Try saying that title five times fast…

I have always been very interested in astronomy and the greatness of God’s creation. There is something about the endless universe that is very intriguing. For me, I think it’s because it displays the glory of God, and that is always amazing to think about. I heard a message by Louie Giglio a few years ago called Indescribable. He went through our solar system and told how incredible everything lined up and pointed to the greatness of God. Toward the end of his message he showed a picture and gave a quick summary of what is known as the “Pale Blue Dot.” It was a picture taken by the Voyager I spacecraft on its way out of our solar system. Since then, I have read a lot about this picture.

On February 14, 1990 Carl Sagan, a well-known astronomer, was heading up a mission for Voyager I in which it was taking pictures of Saturn, and the later parts of the solar system. More than a dozen years after it launched from Florida, the scientists and engineers who were still communicating with Voyager I commanded it to turn its cameras back towards the solar system and take one last picture of all the planets before it flew out of reach forever. So from 3.7 billion miles from home the Voyager started capturing all the photographs. The most amazing one however was the little place we call home and what Sagan rightly named, “The Pale Blue Dot.” Here is that picture with the arrow helping to point out the earth:

I don’t know what looking at this picture does to you, but to me, it helps me to see how small I really am. Carl Sagan ended up writing a book called “The Pale Blue Dot,” and in it he talks about how everything we have heard of and have ever known took place on that little spec in the picture. How even though everything we have ever known seems so big and huge to us, it actually pales in comparison to how big our universe really is. Although I would agree with the point he is trying to get across, I don’t come to the same conclusion. He describes what our world might look like if possibly an extraterrestrial were looking on: “You might imagine an uncharitable extraterrestrial observer looking down on our species… – with us excitedly chattering, “The Universe is created for us! We’re at the center! Everything pays homage to us!” and concluding that our pretensions are amusing, our aspirations pathetic, that this must be the planet of the idiots.”

Funny thing is, I agree with him there, I just can’t leave it there. You see most people do live as though the world is created for us and we are the center of everything, I even have those selfish moments in my life. But what Sagan got right is the stupidity into thinking everything was created for us. One of my favorite verses is Colossians 1:16. It clearly states that everything was created for HIM and by HIM. For me, that brings joy. That Jesus is the center of EVERYTHING.

Unfortunately what Sagan is missing is the fact that God wants to share it with us, but not only that, but goes a step further and would actually come to our pale blue dot and die for us. Stop and think about that for one second. The Creator of this universe, came to this small fragrant spec in space and gave His life so we could spend eternity with Him, and at the same time restore His glory. That’s the reason He did it. So what does this picture do for me? It shows me how so small and insignificant I really am, but that God still holds me as significant. Not only am I a pale blue dot, I am only one of 7 billion people on that pale blue dot and yet my Savior wants a personal relationship with me… and you. Wow… That never gets old.


The Way

Posted: January 8, 2011 in Life Change, My Faith

Something that I have looked more into lately is the way Christians were seen Biblically and how they are portrayed now. If you ask a typical non-christian what a christian is, they usually give you an answer in regards to religious, judgmental, close minded, weird, self-righteous, and on we could go. Now I know that is the extreme and some people could care less whether you are a christian or not. But in the Bible I see it totally different. Christians were marked by who they were and how they lived their life, as opposed to just what they said they believed.

The passage I can’t get enough of lately is Paul’s conversion on the Road to Damascus in Acts 9. Paul goes to the high priest and asks for permission to kill all those that belong to the Way. He didn’t say I want to kill Christians, he was clearly saying, I want to kill the ones that are actually living a different WAY of life. They were distinct in who they were. They didn’t go back and forth, they weren’t half in, they were totally committed to what they believed and their whole life reflected it. That is my goal, that should be everyone’s goal who is proclaiming the truth.

I’m reading a book right now by Martin Luther called Concerning Christian Liberty. He highlights what it should be like to live in freedom in our Christian faith. Towards the end of the book he gives this quote. “We conclude therefore that a Christian man does not live in himself, but in Christ and in his neighbor, or else is no Christian: in Christ by faith; in his neighbor by love.” That sums it up better than I could say it. How rewarding would it be if people could see we belonged to the Way by how we lived, not just because we go to church, or proclaim we are Christians?

