Archive for September, 2016

On a Highway to Hell

“You are not going to be lost when you get to hell. If you are without Christ, you are lost right now. Your trial is already over. You’ve already been sentenced. You’re just waiting for execution morning to roll around”   -Lester Roloff

Good old Lester Roloff, he was a hard rigid man, but he sure nailed that one. Either you’re saved or you aren’t. There is no in between. No kinda saved, or almost good enough. You are doomed to hell. If you haven’t committed your life to the only Savior, you can’t be saved. He won’t pluck you out of an eternal destiny in hell against your will. He’ll do it, He paid the price for you, but you decide.

It reminds me of the Tom Hanks movie “Cast Away”. His character was either rescued or not. He could do all the right things, be nice to baby kittens and not be Adolph Hitler, but he couldn’t save himself. He only had the power of choice. Eventually he had to make the decision to let someone else save him. His raft wasn’t going to get him there. If he stayed where he was, he was going to be lost forever.

Being lost on such a beautiful island doesn’t seem that bad. If there had been a part two, I’m quite certain that a Kate Upton in a bikini would have also landed on his island. With beer in ice chests, of course. That always happens, you know! But for us friends, it just doesn’t work that way. It’s either eternity with God or without Him, heaven or hell.

Don’t fall for the latest denial about hell either. There are no fun people there. No sex, drugs, rock and roll or bikini’s. Gods Word says there’s burning flesh, tough to look good or have fun with that going on. Gnashing of teeth won’t give you much opportunity to communicate with the other lost folks either. The screaming and wailing of pain will be amplified by knowing that it didn’t have to be this way. That hour that you spent listening to boring music on Sunday mornings at church didn’t save you. Getting baptized and all those other rituals didn’t save you. Jesus could have saved you. Jesus paid a huge price for that ability, not just so we could wear “Cross jewelry”. He even chose a special people, the Israelites, to bring us the message of just how much He loves us and how He planned to rescue us.

The bottom line is simple, if you aren’t saved, you are lost. No one wants that for you. Satan dangles greed, lust, laziness and entitlement before your eyes to keep you distracted. Get your eyes off the sexy bodies, chrome wheels and latest lure that all the mindless human fishes are following. Don’t be so gullible. Don’t choose to stay lost for all of eternity.

You can do this right now. Surrender your will to your Creator and Savior. Jesus has the power and desire to save you right now. All you have to do is ask and commit your life to him. You don’t have to have all the answers or even understand it all. It starts as a child like faith and snowballs from there. God will eventually answer all your questions and bring people into your life to help it all make sense. It’s quite a journey. Like Confucius said, a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. Take that step with Jesus. Being lost is no way to live. Pray hard friends!

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Social Hermits

 

As a young boy(many moons ago), I was fortunate enough to witness one of America’s great past times, visiting. Perhaps it was called something else in your area, but visiting was what people did after church. I can’t quite say how it was all coordinated, but it seemed like half of the people put their families in the car and went out visiting people and half were waiting at home with pie and cookies. Most of the time we were visiting family, I was gobbling up the goodies as a young boy would. Sometimes we would visit Uncles with lots of kids, and sometimes it was just an old relative that lived alone. The beauty of it was that I was able to watch people converse and interact. The adults would tell old stories about people I never met, talk about the latest farmer to get a new silo, and laugh. Man, we sure would laugh! Most of the time I didn’t even understand what was funny, but I just laughed right along.  The visits rarely lasted more than an hour and as we were pulling out, often another bunch of folks were pulling in. We could easily make 4 stops on a Sunday and I know we did plenty on Saturday too after our weekend work was done. We definitely weren’t social butterflies, but it’s what most folks did in some form or another.

Visiting is a lost art these days. We’ve got Facebook and a host of other social media to stay connected with the facts of other people. We’ve got social media, Netflix and sports to occupy every ounce of our free time. Human interaction has become so obsolete that if you aren’t on Facebook, no one even knows that you exist.

The penalty is that people no longer understand how to have a conversation or compassion. When you communicate via phone or computer, you are only transferring facts. You are totally alone when you are involved in communicating with some one that way. When you receive a joke from a friend on your phone, you’re laughing alone. There is no one with you. That isn’t human interaction, you are alone. Reading or responding to a post doesn’t make you kind or compassionate, it shows the lack of it. Why aren’t you with your friend or relative sharing the joys and hurts of life? Sure I get the travel/distance thing, keeping up with folks that moved away, but what are we filling up our visiting time with?

