The dream.

The other night I had a dream. No, not the Martin Luther King Jr. kind of dream. But a dream nonetheless that has left me pondering since.

But before I share my dream, I need to first give some history of my dreams. For years I would dream dreams of me fighting in battles, saving peoples lives. The first time this happen, in my dream I was on a raft full of people in stormy waters (however it was also parked in a dock, cause it’s a dream) and on this raft we were going out to war. I did my best to blend into the crowd on the raft so that I would not have to participate in the battle. But then, a real life coworker was on the shipping dock and whispered to himself, aren’t you suppose to be a christian? Since it was a dream, I heard what he said and it hit me hard. I jumped to the front of the raft took control of the helm, directed us out to war and also took control of the 50 cal that just happen to appear.

End of 1st dream.

I woke up from that dream realizing that as a christian, we have a war to fight with this world and we can’t waste our time blending in. For the next few years I would always have dreams that I was some sort of super hero saving peoples lives, occasionally I would forget how to use my powers but by the end of the dream, I would survive and have saved lives.

This continued until  I enlisted in the army. During basic training I quit having this dreams, actually I simply quit remembering my dreams all together. Here and there I would remember, but none of them were ever as cool as my battle dreams.

But the other night, I had a dream. It was a war dream. I was placed in a battle with my current army unit. It was us verses some kind of aliens. Everyone had a rifle but me. I was scared out of my mind. I noticed others had picked up some of the enemies rifles, it brought me a moment of hope thinking I could do the same. Nothing, I couldn’t find a single one.

I was scared and weaponless.

Then 4 of us lined up behind a door, about to clear a room. Still without a weapon. But our plans stopped as the enemy through a grenade at us. I managed to escape the blast, but as I turned back I turned around to be directly facing an enemy, holding my buddy, while the enemies rifle was facing directly at me. I feared for my life. He took one shot, but I dodged, took a second and I dodged again. He ran out of bullets and begin to reload a new magazine. I took this opportunity to charge him and steal his rifle out of his hands as he was fumbling. I ran toward him, my head was inches from the barrel of his rifle. He was fully reloaded with his hand on the trigger. I had full confidence in myself that I would be able to grab his barrel and swipe it out his hands. I grabbed it, but he over powered me, the barrel lowered to my stomach. I thought, is this it? Is this end of me? He pressed the trigger. I was hit square to the chest. The blast woke me up.

After I had collected myself when I woke, I thought about the dream and was quickly reminded of the spirtual battle that is constantly going on around us. We can’t see it. But we often feel the effects of it.

What I realized is how stupid it is for us to try to wrestle with the world, to wrestle with the enemy when we aren’t even properly equipped. I was brought back to Ephesians 6. What was I missing? A weapon. The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

We need to equip ourselves with the knowledge of the Word of God. The enemy is crafty, he’s not something we can beat on our own. Without God’s Word, we have no chance.

The dream has left me wondering, am I equipped? Where does my confidence lie? In my own hands, or in the hands of my Creator? Am I carrying Gods Sword, or my own?

Pride

Proverbs 8:13

To fear the Lord is to hate evil;
    I hate pride and arrogance,
    evil behavior and perverse speech.

A while back I started doing blog posts inspired from the book of proverbs. Verse by verse I was going. Eventually all the verses just started to become the same thing over and over again. I lost a lot of inspiration. In fact, it’s been since March 14th of last year since I last posted about Proverbs (view here). I have kept checking back on this next verse, reading it across almost every translation just to find some inspiration. I just honestly haven’t wanted to write about this verse, or any of the rest in the chapter. It’s all just become the same thing over and over again.

But alas, today I am pushing myself through it because sometimes with your relationship with God, and with others, you just have to keep pushing through despite how you feel.

To fear the Lord is to hate evil. Looks like we can categorize pride, arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech under evil. How many of you hate evil? How many of you hate talking to someone and they start to get prideful, nothing they say is wrong, they have all the best stories, their way is always right, etc? Or how about arrogant people? Like trying to talk with Tony Stark, or Steve Jobs for example? Talking to people who are full of themselves is the worst. I think it’s clear to say we all hate this kind of evil.

But what about when it is in yourself? It’s easy to recognize it is within others, but what about yourself? Are you/can you be prideful or arrogant? Do you find yourself to be more right than wrong? Looking honestly at past situations, why do you think that is? Where you truly right, or was pride getting in the way from you admitting your wrong?

Maybe pride is stopping you from opening up to others. You like to control how others see you, you show others an edited version of you, but not the raw footage.

