My Thoughts

My Thoughts on Christianity and Other Things

Archive for the month “October, 2013”

I Am A Wanted Man

Acts 13:48
When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers.

I have been writing about several things in my blog since I started. But one of the main things I have been writing about is how much God loves us. I very rarely talk about myself whether good or bad, but here it goes.

Recently we had a class at church and in small groups we were to tell about our experience in the church. Not in a church building, but church as in the body of Christ. People in my group told of their experience, and then I told mine. One person in my group said something I never fully thought about before. But now I want to share it with you.

My family moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, just in time for me to start high school. Moving to New Orleans was a real culture shock. There were lots of voodoo, witchcraft, and racism. In the early 1970s I know of one high school that had Witchcraft as an elective. I’m sure there were others. Just think, in high school you could chose to take shop, home-making, or witchcraft.

One day I found some high school students that belong to Youth For Christ. After awhile I asked Jesus into my heart… mostly. I could see that to fit in I should witness to others about Jesus. But I wanted to play it safe. So I handed out tracts at our Christian church youth group. To my surprise, my parents were getting complaints from other parents. I was told to never hand out Christian tracts at that church again, even if it was a Christian church. I knew something was wrong.

Later I enlisted in the US Coast Guard and was stationed in Alaska. And there I turned my back on the Lord. I never really done anything very bad… except I did steal a wedding cake once. (You can read more about this in my book A Whole Mess Load Of Grace.) A chief cook who happened to be a Christian would often invite me over to have lunch with his wife and himself. And of course he would talk to me about Jesus.

When I was transferred to Seattle, again someone was talking to me about Jesus. I again ask the Lord into my life and this time I meant it. Since that time I have been laughed at, fired from a job, insulted, even from those who were close to me. Once at a job someone did sloppy work and then signed my name to it. A real friend found out about it before I did, told me and even reported the whole wrong doing to our supervisor. (I don’t like talking about all this, but for some reason I feel I should.)

When I was done with my little story someone in our little group said it’s amazing how great God’s faithfulness is. God wanted me and was faithful to me. And after all that I’ve gone through, I stayed faithful to our Lord. And even though I am thankful for this, I am awed by it all. What is it that would allow me to turn to God, and not the next guy? The Bible says we are chosen. Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.” How does that work? What makes me so special? These are things I don’t understand. When you consider that we are chosen and yet it’s our choice, it gets complicated.

If you apply for a job and and get it, it shows that you not only chose that job, the employer also chose you. Very simply I believe this is how it works with God. But then if you add in the fact that God knows everything, he would know that you would chose Him if given the chance. (Even if it’s not the first chance.) So I believe God would do whatever it takes to give you the chance to turn to Him. God gives that person a chance to repent. To make things more complicated, what about those who God chooses that normally would not follow Christ, like Saul? Saul at first didn’t even like Christians, but Christ chose him anyway. I could go on, but I won’t.

But I’m starting to get off topic. Some may say I survived persecution, but I haven’t. I haven’t been persecuted yet. I hope I never will be. Even though I do not like to be insulted, I don’t consider insults to be persecution. I know some may say getting fired is being persecuted. But let’s face it, this is nothing compared to what many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are going through in this country and around the world. Will I do as well as they do when the time comes? If it comes? I hope so. But I really don’t want to find out.

Mark 13:13
And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

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Mission Fest Seattle

This last weekend my wife and I went to Mission Fest Seattle. We went last year and enjoyed it. This year because my wife is now retired we thought maybe we could find something we would be interested in and that the Lord would be leading us to. If He wants.

There were 81 different exhibitors which included a few universities, three radio stations, and the rest included missions like Word Concern, China Outreach Ministries, SAT-7, Puget Sound Christian Clinic, and many others. There were also several speakers. My wife and I listened to Josh McDowell an evangelist and apologist, and Linda Smith a former US Congress and founder of War Against Trafficking Alliance. Both of them were good speakers and had some very sobering things to say.

There were 86 separate individual seminars. There is no way one can take in all of them from 4:00 Friday afternoon to 9:00 Saturday night. You only have 6 opportunities attend to them, so you really had to pick and choose. My wife and I went to Reaching Evolutionists With The Marvel Of God by Mark Champney and he presented to us parts of his video Evolution Demolition. It was very interesting. I enjoyed it.

