A Man, Drugs, & Penn State Revivals

[The following is a true story based on events that occurred at Penn State during their Christian Revivals of 1980-1983. If you don’t believe me, look the revival up. This story was once told to me from the person who experienced it.]

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Yesterday was cocaine. Today is weed. Just an ordinary Spring day at Penn State when Mark and his friends would skip class to get high. They sat around the sofa stoned, laughing hysterically at the stories they’d tell of their latest escapades. Freshman year was a blast and sophomore year for Mark and his friends was a breeze.

One by one the guys left Mark’s dorm room as they wrapped things up. Mark remained on the sofa –  his eyes glazed, shoulders slumped, his head barely upright on his body. Somehow the drugs hadn’t reflected in his college grades. Mark was a decent engineering student to the point where it would be impossible to guess what was going on behind closed doors – or so you would expect. The year is 1981 and drugs are a normal recurrence with many students on campus. Buying a bag of marijuana was almost easier than buying box of pencils.

As Mark’s high eventually began to calm down, he realized that he’d soon have a choice to make. Up to this point Mark had done (and enjoyed) practically every drug except heroine. His friend Ashley was able to buy some heroine earlier that day and they planned on doing it together. They say, as Mark thought to himself, “Once you start heroine there is no going back.”  Nevertheless, he settled on joining her that evening. Since Mark could handle all the other drugs he concluded that he could handle heroine just fine.

Just before evening time there was a knock on his door. As he opened it he barely recognized who it was, but he’d seen them around campus before. They were two preppy-looking Freshmen guys inviting him out to a Christian gathering for later that evening. They added that there would be food and the opportunity to meet some new people as well.

[The odd thing about this occurrence was the rarity that someone would even come to Mark’s door about this. Percentage-wise, Christianity was not a big thing at Penn State at the time.]

Mark, extremely reluctant because he didn’t know much about religion, heard his conscious urge him to go so that he could get out of his heroine date later. After little debate, Mark decided to take a chance and go to the Christian gathering instead.

At the Christian event that very night, Jesus saved Mark and he began to believe.

In the days following, Mark went cold-turkey from all his drugs. He would still hang out with his normal crew of friends and just not partake in the usage. His friends didn’t mind. Sure, they thought it was strange, but it just meant more enjoyment for them.

When Mark wasn’t in class or hanging with his old friends, Mark now spent all his time swimming in the scriptures and going to the Christian events of that small campus ministry.

After about a month of being saved Mark and his two closest old friends took a weekend camping trip. That night his two friends pulled out some Crystal meth to use. They begged and pleaded Mark to join them. Mark initially refrained.

They reasoned with Mark, “Come on man, just this once like old times. It’s not fun if you don’t join us. You’ve gone a month without a high anyways.”

Mark eventually gave in. The three of them got started and immediately the high kicked in for each of them. Mark could feel the familiarity from the high that he used to feel, but something was different this time. It was as if his heart wasn’t for it. He began to feel his face melting, which is a typical reaction to meth. Mark glanced over at the flames from the fire pit and heard a distinct high-pitched, demonic laugh come out from the fire.

[To this day Mark believes that was Satan’s demons laughing at him as they realized they’d gotten one of God’s chosen to slip.]

Without delay Mark fell to his knees after hearing the demonic laugh. He began to cry out loud to God that he was sorry. All the while his friends stood enjoying their own highs. Mark cried continually asking that Jesus take away the high. After repeatedly praying aloud for healing…. suddenly…. the impossible happened…. Mark’s high vanished. Not only that, but Mark’s friends had their high abruptly taken away as well.

[You see, a Crystal meth high doesn’t just abruptly end after a few minutes. A Crystal meth high literally lasts anywhere between 8 to 24 hours and has a gradual decline of its effects.]

Knowing this from their past experience, Mark’s friends freaked out. They frantically asked Mark what just happened. Before Mark could respond his friends tearfully got on their knees and asked Mark to tell them about this Jesus he’d been following the past month. This same Jesus who Mark just prayed to who impossibly took away their high. What a miracle, what a God. Mark’s friends got saved and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord that night.

