God Saves All of us Crazy & Odd People

  • I have some Asian friends that are a part of this very large Asian group of believers. They gather together in various homes every day of the week. They pray drastically different than how I have learned to pray. They do hospitality well and treat me as one of their own. And they love Jesus very very much.
  • I have these friends that are connoisseurs when it comes to alcoholic beverages. They know every brewery in Raleigh and like drinking wine as if they are practicing for heaven. They truly have deep desires to grow in their faith. And they love Jesus very very much.
  • I have other friends that were taught that drinking alcohol is sinful and that God does not want us to use musical instruments during church worship. But God still saved them despite such teaching. And they love Jesus very very much.
  • I know many people that were raised in the Bible Belt and were honestly saved at the age of 6. Some come from financially well-off families. They praise Ronald Reagan, and they think Democrats are ignorant. And they love Jesus very very much.
  • I know people that were not raised in the church and still struggle with dirty mouths at times. However, they have a youthfully passionate faith. They think Republicans have satanic tendencies. And they love Jesus very very much.
  • I have a few friends that are natural born skeptics. If someone tells them that a movie is good…they will doubt that opinion until they see the movie for themselves. They wrestled with doubt in Christ until they received enough rational proof. The love apologetics and Jesus very very much.
  • I grew up in Riverdale/College Park, GA – In a society where rapper T.I. was idolized as The King, gang members were rock stars, and Waka Flocka was viewed the second coming of Christ… even through that, God saved. And there are people there who love Jesus very very much.
  • There are some friends of mine that are borderline hippies. They rock climb in their chacos and contra dance every week. Some do not have a facebook! However, they intimately walk with the Lord in ways that I am jealous of. And they love Jesus very much.
  • I have a dear friend that spent some time in Haiti for missionary work. She describes that, while there, some of the Haitian natives would constantly come up to her to ask “if she had Jesus in her heart.” Depending on her response, they were ready to tell her all about Jesus. Haha, they were going to teach a Christian missionary about the Gospel. Evangelistic boldness is so woven into their Haitian culture that they automatically bring God up to anyone without fear. They love Jesus very very much.
  • There are between 70 and 90 million believers in China. A majority of whom worship in underground caves and in residential house churches. The communist Chinese government continues to imprison and kill leaders, but the revival continues to flourish. The government has begun to cut off the water supply and electricity in the homes of those house churches… but they still keep multiplying. They love Jesus very very much.

If we’re honest, many of us fall into the trap of believing that Christianity draws in a certain type of person. Whether it is a certain Myers-Briggs personality type, a subtle caricature, a certain race, hierarchy of class, economic status, or geographic locality. This foggy perception of Christians suddenly transforms our Biblically “open” faith into a religion that seems very “exclusive. An exclusiveness that is seen from both outside and inside the church. How is it possible that we have neglected to open our eyes into a stable awareness that God reaches ALL domains of society? Additionally, all throughout scripture there are commands and imagerys of unity within the body. “One body with many members” – 1 Corinthians 12:12. Ephesians 4, Psalm 133:1.

There is something about a body of people standing “together” firm in the faith, as Philippians 1:27, 28 describes. When people that have the same interests and motives surround us, we feel this sense of warmth and confidence that nothing can stop us. That is why there is such a thing as home-field advantage in sports…the fans and team feel emboldened around each other. Imagine the players on your favorite football team arriving to their game wearing different colored jerseys. There’s no unity in that and it will not intimidate the other team. We need one another.

I would love for those Haitian believers to teach me a thing or two about boldness and evangelism. When I’m having doubts about my faith, I need to hear from natural born skeptics how they wrestle Satan with apologetics and the power of God’s word. We need one another because God has sanctified us all in such particular ways that are intended to build the body. Not only for our local church, but also the universal (or global) church body at large. What Satan wants…what Satan loves is for us to not have any awareness of each other. For example, he doesn’t want us aware of the boldness of our Haitian brothers and sisters because, in turn, that would embolden us. Satan wouldn’t want that, now would he…

A close Clemson friend of mine recently told me of this God-given vision he received while sleeping one night: As he was dreaming, he suddenly saw this vision of an uncountable large gathering of people that were far beyond thousands of thousands. They were of all the different nationalities and from different walks of life. All of a sudden, their skins peeled and they were no longer recognizable by any form of identity. They weirdly became transformed into everyday construction tools from our local Home Depot (ex. hammers, measuring tapes, bevel squares, screwdrivers etc). They depicted how God was using each one of those immense number of believers for in collectively building his kingdom. Suddenly, all the tools went to work, building God’s kingdom in front of my friend!! He further described that it did not take long for all the clattering and noises to become overwhelmingly loud. All the action started causing his heart rate to abruptly increase and he literally started shaking and woke up from his dream.

