Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wii Got a Problem

After Wii saw the cousins and their new Wii in action, and Wii did a little math Wii discovered that Wii could pool all our Christmas cash for the hottest toy of the season. Until Wii saw it in action, Wii were indifferent, but a few games of bowling and tennis, and Wii were hooked. Today, Wii went to look for one, and a nice elf told us that Wal-Mart had them and so now Wii have a Wii Problem.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Staff Snowball Fight

Don't send a lame Holiday eCard. Try JibJab Sendables!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Logan and the Sky Angel

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Christmas Conspiracy

The Christmas Conspiracy

It began as most conspiracies do with a high level official seeing an opportunity for a power grab. While the king was distracted with foreign affairs, he had been working hard at home. What began as a fanciful imagination had developed into a full blown plot to overthrow the king and establish his own throne. Lucifer knew he would only have one opportunity. He made his move, but the Almighty King knew his every plan He stood against him and proclaimed.

Isa. 14:12 - 15 (NKJV)
12“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13For you have said in your heart:

‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ 15Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.

In that moment of defeat Lucifer and one third of heaven’s angels were banished from the realm. But left unbound he and his conspirators hatched an evil plot to break the righteousness of God, stripping him of his very character and making him like himself. Lucifer knew that where there is great love there is great passion, and where there is great passion there is the possibility of sin. That was the weak point, that was the place where he would stage his attack.

Since creation, the Almighty specifically crafted for himself two special creatures. They were placed over all creation and enjoyed a unique and loving relationship with God. Created as perfect beings, the conspiracy would begin by coaxing them to violate God’s command. God would be enraged, He would react in anger, and sin, and Lucifer would be victorious. As conspiracies go, this was simple, but it need not be complicated, to succeed, it just needed to surprise all the players.

Lucifer waited, he waited until it seemed he could wait no more. Eve was alone.

Gen. 3:1- 7 (NKJV)
1Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

2And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

4Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

The trap was set. That evening when God came down to walk with man, he would find him in sin, and enraged would violate his nature and forfeit his place as Almighty God. Lucifer, was so proud of his plan. Even if it failed to cause God to sin, this was a blow that would resonate for centuries as now God has to deal with a sinful man. It happened just as Lucifer expected. That evening God arrived but rather than lose his temper, his justice came through as he began to hand down punishments commiserate to the crime.

Gen. 3:14 - 15 (NKJV)
14So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go,

And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. 15And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head,

And you shall bruise His heel.”

And so the stage was set. On one side was Lucifer, and his legions of fallen angels, and on the other side was man, now separated from God but with the promise of a future seed that will be his end. At this moment Lucifer knew that everything must be done to stop the fulfillment of the prophecy, the birth of the Christ.

The first clue was that the redeemer would be the son of man. God would not redeem man himself, nor would he employ His angels. He would redeem man through the son of man, but not a fallen man, no it must be a perfect sinless man, a God-man. From that moment on Lucifer became a student of man. In order to win, he must be sure that every man is a sinner. It is by this that he became known as the father of lies.

Time does not permit us to tell the tales of the great battle for the souls of men that was waged throughout the course of time. Such as God’s promise to Abraham, and Lucifer’s near victory in Egypt, or God’s prophecy that the redeemer would be of the house and lineage of David.
Isa. 11:1 (NKJV)
1There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

Like pieces of the puzzle, a picture was beginning to form. Lucifer laughed out loud when God kept giving away strategic ground. Like when he narrowed it down to the Children of Israel. Satan no longer had to stretch his troops thin he could focus his attention on Israel, Now the Tribe of Judah. It seemed too easy. A big break came when word got to Lucifer that the child would be virgin born.

It happened that Lucifer was victorious in dividing the tribes of Israel into two factions. One group of ten known by the name Ephriam, and the other two, the tribe of Benjamin and Judah, known simply as Judah.
Isa. 7:1-14 (NKJV)
1Now it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to make war against it, but could not prevail against it. 2And it was told to the house of David, saying, “Syria’s forces are deployed in Ephraim.” So his heart and the heart of his people were moved as the trees of the woods are moved with the wind.

3Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-Jashub your son, at the end of the aqueduct from the upper pool, on the highway to the Fuller’s Field, 4and say to him: ‘Take heed, and be quiet; do not fear or be fainthearted for these two stubs of smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and the son of Remaliah. 5Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah have plotted evil against you, saying, 6“Let us go up against Judah and trouble it, and let us make a gap in its wall for ourselves, and set a king over them, the son of Tabel”—7thus says the Lord GOD:

“It shall not stand, Nor shall it come to pass. 8For the head of Syria is Damascus,

And the head of Damascus is Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be broken,

So that it will not be a people. 9The head of Ephraim is Samaria, And the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If you will not believe, Surely you shall not be established.”’” 10Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11“Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.”

12But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!”

13Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? 14Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Though Satan lost the battle to defeat Judah, he gained a great bit of intelligence. That the Son of Man, the redeemer would be born of a virgin and would be Immanuel - God with us! Now it made sense. God the Son would come to earth in the weakness of man, to redeem sinful man. But when, and more importantly where? Lucifer knew that if he was going to thwart the redemption of man that he must stop the incarnation of God.

The answer to where the great battle would take place came when the prophet Micah spoke.
Mic. 5:2 – 5a (NKJV)
2“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,

Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.” 3Therefore He shall give them up,

Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; Then the remnant of His brethren Shall return to the children of Israel. 4And He shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the Lord, In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God; And they shall abide, For now He shall be great To the ends of the earth; 5And this One shall be peace.

The battle raged on for centuries. Lucifer’s victory when Israel was captured by Babylon in 605 BC. His greatest chance for victory lay in the fact that conquered nations cease to exist and are absorbed by the victors. All he had to do was to see that all the Children of Israel and namely the tribe of Judah were effectively anything other than purely Jewish.

