The first lady had some guilt to lay on Olympic gold medalist, Gabby Douglas for eating at McD’s after winning gold in England. Gabby is the picture of health and while Ms. Obama is no cow, she certainly doesn’t look like she has avoided Big Macs all her life either. But I am not gonna talk about that. I want to talk about the gold.
This year’s Olympic gold medal is composed of 92.5 percent silver, just 1.34 percent gold, and the remainder 6.16 percent is made up of copper and is worth about $650.00. I was disappointed when I learned this. I thought it was pure gold. Sure, if it were it would be worth a lot more and there would be a greater risk of theft, but wow, only 1.34% gold? Currently gold is going for about $1600.00 per ounce, so weighing about 400 grams or, 14 ounces, that would be a lot of money, about $22,000.00 or so if it were solid gold.
I would think that an Olympic medal of any sort would be worth more than anyone could pay me if I had won it. It would be like winning the Superbowl and getting one of those rings. I don’t know if you have ever seen one, but wow, they are a lot of bling! But did you know that many people who have one these things have sold them? I know because I watch Pawn Stars and they have stuff like that come in all the time.
I like money. I would like to have more of it and will gladly take any extra that you may not want. You can contact me via my church website, http://www.thebodylive.com if you would like to send me money. But I have grown to know that money, as nice to have as it is, does not make you truly happy. Family, friends, and faith work best for that. Faith in Jesus Christ as Savior is a great source of happiness and more specifically, joy. Jesus said that we should not spend all of our time on earth storing up treasure here, but that we should store up things in heaven that really make a difference for eternity.
Jesus was and is not anti money. He did say that people who love money had a problem. They tend to rely more on their riches than on Jesus. Jesus knew that money was not important in heaven but was very useful on earth when we keep things in the proper perspective. But once we leave this world, money and gold and rings and stuff like that stay here and are absolutely worthless to those who die.
There is a joke I heard long ago about gold and its value in heaven. A rich man died and asked if he could take a bag of his gold to heaven. When he got permission to take it and was walking around the streets of heaven, he noticed that all the angels were laughing at him. When he asked his friend who had been there a while, why the angels were laughing at him, his friend told him that they thought it was funny that he was carrying a bag of pavement around like it was something valuable.
What is valuable in heaven? YOU are! Your soul and the souls of every human being are so valuable to God that He allowed Jesus to die for us on a cross so that we may live with Him in heaven. When we forget that things of this world are only temporary and focus on riches here, it is then possible that we miss out on what God has in store for us. Our eternal life is that important to God. He loves us. He made a way for all who believe and ask for forgiveness to receive eternal life and a place in heaven.
I don’t know if the streets in heaven are really made of gold. I think it is far more valuable than we can imagine and it will not be our focus when we get there. I know that here on earth how we treat others with what we have is far more valuable than the stuff we have. If we put stuff above the lives of others, we miss out on true happiness and become self-centered and ultimately self-condemned. Love is something to give away, not to waste on one’s self. Marriages don’t work unless you love your spouse at least as much as you love yourself. Giving love to your child is far more important than teaching a child to love himself. God loves us so much that He gave so that we may have eternal life. God’s love is given to us so that we can give it away to others.
As for Gabby Douglas, she knows that value of a gold medal. She also knows that there is something far more valuable, and that is knowing Jesus and God’s love. And something in me says that after training for the Olympics for as long as she did, that the Big Mac she ate after it was over was pretty valuable too. Winning gold can only sustain you for little while, after that, you need something more.
The first lady had some guilt to lay on Olympic gold medalist, Gabby Douglas for eating at McD’s after winning gold in England. Gabby is the picture of health and while Ms. Obama is no cow, she certainly doesn’t look like she has avoided Big Macs all her life either. But I am not gonna talk about that. I want to talk about the gold.
Four of us left out Saturday morning on our motorcycles for Washington DC to participate in the 25th Rolling Thunder, Memorial Day Parade of Motorcycles. This was my third time going and another guy’s 17th and the other two of them were going for the first time. It is impossible to describe what it is like to be in the Pentagon parking lot with one million motorcycles and their riders and passengers. We left out for our 410 mile ride to DC with anticipation of having some great fellowship and hopefully sharing Jesus with someone while we were there. At the end of our ride we were looking forward to a meal and a good night’s rest before the parade on Sunday.
