Communion Probs

Of all my years in church I’ve never had a Lord’s Supper. I’ve been given a stale paper coin and an ounce of grape juice. This is communion and we (the church) do it to remember the life, death, and resurrected life of Christ. We do it because it’s in the Bible but we don’t do it anything like the Bible. At the very least, In-church communion is a sentimental touch. This slight touch ripples our emotions and satisfies our craving to feel the presence of God. By it we spend a brief moment in silence frowning our thoughts till they harmonize with the somber tone of a pastor stuttering to the rhythm of a slow guitar being picked. Communions are on par with attending a funeral of a distant family friend: solemn and uncomfortable, with eyes glued to your watch hoping you’ve made long enough of an appearance to be considered polite. The Lord’s Supper is our time to eat and drink “in remembrance” of Christ, yet the manner we do it makes me believe He died and never rose. If Christ’s death was personal and his resurrection magnificent, shouldn’t our remembrance of Him be the same?
This isn’t a call to abolish In-church communion, only to rethink its purpose. In-church communion should be an introduction to the Lord’s Supper, instead, for many, it’s the pinnacle. Consuming stale paper coins and mini shots of grape juice is a holy snack, unworthy of its title: The Lord’s Supper. Jesus could have gathered the crowds when he asked his disciples to partake in his body and blood the same way he fed thousands with fish and bread. Instead Jesus was in the presence of those who knew him most intimately. At this meal they shared something prolonged periods at a dinner table force us to share – each other. In church we share each others trash as empty communion cups pile back into trays before being passed to the person at our side. It takes only a few juxtaposing elements to know in-church communion is no supper befitting a king, let alone The King of Kings.
A better remembrance of our Lord should take place amongst few, those who know us through tears and joy, in everything we are, and still love us wholly. Our bread should fill us as the body of Christ filled our spirits with life. The wine should wash down the bread as his blood washed away our sins with the sweet taste of salvation savored by our sips. It should be a supper fit for The King: filled with stories of Christ’s life and how he’s changed ours; stories that lead to spontaneous bouts of praise and prayer – the kind that lingers on our tongues like the heat of hot sauce. Our Lord is magnificent, let our remembrance of him be too.

He's so hip.

He’s so hip.

Hopes: You host a Lord’s Supper fit for our King.

If you’re interested in getting a group together to give this a go or want to share your experiences after Lord’s Supper we want to know! Comment below.

The First Step to Making Virtual Friends

There’s a terrible habit practiced amongst those who regularly engage in social media: liking.  Liking has dominated our interaction amongst friends, keeping conversations minimal and interactions one-way – a bad combination for any relationship desiring sustainment. Constantly liking a status without commenting is comparable (in face-to-face interactions) to suppressing conversation to compliments.  There’s a limit to how many times you can compliment a person before you appear impersonal or staid; boring.  Social media offers people the opportunity to connect with people they would normally not have the opportunity to connect with.  Virtual relationships can turn physical, the digital a reality. But just as best friends aren’t formed from compliments genuine relationships can’t be built by likes and favorites.  If you’re content with remaining a stranger to a person whose work you consistently enjoy then keep liking their posts and do nothing more. But if you’re interested in developing a connection, one that could last a lifetime, as co-worker, friend, or partner in marriage then go ahead, like their post, but don’t forget to send a little note alongside that like, something that shows you’re a character too, a character worth more than a thoughtless like.

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APPLICATION: Set a ratio, ex. 1:3, 1:5 or any ratio of likes to comments that makes you as good a follower as you are engager.

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Mid Deployment Update

To my neighbors across many seas,
Half way home! Specific dates can’t be broadcasted across the internet but if the Lord wills we’ll be stateside before Thanksgiving. Time aboard has been a strange concoction unevenly mixed with monotony dashed with a hint of euphoria. Some weeks I’ll do nothing at all. Other weeks I’m exhausted in the desert, training with foreign militaries, and sleeping under a boundless sky sprinkled with thousands of stars. Home is often talked about anxiously. It’s mine – and everyone’s – fuel to keep on fighting (I mean, floating). Morale is high and except for a few injuries, varying in severity, everyone that came on deployment is still floating (to my surprise).