But to fear the Lord is to hate evil and pride and arrogance and evil behavior and perverse speech.

What is it in your own life that you are failing to recognize, but you can so easily recognize in others?

Whatcha Talkin’ About?

Ephesians 5:12

It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.

What does this mean to you? How in your life have you gone against it? Why do you go against it? Is it funny? Does it entertain you? Does it feel good to talk about it? Does it make you feel like a better person cause you don’t participate in these activities? Why do you think Paul even says this? Why is this important?

Basically, what things do you think Paul is talking about? and do you talk about them and how would you justify talking about (whatever it is/these things) to Jesus?

Matthew 15:18

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.

Proverbs 21:23

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

Intentionally Seeking Christ or Unintentionally Following The Devil

Being raised within the Christian school system and Church, I have heard the parable of the talents/three servants over and over and over and over again. But to be honest, it has always been the one parable of Jesus that I never cared for. If you don’t know this parable it is found in Matthew 25:14-30 and you can view it here. To be honest, every time I have heard it, I couldn’t help but sympathize with the servant who only received one talent and hid it until his masters return.

I can’t speak for everyone, but if my boss gave me some money to hold onto until he returns, I would definitely put the money away. The money is his, not mine, and he trusted me to hold onto it. There is no way I would go out and use it. I would put it away somewhere safe until he returns. If I knew he would be gone for a long while, I would probably consider using some of it on occasion if I wanted something, didn’t have the money currently, but knew I could replace the money before my boss got back. But never would I go out and invest all of it. Not my money, not my risk to take. So I’ve always had trouble with this parable.

Different translations refer to the money differently, some call it ‘coins,’ some ‘silver’ and others ‘talents,’ my favorite is talents. I like the talents translation simply because in the english language we view talents as skills instead of money and it creates a parallel context to these verses. I’m sure if you have heard anyone teach on these verses you have heard someone teaching it using the talents illustration instead of just limiting it to money.

I want to look at the servant who received one talent from his master a little more in depth and how I believe it can really relate to you and I and challenge us at servants to Christ.

We all have received gifts of talents from God, not everyones are the same, but we all have them. Some of them may be with children, some teaching, understanding, love, patience, money, leadership, servanthood, straight A student, so on so forth. I’m sure you can recognize some of the gifts God has given you. Now let us look at these gifts and apply them to this parable. In this parable there are three servants, but really only two types of servants. You have the servant who invests his talents, and the one that doesn’t. Which are you? Hold on, don’t be so quick to answer.

You have your talent, whatever it maybe, but what are you doing to invest in your talent? How are you making your talent grow? This question is not, how have you used your talent, but how have you invested in it to help it grow? God wants us to invest in our talents that way we can grow and He can give to us more responsibilities. Look at what the master said to the first servant in verse 21:

“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

This was also the same response to the servant that received two talents. God wants to use the talents He has given us through us. He wants us to grow through our talents that way He can use us even more.

The third servant though, only receiving one talent, hid it away until his master returned. I see this as for example, as being gifted with the talent of working with children, but only using the talent when the children come to you, only using the talent when it is convenient. But that is not investing in the talent to make it grow. How are you making your talent grow? What are you intentionally doing to not only use your talent(s) but to invest in them?

We see all of the big leaders and wish to be like them, but think there is no way you can do it. That is just to big of a step. But if you ask anyone who excels at anything how they got there, the answer is going to be through the little things.  Over time the little things added up to make big changes. This goes in two directions. You can intentionally seek God through the investment in your talents, or you can unintentionally follow the devil by not investing in them. God gave you your talents because He has something special planned for you through them, something great, but if you aren’t investing in them, you won’t be able to reach the special thing God had planned for you, resulting in a victory for the devil. Think about how that can apply in your own life. There are endless directions this can go, so how does this apply to you personally?

In the end, this world is nothing but an illusion. It’s not the physical things that matter, but the spiritual things. After we live our life here on earth there is only two destinations, heaven or hell. You are either chasing God, or chasing the devil. If you are only lukewarm, you’re following the devil.

Revelation 3:16

But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!

If you’re not intentionally seeking God, you are unintentionally seeking the devil. Which are you? Could being lukewarm be considered as being unintentional? Think about it.

Matthew 25: 29-30

To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

 

Who Do You Trust, you or God?

Imagine this, you’ve grown up close to your family your whole life. You’re about 43, and you still live decently close to your parents.  In fact it may even be getting close to time where you have to start taking care of them. You’ve got a job and home, but no kids though, and you spend a lot of your free time doing activities through your church.  It might even be better to picture yourself in the 1800s before the west was really habited.

