Category: Christian Man


Yep I struggle with this, more than I really want to admit.  Surfing the net at work, not doing everything I should for my clients, or not doing things as good as I can.  Sometimes just phoning it in.  SOmetimes my Christian ethic is not what it should be, and it bothers me even if I am the only one that knows.

1Corinthians 10:31 says pretty clearly “Therefore, wether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  Now maybe you will or won’t sing hymns or praise songs while your working, but that is secondary.  Do you out perform everyone you work with?  Do you work in such a manner that it brings glory to God?  Or does your boss think, I’m never hiring a Christian again?  Are you working like Jesus is standing across the room?

Saying I am going to and actually doing it are two different things

I keep saying I am committed to do the best job I can, not just for my boss, or my clients.  But because I really believe that when Jesus said I am with you always, he meant it.  I want my actions, big or little to bring glory to God, and at the same time raise questions in those around me as to why.  Yet I fail more than I would like to admit even here among friends.
I want those I work with to ask, “Why do you work so hard?”  “Why do you do the extras,?”  What’s different about that guy that he tries harder than everyone else.  I want to “let your light so shine before men that they see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” Matthew 4:16, also see Collosians 3:17, and 1Peter 4:11
What about you, will you act in such a way that others will notice that there is something about you that is not like everyone else?
Enhanced by Zemanta
The Last Judgement

The Last Judgement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beauty, Creativity, Arts, & Science

 

The very best in all of these disciplines should be coming out of the Christian community.  We have access to the biggest and best creative pool anyone has ever known and additionally we are tied into the source of all knowledge and wisdom.

So why is so much art generated by those who would call themselves by the name of Christ mediocre?  Now before you go getting all defensive, I did not say all but much, and before you comment go turn on a Christian radio, TV, or movie and honestly evaluate and compare. Are the production levels, the performances, the sense of it up to what the rest of the world produces?  Or is it more like comparing a Hollywood blockbuster with a 14 year olds hand-held production.  Is the musicality there or is it akin to listening to an 8-track from the 70’s?
We, the church, used to lead.  It did not matter if it was Art: the David, the Sistine Chapel, or countless others, Music: Bach, Brahms et al, Science Newton, Galileo, and others.  So what happened?  When did it change?  And when are we going to reclaim our place of leadership?  It’s way past time for those who would call themselves Christian to stop shying away from or even being antagonistic to art and science and realize our God-given talents.

Lead, Excel, Be Great

Do you really think we should just put it out even if it’s only mediocre?  I have to wonder even with this blog and some other things I am working on if it is the best it can be.  Am I just phoning it in?  Is it good enough, or am I short-changing not just you, but also God?
I believe that the Christian ethic demands to do what I can to produce the best product I am capable of creating.  That includes taking the time and effort to become better.  This blog, the classes I teach, if they’re not better this month than they were last then what value are they?

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” – Colossians 3:23

Enhanced by Zemanta

If this then that.  

It is the IF that brings about the Then.  It all begins with a presupposition, an idea that if this, then that.  If there is a God, then he must have created everything.  Or conversely if we evolved then what was the origin?  But always there is the presupposition that begins the theory, the hypothesis, and therefore impacts the answer.
Richard Dawkins states “Christianity was founded by Paul of Tarsus”, this is the if.  If this is the founding, the beginning then the rest is laughable.  It is not based upon the reality of Christ.  Christianity then becomes a what should be, not a what is.  But if instead Christianity was founded by Jesus of Nazareth, what is the then?  Now it’s a truth system based upon factual accounts, grounded not in a way things ought to be but, on the way things are.
So what are the proofs, facts, and truths, that Christianity is based upon?  Mr. Dawkins would have us believe that it is based upon not the teachings of the Christ, but of Paul.  While it is true that much of the New Testament was written by Paul, not all of the New Testament, his were not the first writings, nor the last.
If Paul was the founder of the Christian faith then we Christians are to be pitied more than any others for we are not only following a religion that can not do what it claims, but leaves no hope for those that would trust in it.  One of the foundational truths, in fact I would say the foundational truth is the claim by Jesus “I am the way the truth and the light, no man comes to the Father but by me.”  How can Paul make such a claim for the Christ?

Or if ? then?

If, on the other hand, man is the result of matter+time+chance then there is no right or wrong.  Can one be moral without a Creator?  Not if we are the result of evolution.  If we are evolved then morality is whatever society says it is, but society can only declare what it must declare.  Gone is free-will, instead is instinct.  And morality determined by each society is anchored in nothing.  After all as Ravi Zacharias points out “some societies love their neighbors, others eat them.  Do you have a preference?”
On the other hand if there is a creator, then even the atheist can be moral.

For only with a moral law giver then there can be a moral law.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Christ in Gethsemane (Christus in Gethsemane),...

