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An Open Letter To My Sons

An Open Letter To My Sons

JUST OVER EIGHT YEARS AGO, AN X-RAY TECHNICIAN POINTED TO THE LARGE SHADOW THAT I THOUGHT WAS MY HEART. The softball-size mass was wrapped around my superior vena cava, choking off the flow of blood and oxygen throughout my body. My entire left arm and hand was 20%...
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An Open Letter To My Sons

An Open Letter To My Sons

JUST OVER EIGHT YEARS AGO, AN X-RAY TECHNICIAN POINTED TO THE LARGE SHADOW THAT I THOUGHT WAS MY HEART. The softball-size mass was wrapped around my superior vena cava, choking off the flow of blood and oxygen throughout my body. My entire left arm and hand was 20% larger, spongy, and pale-blue, thanks to a blood clot caused by the cancer. The thought of saying good-bye to you as your lives were just beginning was brutal, with a force more ferocious than a tsunami. Boys, the past eight years have been the best I’ve had – because they are bonus time. They have allowed me the beautiful privilege of seeing you grow, not merely in age but also in character. There is no greater gift!

KEEP CALM AND WALK WITH JESUS

Boys, the world has gone crazy – but you must keep your heads. It’s filled with people more concerned about themselves and their agendas than they are with one another – and certainly more than they are of God – and it’s undoing our society. You must not be like everyone else, because the great majority of people are missing what life is really about. You must not follow the crowd. You must ensure you’re living in such a way that the crowd looks to, and follows, you. Make sure you don’t get this backwards.

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold . . .”

If you’re not careful, this world will undo you. It will confuse you about manhood, twist the truth about God, and deceive you into believing that happiness comes from things rather than loving God with every atom of your anatomy. You must be constantly be on the alert, because life left on auto pilot will have you looking, acting, and feeling just like the crowd. Sons, the crowd is wrong — and it is getting larger. But do not be afraid.

Jesus said, “‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’” (John 16:33). If you walk with God, nothing can overtake you. 

Jesus, in speaking of the world condition prior to His return, said, “’Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold’” (Matthew 24:12). In other words, boys, God is calling you to be among His minority in a world where the majority is marching in the wrong direction. But they aren’t just marching; they are celebrating. This, my sons, is tragic – but you must keep your heads.

 

BIGGER THAN YOU

If God spared my life for a purpose, He did not do it so I could preach, teach and write for the world, but for you, my handsome sons. My one goal in life is to help you excel in your love and enjoyment of God. My prayer and passion is that you love Him more than I do, and to love people as the expression of that love — as you keep yourself from becoming like the majority.

The more you allow God to fill you up, the more you will realize how unsatisfying everything else is.”

It’s a delicate balance, loving God and people. To succeed, you must be intentional. It will not develop on its own. There are a million and one things in this world that will seek to deter you from this, the real purpose of your life — but you must resist them. You must be diligent in protecting and cultivating yourselves into men whose hearts are fixed on God and heaven-bent on helping others be the same.

Boys, I’m here for a purpose and that purpose is far bigger than my life and well-being. You must understand that the same is true for you. Do not let this world press you into its pattern. Run hard after God and you will find that the things that would otherwise distract you from life’s greatest pursuit will have little, if any, attraction. The more you allow God to fill you up, the more you will realize your fullest potential. That, my sons, has value — forever.

My precious sons, I’m here for you, at least for a little while longer. As long as I have the precious privilege of pouring into you, I will live the purpose of my life, which is to help you truly live yours.


Michael Anthony Blog - Godfactor.comABOUT ME:
Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. For more about me, click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or to explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.

COURAGE NOW (Time to Conquer Fear)

COURAGE NOW (Time to Conquer Fear)

COURAGE IS HARD TO FIND THESE DAYS. AT LEAST IN THE REAL WORLD. It’s easy to find heroes and underdogs in movies and books, but try to find it in real life – in our own lives – and it becomes evident that fear is winning the day. What America needs is a resurrection of courage. If you’re like me, you need a massive infusion of courage in your life, now and every single day.

