Why are we so consumed with how the media, government, and atheists treat Christianity?

Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood. At the Cross, Jesus said “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

The same applies today.

Until they become born again and renew their minds, they have no idea what they’re doing. They are lost sons and daughters for whom Heaven went bankrupt for. God wanted His kids to come home.

Don’t let what they don’t see influence what you do see.

Let’s walk out true Christianity and give people what we say we have.

Five popular Christian bestsellers re-written with one sentence

I started looking up very popular Christian books, and wondered how I would re-write them with just one sentence. I don’t want this in any way to come across as if I’m mocking the authors. That’s not at all what I’m doing. It’s sobering to realize how many millions of dollars these books have made, when God gave us the one book we truly need. The Bible.

This started off as something humorous, but the further I went, the more sobering it became. I’m not saying don’t read books. My intent for this post is to caution you. We need to redeem the time (Eph 5:16). There are lost and dying people all around us, and we have no idea when Christ is coming back. We can’t fully deny ourselves and follow Jesus if we’re following man’s experiences.

My wife and I learned that following a man, and not cultivating a deeper relationship with our Father, doesn’t lead anywhere but to chaos and burn out. Quite the opposite of what Jesus is all about. 1 Corinthians 14:33 and Matthew 11:30 talk about this. We have come to realize that our ministry is the person directly in front of us everywhere we go. No one has to be labeled an evangelist, preacher, teacher, leader, mentor, or servant to spread the Gospel.

If we are walking in unconditional love towards others, we are living the Gospel. It’s truly that simple.

I believe most of Christianity today has it all backwards. We think if we are doing the good works, it’s drawing us closer to God. That’s why so many people live in a constant state of exhaustion. The exact opposite is true. The stronger we grow in relationship with God, the more good fruit will grow. Matthew 6:33 says to seek first the kingdom, and His righteousness.

It’s not about making the fruit good. It’s all about making the tree good.

Matthew 7:15-23 says:

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

This is one of the most sobering passages of scripture in the New Testament. We can do the works all day long until we are blue in the face, but without relationship, God won’t even know us.

Don’t get caught up in the big push to do ministry or start a church. I’m not saying God doesn’t have people do that. I’m saying make sure your vertical relationship supersedes your horizontal ones.

Having said that, here is my list, and how I would have written them all with one sentence.

Crazy Love by Francis Chan – “Love God and love others.”

The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel – “Walk by faith, not by sight.”

Radical by David Platt – “Deny yourself, and follow Jesus.”

Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren – “Our purpose on this Earth is to manifest the image of God.”

You Can, You Will by Joel Osteen – “Um, just read your Bible.”

I’ll leave you with my Facebook status from this morning. “Following man will lead you to eventual destruction. Following Holy Spirit will lead you into relationship with God.”

Open letter to the parents of Michael Brown

I don’t even know where to being.

I can’t pretend to fully understand your loss and pain. Being a forty-two year old white male in America, I haven’t experienced the harsh realities of society in the ways you have endured. That, in itself, would be a heavy burden to bear. The loss of a son makes it even more overwhelming.

I am a father of two girls, and can’t imagine losing one of them to such a tragedy. We, as parents, are saddled with great responsibility the moment they enter this world. We protect. We nurture. We discipline. We love. We envision grand dreams for our children, unsure if they will ever obtain them. We never anticipate outliving them. It’s an old cliche, but it’s so very true. A parent should never have to bury their own child.

As I watched the events unfold Monday night, my heart broke. I am a Christian. The Bible says in Romans 12:15 that we are to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. I stared at all those hurt, angry, and distraught faces in Ferguson, and I cried. I prayed for healing and reconciliation. I prayed for everyone directly involved with the case. I prayed for the safety of every citizen on those streets.

And I prayed for you.

Your son was a human being. We were all created in the image of God. Each one of us has value and purpose, regardless of how the world looks at us. I honestly don’t fully know what God’s intentions were for creating different races. I believe it’s something to celebrate, not discriminate against. What a boring world this would be if we were all entirely the same. I have many friends from multiple cultures, and it’s amazing to learn about all the differences.