What happened the rest of the school year at Penn State was nothing short of a miracle. revivalMany other of Mark’s drug friends also became believers. There began to be a Christian revival on campus that year and subsequent years. Numerous campus ministries formed and each experienced drastic growth in numbers.

But for Mark, how long did it last? Was it just a little phase or spiritual high that Mark went through?

There are other spiritual stories to tell of Mark and his obedience to Christ. However, I’ll end with this: Today, Mark is pressing harder than ever into Christ as he wrestles for more faith as his wife of many years is now struggling with ALS. Both having a life lived well for the Lord, are now living life well through suffering. But still, the fight goes on. “It is the worst time and it is also the best time,” Mark says encouragingly.

Mark and his wife were asked, “If you knew what your life would hold, would you still choose it?”

Their reply – a resounding ‘Yes’.

Oh to have such remarkable faith.  The angels rejoice over Mark and his wife. For all eternity, we will celebrate.

“I’m a pilgrim passing through. We’re just passing through on this journey. I’m blessed that I’ve had such a wonderful wife all these years. Whatever God gives us today will be wonderful. So what about the dreams we had, heaven is so much better. It is said that it is better than anything I can hope for or imagine. And I have a pretty good imagination.” – Mark

Till We Have Love

This is my complaint:

Every beautiful strength has a hideous weakness. My brother, Mufasa, is truly a trendsetter of that adage.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my brother. I have always wanted the best for him. However, the kingdom of the Pride Lands was turning into a nation bound for doom due to his weak incompetence. That said, I refused to call him King Mufasa as the rest of the nation does. I love him far more than any political title can represent.

My name is Scar; the younger sibling to Mufasa and frequently seen as the Ghost of Christmas Past in his shadow. Mufasa was always the “good” one in the eyes of others. He foolishly relied on his Faith. Even through it all, I was never jealous of Mufasa – to the contrary I loved him but simply disagreed with his ways of doing things.

Mufasa and I were inseparable growing up. Mother used to say that we counted on one another from birth. There has always been a joy-filled pride in me when it comes to my brother. I looked up to him. He was the fastest in the pack, he had the 2nd best looking mane (second to myself of course), and his leadership presence was quite satiable. Rafiki, who serves as shaman of the Pride Lands, spoke of Mufasa as, “Having a temperament rivaled only by the angels.”  But a boring temperament if you ask me. He’d always waste many hours a day staring at the distant mountain gorge. Foolish.

We had plans to rule Pride Rock together, but the political tradition of our nation put my brother as the sole heir to the throne. Before his crowning, I pleaded with him three times to instead fight with me so that we could rule together. This was for the good of him, me, and the kingdom itself. I failed miserably in my attempts.

Things worsened when his son was born. Whatever piece of intimacy our relationship had left was forfeited over to his investment in Simba, the next heir to the throne. That was the real day I lost my brother – not today.  I love Simba, but Mufasa needed a brother in arms not a little kid in waiting. See, Mufasa cannot sustain this nation without me. We are best when we have each other which, in turn, benefits society.

Therefore, I am writing this letter to you, Lord, with my fist raised. My complaint comes against you. Even though I have done nothing but serve and honor my family their entire life, they have given nothing in return but pain, grief, and destruction toward me. Even more scary is that it can affect the Pride Lands. You are a cruel God who must be blind to the needs of this world. I recognize that I am powerless before you, but if there is one thing I can do against you, it is to make my complaint known by speaking it to the nation.  

Before Mufasa fell to his death, I tried once more to reason with him. The plan was not for
him to die. To the contrary, you know that it was simply scarto scare him into submission. No one is at grief more than I. It was the hardest decision of my life. Even then you could have saved him but you failed.  What do you have to say for yourself?  You have no answer.