Sunday morning we headed over to the Pentagon at 8am. When we arrived the lines of bikes stretched for what seemed like miles. We finally made it in to the parking area where over half of the parking lot was already full. It was barely 8:30am and the parade did not start until noon. So we got off our bikes and began taking pictures and talking to others who were parked beside and around us. We met people from all over the country and Canada and Australia. I don’t think the Australians rode their bikes there.
At twelve noon we hear the roar of motorcycles as the parade through the historic DC areas began. Bike after bike rolled out and the sound of the motors was like the name inferred, rolling thunder. After an hour and forty minutes of bikes leaving the parking lot, it was finally time to crank ours and head out through the parade route. Then another 20 minutes passed and the route came to an end. So we parked the bikes and did the tourist thing, looking at the different monuments and allowing the rich history of our country to sink in. After about two hours of sightseeing, the parade was about over. Motorcycles were finally ending the continuous flow from the Pentagon through the parade route. It was an incredible thing to be a part of.
All of this was incredible to see and hear and be a part of. The patriotism and fellowship with other veterans and the memories of those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom was worth it all. But that was not the most amazing thing that happened.
Out of the millions of people who were there that day, we met one fellow who seemed to be quite lonely. After an introduction and a short talk, he was asked about his thoughts on who Jesus Christ is. He did not know the answer but said he would be happy to hear anything that would offer him hope. He was told about the man who died for the freedom of humanity and the sins of the world. He appreciated the concept and related to what Jesus did. After a few more minutes of talking he asked to receive Jesus as his Savior.
Jesus was more than a one in a million. He is the only one who could do what He did on the cross. But He did it so that he could make a difference to anyone who would believe, even if you are the one in a million in the Pentagon parking lot for a parade on Memorial day.
I hear all the time that people are confused about the different beliefs of churches, especially the different denominations, like Baptist, Methodists, and so on. People tell me that denominations are wrong and not what Christ intended for the church. Someone just yesterday told me that they were about to quit going to church because of the confusion. I don’t believe that this is a problem and certainly don’t think it should cause people not to go to church. I think the biggest concern would be why the church can’t give a good reason for our differences.
Why are people not confused about food? There are so many restaurants out there and they serve so many different foods. What about cars? There are so many different car dealerships and they all say that their brand is better than the other. They can’t all be right. Maybe I won’t ever drive a car then. Even football teams are different. They have different colored uniforms and some run the ball and others throw the ball. Some are more focused on defense and while others are focused on offense. Why some even specialize in special teams. This has never stopped people from buying cars, eating out, or watching football. We all know that diversity is good for the food industry and the automobile industry. We all know that football teams have to be different and that it is good for the game. So why can’t churches be different without being wrong?
1 Corinthians 12:12 For example, the body is one unit and yet has many parts. As all the parts form one body, so it is with Christ. Churches are supposed to be different. We have different functions in the Body of Christ. My hand and my foot have two totally different functions but are still part of me. They don’t hate each other, but compliment and support each other. Because they are different does not mean that one is wrong and the other is right. Why we even have doctors who specialize in different body parts because they are so different, yet each doctor is caring for the same body. I am wearing contacts now, and even among my eyes there is a difference. One eye has a contact for seeing up close and the other has one for seeing far away and yet they function together for me to see well at any distance.
Denominations were formed out of the need for different people groups to join together with each other and worship and to serve. Sure there are some minor disagreements on things of the Bible, but that is not hard to understand given the fact that no one can fully understand God. Our minds just can’t fully grasp an almighty and holy God. So we will have some differences. What we do agree on is that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world and God loves us enough to forgive us if we ask. He thinks so highly of our unique needs that He gives us different churches so that we can find a place where we feel comfortable and can best serve the greater good of the Body of Christ.
As Christians, we need to defuse the idea that our differences prove that there is no God and explain that it instead shows the amazing love of God as He cares enough to not make us to be some sort of robots that have no individuality. The Apostle Paul said that we are to be all things to all men that some might in some way win some to Christ. If you need a more strict teaching then there is a church for that. If you need to be more free-spirited and like to shout, there is a church for that. If you need to perform certain rituals in order to feel closer to God, there is a church for that. I love my church. I think it is perfect for me. But I don’t dislike your church because it is not right for me. As long as the Bible is the guide, and Christ is the focus, then there is a purpose for that church.