As difficult as it is to accept, I know racism is alive and well today. It’s extremely sad, but impossible to ignore. People are labeled with stereotypes by the way they act, talk, and live. Nothing will ever change until we can view each and every individual through the same lens as our Heavenly Father. We have to see beyond the visible, and recognize each person’s potential and destiny.

God loves you. He loved Michael. Before your son was even conceived, God already had the template set aside. With tenderness and grace, He formed him inside the womb. He gave him life. It doesn’t matter how Michael chose to live on this Earth. That never changed the intimate, unconditional love he received from his Creator. Nothing could ever change that.

After reading the comments and posts that have saturated social media this week, my heart is heavy. I can’t imagine the emotions and feelings you are experiencing in the midst of this chaos. It seems as if everyone wants to voice their opinions and spew hate, rather than take a moment to focus on those who are hurting the most. I know you feel the weight of injustice pressing down on your like an unbearable burden. For that, I am truly sorry.

I’m not taking sides. My heart hurts for all parties involved in this situation. No one walks away from something like this without experiencing loss. The bottom line is that you lost a son, and nothing that is done, written, or said will ever bring him back. The grief you will continue to endure is unspeakable.

I pray for God’s comfort to embrace you as the days pass. The only thing that will make a difference in this world is love. It has to start with the person standing right in front of us.



Power and Love

Wow. What a life changing week.

My wife and I had the amazing opportunity to attend our first ever School of Power and Love. You can check out the site HERE. This one was held in Wilmington NC, about seven hours from where we live. There were several speakers, but the one we wanted to hear was Todd White. We have been watching Todd and also Dan Mohler on YouTube for quite some time now. They speak straight up truth right from the Bible. It’s awesome. Search for them. You won’t be disappointed.

Todd had four sessions, so we attended each of those. The purpose of these schools is to not only teach about love and spiritual gifts, but after every session, we go out into the community and walk it out. Christianity is a lifestyle, not just a prayer to get us into Heaven.

After the morning session on Thursday, my wife and I went out with a group of people, because it was our first time. It didn’t go as we expected, so there isn’t anything to tell from that one. Once the afternoon session was over, my wife and I decided to just go on our own and see what would happen. We chose to visit Walmart. We walked around for quite awhile, feeling timid and somewhat frightened. It’s hard to just walk up to a total stranger and talk to them about Jesus.

We spotted an employee walking around with a brace on her wrist that covered some of her hand. We dialed in and decided to stalk her around the store. She actually moved pretty quick, so we knew there was nothing wrong with her legs. We were still feeling hesitant until we saw a small group of people from the conference talking and praying with a man in a motorized cart. My wife was like, “Alright. Let’s do this.”

We chased the employee down, her name is Jonnie, and said we noticed she had a brace on her hand. We asked what had happened and why she was wearing it. We told Jonnie that God loved her so much, and then asked if we could pray for her wrist. She was so shocked, but very happy to let us pray. It was awesome. She was having a lot of pain from arthritis in her joints. We prayed healing over her and she hugged us both afterwards. She said there just aren’t any nice people around anymore. We believe in faith that Jonnie’s wrist was healed and she has no more pain.

We attended the morning session on Friday, and then went out on our own once again. We drove about fifteen minutes down to Carolina Beach. The idea was to not only walk for a bit, but minister to anyone we came across. It was an absolute ghost town. We walked for about an hour, then decided to visit the closest mall we could find. We walked around a while as we did in Walmart, then finally spotted a woman sitting alone on a bench. We discussed it for a bit, and then decided to go and talk to her.

My wife sat down beside the woman and just said hi, and that we felt God wanted us to talk to her. She smiled politely, but definitely didn’t look very enthusiastic. My wife then asked if we could pray for her, and that’s when she grabbed her purse and pulled it in tight to her body. She told us that she prayed for herself and she was fine. It was pretty funny. We just told her that God loved her, and we moved on.

