I was almost eaten by a Lion

Erica and I watched “Prince Caspian” together the other night after we got back from Life Group.

Rabbit Trail – Have you ever had to bow out of “grown-up” interraction to tend to your own children.  I was not completely thrilled that I had to miss out on over half of the conversation and good times in our Life Group that night, but my children needed Dad around to keep em in line.  If I hadn’t gone down, everyone else wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the time together.  Small price to pay for others to have community.

** Shot Gun Blast **  I now exit back onto the original Blog trail

I was floored by Aslan.  I’m not sure my take on this is completely accurate or exactly what C. S. Lewis intended, but here goes.  Alsan is a great picture of Jesus.  I mean take out the obvious likeness…Jesus had a mean Mane of Hair just like Alan…Right?!!?

But seriously!  Take away the supernatural power, the promised return, the authority, the majesty…I watched this Lion and God floored me.  I watched how he walked around humbly, just like Jesus did.  He didn’t flaunt His power, but when he flexed it, everyone knew about it.  I sat in awe as He welcomed back those that doubted.  You could see their hearts and countenance melt in His presence.

Now, I know that this was just a book/movie, but I imagine this is the way it was or the way it will be when I’m around Jesus.  It makes me wonder if people sense the presence of god when they’re around me.  I mean, we have the promise of the Holy Spirit living inside of us as followers of Christ.

So, how about you?  Does anyone see Jesus in you?  Do they sense His power and presence in your life?

Livin’ Out Loud,

Al

No Street Signs

I’m listening to U2‘s “Where the Streets Have No Name” from their Joshua Tree album.  It’s a killer song and and even more incredible album.  I love the keys, I love the delay in the guitar, I love the simple, yet driving bass line, and I love Bono’s vocals in this song.  It is speaking to me.  It could be that the band will be practicing this song for Sunday Service at Fellowship Church, and I can’t wait to see how it moves people.  It could be that the song brings such beautiful images to mind when I hear it.  I don’t know what it actually is; I don’t care.  I just know it is moving.

I’ve noticed this a lot lately.  Everywhere I go it seems to happen.  I’m not sure why God has been doing it this way, but He’s really been using my environment (both natural and technology) to speak to me lately and it has been loud and clear. 

How has God Been Speaking to you lately?

Livin’ Out Loud,

Al

Why you Little…Doh!

I was reading Dizzy Ninja’s Blog today and was facinated by something he posted here last month. 

Is it an insult to refer to someone as a nonchristian now?

Republican Elizabeth Dole attempts to tie Democrat Kay Hagan to a group called Godless Americans PAC.  The ad in question was rife with misleading clips and attempts to imply that Kay Hagan was, herself, one of those evil, horrible, morally depraved ‘godless’ folk.  Kay Hagan’s response?  “How dare you insult me by implying that I’m not a Christian! I am too!”

He went on to discuss how Barack Obama had a similar thing happen.  Many people assumed, and many others bought into that assumption, that because his father was Muslim and his mother was an Atheist, Mr. Obama couldn’t possibly be a Christian.  I;m glad that the President elect fought the urge to lash out.  It would ahve made him look really foolish, and been extremely divisive if he portrayed the same sentiment that Kay Hagan had.

I would only be offended in that I work hard at living a life that I reflects what I believe.  What I believe are Biblical, Christian princicples, and I want the people that see me each day to think somewhere in their mind that I reflect the character of Jesus Christ.

So, I don’t think I would be offended as much as I would be frustrated with myself for not fully living what I claim to believe.  Which then resulted in people thinkning I was not a Christian.

What a great question Mr. Dizzy poses.  Should a person be offended if they are labeled a non-Christian?

His questions are much better put this way:

So I ask again: is it an insult to be thought of as outside of the majority? Is it wrong to be black, hispanic or asian? Is it a shameful thing to be a Muslim or a Hindu or a Buddhist? Should one be embarrassed of one’s Atheism?

Thanks for the thoughts Dizzy Ninja.

Please share your thoughts on this.

Livin’ Out Loud,

Al

How do you…Pull your hair out without going bald?

What style of music do you have?  What’s your worship like?  Why do you play so loud?  Why don’t you…Why are you…What about…

Have you ever run into these questions?  Better yet, have you asked these questions?  If you are part of the latter group, which I of course am, have you asked it directly to the leader that presides over what you are questioning.  Have you done that or are you the type that asks everyone else about it?

“Hey Andrew! What do you think about the new…” “Hey Nici, how have you been liking the…I think they should just…” You fill in the blanks here, as I’m sure you get my drift.  All of us at times are amateurs with a professional opinion of something.  This is especially true when things have changed.

