Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Who Here Hates Religion?

All too often I hear well-intentioned people say that Jesus didn't like religion, that He actually hates religion. Just look at the things He said about the Pharisees - the religious leaders of His day.

Oh, Puh-Leaze!

Let's see a show of hands if you've heard something like that.

Just as history has been revised by those with a political agenda, words and their meanings have been revised as well. (For example, tolerance, gay, and progressive come immediately to mind.) Many in the church today have accepted the world's new definitions of words. The word religion has been hijacked and redefined to mean hypocrisy, legalism, bigotry, arrogance - you name it, if it's a sinful human attitude, it's probably part of somebody's new definition of religion.

As a result, we sometimes misconstrue Jesus as someone who was opposed to the concept of religion. That's simply not true. He came to confront authorities who had distorted true religion, not to do away with the idea of religion itself.

That faithful Christian, Noah Webster, defined religion this way in his 1828 dictionary:

1. Religion, in its most comprehensive sense, includes a belief in the being and perfections of God, in the revelation of his will to man, in man's obligation to obey his commands, in a state of reward and punishment, and in man's accountableness to God; and also true godliness or piety of life, with the
practice of all moral duties. It therefore comprehends theology, as a system of doctrines or principles, as well as practical piety; for the practice of moral duties without a belief in a divine lawgiver, and without reference to his will or commands, is not religion.

2. Religion, as distinct from theology, is godliness or real piety in practice, consisting in the performance of all known duties to God and our fellow men, in obedience to divine command, or from love to God and his law. James 1.

3. Religion, as distinct from virtue, or morality, consists in the performance of the duties we owe directly to God, from a principle of obedience to his will. Hence we often speak of religion and virtue, as different branches of one system, or the duties of the first and second tables of the law.

Let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion.

4. Any system of faith and worship. In this sense, religion comprehends the belief and worship of pagans and Mohammedans, as well as of christians; any religion consisting in the belief of a superior power or powers governing the world, and in the worship of such power or powers. Thus we speak of the religion of the Turks, of the Hindoos, of the Indians, &c. as well as of the christian religion. We speak of false religion, as well as of true religion.

When I hear that Jesus hates religion, it reminds me of the tired old line that, "Christianity's not a religion, it's a relationship." That's inaccurate and entirely nonsensical. To say that "Christianity is a relationship" isn't entirely wrong, but it's not the complete truth. The fact is, Christianity is a religion; it's listed among the religions of the world. It's included in any course on world religions.

Oh - and let's not forget what Scripture itself says:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
James 1:27 (ESV)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Who Are You?

In the pursuit of my studies this past two weeks I have been caught up with the question of identity. Who are we talking about? Who are they? Who are you? Who am I? Well at age 72 I well should know who I am and what I am?

It was WWII and I was in public school in New Jersey and from 1941 to 1945 each child was issued “dog tags” with our names and other identifying information. This was of course to identify us if we were killed in a bombing. A “P” identified me as a Protestant. From my very early beginnings I had a religious identity.

What brought this WWII event to mind is the identity crisis that the signers of ‘An Evangelical Manifesto’ seem to have. “We must reaffirm our identity.” I am not unsympathetic to their predicament; it is just that I have not had a need to reaffirm my identity.

As a believer in Christ I am called a Christian. I do not particularly like the word “evangelical” as it is an overlay. Evangelical makes me feel like I have been painted over, that is I am a Christian with a coat of something hiding my identity.

If I needed to reaffirm my identity where would I go, where would my identity, Christian, be affirmed?

I find references in the Book of Hebrews. Christians are they whom:
(1) God has forgiven their sins (10:17; 8:12)
(2) God has cleansed their consciences (9:14; 10:22)
(3) God has written his laws on their hearts (8:10; 10:16)
(4) God is producing holiness of life in them (2:11; 10:14; 13:21)
(5) God has given them an unshakable kingdom (12:28)
(6) God is pleased with them (11; 13:16, 21)
(7) They have faith (4:3; 6:12; 10:22, 38, 39; 12:2; 13:7; etc.)
(8) They have hope (6:11, 18; 7:19; 10:23)
(9) They have love (6:10; 10:33-34; 13:1)
(10) They worship and pray (12:28; 13:15; 4:16; 10:22)
(11) They obey God (5:9; 10:36; 12:10, 11, 14)
(12) They persevere (3:6, 14; 6:11; 10:23)
(13) They enter God’s rest (4:3, 11)
(14) They know God (8:11)
(15) They are God’s house, his children, and his people (3:6; 2:10, 13; 8:10)
(16) They share in Christ (3:14)
(17) They will receive future salvation (1:14; 7:25; 5:9; 9:28). Storm

It is great to read these assurances. Yes, call me a Christian. I know however that to be called “Christian” I must walk the walk of a Christian. So, I believe there is a need to reaffirm my walk.
That surely is as important as who I am.

Pray for those brothers and sisters who struggle with their identity and their walk, it is no small matter.

(Col 3:1-4) If however you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, enthroned at God's right hand. Give your minds to the things that are above, not to the things that are on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ appears--He is our true Life--then you also will appear with Him in glory. Weymouth Translation

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

When we think about Memorial Day – what is the first thing that comes to mind? If you are anything like the majority of the people that I encounter in the workplace the list looks something like this:

1) Three Day Weekend
2) Monday Off
3) Barbeque
4) Day at the Lake
5) Honey-Do-List

It is startling how the typical American’s concept of Memorial Day is completely devoid if any sense of “memorial.” This is no longer a day in which most Americans spend real time remembering the sacrifice of those who lost their life in wartime military service. Some of us will give passing reference to the fact that this is a day to remember civil servants in general – a few will remember the military members specifically, and fewer still will really focus in on those military members who died, whose lives were sacrificed, in defense of our nation.

We live in a society that has become extraordinary self-centered and Memorial Day provides a great opportunity to encourage ourselves, our neighbors, and our families to reflect on sacrifice. Take a moment to call out the sacrifice of our service men and women – those who have died in defense of our nation. Be sure to recognize this extraordinary sacrifice. Surely we can do this for a few short moments one day of the year. Perhaps as we discuss this with our unbelieving friends and family members we will be emboldened to discuss another sacrificed life – that of Christ.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

How Do You Get to Tucson from Here?