I noticed a guy standing by a kiosk and knew instantly I was to talk to him. We walked in a circle around some other stands, and then I just walked up and shook his hand. I told him I felt compelled to approach and let him know how much God loved him. His name was Ray. Turns out, Ray is a Christian and his wife and two kids just moved to Wilmington from Charlotte. We talked for a bit, and then asked if he needed prayer. He asked us to pray that he would have more fire for God’s Word, and also for his job situation. We prayed, hugged it out, then went on our way. It was so cool.

We left the mall and headed down to the historic district in Wilmington. Down by the water front. We parked and walked over to where we could get a picture of the battle ship there. I noticed a homeless man and woman eating some pizza as we crossed the street. We were going to take a selfie, but the woman hurried over to us and asked if we wanted her to take the pic. After she took the picture, she asked if we had any spare change. I said we never carry cash or anything, but then I asked if there was anything going on in her life we could pray for. She was so surprised, but instantly smiled and her face lit up. She said her name was Teresa, and she and her husband have been battling some kind of compensation for one of his injuries. We prayed for her right there, and for the whole situation. She hugged us both, and thanked us.

We left downtown, and went in search of an Outback Steakhouse, so we could eat before the main meeting at the school. We got in and seated, already planning on blessing our server in some way or another. They are stuck with us for quite a while, so they would have no choice. Our server was Stacie, and she was very nice. When she came to refill my tea, I simply asked her how her day was going. She didn’t reply at first, and then suddenly she said, “Oh. You’re talking to me?” She told us later that no one ever asks that or even tries to engage in conversation.

She said on her way to work, her husband had called and said he was going to have to get a sonogram on his liver. His foot had been hurting, and when he went to the doctor, it went way differently than anticipated. They said he may have even had a very slight heart attack. They are in their 40’s. She was shaken up by the news and wasn’t doing too well trying to work. She stopped, and then said “I bet you wished you hadn’t asked, huh?” And she laughed. I shook my head (my wife was already crying, and I was tearing up) and said, “No. Quite the opposite. Is it okay if we pray with you?”

She hesitated a couple of seconds, then her bottom lip began to quiver as she started to cry. She said of course, so right there in the booth, we prayed for her. Just that peace would invade their lives and things like that. Prayed blessings over her and her husband. It was awesome. We were all crying. She was blown away that we would care that much to take the time to pray with her. We knew God wasn’t done. He told us to bless her abundantly with the tip. My wife handed Stacie the bill after we had filled in the tip, and told her that God wanted her to know how much He loves her.

We walked outside to our car, and she came running out after us when she realized how much we left for her. She said she felt bad because she told us all that, and we left such a huge tip out of pity. We told her it wasn’t pity, but it was because of God’s amazing love for her. We repeated that God loves her and her husband so much. She hugged us both again, crying, and returned to work.

It was such an amazing week. We have come away from this with a completely changed view on everyone around us. There are hurting, dying people everywhere in search of hope. If we aren’t willing to get over ourselves and walk out the Gospel, who will? This is lifestyle Christianity. You don’t have to wait for God to direct you to someone. Start with the person in front of you.

It’s time to get into the game, Church. Let’s just say “Yes”, and run the race.

Am I Worthy?

From I Was There

The shame haunts me on a daily basis.

I’ve tried to be a good person, but I always end up failing. It’s not easy. It never has been. I am a woman with needs. I thought once I was married, everything would be perfect. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that is not the case at all. There are times when I still feel alone, unwanted, and not very important. In his eyes, I’m just an object, or more like a slave. He thinks my sole purpose for existing on this earth is to serve him. If I don’t make him happy, he threatens to leave me. How can I continue to live like this?

My mother told me, on numerous occasions, that divorce is a sin. A sin that God will punish severely. I’ve always had a difficult time understanding that. My husband doesn’t beat me, but abuse takes on many different forms. Is it still a sin to leave him? I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. I’m afraid of what might happen if I leave. I don’t want to disappoint my mother, but most importantly, I don’t want to sin against God. I’m lost and confused and don’t know what to do anymore.

