10 Lies Your Mom Probably Taught You


Ok, your mom probably did not teach you all of these things, or even some of these things.  But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been nurtured in them by our culture in a very motherly fashion.  Many of these “truths” have been the steady milk our society has caused us to drink for years now.  Some of these things you may have learned from your mom.  But you have learned from other voices that speak in our society that seem almost as authoritative as her.  But, how do these things compare to the mind of Jesus Christ?  What does He think in regard to them.

1.  All religions are essentially the same, so long as you love one another.

Jesus Christ did not die on a cross because He believes all religions are essentially the same.  In fact, He died on a cross because His own people and the world we live in made no room for the faith He came and preached.  And by rising from the dead, and being resurrected, Christ demonstrated the complete incompatibility of the faith He preached with all the other religions in this world.

2. America is a Christian nation.

A nation that owns a stockpile of nuclear weapons and that is ready to use them at a moments notice in order to maintain shalom (peace) cannot even begin to claim it is a Christian nation.  The truth of the matter is, America has never been nor will it ever be able to claim to be a Christian nation.  While many Christians certainly had a hand in helping found this nation, and while many Christian principles were employed in order to do it, the truth of the matter is, there is only one nation on this earth that has the right to call itself Christian– and that is the church of Jesus Christ.

3. God helps those who help themselves.

God has never helped nor will He ever help anybody who helps themselves.  Such a notion is contrary to a proper understanding of God’s grace and favor.  The truth of the matter is, God only helps those who cannot help themselves.  He helps those who recognize they can bring nothing to the table, but can only humbly rely upon Him.

4. Home ownership is a wise financial investment. 

Owning a home is great.  Paying a 30-year mortgage is not.  If you were to take out a 30-year loan out at the ultra low rate of 5% on $200,000, by the time you pay off your mortgage, you will have actually paid closer to $400,000.  This does not include annual property taxes, homeowners insurance, HOA fees, and general maintenance and upkeep costs.  When it is all said and done, your $200,000 home will cost you near $500,000!!!  While it is possible your home will have a 250% return on investment over the course of 30 years, the likelihood of that happening is very slim, unless you live in an area that experiences a large real estate boom.  But even if your home does see a 250% return on it in 30 years, remember, that’s what you need just to break even!  Of course, I am speaking here purely of the financial investment of home ownership.  The emotional return you and your family receive from doing something like this may make it worth the personal destruction of your wealth.  But keep in mind, as Christians we are called to be good stewards of the Lord’s money.  If God has blessed you with the ability to make money, you should probably reconsider destroying your wealth with a 30-year mortgage.  Consider buying a home in cash, or if you must, a 15-year 3.5 % fixed loan at the most.

5.  You can be whatever you want to be when you grow up.

While it may give one a sense of empowerment, and foster a creative mind that causes the child to set a personal goal and seek to achieve it, the truth of the matter is, you cannot be whatever you want when you grow up.  While we live in a world of seemingly endless possibilities, at the end of the day, we are limited and finite.  We can only do so much.  We do not have infinite strength or resources.  But a great truth is that we serve a God who is sovereign and in control.  We serve a God who wants the best for us, who lacks nothing, and is able to do exceedingly above everything that we could ever think or ask.  Instead of teaching children that they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up, we should teach them that God has a purpose and plan, and that He is inviting them to discover that and to participate in that plan.  And by relying on the Lord, they can accomplish whatever He wills for them.