I recently delivered a message at the church I love called
Fear Pressure,” and I think if you give it a listen while
exercising, driving, or doing whatever, it will help cultivate
courage in your life. Click here to listen, and let us know
what you think.

WHY ARE WE SO AFRAID?

The problem with today’s problems is that we hear about them all the time. Everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with problems, problems, problems. No wonder we’re so fearful, so discouraged. It’s hard not to become apathetic in a world where it seems like there is so little the average person can do to turn things around.

“You need to start seeing your life as an unfolding drama where you have the leading role as the person who saves the day, rejects the status quo, and rises to a new level of exemplary courage.”

The constant barrage of negative news has conditioned most of us to sit down and shut up, comply with the status quo, and accept life as it is, rather than how it can be. Fear and apathy have become our default mechanisms. We tend to cave and cower because deep down we think we are powerless to change things. But is this true? I don’t think it is, and I want to encourage you to reject the lie that you don’t have the ability to change things, beginning with yourself.

 

Why not encourage others?
Share this on Twitter or your Facebook Wall

 

YOU, TODAY’S HERO AND UNDERDOG

WHY NOT YOU? Don’t dismiss yourself as the hero and underdog you can become . . .

Forget fiction, life is more thrilling. You need to start seeing your life as an unfolding drama where you have the leading role as the person who saves the day, rejects the status quo, and rises to a new level of exemplary courage. Why would I suggest such a thing? Because this is exactly what needs to happen if things are going to positively change. Every hero and underdog who ever arose did not accept the status quo as inescapable. Nobody is born a hero or an underdog. Heroes and underdogs are forged in the furnace of real life – and your life is unfolding right now.

“One thing you’ll learn about heroes and underdogs is that nearly every one of them was, at one time, a lot like you.”

The world is waiting for an army of heroes and underdogs, and you need to know that you’ve been invited to play your part. Reject the notion that you can’t live with courage. You absolutely can. You simply need to develop courage, in much the same way that a weight-lifter develops muscle or a marathon runner develops endurance. Courage can be cultivated – it can be cultivated in you.

 

KILL THE COWARD, CULTIVATE COURAGE

We live in an age where great podcasts are readily available. (Yes, you’re darn right we’re enthusiastic about our podcasts, because they are created for your benefit). Read great books about heroes and underdogs who really walked this planet. One thing you’ll learn about heroes and underdogs is that nearly every one of them was, at one time, a lot like you. Heroes and underdogs had to do the following:

  • Overcome their fears
  • Face seemingly insurmountable odds
  • Go against the flow
  • Embrace a vision for life that was bigger than their own interests
  • Decide that they were going to make fundamental changes in the way they live, to embrace a better life – not only for themselves, but also for others
  • Behave as if change were up to them, not someone or something else

If someone else could be a hero or an underdog, there is hope for you. You can be the hero or underdog we desperately need in America, today. The world is waiting for you.

Today is a great day to cultivate courage in your own life. The alternative is fear, and we’ve all seen what that can do. Isn’t it time to cultivate courage in your life? The world is waiting for you.

 

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN CULTIVATING COURAGE IN YOUR OWN LIFE? WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OUR READERS WHEN IT COMES TO COURAGE?

 

Michael Anthony Blog - Godfactor.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. For more about me, click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or to explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.

Is Porn Good For Your Relationship?

Is Porn Good For Your Relationship?

I RECENTLY READ AN ARTICLE THAT TRIED TO MAKE THE CASE THAT A COUPLE CAN BENEFIT FROM WATCHING PORN TOGETHER. With the growing acceptance of porn in the mainstream, more and more couples are turning to it to try and heat up their frigid bedrooms. But is it true? Is porn good for your relationship?