In 444 BC however, Israel had remained a nation without a country, but intact as a race of people. Nehemiah appears on the scene and through the power of the king of Persia, returns to rebuild Jerusalem. No doubt Lucifer did all that he could to disrupt this but in the end he failed.

The Last words of the Old Testament teach us that prior to the 400 years of silence, like our modern day Patten. God spoke these words.

Mal. 4:1 - 2a (NKJV)
1“For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the Lord of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch. 2But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings;

We know little if anything of what transpired during the 400 silent years between Testaments. As if the calm before the storm, both armies busy readying themselves for battle. Building up armies and beating plow shears into swords. Strategies were played out, when the first indication came. By calculating time from Daniel’s prophecy.

seven units of seven, and sixty-two units of seven” ; i.e., 49 years, and 434 years respectively. The time of the great battle was at hand. After having been silent for 400 years Israel once again was rejoicing with the news that God had spoken to a prophet. Could this be the one. Reports said

Luke 1:5 - 17 (NKJV)
5There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.

8So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, 9according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. 11Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

13But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

This was definitely it. The forerunner prophesied by Malachi

Mal. 4:5 - 6 (NKJV)
5Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 6And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

Lucifer sprang into action. All eyes on Zacharias and Elizabeth. In the mean time the angel Gabriel had appeared to the virgin Mary and announced to her that she would conceive of the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Messiah. Immediately she was to go to her relative Elizabeth’s house where she would receive confirmation in the miracle of Elizabeth being 6 months pregnant in her old age.

Luke 1:39 - 45 (NKJV)
39Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

Mary was the one, the chosen vessel of God to bring forth Immanuel, Lucifer knew it. He did everything that he could to undermine God’s plan, but it was taking place faster than he could react. His only hope was to frustrate the prophecies. To somehow force God to change course and thus fail to keep his word. Joseph was option number 1. Perhaps as a just man, Joseph would take revenge on Mary, or would invoke his rights to have her put to death. But Lucifer underestimated Joseph’s love for and faith in Mary.

Matt. 1:18 - 21 (NKJV)
18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Bethlehem was his final option. Every prophecy had been magnificently fulfilled to this point. Amazingly, Lucifer was down to his last best hope. If he could stop Mary and Joseph from traveling from Galilee in the North to the little town of Bethlehem in the South he would force a violation of the prophecy of Micah. Then the decree went out.

Luke 2:1 - 4 (NKJV)
1And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David

Lucifer knew this area well. These were the same fields where David had grown up tending his father’s sheep. Not too far from here his Champion Goliath was beaten. He knew that the terrain was rough, a hard ride for an expectant mother. He knew the town was small, and that his best hopes were to crowd them out of the city. Perhaps, if all went according to plan that he could fill the city and force them to go 5 miles north to the next exit, the city of Jerusalem.

His plan was working perfectly. The town was teeming with people. During the day before Joseph and Mary’s arrival the small narrow streets of the city were wall to wall with people scrambling to find food, and a quiet place to rest while awaiting their turn to be registered.

Lucifer’s minions had failed to use the rocky terrain and the cold winter climate to keep them from arriving. It seemed that every crook and thief had left their place of ambush for the warmth of the city. Mary and Joseph would make it to Bethlehem but would they stay.

“It was time” Mary told Joseph. The time to be delivered was now. Joseph scrambled for a room, but there was none. Lucifer grinned with glee as he knew that Joseph would be forced to leave the city for the sake of the health of the child. Then it happened. The inn Keeper took pity on them, and made available the stable. Stable we call it, it was more akin to a cave. In truth it was a dark, damp hole in the side of the rocks where the animals could escape the bitter winter winds.

Luke 2:6 - 7 (NKJV)
6So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.


Luke 2:8 - 11 (NKJV)
8Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Lucifer had been defeated. A battle that had raged since before the beginning of time. A battle that had seen much blood shed, that had seen the rise and fall of the nation of Israel, the Almighty had won, the Redeemer was born. Words escape me to describe the greatness of the victory of Christ’s birth. Without it, man would be forever dammed to eternity in hell and Satan would be victorious.
Luke 2:13 - 14 (NKJV)
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

What is the conspiracy of Christmas? I will tell you. The conspiracy of Christmas is that it was anything but a silent night. It was one of the most tumultuous battles of all time as Lucifer and all the demons of Hell fought the coming of the Redeemer, the birth of the Savior, Christ the Lord.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dose of Disney

here is a link to a time lapse video of the Ginger Bread House at the Grand Floridian under Construction.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Real Reason

Conspiracy theorists everywhere now agree that the recent scrubbing of the NASA launch of the space Shuttle Atlantis was not sensors as widely purported, but an obvious attack by giant alien spiders.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Saturday Night Trip to the ATM

Tonight we are having a special "preview" of our upcoming Saturday night Current Worship Service. I am not sure what to expect other than the unexpected. The festivities begin at 6:30 and I have been working hard to keep myself busy since 3 p.m. I have heard from many of our people that are excited about the new service and are looking forward to being able to attend worship again. It is amazing how many people in our area have to work Sundays and we are excited to be able to offer a new service. Someone likened it to doing church on banker's hours in an ATM culture. So if you are not doing anything tonight, come make a deposit or withdrawal depending on your personal need.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Ask Seek Knock

I got an email this morning from a guy nammed Luke. He had some difficult passages that he wanted answers to, and I believe he really is sincerely seeking. Pray with me for Him that God will touch Luke's life in a big way. I will give you his questions followed by my response to him.

