Blackout: What’s Important?

January 26, 2012 Comments Off on Blackout: What’s Important?

Q: Ever wondered why after drinking excessive amounts of alcohol people can’t remember anything?

A: Upon consuming alcohol (which is made up of ethanol), it enters your blood stream and dissolves in the water of the blood; therefore, taking the place of the water in your body. The alcohol is then carried throughout your body (especially to the brain) and begins to effect it. Drink enough alcohol, fast enough, and the alcohol content in your bloodstream becomes so powerful that your body has to begin to prioritize what key functions it plans on being able to use in your brain because it can’t keep up. Drink too much alcohol and your body has a choice of only 2 options:

Die or stop remembering and help vital functions remain active (such as the cerebellum, which controls motor skills).

For many, drinking alcohol is an attempt to feel more confident, outgoing, or lively– becoming something you’re not. For all of humanity, sin is an attempt to become more like God- to be all knowing and have discernment what is right and wrong for us, to be something we’re not.

Scientifically speaking, alcohol (which is ethanol) replaces the water in our bloodstream; however, it is also easily dissolved by water.

If you feel like sin is dragging you down, if you feel like no matter what you do sin has become a part of your life, that no matter where you go you always find yourself tripped up by sin in every relationship…There is someone that wants to change your life.

John 7:38 Jesus says “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” See, you may feel like that you have no chance, you may feel like you are one drink away from ending it all and sending yourself over the edge. But there is a God that loves you, there is a Savior that wants to give you living water that can dissolve that sin away from you forever.

“But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” -John 4:14

 

3 Truths in 1

December 23, 2011 Comments Off on 3 Truths in 1

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” -John 8:31-32

As I attended Elevation Church‘s Code Orange Christmas services this week and saw hundreds give their life to Christ, something struck me about seeing a certain young boy, probably about 10 years old, stand up to dedicate his life to Christ.

For most of us we overlook children as being able to comprehend things and understand what’s going on, but really they do understand and fully get it. However, there’s something bigger going on in this situation.

1) The truth knows no age, no sin, no requirement, but presents itself to the soul within. The truth, being that Jesus Christ came to die for our sins as the ultimate sacrifice and offers us eternal life as He is the son of God, comes to someone regardless of their age, young or old, and gives itself to anyone that is willing to hear it. Many people often times set up a barrier around their heart, they come into a situation because their preferences mean more to them then Gods presence. Often times, we come into a house of worship automatically turned off because it has too much lighting, not enough lighting, or they aren’t playing our favorite worship songs, but you have to remember it’s not about us. It’s about Him. Let go of your preference and enter into His presence.

2) The truth engages where we have been, where we are, and where we are going in our lives. No matter what is going on in your life in this moment, God has a part in it. The promises of God never forsaking you, of always loving you, and of protecting you against your enemies always was, is, and will be apart of your life forevermore if you are a christian.

3) We don’t base our faith on feelings, but on the truth. Our faith is never about what we are feeling for that day or any kind of feeling that can manipulated, it’s solely based on the truth of the gospel in the bible. When we allow ourselves to base our faith on feelings, we begin to enter into a constant downward and upward battle for how close we feel with God on a day to day basis. Instead, we should base our faith on what the bible tells us and what has already been promised about this lifetime- that God will always be with us.

Come as You Are

October 16, 2011 Comments Off on Come as You Are

40But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  43Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:40-43

Did you know there is absolutely no qualifications or level of deeds required to be a christian? None. Yet, we still get so down on ourselves for feeling like we let God down – feeling like we lost our faith because we’re not good enough to stay on track with what the bible says.

There are those of us that live our life not living in the joy and peace of Jesus. We aren’t saved by Jesus and have no intention on doing so because we could never be good enough to ever enter a church. We feel outcasted because of our past, so we forget our future. It’s like our one wrong decision has stamped us as a failure for the rest of our life and we can’t seem to escape it.