I hope to continue to make contact with many of you via letters and internet (got to love facebook) for the remainder of my time deployed. I do want to apologize for any conversations where I’ve seen a little withdrawn or short when conversing over facebook. When on ship we have a little less than thirty minutes on the computer which seems like a good chunk of time till you realize the speed is comparable to old-school dial up connections. Also, if for some reason we’re engaged in a day-to-day conversation and I then fail to respond for a few days or weeks, don’t worry, it’s part of the job.

For those who have sent care packages, THANK YOU! There is nothing we Marines look forward to more than mail from y’all back home. Random care packages are cool too, if you’ve ever considered sending a care package but don’t like me there are plenty of ways to send a care package to a random Marine, either way it will be appreciated. Who knows, it may start a lifelong friendship.

I’ve attempted to post pictures of the journey after departing each liberty port. I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to attach witty captions to the pictures posted, often the wi-fi at the public places we port are sluggish when 600+ Marines and Sailors all try accessing the same hotspot but I’m grateful for every second of communication with home.

There is much to say, and I’m sure you too have plenty to share about changes in your life. Over the next few days I will be attempting to find a place to skype so we can talk all about the good, the old, the ugly, and the new. For now, I’m rather at a loss for what to share publically. I’ll let future conversations guide information shared; I’d hate to bore some of you with the minute details others crave. That being said when we talk – either through facebook, skype, or in person at the end of the year – we’ll get plenty of time to gather, reunite, and become a part of each other’s lives again.

Till then, I’ll keep updating home when possible. Know between each update I’m still alive and in need of prayers. Though we’re not at war (thank God) much work is still being done, both physically and spiritually (if you can even separate the two?). Regarding the life of ministry aboard ship it’s lonely, dismaying, but good. It’s through these times I’ll graduate to distinguished trials. Let’s labor as we wait, remain patient in affliction, and rejoice in the hours, seconds, and immeasurable moments we have with those we love.
In Christ – Nate

P.S – If you’ve read this far I assume you care about what I have to say. That being said, I’ve been fancying the idea of capturing the deployment into an independently published non-fiction novella. Anyone who has any contacts in the field of publishing or would like to cultivate this idea to life – please – I encourage you: encourage me. Excited to see who (if this idea progresses) I’ll be collaborating with.

Church, Please Stop Pressuring Us to Buy Things

I can’t afford to be a Christian.  I mean this of course in consumerist terms. My family, my dignity, my desires (or lack thereof); all these things I can afford to lose.  When counting the cost of following Christ I’ve repeatedly left out one cost I find avoidable but continually encounter: Crossumerism. I’m referring to yearly conferences, weekly outings to a decent restaurant, movie night fellowship, books to follow alongside small group programs, work books to use alongside the small group book, Christian bookmarks for my books.  Is it possible to be a part of a culturally relevant church without losing a large part of our income to cross centered consumerism?

Sure, I could intentionally budget for the church retreat and next small group bible study workbook.  But there are many who, in the most literal sense, cannot afford to be a part of all these extra church activities.  Of course they can still be a part of the church, sermons are free to attend (at least they better be) and unless there were college credits included purchasing a book would never be an obligation.  Most church retreats come with the option to fundraise or accept extra money from leftover funds, if you’re church is blessed with extra funds.

To assume our church members or unfamiliar attendees will come to us when they need assistance requires vulnerability, something we shouldn’t expect from a newcomer.  Why would anyone want to differentiate themselves as needy, pitiful even, amongst our nearly flawless images we so often portray from the comfort of our pews? Because of this those in but not of the church will opt out of the retreat on behalf of a busy work schedule, and insist the book store they checked was sold out of the workbook. But the truth is, often, outcasts of church “going deeper” programs desire to be a part of such groups but find they are financially incompetent and unwilling to publically admit such a flaw. This leaves the church influenced by one unrecognizable, undeniable factor: wealth.