Luke’s Questions: I have read passages in the bible which do not represent God’s infinite love and forgiveness.

Exodus 35:2
Deuteronomy 21:18-21
Leviticus 20:13

Plus there are many passages condoning slavery?

My Reply:

Dear Luke,

First let me commend you on your sincere and open take on the subject of understanding God and His word. I have been a pastor for 15 years and Istill come across passages in the Bible that I struggle to understand. That is where faith is essential and knowing that God is just and fair even when we may not see it.

As for slavery, there are two things that will help you.

1. Slavery was a way of life and part of every culture in biblical times. Though this does not make it right, as in the case of Israel's slavery in Egypt. The fact that it appears in the Bible does not indicate that God condones such slavery, but that He addresses the needs of the people in that culture. It would be like God giving instruction to drug addicts. He is not encouraging addiction, but how they ought to deal with their plight.

2. Not all slaves were slaves in the sense that we know it. According to Jewish law, those who had declared bankruptcy would become a slave until they had paid their debts. There was a strict limit to servetude of just 7 years when all jewish slaves had to be freed and every 50 years every debt was forgiven. In a lot of ways this was a simpler way of dealing with people who couldnot handle their bills. By being taken in as a servant, they were housed, fed, and trained in a skill. Also, at any time, a family member could redeem, or buy their freedom.

By this, we see that the Bible is very relevant to issues of its day. Not in a sense of condoning it, but in the sense that it helps people deal with real life issues.

Next, Let's address your specific passages.

Exodus 35:1 - 2 (NKJV)
1Then Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said to them, “These are the words which the Lord has commanded you to do: 2Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.

This is probably one of the most difficult passages for us to deal with in our modern context. How does a God who claims to be all loving set in place a law that in our opinion seems to be self serving and oppressive. What we must accept is that God is God. For man to seek honor is wrong, but for God it is not only correct but natural. It is also important that this law was part of the Ten Commandments and was modeled for us in Creation. Where you and I struggle with this is that we feel that the punishment does not seem to fit the crime. We feel that if someone works on the Sabbath they should maybe be punished by being forced to donate all their earnings to charity or something. This mindset I believe stems from lesser view of God. What I mean by that is that we have ignored God for so long that it is hard for even believers to think of God as so reverent that to work on the Sabbath as a crime worthy of death. I think you would agree that God is deserving of all our worship, and that it is wrong for us to worship our paycheck, but I don't think we have a perfect understanding of the extent. remember that the law of the Old testament was given to man in order to set the standard of perfection that only Christ could meet. Yes we fail, But Christ came to save us who were under the law and to give us grace.
Let me boil it down as far as I see it. This law existed because 1. It was right for Israel to set aside one day to worship God. 2. God is infinitely deserving of all our praise. 3. to worship work over God is idolatry and worthy of capital punishment. 4. However Jesus came to free us from the law of sin and death, and the Old Testament serves just as an example of a law that was impossible for sinful man to keep.

Deuteronomy 21:18 - 21 (NKJV)
18“If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, 19then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. 20And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.

A few safe guards are put into place here. First both parents would have to agree that this was the last resort. Second they would still be required to prove it before the elders (Court) of the city. Again it seems harsh, that the punishment does not fit the crime, but in that society it was extreme provision for keeping order. Wednesday of this week a troubled teen took the lives of 8 people in the mall of Omaha Nebraska. He had many emotional issues but one of the recurring themes on the news is how his father kept asking the police to put his son in Jail. It was as if he knew his son was capable of doing such a crime, but our system had no way of dealing with him. I am not making the argument that we need to change to the Old Testament way of killing the potential villains. I just point to this as a case where this would in fact have saved lives. It is important to understand that the middle east practiced preventative measures rather than punitive. What I mean by that is that without forensics and modern police work, they relied on severe punishment as a deterrent.

Leviticus 20:13 (NKJV)
13If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

This is obviously much more of a sensitive question and seems to be a much debated topic today. I think that it would be wrong to pluck this verse from its context and not admit that the same penalty existed for those who commit adultery and incest. Again I will remind you that the law existed as a standard of God's view of perfection. God's ideal is that a man and a woman marry for life. this is seen in the bible in that he created Adam and Eve, but also naturally as that is how children come about. To put it in the context of that day, it is important to remember that many of the ceremonial laws of the Jews existed to prevent diseases from becoming pandemic. Today it is hard to understand with our modern refrigeration and preservatives as well as health standards, but the risk was so great that they were even forbidden from eating pork which spoils quickly. Now bring that to sexuality and in a very practical sense it was important for the health of the nation that there be very stringent laws on personal morality. Imagine not being able to treat sexually transmitted diseases. Not long and the nation would be extinct. Take AIDS as an example. Personally it is hard for me to believe that it just came about in the last century. It very well may be the reason some tribes and people groups died off long ago. If sexuality was in Israel as it is today, and there were so many people who were not monogamous, it is very likely that a disease such as AIDS or other dangerous STD's would decimate the nation. Again, I think it to be extreme, but we must put it into their context. Their very lives depended upon it, as did the future of their nation.

I believe that makes one a Christian is not arriving in the place where you have all the answers but arriving in a place where you are faithfully believing while you still have questions. Jesus told us to ask, seek and knock, and the Bible is full of godly men asking sincere questions. I have enjoyed responding to your email and please let me know if you have any more questions.

