We are not in Kansas anymore and this is more than dust in the wind!

At 6:30pm, night before last night I finally took the plunge in my Christian faith and made a conscious decision to stand before my friends and family and say, “I am dead to self, I will from now on no matter what follow Jesus Christ!” Through prayer this was a last minute decision. I called my pastor at 11:30 that same morning and asked, “Is it too late to get involved in the baptism ceremony tonight?”.  At that time I had no idea how many others from the congregation were being baptized, so I had no idea if there would be time or not.  I am pretty sure that baptizing his congregation well into the night is something our pastor WOULD do, but he is human and I am sure its not high on his list of WANT TO do’s.

Yesterday I was in the shower and the song Dust In The Wind came on the radio, “All we are is dust in the wind.”  It’s funny how taking a huge step in one’s faith journey can eternally change their mind. Side note– as I am writing this, with a huge clash of thunder the Heaven’s just opened and its life-giving waters poured forth onto the earth with reckless abandon!! Even the earth needs baptism.

Back to my point.  As I was getting ready for my day yesterday the song “Dust In Wind” by Kansas came on the radio and I was instantly in deep thought and actually arguing with the lyrics on the radio by the second verse! I know, I am a man who argues with things or people who can’t even hear me. Does that mean I talk to the voices? No. I am totally sane, I promise.

The lyrics, “All we are is dust in the wind” really hit me in a way they never had before! I was in the shower at the time and I even said, “NO! WE ARE NOT JUST DUST IN THE WIND! YOU HAVE IT ALL WRONG!! WE ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT!” We are not just a fleeting momentary cosmic accident that can be blown away by any quick breeze that blows. My baptism has drawn me into a much deeper understanding of who we are and why we are here! YOU ARE MORE THAN JUST DUST IN THE WIND!

We were given such an amazing gift and it boggles my mind how many people actually waste it on petty thoughts and petty differences. You are more than dust in the wind. You have a soul. You make a difference for someone’s eternity every single day and you may not even know it! I never thought it would affect me this much, but my baptism day before yesterday has really changed my way of thinking on a lot of different things.  I seem more at ease.  My wife will probably disagree, and I am sure at some point the calmness will wear off, but I seem to be more in tune with my Creator since being baptized. I am more consciously minded in the ways of Eternity.  Asking myself before reacting, “Will this actually make a difference in a year, five years, ten years or even after I am dead and gone?” If not, why worry so much about it. It will be what it will be.  The thing that is dust in the wind, my friends is time.  That is the thing that blows by us as a breath of air and once it is past, it is past.  There is no way to get around the fact that you are not the same person you were five minutes ago.  You have experienced things and those things, even though they seem inconsequential, they have changed you.

Moments pass.  Time flies by.  Events in our life happen and some events are even missed but experienced by others.  There are infinite possibilities of how time can pass because for each and every single person on this earth, past or future, time holds a different perspective.  So, take the time that is flying at you and grab a hold of as much of it as you can.  When those opportunities come to be baptized in a new way of thinking or a new journey in life, take hold of them and never let them go.  It is through the moments that we really grasp that we change the most, and usually for the best. Moments can also have a negative affect on our spirit, but let those moments fly by as grains of sand in the winds of time. Breathe deep the winds of change and see where your spirit wishes to lead. After all, We are more than just dust in the wind and if your journey continues you can’t stay in Kansas very long.

Commitment isn’t what it used to be.

I promise you I will. Til Death Do Us Part. I will be on time. I will complete the task to the best of my ability. I will finish the race that is set before me. What do all of these phrases have in common? They take Commitment! You have to see your goal and set forth on a journey towards it that will not be shaken so far that you let it stop! Battle will rise. Arrows will be slung. Spears of injustice may afflict you. But, Commitment is what will set you apart!

We live in a world where if it feels good, do it, if it doesn’t feel good, quit.  That, my friends is NOT commitment even in the slightest way possible! Commitment doesn’t mean we give up! If we give up, we are definitely NOT committed! Commitment happens when we see things THROUGH the pain Through the tough spots, Through the spots where all we can do is look up and say, “How am I gonna climb this?!” I wish we could get back to a world that was about commitment and believed it and stood by it.  We don’t any longer.  We live in a world where people get divorced if they aren’t happy for a season.  We live in a world where people quit a job if they don’t get the benefits they think they should have coming to them. I’ve been there.  And I have to tell you as of today, I AM DONE, I QUIT NOT COMMITTING! Jesus Christ is my Rock and my Salvation and Through Him I shall not QUIT! I am committed to my marriage, I am committed to the people I will touch through my job.  There will be times I am not happy, that is humanity. God gave us a whole range of emotions to feel and to share.  Yes, He also gave us free will which is the ability to drop our commitment, but why should we?