History has shown us a few things, when human interaction died off, our need to fill that void with something that satisfies has been disastrous. We have corrupted our base needs for value and affection and have turned people into zombies that are unable to converse, communicate or have any honest compassion (with action) for anyone. Pornography is a substitute for marital relations because the internet is easy and we don’t need to invest the kindness that our spouse deserves. Facebook is easy relationship because you can just push a key and they’re gone when you disagree or become bored. We don’t have time to go visit people because we have been duped by the marketing of greed.The insatiable need for the latest junk has eaten all our time and seeing people is only enjoyable when showing off the latest piece of future junk. Kids are committing suicide over social media bullying. The internet makes a lot of sin available to replace our fellow humans. That sin never satisfies, so it becomes increasingly bizarre to attempt to satisfy. There is no replacement for sitting down and laughing with people over pie. There is no app that is like grieving with someone. You can’t Snap chat the smile of a lonely old person as they open the door to see you waiting there. You can’t Twitter a pat on the back to a struggling friend. You can’t send a text to bring someone to Jesus. The Christian culture, no, the Jesus culture needs to be hands on. We need to be in visiting mode at all times. Jesus took the time to sit down and laugh and cry with folks. He would never Tweet a healing. He put His hands and feet to work, not to heal everyone but to model the kindness and compassion that we’re supposed to be sharing. If we are His people, we are supposed to be engaged in sharing His love and hope.

There is a void that needs to be filled in all of us, don’t fill it with fake things. Things that only lead to sin and isolation. The world is filled with people hiding behind a computer screen surrounded by others hiding behind an I-phone. Social zombies. The walking dead. We need to show them something different. The password to Heavens gates is J-e-s-u-s. You can’t steal my identity in Christ, but I’ll be glad to share it with you and you can hack into my Bible anytime. Social media isn’t a sin, its a tool. A very small tool. Now, turn off your computer till next week and go for a walk and say hi to some folks or maybe go visiting. You never know, they might have pie!

 

 

 

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The First Test

So you just got saved?  Congratulations!  You and your world will never be the same. Here’s what’s gonna happen next: you’re all excited about this and your tell your parents, family and friends. How did that go? Wow, totally not the positive response that you expected, right? Unless you came from a solid Christian background, hang on, rough waters are ahead. You will find that your friends will start excluding you from activities, your siblings will make fun of you, and your parents are worried that you’re in a cult. It doesn’t bother us when strangers treat us badly, but it really cuts to the bone when your own people laugh at you. Perhaps your Dad will roll his eyes whenever you mention Church, your mother may get defensive, brothers and sisters will joyfully mock you and friends just leave because you got “Religion.”.

You’re new at this, so you don’t have the answers to the questions that mean people throw at you.  You don’t know how to respond to” I’m a good person so I’m going to Heaven”, “Who are you to tell me about religion, you used to eat your boogers O Holy One”, and “Hell is where the fun people are.” Just a short time ago you were so happy and excited about your new life, and now you’re all alone, feeling stupid, and people are openly laughing at you. It can make a person second guess that decision for Jesus. Is it really worth all this?

Jesus was talking to you in Luke 14; 26-33:

” If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters,  yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.  For which of you, intending to build a tower, sits not down first, and counts the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?  Lest haply, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that beholds it begin to mock him, saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sits not down first, and consults whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an ambassador and desires conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever  of you that forsake not all that he has, he cannot be my disciple”

That’s pretty hardcore stuff. We wouldn’t really hate those we know, but you have to make a choice, you must decide where your loyalty lies. Perhaps someday they will get saved and things will be fine, but they sure aren’t today. Are you still in or are you out? What if they totally block you out if you don’t go back to your “old” self and get over this phase that you’re going through?

Jesus kinda gets in your face about it too, you started this, you said that you meant it, but are you going to follow through with it? Do you have the resolve to hang on until you understand more or are you a quitter? Either pal or poser, friend or fraud. Either you have locked in your loyalty  to the King or you’re going to drop Him to pacify your friends and family. This is the hardest part about being saved, it really is. It still is for me after all these years. Most of my family and friends still aren’t on board with this hardcore Christian thing. They’re good people, but God doesn’t really mean much to them. The world has caught their eye with shiny stuff and they figure that because they aren’t Adolph Hitler, God is going to let them into Heaven. Some are gambling that when they die, that’s it, they are just plant food. It really breaks my heart knowing what’s in store for them. I wish I could change it, Jesus does too, but my loyalty remains to the truth. We must remember that our people are His people, just as our stuff is His stuff.  We don’t take anyone, or our stuff, with us when we die. Nothing really belongs to us anyway. Choose your loyalty. Jesus is my king and I am His very flawed servant. That’s my choice and His grace.

If you’re in a rough patch, hang in there. You aren’t alone. Strengthen your resolve and keep learning. You won’t regret it and you may be the only example of Jesus that your family and friends will ever see. You may be what God sent to help them get saved too. It may be hard to believe right now. You can’t even imagine the greatness that God has in store for you!

Be strong friends and don’t give up. Quitters don’t make the cut!

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