I want to give you a few solid reasons why porn cannot possibly be good for you or your relationship – ever – and how it will actually destroy your walk with God, hinder the development of real love in your relationship, and cost you dearly in light of eternity.

SHARE THIS POST WITH A FRIEND YOU KNOW WHO MAY NEED TO READ IT.
WHY NOT POST IT ON YOUR FACEBOOK WALL?

Here are just a few points that will bomb the myth of “good” porn to smithereens:

  1. When you watch porn, you are most likely watching unmarried people engage in sexual activity. In other words, you are watching people engage in what the Bible calls “sexual immorality,” or “fornication.” To watch is to celebrate, not flee, from sexual immorality. Consider 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 (NIV):

    “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

    And, if the people you are watching are married, having allowed themselves to be photographed or filmed, they are engaging in the sin of leading people astray by letting them watch what should only be shared between two married individuals.

  1. When you watch porn, you are lusting after the person/people you are watching – and lust is sin. Jesus said that to even look at a woman lustfully is to commit adultery with her (same is true to look at anyone lustfully):

    “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder,’ and ‘anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’

    MARRIAGE IS FOR LOVE, NOT LUST . . .

    But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment … You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” — Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28 (NIV)

    Watching porn is a willful decision to personally engage in sexual immorality through the sin of lust. It is to fan the flame of sin when it should, instead, be snuffed out. Consider 1 Corinthians 6:18-19 (NIV):

    “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own . . .”We should not toy with sexual immorality. We should run from it full speed.

  1. When you watch porn, you are going to be tempted to covet your neighbor’s spouse, which is an overt sin (See Exodus 20:17). You are going to end up doing more than just being tempted – you are going to end up coveting, and that is a serious sin.
  1. When you watch porn, it is going to influence you in the wrong direction – to want your mate to be like the person/people you watch, and to lose their identity as the individual God created him/her to be. Unconditional (agape) love does not seek to change another person, but to accept, celebrate and nurture the person God created.When you watch porn, you will be tempted to compare what you see on your device, or television, to what you see in real life. The chances of you or someone else living up to how porn actors look, and what they do, are slim. You’re setting yourself up, and your partner, for failure.

    RELATIONSHIP KILLER: Porn will create distance between you and your mate. Run from it.

    Porn will devastate your understanding of what it means to be created, beautifully, in the image of God.

  1. When you watch porn, you may be unwittingly supporting even more diabolical forms of immorality such as child pornography. Jesus has harsh words for people who abuse children:

    “If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea . . .” – Mathew 18:6 (NIV)

    You may say, “Well, I’m not watching child porn.” True, but you may be helping it happen without realizing it, and that’s the problem. Don’t be so naïve as to think major pornography producers limit their genre to what you’re watching. When you watch, you support an industry that has a diverse audience whose appetite it seeks to feed. Watching enables them to feed the lusts of people with twisted views on sex and sexuality.

    If you’ve watched porn, you may have indirectly, unwittingly supported things like child porn. Now you know, and that makes you responsible to make sure it never happens again.

  1. When you watch porn, you are going to be tempted to do things with your body, sexually, that you should not do. I don’t think I need to go into any detail about this, but here is a verse that will help drive the point home:

    “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?” – Proverbs 6:28-29 (NIV)

  1. In the long run, watching porn will destroy your sex life and emotional intimacy with your partner. Pornographic scenes often depict unrealistic situations and behaviors that often cannot be

    PORN IS A GREAT WAY TO DEMOLISH YOUR RELATIONSHIP – AND YOUR LIFE.

    duplicated. Attempts to mimic what you watch end up dashing hopes, creating guilt and emotional distance. Emotional intimacy is one of the byproducts of a godly, loving relationship – and porn will obliterate that.Watch porn, and you’re going to end up sinning, one way or another.