6. Retirement.

The concept of working, saving, and investing for 40 years, so you can one day retire consumes the thoughts of many people today. Indeed, many look at a 401-k, IRA, pension, and social security as a right.  Hasn’t the world always retired at the ripe old age of 65?  Truth be told, the idea of retirement while not a new concept, is something that has not been the common experience for mankind– even in America.  It’s mostly a recent concept that many have been able to experience because we live in a very wealthy society.  And while I don’t knock the concept by any stretch of the imagination (as the priests of the Old Testament retired when they were old enough), we should never look at retirement as a Divine right.  Nor should we all necessarily look at it as a goal that we should all strive to attain.  Indeed, the idea that you and I could possibly spend the last 10, 20, or 30+ years of our life not working isn’t exactly a noble aspiration in the eyes of the Scripture.  Such is more akin to sloth and laziness more than anything.  6 days shall you work and on the 7th you shall rest.  That principle doesn’t stop just because you felt that you were old enough that it shouldn’t apply to you anymore.

7. Good people go to heaven.

While it is true, there are good people who are in heaven, the concept is equally true, that there are good people who go to hell every single day.  The truth of the matter is, no matter how good we think we or others might be, in the eyes of God, there is none good– not even one.  The only people who go to heaven when they die are those who have been made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ, and the mercy He offers to all who call upon His name.

8. Sex before marriage is like test driving a car…

Ok, your mom probably did not teach you this one.  But it is a commonly held belief.  And it seems to make sense though, right?  You would never buy a car without taking it for a test drive.  So, you should never marry a person without having sex with them for a while too, right?  While this seems like bullet proof logic, the logic in it is ultimately flawed.  Cars and people are not the same.  People are created in the image and likeness of God, and should not be likened to the same treatment as an inanimate hunk of metal.  People are not meant to be test-driven.  People are meant to be loved, respected, and treated as Jesus Christ would treat them.  They are not meant to be used.

9.  Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.

While this saying probably originally had in mind some useless pillar-saint type individual, it has been recently expanded to include anybody who would have a serious devotional life.  The saying has come to be used as a pejorative towards anybody who takes their faith “too seriously,” and is used by people who wish to justify their own carnal and hellish life.  But as Leonard Ravenhill pointed out, there is no such thing as a man that is too heavenly minded.  Indeed, what the world needs most is men who are consumed with heaven.  To be heavenly minded is to be of earthly good.

10. You only get one shot at life, so you better make the most of it.

This statement is true, but only if you are going to hell.  For those of us who are amongst the redeemed, this life is not all that there is.  Indeed, we as Christians look forward to life everlasting.  We look forward to the day in which the dead shall be raised.  We long for the resurrection and the age to come.  As a result, if we are unable to fulfill all the desires on our “bucket list,” (the things we want to do before we die) then we shall die in perfect peace.  Why?  Because we who are living our lives in light of eternity realize that even should we not get to do all the things we want to do before we die, we ultimately have all of eternity to fulfill all the desires and longings of our heart.  If you don’t get to visit Hawaii before you die… it’s ok.  Hawaii as great as it is now will be all the better in the age to come.


The Forgotten Promise: War No More


The Memorial Day holiday was originally dedicated to remembering the fallen dead of the American Civil War.  Then as the years went on, and America became involved in further and greater wars, in which many more young men gave their lives, the holiday was further expanded to memorialize the dead of all war.  And sadly, the dead shall continue to be multiplied, as in recent years America has entered into everlasting and unending war.

In light of the unending war we as a nation have entered into, I want to take a moment not to remember the great number of dead who have given their lives for our nation.  Rather, I want to take a moment to remember a prophetic promise and the Messianic hope that many have long forgotten.

And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war. – (Isaiah 2:4 NASB)

What an amazing promise to read.  But my question to you is do you have the faith to believe it?  And having the faith to believe it, are you looking to participate in this great hope?  Whether for “just” or unjust reasons, there is a natural bent mankind and the nations have to propagate war.  It is something our political leaders are well versed in, even in “Christian” America.  But here we read there is nothing Christian about war.  Jesus never once taught His disciples how to fight in a war– not even a just one.  And if America were truly the Christian nation we claim it to be, we would have never taken up the sword against King George in England, nor would we have ever dropped the atomic bomb three times on Japan.  Why?  Because Jesus has never taught us to do such things.