You probably know by now that in addition to this blog, ACWI also broadcasts a weekly radio show. Saturday mornings at 7:00 AM, we broadcast Every Square Inch - The Arizona Christian Worldview Hour, where we discuss what it means to live all of our lives - every square inch - before the face of God. We help listeners discover a biblical worldview and integrate that view into every square inch of their lives.

I have mentioned before that our desire is to expand the show beyond the metro Phoenix area to Tucson. A Tucson radio station has expressed interest, but before we can "move south," we will need to have a base of advertisers and supporters in the area willing to help keep us on the air.

Please add this matter to your prayer list. The vast majority of our support comes from the listeners and friends of the ministry - people just like you! If you should be led to help support our efforts, please do it only AFTER supporting your local congregation.
How can you help? I'd invite you to click here with a GENEROUS gift! And yes, we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so your donation is tax-free!

Many thanks!

Don't forget - you can listen to Every Square Inch at KPXQ 1360 AM - or online. Listen live on Saturday mornings at, or listen to the archives at

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How Should We Respond

I was saddened this week as I listened to talk radio and read blog posts by “conservatives” responding to the announcement of Senator Ted Kennedy’s recent malignant tumor diagnosis. The venom spewed towards this man was horrible. Comments ranged from “This tumor may be the karma for leaving that dead girl” to “Hope he suffers like Mary Jo did” and everything in between. This response was not terribly different from the bile that we saw from some of these same people at the death of Yassser Arafat or Sadam Hussein. Why is this worth mentioning? It is noteworthy because it serves as a glaring indicator of how far “conservatism” in this country has fallen away from the Christian worldview that formed the foundation for conservative thought.

So how should we respond to Senator Kennedy’s illness. Should we revel quietly in the knowledge that a powerful force for antibiblical ideas in government will at a minimum be preoccupied with his illness and less effective in advancing a secular humanist agenda in our nation? Should we simply ignore his illness? Maybe we should create alter ego profiles on our favorite blog spots and write scathing posts calling out the wicked ideas advanced by Mr. Kennedy’s politics and suggesting that his cancer is God’s wrath. Maybe not.

What we should do is pray. We should pray for Mr. Kennedy, for his family, and for the doctors that will treat him in the coming weeks and months. We should pray that this difficult time in his life will be used in a way that will glorify God. We should pray for our nation, for healing of political divides and that the response of Christians to this tragedy would be used for God’s glory in this nation. We should speak out against those that revel in Senator Kennedy’s suffering. Why should we do these things? Why should I wish good upon someone who is so completely my political enemy? Because it is what we are commanded to do by God’s word.

First, and foremost, Senator Kennedy is a human being. He is an image bearer of God. His life has intrinsic value – we can not, in fact we MUST not devalue his life because we disagree with his politics. We might hear others saying (or say ourselves) But, but, but…. What about Mary Jo Kopechne! What about his support for homosexuality, is support for abortion, his, his, his…. Look at all the damage that he has done to this country through his advancement of liberalism! Christian conservativism has few enemies more powerful or influential than Senator Kennedy. So as my political enemy I surely must have the right some satisfaction at his illness. No. When we allow ourselves to go to that place, to the place where we place out political agenda above the humanity of our adversary, we have lost the high ground. So how should I relate to Mr Kennedy – my political enemy…

I should love him….

That’s right – remember – “love thine enemy…” I am pretty sure that there is not a biblical footnote that exempts us from loving our political enemies. Not only is this consistent with God’s word, it is part of God’s plan for the building of His church and for the discipling of nations. What does it say about Christians when we are seen earnestly loving our enemies. Imagine the impact of that idea on someone to whom the concept of loving one’s enemies is totally foreign. We do not know how God will use our response to this situation, but we can know how he wants us to respond.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

For The Glory of God Alone

Exodus 24:17 To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.

Exodus 40:34 Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

1 Kings 8:11 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.

Psalms 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.

Like 2:9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

Acts 7: 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

THE spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their great Original proclaim.
The unwearied Sun from day to day
Does his Creator's power display;
And publishes to every land
The work of an Almighty hand.

Soon as the evening shades prevail,
The Moon takes up the wondrous tale;
And nightly to the listening Earth
Repeats the story of her birth:
Whilst all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.

What though in solemn silence all
Move round the dark terrestrial ball;
What though nor real voice nor sound
Amidst their radiant orbs be found?
In Reason's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice;
For ever singing as they shine,
'The Hand that made us is divine.”
by: Joseph Addison (1672-1719)

The hand that made me is divine and my salvation is the work of an Almighty hand.

Praise His Glory.

Talk about His Glory!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Expanding Our Reach. . . With Your Help

As much as we enjoy the "conversation" here on the blog, we also maintain a weekly radio show. Saturday mornings at 7:00 AM, we broadcast Every Square Inch - The Arizona Christian Worldview Hour, where we discuss what it means to live all of our lives - every square inch - before the face of God. We help listeners discover a biblical worldview and integrate that view into every square inch of their lives. You can listen at KPXQ 1360 AM - or online. Listen live on Saturday mornings at, or listen to the archives at

I hope you're a regular listener of Every Square Inch. Secondly, we'd like to expand the show to the Tucson area, but that takes more resources than we currently have. Like most radio programs, we have advertisers, but frankly, our advertisers only provide 28% of our broadcast expenses. The rest of our support comes from the listeners and friends of the ministry - people just like you! How can you help? I'd invite you to click here with a GENEROUS gift! And yes, we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so your donation is tax-free!

Many thanks!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Searching For Men

(Written a couple of years ago but I think there is still wisdom in it)

"I may not be the man I want to be, but thank God I'm not the man I used to be!" –

Billy Ray Cyrus from TV program "Doc".