However, you are missing the point, the true amazing love that Christ has shown us and is offering all of us today:

Jesus accepts you for who you are, no matter your circumstance or resume, but He doesn’t plan to leave you as you are. We serve a come as you are God, not because He’s that desperate for our attention or that lonely, but because He loves you that much.

Exactly like the thief on the cross in Luke 23, Jesus doesn’t care what you did in your past – He didn’t even care why the thief was hanging there. Jesus doesn’t want to know where you’ve been, but where you plan on going. The thief believed that Jesus was Lord of all by asking Him to remember him in Heaven.

Come as you are to Jesus this very day. Start at the cross and let the thief be a constant reminder that Jesus loves you just as you are and wants to spend eternity with you because He loves you that much.

No More Aquariums

October 11, 2011 Comments Off on No More Aquariums

“Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” -Matthew 4:19

What does an aquarium really do for a fish? It provides a safe, secure, clean, and effortless place to thrive and live amongst the other fish. Providing no predators, no uncharted areas to explore, or concern to the fish – besides swimming around and looking pretty for everyone watching them.

For so many people today, you manage your own aquarium of your faith. You surround yourself with the same people, same small group, same weekly routine of showing up. You like the idea of keeping things the way they are, just trying to keep the aquarium running, and playing a game of religion rather than faith in Christ.

Jesus called us to be fishers of men, not keepers of the aquarium.

Our faith can only grow to a certain extent when all we do is surround ourself with like-minded people. Think about Jesus, our leader, He put himself out into the streets with the common people. Jesus had so much compassion for anyone that was willing to hear and receive the truth. There was no qualification to hear Jesus speak or to have a conversation with Him.

Yes, it is important to have a good core, supporting group of people around you. But it is not biblical to thrive only in that group and only encourage and build up those members. That’s called being selfish. Church world likes to tell us that the church is the only place we can thrive, only place that we should invest in. We are called to have our part in the body of believers, but to advance the kingdom and pour out our heart on those that are the exact opposite.

The truth of the matter is: the people that you judge and think are bellow you because they don’t go to the same church as you, same campus ministry, or even same religion are the people you should be spending the most time around. 

To be a true fisher of man, you must allow yourself to be vulnerable to the people that need to hear the truth and love that Jesus has in store for their life. Jesus invested in the most diseased and social outcasts of his time, not just his disciples. Jesus spent time around his disciples to empower them to go out and be fishers of men, not be an exclusive judging group of men.

You have to be willing to elevate them above yourself: Jesus never condemned anyone, rather offered them something greater than what they had – eternal life and love.

Why Sex?

October 5, 2011 Comments Off on Why Sex?

“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” -1 Corinthians 6:18

Research shows that every 39 minutes, a new pornographic movie is made. Every second $3,075 dollars is spent on pornography. With a mind blowing worldwide revenue of $97.06 billion in 2006. The iraq war is costing us on average of $9 billion per month, meaning we can go to war for 10 months and still have $7.06 billion left over with the amount of money we spent on porn in 2006. Oh and just a side note, the statistics show that women are just as active as men in buying porn.

Why? Why is so much money spent? Why is sexual pleasure such a sought after thing?

Sex was created to create life, to bond 1 man and 1 woman together through marriage – never to be the top grossing industry for anyone to see and find pleasure in. Demographic statistics show that the most popular segment in age is 18 and younger.

Man and woman were created to co-exist, to enjoy each others company- read Genesis. Sin entered the world and became attractive to Eve because the devil made her believe that God would never find out, that God didn’t know what was best for her.

Sin has a viscous cycle of taking your interest in something and turning it into your slave. Sin encapsulates and destroys your heart and your mind, leaving you with degraded thoughts and feelings about yourself. God does know what’s best for us because He was the one that created us. We believe that God doesn’t want us to enjoy our life, to enjoy pleasure – which is totally false, God wants us to enjoy the pleasure of finding love, belonging, and purpose in Him. Not ourselves.