I don’t have anyone I can really talk to. My friends are busy with their own lives, and their own set of problems. I tried to pray, but I just don’t know what to say. How do I even know anyone is up there listening to me? There has been so much talk about God and His Son, Jesus, but I have yet to see anything worth believing in. I’ve heard the stories of miracles being performed, but nothing has ever happened to me personally. I just need something to believe in. Something I can use as my anchor in this world so full of uncertainty and confusion.

I make no excuses for what I’ve done. Yes, my marriage is failing, and I am nothing more than a lost soul searching for help, but I have to face the consequences of my actions. I don’t know what the penalty is, but somehow I will endure it. My mother hasn’t spoken to me in three days. I didn’t think she knew about what happened, but her actions indicate otherwise. I know they will be coming soon to determine my punishment. I just have to be strong.

I hear commotion outside, and I open the front door. Several men, with their long beards and flowing robes, stand there in heated argument. They stop talking as I walk forward. I see my mother standing off to the side, watching intently. My husband is working and will not be around to witness what is happening. The other man is there with the group, looking at me with eyes full of contempt. I don’t understand that. He told me that he loved me.

I stand there, with hands stretched out in a gesture of surrender.

One man walks over to me. “Do you know what sin you have committed?”

I nod and drop my head in shame. “Yes, adultery.”

“Do you know what the penalty is for such a sin?”


“According to the Law of Moses, you are to be stoned to death.”

My heart begins to beat faster, and I swallow the lump of fear that has formed in the back of my throat. These were the teachers of the law. It wasn’t possible they were wrong in their knowledge of sin, or its consequences. They had studied the ancient Scriptures more than anyone.

He turns to address the small crowd that has gathered, but before he can speak, one of the older men walks over. “Why don’t we take her to the Teacher? The one they call Jesus. Let’s see what he has to say about this woman. If He doesn’t do what is required, we will have reason to suspect His true intentions.”

They all agree. They push me forward toward the temple, and the crowd follows. I feel the eyes of every person staring into my back. I am so ashamed. Not only have I brought disgrace to myself, but I have embarrassed my family as well. I am terrified. I didn’t know the penalty for adultery was death. I have seen people being stoned before, and it’s not a pleasant way to die. Tears stream down my face as we enter the temple courtyard, and I see a large group of people.

They are all standing around listening as someone speaks. As we approach, the crowd turns, and starts to move back, giving us a path. We reach the front of the crowd where the one they call Jesus is sitting. He stops talking and looks at us.

For several moments, there is complete silence. I am trembling as I stand there awaiting my judgment. I keep my head lowered, facing the ground so he doesn’t see the shame reflecting in my eyes. I begin to hear whispers from the crowd, and my face burns with embarrassment. I try to stop my tears, but it’s futile. The stories of this Jesus have been spreading like wildfire. According to some, He can cast out demons and heal the sick. What will He do to me now?

Two men walk up from behind and force me to my knees. “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. According to the Law of Moses, we are to stone such a woman. Now what do you say?”

I glance up through my tears. Jesus looks at the men for a couple of seconds, and then kneels to the ground. With His finger, He begins to write in the dirt. He says nothing. A murmur trickles through the crowd as He continues to write and ignore the question. I notice that all of the men who came to my house are now holding large rocks.

“Teacher?” the man repeats. “Surely we are to obey the Law of Moses and stone this woman. She has sinned against God. What do you say?”

Jesus writes several more things, and then He stands up. “Let any one of you, who is without sin, throw the first stone.”

The men roughly push me from my knees to a prone position on the ground. I close my eyes and cover my head with both hands. The intense pain of rocks slamming into my body will begin at any moment. It’s often hard to recognize a person after they have been stoned. I wasn’t sure if my mother was still around, but I hoped she wouldn’t remain to watch me die. I am terrified, but I know there must be a consequence of my failure to keep the law. I am a sinner.