Looking at out at the world around us, there is many topics floating around different circles. People talk about the latest fashions, the achievements of athletes and the upcoming motion pictures. Nowhere in the topics is the subject of masculinity and why this is important to society. I personally believe that the subject of manhood is misunderstood and under attack in our current world today. I believe this is because our media has portrayed men in a negative and positive light, the rise of feminism, the redefinition of family and generally men don’t understand their role.

Why is this topic important? I’ll agree that there are good examples of men, but with every good example there is a bad one. Each day our fallen world is redefining terms that don’t need to be redefined. It breaks my heart every moment I hear of a father abandoning his children for another woman, a man murders his friend but it also lifts my spirits to see the heroics of my fellow man. Ladies, don’t misunderstand me, I think that if it wasn’t for females, there wouldn’t be any men but here’s my main argument. Men and women are both equal in value in the sight of their Creator. They are both created in the image of God; also they are both co-heirs to the kingdom of their heavenly Father. However, their roles and responsibilities are different. So this topic is important because if the men of this world are just told to either be a raving beast or a sensitive pink shirt wearing male, then manhood will crumble.

Growing up.. I can’t say that I had the best or worst example when it came finding heroes to look up to. I remember some of my earliest heroes in life were Kermit the Frog, biblical heroes like David and Moses, but my father didn’t rank high on the list. Sure our pastor ranked high on my list, along with my scout master but why not the man who named me his son? I still cannot find an answer to this question. My father did model to my young eyes a hard work ethic and someone committed to his family. Even as a young boy when my mother would ask me, what profession I wanted to be when I was older. Without missing a beat I replied that I would be a husband and father. My job to bring food to the table came secondary. I didn’t know why this notion was birthed in my mind at the time but I truly believe that it came from the Lord. I know of some people who are not feeling led in the area of marriage and raising a family, which I believe comes from a conviction of the Lord.

The media… I am not fully sure why the media portrays men differently than women. Yesterday morning as I checked up on the Alito confirmation, the topic of men was all across the headlines. Starting with the announcement of the nomination of this year’s Oscars, many topics of manhood were addressed. The favorite of the critics, Brokeback Mountain was praised but I personally don’t think the topic is something worthy of much praise. Yes I realize homosexuality has taken our culture by storm but this is because men are taught to believe that they are no different from women. So if you like someone of the same gender that is not a problem. Or most come from homes where they were raised by their mothers and their father was absent. Yesterday I also read about the story behind the solider from Iraq with a cigarette that is being hailed as the modern day Marlboro Man. Since that photograph was taken, this young man who is celebrating his twenty first birthday is struggling with post traumatic stress disorder. I admire that man for his service to our country and it breaks my heart to see how the war has affected his mind. Switching gears over to the motion picture arena and it is hard for me to see a good representation of manhood. Men are portrayed as savages, or inferior to women. If you ask a man what his favorite films are, his response will either be a bloody explosive film or an offbeat comedy depending on his age and maturity. Personally my favorite film of all time I believe shows the commitment of a father to his wife and child. Life is Beautiful by Italian filmmaker Roberto Benigni. Yes I realize that the filmmaker made light of the dark period of time but the love he has for his family is commendable. I hope that when I have a family, I will have the same unchanging love for them. Other movies portray men who works 8-5, comes home to his wife and lazy-boy. I wish that there were more movies that portrayed men in the correct light. Another movie I recommend for its portrayal of manhood is Cinderella Man with Russell Crowe. I think I’ll wait until another post to give a full analysis of men in the media.

NOW is today… With the rise of women’s rights organizations, it’s becoming harder to discern if it is a good idea or not. Traditionally, men have provided the bread for their families and are on the leadership teams of their communities, while their wives maintained their homes and was there for their children. I think that men shouldn’t look down upon women and automatically tell them to submit to their own wishes, but some days the husband in order to serve his wife should maybe cook a meal for her or let her take a break from her home and children. Looking at NOW (National Organization For Women)’s bio sheet, they state the following:

“Since its founding in 1966, NOW's goal has been to take action to bring about equality for all women. NOW works to eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools, the justice system, and all other sectors of society; secure abortion, birth control and reproductive rights for all women; end all forms of violence against women; eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia; and promote equality and justice in our society.” -- (with emphasis added)

It looks like they are out on mission to rid the world of men. The part that makes me confused is that they would like to bring equality to all women. Working women, nonworking women, etc. They would like achieve women to dominate the world but this man wonders, is that necessary. Yes I’ll be the first to say that we men haven’t been responsible when it comes to our roles and because of our great grandfather Adam, we along with the rest of humanity are fallen creatures. Its like a wall has gone up because of a idea that us men had and the consequences of that action. The blindness of these women continue on their faq sheet. If you wish to view it, go to Please keep the ladies in prayer, that God works on the hearts and minds of these women. Because at the moment they are happily blind.

Family for sale… To say that the modern day family isn’t under attack right now would be wrong. People are trying to figure out what it means to be a family. This is a sticky topic to talk about as a single man. Here’s my spin on the whole issue, we all have skeletons in our closets because of our sin nature but even the weakest man can be strong and vice versa. Take for instances , my father. There are characteristics in him that I admire, like his perseverance and hard work ethic. But then there are qualities that I don’t enjoy, his cynic attitude and destruction of ideas. My mother always searched out men that I could surround myself with. I picked up various qualities that I admired and didn’t admire, so when it comes to putting them to practice it will be very interesting. So men, find the qualities you admire most about your fathers or uncles, and don’t admire. Because it will make you stronger if you are able to discern the good from the bad.

Roles or Job? I can’t really say that I know fully what a man’s role in today’s society is. I know for myself my main responsibility is the one of protector and provider for my wife and children. Each one of us has our own spheres of influence and if someone does something to try and cause damage to those inside my sphere, dangerous consequences will occur to that individual. Recently, I was called up by the Arizona National Guard and got engaged into a discussion with the sergeant on the other line. He did his best to convince me to join our armed forces but I kindly declined his offer. Why did I give up an opportunity to serve our nation and protect the country I love? One simple word, perspective. I told the man that I have a deep respect for those who feel lead to serve our military but it wasn’t for me, because my conviction is to protect America from inside America. I respect those of you whom I know who have made the choice to join our military and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your families. So in short, what is man do? Protect and Provide for his family, no matter what the cost.