The only exclusive factor to the church should have to every other organization and culture in the world should be our pursuit in imitating Jesus Christ.  How we imitate Christ is limited by not possessing God’s great attributes such as omnipresence or omniscience.  We may have ministries that appeal to a certain demographics and are exclusive to specific needs.  One should not feel guilty for not feeding the children in Africa if he is freeing sex-slaves in Thailand. Growth in global interconnectivity can cause an inevitable burden by exposing us to more problems than we have the capacity to attend to. Personally we don’t have enough resources to rid of all the problems of earth that turns our stomachs into knots but collectively as a united church through Christ, we undoubtedly have the resources to not only change the world – but restore it too – given Christ himself is a resource. Because of our limited resources we must evaluate the necessity of our financial investments in crossumerism.

When faith in Christ increases interest in self diminishes.  Suddenly $20 for a book seems like a steep price: a few meals for an impoverished child.  The proposal here is to not abandon all forms spending our money on self; this is a call for an economically inclined Christianity.  In resources, people, money, and time there is always more we can do for the sake of the gospel.  Out of the dozens of churches I’ve visited over the past few years more often than not there is an overwhelming presence the church is attempting to please the senses and not the soul.  If we continually exhaust our resources in a veneer fashion how can we ever expect to grow deeper in any area of life, especially with Christ?

In our constant pursuit to bring the world to Christ let’s refrain from bringing Christ to the world explicitly by its terms.  Books and retreats are no way evil, just as money isn’t evil either. To value a book over scripture or a retreat over introverted escapes through meditation, prayer, and praise is by no means Biblical.  Abiding in God may begin through worldly mediums but it doesn’t end there.  Let us continue into the Spirit of the Lord, becoming lost in his supernatural presence, graciously given by our Father at an unbeatable price: free.

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A Droplet of a Mist

  This will most likely be my last post for the year 2013. I will be leaving for a military deployment soon and will have little or no internet access.  It’s sad how little I’ve had the chance of posting before taking such a large break.  Lord willing I’ll be back and Lord willing I’ll still be observing, writing, and living an abundant life apart from social media while deployed.

  I shall be writing till the day I die so this little break isn’t too discouraging. After all, life is just a mist and this year off is just a droplet of that mist.  Sharing the craft of writing is good work, but there is greater work to be done.  Pray for disciples to be made. I hope I can return and have stories to tell of God at work more than opinions on Scripture. Keep strong. In Him alone.

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For the Love of Words: Soft Reflections of New York City

  This next blog post will be a part of a series of selfish posts I’ll title “for the love of words”.  Simply, I’m combining two loves: capturing the eye and stimulating the mind. Below are three pictures I’ve taken during my recent trip to New York City, these three pictures are by no means my favorite pictures I’ve taken but instead they’re pictures that capture a deep memory or involved a series of emotions I believe could be best described outside of the eye and by the mind. So for each picture I will craft a short narrative in which I’ll describe thoughts and senses the lens is unable to capture. Enjoy.

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   The anticipation for a slice of pizza never felt so heavy.  Every source I inquired about the best slice of pie in New York unanimously answered “Di Fara’s”.  Di Fara’s is simple, maybe too simple. The woman in blue takes orders on a battered yellow notepad. Each order displays a symbol (either a square or triangle) then sloppily indicates quantity and type of pie.  Soon after, Dominic, the elderly pizza maker who is also the only pizza maker steadily grabs the next chunk of dough and romantically rubs it flat on the counter oblivious to the line of customers out his door. But it’s Dominic’s pizza and if you want his pizza you’ll have to get it on his time. 

  We finally got our pie. One large pepperoni split for three. I sat surrounded by fifteen other customers lucky enough to grab one of the few seats in the dining area. Above me were awards from every newspaper and food magazine I was familiar with, all raving of Dominic’s art. The moment was surreal, it sounds silly to anticipate a piece of pizza nervously.  But I feared after having a piece at Di Fara’s I would never be satisfied with a piece anywhere else. Anyways, I picked up my first piece, guided it to my salivating mouth, and bit…

 

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  There is no place more symbolic to the American New Year than Times Square.  To my disbelief it’s not a world renowned event, as my friend from Paris informed me when she asked, “de doll drof?”Most of us know the ball drop as a far-off event reserved for those residing in the Big Apple as we witness celebrities perform and unpopular people take the screen kissing and screaming. Nestled away in our house parties witnessing the energy at Times square we’re quick to believe it’s the pinnacle place to begin a new year sharing the magic alongside two million other fanatical lovers of time.

