Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

Twenty one year old Shafia and her family were outcasts in their Pakistani village.  They were poor, and many of their Muslim neibhbors scorned them because they followed Jesus Christ.  People called them chura, which means ” lowcaste sweeper” . They were considered the lowest of the low. In Shafia’s village Muslim men harassed Christian girls. Shafia’s brother Rafi publicly confronted them. Months later, he was killed.

The family wanted to prosecute Rafi’s killers, but they needed help.  A man named Masood offered to file the neccessary paperwork for them.  Masood asked Shafia to sign some papers for the case. but later, she discov ered it was a marriage certificate. Masood bragged the two were now married, and Shafia enrage Masood by disputing the marriage.

On Sept. 25, 2007, Masood kidnapped Shafia at gunpoint. He locked her in an upstairs room of his house. He beat her and raped her repeatedly.   Masood told her, ” If you convert to islam, I will stop beating you.” But she stayed strong telling him, ” Christianity is my religion, not Islam.  I am a Christian, and if you want to kill me  then kill me, but i will not accept Islam.”

After four months in captivity, Shafia found the door unlocked one day while Massood was at work. she fled to her family. The family’s situation was desperate.  They had to pay to file a legal case against Masood. They had no money, so they borrowed $217. To pay the , all 11 members of the family worked at a brick kiln, making bricks 12 hours a day.

” Daily in the evening we had a prayer meeting at home with my family. i felt strong in my faith when we read the  Word,” Shafia said.

Shafia and her family ar free from their debt of labor today because of Voic e of the Martyr’s fund. Mondey from the fund paid Shafia’s debt and allowed her family to purchase a rickshaw.  Now the family has a taxi business and they earn enough to take care of their needs.  With her dept paid,, Shafia is living a normal life in her village.  She still attends weekly prayer meetings and continues to stand for her beliefs.

This is a story shared by the Voice of the Martyrs, and is taken from their pulciation ” Praying for a RESCUE”. 

Check out tomorrow to hear the story of the second women, the title of the article is two women.

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I am a licensed CPR instructor for the American Heart Association.   I have been licensed to train those who are willing to serve as foster parents, in the manner to perform CPR.  Once my job required that I did this basically on a monthly basis.  However things change and jobs change, and that is not a bad thing.  As I was thinking about thhe classes that I would no longer be teaching CPR came to mind.  And I started to think about what CPR really is.

Of course it is  two breaths per thirty compressions.  And checking to make sure the scene is safe.  And doing other things not neccessarily in that order.  But those are the steps of CPR, what is CPR?  The answer I could come up with is trying to resart someone’s body by maintaining their heart and circulation functions.  You breath for them, you pump their chest so that the ciruclation will continue to flow throughout their body.  Your end goal is either to  resucitate the person, or keep the person respitory functions going until trained help arrives. All in all a good thing, no one would argue. 

But my thougght process couldn’t stop there.  I began to take it a step further and think about it from a different perspective.  First I looked at it from the perspective of the victim.  If I am unconcious, am I living?  Biologically I would propbably say you were still living.  Mainly because there are only two options.  Living or dead, and if your not dead, well then you are living.  But in that moment when someone else is breathing for you. When someone else is pumping your heart for you.  Are you living?  In one sense of the word I would have to say no.

You are exsisting.  You ar functioning but you are not living.  You are not awake. You are not speaking. You are not thinking.  At the moment when you require CPR you are a biological machine that has broken down and needs assistance in returning to living.  Random thought, yes.  But that is the way that I think.  And the fun doesn’t really stop there.

I began to apply this little thought of what does it mean to be living.  And after chasing a few wild rabbits down there holes I came back to a point that gave me a shiver.  Is God performing CPR on me? 

Think about that.  Is God performing CPR on me, or you?  I am not talking about GOd reeaching down from Heaven and with a huge hand performing CPR on me as I lie in the floor of my living room.  But is He required to perform CPR because I am not living?  Have gotten to a point where I allow the routine of life to become so ordinary that I miss the oppurtunities of each and every moment?  Have I lost focus on the important things of this life? Have I allowed ‘things’ to become my god,  or my focus?  Do I trust more in finacnial securities, or legal systems, or governments than I do in my God?  If I answer yes to any of those then am I living?

My answer……no.  I am functioning. I am a biological machine that operates through this life.  I am missing that I can have a realtionship with God.  Don’t read past that sentence without really thinking about it.  I can have a realitonship with God.   I can have life and life abundantly.  Not through the things of this world, but allowing my trust to be in God.  To be in the one who sustains everything.  There is so much more to life than working and thinking.