Concluding Thoughts… I realize that this is a lot to take in on this topic. I am not an expert by no means, I’ve observed a lot of men and taken note of their style of leadership. That’s really my main point to my brothers out there, lead by example and don’t sit on the fence when you are given a responsibility to be a leader. Not everyone is called to go into the political arena or pastoral role, but we are told in scripture to lead our families. This will take time and the input of men who we respect and our wives. By God’s grace we will become stronger leaders and I am so grateful at a second chance of figuring out what it means to be a man. This last week I read an interview with Elie Wisel, who is a humanities professor and holocaust survivor. The interviewer asked him what he believes modern day leaders could learn from Moses. His reply was, “Humility. Everyone needs it but mainly leaders. Because they have power.” Men, our brothers and boys look up to us, if we hide behind the mask of pride and arrogance we are becoming a hypocrite. We will have a chance to leave a legacy for our family, what will yours be? My prayer is that mine will be in the words of Jesus,

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that someone lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.—John 15-12-14 (ESV)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

God-Free Schools?

I've been in pursuit of a B.A. in Special Education for...a few years. I'm going out on on a limb and boldly (yet confidently) claiming that education majors probably hear more about problems regarding religion in public schools than any other people group in America, nay, the world! I truly believe that public college instructors have been commanded by the Dept. of Education to make students talk about religious issues so much that by the time we graduate, we can't bear to bring it up with our students.

For a long time, education students were instructed to essentially ignore the existence of religion in the classroom. The reality is that many public schools either unabashedly violate the Establishment Clause or totally strip students of any religious free speech rights. It is rare to find a happy medium. At least at the college level, the absolute fear of religion in public schools is subsiding. This would be great news if the fear weren't being replaced by America's favorite lie, "NEUTRALITY."

Recently an instructor (whom I still respect very much) told our class of future educators to never bring our religion to school. She advised us to not wear religious insignia, to avoid discussing our personal beliefs even if asked, and to not even so much as bow our heads during the moment of silence. This is the same instructor who once told our class "Creationism should not be taught as part of a science class because the study of Creation is not science." I suppose she thinks all the Creationists with PhDs and the like got their credentials during a blue-light special at K-Mart.

The point is this: all the time I have been in school I had been unconsciously accepting the doctrine of neutrality. I had never really questioned the idea that my faith should be checked at the classroom door until a particularly random moment not long ago. I was thinking about the concept of Every Square Inch (the most fabulous talk show on Saturdays) when I realized that Christianity is not what I practice. Christianity is who I am. I am a follower of Christ. This is a lifestyle, a state of being. I cannot leave my Faith at home, just as I cannot leave my gender at home. Being a Christian will affect my pedagogy just as much, no, more than any other aspect of my life. I may not be a teacher of Christianity, but I will always be a Christian teacher. The fact is the humans are not neutral. Sin makes this impossible. Either we hold to truth or we hold to lies, but we are never totally void of belief. What many people (Christians and non-Christians) don't realize is that while we do legally tread on thin ice, the US Constitution and plain reason allows for religion in the classroom. Every person lives within a worldview, whether they actively choose it or not. I believe that as a teacher, the worst thing I could do to my students would be to present myself as a person who has no beliefs or convictions. When I bow my head during the moment of silence, I am not saying "Everyone bow your head because no matter what the Supreme Court says I will make you Christians!" I am saying "I know my origin and my purpose in this world. I believe in God and I will use this time to talk to him. My purpose as a teacher is to teach my students to think critically and to apply those lessons in life. God forbid I ever convey that neutrality is anything less than a cowardly excuse.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Of Uganda, the Pilgrims, and Our Blessed Hope

I am half-way around the globe this week - in east Africa, on a mission trip to Uganda. I wrote this post a few days before I left, as I was thinking about the vast differences between that country and my homeland. Cultural, economic, language. . .the differences are vast. And yet, the United States is not really my home. Those English Separatists, the Pilgrims (our theological forefathers and foremothers in many ways) knew this so much better than I.

Of Plimoth Plantation was written over a period of years by the leader of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation is the single most complete authority for the story of the Pilgrims and the early years of the Colony they founded. Written between 1620 and 1647, the journal describes the story of the Pilgrims from 1608, when they settled in the Netherlands, through the 1620 Mayflower voyage, until the year 1647. The book ends with a list, written in 1650, of Mayflower passengers and what happened to them. . .

The Bradford journal records not only the events of the first 30 years but also the reactions of the colonists. The Bradford journal is regarded by historians as the preeminent work of 17th century America. It is Bradford’s simple yet vivid story, as told in his journal, that has made the Pilgrims the much-loved "spiritual ancestors of all Americans" (Samuel Eliot Morison).
(thanks to

Of Plimoth Plantation
(Enjoy some samples of Bradford's original spelling, too!)

[Chapter 1]. . . by a joint consent they resolved to go into the Low Countries, where they heard was freedom of religion for all men; as also how sundry from London and other parts of the land had been exiled and persecuted for the same cause, and were gone thither, and lived at Amsterdam and in other places of the land. So after they had continued together about a year, and kept their meetings every Sabbath in one place or other, exercising the worship of god amongst themselves, notwithstanding all the diligence and malice of their adversaries, they seeing they could no longer continue in that condition, they resolved to get over into Holland as they could. Which was in the year 1607 and 1608. . .

[Chapter 7]. . . So they lefte that goodly and pleasante citie, which had been ther resting place near 12 years; but they knew they were pilgrimes, and looked not much on these things, but lift up their eyes to the heavens, their dearest cuntrie, and quieted their spirits. . .

So they left that goodly and pleasant city, which had been ther resting place near 12 years; but they knew they were pilgrims, and looked not much on these things, but lift up their eyes to the heavens, their dearest country, and quieted their spirits. . .

