Church and State Archives

Good Friday vs. Earth Day

Earth Day Going Green

Earth Day Going Green

Good Friday 2011

Good Friday-Jesus at His best

Good Friday or Earth Day?

Have you ever had an important choice in your life you struggled with? One that woke you up at night and made you lose sleep? This should not be one of those choices.

I know I’m a day late to this party but I had to write something about yesterday. Earth Day has been around for a  while, this is a man made holiday/event. I will not condemn the idea but I don’t like anyone shoving anything down my throat and this seems like one of those things.

When people (anyone really) tell me I’m suppose to do something, my human nature immediately says, “No”.  That is just the way I was made. I have no problem with being a good steward of the Earth, we are commanded to do that, I also know we will answer to God for everything we have done in this life (See Judgment Seat for believers… Great White Throne Judgment for non-believers) but come on…Earth Day is treated as news and Good Friday we can’t talk about?

To be honest Earth Day usually doesn’t even hit my radar but when it came on Good Friday this year I took notice.  I saw people talking about Earth day and nothing about Jesus’ Day. Good Friday was Jesus’ best day on Earth, it was the day he looked death right in the face, took Death’s best shot and eventually (See Easter) conquered death and the grave.

We can remember all Jesus did for us or…we can plant a tree, go green or something else politically correct. That was your choice this year, worship the Creator or the creation…plenty simple when you look at it like that isn’t it?

If you worshiped the creation more than the Creator this Good Friday, don’t worry, God is a forgiving God (In fact, one of the last things Jesus said on the cross was, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34) so ask for forgiveness and move on. Easter is right around the corner.

As a side note, if you are looking for a Great Easter service online I love Gateway Church in Texas, they are great people and do a great job representing the Good News…Enjoy.

Until next time, remember: You overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony, and by becoming a living sacrifice. Revelation 12:11

Mardi Gras and Jesus (Part 2)

Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. (Matthew 4:25)
Crowd of people

Crowd of people

Have you ever wondered why Jesus was surrounded by a crowd of people?  It is Fat Tuesday here in Louisiana and I thought I would talk about the crowd.

Jesus gave the crowd great gifts. Teaching, preaching and healing was Jesus’ ministry.  He taught in their synagogues, He preached the gospel and He healed all manner of sickness and disease. (Matthew 4:23-25, Matthew 9:35)

I understand He came to die so that we might all live…I get that, but that is an accomplished work, we can receive all He did at the Cross by faith.  Our clothing company is all about salvation.  This post is about how we can draw the crowd.

If the church would imitate Christ, it is my opinion, people would be breaking down the doors to get what we have.  Jesus gave Himself away to the crowd.  He taught them, loved them and healed them.

Peter knew he had something special when he told a lame man at the gate Beautiful, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:6)

Jesus said the world would know us because of the love we give one to another. Notice there is a delivery system, one to another. (John 13:34,35) Peter gave what he had, in the name of Jesus. 

Jesus did not tell His disciples in Matthew 10 to pray for the sick.  He told them to heal the sick…Big difference.  Peter didn’t  pray a prayer when the lame man was healed at the gate Beautiful.

Which is easier? Telling some lost soul you will pray for him or telling him Jesus loved him enough to heal him and by the way, Jesus is busy at the right hand of the Father so…He sent me.  The church, for the most part, is telling this sick and dying world we are praying for you.  If you are a disciple of Jesus, He has commanded you to heal them. (If the word of God is to be believed)

Different than what most of you have heard, I know, it hit me the same way, but it is in the Bible.  Jesus gave another example in the synagogue when He said to the paralyzed man, your sins are forgiven. (Matthew 9:2)

I find it ironic, many say this every service in church, your sins are forgiven. But read the whole story, Jesus read their hearts and said, which is easier to say your sins are forgiven or rise up and walk?  (That is a fair question, read Jesus’ answer.) But so that you know the Son of Man has the power on Earth to forgive sins, Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house. (Matthew 9:1-8)

I love that about Jesus, He cuts right to the chase.  Faced the problem head on, but here is the best part, He healed him and forgave the man’s sins…win, win.

Look at the Mardi Gras crowd again , which float has the most followers and enthusiasm?  It is the float with the best gifts.  Jesus gave us the power to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers and raise the dead.  Those kind of gifts will draw a huge crowd and by the way…their sins have already been forgiven. (1 John 2:2)

Until next time, remember: You overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony, and by becoming a living sacrifice. Revelation 12:11

Mardi Gras and Jesus

Making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do. Mark 7:13

Mardi Gras Parade

Mardi Gras Parade

What is it about a parade that draws a crowd?  There are many reasons people go to a parade but a Mardi Gras parade draws people from all over the world.  The glitter, costumes, music, drinking are some of the reasons people come but the main reason people young and old line the streets are the “throws”.

If you have ever gone to a Mardi Gras parade you will get a basket full of plastic cups, beads, coins, stuffed animals, all kinds of different items.  All of these throws are your reward for standing on the side of the road waiting on the floats to go by.

The floats are colorful, unique, interesting and full of people throwing gifts.  Many of the people riding on the floats are dressed in a costume and some are wearing masks.  Their job is to have fun and throw gifts to the crowd.

Your only job is to have a good time with family and friends eating, drinking and hollering ,”Throw me something Mister”. Sounds like a great time doesn’t it?

Now let’s walk into a church, what do you see?  Probably a bunch of “clean cut”, well dressed people.  Physical masks are really not allowed here but masks are being worn.  People put on their best “happy faces”, they are told to be nice or good and most believers do their best to accomplish that command.  So as I look at the parade and the church I see at least one thing they have in common, “the mask”.