One day you get a letter in the mail, it says “Go west! Once you start going west, I’ll show you where to go! On top of that, I will make the father of the future U.S.A. All that it is, will be yours!

What a bold offer. Would you take it? Or would you just throw it away, and keep living in your comfortable life? What if, instead of a letter, it was God telling you that?

Would you go?

Genesis 12:1-2

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.

You see that is the same thing God told Abram when Abram was 74 years old! He told Him to go! Don’t worry about where you go, I will show you and be with you! Then I will make you into a great nation!

So Abram trusted God, he left his life, and God fulfilled His promises!

Stepping outside of our comfort zone can often be to radical for us. We find ourselves saying “I trust God” or “In God we trust” but when the situation calls for it, do we really trust Him?

Another story that comes to mind is when Jesus was walking on water.

Matthew 14:29 – 31

“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Jesus tells Peter to “come” and walk to him on water, so Peter does. But as soon as Peter saw the wind he began to doubt and in his doubt, He began to sink! Luckily Jesus still grabbed him and pulled him up despite his doubts.

The obstacles we face tell us “you can’t do it,” “this is to big for you.” Don’t believe it’s lies! God is bigger than that! He can do all things! When we forget that Jesus is on our side like Peter did, we will sink! So don’t doubt!

To put it another way, if you are building a church, a ministry, or maybe dealing with sin, temptation, money, etc, and we look at the obstacles that are attacking us and lose our faith, Jesus won’t hold us on top of the water anymore and we will sink! We have to trust Him for His power.

I want to challenge you today, to do that thing that scares you! Trust that God is behind you, and once you start, don’t get distracted by the obstacles! If you do, you will surely sink!

When we don’t have faith, we don’t give Jesus the opportunity to use His power!

Faith=God’s power.

Loss of faith = Reliance on our own power.

You may not be able to accomplish it, but God can!

To The Church and To The Broken

I’m going to try to get straight to the point on this one. This message goes out to all us christians who have been inside the Church our whole life. Lets quit dissing other churches, start living for the Church, and start acting like Christians! We have to quit dissing one another, and start being humble and showing forgiveness to one other.

No more telling Catholics, you guys aren’t christians because you pray to Mary, worship the Pope, and think you’re saved through your actions. No more making fun of Lutherans because they believe we are saved by grace alone. No more making fun of Baptists because they like to jump around and sing. No more making fun of non-denominationals because they preach Christ’s love so heavily and have no set doctrine. Just no more. I’m tired of these labels that are suppose to define us to some certain way. (I know I’m missing a lot of the different christian religions, I don’t know enough to add them all)

The sad thing is, most christian religions have the same core belief on how we are saved, but we are just misunderstood between each other. Through this misunderstanding we start pointing figures saying “You’re wrong here, here and here!”

Catholics are just saying if you really have given your heart to God, you are going to want to do good works and will do them. Lutherans are just saying there is nothing you can do to earn forgiveness. Baptists just love the Lord so much they want to dance (so did David). Non-denominationals just want the focus of the message on Christs love for us (after all, isn’t that all that matters?).

There are others outside of the Church that want to be a part of the Church, but when they see us Church members arguing all the time over all the small differences, they don’t see what their heart desires. All over the internet you can see christians arguing with other christians over what is truly christian and what isn’t. Who wants to be a part of something that is always in disagreement with one another? Lets first take the plank out of our own eye…

Be humble. Treat each other with Love. Arguing only makes you look like a fool.

To those outside of the Church, who want to get in and just be accepted for who you are, I’m sorry for the way we act. We’re not perfect either. No body is. That is why we are in Church, so we can seek the One who truly is perfect and who loves us so much He died for us. He accepts you, and me, for who we really are. He doesn’t care what we wear, He doesn’t care what you look like, He doesn’t care if you are gay or not, He doesn’t care if you don’t have a lot of money, He doesn’t care if everyone in your life has turned on you, what He does care about is you! No matter where you are in life, there is always hope. No matter how broken you are, no matter how much you have been rejected by others, even the Church, Christ still wants you. He is ready to transform you and make you new.

So Church, lets take a step down from our pedestal, and help someone out in need. Go to that ‘sinner’ that no one likes, that no body wants to be seen with and invite them over! Show them love. Take a step out of your comfort zone and befriend someone you’ve looked down on.

We want to show others the way to Heaven, not the way to Hell. And with that, I would like to send this with a video. Start it at 11:09, and you can end it at 12:40. If you really don’t have time, start it at 12:20 then. But I believe this hits an important truth within the Church.