I hear the sound of a rock hitting the ground. At first, I assume someone has thrown a stone, and missed. I hear the sound again, and I open my eyes. In utter disbelief, I watch as one by one, the men open their fists and allow the rocks to fall harmlessly to the ground. They slowly turn and walk away. Following their example, the remaining crowd walks away as well. I don’t know what to say or do. Will Jesus stone me Himself? Is that the point of making them all leave? He wants to be the one to punish me?

I rise to my knees and look up. He is staring directly at me. Surprisingly, He is not looking at me with contempt or condemnation. His eyes burn with an expression of love that I have never felt before. What I have done is unforgivable. Am I worthy of this love? How could I have committed such a sin against God, and this man is looking at me with love? Why isn’t He picking up the rocks and stoning me like I deserve?

He smiles and offers His hand. He helps me to my feet. “Where are they? Is there no one left to condemn you?” He asks.

I fight back the sobs that threaten to overtake my entire being. I shake my head. “No one is left, Sir.”

“Then neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.”

You say, but I say

Have you ever read Matthew chapter 5? I’m talking about reading past the Beatitudes (which are no less awesome and amazing) and starting at verse 21.

Jesus goes into the “You have heard it said, but I say” section that is truly mind blowing.

He is basically saying that we have been home-schooled in the wrong home. We think with the mind of the world, the enemy, and then He proceeds to shred every bit of human wisdom and reasoning, replacing it with truth.

Let me back up a bit. Proverbs 14:12 says:

There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

The way that seems right to a man is human wisdom, human reasoning, and human logic. Three things that desperately attempt to undermine the truth of God’s Word, and lead us down the path of destruction.

Think about it. When we hear a story of two people torturing and beating a 3 year old boy to death, we immediately get angry. There’s no way around it. That is a heart-breaking story full of loss and pain that most of us can’t even fathom. I read so many comments on Facebook from people, who say they are Christians, talking about what they thought would be a fair punishment. Death penalty. They need to be tortured themselves. Someone should forget the judicial system and kill them both. Things like that.

It breaks my heart.

Those comments sound normal. Even to other Christians, they sound like valid suggestions, especially the death penalty idea.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

Wait. What?

That’s completely opposite of how we want to react. Those people deserve to be punished.

If we want what we deserve, we can all go to Hell. 

We deserve eternity in the fiery pit. If Jesus thought like we do, He would have never died on the Cross.

Human reasoning would have said “But wait, I haven’t done anything wrong. I did nothing but help these people. I healed them. I fed them. I spent time with them when no one else would. You know what, I don’t deserve to be treated this way. Look, Father. I’m done with these people. They don’t deserve my innocent blood. They have completely rejected me in every way possible. Wait, what are they yelling out? Are they saying Barabbas? Barabbas??? Are you serious??? You have GOT to be kidding me! Come on! I’m done. I’m outta here. Beam me back up.”

Can you imagine those words not only coming out of the mouth of Jesus, but even running thorough His mind?

Of course not. It sounds absurd.

Another comparison can be found in John 20:16-18, which says:

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

Jesus is alive. Mary sees Him, and didn’t even know who He was at first. Look very carefully at what He says. “Go to My brethren.”


He could have said “Go tell those knuckle heads, who are all in hiding, that you have seen me, and where I’m going now.”

The disciples deserted Him, betrayed Him, and didn’t believe Him, yet He still referred to them as His brothers. To me, that is a big deal.

How do we act towards people who do those very same things to us?

It’s easy to love those who love us right back. The key to living like Jesus is to also love our enemies.

No matter what situation or circumstances we find ourselves in, let’s follow the letters in red. We can’t go wrong with those.


Everything has a label. Actually, everyone has a label as well.

I read in my Bible that we aren’t supposed to regard people in the flesh once we are born again. Well, here, let me show you. 2 Corinthians 5:14-17 says (emphasis mine):

14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

This is one of my favorite passages of scripture. Truth just leaps off the pages and screams from the mountaintops. If you combine this with the other passage about our fight not being against flesh and blood, it all begins to make sense.