Is God standing over me, thumping down in my chest like the do in the movies, or on one of my favorite television shows, MASH.  You know the scene you have seen them on any medical drama.  The doctor stands over the patient pounding away on his chest, sweat is dripping down from his brow, his breath is labored from the exhaustion of performing CPR on a dying man.  And he screams something like, “LIVE! FIGHT!” And then there is that scene where the patient goes on the ventilatior, and the relatives have to make the decision about what to do next. 

What is living? There is so much more to this life, than just functioning day to day.  God is calling for you to live? So why not wake up and live with Him the way He wants you to. If you don’t know Him he still reaches out to you.  And the personal part that made me shiver, I do know Him, but I still ask the question is he perforrming CPR on me? Is my faith just a function of what I do? Is Church just a place I go? Is prayer something I should do? is reading the Bible, reading a book?

Life abudant is waiting, for each one of us to live.

I was listening to my favorite Christian Radio Station the other day, WAY FM, and the morning talk show hosts were having a discussion about a song that has a line in it that says the following (paraphrase) ” I found God on a street corner smoking his last cigarette”.  Now what the conversation quickly became was about is smoking a horrible sin?

Now I am an ex-smoker, and I am the last one that would preach about smoking or not smoking.  And if you think I am going there you are wrong.  The conversation on the radio became a comparison of smoking.  Ranking it with other sins.  Ad in the grand scheme of things do I think that smoking cigarettes should be on the same level of sin as say murder, or lying, or stealing.  Can’t say that I would make that decision. But there is a catch in that statement.

The catch is what “I” would say.  Me, the dumb bald one writing this post. I might not see smoking as “bad” sin, or one of the worst.  But when you start putting sin in a priority list you start down a slippery slope.  And before you know it you are in a dangerous space of legalism.  Where you say that it is okay to commit these sins because they are not as bad as other sins.  Sound like anyone from the Bible? 

IF, and I put that in big letters because smoking is something that the Bible does not speak clearly about, if you classify smoking as a sin you can not place it in priorty listing.  Once something falls under the catagory of sin it no longer comes under human perspective and automatically comes under God’s perspective.  And the way that He sees sin is simple, it is sin, and there is no other definition. All sin put Jesus on the cross.  And it is by His blood that we can have forgiveness of any and all sins, because all sins must be forgiven and brought under the blood.

Free Press

Posted: June 5, 2009 in Bible, Culture, Politics, Religion

Here is a quick thought.  I was sitting in the coffee shop this morning and the news was on.  There was  reporter that was trying to cover the story of the student protest in Tiamen Square in China. ( I know I probably spelled that wrong)  What was sadly hilarious as he tried to broadcast the Chinese secret police or whomever they are, were there.  Their job to hold umbrella’s up and try to block news  broadcasters that were trying to present a story.  They didn’t harm any of the reporters or lay one hand on it.  But they would get in between the camera and the reporter with their umbrella. As the reporters moved the secret service would move along with them.  Their ears are buzzing with the walkie talkies that are directing them.  They hovered like flies all around the reporters.

Made me not mind so much the bias of he media, but at least the media can broadcast what they want.  Thank God that we have the ability to be free in this country.  That is something that one day depending on which side of Christianity you are on could disappear.  No consipiracy theory, just a believer in the Bible.

It is so amazing the unending depths of God’s wisdom. I know that sounds so weird to say He is God, of course he is incredibly intelligent and knows everything, after all He is everything!  I am just in awe everytime I learn something new and my amazement is taken to a new level.  If you read my last post you saw where I was just loving the fact that I received a copy of the ‘Didache’ and beign able to dig into the writings of first century Christian writers.  But I have also been working on my next Sunday school lesson and studying the sixth chapter of Romans.

Now Romans is a deep book that has a lot of theology and God’s teachings for our life. But is so amazing the depth of wisdom, teaching and knowledge that is locked into one small word such as ‘old” or ‘newness’.  How we have one simple word but the deeper meaning holds so much knowledge.  Knowledge that many of us carry around every day in our Bibles but spend an entire life not knowing.

We know how to create a group on Facebook and send out a message to hundreds of people at once.  We can pick up an internet signal at Burger King or McDonalds.  We view websites and send emails from our phones.  We read books that are never printed, and are all on a handheld device where the book is downloaded over the airwaves and into a device.  We can do all of these things by the marvels of technology and revel in the things that it allows us to do. But we don’t understand the treasures that our placed in the Word of God.

