Archive for May, 2008

What an inspirational testimony of two genuine disciples, followers of Christ.  I could fill a 50 gallon drum to overfilling with all the excuses I get from “Christians” about why they can’t do this, do that in the name of God.  I think this should shut them up.

 

Dan ‘n Ann (by Joe Carr on www.joecarr.wordpress.com)

May 29, 2008

Sometimes I am inspired by people I’ve never met.

This weekend was one of those times.

I met Dan and Ann in Fort Worth on Sunday. Dan and Ann are both 75 years old. They’ve just sold every single thing they own, reduced their entire belongings to six suitcases, boarded a plane and flew to Romania to live the rest of their lives serving Jesus.

Dang!

Neither he nor Ann speak the language but have the opportunity to work with an organization called Let’s Start Talking. LST teaches English to nationals via the Bible. They are in big demand because they are native English speakers. Ann is a therapist and is in demand by physicians and therapists in Romania

All of that is enough to wow the senses. But here is the amazing part: Dan has Parkinson’s and just had a large cancerous tumor removed from his leg in March. His time is limited; yet he feels an overwhelming desire to help those who don’t know Jesus.

Additionally, their children are absolutely opposed to their going and refused to even say goodbye to them. Knowing that their father was incapable of lifting the suitcases they were carrying, the children still refused to even help carry their bags to the airport. They skipped church on Sunday so they would not be present at the service that honored their parents for what they were doing. Both Dan and Ann were heartbroken. It was all Ann could do when when we dropped them off at the airport to not cry because her daughters were not present.

But that wasn’t enough to stop them. They boarded the plane and are now in Romania.

Heroes. That is the word that comes to mind, heroes of the faith.

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Science vs. Faith

Posted: May 27, 2008 in Christianity, Faith, Jesus
Tags: , , , , ,

This was submitted by Barbara Colson, and it is worth reading in its entirety even though it is long.  Please read.
 
Interesting logic:

A science professor begins his school year with a lecture to the students, “Let me explain the problem science has with religion.” The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.

“You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?”
“Yes sir,” the student says.

“So you believe in God?”
“Absolutely.”

“Is God good?”
“Sure! God’s good.”

“Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?”
“Yes.”

“Are you good or evil?”
“The Bible says I’m evil.”

The professor grins knowingly. “Aha! The Bible!”  He considers for a moment.    “Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?”
“Yes sir, I would.”

“So you’re good…!”
“I wouldn’t say that.”

“But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn’t.”

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. “He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him.    How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?”

The student remains silent.

“No, you can’t, can you?” the professor says.
He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.

“Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?”
 “Er…yes,” the student says.

“Is Satan good?”
The student doesn’t hesitate on this one.   “No.”

“Then where does Satan come from?”
The student falters. “From God”

“That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he?  Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?”
“Yes, sir.”

 “Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything, correct?”
“Yes.”

“So who created evil? ” The professor continued, “If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and  according to the principle that our works de fine who we are, then God is evil.”

Again, the student has no answer. “Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness?  All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?”
The student squirms on his feet. “Yes.”
 
 “So who created them?”
The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. “Who created them?” There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized.
 
“Tell me,” he continues onto another student.   “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?”
The student’s voice betrays him and cracks.  “Yes, professor, I do.”

The old man stops pacing. “Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?”
“No sir. I’ve never seen Him.”

“Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?”
 “No, sir, I have not.”

“Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?”
“No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.”

“Yet you still believe in him?”
“Yes.”

“According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?”
“Nothing,” the student replies. “I only have my faith.”

“Yes, faith,” the professor repeats. “And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.”
The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His own.  “Professor, is there such thing as heat?”
“Yes,” the professor replies. “There’s heat.”

“And is there such a thing as cold?”
“Yes, son, there’s cold too.”

“No sir, there isn’t.”

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. “You can have lots of heat, even  more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited  heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’.    We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees.

“Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat.   We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.”

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.
“What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?”

“Yes,” the professor replies without hesitation. “What is night if it isn’t darkness?”

“You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something.   You can have low light, normal light, bright  light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to define the word.

“In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?”

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. “So what point are you making, young man?”

“Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.”

The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. “Flawed? Can you explain how?”

“You are working on the premise of duality,” the student explains. “You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought.  “It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it.”

“Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?”
“If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.”

“Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?”
The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.
“Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir?    Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?”
 
The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.

“To continue the process, the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.”
The student looks around the room. “Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?” The class breaks out into laughter.

“Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelt the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so.   So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.

“So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?”

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.
Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. “I guess you’ll have to take them on faith.”

“Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,” the student continues. “Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?”

Now uncertain, the professor responds, “Of course, there is. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.”