Dear Scar,

my name is Leo. I am a head angel in Heaven writing this letter to you on behalf of our Father God, our Savior Jesus, and The Holy Spirit.

We have heard your complaint in Heaven and watched your life long before receiving your letter. The Father watched your life even before there was a second of it. You are worse than you think you are, but you are more loved than you can ever imagine you are. There are many things that you will not understand, but I will try:

In one way or another everyone on earth is just like you. You are the bitter cynic who cannot possibly understand the love between God and his creation. None of you understand. Your perspective of the very love that you claim to have for your brother is infected by your fallen heart. We know you loved your brother. No one “on Earth” loved Mufasa as much as you loved him. You loved him overbearingly so.

The feeling that you call love has ended in the death of your only brother and the estrangement of your nephew. And now you put God on the judgement seat?

Mufasa used to wake up in the mornings and stare at nature. He’d think to himself, “The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing – to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from – the place where I ought to have been born.” Do you think it all meant nothing, all that longing

What do you long for, Scar?

The Mountain that Mufasa longed for was The Kingdom of God. The Mountain you long for is one of yourself. Without the Divine Love which comes from God, any other love become corrupted. Any other type of love turns in on itself and becomes narcissistic. For example, without the presence of selfless divine love, the beautiful gift of erotic love becomes lust-based and power-based. This is when so marriages break down. fourLoves

The “joy-filled pride” for your brother turned in idolatry. It grew to the point of wanting him to be at a height of perfection that is unachievable on earth. Mufasa was always destined to be crippled in your eyes, no matter what philosophy he followed or action he implemented. Your love of the Pride Lands and every living creature in it drove your fear into manipulation and control.

Instead of following the God that Mufasa follows, you created your own version of God that only saw life how you see it. You have a wicked heart. The nature of sin isn’t always the obvious bad thing. Sin can also be the internal twisting of good things by the heart. You would rather kill your brother than have him attain joy apart from you.


Dear beloved Leo,

Had I known before how the Angels watch earth, I would’ve shuttered at the very thought of an audience to my humiliation. I now see that it was not they who treated me so wrongly, but me who treated others wrongly. I am my worst enemy – Not anyone else and certainly not God.

All my life I doubted the validity of the love which comes from Faith. For now all I can tell, the only difference [between our love and God’s love] is that what many on earth “feel” we call a real thing, and what only one feels we call a myth. But things that many feel may have no taste or moment in them at all, and things that are felt only to one may be waterspouts of truth from the very depth of Truth.

Now I see well why God did not speak to me and used you instead. Till the true understanding of love can be dug out of us, why should He listen to the babble that we think we mean? How can He talk to me about love till he gives me His love?

God is the answer to my question. In front of His love, all questions die away. What other answer would suffice?

Don’t Cry For Me

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I am a dead man. Eventually, that is. If you’re very familiar with my blog, you’ll know that the book of Ecclesiastes is my favorite in the Bible. In his old age, King Solomon becomes the grandfather that I never had. One of my grandfathers died before I was born. The other died when I was young. Therefore, Solomon has become both my spirit animal and quasi-granddaddy.

Some of my favorite moments of Solomon’s wisdom writing are his uses of paradoxes. As when he says verses such as:

“The day of death is better than the day of birth”

“You learn more at a funeral than at a feast”

“Sorrow is better than laughter”

“A sad face is good for the heart”

(Verses above from Chapter 7:1-4).

Just those verses alone are enough to make you think King Solomon was in a loony bin. Who in their right mind would say, “Oh yeah, dying is way better than being born!”

However, looking deeper we will see that Solomon is saying that it is beneficial to look at our own lives and be introspective by paying attention with where we stand with God and with our life. He is saying that it gets tougher to do so when you’re laughing at a party or stuffing your face with a delicious food. Solomon, who loves to host parties with thousands of people and eat giant feasts (1 Kings 4), is claiming that in those joyous times….no one at that moment thinks deeply about their life. He and us are too busy laughing and having a good time. King Solomon is saying that times of sorrow are better because they make you think. They will slow you down and sometimes being slowed down in such a fast-paced world is a good thing. A funeral makes you realize that your day is coming sooner than you realize.