When we label people, we are regarding them in the flesh. We fail to see their created value.

You’re pro abortion.

You’re a homosexual.

You’re Catholic.

You’re Presbyterian.

You’re Mormon.

You’re a devil worshiper.

You’re an alcoholic.

People find their identity in that stuff. The bottom line is this: We are all people, human beings, created in the image of God. Period.

Galatians 3:28 says:

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

That’s awesome.

Insert a label into that verse to take the place of Jew or Greek, slave or free.

Paul isn’t saying we are all the same. Like robots. We are all one in Christ. Everything was made through Christ. We were created in His image. We are all sons and daughters of the King. We all have a destiny and purpose. It’s why we were created.

To manifest the image of God here on Earth.

To become love. That’s why we’re here. How can we do that if all we see is a label?

If you’re a Baptist, and you come across a Lutheran, you’re already thinking about differences in beliefs and how you will defend your doctrine, etc. It’s crazy.

We get so tied up in debate, the desire to be right, and our own arrogance, we fail to see people through the lens of God.

And there is only one way He looks at us. With love.

How do I know that? Because the Bible says that God so loved the world, that He gave. And you know what is truly awesome? It will say that same thing tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.

There is only one way I want to be labeled, and that’s as a believer.

I’m not any one denomination. I’m not a result of my past. I have been bought with a price. I’m born again. The old is gone, and all things have become new. Not some things. All.

Once we realize that, and understand that we are no longer bound by sin, it will change everything.

Let’s throw away the labels of denomination and society, and see people through love.

To the brave men and women

I wrote this military tribute a couple years ago. I was at work one day just thinking about the drastic differences of my life compared to that of someone who serves in our military. Thank you is never enough.


Thank You Isn’t Enough
Copyright 2012 Chris Martin

It’s a typical morning. My dreams dissolve into the sound of two little girls running up and down the hallway. Birds chirp outside the window as golden sunlight trickles in through the half-open blinds. Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I greet my wife with a kiss and stumble into the kitchen. With the press of a button, frothy hot liquid pours into my mug. The aroma brings a smile to my face.

Thousands of miles away, a young man sits on the damp earth, trembling. Bombing continued throughout the night, shaking the very ground beneath him. His eyes burn from lack of sleep. He grips the M16 rifle across his lap with both hands as his thoughts drift away to a normal life he can barely remember. Tears dampen his face as he recalls the last words his mother spoke to him right before he left.

After hugging the wife and kids, I walk downstairs to my office, carefully sipping my coffee.  I sit in a very comfortable chair waiting for my computer to boot up so I can begin my work day. I look outside and watch in wonder as the day comes alive. Reaching beyond the trees, a hawk soars across the crisp blue sky that seems to go on forever. He dips toward the horizon where sky reaches down and kisses the earth.

A husband and father of two glances up, wishing the sun would break through the smoke and haze that surrounds him every moment. He ties the laces on his boots as he prepares for another day of work. He has been selected to go on patrol. They will search the face of everyone they meet, looking for signs of friend or foe. Two weeks ago, one of their own was killed when a thirteen year old boy tossed a grenade across their path. He pulls out a picture of his wife and two little girls and imagines what it would be like to hug and kiss them.

I answer the phone with a smile. It’s the tenth call of the day. I talk jovially about the weather and the customer’s favorite football team. After twenty minutes of troubleshooting, the problem is solved and we end the call. I document everything in my ticket and decide it’s time to take a break.

A mother of four speaks softly, but with authority as she directs several families to leave the building. Within minutes there will be nothing left but a pile of rubble and ash.  It’s a suspected safe house for anti-American extremists and it’s targeted for destruction. The innocent women and children are being ushered out before the order is given to launch the attack. She urges them forward; the gun in her hand speaks louder than her words. There’s no time to take a break.