I have a few suggestions though:

1.  If it’s about me- Say it to me.  No need to ask someone else, tell someone else, especially if they aren’t even involved with the area you have an issue with.  I’m easy going, so if you have a thought, suggestion, or criticism, please bring ’em on!

2.  Remember: It’s not about you or me- Since it’s not about us, then who is it about.  let’s first keep it about bringing glory to God.  Second, let’s remember that it is usually being done for a purpose. 

3.  Please say it- Remember when your teacher would say there are no stupid questions.  You may not be the only one with a question, or especially with that question.  Get yourself an answer.

Let’s get some guts, grow a pair, and talk about things.  My moto for many things: I’d rather let it out and feel the shame, than hold it in and feel the pain.

Livin’ Out Loud,

Al

The first way in which I am agnostic (response)

This is a response to a post my friend Jeff put up on his wonderful Blog.

Wow…I’m impressed with this post.  Being honest with yourself is not easy, but being honest for the world to potentially read is even more difficult.  I’m curious to hear some of the arguments that view God as pro-homosexuality, or at least He views it as a non-issue.  Is God then also pro-gluttony or drug abuse, spousal abuse…etc. I’m not being sarcastic in any way either.  I hope you read this with the understanding that I am a guy that is imperfect and fallen, and sometimes clueless about things.

I guess it comes back to my world view, and also what my view of the scriptures is.  Part of my world view is that truth is absolute regardless of the time in history, the culture, or the popular agenda/opinion.  Furthermore I believe that the Word of God is not an evolving document like the constitution.  His word, as it says in 1Pt 1:24-25, abides/remains/lasts forever.  It doesn’t fail, it never fades, it is eternal and always truth.

From what I read it seems pretty clear that God has a problem with homosexuality.  Any time it is mentioned, it is not in a good context or in an approving tone.  Even in the NT it is not viewed as acceptable, but as sinful.  So, why would that have changed now.  Is it because we are so much more advanced and our understanding of cultures and language and science etc., etc. is so great that we have now become an authority to determine that something that was viewed as sinful is no longer. So, is cheating on my wife no longer viewed by God as sin?

Can we argue that people feel that it is in their nature, oh yeah! My nature was to go after every chick that was out there and shack up.  Had any of them been interested in me, I might have been with many, but that’s another story!:)

That was my nature.  If I did not develop the understanding that this is not how God created me to be, but is an unfortunate side effect to my sinful nature, I would have continued in it even while I am married.  I’m sure my wife would not approve, even if God did! 

I have to work on keeping my body/flesh/sinful nature in check so I do not carry out the things that I so want to do.  Is this any more or even any less the struggle that my gay brothers and lesbian sisters go through.  My struggle with sin is ever present, just as it is for them, just as it is for an alcoholic, or someone who can’t control their eating.  I am in no way condemning any sinner, because we are all born condemned due to our sin.  I am for pointing all sinners to the wonderful cross that bids us all to come and die…die to ourselves, our wants, our desires- no matter how noble or un-noble they are – and find life in the Christ, who was our ultimate example of denial.

I guess that’s just it.  If we want to call ourselves Christ followers, then we better get ready to deny ourselves and follow His example.

I love you Jeff!  I’m glad we’re friends, and I’m even more glad that we work together for eternal things.

Glad We’re Livin’ Out Loud Together

Al

Feed Me…As seen on Jeffsdeepthoughts!

My friend and co-laborer for Christ, Jeff, has this blog that he he writes. He has some terrific insights, and always has something that will leave your scratching your head and asking more questions.

In his recent post about Christian’s in our generation having a tendency to be focused on being hand fed (my words not his) versus learning to self feed he concluded with the following:

“It’s tempting and easy for me to expect others to do the same.  But their gifts and experience and what not may not lie in this direction.  So when I expect people to take responsibility for feeding themselves, it’s important that I take seriously the idea that some people are better than others at doing this.”

My response was as follows:

I think this is a great insight. You are correct that we must keep in mind and have patience with people that are on all spiritual levels. Sometimes that may be easy, often times it’s not, but that’s life.

So, I agree with you on your last point, and wanted to have you think about something.  I think you’re conclusion would be said best if it was 2 fold.

The first part would be: We should remember that not everyone is at our spiritual maturity level, or our intellectual or student level (is that the right way to say that?), and therefore, we should have a lot more patience with them.

