Month: October 2013

Life In Spite of Me – A Feature Film

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Depression…

Death of loved ones…

Rape…

Suicide…

Is there any hope?

Guy Lia, a fraternity brother of mine from Pepperdine University, is the Founder and an Executive Producer at Storehouse Media Group.

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 12.15.09 PMHe is working on a film that will tackle these difficult issues from a Christian perspective but he needs our help.

Here’s what Guy says about the film:

The film is based on the true story of Kristen Jane Anderson, a teen who found herself spiraling into an endless depression following the deaths of 3 high school friends, her grandmother and then finally being date raped by someone she thought she could trust. Kristen made the fateful decision to end the pain and find final peace by throwing herself in front of an on coming train…but God had other plans.

We believe this message of grace, redemption and hope will save lives for Christ and cross the faith and secular divisions.

Please consider doing your part to support the film project so that we can influence Hollywood and send a message that Christians want more faith-friendly films!

Here’s how you can help.

  1. Click on the following link and donate
  2. Pray

 

 

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Idiot Savants – Learned Idiots

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Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 6.50.04 PMIdiot savant.

Idiot savant comes from the French meaning “learned idiot”.

Learned idiot.

One who is learned about a particular subject or topic and yet continues to live in a way that is totally inconsistent with what one knows.

Hmmm.

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 6.42.30 PMEugene Peterson sheds insight about learned idiots in his book “Jesus Way.” He writes:

One of the chores to which my friend was routinely assigned by his parents was what they called “riding fence.” It was mindless work: he simply rode his horse along the barbed wire fence that enclosed the cattle, who were always, it seems. Looking for breaks or weaknesses. When he found one he repaired it…

He told me that cattle are the dumbest members of the entire livestock family, animals of “little brain.” But in one thing they are absolutely brilliant: they have a genius for finding a hole or weak place in a fence. And the moment they find it they are through it, leading their sister cows and brother bulls after them into dangerous terrain where they have no skills for protecting themselves or avoiding calamity. You then have to spend the next two or three days rounding them up and returning then to where they belong and be kept alive.

I never knew I had so much in common with cattle.

Idiot savants. Learned idiots.

Ones who know what to do and how to live, and yet don’t do what they know.

Alright. That’s too much learning and confessing and reflecting and stuff.

I’m going to go watch Sports Center…

Spiritual Truths Learned from Fantasy Football

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Image Borrowed from ESPN

I am in a Fantasy Football league through my home church, the Little Church on the Prairie.

Ever since joining the league, I’ve found myself following a bunch of teams and games that I would never have had any interest in. All because I have players on my fantasy team that are playing on those teams and in those games. I find myself tracking a half dozen games on Sundays to see how my guys are doing.

I do this because I love football and I want to win.

I’ve got a colleague, who shall remain unnamed, who never checks on his team. In fact, he regularly plays guys that aren’t even playing because their teams are on bye weeks or their injured. It’s clear that he’s not interested, and therefore he’s not engaged.

I tell you that because I think that difference tells us some things about how people approach spiritual growth.

What are some spiritual truths I’ve learned from our church Fantasy Football League?

1. Connect

In order to be successful in Fantasy Football, you’ve got to regularly connect to ESPN or Sports Center to see who’s playing well and who’s not. You’ve got to see who the opposing teams will be. You’ve got to keep track of injuries. You’ve got to stay on top of schedules. That’s all part of connecting.

The same is true for our spiritual maturity. There is no way we are going to grow and mature as Christians when we do not regularly connect with a local body. There ought to be a group of people who we regularly do life with, people who will pray with us and encourage us, people who will celebrate and experience life with us. We have to have a community with whom we regularly connect.

It’s by connecting in worship, bible study, or small groups with others engaged in the work and ministry of Jesus Christ that we are going to stay on top of what God is up to in our communities and how we can best engage with God where he’s already at work.

2. Engage.

But not only do you need to connect, you’ve got to also engage. You’ve got to engage with your team. You’ve got to be committed to winning and doing well. You’ve got to do your home work. I regularly find myself analyzing my players, the defenses they will be facing, the match ups. I do my best to put in the guys I think will perform the best that particular week.

I am engaged. My colleague, who still shall remain unnamed, is clearly not.

And here’s one of the greatest spiritual lessons I’ve learned. Engagement is the result of connecting. I am engaged because I am connected. That is so true of our spiritual lives. Engagement is the byproduct of having a people, a cause, a mission, a church where we are connected.

You want people to engage, help people to connect.