[Chapter 9]. . . Being thus arived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees & blessed ye God of heaven, who had brought them over ye vast & furious ocean, and delivered them from all ye periles & miseries therof, againe to set their feete on ye firme and stable earth, their proper elemente. And no marvell if they were thus joyefull, seeing wise Seneca was so affected with sailing a few miles on ye coast of his owne Italy; as he affirmed, that he had rather remaine twentie years on his way by land, then pass by sea to any place in a short time; so tedious & dreadfull was ye same unto him. . .

Being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven, who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element. And no marvel if they were thus joyful, seeing wise Seneca was so affected with sailing a few miles on the coast of his own Italy; as he affirmed, that he had rather remain twenty years on his way by land, then pass by sea to any place in a short time; so tedious and dreadful was the same unto him. . .

Is this our response when we think of our homeland? To fall on our knees and bless the God of heaven? What about when we think of our eternal home? What do you think will be your response when we finally get there? Ignore all the hypothetical talk about "When I get to heaven, the first thing I want to ask God is. . . " No, rather, what will our VERY FIRST response be? The lyrics of the MercyMe song, I Can Only Imagine can only touch the surface:

I can only imagine what it will be like
When I walk by Your side
I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face
Is before me
I can only imagine


Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still?
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine. . .
Words & Music by Bart Millard
© 1999 Simpleville Music (ASCAP)

Do we "know we are pilgrims"? When we lift up our eyes to the heavens, do we recognize it as "our dearest country"? Does the thought of heaven "quiet our spirits?" Or are we too enamored with this "goodly and pleasant city, which has been our resting place" these many years?

Here is another version of the Plimoth account, from the same era. Note the differences in bold.

Nathaniel Morton's New England's Memorial was based on the account of "William Bradford, sometime governor thereof. "

So they left that goodly and pleasant city of Leyden, which had been their resting-place for above eleven years, but they knew that they were pilgrims and strangers here below, and looked not much on these things, but lifted up their eyes to Heaven, their dearest country, where God hath prepared for them a city (Heb. 11:16), and therein quieted their spirits.

Let the conversation continue.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

An Evangelical Manifesto: Support "useful idiots."

“Christians should never have a political party. It is a huge mistake to become married to an ideology, because the greatest enemy of the Gospel is ideology. Ideology is a man-made format of how the world ought to Work, and Christians instead believe in the revealed truth of Scripture.” Chuck Colson

An Evangelical Manifesto (EVM) was released on May 7, 2008 by a “group” that wants to be called “Evangelicals”. (They have provided their definition of evangelical.)
I would urge anyone reading this blog to read the Evangelical Manifesto, text or a summary.

The ink already drying, EVM is being attacked. I view those who penned EVM and those who signed, as sincere Christians.

I have read, reread and will read EVM. I have some comments and questions.

The Evangelicals involved in EVM do not speak for the Church or a church, they speak for their purposes:
We speak for ourselves, but as a representative group of Evangelicals in America. p. 2
The two-fold purpose of this declaration is first to address the confusions and corruptions that attend the term Evangelical in the United States and much of the Western world today, and second to clarify where we stand on issues that have caused consternation over Evangelicals in public life. p. 2

What shall the signers be called?
We Must Reaffirm Our Identity Our first task is to reaffirm who we are. Evangelicals are Christians who define themselves, their faith, and their lives according to the Good News of Jesus of Nazareth. p.4

What are the causes to be addressed by the EVM?
“Evangelicals repudiate two equal and opposite errors into which many Christians have fallen recently. One error has been to privatize faith, interpreting and applying it to the personal and spiritual realm only. Such dualism falsely divorces the spiritual from the secular, and causes faith to lose its integrity and become ―privately engaging and publicly irrelevant, and another form of ―hot tub spirituality.” p.15
The other error, made by both the religious left and the religious right in recent decades, is to politicize faith, using faith to express essentially political points that have lost touch with biblical truth. That way faith loses its independence, the church becomes “the regime at prayer,” Christians become “useful idiots” for one political party or another, and the Christian faith becomes an ideology in its purest form. Christian beliefs are used as weapons for political interests. p.15

Shall we blame the Fundamentalist? (A scapegoat?)
The fundamentalist tendency is more recent, and even closer to Evangelicalism, so much so that in the eyes of many, the two overlap. We celebrate those in the past for their worthy desire to be true to the fundamentals of faith, but Fundamentalism has become an overlay on the Christian faith and developed into an essentially modern reaction to the modern world. As a reaction to the modern world, it tends to romanticize the past, some now-lost moment in time, and to radicalize the present, with styles of reaction that are personally and publicly militant to the point where they are sub-Christian.
Christian Fundamentalism has its counterparts in many religions and even in secularism, and often becomes a social movement with a Christian identity but severely diminished Christian content and manner. Fundamentalism, for example, all too easily parts company with the Evangelical principle, as can Evangelicals themselves, when they fail to follow the great commandment that we love our neighbors as ourselves, let alone the radical demand of Jesus that his followers forgive without limit and love even their enemies. P.9

Have the signers realized what George Santayana says in his Reason in Common Sense "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."?
We are not uncritical of unrestrained voluntarism and rampant individualism, but we utterly deplore the dangerous alliance between church and state, and the oppression that was its dark fruit. p. 18
“Not uncritical”, yet many para-church groups say they speak for the church. In another era Roger Williams saw through this flaw and after persecution and suffering avowed, “A free state and a free church.”
“Politics are not the task of a Christian” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

What will be solved? My pessimism
Popular religion” remains extraordinarily difficult to define, measure, and evaluate. What even a preliminary survey shows, however, is that the great flotilla of America’s formal religious history floats on a vast, ever-moving sea of popular Christian practice. (Mark A. Noll in “The Old Religion in a New World.”)

As a layman I have observed a growing unrest among Christians about the political situation. References that a political party was the Christian Party has dread annoyance. I attended a theological seminar in which the questions turned to the issues addressed in the EVM during the question time.

A free state and a free church, we must evaluate and mull over what is taking place with the EVM. I do not want to be schmoozed by some ill informed religious group, nor do I want to be duped. But I want to see the EVM receive a fair minded hearing.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What's Your Role?