Encouraging not Discouraging

Posted: January 1, 2011 in About Me, Life Change

Many people will be making and probably already breaking resolutions, goals, commitments, whatever else you might call them today and into the new year. I’ve never been one for resolutions because I know that they will more than likely be broken before february rolls around. Plus, I can’t compete with the resolutions like Jonathan Edwards had, so I shouldn’t even try. haha. Most of the time it’s centered around motivation rather than transformation anyway. However, I think it is a great opportunity to examine ourself and see what God might want to do in our life to refine us. Not focusing on our weight, or finances, or grades, as much as focusing on living for the eternal instead of the temporal.

My sister wrote this blog post yesterday and the end really jumped out at me. She was talking about what she hopes to accomplish and see happen this new year and that she will experience some trials, disappointments, and heartaches. Her prayer was that even through it all, she knows she can hang on to God. The more I thought about that, the more my resolution that I hope becomes clear. If I had a resolution, it would be to do what I can to be more of an encouragement to others, rather than a discouragement. To do what I can to be more selfless and focused on the needs of others over my needs. To see my world through a Biblical world view and not my view. That’s what I would like to reflect on come December. To look back at the workings God did in my life to see others above myself, and to love Him more than anything. Happy New Year.

400 Years

Posted: December 24, 2010 in My Faith

As we celebrate another Christmas season one thing that has been on my mind the last couple weeks is the anticipation there was on that first Christmas… or was there? I always want to picture the nativity scene and the way it is on many church lawns as you drive past, but that really wasn’t the case at all. The world didn’t realize it needed a Savior. Most weren’t looking for one, and we know from Christ’s death they didn’t really want one.

To me, it’s just crazy to think how those 400 years between the Old and New Testament transpired. God was silent, quietly setting the stage for this moment in history. I picture it as a play when they have to change sets during the intermission. That is what God was doing during this time. Sure, they had the Scripture from all the old Prophets and the promise of what was to come but here they were, generation after generation dying away with no Savior coming to the rescue. My first thought is how can God just be silent toward his people for hundreds of years, then I always have to remember that He is still in control. He wasn’t leaving them hanging, they had all they needed through the Scripture at the time to hold onto His promise of His coming, and he finally did. But how many people had already given up hope? Thinking that they were just another generation that was going to die away.

Unfortunately, it can be easy for us to do the same. Knowing that the promise of His second coming is going to be fulfilled, but do we just pass it off like it’s not going to be us. Do we live in an eager anticipation for His return, or do we live life as business as usual? Now I know that His second coming He isn’t going to come as a meek lamb, He will come as a roaring lion. But how often do we just go through the motions and never reflect on what His mission is? It’s never changed. He came the first time as the Savior of the world, and that is what He still is. The Savior. We have something the generations between the Old and New Testament didn’t. We have Him. Right now. At any moment He speaks to us, and we can speak to Him. That is what brings me joy this Christmas. So as Relient K put it in their song. I celebrate the day, that You were born to die, so one day I could pray for You to save my life. That is what I’m reflecting on this Christmas.

The Cross is Proof

Posted: November 1, 2010 in Encouraging, Life Change

I saw this title on some Twitter hashtags recently and it got me thinking about what the Cross proves…

He made Him who knew no sin to BE sin , on OUR behalf… the Cross is proof.
God is JUST and JUSTIFIES… the Cross is proof.
God can take the WORST situation and accomplish through it the very BEST outcome…the Cross is proof.
Gods will is greater than you and I could EVER comprehend…the Cross is proof.
God allows freedom but ALWAYS maintains control…the Cross is proof.
WE are worth dying for…the Cross is proof.
God won’t relent until He’s had it ALL… the Cross is proof.
HE is enough…the Cross is proof.
Sin CAN’T keep us in bondage… the Cross is proof.
His mercies are new everyday… the Cross is proof.
Jesus LOVES me, THIS I KNOW… the Cross is proof.