Imagine the clatter we can make together as one team for our God and Savior. Imagine the encouragement and the inescapable reflection of God’s glory that would take place. Imagine us setting personal preference as secondary to the Gospel. #OneBody #OneSpirit #OneChurch #ILoveHashtags

A Letter to My Future Wife of 50 Years

First things first, let’s get this awkwardness out of the way. Sure, you’re roughly around 75 years old, which means that you are approximately 50 years older than I currently am. Yes, you are from the future and I, conversely, am sitting here in the abstract year of 2013. But regardless, I’m your husband still. Also, you are the true weird one for marrying me. What we you thinking Sweetheart? Did your parents not warn you about me? Oh well, fifty years have now past so you’re well coveted in this relationship…there is no turning back now.

I am writing this soliloquy right now simply because I do not know you. However, my Father in heaven very well knows you. I am clueless as to the specifics of your personality, your current spiritual walk, your race and ethnicity, financial status, physical attributes, your love language, hobbies, or whether you Screen shot 2013-10-28 at 11.31.09 PMlike sports or not … I know nothing. Fifty years from now, I presume that our children are grown and out of the house. We’ve retired and settled into a house somewhat in close proximity to our grandchildren (because we LOVE to spoil babies). I would also reluctantly suppose that at this point our marriage has lost that youthful vibrancy that it once had. Our knees may not be the same dancing knees that they once were. We’ve probably grown accustomed to our habitual tendencies to the point where there is not much room for surprises anymore. Justin Bieber’s grandson will lead the new generation of youth with their annoying futuristic boy-band music that will give us all headaches.

With all that said, there is no place I’d rather be than with you. You are God’s gift to me and you are such the blessing that I cannot currently fathom. You are obviously, after 50 years of marriage, very acquainted with my downfalls. My weaknesses. My shortcomings. I am sorry for the times I grew angry with you. Whenever my prideful ego flared up. Each time I was passive as a leader. Please forgive for the times I embarrassed you (there will be a plethora of those coming, ha). On the other hand, I thank you for loving me and staying with me. I praise God for the spiritual gifts and talents that he blessed you with to help lead our family. For the times you submitted with trust. Know that I pray for you now. Admittedly, I should pray much more – the Lord knows I should. Luckily there are older, Godly people in my life that pray for you consistently. As God continues to mold me into a Christ-like leader and cultivator, I pray that he is molding you as the crown jewel that you are. I am not saying you are The One (aka bad Disney movies). But since God chose us to be together, apparently you are the one that God wants for me, and vice versa.

Psalm 139: 13-16 shows that God knows all the days of our lives. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Isaiah 46:8-11 will even go further and proclaim that God purposefully directs the flights of a single bird; and the everyday travels of an individual person. There is also Acts 17:24-27, 16:7,14, Genesis 50:20, Philippians 1:6, Ephesians 1:3-6, Jeremiah 1:5 and many other verses will vividly depict that we move by the hand of God. Therefore God, in his eternal state, is simultaneously aware of me in 2013 AND of you when you read this letter post-2063. He sees our first date, first kiss, last date, and last kiss all at once. Mind-blowing huh? That’s our Father!! He is in charge of our marriage and loves us too much for it to be lackluster! My goodness I hope that we pray and read scripture together. That we forgive often. That joy externally overflows from our relationship for the good of everyone around us. I pray that we do not grow lukewarm in our faith and content with our futuristic gadgets and money. I pray that we are well involved in the church, in missions, and in discipleship — yearning for a deeper relationship with Christ. May we never forget the excitement that lies within the Gospel!

I hope that you are not insecure in your beauty at an elderly age. I will have wrinkles right alongside you. If my focus was on your youthful looks, then I’d be writing this letter to the 30-year-old version of yourself instead. But I’d rather write this to you as you are. It was always about you. Your spirit and soul. The things that are timeless. Plus, at age 30, you were such a pain in the butt. I still cannot believe that I put up with you. Please, let’s not have an argument over this right now. We may have just had the first argument over the space-time continuum. Good thing I won. Seriously, I hope to love further and deeper at 75 years of age than I did at 30 years of age.

By far, the only sad thing about this post is that God does not promise us 50 years of marriage (i.e. to live that long). He does not even promise us 5 years. Our lives are a brief and fragile morning fog that can vanish at any second. Fifty years together would solely be another grace-filled gift from God. However, if we both do not make it that far in age together, we’ll still have eternity to spend in heaven. It is there, that we can begin to dance again. There will be no more lackluster “Us”. For we will dine with our gigantic family of believers in spirited joy – with the presence of Jesus Christ our Lord shining in His full and radiant glory. That is our truest hope. Halleluiah.

I love you Girly. Fifty years of marriage … the best is yet to come.

