.  Will you join me?  Wouldn’t the world be wonderful if we all acted this way?

I shall now leave you with a final verse, one that is well known.  I pray for you all tonight as I pray for myself.  Good night my brothers and sister, and may God bless you and keep you!

James 1:19 (ESV) “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak slow to anger;”

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Signature of the Divine (YHWH)

This is just the video to a song that has always spoken strongly to me.  Maybe it will do the same to you!

NeedtoBreathe Signature of Divine

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Follow up to Thoughtful Consideration

2 years in the making.  The original post was in November of 2009.  You can check it out.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Update for August

Here is just a quick update as to whats going on with Vaporzone in the coming weeks.  I am hoping to do a complete overhaul soon.  This is just step 1.