3. Invest

Because I’ve joined a fantasy football league, and because I’m committed to winning, I find myself interested in games and teams that I would have never cared about before.

The reason why I care that the Broncos do well is because Payton Manning is my quarterback and Wes Welker is one of my receivers. The reason why I want to see the Bears dominate is because they are my defense. I don’t care about the Broncos or the Bears. In fact, I’ve never cared about the Broncos or the Bears. The only reason why I care now is because of the players on my fantasy football team.

You see, to start caring for the things that God is concerned about, and being passionate about the ministry and mission of God will only happen as we connect and engage. Investment comes as a result of our connection and engagement.

If you are not connected and engaged in your church’s ministry, you have no investment in the future of your church. You won’t care what happens.

Connect – Engage – Invest

That’s how you win fantasy football games, and I think that’s how you win in your spiritual journey.

Longing to Love Jesus

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Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 3.56.37 PMThere are people who believe they can fly. They believe this to the core of their being. They would not give it a second thought to leap off a tall building to prove that they can fly.

But they can’t.

No matter how much they believe they can.

When one’s belief doesn’t jive with reality, it’s not belief but a delusion.

One can believe with all their being that they love Jesus. But when our life choices and behaviors are not consistent with our belief, it’s not faith. It’s a delusion.

I am pastor. I’ve studied theology. I have a Masters Degree in Divinity. I’ve preached hundreds, if not thousands, of sermons. I have read hundreds of books about God. I can tell you quite a bit about God. And I really do believe I love God.

It’s just that my life choices and behaviors and thoughts don’t always reflect that reality.

Jesus says, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do what I command you?” Luke 6:46.

Jesus says, “If you love me, keep my commands” John 14:15.

It’s not that working really, really hard to obey and keep Christ’s commands is the pathway to loving God.

It’s that when we love God and love Jesus, obeying and keeping his commands are the natural result of love.

It’s so much easier to make my faith about working harder and doing the right thing. But what God truly desires from me is my heart and my love.

I wish there was a twelve step plan to make me love God more. I would do it. Because I love God.

But that’s just the thing. You can’t force love.

Loving God comes from being in love. While I love God, I am not sure if I’m in love with God as I once was.

I want to recapture my first love that I had for my Savior. I long to be in love with God again. I want to recapture that passion and zeal for God.

The Reason Pope Francis has Influence

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Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 1.46.06 PMMore than any other Pope in recent history, people love Pope Francis.

This is remarkable given the public ire the Catholic Church has had to deal with in recent history regarding their very public cases of sexual abuse by her priests.

Pope Francis seems to have turned all that around.

What is it about Pope Francis that people are drawn to? Why are people so intrigued by Pope Francis? How come he has become the beloved Pope of, not only the Catholic Church, but the world?

One word: integrity.

In carrying his own bags, living in a simple apartment, turning down the life of luxury, making his own phone calls, answering his own emails, being around and serving people, taking the metro, etc. the world sees what faith in God ought to look like.

The world understands that faith looks more like strength in humility, grandeur in service, power in simplicity, and the miraculous in the everyday life than strength in power, grandeur and opulence, and influence through power.

Pope Francis is beloved and has influence because his life matches his faith.

And friends, that’s where our influence lies too: when our behavior matches our beliefs.

A. W. Tozer on Money

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Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 4.38.04 PMAs base a thing money often is, it yet can be transmuted into everlasting treasure. It can be converted into food for the hungry and clothing for the poor; it can keep a missionary actively winning lost souls to the light of the gospel and thus transmute itself into heavenly values. Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality.

 

A. W. Tozer

Leagalism – It Stinks!!!

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There was a man named John who walked into a bank to finalize a business transaction dressed in his blue jeans. The teller told him that the officer he needed to see wasn’t in and he would have to come back the next day. John said that would be fine and asked the teller to validate his parking ticket.

The teller then informed him that according to bank policy, she couldn’t validate his parking ticket because he had not technically completed a financial transaction.

John asked for an exception, since he had come to the bank intending to do business, but wasn’t able to because the appropriate officer wasn’t in.

The teller didn’t budge. She said, “I’m sorry; that’s our policy. Rules are rules.”

So John decided to make a business transaction. He decided to close his account.

The account he closed had a balance of over $1.5 million.

This qualified as a business transaction, and the teller was able to validate the parking ticket.

True story.

Legalism.

Rules are necessary.

Life would be chaos without rules.

However, legalistic adherence to rules without using common sense and judgment is not only dumb but it’s deadly. It will kill relationships. It will destroy organizations.

Legalism. It really does stink!