I have been to about 12 weddings in the past 3 years and I never had a moment when I thought about the deep parts of my soul. It is at the funerals where I stopped and became honest with myself. See I could be wrong, but people don’t usually question life during a Super Bowl party. On the other hand, anytime there is a terrorist bombing or natural disaster, people then realize how precious their time on earth is. It is in the deserts when we realize we need God. Maybe Solomon and the Word know a little something.

As Matt Chandler put it, “birth” is about the potential of what can be done. For the Christian, “death” is about the fulfillment of ALL that Christ had planned for us here on earth. It is finished and now it is finally time for the Promised Land.

But wouldn’t I be upset if I died so young? What about getting married with a family and kids? Wouldn’t I be sad to miss Kobe Bryant make an NBA comeback at the age of 42? Don’t I want to one day see N’Sync perform their 30-year reunion tour? Well yes, I would absolutely love to experience all of that. Still, when compared to the glory of Christ, none of that matters. Any other elevated view is idolatry.

By faith, if I were to suddenly die today, no worries. I have had a life lived well. The opportunity of life given to me was a glorious gift in itself. But on top of that, let’s forget about focusing on what we didn’t get to do. How about what we DID get to do?! Here is a snippet of an ongoing list I have that, if I died, can be read at my funeral. Anytime something stirs my soul I try to add something to it. Especially the little things.

So if I die, don’t cry for me.

Don’t cry for me:

– I have laughed until my abs started hurting and I started crying.

– I have already made my family proud.

– I have eaten enough potato chips to feed a small country. Seriously.

– My eldest nephew has cried every time I’ve left his house. So he’s cried for me enough. He has taught me unconditional love better than anyone else in this world. And for that lesson, I owe him more than I can ever repay.

– I have seen people worship the Lord and get saved.

– I have seen someone get prayed over and healed before my very eyes.

– I have been in fist fights and won.

– I have been in fist fights and lost. And learned from them.

– I have watched some beautiful YouTube videos and cried my eyes out with joy.

– I once took a 4th of July vacation to Selma, AL that was more fun than my 4th of July vacation to New York City.

– I got over my fear of dogs….just to impress a girl. But I got over the fear, nonetheless.

– I have been dancing a few times until my legs went numb. And I danced some more.

– I have made friends that I can call family.

– I have been to Vegas and won $128 on the first night.

– I watched the Notebook movie over 60 times.

– I have won a sports championship. Softball. Twice baby!

– I have traveled.

– My mom and dad have become more than just my parents.

– Twice, I have been loudly cheered for onstage in front of hundreds of people for poetry.

– I have been booed offstage in front of hundreds of people doing poetry. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not even getting cheered again.

– I have seen all the Harry Potter movies.

– I have intellectually debated atheists for the faith and not backed down.

– I have discipled and seen.

– I have read a good book.

– I have been to some extremely hippie towns and had a great time.

– I have been involved in 11 car accidents and lived.

– I have witnessed people truly love on one another.

-Some of my favorite memories were playing baseball for hours in the back yard with my brothers.

– I have played soccer in the front yard for hours with my little nephews. Or at least, the odd variation of the game they call soccer.

– I have had times of doing absolutely nothing during hangouts with friends and had a blast.

-I did a summer internship in Vicksburg, MS and….well actually you can cry for me about that. Good gosh that was a very boring time!

– I spent some amazing summers at Clemson University.

– Don’t cry for me…Jesus Christ saved me. I am dining with Him now.

– Don’t cry for me….I am home sweet home.

 

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Wormwood Letters: Death of The Next Christian Age

The group of young demons all raced through the door and into the room just in time to be considered early for the meeting.  One of the demons, who happened to be quite large in size, jetted over to claim dibs on the chair at the round table which would be closest to the Dean. An argument arose among them at which one of them was the greatest demon.