  1. You are going to get addicted, and “addiction” is simply another word for “enslavement.” There are some things you cannot “unsee.” Porn provides a myriad of such opportunities that will lead you to thinking, fantasizing and fixating on things when you are not capable of turning them off. Want to put a ball and chain around your life? Watch porn.
CONCLUSION: Watching porn is sin – in multiple ways, with multiple consequences. Sin never moves us forward, but always sets us back, because sin is resistance to God, and no one who resists God ever comes out a winner. Sin always results in the loss, not gain, of God’s blessing, difficulty and devastation.
Remember these things next time someone who doesn’t have God’s interests – or yours – in mind, when they try to tell you that porn can be good for your relationship. It’s terrible for you, and you (and your partner) should run from it as if your life with Christ depends upon it. It does.

DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM READING THIS POST? HOW HAS IT HELPED YOU?

Michael Anthony Blog - Godfactor.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March, 2018. For more about me, click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or to explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.

The Resurrection: Are the Stories Really Different?

The Resurrection: Are the Stories Really Different?

The following is an outstanding resource on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, by Tim Chaffey. His work is sure to build your faith, and perhaps the faith of someone you know . . .

Christ’s Resurrection — Four Accounts, One Reality

by Tim Chaffey on April 5, 2015 Audio Version

Christ’s Resurrection led to a confusing day, as His followers raced around the city. Skeptics point to alleged contradictions to prove Scripture wrong. Can the four Gospels be reconciled?

The Gospels can’t keep their stories straight! How many women went to the tomb and when did they leave? How many angels visited the tomb? Did Jesus appear to all the women or just Mary Magdalene?

Actual contradictions in the Resurrection reports would raise serious concerns for Christianity. If these discrepancies are legitimate, they would be a strike against the preservation of Scripture, but errors would not prove anything against the truth of the Lord’s Resurrection or the infallible original records. Nevertheless, Christians need not worry. These accounts can be reconciled. Indeed, when we put all the pieces together, the wonder of the Resurrection shines out in even greater glory.

Early Morning

When did the women go to the tomb, and how many went?

The Gospels refer to different times and name different women who arrived at the tomb. Matthew states that “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary” came to the tomb as it “began to dawn” (Matthew 28:1). Mark adds Salome to the group and claims that they came “very early in the morning” (Mark 16:1–2). Luke agrees that it was “very early in the morning” and names “Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women” as those who came to the tomb (Luke 24:1, 24:10). John wrote that “Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark” (John 20:1).

When we put all the pieces together, the wonder of the Resurrection shines out in even greater glory.

Regarding the timing of the women’s trip, the sticky point is John’s claim that they went to the tomb “while it was still dark” (John 20:1). Was it very early in the morning at dawn, or was it still dark? One plausible solution is that the phrases used in the Gospels all refer to the same general time. Much of the sky is still dark when the day begins to dawn very early in the morning.

Perhaps a better solution is that John may have described when the women initially left for the tomb, while the other Gospels described when the women arrived. If they lodged in Bethany, as they had done earlier in the week, then the women would need to travel about two miles to reach the burial site (John 11:18), plenty of time for the sun to rise.

Resolving the differences in the number of women listed is straightforward. At least five women went to the tomb, since Luke names three of them and then says “other women” went too (at least two). Notice that Matthew does not say that only two women were there. Mark does not say only three women were there. They simply focus on the women they name. Although John names only Mary Magdalene, he is clearly aware that she was not alone. Reporting to Peter and John, she said, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him” (John 20:2, italics added).

Was the tomb already open, and how many angels appeared?

Mark 16:4, Luke 24:2, and John 20:1 state outright that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb prior to the women’s arrival. Matthew’s wording has caused some consternation. After writing about the women going to the tomb he writes, “And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it” (Matthew 28:2). Although this description follows his mention of the women heading to the tomb, Matthew does not claim that this event occurred as the women arrived. Instead, he provides helpful details about what had already happened.