Jesus taught about this in Mark 7, (summary of His teaching) the traditions and doctrines of men have made the word of God of no effect.  Over and over I see Jesus combating this spirit of “religion”. The spirit of, “This is how we have always done it.” 

Jesus did it totally different than the Pharisees and Sadducees, He made them so uncomfortable they killed Him and thought they were doing the will of God.  Ironically, they were doing the will of God but with the religious leaders it was a heart issue.  They worshiped God with words but their heart was far from God.

God longs to give good gifts to His children, and I believe the world is waiting for the body of Christ to start “throwing” the gifts of God.  “What gifts from God are you talking about?”, you may ask. 

How about the fruit of the Spirit?  How does love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control sound?. As a side note, Against such there is no law. Fruit has to be grown before it can be harvested.

Jesus was full of the Spirit and was full of the fruit of the Spirit.  Funny thing about the fruit of the Spirit, it is grown for others.  The fruit growing through you, is not for you, it is for the people around you. If the body of Christ would start throwing the fruit of the Spirit to a lost and dying world, Satan’s hold on people would be destroyed. 

This is my opinion, if Jesus was given the choice of going to church or a Mardi Gras parade and could pick only one, He would go to the parade every time. Why, because He came to seek and save that which is lost.  

Jesus was accused many times of “partying” with the sinners.  The religious leaders in Jesus’ day did not get it, and I am afraid many today don’t get it.  I want to encourage you, go love on people, let them partake of your fruit.  It may be the only spiritual meal they have ever eaten.

This is going long and I need to hit send, look for part 2.

Until next time, remember: You overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony, and by becoming a living sacrifice. Revelation 12:11

Sharing a God story

Have you ever had a thought that is so “not you”? I recently had such a thought and I believe it is worth sharing. A little background, I rarely read the newspaper. In fact I must also confess I do not watch much TV. So now you know by modern standards I am “strange”. I justify this stance on 2 things, my experience and the scripture in Philippians 4:8 that tells me to think on those things that are of good report. My attitude and perspective is soo much better not engaging in all the negative stuff the media tries to feed me.

So now you have the background, here is what happened Tuesday. I was sitting down to lunch and the Shreveport Times was sitting on the table, it had on the front page President Bush’s visit to Alexandria. I scanned the article and for some strange reason I turned the page. On page 2 was an article about a fallen soldier and how his brother wrote a letter to the President. After reading the article, I was immediately moved to write the President an email to thank and encourage him to continue to see families.

I have never written a letter to any public official before so needless to say I argued with myself for the rest of the lunch. The conversation in my head went something like this, “You need to write the President”. “Write the President? That is crazy, he’ll never see it.” Ignoring my own sound reasoning I had the same thought again, “You need to write the President.” After about 3 or 4 volleys back and forth in my head I got the thought, “It will take 5 minutes, why would you not write him?”

I got up and wrote the President this email.

Dear President Bush,

You are a man of great honor and dignity. The story in the Shreveport Times
today sums up your heart and spirit. Thank you for visiting with the families
of fallen soldiers.

You are called every name in the book, daily, but the one that comes to my mind is honorable. May God continue to bless you and your family in this time of transition.

Rarely do I read the paper but today I had a weak moment and picked it up. I
was drawn to the story about a family I do not know, and will probably never meet, but I wanted to say thank you for giving your time to this family. Travis Nixon gave all he had to America and because of great warriors like Travis I am free to live my life.

You do not have to die to give all and I know you have surrendered 8 years of your life to serve America. Thank you for your service to this great country. While I have not agreed with everything you have done,  (I don’t know of anyone I agree with all the time.) I have prayed and continued to support you because of your great character.

Thank you again, may God bless you and May God bless America.

Your brother in Christ,

Greg Ryan
President- One Drop of Blood
Haughton, LA

I wrote my letter, still not sure why, but I was at least obedient to the thought I had at lunch. That was Tuesday and as Paul Harvey has said so many times but now here is the “Rest of the Story”.

Friday I had a scheduled closing on a house (For those of you who do not know I am a Realtor). My Buyer was a very nice older lady downsizing to a smaller home, the closing was postponed a week because of an additional requirement of her mortgage company.

The closing went great, my lady signed everything and was excited about buying her new home, we were all about to leave when the Seller showed his Realtor a coin. Being across the table I could not see it but his Realtor said something like, “That is so cool, the President gave this to you?” My ears perked up and I jumped into their conversation. “Did you say the President, do you mean the President of the United States?” They said yes and handed me the coin the President gave this man. It was at that time I “came to myself” and notice the name of the Seller…Kurt Nixon. The man that wrote the President a letter and had inspired my email was sitting across the table from me.

Since I represented the Buyer I had no connection to the Sellers other than selling their home. I never pay much attention to the Sellers’ name because I do not ever have contact with them. With that said, I sat there in total amazement of how God put all of this together to minister to me. I told them my story and about the email. (They were also amazed)

When I wrote the email I thought it was to encourage our President. God knew the email was written to encourage me and build my faith. What an awesome God we serve. I am sure He speaks to me everyday. I pray I will become a better listener.

We overcome the enemy by the blood of the lamb and word of our testimony. (Revelation 12:11) We have built a company on helping you share your testimony with people who ask for it. I hope this encourages you, even though you did not ask, I had to tell someone else how God encouraged me. God is good all the time.