God is THE Creator. He created different planets and solar systems and galaxies. He created different plants and animals and people. Why is there a problem with Him creating different churches? The answer is simple. There is no problem, yet rather a wonderful solution to the different types of people who He loves and wants to have a relationship with.
This is another topic suggested by some of you when I asked for new blog ideas. What is that old saying? Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it. Any way, I got it and will try to enlighten. Can anyone sense a chance for controversy or maybe dry humor? The complete suggestion was about demon possession and oppression. Because those words are long and difficult for me to type, I will blog about what I think you need to know about demons.
I guess the first question to answer is do I believe in demons. The answer is yes. I raised three children and each one of them were evil. (Right about now, many are gasping at my cruelty…get over it) I believe in demons like most people do to one degree or another. I think more people believe in evil spirits than a God. Just look at stories through generations of humanity and how there has always been evil spirits in them. Most cultures have evil spirits that are blamed for what goes wrong. Ancient tribes in Africa and the Amazon, native American, and Island tribes all give place to evil spirits. Hollywood has always used evil spirits as plots to movies and today’s television programs are full of supernatural evil beings.
That is not why I believe in them. I believe in them because I believe in Jesus Christ and He believed in them. He did not just believe in them but He conquered them. He warned Christians against an ever-present battle between good and evil. What I find most funny is that when Christians start talking about evil spirits we are wacky but when someone says that they can speak to the dead, good and evil, they are deemed psychic and can even help solve crimes. People criticize Christians for believing in a Bible that claims the existence of good and evil but will flock to the theaters to see a movie about the same.
The Bible speaks clearly about demons being fallen angels and Satan being the leader. It talks about humans being overtaken by these demons and their every action controlled by them. It speaks of those who do not believe in God and Jesus being possessed to the point of their very souls being owned by them. It tells of people who are freed from this control but never totally surrendering to God and therefore being overtaken again. It tells us that Christians can yield their well-being to evil spirits and live in an oppressed state of being.
Possession has been glamorize by Hollywood. The Exorcism is a reminder of how enthralled we can be over such things. But it puts the emphasis on a man called a priest to free the girl from the demon and the emphasis should be on Jesus. Only He can free someone who is controlled by demons. Yes, He has given believers authority to cast out demons, but it is only under His power that we can do so and you don’t have to be a Catholic priest to do so.
Oppression is when a Christian does not yield to the Spirit of God and opens themselves up to control by evil spirits. I personally believe that once you are the child of God you can never be possessed by anyone other than God. But I also believe that God will allow us to be oppressed by evil if we are disobedient. (1 Corinthians 5:5- hand such a person over to Satan to destroy his corrupt nature so that his spiritual nature may be saved on the day of the Lord.) But I believe this oppression can be defeated by something as simple as repentance.
Either way you slice it, demons are not to be taken lightly. If you do not believe in God, they will twist your head around on your body and make you puke green stuff. If you do believe in God they will make you disobedient to God. Most importantly, they want to keep you from knowing Jesus Christ as your Savior. They want you to go to Hell. God does not.
It can happen to you! Winning the Mega million lottery is the dream that everyone is talking about today. 500 million dollars and growing. I have not been into a store yet today that sold lottery tickets and there has not been a line of people buying their tickets. I heard one guy saying that if he won, he would be sure to find a church to give some money to so that God would be happy. I gave him my card. I did not tell him that God could not be bought off.
All of us have fantasized at one time or another about what we would do with millions of dollars being given to us. New cars, new houses, dream vacations, and God all top the list. Many Christians make deals with God in order to increase their odds of winning. They say stuff like, I would pay off the church debt, or I would help missionaries around the world, or, and this is my favorite, I would make sure my pastor gets a million or two. I tell my congregation all the time that if they win, tithe. Giving 10% of $500 million would be $50 million for those who are wondering. With that, we could accomplish all the for mentioned prayers.