Indeed, I would be so bold to say that if you have learned war it is because you have been a disciple of somebody other than Jesus Christ.

The only reason the nations wage war against one another, be it for just or unjust reasons, is because they have yet to submit themselves to the rule and reign of the Messiah, who teaches men to beat the instruments of their warfare into tools for harvest.  If nations would be taught of Him, they would stop spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year on national defense.  If nations would be taught of Him, they would not have to secure their borders.  If nations would be taught of Him, they would not have to destroy those upon the “Axis of Evil” to experience liberty.  If men would be taught of Him, they would know nothing of the fear that leads one man to slaughter another.

Instead of war, we would know the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.  But because we do not know that peace, and have forgotten this great Messianic promise and hope, we learn war.


Goodbye Oprah! — The Untold Story


This week, after a 25 year run, The Oprah Winfrey Show has finally come to an end.  CNN and other news networks wrote a glowing review of the positive contribution Oprah has made towards society.  Personal testimonies abounded of the difference Oprah made in their lives, and the inspiration she brought to them during troubled times.  Women everywhere cried.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

Why?  Because there is an untold story that many homes know all to well– but is never reported on.  It is the story that countless men could attest to.  It is the story of a man who, after working hard all day at the office, comes home to a wife whose mind and spirit has been poisoned by Oprah.  His wife now wonders what her husband has really being “doing” all day at the office.  Her children wonder at the new “philosophy” and “spirituality” mommy now embraces– it’s definitely not what they learned about in Sunday school.  And women everywhere are now empowered by a foolish and silly spirit that has taught them to love the superficial, and to not really care about that which is true.

What has been especially alarming is how much Oprah has been embraced and celebrated by born-again, Spirit-filled, Evangelical Christian women.  Oprah has become something of a prophet to them.  So much so that one sister in the Lord I know, when Oprah “gave God the glory” on her final broadcast, couldn’t help but stand on the roof-tops of Facebook, and proclaim on multiple pages how excited she was that this had happened.  You would have thought a religious revival had occurred, or that maybe Jesus had returned on May 21st after all.  Is it no wonder that Casting Crowns has had to sing, “What if the family turned to Jesus, instead of asking Oprah what to do?”

Honestly, the only way Oprah could have given God the glory on her final TV show was if she would’ve renounced the 25 years of pollution she has littered the air-waves with.  Oprah, the false prophet she is, has consistently promoted ideals and values that have regularly been exalted against the true knowledge of God.  These things have destroyed homes, led others into sin, and has caused the image of God in creation to be further corrupted.  And she did all of this in the name of making a buck off the souls of countless millions who loved to tune in day after day, week after week, and year after year.  Those who have loved her– even among God’s people –may not realize it, but they have loved Oprah and have enjoyed having their ears tickled by her, because ultimately, they have not loved God as they ought.  You cannot love Oprah and Jesus at the same time.

This is the untold story of Oprah Winfrey.  CNN may have not picked it up.  But somebody who has lived a little bit of life and spent some time talking to Jesus has.


Harold Camping: May 21st, The End of the World, and You


In the last few weeks, a gross amount of attention has been given to a man by the name of Harold Camping.  Harold, as we all probably know, has predicted that Jesus Christ will return to rapture His church tomorrow, on May 21st, 2011.  Now normally, I don’t give this sort of stuff any attention.  But I can’t help but notice the great amount of people who have.  I guess there is nothing more important happening in this world right now, and it must just be a slow news cycle.  Such claims of men who say they know when Jesus will return, as we all know from history, aren’t entirely unusual.  Though of course, they are a bit odd and out of place considering that the Lord explicitly taught that no man knows the day or the hour of His return.  Most Christians understand this very basic teaching, and aren’t in the slightest way moved by it.