To this the student replied, “Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself.  Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.”

The professor sat down.

That young man’s name – Albert Einstein*.

*Whether this is a true or fictional event or whether Albert Einstein or Joe Blow from down the street said this doesn’t really matter.  That’s not important.  I think it’s an interesting logic/argument that someone came up with. 

 

“Instead of telling God how big your storms are,tell your storm how BIG your God is.”  

 

I came across this powerful quote yesterday in a co-worker’s office and it hit me…this is why Christians are so weak and ineffective here in America at reaching lost souls, and making a true impact in this dark world.  We have failed to realize, or even believe, that we have the same power available to us as Christ did while He walked on this earth healing the sick and crippled, raising the dead, walking on water, casting out demons and overcoming satan and death itself.  Regardless of which it is, it all leads to Christians being basically useless against the storms and darkness that rages in this world, destroying people, families and causing the lost to die without the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

While in Brazil, I have seen people healed (I was one of them) and I have seen spirits cast out of people but not once have I witnessed these things here in America.  In Brazil, the believers expected these things to happen. Here, we hope they will happen.  In Brazil, they understood the power that God had provided for us through the Holy Spirit of Christ that dwells within His children and they took it.  They expected it and they used it.  Here, we hope and wish for that power but don’t truly believe that we can have it. 

Maybe this is why I am so drawn to Brazil, and grow so much spiritually when I go there in the name of Christ.  I get so excited the closer the time gets to going back.  I know I am going to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in a way that I won’t here in America.  This is sad.  I want the book of Acts to be played out here in America right before my eyes, just like in Brazil.  Man, what awesome things we could see!  What awesome growth we could experience and what a difference we would make in this dark world! 

The power is here so let’s take it.  Let’s tell, and show, this world how big our God is and take hold of His awesome power.  I guarantee you that satan would tremble at the awesome power of Christ that had been unleashed on this world. 

A few days ago, I got a call on the way home from my best friend, Jeff telling me he had some bad news; David P. had died.  Wow!  Really?  I knew he was serious but it just didn’t seem true.  He went on to tell me that he had been sick “for a long time” and had been in the hospital since the first of the week.  He told me his mother had gone to see him but David had died 15 minutes before she arrived.  We talked a few minutes more before getting off the phone. 

Once off the phone, I thought about David, and all the years that had passed since I last saw him, spoke with him.  It had been far, far too long.  I didn’t even know he was sick, or had been sick, and that made my soul sad.  This was someone that had meant so much to me throughout my youth, and yet I hadn’t seen him in years.  Life sucks that way sometimes. People come into our lives and make such an impression.  They become part of our “memory bank”, having made many, many deposits over the years that you can still withdraw and find happiness in.

But life doesn’t stop, and it doesn’t deviate from the fate that it pulls us toward each and every day.  We grow up, graduate, move away to college and never come back, except for the few visits two or three times a year.  We get jobs, get married, have children (at least some do) and stop playing the games that we played in our youth.  We start new lives, meet new friends and leave many old ones in the past.  It doesn’t mean we don’t still think of them, or even love them but that’s just how life works, it seems. 

I met David and his family when I became involved in church and sports around the age of seven, and they became a constant in my life until I graduated and left home at 18 years old.  David and family were like an “ultimate sports family.”  They coached it, they played it, they talked it, they ate it and they slept it.  Life was almost perfect, even though I was too young to realize that it wouldn’t always be this easy…this fun.  

I can still remember all the baseball games, all the basketball games and all the soccer games I had played with David looking on, coaching from the sidelines.  We traveled many miles together chasing that next “win”. He was my favorite coach, and I always wanted to be on his teams.  We won some great games together, we lost some tough ones together and we won some championships together.  Those were the sweetest because we had done something “great” together.  There were times when he coached me as a father would his son, and there were times when he coached me with tough love because I had gotten a little to proud or stubborn.   

He never wavered in his morals and values and he made sure that you understood there was a right way to conduct yourself.  He set the standard and lived by that standard.  He loved us, he respected us, he encouraged us, he corrected us and he lead us with a quiet spirit that was firmly rooted in God’s principles.  He was good man, a godly man, and he touched many young lives in his short time on this earth.  Did he realize how much I loved him, respected him and appreciated his constant presence in my life?  I wish I could say, “yes, he knew” but I would be fooling myself.  I don’t think I ever told him, and that is truly sad.  I don’t think he needed to hear it but I should have said it. 

So, as I sit here writing this farewall, replaying, like a slideshow in my soul, all the good times I had with David and his family in my youth from sports to Disney World, I can’t help but smile knowing that one day I’ll see him again in Heaven, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll play a pick up game of basketball and he’ll coach me just like he did many years ago. 