If I won, I am sure that I would give a lot to the church and to missionaries, and of course, I am the pastor, so I would make sure I have a couple of million. I write this just in case God reads my blog and it helps increase my odds of winning. But in reality I am not counting on becoming a multimillionaire any time soon.
So many times we think that money is the key to happiness. Sure it can help, but I know of lots of rich people who died miserable. I have never been rich but I have been very happy for most of my adult life. One thing I have found is that rarely money has had much to do with my true happiness. That has come from family and friends and my faith in God. Rarely has there ever been a bad situation that depended on money to restore my happiness. Don’t misunderstand, I like money and it can be a tool to reach happiness, but in no way is it the source of happiness.
Matthew 16:26 What will it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? When Jesus spoke these words, he was challenging us to think past what this world has to offer. In 18 years as a pastor I have never been by someone on their death-bed who wished that they had worked more or made more money. Most say they wished they had done more to make a difference in others lives. Most say that they are anxious about what they might face after they die and hope that God is merciful because in contrast to what they know the Bible teaches, they have fallen a bit short.
No one can say for sure what happens after we die. But here is a fact that no one can deny. Money will mean nothing after we are gone. So while we are here, perhaps we should look into what we can do to gain happiness in things that money can’t but rather the things that relationships offer, and yes, I will try to find our happiness in something eternal, Jesus Christ.
So if you win the lottery, take care of others, especially us poor pastors. But don’t rely totally on it to give you joy and beware of the friends and family that you will meet that you never knew you had.
Sincerely, your friend and brother… if you win.
If you don’t win…Sincerely, just some dude writing a blog.
My wife and I were watching TV last night and saw a commercial that made us both laugh. Perhaps the seriousness of it was not meant to make us laugh but there was a line that caused us both to laugh very hard. The commercial was for one of these devices that you wear around your neck and press a button if you need medical assistance. What got my attention is that everyone on this commercial was a woman. I thought to myself that maybe only women were allowed to buy them and maybe I had a discrimination law suit against them. But what got us laughing is that one woman said that she loved her device so much that she would give up beer, wine, and cigarettes to have her little button around her neck. Image that. Willing to give up tobacco and alcohol to save your life. But my thought was, if she gave up the alcohol, maybe she would not fall down as much and could see the numbers on the phone to dial 911.
In my life I have given up alcohol and cigarettes. I have given up drugs, chasing women, and driving like crazy too. All of which can be dangerous to your health. I can’t say that my motivation was to give them up for health reasons as much as because of my relationship with God, but I have quit a few bad habits for a reason.
What are you willing to give up and what is your motivation? Many people have bad habits that would benefit us to give up. Health reasons are not enough. Money is not enough either. Wives, husbands, and children are not always enough either. So what is it that makes us decide to give up something that we think we enjoy but don’t need?
I am of the opinion that until we decide that we want to quit something it is virtually impossible to quit a bad habit. For years I drank alcohol and drank habitually. I knew that it was not good for my health, but that was not the motivation. I even got to the point to where it was ruining my marriage and my wife told me to quit or else, but that wasn’t enough. It wasn’t until I got to the point that I wanted to quit, and yes those things were a motivational part of my decision, that I finally had what it took to quit. I guess the bottom line is that we are the only ones in control of our lives.
This is why so many attempts to quit something fail. It is the reason why attempts at religion fail. It is why we don’t continue going to the gym or keep other New Year’s resolutions. We will never do the hard stuff until we decide that we really want it. That runs deeper than a decision made from disgust or peer pressure, it is a heart matter.
It would be nice if someone would invent a button that we could wear around our necks to push when we decided to do something tough. Just push the button and it does all the work for us. When we have fallen and can’t get up, we just push the button and we are set free. But it just isn’t that simple. That little button that was advertised was a method of calling someone to save you. The only problem is that you still had to wait for them to get there. You still had to hope that someone on the other side got there in time to do any good. Even if the lady gave up the beer and cigarettes, and could afford the service, it could still fail. But I guess if you are old and your mobility if limited, it is a nice thing to have at whatever cost.