Now don’t get me wrong I love all the technology.  I manage groups on Facebook.  I have a mini-laptop that I carry with me everywhere and I am on at this moment writing this post at a local Coffee Shop.  I have a blackberryy phone attached to my hip so when I can not have the computer on I can still get to facebook and my email.  And I am hoping that in the near future I will own a Kindle II so that I can read books digitally and order them and download them directly to the handheld.  But as much as I love these devices that serve me to allow me to do the things that I do more conviently or easier there is a greater tool to for life to function.

That is the Bible. The very word of God. The living word of God that I carry with me, like many of us, wherever I go.  But we look so quickly over words and take them at the worth and don’t study or dig into the word of God.

I know I have talked about this before but I am impressed everyday as I learn more about the Word of God.  Dig in to what GOD has to say to you through His Living Word.

I attended a small group leaders meeting this morning at my church. While we were there one of the things that we were talking about was growth. And of course we began to talk about reaching out to the lost in the community around us.  As a part of that conversation the question was posed to the thirty or so small group leaders who were present, if they knew lost people in their life.  And predominatly everyone raised their hand as we all know someone who does not know Jesus as their Savior.  But as I thought more and more about the question I began to think that I really don’t know anyone who is lost.  I am aware of lost people, or I might associate with them, but I don’t know any lost people in my life.

In case you missed it I am making a jump off the work to know someone.  There are people in my life that I know, or aware of, but I have not invested much time in their lives.  I have not invested the time to get to know them.  I do not avoid them becuase they are lost, but for much more ridiuculous reasons. Because we don’t have the same interstes, or we are of different age groups, or a host of other reasons.  But as I thought more and more about this question I began to think more about this.

If I am truly about the kingdom then those in my life who do not know Christ are the people that I need to invest in. These are the people that I need to get to know.  They may never come to know the Lord as their Savior, but the likelihood that they will never feel, witness, or know the Love of Jesus if I don’t show them is a distinict possibility. 

So if someone asks you if you know someone who doesn’t know the Lord, stop and give that some thought.  Think about how much time you spend with the lost, and then look at how much time Jesus spent with the lost.

What an awesome day at church. Today in services we took part in the Lord’s Table, and as a Deacon I have the oppurtunity to serve communion.  That in itself is always an awesome privelege. But today held a special privelege for me, one that I will not soon forget.

During the second service there was a small presentation where the church presented me with my License to Gospel Ministry.  While officially this happened on December 10, 2008 that was the filling out and processing of the paperwork.  But today was the presentation in front of the church body.  It was short, it was too the point, but it was one of the moments I will never forget in my life.

For those that aren’t in the church world, or more specifically the Southern Baptist world, what this means is the church is putting a stamp of agreement on my calling to full time Ministry.  From my point of it is the next step in surrendering my life to full time ministry.  God placed a calling on my life when I was a youth at Brookside Baptist Church in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.  It was after that I went on to Taylor University and received degrees in Youth Ministry and Urban Ministry.  Then naturally I went on to serve in a couple of churches as the full time youth minister over the next several years. 

Six years ago I came to Columbia, TN and time flew by.  And this is the longest I have ever lived in one place my entire life.  To some people, like my wife, who have lived in the same area their entire lives this isnot such a special thing. But more importantly I have never been a part of one church, as a child, youth or adult, whether as a member or staff for this long.  There have been many things that I have done n ministry since I first accepted that calling that were absolutetly wrong. And to those I hurt I humbly ask your forgiveness.

Over the past five years God has used this time, this place, and this church to help me heal. To teach me so many things as a disciple of Christ.  But most of all this was the place that he had prepared for me when he called me to ministry twenty years ago.  This was the place that was designed to help me understand, to have perspective of ministry. And has God has prepared me and walked with me through this time of discipleship he has put people in my life that helped me to recover, to learn and to grow. 

And then today the church that for the first time in my life I call my church home, put its stamp of agreement on my calling into ministry and licensed me as a Minister of the Gospel! How wonderful a thing! How awesome a thing that God would not only choose me to die for me and pay for my sins, but to choose me as one who would carry his word to those that are lost!

I have no idea what the future holds. All I know is the prayer I shared to today with our Head Deacon at the altar.  After the presentation there was a message, and then a time of inivation and altar call before the communion time.  I went forward and had to pray.  I had to step forward and acknowledge the gift, the responsibility, and confess to God publicly at the altar that his servant was listening and waiting for a direction. That his servant no longer would attempt to control his life but surrenedered it wholly to the call that He has given me.

To those of my family and friends who were in attendance at this admittedly short presentation, THANK YOU.  It was a day that I will never forget and I will not forgot those who shared this next step in my journey with me.