ministry with nachos

28 10 2013

If you’re a Christian, you’re called to do ministry.  Maybe not full-time ministry as in it being your occupation, but to help people around you.  But for many of us, even if we want to, ministry can seem scary or difficult.  Maybe it seems overwhelming and you don’t know where to begin.  Perhaps you wish you had training (which is available in many forms).

mixed fajita nachos with bacon on International Bacon DayI was discussing this recently with a friend, telling him how I recently went to lunch with a guy because he was feeling down on life and needed encouraging.  So I met that guy for lunch.  We discussed life, shared a few laughs, and I happened to get nachos for my meal.  My friend replied with, “I bet ministry with an order of nachos is the best kind of ministry.”  🙂  I’ll admit it was a good time.  I wasn’t preaching at him or telling him what he needs to do.  I prayed about it beforehand, and my goal was to encourage him and potentially offer advice if the right opportunity developed.  His countenance seemed improved afterward, so I think the discussion helped him.

Ministry doesn’t have to be hard or scary — start with caring about people and trying to help them, whether with encouragement, advice, testimony, etc.  You could also buy someone’s lunch, which could be a blessing to them from a financial standpoint, but also showing them that someone cares.





How was the end of the world for you?

25 05 2011

I was rather disappointed in the end of the world that supposedly happened last Saturday (May 21, 2011).  Wasn’t there supposed to be the rapture of Christians to Heaven?  Wasn’t the Earth supposed to plunge into the great tribulation?  It was on the news, so it has to be true, right?  Sure seems like normal to me…  But what do I know about the apocalypse / doomsday?  (Actually, I have read the book of Revelation in the Bible, so I know a thing or two…)

Look at that — it says “The Bible guarantees it!”  There’s no such thing in the Bible, and obviously Harold Camping was wrong!  He is deceiving people and making God look bad.  God’s mercy is amazing that this guy is still around.  He predicted the same thing back in 1994, then when he was proven wrong he said it was due to mathematical miscalculations.  (Don’t you hate it when that happens?)  Then he said it would be in 1995, but obviously that didn’t happen.  An employee of his says he’s made at least 10 such predictions.  And as you can see above, his latest “prophecy” was for May 21, 2011, which has now passed.  How do you suppose he responded?  He’s saying that his dates were correct, that it was “an invisible judgment day” and “a spiritual coming” ushering in the final judgment and destruction over the next 5 months.  That is, he still believes the world will end on October 21, 2011.  As for the predicted earthquake that would make the one in Japan look mild by comparison, he said,

“When we study the Bible, we don’t know everything. The Bible is very complex… I challenge everybody, read every word and try to decide what is God saying. I don’t know if any of you have tried that… You’ll find that you’ll read verse after verse and you’ll wonder, ‘What is God talking about?’ We have to do it. We don’t always hit the nail on the head the first time. We’re a long way toward being right. But it’s not physically at this time, it is spiritual. We have not been wrong about that at all.”

To that, a reporter asked if he was saying we are not capable of understanding the Bible, and he said, “You are correct.”  Doesn’t that sound really ironic?

I heard that this time he advertised on 55 radio stations and 2000 billboards.  How much money was spent on that false advertising?  A reporter asked him that, and he said, “I don’t know.  I haven’t kept track of that.  I have been careful to watch that we’ve had enough money to pay our bills.”  An employee at his radio station estimates Camping spent around $100 million to advertise his prediction.

Some of his followers sold their possessions and spent all their money, and Camping basically said it’s not his fault: “Please understand we don’t advise anybody what to do.”  I suppose he has to say such things for legal reasons, but it is somewhat his fault, and he could at least apologize for misleading people.

This whole debacle seems bad for Christianity in my opinion, but I hope that somehow some people get saved from it.  Harold Camping looks to be a fraud and he teaches some other heretical doctrines (from what I’ve heard), but — God’s Word never returns void.

I read a quote by Harold Camping from 1995: “I’m like the boy who cried wolf again and again and the wolf didn’t come.  This doesn’t bother me in the slightest.”  You would think it would bother him to be wrong about one of the most important events in history, especially when he claims to be representing God and is telling lies that the Bible guarantees it.

There’s been a lot said about all this, but here’s my favorite response, and it’s only a picture with a few words, yet it sums it all up so well.





religious ad rejected for Super Bowl

10 02 2011

Did you hear about the religious commercial rejected by Fox Sports for the Super Bowl?  The ad was rejected because it contained “religious doctrine”.  Watch the commercial and see how “religious” it is.  Here’s the website referenced in the commercial, and you can watch the video there: Lookup316.com.

Of course, Fox Sports has the right to broadcast whatever they want.  I just find it telling of our culture that few commercials or movie trailers are deemed too violent or too sexual for prime time viewing, yet a commercial that doesn’t even mention God or church at all is too religious.

How far will this go?

It’s ironic because there are usually fans in the end zones who hold up signs that say “John 3:16”, and some players (like Tim Tebow) have painted John 3:16 into the black grease paint on their face before.  Some coaches pray with their players in public or in the locker room (which is later televised), and some players will kneel or make a cross gesture after touchdowns, and a number of players routinely thank Jesus in interviews.  Should all that content be edited from the broadcast?