Staying Broken

Posted: October 25, 2010 in Life Change, My Faith

Brokenness is looked upon as a weak thing in our society today. If you look in most bookstores and health magazines, most articles have to do with happiness and a self gratifying life. Yet all throughout Scripture I see a Christians call is almost always opposite of this mindset. Luke 9:23 Jesus wants us to know what it’s like to be in a state of utter dependence upon Him. There more I think about this, the more I am amazed at what I see. It seems every time I try to accomplish things in this life on my own, or force things in my life I shouldn’t be forcing, I end up in worse shape than I was before. Less satisfied and more frustrated than ever. The fleshly side wants to try to force it to work, that maybe if I could just get this or do that, or convince this person, somehow that will bring satisfaction. IT never does. THEY never do. Why? Because unless we come to a place where we have no other choice but to put our utter dependence on Him, we can never be truly satisfied. I was reading a message the other day from the old preacher Charles Spurgeon, who is well-known among many Christians. In a message entitled “Repentance After Conversion,” he said this…

If you and I have a broken spirit, all idea of our own importance is gone. What is the use of a broken heart? Why, much the same as the use of a broken pot, or a broken jug, or a broken bottle! Men throw it on the dunghill! Hence David says, “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise,’’ as if he felt that everybody else would despise it. Now, do you feel that you are of no importance? Though you know that you are a child of God, do you feel that you would not give a penny for yourself? You would not wish to claim the first place. The rear rank suits you best and you wonder that you are in the Lord’s army in any rank at all.

Oh, Brothers and Sisters, I believe that the more God uses us, the less we shall think of ourselves, and the more He fills us with His Spirit, the more will our own spirit sink within us in utter amazement that He should ever make use of such broken vessels as we are! Well now, indulge that feeling of nothingness and unimportance! Not only indulge it as a feeling, but go and act upon it! And be you in the midst of your Brothers and Sisters less than the least—humble your- selves in wonder that God should permit your name to stand on the roll of His elect at all. Admire the Grace of God to you and marvel at it in deep humiliation of spirit. That is part of the sacrifice that God will not despise!

Next, if you and I have a broken and a contrite heart, it means that frivolity and trifling have gone from us. There are some who are always trifling with spiritual things, but he who gets a broken heart has done with that sort of spirit. A broken heart is serious, solemn and in earnest. A broken heart never tries to play any tricks with God and never shuffles texts as though even Scripture, itself, were meant only to be an opportunity for testing our wit. A broken spirit is tender, serious, weighed down with solemn considerations. Indulge that spirit, now—be solemn before God, grasp eternal things, let slip these shadows—what are they worth? But set your soul on things Divine and everlasting. Pursue that vein of thought and so bring before God a broken and a contrite spirit!

Further, a broken spirit is one out of which hypocrisy has gone. That vessel, whole and sealed up, may contain the most precious oil of roses, or it may contain the foulest filth—I know not what is in it. But break it and you will soon see! There is no hypocrisy about a broken heart. Oh, Brothers and Sisters, be before men what you are before God! Seem to be what you really are. Make no pretences. I am afraid that we are all hypocrites in a measure—we both pray and preach above our own actual experience full often—and we, perhaps, think that we have more faith than we actually have and more love than we have ever known. The Lord make us to have a broken heart that is revealed by being broken! You know, now, what was in that pot, for there it lies, broken to shivers. Its contents are no longer concealed, they have all run out. Now, pour out your hearts before God as you sit there in your pews, and let Him see what He really does see—all that is in your soul—for in your hidden parts He would have you to know wisdom. Reveal yourselves unto yourselves and so reveal yourselves unto your God!

It’s not God’s desire that we live in a state of misery and self-pity. However, it is in our best interest and state to always keep our perspective of how much in need of a Savior we really are. Not just for Salvation, but also everyday. Taking up our cross daily means living a life in full perspective of what the cross has done for us… That is enough to keep me broken.


LOL

Posted: September 30, 2010 in Humor, Off The Wall

I was talking to my friend Andy the other day and we decided that people are to trigger happy in texts and emails with haha’s and lol’s. It’s almost become a problem. Before I judge too harshly though, I must admit I fall into this category. I like handing out haha’s like a fat kid loves cake. It’s almost become a closing salutation, a quick way to get out of the conversation. Or it could be used to make everything better after you just finished trashing them. For instance, “you looked like an idiot today when you said that. haha” See how that worked? If you didn’t add the haha on the end, they would get the impression you, or someone was mad at them. But add that haha and you can all laugh in your joyous bliss of stupidity. It’s the same game Christians play at church when they just gossiped about someone but ended it by saying “bless their heart.” That just made everything they said valid and now a prayer request instead of dissension.  Lol’s can be just a little more bold. Here you can talk about people’s weight, sport’s teams, clothes, hairstyles, and even their mama’s, as long as you add those three precious letters. The problem is we have all become the boy who cried wolf in our text messages. I mean do you really think the person at the other end is “laughing out loud,” or especially ROTFL “rolling on the floor laughing?” A teenager text that to me a while back and I told them to get up or they might get their clothes dirty. Their response: “Huh?” My response: “Stop rolling on the floor laughing.” Their response: “I’m not.” My response: “You just said you were ROTFLing.” Their response: “Oh…HAHA LOL.” See? It’s an issue. So how do we resolve this? Three quick things:

1. Type out as many HAHA’s as it will let you!

That’s right…all 160 character’s. Be overly dramatic about it. That way they respond with, you think it was that funny huh? By which you bomb them with more HAHA’s. Besides, if it’s that funny, can you really have enough HAHA’s? I think not.