Rest in Peace, David…I’ll see you again one day at those pearly gates of Heaven.

I just started reading Entrepreneurial Faith by Kirbyjon Caldwell and Walt Kallestad.  It’s one of those books that you sense the moment you see it that God wants you to read it.  So I bought it in the Discount bin for a few bucks.  I’m only through a few chapters and the verdict is still out but they did give some very telling stats on how effective the current church, and Christians are at reaching the lost and building the Kingdom of God:

-Two of the fastest growing religions in the U.S.:  Buddhism and Hinduism. The number of adherents in these two religious communities grew nearly 200% in just ten years – 1990 to 2000.

During same period, the number of Americans who call themselves Christians increased a mere 5%.

In contrast, during same period, the number of Americans that no longer consider themselves religious in any way increased by 110%.

Christian church attendance remains approx. the same as it has for the past four decades.

-Not counting Christmas and Easter, approx. 42% attend church at least a few times a year as opposed to 46% in 1960.

Now the bad news:

-2003 Barna Group survey showed that approx. 8 million Americans between 18 and 29 years old have dropped out of church, have stopped giving money to churches and are no longer reading their Bibles.

The age group that is moving into adulthood and becoming the parents and leaders of our children and our nation are turning from God, and are no longer seeking His Will, His guidance, His direction and His wisdom.  If this doesn’t alarm you then maybe you are one of those 8 million that are making decisions that affect you, your family, your community and your nation with no moral or spiritual compass but are being blown waywardly by the swirling wind of self-fulfilling, new age enlightenment and self-appreciating psycho-social babbling that spews forth false teaching that gives the illusion of truth.  We then build our foundations on these illusions of truth without realizing that we have forsaken God and sold our souls to the great deceiver because we were seeking a truth that pointed to us instead of our Savior, Christ Jesus.  We then look around and wonder why America is becoming more and more faithless, why we are failing our families and our communities. 

This is our reality.  We can continue to go to church, holding hands and singing songs as if we’re worshipping a bubble-gum princess that showers us with sugary fairy dust or we can wake our spirits up and realize that we have been commissioned by Jesus Christ himself to reach lost souls and be lights on a dark and hurting world.  We have to take Christ and the church to the lost, the sick, the dying, the down-trodden, the demon-possessed, the drug addicts and the alcoholics.  They aren’t coming to us.  We have to go to them with Christ-like, servant hearts and souls.  Remember, Christ came to us!  

Let’s recommit ourselves to true servanthood and discipleship.  Let’s remember that we have access to the same power, through the Holy Spirit of Christ himself, that raised the dead, forced satan himself to cower before our Lord and healed the sickest of the sick.  Let’s humble ourselves in prayer seeking His Will, and His guidance in reaching the lost.  Remember, Christ was the most rebellious, most creative, most determined, most passionate, most Spirit-filled warrior and advocate for the lost that we have ever seen.  He didn’t concern himself with the status-quo, comfort seeking “truths” of the pious priests that taught God’s Law but ignored the Messiah himself.  He did whatever it took to reach the lost.  We have to do the same.

Now, let’s stop playing church and become The Church of Christ

Seven months ago in a hotel room in Macon, GA., the Holy Spirit spoke directly to my spirit and gave me this message.  After writing down this message, I called and counseled with a close friend of mine that I trust to give me honest spiritual feedback.  He suggested that I leave it unpublished for a short while and come back to it to see if there was any rewording needed or any changes needed.  He took the message very seriously and did not doubt that it wasn’t a direct message from the Holy Spirit.  He just suggested that I maybe rewrite it in a verse and style more “me” instead of “old testamenteze” (my term).  Needless to say, I have visited this draft numerous times over the past seven months and it is always the same message.  If I try to rewrite it, I have a complete “mental block.”  I now realize I have ‘sit on this” for too long and have not been obedient in getting God’s message out.  God blessed my spirit with this message and I want….need to be obedient.  Here it is as the original post.

                                             ———————–

Please read and take serious the message that is written for it was spoken to my spirit from the Holy Spirit of God.  Those that do not heed this message will incur the wrath of God Himself, and this includes me for the judgement of man will come to pass in His time.  I am not exempt.

I am no priest, no pastor, no great spiritual leader ordained in the eyes of man but I do take this writing as serious as anything I’ve ever done in His name.  I physically felt sick  when I got this message and was writing it.