As you probably know, this blog is part of Arizona Christian Worldview Institute (ACWI), a discipleship and training ministry whose primary means of ministry is through the media, mainly radio & publishing.

Saturday mornings at 7:00 AM, we broadcast Every Square Inch - The Arizona Christian Worldview Hour, where we discuss what it means to live all of our lives - every square inch - before the face of God. We help listeners discover a biblical worldview and integrate that view into every square inch of their lives. You can listen at KPXQ 1360 AM - or online. Listen live on Saturday mornings at, or listen to the archives at

Like most radio programs, we have advertisers, but to be honest, our advertisers only provide 28% of our broadcast expenses. The rest of our support comes from the listeners and friends of the ministry. I'd encourage you to become one of our supporters - just click here with a GENEROUS gift! And yes, we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so your donation is tax-free!

Many thanks!

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Farmer And Pig

If there is one activity that I think a majority of people can agree on, it is that they all enjoy a good story. As human beings we're drawn to the stories of the abstract and the noble. We love hearing stories of good triumphing over evil or something or someone that causes us to transport to the land of imagination.

G.K. Chesterton, one of my favorite authors said the following that I think resonates with all who love stories, "The aim of good prose words is to mean what they say. The aim of good poetical words is to mean what they do not say." In an attempt to share a section of scripture that has been on my heart lately, I wrote a short story based off it:

(What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.)

Once upon a time there once was a farm. At this particular farm, there was a great Farmer. He woke up every morning to take care of his farm, watering the fields, milking the cows, fixing the old rustic barn and tending to the swine he was given. One day it rained very hard and there were many multiple puddles of mud surrounding to the farm and the farms nearby. The next day following the rain, one of the pigs for sake of this story will be called Marcus. Marcus decided to roll around in the mud and found a great deal of pleasure in this activity. For days he would go into the mud and roll around until he was exhausted and took a rest. On this particular day it was the hottest day that ever was recorded. The mud that was on this pig had tried and the pig became frustrated of the dry mud that was upon him now.

The farmer who was nearby fixing the farm saw that his pigs were not doing so well in the heat. He got out the green hose and washed his pigs down. The pigs gleefully snorted and if these pigs could fly, they would have from the joy they were experiencing. The next day wasn’t as hot as the previous record setting day but it still was quite hot. Marcus not being the smartest pig in the pen, decided to roll around in the mud to ease away his pain of feeling the heat that was upon him but also for the pleasure of the mud splashed upon his pink skin. Marcus was enjoying this moment of pleasure until he started to realize it was getting hotter outside. Marcus hurried to his comfort spot, which was under his feeding drawl. This gave him temporary pleasure until the sun was coming through a crack above poor Marcus’s head.

He wallowed out and let out a big squeal for water. The other pigs joined in agreement and all the pigs in the farm began to let out loud squeals. Some for food, others for shade but others like Marcus to be rid of the dry mud that was hurting his piggish body. The farmer seeing their need brought out the hose and washed them down. Marcus saw the other pigs let out a squeel for joy as their snots were filled with water but he not willingly to accept the Farmer’s gift, and stood back as the other pigs were dancing in the water. Now this if pigs could dance as well. Once the other pigs were drenched in the water and the Farmer began to roll up the green hose, he noticed Marcus off in a corner. He called Marcus’s name, but this was a very pridefu and arrogant pig and he ignored the call of his master.

The Farmer being filled with a great love for his pig, he gently kneed down and petted the creature. Marcus snorted but then looked up and saw the eyes of the Farmer; he could see the look of love in the Farmer’s eyes. His vision was blurred slightly because of the dry mud covering his eyes but he could still make out the sight of the farmer. The farmer saw the dry mud on Marcus’s eyes and spat saliva into both of his hands. With his salivated hands he rubbed them against Marcus’s eyes and this allowed the swine to see. Then the Farmer took the hose and washed down his beloved pig. Each day Marcus would remember the kindness that was shown to him by the Farmer, but he still would seek his pleasure from the mud. But he noticed once the pleasure of playing in the mud stopped, and he lay down in the middle of the pigpen, the Farmer still lovingly came by and washed him clean. This dumfounded him, of why the Farmer still washed him clean.

This is of course if pigs can comprehend love, or be dumbfounded.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Jesus, The Business Consultant?

Is it possible to run a “successful” business without compromising your Christianity? What is your definition of success, you may ask? In our world, unfortunately, a successful business must be one that produces an infinite amount of money. However, while trying to reach this goal of wealth, people will compromise their morals, that is, if they have any. How can we, as Christians, display to our world that a business governed by God, through His people, can be successful?

As we all know, leadership is a very necessary key to the success of a business. Well then, why not learn from the greatest leader who ever lived? Jesus Christ! Would you hire Jesus as a consultant for your business? Of course! He is the master in the art of leadership! Below is a list of the many different issues that Jesus faced in the Bible. You will find that they are not all that different from the challenges that those in the business world face every day.

  • Training and Development

    When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” Matthew 10:23

    Jesus was teaching his twelve disciples to be prepared and diligent in their mission of spreading God's word, for it would be a long journey and they would grow weary.

  • Patience and Communication

    That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parable, saying:...... Matthew 13:1-3

    On this same day, Jesus told several parables to the same group of people. (Found in Matthew 13:3-35)

    Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” Matthew 13:36

    Jesus then proceeded to tell his disciples even more parables. (Found in Matthew 13:37-52)

    The series of the parables in the Bible display the abundant amount of patience that Jesus had with His disciples. Unlike many, He continued to preach to those who sought God's truth, even though He was in desperate need of rest.

    Jesus was, as well, a great example of providing perfect communication with the common man. His followers were many times non-scholars and illiterate. By using parables, He was able to communicate the word of God in a way they could relate to.

  • Constant Scrutiny and Challenges

    The Jews gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me,” John 10:24-25

    Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

    Jesus was given many challenges, and even after overcoming them, people did not believe that He was the son of God. However, He continued to fulfill His Father's plan among the disbelief and lack of support that was cast upon Him by man.