I’ve put in my eight hours and now it’s time to go upstairs and create everlasting memories with my family. There is a choice to be made. Chicken or hamburger for supper. We decide on chicken and I fire up the grill. Thirty minutes later, we’re sitting at the table eating and talking about our plans for the weekend.

A young girl, just three years out of high school stares at the scene before her. Her training never prepared her for this moment. On one side of the road, a small child screams in terror as wild dogs attack. On the other side of the road, rebel forces hold a pregnant woman at gunpoint. There is a choice to be made. Try to save the child, ignoring the fact he might be wired with explosives or go for the woman which would undoubtedly draw an onslaught of gunfire.

I lay on my bed, warm and safe, thinking about what tomorrow might bring. The children have fallen asleep after watching TV in their room. The neighborhood is quiet with only a gentle echo of crickets in the distance. In another country, far from safe or warm, men and women are giving their lives to protect the very things I take for granted on a daily basis.

One of my favorite movie lines comes from Saving Private Ryan. With his dying breath, Tom Hanks pulls Matt Damon close and whispers, “Earn this.” He had just given his life so that Private Ryan could leave the war and go home to his grieving mother who had just lost three other sons.

Whether we agree with the politicians in Washington or not, we need to earn each and every second we are given by the brave men and women sacrificing their freedom so we can enjoy ours. They are the ones who allow us to sleep in peace at night. They are the ones who allow us to get up every day and earn a living. They are the ones who answer the call and drop everything to serve their country with dedication and pride.

Thank you isn’t enough.

When did it become God incorporated?

Satan’s plans rest on one, simple thought process.

That we, as Christians, only need God, we don’t actually love Him. There is a huge difference. One that can keep us from the intimate relationship with God we were created for.

Let’s back up a bit.

Genesis 1:26-29 says (emphasis mine):

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Look how many times it talks about us being created in God’s image. That’s amazing. It was repeated several times in just those three scriptures. It must be pretty important.

Man was created in complete perfection, without the blemish or stain of sin. Adam had fellowship with God in the Garden. They talked together. They walked together. There was nothing separating them from intimacy. Everything was amazing and awesome until the fall placed an unbreakable barrier between God and man.

Many years passed. Mankind had the chance to enter the promised land and taste the goodness of God. The children of Israel wandered forty years in the desert for one reason. They were consumed with self. Thanks to the fall, people cared more about what they could get, than Who they could live for. They had food on the ground every morning. They had shaded during the day, and fire at night. God parted the seas in order for them to escape Egypt. Still, they griped and complained about everything.

God was right there, in their face, and they didn’t want Him.

They enjoyed the provision, but still refused to follow the Provider.

Let’s leap ahead to the day when the sky turned to black, and an innocent man hung dying on a tree. God wanted His children back. He wanted intimacy and communion with His creation once again. Like it was with Adam. He sent Jesus to die, not to expose our sin, but to reveal our true identity. The identity that was lost in the Garden.

God said if they ate of the tree, they would surely die. They ate, and didn’t fall over dead, so it must have meant something else.

That perfect, blameless, stainless image they were created in, fell to the wayside, died, and they took on the very nature of the enemy. Christ had to die in order to reconcile us back to our Father. He defeated sin and death forever on that day. The power of sin could no longer keep us from our Creator.

The value of something is determined by the price paid. God paid the highest price imaginable to get us back. He wants to live inside of us. I’m pretty sure our worth and value are high.

Yet, we’ve reduced the Gospel to saying a prayer to get into Heaven.

I don’t believe God paid that high price so we could incorporate Him into our lives in order to have a better day.

If we only need Him, we will only talk to Him when we’re lacking something. If we love Him, we commune with Him constantly. We will want to build a relationship. We will die to our self, and allow Him to consume everything we are.

Jesus said to die to our self, pick up our cross, and follow Him. We have to become love. If we don’t have a solid relationship with our Father, how can we ever love someone else?

Why do we so desperately hold on to something that we were never created to be in the first place?