  Undoubtedly energy was high. Even after twelve hours of waiting under-clothed in the bitter  weather while strangers relieved their full bladders at a phone booth five feet away since leaving the premises meant not being let back in, spirits were high. The countdown clock showed less than a minute and once the final ten seconds began, like the New Year; I anticipated the energy to explode as well. Five – Four – Three – and still no volume. Perhaps surrounding skyscrapers don’t make the best acoustic enclosures but I found myself screaming uncomfortably loud in an attempt to influence others to do the same in the thought they might influence another and so make the square rumble. The square never rumbled. My heart never skipped a beat. In the middle of Time Square counting down the New Year I found myself alone and internally quiet, now that is magical.   

 

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  The subway ride over to Coney Island consisted of my roommate and me conferring ideas of what we should do upon arrival. We understood little would be open during the winter. We didn’t understand the devastating impact Hurricane Sandy had on the area. Immediately after departure I felt perhaps we’ve gotten off the wrong stop. The air was ghostly stale; the only company alongside us was trash bustling in the wind.

  Depictions of care free gluttonous park enthusiast, hopping off retro style rides shown on the movies and eating Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs faster than Kobayashi, was far from the Coney Island I saw on January 2, 2013. After walking a half mile along the boardwalk it came to my realization there was not a thing for us to do at Coney Island. And now the greatest challenge, like nearly any place in New York, became finding a legal place to go to the restroom.

 

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12 Reasons 2012 was the Best Year Yet (Part Two)

Taylor Swift is still single – If Taylor Swift asked me out I’d have to decline for the sake of my pride. Because I know she knows she could get nearly any guy in the world. And I also know the moment I do one thing wrong she will not hesitate to leave me for a better man and then write a multi-platinum song about it. Taylor’s recent album RED went platinum (over one million sales) in less than a week, which hasn’t been done since Eminem’s, “The Eminem Show”, back in 2002.

  Taylor stretches across nearly every demographic with her love sour lyrics and I think the most impressive feat Taylor has indirectly proven is that people still buy music. Or maybe it’s just people buy music about things they understand like break ups and heartbreak? Sure Lil’ Wayne may be featured on every rap song but weezy ‘s last album didn’t accomplished the record sales of T-Swift.  Lil Wayne talks money but T-Swift puts her money where her mouth is.               

 

Curiosity Rover began its search for life on Mars – Life on earth would be terribly agonizing if it weren’t for dreaming and what would be dreaming if not imagining a fantasy world of life occurring outside earth’s natural laws and its order? I’ve heard it said today’s science fiction is tomorrows reality and if that’s true then tomorrow some of us may get the chance to experience life on Mars.  Of course, curiosity has yet to find any life existing on Mars, but obviously NASA believes they’re on to something big or they never would have initiated the 2.5 billion dollar project in the first place.  If life on Mars is found NASA will once again prove it is the greatest space exploration unit in the universe (because we found Mars life before they found us). And once they find life I’d imagine some of us will get the chance to join that life, can you imagine the bragging rights you’d have with a facebook check-in on mars?  Talk about out of this world…

 

Films weren’t just for killing time –  Films weren’t just for killing time, they were for having a really good time.  I haven’t been around for long, and I’ve been around films even less than I’ve been around this world. As an infant film buff I’d have to say 2012 was the greatest year for films ever. Aside from the stories told by this year’s films, it’s the technology that continues to push the limitations of clarity and perspective.  James Cameron has been working on developing a submarine to capture life at the bottom of the ocean and resolutions have surpassed 36 megapixels in household cameras.  Sure some argue the quality is “too real”, which I’m not sure is even a legitimate argument. But nonetheless its impressive how far camera technology has gone, from the blackmagic cinema, to the newest gopro, today’s cameras are allowing any person with a few extra dollars to make the next Oscar winning production. 