Yet without fail, every few years somebody comes along who feels that through their diligent research and study of the Scriptures, or by means of some secret divine revelation, they have managed to figure out something that nobody else has figured out.  They know the timing of Christ’s return!  And to some degree, many of us laugh at it all.  So much so that some people even throw end of the world parties.  But tonight I’ve realized something about Harold Camping.  Harold Camping is a paradigm of how many Evangelicals study the Scriptures.  When you look at Harold Camping, instead of thinking you see some crazy old man and false teacher,  realize that you just might be looking into a mirrored reflection of yourself.

We all have been influenced by some Bible teacher over the years who just seemed like he had an amazing grasp of the Scriptures.  Every time such a teacher speaks, great mysteries and levels of understanding just seem to be unlocked, and we are blown away by his penetrating insights and discoveries.  We highly esteem such individuals.  So much so, we want to be like them.  So we do what comes naturally, we do our best to try and imitate them.  So we spend a lot of time reading the Scriptures, memorizing verses, and being extremely caught up in the world of theology and Biblical studies.  We highlight every passage and look up ever single word in a dictionary.

But a problem occurs.  Through our first few readings of the Scriptures, we find ourselves having a hard time understanding them.  We discover we aren’t as insightful as our beloved Bible teacher after all.  But not wanting to be ignorant, and always wanting to have some super deep spiritual insight to share with others, we attempt to look very hard to find some hidden gem.  And when that is not enough, we begin to try and squeeze water out of rocks.  Why?  Because something of our pride is tickled, and we want to say we understand something great and awesome, and appear insightful to others.  And because of such, we become poor Bible students.  And instead of being blown away by the awesome work of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross and in His resurrection, we find ourselves caught up in lesser things.

Why do we do such?  I’m convinced we do such because we are ultimately bored with Biblical Christianity and the faith once and for all handed down to the saints.  Because we think the cross is so elementary, we move on to what we consider the real “deep things of God.”  But in doing such, we’ve show ourselves to be deceived.  For there is no greater mystery in all of the universe to understand than God crucified.  And if you can ever get bored with this mystery, then it shows you’ve never really even begun to understand it.  There is no nugget of truth greater or any insight more precious than what God did in Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago.

This isn’t to say we should neglect the study of eschatology– the doctrine of the last days.  We should most certainly study these things.  But my main point is this:  if we can’t rightly understand the doctrines of the last days in light of what Christ did 2,000 years ago on the cross and in His resurrection from the dead, then we can’t honestly expect to understand anything at all.  For in that place is found all insight and knowledge.  And apart from a mastery understanding of what Christ did there, the rest of the Bible will be a very dark place.  And it will be a very dark place for you, because like Harold Camping, you’ve became bored with the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And God doesn’t want you to understand the precious truths contained in the Scriptures apart from the truth found in Christ.

So, make fun of Harold Camping all you want.  But consider that perhaps God has raised such a man up to serve as a mirror for you to gaze in.  And be warned, that in making fun of Harold Camping, you are only making fun of yourself.


St. Jimmy’s Apocalypse


Through the centuries and even into our day, there has been a great fascination with the great theme of apocalypse.  We find the theme taken up by everybody from ancient prophetic writers to modern day Hollywood producers.  It is intuitive to human nature, and has been a common observation, that all things that have a beginning must eventually have an end.  It is a cycle that repeats itself, and is plain for all to see.  Indeed, this truth is so self-evident, that not even a fool would probably doubt it.  All things must come to an end.

As you are probably aware, the Scriptures contain some writings that would be classified as “apocalyptic.”  A lot of people have given much time and energy to studying and debating the apocalyptic books of the Bible.  Few books have caused more controversy than the apocalyptic book of Revelation.  It is a book loaded with powerful, violent, and majestic imagery that depicts the finality of this age and history as we know it.  In it we read of great and terrible things that God promises will one day come upon the entire world.

