The Truth About Christianity: Experience Vs. Relationship

For awhile I’ve avoided writing this. I wanted to be sure and I wanted to make certain it wasn’t going to be my own bias or opinion dictating the article. I never want to write something that may lead someone astray. However, I feel obligated to write this as there are many good people currently being very misled. And all in the “name of Jesus.” By the way, if you don’t believe in Jesus and think it’s all just a bunch of hog-wash, this may not mean much to you. Although, if it isn’t true, then it won’t hurt to read or take into consideration what I’m about to say. And if you’re one of those questioning what Christianity is really all about and what the heck is the right version of it, then I hope this series may provide you with some clarity and insight.

The Jesus Culture and the Jesus Experience. Have you ever met those people who are super pumped as if they’re on steroids – yet not? The ones that just can’t help smiling and laughing (uncontrollably and hysterically at times), even though you mentioned that your dog just died? I mean, they’re just so full of joy, well, how can you expect them to be anything else, right? They’ve got Jesus, man. Yet, I’m pretty sure the Jesus of the Bible that I know wept at times and definitely empathized in situations of sorrow. He wasn’t happy or pumped on steroids all of the time.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 – There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.

So, what’s it all really about? Is this really a “God thing”…or something else? Truthfully, I believe it’s more along the lines of Something wicked this way comes and it’s called Progressive Christianity. It’s the belief that what we “feel” trumps all other fundamental truths. It’s all a bunch of wishy-washy feelings mixed in with a little bit of truth. These “feely” Christians are taking the world by a storm. And why wouldn’t they? This emotional based religion offers what you can only gain through drugs, intoxication, and any other sort of high: it offers an experience. Yet how true is this experience?

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I’m quite frankly disturbed because these people with good intentions are quite literally convinced they are experiencing God while discarding His Word as second best to what they feel. As it were, the Bible clearly tells us to be discerning and wise as ‘The heart is deceitful above all things” [Jeremiah 17:9]. Furthermore, these folks genuinely believe that they are building a relationship with Jesus by simply experiencing and soaking Him in. Which is interesting, because I never see the Jesus of the Bible building His relationship with the Father by “soaking” in Him. He did indeed fast and meditate in prayer, but then again, prayer is an active form of communication between an individual and God. It’s not a sole existence or momentary experience with God. In fact, there’s not one mention in Scripture of anyone having a “God experience.” What people had was an active, intentional relationship with their Father. Which they had to actively strengthen, build, pursue, and invest in. Within the Old Testament, this was direct and often audible communication with the Lord; in the New Testament, this was direct communication and relationship with the physical Christ in addition to communion with God; and in our modern day, this is a spiritual relationship with Jesus via prayer and the Word of God.
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Folks, our churches are sick. They’re full of good intention-ed people who aren’t intentional in their beliefs. And in all honesty, they really don’t know what in the good Lord’s world they actually believe. These are a lot of people tired of the rule based church and looking for the real life relationship with Jesus. Which isn’t a bad (or wrong) aim. People are tired of hearing about a God that just wants to punish or cast them into hell-fire and brimstone. I understand. I get it. It is exhausting to constantly be told you’re going to hell if you do anything apart from eating sliced bread and living like a monk. It seems to be one extreme or the other. Unfortunately, we as people tend to to screw things up as usual. Instead of actually looking to God’s Word to discover what He intends for us and how we are to seek and build a relationship with Him through the Son, we’ve decided we’ve got this whole experience thing down. It feels good, so it must be right…. right? Actually, not right. Just because it feels good doesn’t make it right. A lot of things that feel good are pretty bad and detrimental to and for us.