The angelic appearances have also drawn criticism. Was there one angel at the tomb, as described in Matthew 28:2–7 and Mark 16:5–7, or two angels, as stated in Luke 24:4–7 and John 20:12? This minor difficulty is easily explained. There were two angels. Neither Matthew nor Mark claims that only one angel was at the tomb. The complete number does not appear in their accounts. It is not a problem that Mark and Luke call the angels “men,” since angels frequently appeared in the form of men and were identified as such elsewhere (Genesis 18:1–2; Daniel 9:21).

Order of Appearances

The alleged contradictions already mentioned are relatively easy to reconcile, but resolving the diverse accounts given in the four Gospels and 1 Corinthians 15:5–8 concerning the post-Resurrection appearances is more difficult. None of these accounts mentions all of the Lord’s appearances, so the information must be pieced together from all five sources.

When and where did each woman see Jesus?

This is the most complex issue concerning the reporting of appearances.1 Matthew asserts that the women visited the tomb and saw an angel. While they were on the way to tell the disciples, Jesus appeared to them. There would be no difficulty here except that John has Mary Magdalene individually returning from the tomb to report to Peter and John that the body had been taken away. Only after her return to the tomb with the two disciples is she granted the privilege of being the first to see the risen Savior. So how can both accounts of women seeing Jesus be accurate? Many Gospel harmonies have been written, and there are a handful of plausible solutions. I believe the following scenario makes the best sense of the available data (see map).

As mentioned above, at least five women set out for the tomb in the early morning, probably from Bethany. As they neared the tomb, they noticed the stone had been removed. Apparently, Mary Magdalene left the other women to alert Peter and John. Based on her comment about not knowing the location of the Lord’s body, it seems that she was not among the women who encountered the angels at the tomb.

Meanwhile, the other women entered the tomb and encountered the angels. One of the angels proclaimed that the Lord had risen, and then “the women went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word” (Matthew 28:8–9).

So how could Jesus first appear to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9) and then to the other women? As they headed for the tomb, why didn’t Mary, Peter, and John cross paths with the other women who were going to tell the disciples?

The key to resolving these dilemmas is to understand that Peter and John were probably not staying in the same place as the other disciples. Remember, although all the disciples “forsook Him and fled” at His arrest (Matthew 26:56), Peter and John were brave enough to enter Jerusalem to find out what would happen to Jesus (John 18:15). Of course, Peter fled in shame at the rooster’s crow (Matthew 26:75), but John was present at the Cross (John 19:26). At some point, John and Peter met up, and they were likely staying together in Jerusalem when Mary Magdalene came to the door on Sunday morning.

Where were the other disciples, then? We cannot be certain, but they may well have stayed in Bethany. After all, this is where Jesus often stayed on trips to Jerusalem, and Bethany was on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives (Mark 11:1), the location of Christ’s arrest.

If these suppositions are correct, then all of the difficulties are resolved nicely. Mary Magdalene first left the tomb and entered nearby Jerusalem to get Peter and John. During that time, the other women encountered the angels and then left the tomb to set out on the two-mile trip to Bethany to tell the other disciples. They may have stopped along the way to tell Clopas and an unnamed disciple about the morning’s events (Luke 24:22–24), or they may have split up so that a couple of them could inform these men. In all likelihood, “the wife of Clopas” was among these women (John 19:25).

Meanwhile, Peter, John, and Mary raced to the tomb. The men entered the tomb, saw the grave clothes, and then left. Mary stayed behind, weeping outside the tomb. When she looked into the tomb, she saw two angels (John 20:12), and after explaining her grief to them, she turned around and saw the Savior (John 20:16). After Mary departed to tell Peter and John about seeing the risen Lord, Jesus appeared to the other women who were on their way to Bethany (Matthew 28:9).

Three More Appearances on Sunday

The remaining appearances of Christ on that day are much easier to follow. Luke wrote about Clopas and a companion meeting the Lord while they walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They did not recognize Him until He broke bread with them (Luke 24:30–31).