God bless,

Hanukkah Ham

You can't make these things up. Happy Hanukkah

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Soul Winning

· I grew up in a tradition of soul winners. We would go soul winning every Thursday night and Saturday. Sometimes we would go and stand in front of the movie theater and pass out pamphlets, or at the entrance to the mall. We had training on all the proper techniques and proven formulas for converting everyone from atheists to Catholics to faith in Christ alone.
· Some would come back with stories of doors slammed in our faces, or tracts crumpled and tossed at our feet. We were taught that some would reject God’s plan of salvation and they rejected Christ after all.
· Some were really good at it. Once, I was with a preacher who had a couple praying to receive Christ before I knew what was going on.
· I was never too good at it, Oh, I had a few, but in reality I have always been ashamed at my win/loss percentage. Maybe by sheer determination, I could make some converts, but I have never felt comfortable with the idea of selling Jesus like a door to door vacuum salesman. You come in throw some dirt around, show how their vacuum does not fully cleanse, but how ours can make you whiter than snow.
· I never liked the debate either. As if I could by my power of persuasion convince people to accept Christ. I wish there was a better way. One where I did not feel pressured to “win” people to Christ, one where I did not feel like I had to pressure people into making a spiritual decision, and hoping that they stick with it.
· I believe that the frustration of the church today is that we are adopting the world’s system of conversion. We are trying to spread the good news by army and argument. We teach our kids to sing “I’m in the Lord’s Army” and send out the troops to make disciples. And they come back wounded from the fight, discouraged from the failures of making people become disciples of Christ.
· I wonder if somewhere in this process of sharing our faith that we have taken the good news of Salvation through faith in Christ and are using the world’s system for conversion to spread it. Like broadcasting TV signals from a Radio tower, our message is not getting across because the methods we choose are the system of the world.
· Man’s system is to convert by conquering, whether it be the ancient Babylonians or the modern Islamist, the sword is awfully effective in getting people to adopt religious systems.
· Christianity is better than that you say. Yes there were the crusades, but we are more civilized than that now. We convert through superior argument. We go out to win them over by pointing out the shortcomings of their faith and leading them to Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life.
· When did we adopt this mindset that we are to be soul winners? That it is our Great Commission to make disciples by conquest and convincing. Is it not the Holy Spirit of god that does the winning? Is it really our place to make converts? When did we begin to equate witnessing with winning? Are we commanded to argue people to Christ or tell what great things God has done for us?
· These are the questions that we will wrestle with this coming weekend.
· Don’t forget, we will be having three services this weekend.
o Saturday 6:30 p.m. – Current Style Worship Service
o Sunday 8:15 a.m. – Classic Style Worship Service
o Sunday 10:45 a.m. – Contemporary Style Worship Service

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Road Runners Beware!

Last week I spotted a Coyote taking a nap along US 27 just north of Ronald Reagan PKWY, and had a few good conversations at the barber shop about it. I have heard that they were around but for the last 5 years, I never spotted one, and now it was taking an awfully long nap. This morning while leaving the house about 6:50 I spotted another as I was leaving the subdivision. I stopped the car to get my camera phone, but he slowly turned and trotted off into the pines. The Ledger does have an article about them here. I guess this will be news to some of you, and not so much to others but it does explain why the Four Corners Charter School Mascot is none other than the Coyote.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Christmas Under Repair

This Christmas it seems that we will be fixing things that we got previous Christmas seasons. I guess that goes to show that the more stuff you have, the more stuff has you. Right now, we are down an I-pod, a TV, a Car stereo, a laptop, and a diamond ring. I don't know how the French hens are doing but the turtle doves have also flown the coop. It has been quite an experience around here as out family huddles around the 9" TV to watch football. I will say that it has brought our family a lot closer, but closer aint always so nice. I am also struggling to type on a full size keyboard and sermon prep will be difficult without my trusty laptop. The Geeks said it will be ready on Christmas Day. It was obvious that Santa needs to train more Elves in electronics. The good news is that when someone broke into our cars on Saturday night, they had nothing to steal. I joked a bit about them leaving us a sympathy note, but it was obvious that they were looking for ipods or CDs. I should take my busted ipod and set a trap for them.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Joel Osteen's Most Unfortunate Compliment

Due to the same first name, I am often compared to Joel. I have mixed feeling about him, and have friends I highly respect who have met with him and spoke well of him. Today he is in Orlando and the Orlando Sentinel has an article on him here.
The point of the article is to point out that Joel does not take salary from his church, and that he drives an older car than I. However in the midst of the praises the article says "His books are filled with lots of exclamation points, but the word Jesus rarely appears."
This is always the problem with Joel's politically correct ministry. Joel does give the plan of salvation in some of his messages but I do wish that he would firm up his message and preach more of the cross from his worldwide platform.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dose of Disney

John Pinette - Disney in August

Monday, November 26, 2007

Those Crazy Classics

Not only did we have a record crowd attending our classic service, but we also had quite an exciting time. The excitement came just minutes into my message when people began raising their hands and then waving them about. This is the kind of stuff that gets a pastor excited so I started preaching harder, soon it seemed that the Holy Ghost had attacked the entire back row, which is something when you consider that those are the "back-row" baptists. However, the excitement subsided when it was discovered that the excitement had nothing to do with my message but a guest wasp that seemed to enjoy buzzing the crowd. Like a flash Greg Nelson grabbed the ever handy fly swatter (we do meet in an elementary school lunch room you know) and took it out with only one civilian casualty (Sorry Marv). The buzz now is that I am planning to bring a whole swarm of bees to next weeks Classic service!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Philosophy of Football

The Dolphins are stuck in a tuna net, the Hurricanes blew it, the Gators got swamped, I have reservations about the Seminoles, and USF turned out to be a bunch of bulls. So who does the desperate Florida football fan cheer for during the holidays? It is a question that has troubled me for many days, and there are two things that you can do to have some hope of feeling like a winner. 1. Cheer for Cinderella - my pick this year is for Kentucky. Now I have no affinity for KU or their conference, but by cheering for some team in your conference, you end up cheering for rivals, and that makes absolutely no sense. So I picked Kansas as a Cinderella and if they lose on Saturday, I can just pick a new Cinderella. 2. Cheer for a dream - similar to the Cinderella, this is done by picking a team with a good chance of winning maybe even a favorite. This year my pick will be Brett Favre. It is just fun to cheer for the elderly, and in football years Brett is in his 80's.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Me being Thankful