Here is His message:

How much longer do you think that I will withhold my wrath from an ungrateful and unrepentant world?  Have I not been a just and merciful God?  Have I not shown you Grace through the sacrifice of My Son, Jesus Christ?  Did He not face death with the burden of your sins on His shoulders when He was cruxified on Calvary?  Did He not conquer death and Satan himself when He was raised to live again and to return to My side? 

How much longer should I allow my people to dine with Satan, gluttens that have gorged themselves on the feast of lies that Satan has offered to you?  You sit with Satan himself at his table but do not see that this feast is not of Me. He has deceived you with his false doctrines and false religions. He has blinded your spirit, the spirit that I have given to you so that you may discern my voice above the serpent of Hell.  I have given you all truth that is needed to come to Me by.  My Son has given you my command to go forth and reach all lost souls of this earth.  Each day My judgement draws nearer but each day more souls die and are banished to live forever with satan and his dominions in hell.  Do you not understand that this fate is eternal?  Do you not see the blood of these lost ones flowing through Hell like a great river that runs the lengths and depths of darkness?  Hasn’t this river fed and nourished the evil one and his dominions long enough?

The time has come.  It is at hand.  There are no more excuses to be muttered to me. I am not pleased with this gospel of prosperity and blessings that your false prophets speak of. I never promised you wealth and great blessings in this life. The one true promise I have given to you is that of eternal life with Me through the belief of My Son Jesus Christ.  Do you not believe in his cruxification and resurrection?  Have you not asked and been forgiven for your sins?  Who are you to ask for forgiveness, only to turn your heart and soul to the lost ones that have yet to hear?  Have I not blessed this nation that you live within with great wealth and resources?  Did I not make a convenant with your founding fathers?  These blessings have not been granted to you so that you may wallow in it like a pig wallows in the mud of this earth. For as I have given, I can take away.  No, these blessings were given to you as a gift so that you may please Me and build up my Kingdom before the Harvest time.

The time is now my children!  Seek only my truth.  Seek Christ and know His ways, and share this with the world. Just as I sacrificed My Son for you, so must you sacrifice yourself for My kingdom.  But always know that I am truly with you.  I will protect you and guide you.  I will lead your feet down a righteous path.

“The more I search for my significance, seems the more I disappear, and I wonder…have I made a difference in anybody’s life since I’ve been here.”

                                                      Randy Travis, “Faith in You”

 

I turned 36 years old today!!!  It’s still kind of a surreal feeling to know that I am now officially closer to 40 than I am 30, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  In truth, it’s a good thing.  I would even call it a blessing because God has granted me 36 years on this earth and that’s 35 years and 364 days longer than some have experienced in this life.  I much prefer this “getting old” thing as compared to the alternative. 

So, today has been a great day. I’ve had the honor to spend it celebrating with my beautiful wife and a few close friends.  I missed seeing my family today but I’ve found there’s no “perfect days”, just the illusion of them.  Nonetheless, this day was all about me, and about what Patrick wanted.  I got to sleep late, pick where I wanted to eat, pick what kind of cake I wanted so it was good, right?  After all, we will spend the majority of our lives seeking to be “somebody”, “important”, “powerful”, “liked”, “loved” and most of all “significant.”  We all want, and need to feel as if we matter, as if we have made a difference in some way in this world.  No body wants to be “insignificant”.  So, we spend our days searching for our place in this world and how we can become “significant” in the eyes of the world.  Honestly, I think that is why we have this notion of “MY birthdate, MY day.”  It’s a day that we can be important, we can be significant in the eyes of someone other than the person we greet every morning in the mirror.  Even if we know that there may be thousands of other people celebrating “their day” on “my day”, that doesn’t matter.  It’s still about me.

Tomorrow I will get up and go to work and face the craziness that has become life at DFCS, and it will no longer be “MY day.”  It will be just another day.  No one will go out of their way to talk to me, smile at me or “pat” me on the back, treat me as if I matter.  But that’s okay. That’s actually a good thing.  You see, life isn’t about Patrick or his significance.  It’s about God and His significance, and the more the world caters to my need to be significant, the less I seek Him.  The less I seek Him and seek to be a servant of His Son, Jesus Christ, the more the world sees me in all of my unworthiness, my brokenness and my inability to make a difference in anyone’s life without God.  The world is in need of God’s light, His love, His mercy, His grace and His forgiveness.  Not mine!  The more I try to be significant, the more I become insignificant to a lost and hurting world.  I actually begin to “lose myself”  because I have forgotten to allow Christ to work in me, to work through me for if I am walking in God’s will, then the world will only see Christ in me.  Once this happens and the world only sees Him in me, then I can begin to make a difference in this lost world.  This is when I will find my “significance.”  For my significance can only be found when Christ is fully within me, and I am fully within Him.