2. Type out “I’m literally laughing out loud.”

Most people will respond to you by saying “all you need to type is LOL.” By which you respond, “LOL cannot begin to do justice to the laughter you just instilled upon my day.” They will probably just say “K” after that.

3. Abbreviate Everything

This will just confuse them to the point where they will never want to use another abbreviation as long as they live. Me: “HAYDT?” Them: “What?” Me: “I said how are you doing today? What don’t you talk text? Everyone knows that.” Carry this out for ten minutes and they will never want to text again. Or at least you again.

So…it’s becoming a problem. Maybe we should STA “start taking action.” YWM? K

I Heart My Life

Posted: September 24, 2010 in About Me, Encouraging, My Faith

I was driving into work the other morning and was behind a guy at a red-light that had a bumper sticker that said I heart my wife. Just as I was thinking “Awww how sweet,” I pulled up next to them. Where they were acting out an episode of Jerry Springer or Maury or whatever other trashy show of their choice might be, and in some sort of heated exchange over who knows what. It was at that moment that I wondered if he hearted his wife like he so boldly proclaims he does. With that $2 bumper sticker his wife bought him in the airport flying to their honeymoon in Fij… I mean Las Vegas.

I don’t have a wife to heart, although if my sisters have what they want, that could end up changing, but I can say that I definitely heart my life. I just want to share three things God has shown me recently as to reasons why:

1. Because I have a God who loves me for me, even though He truly KNOWS me.

It blows me away every time I can look in the mirror and realize I am forgiven. Even through the deepest and darkest moments of my life, God loves me the same. I can’t get over that and hope I never do. To sit in awe and think that all of my sins were future sins when Christ died on the cross, always causes me to run to Him when I stumble, not run and try to hide those things. Isaiah 43:1-2

2. Because I have a family that EXEMPLIFIES what it looks like to stay FAITHFUL to God, even through the hardest of times.

Most of you that read my blog know that the last several years have brought many ups and downs for our family.  My dad has been in an ongoing battle with cancer for a long time now and literally has good days and bad. But through it all, I see his faith being strengthened constantly and his love and walk with God is deeper than it’s ever been and my family is resounding his faith. They are a picture of the true gospel to me. That following Jesus is not going to make you wealthy, it does not guarantee you will be healthy, the message of Scripture and the gospel is not that following Him everything goes right, but that He is ENOUGH no matter what happens. Colossians 1:17

3. Because I have friends that SHARPENS me when I need it, and LAUGHS with me even when I’m not funny.

This is a hard one for me because I have definitely done my fair share of letting people down. It is too easy sometimes to let your own pride, irresponsibility, and sin get in the way of the people you genuinely care about. I’m just blessed that even through it all, God is faithful to put people in our life that helps stir our affections towards Him, and keep encouraged to stay the course. It would be a hard life if those friends weren’t around. Proverbs 27:17

I’ll post more on this topic later on…

I remember as a kid growing up and talking about this with my sisters and my friends. Like walking into your house and not sure where everyone is, only later to find out they are outside playing croquet or something. There is still that moment where your heart skips a beat and you start looking for random clothes to be laying on the ground somewhere because just maybe…you missed it.

A couple of times a week I go to Jon Acuff’s blog here and read some hilarious posts on Stuff Christians like. I could literally repost almost all his articles everyday because they are that funny, but it’s easier for you to click a link. Every once in a while he will include a guest post from someone and many times, they are hilarious as well. Yesterday was that day. Jon posted an article from Curtis Honeycutt’s blog here. I decided to repost part of it here as well. Enjoy.

Thinking the Rapture Has Happened When You’re Alone

”The Son has come and you’ve been left behind.”