Here is my new neice Pressley happiy asleep in my arms. Now that I think about it I have an uncanny ability to put people to sleep. Maybe it is my spiritual gift! My dad is out in the yard playing catch with Andrew and Mom is hard at work in the kitchen while Justin tries to keep up with her by eating everything she is making. Amy is enjoying the falling leaves, and Abby is working on her babysitting technique.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


So my brother Justin had a link to the Myers Briggs Personality test over at his new blog, and it has provided hours of fun for our family as we look at the deeper confines of our family tree. I happen to be an ENTJ for anyone who cares, it is in the rational quadrant and others who share my personality traits are the likes of Bill Gates, Margaret Thatcher and Napoleon (Not Dynamite). It suggests my occupation traits tend to be CEO. Others on the list of rationals include some of my heroes such as Abe Lincoln and Walt Disney. You can take the test for yourself here.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Okay, so I am beginning to become a Huckster or whatever a Huckabee supporter will be know as.

Thanksgiving Potpurri

  • GREAT FALL - We had a record day yesterday at church with the highest fall attendance on record. The best I can tell is that we are quickly filling up the space created by adding the Classic service, and Saturday night services will make some much needed room for the Spring.
  • "I Say dear Holmes" That iTunes U has some smashing freebies out there if you like to listen to non copy written literature including many of the classics. Let's just say Sherlock is genius, dear boy, sheer genius. And a right smart traveling companion as well.
  • I had the joy of trying to translate the idea of Thanskgiving to our guests from France yesterday. In hindsight "pilgrim" was probably a bad choice of words, but I thought it funny that they refer to themselves as "strangers" as the best translation of tourist they knew. What a great example they are for us, that even though they don't know the songs, and barely understand the message that they come and worship God with us both on Sundays and Wednesdays. - I love it!
  • I'm Bummed about Jeff and Heather moving, I love those two, and it was an honor for their life together to begin at Cornerstone, and to be so intertwined with ours. They are so awesome and will do amazing things for God in Arizona, or KC wherever they land.
  • Missed Gabe yesterday, the teams did a good job and both Ray (Classic) and Michael (Contemporary) did a great job. I do however look forward to Gabe being back this Sunday.
  • I forgot to line up my fantasy football team yesterday, but they were able to once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
  • I cant wait to hold my new niece "Pressley" She is now 8 weeks old and I am sure that she has her mom's good looks and her dad's brains.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Lost Dog

I got a myspace friend request from this lost dog. Apparently she went missing near Bimini Bay along US 27. Shoot me an email if she looks familiar.

Open Source Education

Wednesday at our Reproducing Churches meeting, we had a great discussion about how continuing education will morph to meet today's ministry needs. Some of the discussion centered on the fact that "formal" education gives way to "practical" application as many would rather audit classes on specific areas of need, rather than go through heavy programs in order to earn degrees. One thing that Jason Dukes brought up is that now through iTunes you can receive a full MIT education. After looking at it today, there is a great amount of content and lectures available for free. You can even take classes on Business from Duke University. Now, you wont get the full experience including the golden diploma, but who could pass up a Duke education for free. No longer should anyone waste their commute or workout time. It is my hope that more Christian Universities will jump onto this great opportunity to train believers for ministry.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This Sunday's Intro Video

Disney's Dust

I know many of you cast members are glad that you work at Disney World and not Disney Land, and I am sure this NEVER happens here.


Speaking of vandalism, there's been a growing list of incidents perpetrated on attractions at Disneyland that are not only illegal but that are increasingly, well... let's just say disturbing.

The big problem isn't graffiti or hot-to-trot teens in a back row, it's park visitors smuggling in the cremated remains of their loved ones and then spreading the ashes inside a favorite attraction. The Haunted Mansion is by far the most popular location for this, but you'd be surprised where else people are dumping cremated remains at Disneyland.

The craze seems to have gotten its start at the Haunted Mansion, with the earliest known incident taking place in the late 1990's. Ever since then the practice becomes more popular by the year, and it happens so frequently now that Disneyland has trained the ride operators how to handle such an incident and what to do when remains are discovered inside the attraction. Sometimes the person spreading the ashes is seen on the surveillance cameras and the Cast Members can respond quickly.

Because they have been instructed by the Security and Legal departments to never actually detain a park visitor, most of the perpetrators spreading the ashes are never actually caught however, and they disappear into the park. But when a Haunted Mansion Cast Member sees ashes being spread from a passing Doom Buggy, the attraction is cycled out and shut down for hours at a time while the Custodial department comes in and begins the clean up. The Anaheim Police are also involved in the incident, but there's rarely anything they can do about it either.

Sometimes however the cremated ashes aren't found until the end of the night when the Cast Members close down the rides and walk the tracks looking for lost and found. Just last month that situation occurred when a Cast Member at the Haunted Mansion found several piles and a trail of ashes alongside the ride track. The Anaheim Police and Disneyland Security were summoned, and judging by the large amount of ashes this deposit was likely a small group of deceased people, or perhaps a very large married couple. The police identified the substance as human remains, and the custodial crew came in for the clean up.

To respond to this growing problem, Disneyland's custodial department recently had to purchase special vacuums with very sophisticated HEPA filters that can capture the gritty ash of human remains while also capturing the small bone fragments that can also be present after cremation. The Cast Members who work in Attractions know the code words when calling the custodial hotline, and they tell the custodial dispatcher that they need a "HEPA Cleanup" as soon as possible.