They immediately returned to Jerusalem to share the good news with the disciples, who were gathered together without Thomas (John 20:19–24). Upon their arrival, they were told by the disciples that Jesus had appeared to Simon Peter (Luke 24:34; see also 1 Corinthians 15:5). It is unclear whether Peter saw Jesus before the two disciples saw Him on the road to Emmaus.

As they shared exciting details about the day’s events, Jesus appeared to the whole group. At first they were frightened, but the Lord showed them His scars and then ate some broiled fish and honeycomb (Luke 24:40–43).

Remaining Appearances

Jesus continued to appear to people over a forty-day period (Acts 1:3). Eight days after His Resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples again, and this time Thomas was present (John 20:24–29).

Over the next few weeks Jesus appeared to seven disciples at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1–2). While still in Galilee, the disciples also saw Jesus on a hillside (Matthew 28:16–17). This may have been the event Paul mentioned where Jesus appeared to over 500 people at once (1 Corinthians 15:6). After that, Jesus was seen by His half-brother James, the son of Mary and Joseph (1 Corinthians 15:7).

The disciples returned to Jerusalem, where Jesus appeared to them a final time. He delivered the Great Commission, led them out to Bethany at the Mount of Olives, and ascended into heaven (Luke 24:50–51; Acts 1:9–11).2

Conclusion

Luke declared that after Jesus suffered and died on the Cross, He showed Himself alive “by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3). Skeptics will surely continue to question Scripture and neglect reasonable solutions to the dilemmas they propose. It’s hard for them to be open-minded about sensible answers because Christ’s Resurrection, if true, is a miracle that demonstrates Jesus is Lord—a truth contrary to their secular worldview, which rejects miracles and the supernatural. No matter how many objections unbelievers raise, Christians can be confident there are no contradictions in the Word of God.

To read the original article, courtesy of Answers in Genesis, click here.

HOW HAS THIS ARTICLE ENCOURAGED YOU, OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW? DIDN’T TIM CHAFFEY DO AN OUTSTANDING JOB?

Michael Anthony Blog - Godfactor.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March, 2018. For more about me, click on the image or here. If you’d like to request an interview, or to explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.

 

 

An Open Letter To The Church in America: Is God Is Giving Us What We Want?

An Open Letter To The Church in America: Is God Is Giving Us What We Want?

I THINK WE MAY HAVE PASSED THE TIPPING POINT. At best, we’re willing to tolerate God, but not hungry enough to dig into Him. We seem more enthusiastic about chicken and ribs at a summer barbecue. Even a casual look at America reveals this truth. If you’re a Christian, you know it’s true because it’s most likely true in your own life. It’s something I wrestle with as well. A great many of us seem to be rowing the same boat in the same direction, and it’s killing our nation. It’s time to stop the boat, get out, and seek another means of transportation. Christians, we’re in a very dangerous place. It’s time to head for safe harbor.

“When Moses watched the burning bush, I’m fairly certain he wasn’t thinking, ‘Dark Roast or House Blend?'”

I think God may be giving us what we want. It’s not what we need, but the reason we don’t have what we need is because we’ve convinced ourselves that our wants are more important than our needs.

Share your comments and encourage someone:
Share this blog with a friend. Just click below.

 

We are the ones who are largely to blame for the absence of God in our society, and have the nerve to express our anger at the world when the anger should be focused upon our own luke-warmth. Yes, we talk about God and we let everyone know the moment we’re against something. But are we really for God? Need I suggest the answer that you already find resonating within?

COULD YOU PLEASE PASS ME SOME JESUS?

It should be obvious that the American brand of “Christianity” and “church” is so heavily syncretized that it’s nothing at all like the distilled faith found in the Bible. So many of us are so adept at syncretism, “the combination of different forms of belief or practice, the fusion of two or more originally different inflectional forms,”[1] that we don’t realize “syncretism” is a synonym for the nuclear bomb mother of all sins: idolatry.

HAS SOMETHING OTHER THAN GOD BECOME YOUR “CONSUMING FIRE”?