At that moment, Dean Wormwood walked in the room. Overhearing the argument, Wormwood interrupts, “Whoever is greatest among you will prove it by the work he has accomplished. Those who have ears let them hear.” Wormwood happens to point to the largest of the demons, awarding him the seat for now.

“Arise, for the pledge.” proclaimed Wormwood, without a hint of emotion.

They each arose, chanting in unison:  “Remember remember remember, our main business is to blind the mind of humans. To kept them from seeing the light of the Gospel of the glory of The Enemy Jesus Christ who is the image of his Father and gifts The Spirit. Until the end, Praise be to Satan!”

Everyone sat back down at the table as only Wormwood was left standing. Wormwood stood with a glaring pose as he waited to make sure he had everyone’s attention. He knew that newly graduated demons were of the most inattentive. Their inexperience in the real world could decrease the effectiveness of Hell and Wormwood was going to be sure to flush out all their ignorance before they officially went into the human world.

[Dean Wormwood begins his speech]

“Congratulations on graduating from your studies in demonism. You are about to embark on your own journey. Each of you will be assigned a certain amount of humans to tamper amongst. I am here to tell you of my journey at a young demon because of my great achievements on the mission field. There is great excitement in our realms about the next generation of Christians coming about. That is, those born during the technological and social media age.  The elder demons worked hard to negatively affect Christian thought throughout  history in different ways. We hope that you will as well. It is the human flesh which neglects The Enemy God.  And we can sharpen this effect.

It has always been our goal to skew the definition of fundamental elements within Christianity and, subsequently, hinder the Christian life. I began my mission field with a team of demons in the 1700s. I convinced the humans to call it The Age of Enlightenment. This was one of our greatest victories to date! Sadly, the Enemy Jesus was still able to muster out good things in that time period which benefited His Kingdom. However, our first great victory was that for the first time in history we were able to shift the macro-cultural human focus away from the Enemy God and toward individualism. The structure of entire nations and governments adopted this principle which directly went against that disgusting, ghastly Word. The Bible.

With that heightened inward focus, humans then relied heavily on their own reasoning and rationale. They became stuck in a prison of scientific materialism. Thus, the second victory was the crushing of their sense of imagination. You see, if a young child can believe in the FALSE MYTH of Santa Claus…it becomes easier for an adult to believe in the TRUE MYTH of the Enemy Jesus. We had them believe that wisdom and innocence were contradictory – erasing the childlike faith they needed to get to the Enemy, God the Father.

 

By the late 1800s, we skewed their meaning of love. It changed to the negative ideal of Unselfishness – that they could only display love for others by going without it themselves. Self-denial, as an end in itself. This took away from their idea of reward and Heaven. Quite contrary to what the Enemy Jesus actually taught. The following generation of the 1900s did not want to be like their stern parents and grandparents, so they became a generation of inclusiveness. All people should feel love. All people should be saved. Hence, Universalism.

As far as this current generation, our victories thus far are in weakening the human view on relationships and depth of worship. The internet was a great instrument for us. It gave us small victories of pornography, which aided in sex trafficking and sexual abuse. Small victories in my opinion, but victories nonetheless. The true victory is in confusing their sense of relationship which crushes their depth of Christian unity and derails their ability to understand how a relationship with the Enemy Jesus truly works. They cannot speak to the Enemy God if they do not know how to communicate with the Enemy God.

 

The plans for the upcoming generation are deadly to the very identity of the Christian faith. Humans born in the late 1990s ONLY know a life of social media. ONLY know a life of elevated political correctness. In turn … their way of thinking, processing, analyzing, and views on time will be extremely different from each generation before them. We must take advantage of this opportunity that we have been slowly creating.

Our hope is that their cultural norm of understanding particular principals – eternity, Christian accountability, memorization, views of family, sex, and reproof – will weaken.  More than any generation prior, this plan will take away from the Christian identity because the Enemy Jesus uses the pictures and stories of each of those principals in displaying His Truth.