Christ in Gethsemane (Christus in Gethsemane), oil painting by Heinrich Ferdinand Hofmann (Heinrich Hofmann). The original is at the Riverside Church (Riverside Church, New York City). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Working thru some things at the weekly men’s breakfast, the idea of God’s wrath came up.  We were looking at the fact that God is unchanging, and a couple of the guys who are newer to being disciples of Christ were asking about the God of the Old Testament vs. the God of the New Testament.  They had been given the idea that God pre the incarnation of Christ was mean, and punished and was full of wrath.  But now, since the life of Jesus, God is love.  Kind, loving, gentle, God is now different.

How can God be Loving and Wrathful?

So is God different?  Has he changed?  My Bible says he is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  So why the disconnect between the perception of what God was like in the Old Testament, vs God who is in the New Testament.  The one that created the biggest discussion is the wrath of God.
So did God stop being wrathfull after the crucifixion of Jesus?  First God released his wrath on Jesus when he was put on the cross.  When Jesus took my sin on himself, taking my place, he not only took my sin, my failure, but he also endured God the Father’s wrath.

Doesn’t seem to me God’s Wrath is gone

Secondly look at Revelation 6:16 which says “And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:”
That’s not the wrath of the Father, the Lamb is Jesus and His wrath is coming.
Now that’s not about trying to scare you.  Hopefully you are a disciple of Christ, a Christian, and the wrath mentioned above is not directed at you.  But it does go to show that God’s wrath did not go away, or stop.  He may withhold his wrath for a season, for a time, but patience isn’t the same as forgetfulness.
On the other hand if you have not made Jesus Lord, my question is what are you waiting for?  God may be long suffering, that doesn’t mean He is asleep.
Enhanced by Zemanta

What is enough?

Who am I to expect more?

Ask – sure
Want-ok
Work for – of course
But expect?
How dare I. How presumptuous of me to expect anything beyond the grace of God.  Even expecting that seems, as I am writing this, to be the pinnacle of arrogance.
Max Lucado in his book “In the Grip of Grace.” Tells the story about praising God for saving his daughter from drowning.  “As clearly as if God himself were speaking, this question came to mind: Would I be less wonderful had I let her drown?”  I have to admit I probably would scream YES, yes you would be less wonderful.

What is the right perspective?

Right now I do not have the perspective to even really know what is good for me.  Yet I actually try to make that decision.  Should I keep working to build a business that is struggling?  What about being single, when not only do I not really want to be, after all didn’t God say “It is not good that the man should be alone.”  Yet if I was married I don’t see how I could work full-time(and then some), teach a couple of small-group classes, write this blog, study trying to better understand God, and love a wife as Christ loves the church.
My humanity, my desires, seem in conflict with my Christian ethics, my belief that God’s best is best.  Knowing that I just don’t have the wisdom to make the call, doesn’t necessarily make it easier, but it does make it do-able.
I may not have the answers, but I do know the one who does.
 Now if I would just be ok with that.
Enhanced by Zemanta
English: Prestbury war memorial - northern fac...

English: Prestbury war memorial – northern face “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”. On 864428. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

” Our comfort is not God‘s priority.” Max Lucado from It’s not about Me

Does God love man? 

Of course, but how off track do I get. I get tied to this idea that His love means that His end game is to take care of me.  God’s goal is not to lift me up.  Instead his goal is to bring me to a place where I bring glory to Jesus, that is really what Christian living is all about.  Not bringing glory to me for his sake, but to Christ for my sake.
I, you, all of creation was made to declare the glory of God.  Yet God’s glory, his greatness is not for His good, but for mine.  Lets be clear God does not need praise, worship or adoration.  He was full and complete long before the creation of the first angel.  Before God created man, God had need of nothing.  He created man to reveal his glory for man’s benefit.  Had God not created man He would still be glorious, perfect, and complete.

If you had it all, would you  share freely?

Even if it cost you, a lot?  Me either which is why it is a good thing neither of us is God.  His desire was to create man so that we could share in His glory.  Not loneliness or need motivated this, but love.
Thank God he is not me.
Enhanced by Zemanta
Amish family riding in a traditional Amish bug...

Amish family riding in a traditional Amish buggy in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wonder if the Amish are on to something?  Are they right to send the young men out into the world.  By forcing them to make their beliefs system their own, nobody can then take it away from them.  What they claim to believe isn’t just because of what their parents, friends, or family believe, but they are forced to make a choice.  To either accept or reject the beliefs that they have been raised with.

Or is someone else’s belief enough?