Is there really a large group of people who would be offended at that commercial?  And is it really necessary for them to be so “politically correct” around religion while neglecting other moral issues in what they broadcast?





Josh Hamilton’s story

28 10 2010

Josh Hamilton wants to share his testimony… and he has an incredible one.  He went from a “can’t miss” baseball prospect — picked #1 and signed for $3.96 million — to being so lost in drugs and alcohol that he didn’t know where he was and wanting to die.  But he found Jesus Christ and turned his life around.   It’s a great story.  Now he’s playing in the World Series with the Texas Rangers, but that’s not what’s most important in his life.

Hamilton finds redemption in faith, sharing

 





quotes by Leonard Ravenhill

25 08 2010

I just saw where one of my friends on Facebook referenced a quote by Leonard Ravenhill.  (Now there’s a good use for Facebook!)  They paraphrased it and I wanted to get the actual wording because I collect good quotes, so I searched online for it.  Here’s that quote (watch your toes!):

How can you pull down strongholds of Satan if you don’t even have the strength to turn off your TV? ~ Leonard Ravenhill

If you aren’t familiar with Leonard Ravenhill, here’s a short summary from a bio of him I found online that had that quote.  Leonard Ravenhill was one of the foremost outdoor evangelists of the 20th century, reaching thousands of people.  There’s a lot more that could be said about that, obviously, but one interesting tidbit in his life story is that he never quit ministry.  Even when he had become frail from old age and couldn’t get around well, he still held prayer meetings in his home, and some people would drive four hours round-trip to attend these prayer meetings.  The man who wrote the short biography at that page attended these meetings, and he said he was always challenged by what Leonard had said.  He always took a notebook to the prayer meetings so he would remember some of these great observations and maxims.  There’s some of them listed at that page.

Just in case you’re not sure if you’re going to read the quotes at that link, here’s a couple more of them that stand out to me.

There are only two kinds of persons: those dead in sin and those dead to sin. ~ Leonard Ravenhill

We must do what we can do for God, before He will give us the power to do what we can’t do. ~ Leonard Ravenhill

If a Christian is not having tribulation in the world, there’s something wrong! ~ Leonard Ravenhill

Many pastors criticize me for taking the Gospel so seriously.  But do they really think that on Judgment Day, Christ will chastise me, saying, “Leonard, you took Me too seriously”? ~ Leonard Ravenhill





fasting

29 01 2010

Fasting is one of those subjects that usually doesn’t get discussed much nor preached on often enough.   Yet Jesus made it clear that we are expected to fast.  So why is it a neglected topic? I think the answer is simple — it’s not a popular topic, because we don’t want to, and being asked to deny ourselves can reveal how non-submitted we actually are.

My pastor recently asked the whole church to participate in a 21-day fast.   We’re not all doing a complete fast from food — there are options like the Daniel fast (eating only fruits and vegetables, or foods you don’t like), or fasting one or two meals a day.  Basically, the terms are flexible (unless God tells you to do something specific).  And I do want to reiterate something my pastor said about it: fasting involves giving up food and using that time to pray more; fasting without praying is just a weight-loss program.

So why do we not like to fast?  That’s also an easy answer — we like to eat!  Fasting also reveals how much influence our body has on us.  Are we really fully submitted to God?  It’s easy to say, but tougher to live out when having to deny self.

But if you think about it, fasting is a win-win situation.  You’re bringing your body into submission, you’re denying yourself and realizing how much your body fights you, and you’re making more time for prayer and Bible study.  Those are all big points, but the last one is very much needed in our current society.  It seems like everyone talks about how busy they are, and sometimes we neglect our quiet time with God.  We might even be busy with good works, but that’s still not a valid excuse to neglect our personal time with God.

If you don’t fast on a regular basis, you can start with something small and build from there.  It takes away our “too busy” excuse, because most of us make time for eating on a regular basis.





a ban on complaining

1 12 2009

While pondering how we should be thankful on Thanksgiving Day, I thought it would be a good day to ban all complaining.  I don’t mean any type of official ban (not that it could be enforced anyway), but on a personal level.  We shouldn’t be complaining anyway (see Philippians 2:14-15), but at least on Thanksgiving, the holiday created to remind us to be thankful for the good things in life, we should try to not complain.

I realize Thanksgiving has passed already this year, but you could still set aside a day this year where you don’t complain.  And to make sure we catch ourselves each time, I recommend telling your friends and family about it, at least the ones you will be around that day, so they can let you know if you slip.  I suspect most of us complain more than we realize, because we aren’t always aware of why we’re saying certain things.   (That would make a good study — record your normal conversations, then listen to them days later, to see how others might perceive it.  Because sometimes we say things from a myriad of hidden emotions, without realizing it.  For example, you get home from work, your spouse asks you to do something small, and you grumble or get upset about it, when the problem isn’t the request but how you feel from previous events.)

Anyway, I digress…   Back to my point, why don’t you consider a day without complaining, and let the people around you help keep you accountable?  Are you scared?