Christian? Yes. Religious? No.

This video made it’s way to me from my buddy Justin Brackett this morning.  WOW!  WOW!  WOW!

In my mind, there is a difference between Christianity and Religion and this video from Jefferson Bethke gets at the heart of it.

It’s funny that this video came right after I had read the verse below.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Can you find power in weakness?

Don’t Forget The Hand That Feeds You

I’m on a Bible passage kick I guess. I came across this passage this morning and wanted to share it with all of you. Prosperity should be humbling but in many cases it causes us to forget how or from whom we were able to achieve our good fortunes. Is it really our power and abilities or was it His blessings?

When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.

“But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath. (Deuteronomy 8:10-18 NLT)

Live It. Teach It.

A few words from a really wise man named Moses. Not only does he encourage all of us to live out our faith, but just as important, he urges us to teach it tour children.

“Listen, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NLT)

Fan the Flames

As a parent, I often think about the stories I’ll pass on to my kids.  Pouring into the next generation has become more important to me especially as my kids get older.  Am I helping pass along the Filipino heritage of my mom and dad?  Am I instilling into my kids the work ethic of my parents and Julianne?  More importantly, am I sharing my faith with my kids so that they are able to decide for themselves what their faith means to them?

I recently heard at Kensington Orion that we are only one generation away from either losing the knowledge of God or from making life changing impact through the stories we tell the next generation of how Christ impacted our lives.  Through how we are living our own lives, are we creating stories of impact that can be an influence to future generations to carry on our legacy as parents as well as the message of Jesus Christ?

Think about it terms of the history of the United States.  Have we really done a good job at passing down the spirit of those that founded this great country through the stories that made this country so great?  Simple things like the history of U.S. Presidents, capitals of the states or even more recent events like 9/11 have lost some of  their meaning to those that never experienced them.  These stories remain important and shouldn’t be minimized.

If you are in any position of leadership, I believe it’s vitally important for us to constantly think about what it is we want to pass along to those that come after us.  Are we providing every opportunity for those that we lead to learn and grow?  I think about my own faith and how that has come to shape my life over the last 5 years.  I get so excited when I think about how God has blessed my life and my family.  I am now thinking about the stories I want my kids to tell my grandkids so that they will able to feel the influence Jesus Christ had on my life even after I’m gone.  I’m reminded of Paul’s message to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:

I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice.  And I know that same faith continues strong in you.  This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.  For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.  So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. (2 Timothy 1:5-8 NLT)

What stories are you preparing for future generations?  I hope they are good and memorable, otherwise you might be left with this…

Lukewarm and Loving It

The following is an excerpt from Francis Chan‘s latest book, Erasing Hell.  Makes me think…big time.

The most terrifying images of hell occur, as we have seen, in the book of Revelation.  But let’s remember the context in which John writes this book.  This isn’t an evangelistic tract written for unbelievers-the hell passages here weren’t designed to make converts and scare people into the kingdom.  They were designed to warn believers to keep the faith in the midst of adversity.  In fact, the descriptions of hell in Revelation 14 and 20-21 were first written with the seven churches of Revelation 2-3 in mind.  In these churches, there were those who had left their first love (Rev. 2:4), followed the heresy of false teachers (v. 20), and become complacent and “lukewarm” because of the earthly wealth they hoarded (3:15-17).  It is to these types of people-people who confess Jesus with their lips but deny Him by their actions-that God reserves the most scathing description of hellfire and brimstone.

I hate to sound as if I’m always singling out the church in America, but it’s where I live.  And I have seen enough of His church in other countries to know that not everyone lives like us.  In fact, few do.  We have become dangerously comfortable-believers ooze with wealth and let their addictions to comfort and security numb the radical urgency of the gospel.  What’s encouraging is that there seems to be a growing number of American believers who recognize this and are making changes.  Be encouraged by the statement Jesus made while addressing the church in Sardis.  He addresses the “few” who refused to succumb: “You have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy” (Rev. 3:4).

I would love for Jesus to grace me with those words: You are worthy.  Wouldn’t you?

Holier Than Thou

“But the Pharisees and experts in religious law rejected God’s plan for them, for they had refused John’s baptism.” (Luke 7:30 NLT)

Reading this passage today, I began to think about some of the things I’ve been experiencing with fellow Christians lately. It saddens me when these believers become so focused on a particular issue and begin to question the character of one of their brothers or sisters in Christ.

I’m not sure what the future holds with what is going on but I can only hope my family and I follow in the wise words that are on the bracelet Joshua is currently wearing, “WWJD”…what would Jesus do?