Not that you may agree but I compiled a list of my top five films of 2012. I’d like to hear yours in the comments too.

1). Beasts of the Southern Wild

2). Argo

3). The Dark Knight Rises

4). Moonrise Kingdom

5). Perks of Being a Wall Flower

 

Invention of Element 113 – Ever notice the element gap on the periodical table of elements between element 112 and element 114? Me neither. But after nine years of laboring Japanese researchers have claimed to have created the third atom of element 113 which would finally add the element to the periodic table and give element 114 a snuggle buddy. Fusing the atomic nuclei of this element was a bit time consuming, it required 130 quintillionth (1.3 X1020) attempts of zinc atoms being fired at a bismuth target for the first successful stable bonding.  All science aside, it’s good to see the U.S and Russia don’t monopolize our world of scientific advancements. The way I see it, Asians suck at driving and white men can’t stop singin’ about their trucks on country radio so soon white man drive Asian to work in nice truck from Tokyo and Asian man take over the world. On second thought, maybe the U.S should step its game up.

 

Justin Bieber proved his manhood – It’s hard to hate on Justin Bieber. Well actually, it’s really easy, but it’s really hard to reasonably hate on Justin Bieber. Besides his childish shout out to all his haters during his acceptance speech at this years’ American Music Awards, the kid really has proven he’s a manlier Biebs now than he was back when “baby” was blaring through stereo systems all across America.

  Justin recaptured Selena’s heart (pretty impressive for a celebrity), his hair do is now the new standard of cool, his voice has dropped and still miraculous sounds gorgeous, he’s got a killer choreographed dance sequence taking place in a parking garage which strangely resembles MJ’s ‘Thriller’, and did I mention he’s got the second most watched youtube video of all time? For all you red faced haters you might want to double check yourself, it’s not that you are actually filled with hatred for Justin you just got a high fever –  the Bieber Fever  to be exact.  

 

President Obama was re-elected. If you love home you have four more years under his policies. If you hate him it’s the final time he’ll be re-elected. Now that’s thinking positive.

 

Sure, I could write even more on why 2012 was such a terrible year.  But I won’t.  The news is plenty negative.  I wanted to remind everyone there was good in the past year.  Why do you think 2012 was the best year yet? What good do you think will come in 2013?

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12 Reasons 2012 was the Best Year Yet (Part One)

Cats took over the internet  – I can’t think of a time when I was shown a picture of a cat meme and it dampened my mood. It’s simply impawsible to look at a cat trying to sleep crammed into a single serving box of Chinese rice, and remain upset. Because of this, cats littered the internet like grass on a football field. Sure their presence could be a bit overwhelming but I’m not complaining, and I bet neither are you.  I just hope we can continue to cherish other house animals too, little sister meme’s would be a great start. 

  Youtube had its first video break one billion views – PSY could retire tomorrow as the greatest one hit wonder the world has ever known.  Korean artist PSY’ music video of the faddish song Gangnam Style was the first video to ever hit one billion views on youtube, a view count representing one/seventh of the world’s population. It’s outrageous, it’s fashionable, it’s comical, it’s exactly what American advertisers will try to mimmick for the next five years in their advertisements and it’s about the only thing I’m annoyed to see happen: America once again try to ride the wave of success initiated by a foreigner. (Instant Messaging was invented by an Israeli)  

Lance Armstrong lost his titles – No one likes a cheater.  And when a cheater rises to rank amongst the world’s greatest and is then caught in the act we’re quick to discredit any success they previously attained.  I supported Lance through his races and by the margins he won each tour it’s hard to imagine he would have loss even if he were clean. Nonetheless the races would have been much closer, but who doesn’t like a close race? Instead of a possible series of fantastic photo finishes, we have a bunch of memories of a victor who no-longer claims his throne. Let it be a warning to all you cheaters, it may not happen now or even soon for that matter, but if you’re cheating and someone searches hard enough they’ll eventually discover the truth.   And when the truth is told, what will change with how others view you?