But why is this mentality so dangerous? I believe that the sole goal to gain an “experience” is at the expense of knowing, valuing, and acting upon the truth of God’s Word. There is a lack of value for the inspired Word given to us those two thousand years ago. Many of these people don’t believe that it’s relevant or needed because they can hear and feel Him today. But if it’s not relevant, then why’d He give it to us in the first place? If it isn’t the infallible Word we are to base our lives, decisions, and actions upon, then why did God Himself think it important enough to survive several thousand years and still be the most printed book to date in history? If we base what we think, choose, and do on our “feelings” then arguably anything could be a voice from God and we can come up with an entirely new religion and theology justified on the fact that God spoke it to us. There are so many accounts in history of “good intentioned” people doing the most evil and terrible of things because God told them so. Take a look at the Aztec human sacrifices, the Catholic Inquisition, the Salem Witch Hunts, the Islamic Jihads, and then in more recent history the Jonestown massacre where nearly every resident drank the Kool-Aid in obedience to a man who had initially spoken under the pretense of spiritual authority. All done in the name of what “God” said to them. GUWG-Praying-Hands-Bible

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that God still communicates with His children today. That still small voice, the unexplained burden on our hearts, and through other believers in our lives. However, all of this must never contradict, must always be backed up first by Scripture, and must be founded upon and in it. We need to be so careful about declaring that we know exactly what God wants for us based on what we feel or what He’s spoken apart from His original and infallible Word. Because there is a good possibility that it’s either our own voice speaking… or something else (and that something else ain’t God.)

 

To be continued...

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man

Battle Of The Sexes

Folks, there is a war being waged. And you’re right in the middle of it. If you don’t believe me, just check your social media feed and news outlet. It’s all around us and nobody has the luxury of remaining neutral. Nope, no one gets an excuse or hall pass. Neutrality isn’t something that exists for us. You either choose or somebody else chooses for you.

Let’s talk about this one battle in particular. The battle of us. But more specifically, the battle of the sexes. We’re all up in arms about it. We sure are. It’s either something we unabashedly support and defend or it’s something we ardently oppose and fight against. Honestly, there’s plenty of really good and great people on both sides of it (as is typically the case with any issue). Alas, there’s also some misguided and ignorant ones and then there’s the bad ones on both sides too. But we’re here to approach this from the perspective of our country’s majority.

james-charlesn-new-coverboySo, let’s dive right in. First, it was just recently announced that the new Cover Girl would be a person named James Charles. Who isn’t a girl at all. Then Maybelline showcased Manny Gutierrez as its brand ambassador. Also not a girl. We’re either all disgusted and in a frenzy over these new developments or overjoyed and hopeful with this newfound “acceptance” in society. Now then, let’s look at this a little closer, shall we?

Consider the following two scenarios for a few moments:

Thought pattern of group numero unoWhy would any kind of decent person actually be upset over this tolerance, acceptance, and love? Are they really that judgmental and unloving? They just want us all to stay in the Dark Ages and never move forward — Rainbows unite, y’all!

Thought pattern of group numero dos – How could any good and decent individual actually support and encourage the de-masculinity of our boys today? How is this unnaturalness actually okay in their brains? They are trying to tear down our country and the values it was built on!

See the very contrast difference of perspective within these two mindsets? Neither one has a personal vendetta against any one person in particular. Neither one is out to ruin the happiness of someone else. It’s simply based on their perspective and what they’ve based that perspective on.

Frankly, I come to you as a part of the latter mindset. And this is why:

#1 what I believe in (such as my faith) directly affects and determines my actions, values, and the stances I take on issues.

#2 There is a good quote by Benjamin Franklin which has throughout history, both before and after his time, been proven to be true: “When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not care to support it, so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, ’tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.” I also believe that this concept is very applicable to nearly every other various aspect of our world as well. If something is “good,” then it will support itself throughout history and prove itself to be true. When it does not, it is bad and it is bad on the world too.

The aforementioned two items are what determines my mindset and perspective and furthermore my actions and choices. Consequently, I am completely against emasculating men. I am completely and totally against this Cover Girl/Maybelline fiasco. I am against making it seem like it’s “okay” for a boy to want to be a girl. I am anti little boys turning into little girls and vice versa and blah, blah, blah. However, in all honesty, my motive here or in any other sort of conversation or article that we may share together is truly not to get you to believe what I believe. I already know that I’m right and I already know why. My mission is to present you with the facts and questions so that you can fully understand and comprehend your choices. You are then a responsible party who will stand accountable for either a right or wrong decision. But the choice is always up to you and it’s neither my place nor anyone else’s to decide what affects you personally.