  • Betrayal

    Then one of the Twelve-the one called Judas Iscariot-went to the chief priests and asked, “What will you give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over. Matthew 26:14

    Despite the betrayal of Judas, which Jesus predicted, He continued on with His duties that the Father had predestined for Him to complete. This betrayal did not hinder Christ from fulfilling His purpose.

  • Temptations of Instantaneous Gratification and Power

    Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Matthew 4:8-11

    Even after the long and tiring temptation that Jesus went through, He did not give in to the ways of Satan. He chose to take the righteous path, though longer and harder, over the temporary and sinful path that Satan offered Him.

  • Pain and Suffering in the Service of the Greatest Good

    Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull(which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others-one on each side and Jesus in the middle. John 19:16-18

Look what Christ has accomplished through all of His pain, agony, and frustration. He sacrificed His life so that we may live. He has washed away our sins and purified our hearts. From this list I would say that Jesus is more than highly qualified for the job of being anyone's personal business consultant. No one can compare.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Marketing the Packaging, Not the Product

I read the following on an eco-friendly (aka "tree-hugger") blog a few weeks ago:

It is a new men’s shave gel, which I read about in the New York Times (
The product is called NXT, which is pronounced “next” and is made by Clio
Designs. The shower gel itself is comprised of clear gel balls in a plastic
bottle. But the gel is irrelevant. The whole article was about the bottle. NXT
is packaged in a triangular shaped bottle with a light blue hue. The thing that
freaked me out about this is that every single bottle has an LED light and 2 to
3 triple AAA batteries in it.

Two or three batteries in the PACKAGE, not even for the product
???? . . . The product designer’s idea is that the bottle will let off a
light blue light which will draw us to the shelves to buy it. News articles
about the bottles say they “will glow on the shelves, inviting customers to pick
them up. Every 15 seconds, a light-emitting diode in the bottom of the container
flares on, stays lighted for a few seconds, then fades out.” What are we,

I found pictures and more details on the product’s website,
( which explains that “…our products contain a mini-computer with
LED lighting in the base. One bottle alone is cool but the whole line together
is an experience.” An experience?? No it’s not. It is a bunch of bottles, and
stupidly designed ones at that.

When I read this, I wasn't so concerned about the environmental impact of said shave gel, although that was the original author's point. No, I was more intrigued by the change in marketing strategy that it represented.

Let me say right up front that I am not trained in the fields of marketing or advertising. I'm just interested in how we - the consumers - are marketed to.

The NXT shave gel is just one of many recent examples of how marketers have begun to take the consumer's focus off the product itself, and onto the packaging of the product. In recent weeks, I've seen TV ads and billboards for ergonomically designed water bottles, EZ-grip Coke bottles, and beer cans that look like mini-kegs.

Why this shift in marketing? Perhaps it's getting harder to differentiate Product X from Product Y. After all, there's only so many things you can say about the taste of your bottled water. Or maybe they realize that the product itself is no good, so they have to focus on something else to keep their companies afloat. Would it be too cynical to think that the marketing departments of these companies think that the consumers are too dumb to notice this shift? [Don't answer that.]

Perhaps it's due to the ongoing shift toward form over function, design over usability, where the visible "cool" factor outweighs the practical and where the design department has a bigger budget than the engineering department. In a related shift, we see more and more images and icons where text used to be. Everywhere we look, the emphasis is on appearance (See 1 Samuel 16:7).

Consider what God's word has to say about the importance of words (the written Law, for example, as well as the Bible itself being in written form) vs. visible symbols (idols, for example). Is this shift toward the visual, toward outer appearance, and toward icons and images - and away from words - contrary to Scripture?

Dr. Douglas Groothuis, Professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary, has written on this topic. Here's a brief sample:

. . . images, which dominate American and most Western media, are very limited in what they can communicate concerning truth. They cannot directly convey propositions,
but instead evoke emotions. Yes, some are telling and unforgettable, such as the
young Vietnamese girl running naked in the streets after being napalmed. But for
all their poignancy, images may mislead or overwhelm without informing or
educating at a deep level. This image-saturation (if not image-mongering) has
lead to the pandemic debasement of intellectual discourse. Compare the image to
word ratio of a Time Magazine (or Newsweek) from 1950 to that of today. I reckon
that the May 31, 2004, issue of Time had roughly a 50/50 ratio of images to
text. We are no longer a typological society (see Neil Postman,
Ourselves to Death
on this), eager to wrestle meaning from texts over time.
This move away from the text and toward the image (whether stationary or moving)
cheapens discourse and fosters intellectual impatience. We think the pictures
tell the story when, in fact, they can (at best) tell only half the story. The
moral imagination is better served by careful and nuanced descriptions in words
than by a raft of images.

Malcolm Muggerridge (a distinguished British journalist) was close to the truth when he said in Christ and the Media, “The camera always lies.” As a Christian, I don’t take it to be an accident that God gave us a Book (really 66 varied books) and no photography. Moreover, the Second Commandment (Exodus, chapter 20) warns us to not make images of God. That by itself should serve as a general warning as to their limitations (as Postman notes). For a masterful study of this reality, see Jacques Ellul, The Humiliation of the Word (Eerdmans, 1985). Daniel Boorstin’s classic, The Image (1961) treats the same general subject with great insight as well.
[Accessed1/7/05 - No longer online at this address]

Do you think Professor Groothuis is overstating the issue? Is it really that serious?

And back to the topic of marketing:
What examples have you seen lately where the marketing & advertising has focused on the packaging instead of the product inside?

Does it matter?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Humor, the best for confrontation

As I read the blog articles I am amazed at the thought and depth of the articles. But, I am profoundly disturbed that there is no humor. Oh, Eutychus how dare you disappoint me, no humor.

The other day I entered the local drug store and asked if my wife’s prescription was ready. After looking at the computer the lady said to me that it could not be filled. Why? It was not approved by your insurance company. There were many thoughts and emotions that came to mind, but one brought a smile and then laughter to the situation for me. Irony, I stand here, my wife is dying (not true) and the only drug that could save her life has been disapproved. The clerk must have seen my face go from shock to laughter, but we left friends and I was still chuckling. (God give me that grace again in other tense situations.)