 Man skydived from outer space – If Red Bull sponsors something it’s worth watching.  When Red Bull sponsored Austrian adventurer Felix Baumgartner to skydive 24 miles from the outer space, Red Bull proved once again if it isn’t wings they’ll give you then it’s an adrenaline rush at the least.  Spectators watched the jump breathlessly as crew members stood by ready  to remotely detonate his parachute in case Felix went unconscious due to the G-force. Of course, the ending was magical and the only question is, what better adventure will Red Bull sponsor next?

 Joseph Kony is still alive –  Joseph Kony, thanks to Invisible Children’s aggressive campaigning, had an impressive amount of media time.  There was a sudden outburst of modern day abolitionists sporting the “KONY 2012” slogan on t-shirts and stickers. But come election time it seemed Kony, like the invisible children he employs, was soon forgotten about. Joseph Kony’s presence has faded from American mainstream media but he hasn’t died. This is good why? Mercenaries’ still have a chance to justify their job as charitable if they choose to take out this child laboring warlord.

We survived another end of the world– Not that many of you actually believed the world was going to end December 21st but all the media hype surrounding the misinterpreted cease-production of calendars by the Myan’s made waking up on the 22nd feel quite accomplishing. This isn’t the first major prediction of the world’s end and it won’t be the last. Can’t we all just save ourselves some heartache and trust Jesus when He said  “no one knows about the day or the hour, not even the angels in Heaven”, when referring to the end of the world? Despite my disbelief of the end of the world surviving an apocalypse no matter how illegitimate it’s threat is makes for one grand way to end the best year ever.

Why was 2012 the best year yet for you? Subscribe for updates and the next six reasons on why 2012 was the greatest year yet.

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When God Says Party

A NOT SO PERFECT CHRISTMAS PARTY

  A finely furnished living room comforts a dozen family members sporadically lounged between dark oak walls containing casual conversation amongst apparent strangers.  This so called family of mine I can hardly recognize. I know everyone’s first and last name, except for my cousin’s girlfriend whom he’s failed to formally introduce.  But I doubt I could tell you a single one of their middle names, favorite colors, food, or sport. 

  We form into cliques, some of us lounge at a card table rehearsing our knowledge of dog breeds, a few others sit adjacent from the table in a dark brown leather L-shaped couch where rest is initiated by an exaggerated gasp of “ahhh” when the denim of their bottoms kisses the leather lined plush seat.  The Christmas décor lines every corner and nightstand in the room.  The Christmas tree stands peppered with bulbs entangled in its branches while a train circles a small pottery molded holiday town. All the while the dark warm wood of the walls and floor tantalizingly persuades one’s eyes to believe they’re safe in this home and all things comfortable and good come from the walls. . If the room were a postcard you’d want it to be a place where you spend your Christmas.

 

I HATE THIS PARTY (BUT I AM THE PARTY?)

  I spent a majority of the party slouched over a table internally complaining of how boring the company was. I’d go as far to say I despised my time there. Not just because of the boredom but more so because of the distance between myself and “family”.  I do not believe there was ever a thirty minute period where I did not try to think of a legitimate excuse to escape. 

  While caught up reasoning why this was the worst Christmas party of the year the Spirit of the Lord arrived rebuking me of my thoughts.  The rebuking went a little like this:

  Say now Nate, what if we were to interview every family member in the room about how boring you are at this party, given they would answer honestly, how do you think they would answer?  I was convicted. I was great at pointing out the problem; I wasn’t so great at recognizing myself as part of the problem.

 

Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

James 4:17

 

  Our sins transcend our ideas of morality because of our ideas of morality don’t encompass neutral areas of life. I can sin by the way I drink water if I know there is a better way to drink water and don’t do it. We must not forget God has not only cleansed us of our old self but He has given us a new life to live through Christ. This new life is filled with different ways to do the same things we’ve been doing for years, these new ways lead to a more abundant life through Christ.

  Anyone who know what he ought to do and does not do it sins, and aren’t the things we ought to do also the things which needs done? So the one who knows what needs done and doesn’t do it sins.  Does the conversation need changed? Change it. Does the party need brought to life? Make it lively.  Does your friend need confronted on their habitual lying? Confront them. 