Speaking of a person who never dropped His commitment… Jesus Christ Prayed so hard the night before His crucifixion that he SWEAT BLOOD FROM HIS HEAD… Have you EVER in your LIFETIME EVER BEEN UNDER THAT KIND OF COMMITMENT????!!!!  There are groups of people who have, they’re called SOLDIERS! And that is what we need to be in our commitments from now on.  A soldier never backs down.  A soldier never tries to skirt the hard way around things.  A soldier wants to live, but gets shot at and has things blowing up all around them, but they soldier on! A SOLDIER IS COMMITTED!

So, I am asking you today to become like a soldier in your own life.  Look at your spouse.  There was one day that you chose them. Become Committed.  Look at your job.  There was one day that you chose that job.  Become Committed and Change Lives in Your Career! Everything you have in your life was at one time a choice you chose.  Okay, maybe not EVERYTHING, bad things happen, but SOLDIER ON AND BECOME COMMITTED THAT YOU WILL SEE THE JOURNEY THROUGH! Commitment NEVER WAVERS, Commitment NEVER QUITS, Commitment ALWAYS FINDS A WAY TO MOVE FORWARD! Stay the course and stay committed today.

You Better Believe You Are Sanctified!!

Sanctification, To Be Sanctified means to be set apart for Holy Use, or to Purify. As a Christian I believe through Baptism in Jesus Christ I am Sanctified. I have been set apart for a Holy Purpose. I have been called to share the Love of Jesus with as many people as will listen.  Sanctification is a process. And it never comes without struggle. Just like those in the time of Jesus Crucifixion and Resurrection. They were called to step out of their comfort zone and stare death in the face and still proclaim Jesus’ love for us all. That is the Gospel, my friends. Sanctification costs.

I have been called to preach The Gospel of His Holy Story.  What is the Gospel? For those of you who don’t know, it is the best news you can ever receive.  The Good News Of The Gospel is you have been Sanctified by what Jesus Christ did on The Cross at Calvary.  You have been SET APART once you believe He died, went to Hell, Rose again three days later and is still working today! How do you know you have been Sanctified? You feel a change in your life. What you once thought important is now on the back burner. What you once thought was funny now does not even get an upward twinge of your lips. You become a whole new person once Sanctification begins, but it is a process.

I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see. That is Sanctification.  Sanctification requires a purification. Purification can come through water, or it can come through fire. Either method will cause the impurities to be washed away and what is left is a pure vessel for Holy Use. 

Father, Jesus, I need you to come into my life today and make of me a new vessel for Your Holy Use. Not my will be done, but yours, Not my words from my lips, but yours.  You call ALL of your created children to your cause.  You call ALL your created children to you to be your hands and feet in this world.  This world is full of those who either don’t believe, or don’t WANT to believe because they may be unsure of the process.  They don’t want the Sanctification.  I was there once.  Yeah, I said I was a Christian, but I never experienced the Change.  Until about seven years ago, I finally looked at my life and said, “This is not what Jesus would do!” And if this is not what Jesus would do, I have not yet been washed for His Holy Purpose.  My sanctification had not lead to a change.  A change that was painful.  People I knew, I had to leave behind. Vocabulary I used, I had to leave behind. Places I decided to hang out, I had to leave behind. Those words and those people and those places I used to be, they may be somebody’s ministry, but they aren’t mine.  I needed to be changed. The Holy Change God wishes to see in each one of us only can come through Sanctification. 

If you ask Jesus to come in and change your life, yeah, its gonna be painful. But it won’t be nearly as painful as if you DON’T ask Him to come in and make you a new Holy Vessel for His Use. There is so much more to this world once you realize that with Jesus it changes EVERYTHING and once it changes EVERYTHING in your world, you can share that change with others. And THEY TOO can be Sanctified and made pure for His Holy Use.  So, what are you waiting for?

Are you worried that you are too far gone for Jesus to use you to reach someone? Are you worried that you have done too much bad so Jesus can never love you? THAT IS WHAT SANCTIFICATION IS ALL ABOUT!!! It takes the dirtiest vessels and uses them in ways they never dreamed possible! A clay pot was once just a clay pot, but the breath of Jesus breathed into it is now HOLY! Made pure. And that, my friends can happen to you too. All you need to do is call out to Jesus and I promise you, He is waiting to make you His and make Miracles happen THROUGH you and your sanctification! Imagine all the lives that could possibly be changed if you would just be willing to go through the purification process and be made new in Jesus Name! Imagine all the lives that WON’T change if you don’t step out in faith and choose to be purified for His Use. Which are you willing to live with? Be Sanctified by Jesus Blood and Righteousness today! Don’t Wait! Ask Him to move in your life RIGHT NOW and I promise, He Will!