We are caught in the flow of our life, filled with the good, the bad, the ugly and ourselves. We try for solutions and resolutions. We are philosophical, theological and bibliological (a variant never used before). Seeing the serious, but not aware of the humorous.

Did my Lord Jesus have any humor to use in His life’s situations?

Matthew 6:2-5 “When you do something for someone else, don't call attention to yourself. You've seen them in action, I'm sure--'play actors' I call them--treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that's all they get. When you help someone out, don't think about how it looks. Just do it--quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out. And when you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?” The Message

Mark 7:24-27 “From there Jesus set out for the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house there where he didn't think he would be found, but he couldn't escape notice. He was barely inside when a woman who had a disturbed daughter heard where he was. She came and knelt at his feet and was begging for help. The woman was Greek, Syro-Phoenician by birth. She asked him to cure her daughter. He said, "Stand in line and take your turn. The children get fed first. If there's any left over, the dogs get it." The Message

Matthew 23:23-24 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and you have left undone the weightier matters of the Law, judgment, mercy, and faith. You ought to have done these and not to leave the other undone. Blind guides who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” The Message

Can you see the humor in these happenings in the life of our Lord Jesus? Could there be more?

I want to have a day with some humor and enjoy that moment with my Lord, my wife, my family and friends. I don’t want to just believe there are the bad, the ugly and myself. I suggest confronting with humor.

“The day is lost in which one has not smiled.” Shirley Carpenter

Ideas from D. Elton Trueblood, “The Humor of Christ”.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Listen, Read, Pray, and Give

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm not the "in your face," loud, obnoxious type (OK - maybe I am obnoxious. . . .but about different things than what I'm about to say here. I'm not the stereotypical used car salesman kind of obnoxious.)

All that to say that yes, we at ACWI want your help. We'd love to have more people listening to Every Square Inch (Saturdays at 7:00 AM on KPXQ, 1360 AM). We'd also love to have more people reading this blog and participating with their comments.

And we'd love to have more of you receiving our (almost) monthly newsletter. We currently have over 100 people receiving our newsletter. You might even be the one to push us over the 200 mark! If you'd like to receive the newsletter, email us at with the word "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject line.

Why am I telling you this? Simply to encourage you to help spread the word. Tell your friends and family about us. Point them to the blog and to our website,

And lastly, we'd love to have more of you supporting us with your prayers - and if the Lord leads you, financial support, too.

If you'd like to be on our mailing list for prayer requests, simply drop an email to with "ACWI PRAYER LETTER" in the subject line. If you join our prayer team, you'll receive an email prayer letter approximately monthly to use as a guide while praying for the ministry. This will include more specific and detailed information than the regular newsletter.

Hope I haven't been too obnoxious in asking for your help.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Stimulus and Pleasure

It was one of the biggest news stories in recent weeks. It brought people together and was a topic that I bring up to my friends, teachers, bus drivers, or anyone who can carry on a conversation. To prove this is a popular topic I decided to enter in the search terms in google. I was surprised that the results yielded over twenty million items. Could it be the presidential election? The rise and fall of Arizona sports teams? The latest celebrity meltdown? Upcoming movies for the summer?

It was actually a piece of paper called the "Economic Stimulus." In the words of our government leaders, in order to boost our economy, checks will be sent out to over "one hundred thirty million" Americans. This might seem like a grand idea, as one person put it, "free money never caused any harm." However, as with anything that the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve get their sinful fingers on, there are consequences to our actions, be it good or bad.

Now, I'm not a wise sage of wisdom and knowledge. I'm twenty-two, I rent a house, go to college, ride the city bus frequently, and I chose not to wear shoes when I can. So my wisdom is limited but I think there could be something to be said about this opportunity to shine the light of Christ to our dark world. We are always searching for the latest and greatest to fulfill our needs. If you watch television or read the newspaper, we cannot escape the allure of ads. They are enticing us to buy more and more, as if these items will fill a void of happiness that is inside of everyone.

However, I along with everyone else on this earth must realize that our possessions do not secure eternal happiness, they might provide temporary pleasure but it will not give us lasting joy and peace. Our Fords will eventually rust away, our Ipods will no longer play, our toaster oven won't toast forever, but there is One that will not rust, break or lose it's value over time. He gave us everlasting love, peace, joy, hope through His shed blood on our behalf. He has purchased us from the slavery of sin and death, and now we are not looked as slaves but instead we are co-heirs to His Kingdom that is coming.

It might seem simple, but when our check arrives in the mail or deposited in our checking account, which master will we serve? I think John Piper put it best when he said the following in his article about the stimulus:

"..Nobody in the world will see you spend your money on yourself and conclude that Christ is your treasure. They will assume you are just like them, no matter how loudly you thank God for this boon. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend it on yourself (the way we do with most of what we earn). Not everything we do can look different from the world—eat, pay utilities, fill up the car, wear clothes (even thrift-store clothes). And yes, we hope (somehow) that spending on ourselves in some way contributes to our being more Christ-exalting people." (

I realize that I might be preaching to myself through out this entire article, because I realize that the temptation to spend the check will be great, but what great assurance we find in the scriptures, "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." (1 Cor. 10:13)

So what are some ways we can use the money for His glory and not the Ipod Touch that has been our list for a long time? I think every person has a different conviction and situations that God has put inside of him or her, with that in mind my list of ways may not be applicable to where you are. As I right this, I am still contemplating what would be the best ways to serve Him. However, I think the first step is asking our Heavenly Father what He would have you to do with the money. When His Spirit is guiding you, then I think that He will bring more illumination than if you stare at your ceiling for endless hours. Once again, let us heed these wise words from Pastor Piper:

"The reason God created money and enabled us to earn it is so that we could show by the way we use it that money is not our treasure, Christ is. That’s why the checks are coming. So we can make Christ look great.

“Be content with what you have, for he has said,
‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5-6)"

Please don't let this turn into a "look what I did" but instead, let this be a moment where we can see the movement of the Lion of Judah, our great King on the move! I look forward to seeing how His beloved seized this moment not for their gain but for His Glory Alone!