Now, having stated this, let’s move on to the topic at hand: The battle of the sexes. What’s the big deal, right? Like, I mean, people just want to be happy. C’mon, man. It’s the land of the free! Well…..hugging-pillow

Once upon a time, there was a man in Japan who had the inkling to marry the pillow that he was in love with. So he did and they are now a happily wedded couple enjoying plenty of pillow fights I imagine. By the way, that’s a true story and you should Google it. To most people, and I’m going to give the generous benefit of the doubt here, I assume that sounds pretty bizarre. But to that man, his happiness was dependent upon his marriage to a pillow. Our happiness should not be rooted in us getting our deepest (darkest) desires come true. And just because we want something to be right….doesn’t exactly make it right. Stop and re-read that last sentence, please. Ready?

Just because we want something to be right…. does not make it right.

Whoa. News flash, I know.

The reason that this is all such a “big deal” isn’t because society is just being stubborn, bull headed, and judgmental on this particular issue. It’s not because the majority of the world would like some people to live with perpetual internal turmoil or to repress who they really are deep down. It’s because it brings to light a much deeper and serious issue. It’s a heart issue and it’s an issue of the morality which our nation has traditionally held to and known to its very core to be true. In this particular case and battle, the belief that men were created to be men and women were created to be women. Male to be male and female to be female. Man and woman. Husband and wife. Those are all things based on a certain conviction to what morality means and is. Now, not only is this being chosen by individuals to be rejected, it is also being splayed across billboards, flaunted, and advertised while influencing our younger generation and redefining the original morality standard which stated this was definitely not A-Okay. As a human being, you have the right to make a free choice when it comes to something that affects solely you and your own life. You can make the right choice or you can make the wrong choice. That’s up to you. However, this dilemma of gender identity crisis is now not only the fruition of your own free choice but it is also a furthering of your own mindset which teaches a generation around you that your personal choice is okay and that it is the right choice. That there’s no difference between men and women and quite possibly any one of us could have been born into the wrong body.

Quick history 101 — Back in the 1800s, men wore stockings, powder wigs, make up and heels. They also taught their boys to be boys and girls to be girls. There was a distinct difference regardless of the fashion preference of the day.

It’s not about the fashion or makeup. It far surpasses that skin deep issue.

My challenge to both those of the numero uno and dos stances regarding this issue: what is your mindset founded on?

I Of The Storm

I wish that I could save you. I truly do. I wish that I could make you see what I see. I wish that you would understand what I know to be true. And sometimes, I don’t know why you can’t or won’t see. I’m not entirely sure why you’re blinded. Because I’m safe aboard a life boat while I watch your sinking ship. Yet, I can’t force you to choose safety and life. It’s up to you. You choose to cling to your Titanic. That’s your choice. And so you drown in your numbing waves of ignorance, preferring to believe a lie that may float you for a little while than take hold of the truth that would deliver you at length.

Continue reading “I Of The Storm”

Can You Name One Celebrity That Died Caring About You?

It’s me tuning in again. After a much lengthy but rather needed sabbatical away.

(Dang. That photo is making my eyes bug out. Note to self: use still images).

 

Just real briefly, I wanted to touch base on a couple of things. As many of you may have noticed as well, I’m sure, I’ve seen a whole freaking lot of “2016 sucks” or “2016 is the worst year ever” memes. And yeah, there were some pretty sucky things that took place. I would be the first to know. But more specifically, I’ve seen a lot of stuff posted regarding the recent celebrity deaths which have taken place, and my heart really does go out to their loved ones. It’s undoubtedly tough to lose anyone close to you and someone’s death is not something to be disregarded in the least. However, the fact that we tend to mourn these celebrity deaths to the extent that makes their passing seem like some sort of global tragedy is frankly a little disconcerting. Because there are real and actual global tragedies going on around us.