As an American, we feel a strange disconnect in our rather comfortable and affluent lifestyles from that of the events we read of in Revelation.  Our fascination for the book is little different than a motorist who slows down to observe a terrible car accident on the side of the road.  Our interest in the wreck and our interest in the book of Revelation is almost entirely morbid.  We want to see, not because we have any heartfelt interest, but because we enjoy the titillation of it all.

But the book of Revelation was never written so that one could have idle curiosities aroused and satisfied.  For God doesn’t really care if you know and understand anything about the end of the world.  Rather, God has granted us a knowledge of these things so that even in the midst of great trial, turmoil, and tribulation, you might gain a revelation– not of the end of the world — but of Jesus Christ.  And truth be told, at the end of the day that is what the book of Revelation is about.  It is not a book about the end of the world, but it is a book about Jesus Christ.  As has been often pointed out, the book is not named the Revelation of St. John, or the Revelation of the End of the World, but it is named the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

And I think it is important that God chose to give us a revelation of Jesus Christ in an apocalyptic context.   Why?  I believe God did this so that when “apocalyptic” events happen in my own life, I might learn to not be consumed by the events that unfold around me, but that in those events,  I might learn to be consumed by Him who sits on the throne.  When the foundations of the earth shake and the stars from heaven fall upon me in my own life,  I need to remember that there is One to whom “all blessing and honor and glory and power” belongs to.  In such times I need to be reminded that though a flood of satanic furry be released against me, and though the armies of hell may march upon everything that I have ever known, there remains One who comes seated upon a white horse, slaying all His enemies with the sword that comes out of His mouth.

Should the Lord tarry, none of us will live through the apocalyptic times depicted in the Scriptures.  But none of us will be without apocalyptic moments in our lives.  For in this world, we will have trial and tribulation.  Catastrophic, life changing events will suddenly happen to us without notice, and the future as we know it will suddenly come to an end.  But when these things happen, we must look at them as events ordered by God to introduce us to a greater knowledge of Him.  These events are an opportunity for us to turn aside and see Jesus Christ.

Today, I have reason to reflect upon an apocalyptic event that happened in my life just over two years ago.  The event was almost without notice, and brought many things in my world to an end.  And today, I am still not quite sure all that happened in those days.  But in those days, when my world came suddenly crashing down, I was given a unique revelation of Jesus Christ.  And though those days were some of the worst days of my life, looking back, I know they were also my best.  They were my best, not because of anything great happening in them.  But they were great because in the midst of it all, I had a revelation of Christ that I could have not otherwise obtained apart from going through my own personal apocalypse.

The revelation of Jesus Christ that comes through apocalypse is so awesome, that even though all the turmoil that is written of in the book of Revelation is still yet future, the final cry from its pages is “Come Lord Jesus!”  Such a cry is not superficial or cheap.  It is a heartfelt cry that recognizes that though one may have to go through a living hell in order to experience the revelation of Jesus Christ, the intimate knowledge one gains of Christ during such times is ultimately worth it.  So when you are going through hell, embrace the apocalypse God has ordained for your life.  For in doing so, you will be brought into a greater and more intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ, and you will see Him as you never saw Him before.  You will have a revelation.


God– The Giver, Killer, and Fulfiller of Dreams


Have you ever had a dream?  By “dream” I don’t necessarily mean something you experience as you sleep at night.  Rather, I mean that God-given inspiration that lodges itself in your heart and mind to work towards a specific goal and outcome.  In a mere moment, you experience a crystalized thought that captures everything that you are, and becomes the primary driving force of everything you are about.

God is the giver of dreams.  Through the study of Scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit, God will often take a thought and like a seed, plant it into the depths of who we are.  He will water and nurture that dream.  And from that moment, we will passionately labor to bring that which we do not see into existence. 

And from that moment, everything is a smooth ride into the sunset, right?  …WRONG!