How long can compassion remain hidden?

I Looked up the definition of Compassion in a Yahoo.com search and this is what I found–

 

  • compassion

    • n.noun
      1. Deep awareness of the suffering of another accompanied by the wish to relieve it. 

A Deep awareness of the suffering of another ACCOMPANIED by the wish to relieve it.  This definition compelled me to ask the question in my mind, Are we truly aware of the suffering of others any longer, and do we truly have a desire within ourselves to relieve it? A Deep Awareness.  That goes beyond just seeing it and knowing it is there, doesn’t it?  A Deep Awareness– To me, a Deep Awareness of something should propel us into action! If we have a deep awareness of something that needs to be taken care of, then we should extend all measure and endurance to complete what needs to be done! If we do not, we have no compassion. 

As I looked further into the definition of this word, I saw the word “Wish” to relieve it.  I guess that kind of takes us off the hook, doesn’t it?  We don’t need to be compassionate because of its very definition we “Wish” to relieve the pain.  Wishing doesn’t solve anything! I wish I had enough money to cover all my expenses once and for all and be debt free for the rest of my life.  I wish I could cure all the diseases that ravage our world today, but simply dumping cold water on my head and donating a few of my dollars towards the cause will ultimately not relieve the suffering of the people with that disease, now will it?

Compassion– A Deep Awareness of the suffering of another accompanied by the wish to relieve it.  I guess if I really dig down and boil out all of the could haves, would haves and should haves this definition is most certainly a call to action.  We can ALL IMPACT the world.  I Make Positive Actions Come True… That is really the ultimate goal of compassion.  I wish we lived in a world where everyone would see that as true and give everything they have to make sure that everyone in the world experiences it.  But, alas, we live in a fallen world and all I can do is all I can do.  I cannot force anyone else to do anything.  I cannot force someone to dump cold water on their head and then donate to a charity.  I can’t force someone to look at every single other person and realize, “Wow! I bet they have some unmet need and I am crossing their path to be able to meet that need!” And then, By God (and only by God) can they begin that conversation with that person and realize WE ALL HAVE SOMETHING WE DON’T HAVE AND OTHERS CROSS OUR PATHS TO SUPPLY IT! THAT, my friends is Compassion! Meeting Needs! Not just saying, oh, I know how you feel… Not just saying, Oh, I have been there, it is rough… NO! SUPPORT AND SUPPLY! THAT IS THE DEFINITION OF COMPASSION, my friends! If your awareness of a person’s pain and suffering doesn’t lead you to action then it is not compassion.  Plain and simple truth.  God created all we need in this world and we need to learn to give all we have to support one another so EVERYONE can have what they need.  Not what they want, not what they desire, but what they need! There is a difference.
Compassion should always lead us to how can I help and then doing what we can to help.  If we just look at someone and say that we know how they are feeling and walk on by, that is not compassion.  When will we have a world that actually understands what compassion is?!! The very definition I found in my research doesn’t even go far enough into what God desires compassion to be.  You have it within you, today, to ACT with Compassion and change somebody’s world.  The question is, Will you actually move forward and create a motion that WILL make a change?

I MAKE POSITIVE ACTIONS COME TRUE…. THAT… should be the definition of Compassion in our world… we CAN have a world of IMPACT, but it takes each one of us to look around and experience other people’s worlds.  It takes each of us to look around and experience other people’s point of view.  Expand your horizons and one day we can live in world that is overflowing with True Compassion!

 

Amazing Grace, do we know what it is?

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. These words have all but lost their true meaning in today’s world. We see video’s online of people being beaten because of something they did to upset another human being and instead of taking the high road, we watch five and ten minute videos of the person seeking their revenge!!!

I am pretty sure that Amazing Grace does not always mean to take an eye for an eye!! If everybody in the world took an eye for an eye, pretty soon we’d have a world that only sees half of what it is meant to!!! Amazing Grace means, they don’t condemn you and neither do I. That is what Jesus taught, it is the way it should be now. Why do we always need to be a world that seeks out vigilante justice??! Jesus also said, “He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword.” I firmly believe that Jesus died the most horrific death and then three days later was seen alive to show us violence is not always the way to solve things.
Before I was a saved Christian I was a firm believer in the punishment should fit the crime, and sometimes, it should. But what if instead of seeking our own retribution we show Amazing Grace and forgive those who have wronged us? Can you imagine a world of Amazing Grace? It truly would be a sweet sweet sound because we would be exemplifying the exact love that God has for each one of us. Love your neighbor as yourself and show some Amazing Grace today. Amazing Grace can help you run a much better race on your journey and I assure you, you will create many more smiles along the way. I.M.P.A.C.T. Today by being a standard of Grace.