Bye-Bye Christianity, Hello Atheism (Satire)

It has begun! I have considered my options and, well, decided that it is time to join the ranks of atheist team. #TeamAtheist. It was imminent since it just seems more practical and also makes me warm inside to believe that I control my fate and not some tyrannical being in the air. Albeit, it is true that I have physically experienced spiritual warfare, seen numerous extraordinary answered prayers, been an eyewitness to an injured foot being miraculously healed, and heard of many other stories that confirm there is a true God…I just really believe that I know more “real” knowledge and will not subject myself to silly myths anymore.

Now I can already sense what you Christians are getting all riled up. Just calm down, you can join me on this adventurous bandwagon of Real Truth. There is room. I’ll do us all a favor and give you point-by- point reasons to why atheism is better than your mythical faith. I will address it as if I am being debated by a Christian with a few of their best reasons that prove Christianity is real, and I’ll combat it with my wit and intelligence. Because even though God is forever in age, I still know a thing or two in my own youth. I have a college degree and the Internet at my disposal.

  • Christian apologists would say: There are 66 books of the Bible, written over a 1500 year span, with 40 different authors (each with wildly different personalities and social statuses, but wrote with exact unity), and 2300 archeological digs (not one refuting the Bible).

-I will answer to you that you are correct. But there is an American scholar who claims to have recently found ancient evidence that proves that Jesus was made up. I’ll admit that he’s probably very biased and, to the contrary, has likely found nothing to negate 2000 years of your historical evidence. However, he gives me hope. #TeamAtheist

  • Christian apologists would say: There are 6000 manuscripts written in the days of Jesus and the early church by random everyday people at the time. We can recreate over 90% of the Bible with those manuscripts alone. There are only 12 ancient manuscripts of Julius Caesar, 10 for Aristotle, and 0 for Socrates. Would you not believe in the latter three either?

-I will answer: Of course I believe Caesar, Socrates, and Aristotle were real people. I’d be foolish to believe otherwise. Still I do not believe Jesus was real. I need more proof.

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  • Christian apologists would say: So you believe that we came from literally nothing? A dot? In order to create we need time, space, and matter. All three have to commend to existence at the same instance. None of those three entities can create themselves. They need an outside force to do so. How did they come into existence?

-I do not know. But cosmic evolution is still possible. We just need further technological advances to get there. #Atheist4Life

  • Christian apologists would say: A star explodes in the galaxy about every 30 years. This occurrence is called a “Super-Nova” and can be spotted afterwards. If the earth is millions of years old, why are there less than 300 Super-Novas found in all the galaxies? Should there not be millions of them around, over time, with your atheistic theory?

-Hmm touche, touché.

  • Christian apologists would say: What about the numerous amounts of former intellectually staunch atheists and historians who eventually converted to Christianity during their studies? Do you not think that God wooed them to Himself by allowing them to see truth?

-Ahh, you see those ex-skeptics were weak. C.S. Lewis was weak. I am much more competitive and will not allow myself to fall into the subversive hands of Christianity. I will train myself to have a closed mind and, in turn, eventually work my way up to allow a hardening of my mind to any concept of faith. The wonderful part of that is that as I further train myself, the more biased truth I will psychologically believe. It will get to the point that I will fully believe in any atheistic principal or finding regardless of any evidential merit.

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Ok, if you have not guessed it yet, this is all satire. However, I have much more on my chest that has to be released to the atheist community.

I am constantly fearful of you all. This particular blog post is infinitely miniscule to the amount of information out there that points to the validity of scripture and of a triune God. On the other hand, there is also information out there that can lead you to believe the contrary. How else would the “hardening of the heart” be achieved, as in Romans 1:28 and Exodus 9:12. How else would Satan and his powers of darkness put in their two cents to skew the legitimacy of the Gospel, as foretold in Ephesians 6:12 and Revelation 12:9. Be careful intelligent ones. Lawyers, doctors, businesswoman, professors… lest you begin to believe in your own finite abilities. Be careful liberal youth, artists and freethinkers… lest you slip into a culture that deems God as controlling and fake. Our society heightens the beliefs of the 17th century Age of the Enlightenment past its initial purposes. We love ourselves so much that we become territorial animals against anything that will rail against that love for ourselves (i.e. God). Many times I get headaches with the weak arguments brought up by atheists. NONE of which a strong enough to ever stomp Christianity. It takes more faith to believe what you believe.

You can never know it all because mystery is a prerequisite for faith; and without faith it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11. There will never be enough false information created or debates that will eliminate our faith. Christianity is booming in China, Africa, Korea, etc. Do not be deceived by what you may see in your few seconds here on earth, or on your small radii of where you live. There are things at hand of which you cannot see. God’s kingdom will steadily build. Proof of his reality will steadily be seen (Romans 1:20). Luckily for us all, God in his infinitely loving grace is welcoming you and I to join Him. He loved us enough to die – even for those that do not believe. If you have a tingling desire of that invitation, then seek it out. Seek the truth. It is eternally worth it.