-DC Talk

As I sit here writing this in my office on a Monday morning, I’m kind of wondering is this has actually happened. Fact: Monday mornings at a church can be a lonely place. It’s like when an NFL team wins on Sunday. They get Monday off. The only difference is, the admin staff at the football office isn’t sitting around wondering, “Hey, I wonder if everyone else got sucked up into heaven, leaving their clothes in a pile?” The chances of the football team’s admin staff being left behind because T.O. isn’t there? Pretty slim. The chances of the church’s admin staff being left behind because the pastor and worship leader aren’t there? Moderately likely.

Here are a few scenarios like the one I’m currently in, shaking in my Tom’s shoes, and the likelihood that the rapture has happened:

Jogging on a Sunday Morning

You’re wearing your t-shirt that says “I went to church on Saturday night”, and so you think you’re covered. But, as you jog around your neighborhood, the early morning fog is very post-rapture like. The only person you see on your street is the lady who has a garage sale every other week. Chances you missed the rapture? 11%

Hanging Out at Hobby Lobby

Here’s the sitch (short for situation… a shout out to Kim Possible and I didn’t want to say situation because it makes you think of an set of orange six pack abs, (Jersey Shore reference)): You’re in the scrapbooking aisle at Hobby Lobby, or, as I call it, the Hob Lob. Mellow hymns are subtly piping through the speakers. You look around, noticing there isn’t a soul within a mile of the seasonal décor. Has the trump resounded? Should you be worried? Absolutely. There’s an 83% chance that you’ve been left behind.

At the Narnia: Dawn Treader Premiere

If you find yourself dressed up as Aslan, camped out for the premiere of the new Chronicles of Narnia movie, Dawn Treader, and no one else sets up their tent next to yours, has the rapture happened? Has your dawn been treaded on? Probably not. You’re that guy in the lion costume in a tent, however, Christians do love them some Narnia, so there’s still a 27% chance that all Christians in the world are hovering in the air with Jesus.

At Chick-Fil-A (On a Sunday)

After church, you’ve got a mean hankering for a chicken sandwich with a pickle. Yeah. Chick-Fil-A is probably the best place to eat waffle fries in the whole world. You get there and there aren’t any cars in the parking lot. The lights are off. But, you’ve neglected the well-known fact that Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays, and, because of that, that is exactly when you want it the very most. The guy in the cow suit deserves a day off to be with his calves. Have the clouds been rolled back like a scroll? Probably not, but you didn’t remember the Sunday closed thing, so… 33% chance. You should know better.

So what about you? Have you ever wondered if the rapture has happened?

My Hope

Posted: September 8, 2010 in About Me, Life Change, My Faith

33…that’s what I turned this week. It is crazy how fast time goes by when you get into your late 20’s and early 30’s. I remember growing up in school where it seemed I would never graduate. Then to spend another four years in college seemed like it would be way to much. Now it’s already September and I am wondering where the New Year went too.

The thing that has been on my mind this week as I am now rolling in my 30’s is the fact that I am at the age that Jesus was when He decided to die for me. I tried to meditate a little on that earlier this week and put myself in His place for just a moment. I remember thinking as a kid in Sunday school, as I watched the teacher put up the flannel graph characters on the board, that Jesus lived a long and fulfilled life here on earth. Now that I am at the age He was, I realize how much I have yet to learn and feel like I need to accomplish before my time on earth expires. It hit me again that one of the most amazing things about Christ is that even though His time on earth wasn’t long, it was fulfilled just like it was written in Romans 5:8.

As I looked back this week over what I have learned this past year I realized the biggest thing that God has shown me. Not only have I fallen in love with Him more, I have also learned even more, and have become more passionate about the gospel. Not that I didn’t know what the gospel was but I can see it and live it in a different light now. I must confess, I have always looked at the gospel as “good news” because it the way to Christ, who is the way to salvation. I have lived as though the gospel is only what gets you out of Hell, and into Heaven. Even though this is true, that’s just the tip of the iceberg as to what the gospel does and can do in our life. It’s not just the gospel that saves us, it’s the gospel that sustains us as well. That is the greatest thing I’ve learned over the last year. To live my life through gospel lenses. To weigh everything on what Christ did for me on the Cross. To see Him in a way that far outweighs all my good, and thankfully, all my bad. It is amazing how your whole perspective can change, when you see life for what Christ did and is doing, and suddenly all the things that seem so important and life altering aren’t quite as drastic as they once were, and to me, that’s a relief.

My Hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…