While the rate of "HEPA Cleanups" has been increasing lately at the Haunted Mansion, the recent Pirates of the Caribbean movie craze (with its supernatural plot themes) means that ride isn't immune either. Just this past Friday a Cast Member watching the security cameras noticed a woman in the back of a boat throwing a powdery substance into the lavishly decorated sets in the cavern scenes near the beginning of the ride. Even though Pirates is a 15 minute long ride, by the time the lady spreading the substance returned to the loading area Security had yet to arrive.

The college age Cast Members operating the attraction knew that legally they were not supposed to detain anyone, and when they confronted her about what she was doing in the cameras she told them she was only throwing baby powder around. The woman quickly disappeared out the exit, never to be seen again, but she'd actually left more than baby powder all over the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Security and the police finally arrived, and the ride was shut down on a busy afternoon of a holiday weekend. The ash was identified by the Anaheim Police as cremated remains, and the custodial department found most of it all over the "Captain's Quarters" scene in the caverns. The woman had done a very thorough job of spreading the ash everywhere though, and after an hour of cleaning with the HEPA vacuums there was still work to be done.

Because those lavish sets are maintained by costumers and maintenance crews that don't come in until Midnight, and with a growing crowd of cranky tourists outside wanting to know when Pirates would reopen, Disneyland management was faced with the decision of reopening the popular ride with ash remaining on the bedspreads, props and antiques in the caverns.

While custodial did a thorough job of cleaning the ash from the rockwork and the areas closest to the passing boats, much of the cremated remains would have to stay there until the set could be dismantled and cleaned completely after the park closed for the night. So after a lengthy downtime, Pirates of the Caribbean was reopened by management with the remains of a very devoted fan still spread through much of the Captains Quarters.

The growing phenomenon of cremated remains being spread inside Disneyland rides is obviously a tough situation for the park. It has trained its ride operators to try and respond as effectively as possible, and yet there's not much else they can legally do about it short of staffing a police officer at the Haunted Mansion every day. The example just this last weekend at Pirates of the Caribbean however shows that no ride is really immune. And many attractions at Disneyland still operate with no security cameras at all. The Matterhorn only has three grainy cameras that cover the lift up the mountain, with the rest of the bobsled run entirely unseen. If Uncle Bert was a big Matterhorn fan, he may have been sprinkled inside without anyone knowing.

It's a Small World is another long, fifteen minute ride that doesn't have a single security camera anywhere. All sorts of illicit things happen inside Small World at the end of the night, and leaving Grandma's remains in there to listen to that catchy song for all eternity is definitely a possibility. Disneyland installed a security camera years ago inside the Snow White ride to catch people trying to steal the apple from the witch's hand, but there are still many popular attractions without any surveillance system where illegal dumping of human ashes is still an option.

The residue is often found at the end of the night however, and most of the people who carry out a last request by spreading a loved one's remains at The Happiest Place On Earth likely don't know the less-than-reverential end they meet at the hands of the ultra-efficient Disneyland Custodial Department.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tooth Fairy

Well, I'm no tooth fairy, nor much of a dentist, but I did get this one out for Andrew. I think he looks quite handsome, don't you?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Boom Goes the Dynamite

This is how just about every pastor feels on any given Sunday.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Counting Blessings

I thought I would take a moment and count a few blessings publicly...

1. I am so thankful for God and His word.
( I know pastorally it is what you expect at the top of the list, but I am sincere here.)
2. My wife and kids - They are so awesome and I literally enjoy every minute with them. (Not everyone can say that)
3. My ministry friends I have a wonderful support group of guys that I learn and grow with and who will not only pray for me but pray with me.
4. The Cornerstone Staff - Gabe and I were talking this morning about how perfectly God has built our leadership team. The funny thing is that we all enjoy each other and the ministry we do.
5. Our church - Man what a great body of believers, You guys are awesome and I am constantly blown away by you.
6. Bible Fellowship hit a record high last week without even trying. It is a testament to the individual leadership and the organizational changes we made over the summer.
7. Trunk or Treat - I said it before and I will say it again, you guys knocked it out of the park!
8. Church growth - I am so glad to see how God has grown our church in just one year. Every once and while I like to back us up to the door frame and say, wow your growing like a weed.
9. Hope - Over the last few weeks as we have studied the idea of hope, I am so glad to have a positive outlook on the direction that God is leading us as a church.
Amendment I
10. All those who I left off the first list who have now emailed me, including my mother in law, my sister and especially you!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Trunk or Treat Photos

Terry just sent me the first batch of photos from the Trunk or treat. Here is the link. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Daylight waiting time

Daylight savings time is an extra hour of sleep for most people, but for me it is an extra hour of waiting for church to start. I know I can spend more time in prayer and look over my sermon a few more times. but it is 5:30 and I have already done all that and still have 3 hours to wait before church. I love our church and am so excited about what God is doing here at Cornerstone. I am praying for you today, that God will do a great work in your heart and life as we give hope to the hopeless!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Time Change

Don't forget to set your alarms for 2:00 a.m. tomorrow morning in order to fall back. If not you will be one hour early for church :) All that being said, I would love to have some company if you want to come early.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What a Treat!

We had a great night at our Trunk or Treat tonight. Over 300 came out and 40 families asked to receive more information about the church. I was so proud of our church folks, and the tremendous effort that they put forth to serve the community. We doubled the amount of volunteers this year and Rene Lowe and the team from Domino's was tremendous! I will do my best to post pictures as soon as they come in. FYI I dressed as Charlie Brown and covered my car with an orange drape with a green stem as the Great Pumpkin.