The second part would be this:
Althought their experience, and I assume you mean either their intelligence level, or academic experience (abundance or lack of) may make them a little more reliant on someone else “feeding them,” we then have a responsibility to “teach” them/ train them how to study the word of God.

I like how the King James puts it in 2 Tim 2:15:

            “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

It gives me the idea that everyone seeking to be a disciple/ Christ follower, not just a Christian, has to being willing to study the Word of God. Some will require a bit more one on one attention and tutoring, to get to a point where they are capable of doing it then themselves. While others may have a more natural ability to study, ask questions, and make conclusions based on the infortmation they have.

An inability or lack of knowledge/ experience can hinder someone from taking the time to study, but can also lead to fat and lazy, partly retarded Christians. People who have a natural ability to study, have plenty of knowledge and experience can cause that person to become prideful or arrogant.

Both situations require the help and guidance of other, more mature believers, who can come along side the person and challenge and encourage them with the truth of God’s Word. No matter what though, we have a promise that God with supernaturally, through the Holy Spirit, give us understanding of all things in His word. (John 16:13)

That way, regardless of the abundance or lack, we can all further our love and understanding of Christ. (Philippians 3:8; 2 Pt 3:18 )

Just some thoughts I had after reading. I think it is a great post, and something we all need to think on.

Livin’ Out Loud,

Al

New York City…Justice?

This Post Takes Part in Water Cooler Wednesdays.

So, I was listening to the radio the other morning, and I heard them talking about this guy Jimmy Justice.  I was intrigued, to say the least, about this guy who takes it upon himself to confront the hypocrisy that has embed itself in the NY City law-enforcement department.

Basically he videotapes members of the law-enforcement department of New York city violoating traffic laws, and then confronts them about it. Some have gotten pretty upset, others give plent of excuses, and some are threatening.  He has presented his evidence to different city officials, and has yet to have his complaints taken serious.

I have thought long and hard about this situation. I whole-heartedly agree with his stance, and his feelings of frustration to see people who swear to uphold the law, publicly break it. Better yet, they write citizens tickets, and then (as if to smack us in the face) turn around and break the exact same law. It is ridiculous!

What is incredible to me is, that this level of disregard for upholding the law, is not only evident in the city or town sector, but is found throughout our various branches of local, state and federal government. Hypocrisy is a rampant disease that is found in every jurisdiction, in every branch of government.

I’m right there with you Jimmy! I am fed up with someone telling me, “Do as I say, not as I do!” I cannot stand hearing a politician make a promise, knowing that he blowing nothing but smoke up my butt. Am I to understand that I am as ignorant as they think? It’s like the saying in the South, “He’s such a nice boy, bless his heart!”

I am tired of spiritual leaders that tote a standard, holding people to some long list of rules and regualtions. All the while they are more filthy and corrupt than any “Sinner” they bash. It’s their secret sin.  As long as no one else knows about it they assume it’s “ok” for them to have it.

Now all of this ramps me up, gets my fire stoked, and thinkning of a revolting against the establishment, but then something else happens. I look in the mirror, and realize my own condition. I recognize how often I am just as hypocrtical as some of the “Leaders” that frustrate me. I remember that I can hold my head high, not because I am successful at living up to a holy standard, but because I have been showered with the Grace and Mercy of a God that loved me, and gave His Son for me.

I once again remember that I am nothing more then a man who was far from God, but was brought back to God, through Jesus Christ…

Wow…It amazes me how quick I am to judge the sins of others, how quickly I can see the hypocrisy in others, and yet how slow I am to remember my own sin and failures.

I am proud of Jimmy Justice. I hope that he doesn’t do this just to bring attention to himself. Everything I’ve read and heard from him says the opposite, but I hope it’s sincere. I agree with him, and stand with him to say enough is enough. Would the real leaders, those who want to actually stand for something, not just anything, but things that are right, please stand up and take your place in our world.

I’m calling myself out. A call to myself to stop “playing” and be real. Stop pretending I’m something I’m not, and start living out wyho God has made me to be.

I love Justice; the idea of righting wrongs. However, I know that Justice isn’t always about righting wrongs, but also includes standing for what is right no matter what the mainstream, your friends and family thinks.  It will take some of us being uncomfortable, willing to be ridiculed, and maybe even disliked or hated.

So, if you have a heart condition, can’t stomach change, are prone to failing, you mess things up pretty badly (often), know that you are in good company. I’m right there with you! The hope I offer is this: As we become honest with God, ourselves, and others, we will see a change. It may not be a world change, but it will change your sphere of influence.

Livin’ Out Loud,

Al