Contrast that with the following survey from the UK http://richarddawkinsfoundation.org/
“Asked why they had been recorded as Christian in the 2011 Census, only three in ten (31%) said it was because they genuinely try to follow the Christian religion, with four in ten (41%) saying it was because they try to be a good person and associate that with Christianity.”
Can what you believe be handed to you like a family heirloom?  For me I left the family beliefs behind.  I searched and looked and tried so many things.  Only to have a sense of emptiness that nothing could fill.
Oh I tried and trust me I worked really hard to make all kinds of things fill me up, make me feel complete.  Inside of me was what I now know was a God shaped hole.  But then I tried to make other religions fill that.  When that didn’t work I then looked at anything, everything else.  Other people, especially women, trying to make them fit that shape.

Until it is your own it will not fit.

I would put someone else in that place, and for a time it would kind of sort of work.  Imagine trying to make three pounds fill a twenty pound bag.  There is something there, and it doesn’t feel as empty.  But sooner or later you realize that there is still something missing.  A life that isn’t full, isn’t complete.
The only thing big enough is God.  And now, well those other things just don’t seem that important.  Actually not important at all.  I enjoy the company of friends and time with family.  And although some of them are women I don’t use them to fill me up.  In fact being involved, dating, even the idea of marriage doesn’t really fit, at least for now.

Unlike Jerry McGuire the only thing that completes me is God.

Enhanced by Zemanta
English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States. Latviešu: Abrahams Linkolns, sešpadsmitais ASV prezidents. Српски / Srpski: Абрахам Линколн, шеснаести председник Сједињених Америчких Држава. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“We should not pray that God is on our side, but rather that we are on His.”  Abraham Lincoln

Right to bear arms, abortion, welfare.  So much dividing our country right now.  I wonder if anyone is praying as President Lincoln, not that God was one our side but that we are on His.  As Christians are we assuming too much?  Some who dare to call themselves by the name of Christ, presume to know the mind of God, but I wonder how much time has been spent seeking God’s will before taking action.  Or do we just jump in with what we think is the correct Christian ethic, never stopping long enough to seek God’s will.

neither for or against

Back before the children of Israel entered the promised land Joshua is standing near Jericho.  I wonder if he is thinking about the battles to come.  Is he contemplating the lives that will be lost fighting?  I don’t know and it doesn’t say.  But then he sees a man standing with his sword drawn.  And Joshua asks him “Are you for us or for our enemies.”, and what’s the response?  “No, but as captain of the host of The Lord I come.”  Is God for Israel?  It seems to me God saying, I don’t do this for you, I do it for me.

Are we thinking God is on our side and forgetting that we need to be on his?  Until we get on his side we are not doing it for his glory, but for ours.

Enhanced by Zemanta
English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymo...

English: “The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am wondering about having a longing for God. I want to want nothing more than God.  And I know that there truly is nothing more.  I intellectually want and desire nothing more than all of God. Mentally I desire to settle for nothing less. Physically I go to my knees, face to the ground and ask for the fullness of God.

But day after day I get up,and go my way.  Off to work I go without what I came for.  Is it too much?  I come to God and like Jesus example I ask for a fish, an egg, and most certainly the Father won’t give me a scorpion, or a stone.  But is he saying to me, “you have no idea what it is you are asking for.”  Does he hold back, not for his sake, but for mine?
Is God holding back, hesitating a moment to allow me the time to build the muscle so I can lift the load that is coming. What if it takes tough guys to handle knowing God?  Is it really for the 98lb. Weakling to lift up God?
I don’t think so, we serve a big God, shouldn’t it take broad shoulders to carry him into a world that is lost, hurting hopeless.
At the same time I think of Thanksgiving day.  All the sights the sounds, but especially the smells.  I know Thanksgiving is nearly a year away, but right now thinking about it can you smell the Turkey, the gravy.  I think about the hunger building, the anticipation.  Being famished, and the smell makes it worse.  Is that sometimes the way God works.  Building the desire by letting us smell, maybe even see, but holding back the feast, for a moment.  Should I settle, taking what is there right now, or do I wait?  Refusing to get up until God gives me what I need?
Especially since what I really truly need is all of him.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Work as Worship

I am a Realtor by trade and over the past several years I have made a decent living by serving my clients. Meeting their needs, helping them get what they want has been my goal.  My big goal has been to take care of enough clients, well enough, that I will be well compensated and I can then have all I want.

But what if that is all wrong?  What if instead I turn it all around?  Make showing the glory of God the Big goal.  Attempt to bring glory to God thru my work the priority.  To be so good at my job that clients want to know the how and the why.
What if I take exceptional care of everyone that comes in to my circle, my sphere of influence?  If I serve them so well that they see God working thru me.  Or maybe if they don’t recognize the why, they know that something is so different they are compelled to ask.
If I take on, attack my labor with so much love.  Work with an abundance of energy, enthusiasm would it show a difference?  If I really performed as if unto the Lord would it leave any doubt that I am different?
Perhaps I should perform my work as an offering, as a form of worship of God.
Enhanced by Zemanta