  Followers of Christ don’t attend events we make them. Sayings like, ‘I’m bored’ or ‘there is nothing to do’ are simply excuses to displace our responsibility of changing our environment to another person or thing like fate.  Let your hearts draw near to God through prayer and respond as He calls, even if His call is go and party.

 

What ways could you make your ministry or witnessing more proactive? What resources do you need to better influence these people?

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Gun Control in an Out of Control World

The topic of gun control in the United States is a colossal topic for any person to discuss. It seems, like abortion, gun control will be a never ending debate continuing on for generations with the only changes in time being the volume of our voices. Since the brutal murder of twenty school children at Sandy Hook elementary the voices for gun control have amplified to volumes loud enough to be heard six feet below.

I didn’t think much of the shootings, to be frank. A tragedy nonetheless but was I shocked? Sadly no. I didn’t exactly understand the affects of this event till late last night when a young Marine sat next to me and asked, “why would God allow this to happen?” I understood the media devoured questions like these, bring God into ungodly events and you have opinions fly from East to West faster than the sun can set. But this question didn’t come from the news it came from the heart of an unbelieving friend, a man who genuinely wanted to know why God does what He does.

My answer I can hardly remember. My friend was impressed mentioned how I belong on the radio. My answer was by no means ‘the answer’ to end the argument, if anything it was the beginning. Which is why I want to publically share some of my thoughts on why God would allow such a tragedy, I hope readers can keep the conversation going and believers can unite with their answers under the authority of Scripture.

THIS ISN’T A GOOD PLACE

Approximately 18,000 children die every day from starvation according to a study conducted by the U.N. I’ve never seen more than a few segments of media attention covering this statistic. But when twenty young ones from the United States have their lives taken by a crazed gunman God suddenly becomes the reason for the pain?  Maybe you didn’t know this statistic. Maybe now you’re even madder at God for allowing this magnitude of tragedy.

The devil is called “the prince of the world”, what happens on earth pleases Lucifer more than it pleases the Lord. Satan doesn’t have control; we’ve simply used our free will to temporarily give him the illusion of it. Tragedy is inevitable. Why? Because tragedy can only exist if blessings do to, just as black wouldn’t be black if white didn’t exist. Living at ground level doesn’t seem so high unless you’ve lived your whole life in a deep dungeon. Success is relative to the failures we’ve faced. Tragedies are more tragic when goodness abounds.

What is tragedy if these lives weren’t precious?  In a free world where we’ve been given the gift of choice it’s not uncommon for us to leave our gift unopened and return it to the prince of this world, instead of us choosing, we let our circumstances choose for us.

WE’RE HARDLY CHOOSING

 Our ability to choose is influenced by what we’re immersed in. I can’t choose to run a personal record mile time in a pool because I can’t run well in a pool. How is it we expect ourselves to reap Godly lives in ungodly surroundings? I can hardly listen to the radio; if not for my soul it’s my brain being sucked away by the sound waves surfing the unperceivable frequency.  Radio content is just a minor example of the vulgarity accepted throughout our culture.  Pornography is casual, drugs are fun (unless you’re actually addicted), and marriages last as long as tic-tacs.

Greater than the problem of guns is the problem of our moral standards, or lack thereof. What standard is there for the morals of our nation?

 

LOVE CHOOSES

So why does God allow tragedy? Because He loves us more than we love Him, tragedies – aside from natural disasters- are always our choices. Natural disasters happen for the destruction of godlessness and the fulfillment of prophecy (this is the most concise reason I could conjure by addressing the topic without diverting from my main argument).

If we were forced into a world without tragedy we would see no need for God, assuming all sources of pleasure were good. The tragedy of a married man pleasing himself with a mistress is that his whole being, heart and soul, belong to another woman. The tragedy of pleasure fulfilled through evil is it’s meant to be fulfilled through righteousness.

Our God loves us because He lets us choose to love Him. If we deny His love and too deny his very existence we must not be surprised by the statutes and outcomes declared by our “prince”.

What do you think? Why would God allow Tragedy? Is tragedy His fault or ours?

Next we’ll discuss the effectiveness of gun control in America.  Subscribe to stay up to date and in the conversation.

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