Just to put this a little bit into perspective:

The Black Plague wiped out half of Europe’s population between 1346 and 1353.

The Civil War claimed 600,00 American lives, 2% of their population, from 1861 to 1865.

The Nazis murdered 11 million people and started a global war that killed tens of millions between 1939 and 1945.

 

I also noticed this post on Face Book the other day that struck me pretty hard core:

136 police officers died in 2016 along with 87 firefighters and 14 United States soldiers. Can you name one celebrity that died caring about you, your family, your safety, or the freedom that we all enjoy?

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Once again, I’d like to reinforce that I’m not meaning to be disrespectful of these individuals passing. But are we really stating that an inordinate amount of celebrity deaths constitutes a terrible year? People die every day. One way or another all of us are going to go. Seems like we tend to honor our fallen heroes and protectors to a much lesser and far less respected extent than we do the people on screen who have died from self inflicted harm or drug abuse. Except for providing a bit of entertainment, these folks really did little for those who bemoan their passing. So to say that 2016 is the “worst year ever” seems to be petty and really pretty shallow. I would suggest we admit that some less than stellar and sad things happened this past year. But it wasn’t the worst year ever and we really don’t know what a worst year ever looks like as a generation or society if losing public figures that don’t even care about us and that we don’t even know personally is the worst we’ve ever experienced.

 

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Till I Fall Asleep

I’m not sure where time flies to. But fly it does. I promise I’ve neither died, fallen into a comatose abyss, or been taken away by little men from the Twilight Zone. And if you don’t know what the Twilight Zone is, then you definitely need to educate yourself on it and check it out.

I am finally breaking the sabbatical of silence. I’m sorry. I know. It’s been a couple of months since I last wrote. More like three. Or four. That’s a long time. And in that span of time, well, some things have gone down.

Continue reading “Till I Fall Asleep”

In A World of Fear

The sound still echoes in my ears. The thrum of wings against the air. We were running as fast as our little legs would carry us from the soaring creature. It was a big one, too. I was only six at the time,  but I can still remember the horrific experience to this day. We’d been playing outside on an exceptionally nice summer’s afternoon when our squeals of delight ignited the angry fire in the soul of the bumble bee. He tore us away from our innocent play and herded us to the front porch. The door was so close but I could hear the beating wings in my ear and my heart quickly plummeted. My baby sister had never been stung before and I had no idea whether that first sting could be a fatal one. I reached the door and yanked on the handle. There was only one choice. I pushed her through the doorway and could hardly get past the look of terror in her eyes. I shut the screen and let my hand rest on the glass. Such an ironically thin barrier between utter danger and complete safety. She was securely inside and I faced my fears. I hoped that the welt and fire I felt would eventually take me out. It was a very long day of hell on earth.

Brave. What a seemingly simple, little word. If someone asked you if you were brave, would you say that you are? Do you know what that is? Do most of us really act out that verb or do we only spout it out when we want to pretend that we will stand up and fight for something that’s at a distance? Do we live out what we say we believe? It’s easy to claim you’ll die for something or someone…but can you so easily live for it?  Bravery is not the lack of fear. It is doing what you are afraid to do but know that you must and should do. It is moving forward in spite of fear. You’ll never take courage if you’re not brave enough to live for what you say you’re willing to die for. Life doesn’t always get easier. We have a choice to get stronger. We have the opportunity to be better. We can decide to be braver. Continue reading “In A World of Fear”

Being Human

You only live once. Or so they say. But what if…. you actually lived twice? What if everything that you did during this lifetime carried over into another? Would it affect your perspective and why you do things? Would it change the way you look at the meaning of your life? Perhaps.

What if you actually have a mission and a purpose? What if your life was not accidental and there’s no way in heaven or hell that you existing could have come by a random galactical chance? And what if, it intentionally kept you from fulfilling that mission and your purpose in life by convincing you…that you didn’t have one. Continue reading “Being Human”