If this is you today, you do not have to be a slave for any longer. God has the power to forgive and purify your mind, but it cannot be simply fixed through just prayer. Sexual sin is more than repentance, it takes outward changes to fix the inward disease inside you, known as sexual sin. Find an accountability partner, someone that you can be transparent with!

This is an epidemic and if my generation doesn’t put a stop to this, we are going to go into poverty over sex. It’s far time for a generation to rise up that is willing to put a stop to this, to give a solution to this sexual slavery. The root of the problem isn’t so much that sex feels good, but that it creates a sense of belonging for the participant. Sin has the power to strip you of joy, to become an infectious disease in your life and grow into an addiction and slave driver – controlling your thoughts and actions.

As human beings we long to belong to something, we long to be feel accepted and apart of more than ourselves. We long to feel special, that someone actually cares about us and finds something about us attractive. If this is you today, choose to belong to God. God will never take advantage of you, nor will He take away your happiness, but will reimburse you with an eternal joy and belonging in Heaven. It’s never too late to come to God, nor is there a sin too great to repent of or ask forgiveness for.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” -1 Corinthians 10:13

Anchor Me

September 11, 2011 Comments Off on Anchor Me

My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Proverbs 3:1-4

If you’re like me, you love the outdoors. I especially enjoy fishing and being out on the water. After spending numerous hours in the boat I realized that the most important thing you can have on a boat is the anchor.

If the boat doesn’t have an anchor, the boat is at the mercy of the waves and the wind…Which is not good for all of you that have been on a boat. Having a strong enough anchor may seem like an added weight on your boat, but is the most important item to have in your boat.

For so many people today, we look at the bible at the standard for our way of life. Which is totally great, but for so many of those same people we look at what the bible tells us as a burden rather than an anchor.

Jesus is our ultimate anchor, chained by the word of God. Jesus wants to anchor our life in truth, love, and compassion– not be a burden. But for some of us, we don’t desire to be anchored down. We live our life floating around, aimlessly ending up wherever the waves will take us. We don’t care because we hurt by our lives, fully jealous of the people that seem to have it together- jealous of the people that are on the stage.

We waste our days trying to get rid of the pain in our hearts. We live our present trying to defeat our past- floating our life away.

The only thing that can ever defeat your past in Jesus. The only thing that you can trust to always be there and love you is Jesus. The only thing that can save you from eternal suffering in Hell is Jesus.

Trust Jesus. Let him anchor your life in where you’re at right now, not float away. Start caring about your life and live in the truth that Jesus is more powerful than your problem and can stop everything around you- He can anchor your life. It’s about time you anchor your eternity in Heaven.

1 Corinthians 10:13

July 8, 2011 Comments Off on 1 Corinthians 10:13

“13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” -1 Corinthians 10:13

As I reflected on the short, yet sweet 19 years of my life today I came to this conclusion: God never put me through something that He wasn’t sitting on the other end waiting for me. Whether it was a traumatic break-up that meant more to me than it ever should have, a family crisis, a death in the family, a difficult living circumstance, or a burden that someone close to me had to endure. He was always waiting.

1 Corinthians 10:13 describes God as never allowing you to go through something more than you can stand, but really it’s more than He can withstand for you. God will allow you to go through a difficult time in your life; whether it’s a financial difficulty, a body image issue, a family crisis, or many other things. Remember the last sentence “When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure”. Don’t be afraid to look up in your situation and look for a way out because it’s right there.

I think so often times we tend to blame ourselves for a bad situation- we tell ourselves that if we would have been living better this “bad thing” would have never happened. Listen to the truth: God is loving and a caring God that accepts you for as you are, not for who you think you should be. There is no standard of good deed or desire from Him to wear makeup, God wants you to respond and look to Him right where you are, no matter the situation.

Do not live in condemnation because Jesus conquered condemnation and death, so that you would be able to always have a way out in times of trouble.

There is no reason to hide what you’re going through because He’s waiting for you to turn to Him. There is no shame or guilt,  but only the opportunity to find an end to your hurt and pain- give it to God.

God is waiting for you right now, exactly where you are.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”  Psalm 103:12

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