I have a confession to make. Until 12 hours before our Trunk or Treat, I had no idea what I was going to dress up as. I announced Sunday that I was going to decorate my car as a ghost, and had thoughts of being a ghostbuster, but this morning I got a new idea and am now ready to go. I am so pumped about the event tonight. We will be on rain or shine, and you will have to wait and see my new idea. For some Halloween reading check out this previous post.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Give Hope

This year we will be receiving a Christmas Offering that I am very excited about. Our offering will be going to the students of the Hope Center in Nairobi Kenya. If we are able to reach our goal we will be able to provide shoes and sweaters for every student. World Hope has a wonderful ministry of providing for the entire child in one of the world's poorest areas. We will have more information to follow, but below is a statement from our I GIVE HOPE PROJECT website.

Through the "I Give Hope" project you have the opportunity to provide a pair of shoes and a sweater to the students of Hope Academy. In Nairobi's Kawangware slum, crime, malnutrition, air and water borne diseases, drug abuse, and poor sanitation are endemic. Located at Hope Center, Hope Academy provides education and food for 412 children, often the only schooling or decent meals the children may ever receive. With every donation of $10 you receive a "I Give Hope" wristband and the knowledge that you have given hope to some of the world's neediest children.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Trunk or Treat

Today we delivered 3,000+ invitations to Trunk or Treat event. It is our hope that the children of Four Corners will have a safe and fun place to do their trick or treating. Let me ask you to pray for us as we prepare for this great event.

1. Pray for good weather. Tropical Storm Noel is threatening.
2. Pray for good turn out. We want to adequately serve everyone who attends. Pray for consistent turn out throughout the evening.
3. Pray for future opportunities. This event is just one in an overall determination for our church to serve the families of our community. Pray that the relationships that are established on Wednesday will continue for years to come.

We are asking all of our volunteers to be in place by 5:45 p.m. and be ready to distribute their candy by 6:00 p.m. For our guests all parking will be in the parking lot to the immediate left, and there will be attendants to help you.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Name Change at Disney's MGM

The Orlando Sentinel has an article out today announcing that Disney will change the name of the MGM park beginning January 2008. You can read the article here.

I must admit that MGM could use a better moniker, logo, and persona, but the decision to call it "Disney's Hollywood Studios" is a bit insulting to me. I realize that Disney Land is in LA and Hollywood is the Mecca for everything movie, but as a resident and supporter of the Orlando park, I want it to be called "Disney's Orlando Studio" or "Disney Studios."

The people of Central Florida have invested billions into Disney and making it a partnership bringing movies to be shot here, and giving huge tax incentives to the movie industry.

I feel like a guy who got married only to find out that his new wife wants to change her name to that of her old boyfriend. I am sorry Disney, and Michael O'Grattan, you got this one wrong.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

World's Laziest Mom

Been very busy with some cool stuff that I will post on later, but thought this might encourage you to exercise a bit when you have no other options.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Celebration High School Bus Crash Heroes

40 Students were on the bus when the driver had a seizure.
Story Here

Weather Whiners (Brad Stine)

I really thought this was a great video for the first cool Friday of the fall. It has to be in the low 70's here. Brrr...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Stranger Danger

Our church is crazy about keeping kids safe. I think we are the only church in the area who requires secure check in with photo ID for our kid's zone so it was disturbing last night as church got out that one of our members approached my wife about a strange man sitting in a car watching the kids. We take security seriously, and he told her that he would not leave until the guy left and everything was okay. The only problem was that the guy did not leave. He just sat there with his car running the lights on and staring back towards the building. Needless to say this was a job for the senior pastor. The only problem with that is that he was the stranger who was sitting in the car watching the kids. Like a spider caught in my own web, I was the stranger danger. I was waiting to follow a family home for a meeting with them after church, but to everyone else, I was just stranger danger. I thank God for a church who cares enough about our kids to put their safety on the top of the list of priorities. That is one reason I am so looking forward to this year's trunk or treat. It is just one more opportunity for us to provide a safe place for kids to have fun and learn about God. This year we are sending 3,000 invitations at all three elementary and middle schools. I hope you have lots of candy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Posner takes the lead

The Posner development is fast approaching full throttle and it is encouraging to dream of the possibility of driving 5 minutes to Target instead of the 35 we do now. Also a second building, perhaps the Best Buy is almost closed in and just this weekend a sign for a new Staples went up. Sue King and I are ecstatic about that, because office supplies are hard to come by around here, and it will be nice not to have to drive to Lakeland or Clermont to buy paper! The Orlando Sentinel also has a good article about the future development of Four Corners for those of you who need to stay up to date with development. You can find it here.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My Tribe

I got a chance to hang out with my tribe yesterday in St. Pete. Joe Murray, our church planter in Harmony picked me up and we rode together. I am so excited about what God is doing through Joe. It was just 3 years or so ago that we met, and we have become fast friends. We were able to have a part in him starting the First Baptist Church of Harmony and things are really cranking for them. Last Sunday they had 216 in attendance and have several who are ready to be baptized. As Joe is now up and self supporting we will be turning our resources toward starting a church in Tallahassee. This will be an urban ministry in partnership with the Conference on Evangelizing Black America. Sterling Young will be the pastor of the church and he is as sharp as they come. I am looking forward to seeing what God is going to do through Capital City Baptist Church. I also had the opportunity to talk a bit with Dave Janney who is the pastor at Orlando Baptist and heads up our mission focus for World Hope. I look forward to getting to network more with Orlando Baptist and work together through World Hope to see Cornerstone more involved in missions.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Pressley Chapman

I think she looks like her daddy!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Uncle Joel

On a personal note, I became an uncle again yesterday. My youngest sister Jessica gave birth to little Pressley Chapman at 7 pounds 5 ounces and has a full head of brown/auburn hair. I am still waiting on some pictures from them but I know many of you were praying for her. I will definitely post some pictures for you here ASAP.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Church News

We usually don't use this blog for internal news, but I wanted everyone to pray for Suzie Holland and Maureen Wray as they were in a car accident on US 27 after church today. Mo has a few cracked ribs, and Suzie had stitches in two places and a chipped knee cap, but both are going to be fine. Please pray for the driver of the other car who was thrown from the vehicle and may not survive. Suzie's car is most likely totaled and they will need much prayer as they deal with the trama of such an event. We thank God for His protection . - Joel

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Bono on Worship Music

My fellow blogger and pastor Bob Franquiz has this great quote from U2's Bono.