Why Do I Believe?

I am a Christian.  Okay, let’s be honest here, I am a Jesus Super Freak! For me, Jesus is more than a best friend, He is my everything and it is because of Him that I have everything.  Let’s get one simple thing out of the way at the very beginning, throughout this post you will see me capitalize every reference to Jesus Christ, even the pronouns.  Why?  Because, for me, it is a deep matter of the deepest, truest respect.  I believe in Jesus Christ and not only what He did on this earth, but also what He did to sin, death and Hell.  He wiped them clean! At the moment of the death of Jesus Christ, I believe Hell was completely emptied and everyone who didn’t believe prior was set free.  Ever since that moment, we all have a choice to make and I hope with this post to explain why I feel that is so.  

First of all, we need to understand the culture of the time of Jesus Christ.  It was a culture that was deep in verbal stories.  They were important because it was an oral culture.  Stories and how events happened needed to be memorized so they could be told to someone who could write them down.  Computers and voice records? Not around.  It was a culture that was balanced on getting things right for future generations by oral means. 

There has been found more than thirty-thousand hand written manuscripts of the life of Jesus christ OUTSIDE of The Bible! Thirty-Thousand. On would ask, “with that many manuscripts, how can we be sure they were all copied right?  Well, if you know anything about Greek culture which is the culture that copied most of these manuscripts you would understand that Greek is not at all like English.  The order of the words does not matter.  In English it is a big difference where we put the words, but it still means the same thing in Greek because the subject is ALWAYS the same. Secondly, the only other copied manuscript from that time that comes close to the number of copies made is Homer’s Illiad.  No one EVER disputes the validity of THAT story, I wonder why? Could it be because your eternal soul doesn’t hang in the balance of whether Homer’s Illiad is accurate and true? See, The Bible has an Eternal impact on your soul. Or, at least that is what people believe.  It’s not The Bible that has an eternal impact on your soul, but what you do with Jesus Christ and His gift to you. 

Comparing the Gospels to other written works such as Josephus is also an area we must look at when showing validity of my faith.  Josephus was a historian writer during the time of Jesus Christ and his manuscripts were not even copied or translated until the eleventh and twelfth century!! That is more than A THOUSAND YEARS!!

So, okay, there is enough manuscript evidence to show that The Bible is accurate and what was written is based upon what people witnessed.  I could go further, but I could be writing for days.  If you want the best evidence for Christianity read The Case For Christ written by an Atheist (well, he was an atheist when he started) Lee Strobel. Three-hundred and sixty-seven pages that put Jesus Christ on trial and in the end, He is the winner.

I feel I have gotten off track here though.  The question was asked, why do I believe?  Besides the historical evidence I feel there is biological evidence as well.  Consider the giraffe. This animal has a neck that can reach 18 feet tall.  Now, with a neck that long it needs a blood supply to its brain to support function, does it not? Yes, it does.   Can you imagine the head rush a giraffe would feel if it bent its head down to get a drink and all the blood rushed to its head? Its head would simply explode from all the blood rushing to it from that height.  So, how did the first few thousand years of giraffe’s heads not explode if they needed to adapt the blood bladders in their necks that make bending down to get a drink of water possible? Simple answer, THEY DIDN’T… God created the giraffe with the blood bladders necessary from the first one through our present day giraffe’s.  Evolution I do believe happens.  A person changes from year to year due to their experiences and their thought processes that occur every minute of every day.  That’s evolution. 

Now, finally in this particular post I would like to dive into the final reason I believe in Jesus Christ and why I know He died for my sins and I am a new creation in Him.  He said so.  Throughout The Gospels Jesus Christ is put to the test by the day’s scholars and critics.  He always answer’s them with I Am.  Jesus KNEW that He Is God.  He KNEW.  And He never shied away from saying He Is God. Now, if you do not believe that Jesus Christ is who He says He is you must at this very moment deny Him forever and say He was nothing more than a mad man with an arrogance that has before or since ever been matched.  He is calling out to you now and wants you to know that He paid the price in full.  All we have to do is believe, but the choice is still yours.  I believe simply because I have thirty-eight years experiences that I could dive into here if you wish that, to me, proves God is who He says He is and Jesus Christ is the bridge to God who died for me and all of us on the cross.  But, the story doesn’t even come close to ending there.  No! Jesus Christ took all the pain and anguish of the world on Himself and defeated Satan once and for all. His story is still living out today through each and every one of us.  His story is still being played out when every single chromosome is etched together in perfect beauty to show His Glory.  His story is still being played out in every leaf that returns to its tree every spring.  Every babbling brook that springs forth every season after being stopped cold is proof to me that He is real! The simple fact that I was born with Spina Bifida, a birth defect which could have killed me time and time again, but hasn’t is proof enough for me that God is real and He has purpose for me.  You ask Why Do I Believe?  I believe because I KNOW MY REDEEMER LIVES! I believe because there is absolutely NO REASON not to.  I see a world so perfectly woven together that there has to be God.  There is more than enough historical evidence to prove Jesus Christ not only existed, but still lives today.  And more evidence is being found every single day.  