God is also the killer of dreams.  It is my conviction that every dream that God births in us God will also effectually put to death.  And by that I mean there is nothing God births in you that you will think it humanly possible to accomplish.  You will be forced to go through periods of darkness and despair.  You will be forced to go through times where you may think the dream but a distant wish.  You may even begin to experience seasons of doubt, and be ready to throw in the towel.  You will begin to formulate a Plan B. 

But, God is also the fulfiller of dreams.  But when this cycle has finally run its course, seemingly out of nowhere God will bring that which began to look all but lost into being.  I think the story of Joseph in Genesis is a perfect example of this.  As we all know, God gave Joseph a dream one night that he would become an exalted ruler.  Joseph was utterly convinced of this dream, and shared it with his family.  But naysayers attempted to squash Josephs’ dream.  Indeed, they even began to actively labor against it.  And for many years the fulfillment of Josephs’ dream began to become more and more like a distant pipe dream. 

Then one day God suddenly brought the dream into being.  That which was unseen became seen.  And that which God had conceived in Joseph was finally born.  And He did this so that Joseph would realize that God was sovereign and in control.  He did this so Joseph would realize that it is not by the arm of the flesh, but by the power of the Holy Spirit that things come into being.  He did this so that it might be realized that God is both the author and finisher of faith.  He did this so Joseph might realize that God never gives up on what He is doing in our lives, even when all hope has been lost to us.

Some of you have dreams in your heart.  Some of you are actively pursuing those dreams.  To others, all hope seems to be lost, and the dream almost forgotten.  But don’t give up and don’t despair.  Don’t lose the vision God gave to you.  As Hebrews says, it is by patience that we inherit the promises of God.  So be patient.  God is still at work.  And if what you have in your heart has been born of Him, be sure that God will bring what He spoke into fruition.  You will see that dream fulfilled.

For our God is the giver, killer, and fulfiller of dreams.


Charlie Sheen Wants to Be Me


“Actor” and celebrity, Charlie Sheen,  has made a big splash recently.  Spinning out of control and self-destructing in front of the entire world, his recent “bad boy” antics have probably gained him more attention and notoriety than anything he has ever done on TV or in the movies.  His melodramatic actions and sayings are being gobbled up by news media that wouldn’t normally give him the time of day.  People who were otherwise unaware of his existence are now suddenly caught up into the man who has become something of a train wreck.

Sheen is flaunting himself to the world as a rock star from Mars who deserves the adoration of millions.  Indeed, the idea conveyed to the masses is that we all should want to be like Charlie Sheen.  After all, he literally makes millions of dollars from every TV episode he appears in, and has access to all the women and drugs one could ever hope for.  I should want to be Charlie Sheen. 

But the truth of the matter is when the rubber meets the road:  Charlie Sheen wants to be me.

Charlie Sheen may not realize it, but in spite of all of what Charlie Sheen says he has, I would say Charlie Sheen has nothing.  He says he is rich and need in nothing, and I say he is naked and poor and in need of everything.  What Sheen is doing is nothing other than what millions of people do every day in this world.  He is trying to fill that “God-sized hole” in his heart.  As Solomon said, God has set eternity in our hearts, and Sheen is vainly and desperately attempting to fill his heart with that which only God can fill.  In spite of their claims, money, drugs and porn stars can never deliver on their promises to truly fill that empty space in a broken humanity.  They never satisfy.

With Christ, I have everything Charlie Sheen could ever dream of having, but will never obtain.  I have a purpose for being in Christ, and am filled with the love, joy, and peace that comes from knowing Him.  Indeed, in Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all and who possesses all things, I have all things.  All things are mine in Him, and I lack for nothing.

At the end of the day, though I plug away in a clerical role at a law office making a humble wage, living in a two bedroom apartment, and am single, I would say that in Jesus Christ, I have everything that Charlie Sheen wants, but does not have.  Indeed, even what he claims to have he actually lacks.  Though radically different in the lifestyle he is living, the impulses Sheen is acting on every single day shows that in reality, though he would probably deny it, Charlie Seen wants to be me.


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