Humans all have a need to be saved. Maybe it isn’t our health that is the problem. Perhaps we have a sin problem. Perhaps a physical death is not what we really need to be saved from. What happens when you die? What if you had to stand before a Holy God that did not tolerate any sin of any type when you die? How would you be saved then? Well there isn’t a button to push, but there is a very simple way. God says through the Bible that whoever will call to Him through Jesus Christ with faith that Jesus died in our place, will be saved. It is the method that I chose to believe and it has not failed me yet. There are many other promises that come with the promise of forgiveness and salvation, one of which is the power to overcome the things of this life that hold us back. That is how I quit smoking, drink, chasing women, and many other things that would kill me. I decided I wanted to change and God said He would help. Who knows, maybe you could be so bold? But like I said, until you decide you want it, it is probably not going to happen.
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Revelation 21:4He (God) will wipe every tear from their eyes. There won’t be any more death. There won’t be any grief, crying, or pain, because the first things have disappeared.”
Is God cruel? After all, the Bible says that he killed many innocent animals and in many cases people, including women and children. That goes against even His own commandment to not kill.
Kill comes from the Hebrew word rāṣaḥ-a primitive root; kill (a human being), especially to murder :- put to death, kill, (man-) slay (-er), murder (-er). As you can see it does not have anything to do with animals. It has to do with taking the life of another human without cause.
I want to share a few thoughts in light of the verse from Revelation at the top.
Today, some people think that this life is the one and only. They believe that the only thing that matters is what happens now. Their reasoning of morality is based on feelings, mainly their own. If something makes them feel bad, then it is wrong, if it makes them feel good, then it is right. Here’s the problem with that thinking. Who’s to say my feelings, if different from yours are right or wrong? If I think that it is okay to have sex with little children, who are you to tell me I am wrong. Sure, that is an extreme. So what about if I want to smoke and feel like it is alright? Or what if I want to cheat on my wife and feel it is alright? If humans are the ones who determine what is right or wrong, which humans have the authority to tell me what that is?
As a Christian, I believe that all of mankind is flawed and we have only the morality of God be judged by. The problem with that for most is that God’s morals don’t change with my or your feelings. It does not matter if I feel it is okay to have sex with a child, it is wrong in God’s morality therefore it is wrong in mine. God’s law is the basis for most human laws on earth and have been for as long as we have been here. God is moral and good and loving, not cruel.
Don’t confuse love and good and moral with free from consequences. God has said from the beginning of time that sin brings on death, physical and spiritual. Spiritual death is for those who are not reconciled with God at the time of their physical death. Physical death is the result of sin being confined to the flesh. God’s plan from creation was for us to live with Him eternally. Our sin separates us from Him and God provided a substitute for us in death through Jesus Christ so that sin could die with the flesh and the spirit could be redeemed for eternity. Physical death begins eternal existence.
Now this is a blog, not a theological paper, so I am stating biblical doctrine that I don’t have room to elaborate on in a blog. But the point of this blog is that we focus on this life and that we should remember that there is something that happens after we die.Either eternal life or eternal death.
God does not want anyone to end up in hell. He made salvation easy and accessible to all. I believe the Bible teaches that some go to heaven even if they did not go through the church view of salvation as in the confess and pray for forgiveness. Mainly what I am talking about is children and those who can’t understand right and wrong. Then there are those who have never heard about God from those who believe. Romans 1:20 From the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly observed in what he made. As a result, people have no excuse. I believe this says that someone can look at creation and never hear about God, but make a logical assumption that something greater than them made it all and believe, that God is so loving and merciful that He will accept them in Heaven. Gods (gods) are not something that are new. Human societies have always believed in supernatural beings. They just want the ones who let them make the rules instead of a True Living God that makes the rules
So if innocent children and those who have no teaching of God die, like in a worldwide flood or a war, and they go to heaven and heaven is what God say it is, isn’t that good. Is it better to live in this world with death and pain and sickness or live forever where there is none of that? God even promises a new heaven and a new earth where animals will not even kill each other. I don’t know if animals have eternal souls, I have my opinion, but I do know that God has always cared for even a bird that dies. Matthew 10:29 Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s permission.
A cruel God? I don’t think so.
Did you know that the Bible tells people to eat bread made with human excrement? If you believe what the makers of Ezekiel Bread say, you may have even tried it. They actually make bread that uses human dung. The problem is that the Bible does not teach that the bread should be made with human excrement but would be cooked over it, and if you read the full details, it was not meant for anyone other than the prophet. And, God told him that he could substitute cow dung for the fuel for cooking this bread. I will explain the implications in a minute.