Galatians 2:20 says:

20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Let’s not live for ourselves and try to incorporate God when things go wrong. Hoping He can make it all better. He’s not a genie in a bottle, waiting for our rub.

He is the living God of all creation. He became a man and modeled the Christian life here on Earth. He wants to live inside each and every one of us.

Recently, I took communion alone in the secret place. It was just me and God. No one else was around. It was one of the most intimate and amazing things I’ve ever done. Let’s stop playing church, and get alone with our Father. Time is short, and there are so many in this world who are lost and in need of what we say we have.

Let’s quit talking about it. Let’s live this thing out and become love.

Christ in us, the hope of glory.

What if Jesus meant what He said?

I wrote an article last year entitled What If. (Click HERE to read) It was one of those moments where I just kept asking the question over and over about a variety of things. It’s something that sparks inner dialog and even more questions. It makes you think. I know it did for me anyway.

I’ve been a Christian for quite some time now, but I haven’t truly known what that means until just in the last year or so. See, we’ve been taught so many things in churches, and unfortunately, many of those things are just plain wrong. It’s time to open our Bibles, get alone in the secret place with our Father, and allow the Holy Spirit to speak truth.

Something that baffles me is how easily we stake our belief system on what someone says. Or teaches. Or preaches. Before you light up the torches and fashion a stake, hear me out.

There is a place for teachers and preachers. No doubt about it. What scares me is when these people base their doctrine, or beliefs on what they’ve experienced or seen, and not on what Jesus said.

Hebrews 2:6-9 says (emphasis mine):

But one testified in a certain place, saying:

“What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?
You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” 

For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

This is an amazing passage of scripture. 6,7,and 8 talk about how ALL things have been put into subjection under our feet by God. We are after all, man…mankind. That’s who he’s talking about here. When I read this, I think of praying for someone to get healed, taking authority over demonic spirits, and situations where we can’t see God working. These are areas where we might be easily shaken because immediate results are lacking.

We might pray for someone to rise out of a wheelchair and walk, and they don’t. That shouldn’t determine our belief system on healing. From that one experience, we can’t say healing isn’t for today. Why? Because the evidence we don’t see with our own eyes, doesn’t change the truth of God’s word. Jesus said one of the signs that follow believers is that they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. Hebrews says we might not see everything yet, but we see Jesus.

It’s a clear directive to keep our eyes on Christ no matter what we see or experience.

If we pray for someone, nothing happens, and we immediately feel like a failure, we have no faith at all. Faith is believing what Jesus said, praying for someone, and praising God no matter the outcome.

So many doctrines and beliefs come from human wisdom and experiences. It’s a tool used by the devil himself to deceive people.

I’m sure everyone on the planet knows who Brittany Maynard is by now. The 29 year old woman with terminal brain cancer who moved to Oregon so she could take advantage of the death with dignity act. This story is so sad to me. Let’s get something straight right off the bat. God came to give life, He doesn’t take it. Satan is here to kill, steal, and destroy. Cancer is straight from the pit of Hell, and it’s God’s will to heal people from the horrible disease. Jesus laid hands on people, and they were healed. If it wasn’t God’s will to heal, Jesus would have been going directly against His father. That just wouldn’t happen.

There is no such thing as terminal illness in the Kingdom. We’ve been given the same power that raised Christ from the dead. I believe 100% that Brittany could have been healed from that horrible disease. I’m not mentioning this as judgement towards her or her family at all. Not even close. It’s just an modern day example of whether we believe the words of Jesus or not. And there is no guarantee she would have even allowed a believer to pray for her. And that’s okay. Cancer is one of the largest, fear causing words in the English language. Fear isn’t of God. We don’t need to fear cancer. We need to believe we have power over it through our Savior.

And please don’t get me wrong. I’m not being insensitive to those who have lost loved ones from any kind of illness or disease. I am so very sorry for your loss.

The body of Christ needs to wake up and embrace the truth that we have power. God is the giver and creator of life. Satan is here to destroy us.

Mark 16:15-18:

15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

What if Jesus meant what He said?