I also went to Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Mission Field On Your Doorstep by Richard Berghammer from Mormons Need Hope. There I learned that I have been telling the Jehovah’s Witnesses about Jesus the wrong way. Turns out when I tell them what the Bible really says, they stop listening. They are trained not to listen to anyone who is not with the Watch Tower, or to even question what they have been taught to other Jehovah Witnesses. From what I understand, you must keep them in a ‘teaching’ mode. If you force the facts, they are trained to think they’re being persecuted. I didn’t say this but the first thing that came to my mind was, “What whimps! Being persecuted means losing your job or being thrown in jail for your beliefs. Not having someone disagreeing with you.”

Later I had trouble deciding which seminar to go to. Do I want to go to The Great Commission Means More Than Go, or do I want to go to Islam, Challenge or Opportunity? For some reason I had a very difficult time deciding. So I did what anyone in the Pacific Northwest would do; I sat down and had coffee. Iced latte, 24 ounce. After all I still had about 15 minutes to decide. I turned around and a young woman sitting behind me stated talking. After we were talking for a while two other people came and started talking with us. After a while my wife came and join in talking with us. It was like a family reunion with brothers and sisters you never met. Maybe the reason I couldn’t decide which seminar to go to was because God wanted me to talk with the woman, just to help raise her spirits.

My wife and I went to Mission Fest Seattle last year and this year. And the Lord willing, we’ll go again next year. For those who can make it the next Mission Fest will be in Vancouver, British Columbia.

What Are You Talking About?

1 Corinthians 3:1-2
Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready,

About 35 years ago my wife and I were visiting her Grandmother. I had been a Christian for only a couple of years then. Anyway her grandmother told me that she was reading about when Jesus was talking to Abraham. The way the Bible was opened; I could tell she was reading in the Old Testament. So I asked “What are you talking about?” “He was one of the three angels.” She said as she showed me in her Bible, but I couldn’t read it. It was written in Norwegian.

When we got home I looked up Jesus in the concordance. But Jesus was not listed in the Old Testament. I looked up Abraham and read Genesis 18, but I didn’t recognized Jesus there.

Soon after that our church was showing a video for a few weeks by Francis Schaeffer. And I thought ‘What in the world is he talking about?’ Many other people wondered what he was talking about too. He was talking way over everybody’s heads. The only thing I got from the videos was that he was some old guy with long hair, wore strange clothes and no body could understand him. (Reading A Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer still makes me go cross eye, a little.)

Years later my wife and I were going to a church with a very knowledgeable pastor there. But many times, many of us didn’t know what he was talking about. He wasn’t saying anything wrong, he was talking way out of our league.

1 Corinthians 3:1-2
Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready,

One thing these three people had in common was they weren’t just having spiritual solid food, these people were enjoying spiritual steak!

A couple of times, when I have been talking to someone about the Bible, they have said that they wished they knew more about what the Bible says. All I can say is, start reading, and keep reading.

There several thoughts on reading the Bible and learning from it. One you can use a reading plan. There are many of them around, just pick one. The first time I used a “Though the Bible in a Year” plan, it only took me 15 months to through the 12 month reading plan. Yes I missed a few days. But I also been looking up places on maps, taking notes, and cross referencing things. For an example from Isaiah I wrote:

6:2-3 same creatures in Revelation 4:6-8?
6:8-13 is maybe the fall of Israel a long time ago
7:14 the birth of Jesus

Another way to read is to pick a subject and study it. What does the Bible really say about judging? Is it always wrong for us to judge? Does the Bible really say Paul fell off his horse when he saw the flash of light? Those who say yes, well you’re wrong. Bible didn’t say Paul was on a horse then.

A third way is to sit down in your easy chair and read it from start to finish. You can’t learn God’s word without reading God’s word.

Any reading or listening outside the Bible, even this blog, you should check it out. That is why I add links to my blog. To make it easier.

1 Thessalonians 5:20-21
Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.

Getting back to my wife’s grandmother. She was right about Jesus being one of the angels with Abraham. I recognize Jesus there now, as well as many other places through out the Bible.

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