“All music is worship. It could be worship of self, of women, of God, but it’s all worship."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Of life and Roller Coasters

What is your favorite part of the roller coaster experience. Most of us enjoy the entire ride, except for the sudden jolt of the stop at the end which we can make a metaphor for death. But before you continue reading ponder your favorite part. Here are 4 for your consideration. 1. the Climb 2. The Free fall 3. The Recovery 4. The twists and turns.

We love the climb because it is full of anticipation. As in life anticipation is a great part of the joy. This is the essence of dreaming and planning. With each clink of the chain we climb higher and higher getting a better view on our way to the summit.

The free fall is fun because is scare the mess out of us. Our bodies and mind are suffering from sensory overload and we are overwhelmed with the realization that we are not in control nor are we going to be for some time.

I love the recovery as you come to the end of the free fall and have weight again. Everything suddenly comes back to normal and although there are twists and turns ahead, at least we can catch our breath and gain our composure.

Twist and turns can be anticipated but not overcome, they have a way of throwing you from one side of the car to the other and either being close to the one you love or way to close to a total stranger. Such are the twists and turns.

Do you have a favorite part of the coaster? Do you have a favorite part of the roller coaster that is our life? Life is full of ups and downs, of twists and turns and I must admit that I prayed that if God would stop this roller coaster that I would gladly get off. You see, roller coasters are no fun for those who are afraid of them. My wife is one who can't stand them. She has ridden some with me, but in the process would close her eyes for the entire ride. We all know that closing the eyes just makes it worse, but those who are afraid don't agree. There are those who ride life's coaster with fear. Closing their eyes as if ignoring the ups and downs will miraculously flatten them out. I feel for them. I know that life is difficult for them, and I long for them to enjoy the ride. There are also the screamers. These are the ones who mock the fear by screaming at the top of their lungs. Their yells are not an expression of their fear, but the denial of such.

Like it or not life is often a roller coaster and therefore we have to treat it as such. It is my goal for you to enjoy the ride.
Let the
climb bring anticipation and faith in the heights that your journey might take you. There is no telling how high God's plans are for you.
Let the
free fall help you understand that you are not in control. That long before you got on this ride that a designer planned for your ride. Respond to those free falls by holding on tight to the grips if you must, but those with great faith in the designer have learned to raise their hands even during the free fall.
Let the
recovery build your faith in the designer. And with every recovery from every free fall, may you grow in your knowledge of His design and plan your the ups and downs in your life. Let it help you to regain your composure and prepare for the twists and turns ahead.
Finally, let the
twists and turns in life bring you into closer contact with the ones you love, let it pull you together as you laugh and scream in tandem. On the same note, if you happen to be going through this ride with a total stranger, you will likewise laugh and scream together and will go away from that shared experience with an unusual bond.

So for all you Cars fans out there, life is not a highway, it is a roller coaster and Oh what a ride.

Afraid of Ghosts?

October is just around the corner and it seems that Halloween will be just as big this year if not bigger than last. I have been thinking a lot of what we fear in preparation for a new message series to begin in October called fearless. I have found that the greatest source of horror film fodder centers on two close, but vastly different things. The first is ghosts or spirits without bodies as in the movies ala Sixth Sense and Poltergeist, and secondly the opposite, namely of bodies without spirits such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Frankenstein.

Now track with me here as I go deep theological on you. What is horrific to us as humans is the separation of the natural body and spirit combo. For those of us living on this earth, we fear the separation of the body from the spirit and therefore fear either one without the other. This is born out of a world view that is based on the natural world as we know it. Philosophers may refer to it as existentialism or to a lesser extent humanism. I am not by any means saying that to fear ghosts or zombies is in some way a conscious philosophical decision, but I am saying that our fear of them is the natural result of our world view.

As Ricky Ricardo would say "Let me splain." If I choose the world view that this life is all that there is, that we all evolved in the past in order to dissolve in the future then I have nothing greater to fear than the evidence of that dissolution - ghosts and zombies. On the contrary, if I believe that there is a Creator God who is spirit in form and dwells in heavenly places. And I believe that our physical bodies are just the temporary shell until our spirit is released to be with Him for eternity, then I do not fear the separation of the the spirit and the body. In fact, I embrace it.

So what should we fear? As people who have accepted Jesus Christ and His world view as put forth in the Bible, we do not have to fear death. For those who have not accepted Christ they must fear death because death is the eternal separation of body and spirit. However, Jesus kicks it up a notch in the book of Matthew chapter 10 when he says...

Matt. 10:28 (NKJV) And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Unbelievers also have God to fear because God is able to kill the spirit for eternity in hell.

Today I pray that you will overcome your fear. That God will help you to accept His world view. And that as a result you will be able to be fearless.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Interesting Photo

Here is an interesting photo of an elderly catholic nun being frisked by a Muslim Airport Security Guard. It just screamed irony and absurdity to me.