We’re famished, but we keep feasting on anything other than Jesus. We love our smart phones, our computers, our television programs, our food, cars, houses, clothes, toys, sports, schedules and our reputations. It all amounts to our love for comfort and convenience more than the power and presence of God. Our love for God. And we’re okay with it. This is our problem.

All we’ve done is sprinkle a little Jesus onto the rest of our lives, a dose of spiritual, feel-good, hocus pocus in our efforts to get the best life we possibly can. We love the idea of Jesus dying for us – but hate the idea of dying to ourselves so that the life of Christ can flow through us. In the end, we aren’t at all living our best life possible. We’re settling for a mere shadow of what could be.

THE SIXTY-MINUTE MYTH

This week, I learned of yet another large church elsewhere in America that guarantees their services will be only sixty minutes long, that they offer contemporary music and a “fun” time for children. Brothers and sisters, are these really the things for which a churches should be known? Are we branding and marketing our music and lengths of services, primarily dispensing donuts and coffee, or don’t we have Someone far better to offer? When Moses watched the burning bush, I’m fairly certain he wasn’t thinking “Dark Roast or House Blend?” Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with great music (I play guitar), fun (I love to laugh) and a rich cup of coffee — unless we are more excited about those things than we are Jesus.

“. . . at the end of our days, we’re not willing to adjust our lives to the movement of God the way biblical characters did. No wonder we don’t have what they had.”

If a church is to be engaged in any “business” at all, it is to be engaged in the business of giving people the opportunity to meet the Maker of their Souls, the Creator of the Universe, the One Whose love is so potent it led Him to be beaten, spit on, and spiked to a tree. We’ve forgotten that the greatest need of the day is to give people the chance to be blown away by God so He becomes the all-consuming love of their life.

Believe me, as a pastor, I get it. If we don’t give the people what they “want,” we will never get around to giving them what they need. And what they need (what we all need) is Jesus, unfiltered. 2 Corinthians 3:16 says,whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” But we want to keep Jesus veiled, as if unveiling Him will drive people away. Our insanity is ironic, systemic and pathetic. I’m not saying that in a condescending way. I’m saying it with tears that don’t do justice to the way God must feel about our apologizing for His Son. God put His Son on display for all to see, but we think the better approach is to introduce Him in increments? Who is playing God in the American Church equation?

OUR PROBLEM IS OUR SOLUTION: WE ARE APOLOGIZING FOR JESUS WHEN WE SHOULD BE UNVEILING HIM.

OUR SOLUTION IS OUR PROBLEM

Our problem is our solution. We Christian leaders aren’t getting around to giving people environments where they can encounter Christ head-on in life-changing ways that will leave our syncretistic sweet tooth in the dust. Our approach isn’t helping people. It’s hindering them, significantly. If you’re a church leader, be careful you’re not just giving people what they want. Give them what they need, and what people need most these days is a soaring ascent into the presence of God.

If you’re just a Christian, and not a church leader, help your leaders break the cycle we all need broken. Help your church, and all her ministries, become environments where God can move with increasing freedom, power and purpose. Stop settling for mere donuts, coffee, hip music and fun activities. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with those things, they are, alone, no substitute for the presence of God.

FILLING UP ON GOD

We love the stories about Moses and the burning bush, David and Goliath, and all the other accounts where God showed up and saved the day – but at the end of our days, we’re not willing to adjust our lives to the movement of God the way biblical characters did. We want God to move in our timetable, at the flick of a switch we get to pull, having forgotten that God transcends time and our methods. And we wonder why we don’t experience the joy, deep sense of awe, and deeper movement of God like the people in the Bible? No wonder we don’t have what they had.

God is a great initiator, but eventually He needs us to respond. I think that time has come.

SYNCRETISM STINKS: IT’S TIME TO FILL UP ON JESUS – AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN.