Faith is the evidence of things unseen.  I have faith that Gravity exists.  I have faith that it is oxygen that I breathe.  I have faith that I am using a computer to type this blog post.  I have faith that I am listening to music as I type this.  Why do I believe? Because it is simply so.  Some things are true, whether you believe them or not.  But all beliefs have consequences.  All actions have equal and opposite reactions.  I am hoping that my post today has cause you to react with asking Jesus into your heart.  Let me ask you one simple question, if you believe in Heaven, but you do not believe in Jesus Christ being the only way to get there, How is it measured who gets to go and who doesn’t? What is the benchmark you reach for? See, with Jesus Christ I don’t have to reach a benchmark.  I just simply have to believe that He died, He rose, He was witnessed by more than SEVEN THOUSAND PEOPLE THREE DAYS AFTER HIS CRUCIFIXION and He now lives in each one of us who chose to believe.  Do you want to start a new relationship today? It’s simple to do.

Jesus, I believe, I know I am a sinner and I cannot reach you by my own standards and my own methods. Jesus I ask you to come into my life right now and show me you.  I ask you to show me all of your Grace because I cannot make it on my own.  Jesus Christ, I admit I need you in my life right now. Come into my life and clean me and make me the creation you wish me to be.  AMEN.

If you prayed that, welcome to the family and get ready for the ride of your life.  It won’t be easy, it won’t be pain free.  Not everything is going to be handed to you by Jesus from now on, but you can rest in the knowledge that He is there with you and He will never let you down.  And I can tell you from experience, He will offer you a change that you never saw coming! I have been a believer for about ten years now.  I always said I was before, but I never experienced the change.  Do I still fall? Sure.  I am human my ways are not His ways, but I know that each time I return to Him,  I am a forgiven son! And you can be a forgiven son or daughter of Him too! All you need to do is believe and I promise, if you believe fully… You will experience a change you never thought possible.  Why do I believe? Because I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES! AMEN~!

The Feedback Loop.

Isn’t this an interesting way of thinking? Those who are in charge of marketing, watch what their consumers think is cool and they then market their product so that what the consumers think is cool is actually what is being sold to them.  But, what happens when something stops being cool? They remarket what is now cool in a whole new way.  It’s this vicious cycle of watching, and selling, and reworking, and watching and selling and reworking. 

If you have ever read the book, 1984, you know it is about Big Brother and how they are watching everything you do.  Isn’t this what The Feedback Loop is exactly like?  The Government in 1984 is continually monitoring its people so they know what they are thinking and tell them what to think and do and how to act.  What is Marketing?  Buy our product! Telling us what to do, how to do it, when to do it and most importantly, why to do it.  We as human beings never do anything that has not effect upon our own self.  Is there such a thing as a selfless human being? Is it possible to have a conscious without some sort of bias attached to it?  I am sorry, it has been a couple weeks since my last blog entry and tonight, as I enter a week without having to attend my normal daytime job my mind is filled with thoughts.  Thoughts of the possible.  I am plagued by thoughts of what if.  What if I actually sat down and completed my story? What if I actually took this week to become a published author?  What if I actually took the steps to change my way of life and change my situation?  What if I actually broke the continual loop I am in of get up, go to work, come home, eat, watch television, read a book, do dishes and go to sleep.  Yes, you would think that because I am married that my life would be different than that, but that, in a nutshell is my loop.  Over and over again it plays.  Well, like Winston in 1984, it is time for me to break conformity and break the loop I have dug into the ground with my life.  I want to give the world something new to think about, something new to read, something new to dream.  Have I succeeded?  This is only the beginning, my friends.  I want YOU to take advantage of today and break the loops and make a difference in the world.  Do not become your own feedback loop, only to loop back around on yourself and where you have already been.  Make a figure eight and become INFINITE in the possibilities! I.M.P.A.C.T. All of your tomorrows and make positive actions come true.