This was asked of me in a Bible study that involved several people who were unchurched, but became interested in a conversation that I was involved in. We were talking about weird food trends and I mentioned Vegans, because I know a few. They know I think that they are weird, but most of all, they know I love them and kid with them a lot. Some in the vegan culture believe that God wants us to be vegetable eaters and never eat meat. This is not biblical and from the time Noah got off the ark, God gave the okay to eat meat. Personally I just don’t think that there are enough vegetables that I could find that I would be able to sustain myself. I have never been much of a veggie eater. We mentioned a few other weird foods and that was when I was asked what I thought about Ezekiel bread.
This is a great example of how the Bible can be used to “prove” anything. If you do not read it all and you look for a few lines, you can make a case that the Bible says a lot of stupid stuff. But that is wrong and yes, stupid. There is no other book on earth that is used so out of context to prove so many points. I love it because even those who do not believe in the God of the Bible want to use the Bible, that is God’s Word, to prove their points to those who do believe.
Ezekiel is a book of prophesy to Israel warning them of impending judgement of God. God often used his prophets to give very vivid and visual examples of their sins. The law of Moses was very clear about the things that Israel could eat, and use in food preparations. They were given great details of things that they could not even come near or touch and human excrement is one of those things. So when God told Ezekiel to make this bread, it was made from basically weeds, to show the spiritual famine as well as the physical famine that God sent. Ezekiel was told to bind himself up and have this bread mixture prepared to eat in front of Israel and to cook it over his own dung in order to show His disgust toward Israel’s sinful ways. Ezekiel pleaded with God that he had not committed these sins and had always followed the food laws of Mose, so God said, okay, you can use cow dung. FYI, cow dung is a common fuel used by people in areas where resources are limited. This recipe and way of preparation was not given because it was healthy or pleasing to God, but rather because God was angry with the sins of the people and wanted them to see a visual image of how disgusting it was to Him.
My advice for people who want to follow a fad diets is that you check with your physician first. Many fad diets are not good for you and are derived from poor information that people get from places like the Bible in an attempt to give them validity. God is not as concerned with what you eat as He is with what you believe. He has given us the okay to eat a large variety of what He created. There are some things that we are allowed to eat that may not be as healthy as some may think, but remember this; God wants our souls healthy first and foremost. Even those who have the best of diets and exercise habits eventually die. If they have the perfect body but have never received forgiveness of their sins, when they die, all the healthy diets in world will not save them from judgement.
If you want to eat the bread that will save your soul, you must eat the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ. And that is not literal eating, it is for sure, spiritual.
I talked with my friend’s wife in the Philippines this morning and here is what we know. He has an infection that is causing a high fever that is causing his liver to not function properly. These are all complications due to his diabetes, hepatitis, and lack of funds to have all of his medicines that he should take on a regular basis. The good news is that they think they have caught it quick enough that there will not be any permanent damage to his liver. They are waiting on a few more test results before they make any final determinations. If things go well, he should be released tomorrow.
I told his wife that many people are praying for him and she extends her thanks. I told her that I believed that God would provide for the financial needs that they have and she simply said, “I know that”. They are wonderful people of great faith.
Here is what I hope will happen. Someone out there in the blog world will feel compelled to pay for his medicine. Our church is raising money for another ministry related need that they have, and can always tell them to use the money for medicine, but I know him, he will want to buy the ministry needs first. Before you think that he has his priorities mixed up let me say that he does not. He knows that this body is meant for death and that the soul is meant for eternity. He has a great burden for his people to know salvation through Jesus Christ and believes that it is a higher calling than his physical needs. I of course have told him that if he lets his health go then he will not be able to minister and therefore he needs to take care of himself. It is hard to argue with him.
But I believe that both can be accomplished. I don’t know the amount needed to get the medicines that he needs. I can find out once he is out of the hospital and will if someone wants to know. But here is what I believe will happen through this. Someone reading this blog, who knows God and knows His voice will get the nudge from God to give and it will be the right amount without even being told. Those of faith know what I am talking about. It is a divine intervention that is hard to explain.