Eventually, Christianity will have a bad connotation to it. And no human, believer or unbeliever, wants to be called bad. Being called weird is ok, but bad is unattractive. The Enemy Jesus wrote the scriptures for reproof. If reproof becomes a bad thing then the scriptures become bad – making the Enemy Jesus bad. A Christian will have to say they are not a Christian, because, otherwise, they are bad. Therefore, that desired Christian identity will fade away in humans. And a human without an identity is forever lost. Little would they realize that the Enemy Jesus did not go into the world to make bad people good. Rather he went into the world to make dead people live.

 

Wormwood then paused and slowly turned his head to the left. There was a picture of Satan on the wall. It partially covered a medium-sized crack that ran from the floor up to the roof. The young demons watched as Wormwood steadily walked over to the crack and delicately ran his palm over it.

“However,” begin Wormwood in a sudden, defeated voice, “the Enemy Jesus knows our plan and somehow has always seemed to be many steps ahead of us. Just look at the Cross and the Resurrection. Never never never forget that the Enemy Jesus has already won. The Enemy creates life where we constantly claim death … But that does not mean we cannot still try.  Class dismissed.”

4 Reasons To Take Spiritual Breaks From Facebook

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 7.48.55 PMIt was only a two-month hiatus from Facebook. The plan was to take a break and relax at the [metaphorical] beach. I would sip on pina coladas while my mind was cleared from all the cutter Facebook brings. Everything was fine the first week. Soon enough, to my shock, I began to notice that I was not quite at the beach, as I presumed. I then realized that the beach and pina coladas were a mirage. And so, for the next 8 weeks, it turned out that God had me in a dry desert so that he could wrestle with me about some deep things in my life that I had not noticed beforehand.

Sure, God could have told me what he wanted without leading me off Facebook and into a lonely desert. Still, sometimes the volume of distraction is too loud for us to hear Him. Sometimes we need silence. Sometimes we need to be led out into a dry season. No one enjoys the desert, and rightly so. There are times in the desert when all you hear is your own darkness, Satan’s calling, or worse…nothing at all. However, it is in those places that God can work on us and mold us into better soil. God did a good work on me in the desert. I did not enjoy it for a second, ha. But I was humbled and it was good.

In that time of silence He also allowed me to take a step back so that my eyes would be a little further opened into the subtle nuance of toxicity that Facebook and social media carry. Funny, because we almost need it just to survive in the modern world. But remember, Satan is always at work accomplishing his goals. Through both small and large means:

1) Facebook Can Give You an “I am God” Complex

Since society can date back, three components have had the largest impact on connecting and shrinking the world: Communication, Travel, and Technology. There is much good that streams from these three avenues. Facebook, although while yielding similar positive outcomes, gives us so much knowledge of others and a more holistic view of our surroundings that it makes us feel “bigger” than we are. Facebook gives us a false sense of omniscience and omnipresence.

This directly clashes with what we’ve known historically and even today. Our bodies, the natural world, and the Bible have constantly shown us how small and finite we truly are. All the while Facebook puts everything at our fingertips. I can find out where the grandparents of my friends live and who my old high school girlfriend is dating now. What was defined as stalking 25 years ago is now a regular stint on a cell phone app. We can find out almost anything about anyone anywhere. Do you not think this sense of power has crept into our spirit or Spirit? It is hard to worship God when you have an elevated opinion of yourself. Humility is steadily becoming a foreign concept. Soon we’ll have to visit museums just to see it.

Our confidence should be in the Lord not in ourselves (Hebrews 4:16, Psalm 44:6).

2) Facebook Gives a False Sense of Meaning

The human heart always searches for fullness and meaning. It’s a natural progression that we continually strive for no matter the obstacle. Even someone who commits suicide is looking for fullness because they believe that there is a state they can be in that is better than their current state. We search for fullness everywhere but can never seem to achieve that satisfaction so we always go on to the next best thing in line.