We can have as much God as we are willing to tolerate. I think it’s time we stop tolerating Him and begin calling out to Him to completely interrupt us so that we learn, once again (or perhaps for the very first time) what it is to love Him with all our heart, mind, strength and soul – and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

It’s time our lives underwent an extreme make-over that dealt syncretism a death blow. That make-over must be revisited moment by moment, day-by-day, on a personal level, to ensure it does not again creep in and take away holy ground once given to God. Then, when we come together in our churches, we may very well find the God who created the Church in the first place.

NEVER MIND OTHER PEOPLE. IS YOUR HUNGER FOR GOD WORTH A FOLLOW?

[1] Dictionary.com

Michael Anthony Blog - Godfactor.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March, 2018. For more about me, click on the image or here. If you’d like to request an interview, or explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.

Life is School: Pay Attention To Your Child Because Your Child Is Paying Attention To You

Life is School: Pay Attention To Your Child Because Your Child Is Paying Attention To You

LIFE IS SCHOOL, and if you have a child, you are their primary teacher, like it or not.The truth is that your children are watching you, and paying attention to you even if you are not watching and paying attention to them. Most lessons a child learns are not learned within the walls of a classroom, but from you, in the daily grind of life. This is the real classroom. Parenting is the most awesome responsibility this side of Eden. When you make the most of who you are, you improve the odds that your child will positively follow in your footsteps.

The public vs. homeschool debate is, in some ways, a mute point because every child is being homeschooled. Children watch how you interact with people – and from your interactions they will develop their own approach to mingling, conflict resolution, how to have a conversation and more. Your child watches how you handle stress – and by watching you they will develop their stress management (or mismanagement) skills. Your child observes how you use your time, money, and every other resource God puts into your hands. In other words, you are teaching your child how to live, for better or worse.

The fundamental question in child-rearing is this: Are you paying attention to your child, being intentional about how you are living so that what they learn by observing you is worthwhile and God-glorifying? If it isn’t, don’t blame your child. Start making changes with yourself, and you must may find that your child follows your lead.

YOUR CHILD IS FOLLOWING YOU — AND LEARNING FROM YOU — ALL THE TIME. IS HOW YOU’RE LIVING WORTH A FOLLOW?

You have already begun to teach your child about the following, and so much more:
  • The importance of the virtual world compared to the real world right before their eyes. How is your use of your smart phone, tablet, computer and television influencing your child? Do you look your child in the eye when talking, and when he/she is talking to you, or are you distracted by something else?
  • The value of money. Do you save, invest, spend carelessly? In watching you, what is your child learning about money? Does it grow on trees or come as a result of hard work? What are you teaching them about debt and freedom?
  • The irreplaceable value of time. What are you teaching your child about the most precious resource they will have, their time? Do you waste it or value it? Do you plan for meaningful times together, use a calendar and show them that time, once it is gone, never comes back?
  • Forgiveness and reconciliation. One of the biggest obstacles in all of life is created when we refuse to forgive people and pursue reconciliation. Are you a forgiving person, or given to bitterness? This one thing will be responsible for much of their happiness, or grief, in all of life. Do you want your child to be happy or miserable? Carefully consider, then, what you are modeling for your child about forgiveness and reconciliation.

The truth is that you child is watching you all the time. What are they learning? Even when you don’t realize it, they are watching you, developing their outlook on life, communication skills, financial strategy and just about everything — by watching you. Are you giving them good things to watch, so that you set your child up for success?

WHAT ONE OR TWO THINGS CAN YOU SIT DOWN AND FOCUS ON THIS WEEK IN YOUR OWN LIFE, START GETTING IN ORDER, AND IMPROVING? DOING THIS WILL NOT ONLY HELP YOUR OWN LIFE – IT MAY VERY WELL SAVE YOUR CHILD FROM A LIFETIME OF HARDSHIP. Remember, your child is watching you, and learning.

Michael Anthony Blog - Godfactor.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March, 2018. For more about me, click on the image or here. If you’d like to request an interview, or explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.

 

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