If you are new to my blogs I can only assure you that I do not make this sort of thing a habit. I have never asked for people to give before and unless I feel like it is of God, I won’t in the future. This time, I do feel like God wants me to ask, so I do.
Again, you can reach me through Facebook message, email, or our church website if you feel led to help. I will give the contact information to you or you can give through our church and we will ensure that the funds are sent to him. DON’T give unless you feel it is something that God wants you to do or if you are not a religious person, you may feel personally that this is something that you would like to do. Either way I thank you. I ask that you continue to pray for his health and his ministry.
Our church website is; http://www.thebodylive.com
My email is: email@example.com
So, we were in the Bahamas for a port of call during our recent cruise and decided to play tourist. We left the ship to go shopping in the town and see if we could buy a few souvenirs and gifts for the kids back home. We went into what was called the Straw Village which was lined with row after row of locals selling trinkets and t-shirts and hats. After the third row of probably 20 rows, I began to notice that nothing was much different from the row before. The same hats, the same jewelery, the same shirts, just a different display and a different person sitting there trying to get us to buy their stuff. There was no gap in between tables and only about five feet in between vendors. As we continued to make our way around to the next row and then the next, I began to see something that made me think about Christians.
Let me preface what I am about to say with the note that I never like to lump any group of people together with a blanket statement, even though there are many broad statements that could be said about many groups, including Christians. I am not accusing all Christians of being like what I am about to say, but there are enough that it could apply to a large portion of them.
Each vendor in this place knew that there were cruise ships in port that day. This was a regular stop and a popular place for tourists to shop. Most of the first time tourists like me, were expecting this enthusiastic greeting from all of the locals who they were trying to earn our business. Sadly, it wasn’t so. Instead of a warm welcome, we were greeted with a barrage of the same old lines repeated by each vendor there. “Slow down, look and touch. Great deal today.” This was said over and over by each vendor and was said with no enthusiasm and no meaningful voice inflections. And, because they were seated so close to each other, there was no recognizable difference in one vendor to the next. They were so used to tourists being there that it was not special to them, even though it was our money buying their goods that put food on their plates. They repeated the same lines so many times that it had no impact on them nor us, the tourists.
Christians have become a lot like this. We are free in America to speak the Gospel anytime, anywhere, to anyone. But we have heard it and spoke it so much that there is no meaning to our words anymore to the ones who hear it from us. Those who hear it from us have heard the same old lines repeated time and time again by a less than enthused Christian that it does not convict them to act, but rather compels them to hurry through the market of churches selling Christianity.
Every now and then we came across an individual in the market that had a smile and a belief that what they were selling was really worth you buying and they were willing to put the effort into making the most of their one opportunity to sell you what they had. And strangely, at these rare vendors tables, tourists were flocking and buying and walking away thinking that they had received something special from their visit to the Bahamas.
I know that my salvation, given to me from God through Jesus Christ is special. You can only get it from God and He has authorized me to be a vendor for it. He has put me in a market place that has groves of people walking through, looking for something and someone to convince them to buy it. I can either repeat the same old boring line that you have heard a million times before or I can sell it to you in a way that makes you know that what I have is special. The burden is not on the tourist walking by my table in life, but on me, the vendor, who has been given the wonderful opportunity to sell you something that will make you glad that you came by my table.
Most tourists only get to visit a place like this once or twice in a lifetime. Some will buy a trinket that will end up in the bottom of a suitcase and make a less than dazzling impression on others and may never get a second look after that. Some will remember the person who sold the trinket and tell the story of how wonderful the person who sold it to them was and convince others to try what they just experienced. But never forget that the vendors are the ones who truly make the difference to someone buying from them. They are the ones who make someone walk by in hopes of escaping, or, stop and buy what they are selling.
Christians are not selling to tourists the trinkets of a vacation, but a life changing, eternal hope of having favor with God and being able to show the benefits of knowing Jesus Christ as Savior. Churches are not the place that just happens to put food on the table, but rather are giving food for the soul. Jesus is far better than trinkets and t-shirts and certainly is better than a 5 day vacation in a tropical paradise. It is the hope of an eternal home in the paradise of Heaven with a God who loves us enough to pay our sin debt and allow us to share this awesome hope with others.