You can try to find fullness in something or someone, but it will ultimately fail you. Luckily most of the time there will eventually be clear evidence of this case.

The deadly thing about Facebook is that its failure to satisfy is extremely unclear. Facebook has an infinite amount of sectors to possibly make us happy for a while. With so many options we’ll continually go from page to page, video to video, event to event looking for the “next thing”. The scary realization is that we can literally go on and on surfing through Facebook without ever hitting a dead-end. “Hmm, ok I didn’t reach 100+ Facebook likes with that picture, lets try another one that I’ll post at this particular time when most people are active.” We believe that if we could get a few more likes then what doesn’t satisfy us will finally satisfy us. Weird.

We have become a society who, instead of viewing meaning outwardly, has turned into finding meaning within ourselves and our own abilities and what we achieved and in doing so we have slowly forgotten that we do not stand as Ultimate.

This ends in weakening our view of friendship and love. There is a serious lack of depth and root. Thus our framework of how God carries out His love for us and how our relationship with Him should look is weakened as well.

3) Facebook Draws An Aroma of Negativity

From political posts to social posts … Darkness lingers via different sources. It is tiring and exhausting to see debates and arguments carried out online. With an increase in societal issues and political shifts, we are constantly bombarded with hot topics that many people who suddenly think they have PhD’s on the matter feel the need to comment on. Your Facebook feed sadly becomes a wall of illogical reasoning that is filled with emotional bias and slander.

From jealous whispers to pictures of superficiality … On a daily basis we are called into a world of discontentment. Social media has traces of a popularity contest which ostracizes and cause depression. Comparison robs us of joy. That negativity can build if we do not take a break and treat those thoughts. Otherwise we can end up in an emotional prison robbed of purity.

4) Worst of All, Facebook Can Hinder God From Speaking to You.

47% of all Internet users are solely on Facebook. Entertainment is one of Satan’s favorite substitutes for joy. With quietness and alone time God is better able to speak to you. It is not a simple a + b = c equation just to get God on your personal Snapchat. But if we put ourselves under the umbrella of His presence and His Word then it allows us the opportunity to truly hear from Him. Facebook is a loud tool that has the ability to keep the volume on high if we allow it the power. It is not hard for Satan, once he grabs a foothold, to keep that volume increasing until you quirt God altogether.

We all have struggles, fears, addictions, pride, idolatry, doubts, depression and stress; we are all broken … but we need quality time with God for Him to be able to clean some of that “junk” out. As an old pastor once said, “Many people want to be good but no one wants to be holy. The holy live in eternity… all others live in time.”

Let us be watchful. Some of you may not even relate to the desert. Some of you relate and have been in the desert for months. Some for years. John the Baptist was in a lonely desert for 20 years with God, then preached from 6 months, and Jesus called him the greatest man to ever live! This concept of Facebook is very easy to miss. I had to learn the hard way until God shook me. I speak as a dying person speaking to other dying people. There is a partial element to Facebook that is a silent, life-sucking toxic environment that will trap you in boredom and, in turn, limit the potential that God desires you to have. Let us be watchful.

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Hebrews 12:1b – Let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

Abortion, Cancer, and Netflix Marathons

With arthritis-ridden knees and a cancer-stricken body, the older gentleman laid there in his hospital bed. Being in his last stage of life, Brian’s body was barely functional and his lowly speech was almost undetectable. Neither was his vision as clear as it once had been. Nevertheless, through all the chemotherapy he was blessed to still have a sharp brain in his last few days of life. This came in handy, as the only two things he had left in his life were his relationship with Christ and family.

Brian’s granddaughter, Alex, walks into the hospital room. They say it is not right to have “favorites” amongst family members – however, the old man adored Alex. Not only was she his favorite but she also was following in his footsteps by attending his college Alma mater, Clemson University. She was entering into her junior year majoring in history and sociology. She’d visit him regularly during his early stages of cancer. A hint of jealousy would sometimes flow through his veins as he noticed the energetically familiar gleam in his granddaughter’s eyes as he listened to her tell stories of her adventures in Clemson.

Today is different. She is different. Brian noticed, through his blurry vision, an unfamiliar facial expression on Alex’s face as she walked in. Her footsteps slow and purposeful. Her posture tense. She avoided eye contact. “Oh gosh, this can’t be good” Brian joked aloud in a whisper, attempting to put a smile on Alex’s face.

“Morning, Grandpa,” Alex began, “you’re probably wondering why I haven’t visited you in a while. I’ve been wanting to ask you something about your past.”

Those words naturally developed nervousness in the elderly gentleman. He immediately began thinking of every wrong he may have done in the past. “Go ahead Sweetheart,” Brian managed to reply in a soft voice.

Alex continued, “As I’ve gotten deeper into history courses I’ve noticed some things that worry me. We’ve studied the horrific atrocities of the Holocaust and how people stood around and did nothing. We’ve studied the amazing neglect of the treatment of blacks before and during the Civil Rights Movement. In your time, abortion was a hot, problematic issue. It was a brutal, disgusting ordeal. The sophistication of science grew during your time to undoubtedly prove that you were taking lives.”

Alex paused for a few seconds in order to regain emotional composure. She glanced away, nervously avoiding eye contact, and then continued, “The death toll of Joseph Stalin’s regime was 40 million. Hitler’s was 30 million. From 1973-2015 alone, America murdered 56 million babies. What on earth were you all thinking and what did you do to try to stop it?”

Silence ensued. Memories of Netflix marathons, Super Bowl parties, YouTube videos, innumerable hours at the gym, and girls flooded the old man’s mind as the remembered the things he focused on during that time period.

He sluggishly responded, “But … back then … science was cloudy on that topic. With limited technology anyone was able to back either side with science. “ Brian hoped that answer would be sufficient and she’d move on.

“What about the fact that the Bible already gave you the truth?” Asked Alex.

“Sweetheart…” the old man pleaded; as to again insinuate the desire for a topic change.

Noticeably unsatisfied with that response, Alex leaned further into his bedside. She looked into Brian’s eyes as if she was begging to hear something more satisfactory. “Grandpa, please tell me I’m wrong. See, it seems that you and America were just as apathetic and indifferent on abortion as Hitler was with the killing of Jews. As if you were killing babies and loving it. What is worse is that the babies had no chance of even defending themselves. Did you at least stay up at night worrying about the large number of children that died in the womb that day? Most of the abortions had nothing to do with difficult circumstances but rather a means of convenience.”

Finally calming down, Alex’s speaking pace slowed, “Sorry … for randomly throwing all this at you. It’s just frustrating … to know all the horrendous things that happened during your time, namely to unborn children, and knowing that you were there. That you claimed to love Jesus. To love people. But you sat idle, as millions upon millions of helpless lives were loss. It is embarrassing to know that my grandfather was a part of that generation and did not stand up for the murder of babies.”

Vexed with shame, the old man laid still in his bed. The pain of his granddaughter’s disgust outweighed the physical pain of his cancer. Expectantly, his heart could take no more. His heartbeat grew uncontrollably fast into a cardiac arrest. Alex yelled for a doctor. Tears feared her eyes.

“I’m sorry Grandpa!” she exclaimed.

“No. No. No, I’m sorry … Alex” he exhaled – his final breath.

Suddenly, Brian awoke from his deep sleep. He was young again, sitting on the couch with his laptop in his lap. He realized it was all a dream. He glanced at his laptop to see an internet article on abortion. Presumably, he concluded that the article must have put that nightmarish dream in his mind when he read it before his nap.

Brian turns on the television. “Ha, weird dream there”, he thinks to himself. “At least I got a good nap out of it.” He opens Netflix. “Now it’s time to continue Season 5 of Friends. Ross just found out that Chandler and Monica are dating now!”

 The hand of an 8-week old. Aborted after 8 weeks.