Friday, December 12, 2008

Three Visits of Holy Spirit

Just like the story “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, this post is about having a supernatural encounter for the purpose of reevaluating your life. You will be visited by ONE Holy Spirit three times. He will show you things so that you will make right choices, change and do good in this world.

The First Visit from Holy Spirit – He takes you to the past.

The Spirit brings you to the time when Jesus walked the earth... (Read Isaiah 53:2-3)

Then he brings you to your childhood or just months ago. Some memories are happy, while others are not. What events have happened that hardened your heart, caused you to be bitter or not care? What have people done to you that makes you hate them and unable to forgive? Who taught you the lessons about how to yell at people or cuss or use sarcasm to put others down? When were you introduced to pornography, drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes? At what point in your past did you get away with lying to your parents or cheating on a test so that you knew you could do it again and again and not get caught?

Holy Spirit shows you these events and you feel uneasy as you watch them. You beg him to take you away from those places...and he does.

But, he takes you back to the time when Jesus was crucified... (Read Isaiah 53:4-7)

Suddenly, you are left alone to think about these things...

The Second Visit from Holy Spirit – He takes you to the present.

Leading you by the hand, you are transported far away to other places where God is working. You see millions of Asian believers, African believers, and Latinos lifting their hands in worship. You see missionaries and vehicles being used to get literature into the hands of Europeans. You see Christians in America, huddling in groups of fellowship, watching movies and playing games, and gathering for Bible Studies at Starbucks.

Then, you are taken to dark places. You see poverty and violence; natural disasters and tragedies. You see hatred, terror, and the faces of hopeless children.

When you finish your trip around the world, the Spirit takes you to a recent church service you attended or a time you were given a choice to surrender your whole life to Jesus and do good. He shows you the things that God has offered you. Is it salvation and forgiveness of sins? Is it a call to preach the gospel? Is it the chance to help a friend, a stranger, or even an enemy? Have you been challenged to give money to missions or witness to others yourself? Are you being asked to give up something you're struggling to hold on to?

The Spirit looks at you and with great seriousness takes out a scroll and reads these words:

“And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because your salvation is nearer now than when you first believed. The night is nearly over, the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” - Romans 13:11-14

Inside, you are left with the overwhelming sense that today you have many choices to make.

Suddenly, you are left alone to think about these things...

The Third Visit from Holy Spirit – He takes you to the future.

The Spirit brings you to the top of a high peak in the Jerusalem Mountains, far away from where you live. The sky is dark, but then Heaven opens up. (Read Revelation 19:11-21)

This vision is amazing (like watching the final battle in Return of the King) and terrible, all at once. It seems that Holy Spirit brought you here for a purpose, to show you your future. Where are you in the vision? It hits you like a sledge hammer to the chest – there seems to be only two places you could be. You're either wearing fine linen, white and clean, riding a white horse in the army of Heaven, or you're lying on the ground, bloody and dead, birds picking at your flesh.

Suddenly, you are left alone to think about these things...

Today, you are here and you must realize that you cannot undo the past. The things that you have done and the things that have been done to you cannot be altered. They have effected you and formed the way you think and see the world, and respond to others.

You must realize that in the present you are given many choices about how you're going to live your life and the things you'll pursue. You can be lazy or hard working, you can waste time or redeem the time you've been given. You can live for yourself or you can serve others. You can forgive, or you can hold on to the hatred inside your heart. You can believe and trust Christ to save you, or you can write him off as a myth and walk away.

You must realize that your future depends on what you do in the present. The purpose of the vision of the future is to show you the results of the things you have chosen in the present. The past is gone, but the present is an opportunity to let God transform your life and use you for good in this world.

How will you respond to the vision of the future? Will you join me and repent of sleeping through the present? Will you ask God to wake you up? Who needs to trust Christ to save you and give you a new life? Who needs to rededicate right now and ask Jesus to use you like never before?

Like Scrooge did with the ghost of Christmas future, we beg the Holy Spirit to not leave us there. When we wake up, we are renewed and challenged to love the world as Christ did and not as we have done before.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Picture Zoom Game III

OBJECT OF THE GAME: Be the first blogger to guess who this is a picture of.

RULES: You may only guess once, but you may speculate or comment anytime. Your guess will only count when you have clearly stated "My guess is..." The winner will be declared to be "The Most Excellent Recognizer" of 2008. God's speed to all.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Need To Create

There are so many things rattling around in my brain. Ideas, ideas, ideas. You don't have any clue. I can't stop thinking and I have this intense desire to just create and write.

Right now, I am reading 5 or 6 books at the same time, trying to complete a huge gaming project I began many moons ago, blogging, and diving in to writing a screenplay. And this is all on top of my being a family man, a youth pastor and preacher.

Sometimes I want to just ignore the urges, but I can't seem to. So, late at night I sit at my computer and spend time in the books. I mostly fall asleep that way.

My gaming project is called God's Heroes. I am creating a paper and dice, d20 system, roleplaying game for my group of young adult gamers. We usually get together and play the Star Wars Saga Edition roleplaying game or The Lord of the Rings roleplaying game. After all these years of gaming and game creation, I wanted to give them something God-centered that was just as fun. So, I combined the best of all the roleplaying systems I know and I have only a few chapters to go. I have vowed to finish before Christmas and give each player a copy as a gift. The book will end up somewhere around 200 pages.

In case you're wondering, the game's premise is that during the 1,000 year lock up of Satan in the Abyss, the Lord God has sent every demonic ruler, minion, and beast to a new planet he created, called Fallenworld. In a Job-like challenge, Satan predicts that God's creation could never defeat his forces on Fallenworld in a thousand years. So, the Lord God plucks from the earth heroes. He sends them to Fallenworld and gives them a mission to "Go into all the world and slay my enemies..."

The screenplay I'm writing is based on the book Adam by Ted Dekker. I recently went and saw the movie House based on a book by the same author. I was slightly disappointed with the screenplay and the way the director put it all together. I thought it could have been so much better than it turned out. So, that got me thinking about writing a screenplay for Adam. I don't know if anything will become of it, but more about that in a minute...

You can follow my progress on this by visiting here. This is the message board on Ted Dekker's website. Let me know what you think.

Now, I don't know if anything will ever become of most of what I create, except to entertain and inspire those in my social circle and possible a few peepers. But, that doesn't stop me from creating. I can't stop. It's who I have been made to be and I must be it.

What about you? What have you been made to be? I want to encourage you to find out and do it with all your heart. Remember, there are some successes that cannot be measured until 20 years later or beyond. And ultimately, all our works will be tried by fire.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Getting in trouble again.

All my life I've been plagued with a strong will and the need to stand up for others or myself. I remember many times when I "interfered" with punishments my brothers and sisters were getting and probably deserved, but I didn't like how it was all going down. I would end up getting in trouble more than they would in the end. For as long as I can remember, I have been that way. I don't know why.

I don't like mistreatment. And when I lose my temper with my own daughter, I see it in her too.

I try to remember that is what the world needs healing from. The last thing they need in the church is mistreatment. They need understanding and compassion...and patience.

I pray I can be like Christ and have that tenderness about me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

He Has Plans

Today I memorized Psalm 138:8, which says, "The Lord will work out his plans for my life - for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don't abandon me, for you made me."

No matter what you're going through, remember the Lord has plans for you. And he is working them out. Why? Because he loves you and he made you.

When I think of the great things God has planned for me, I feel giddy, like a kid at Christmas. I don't really know what I'm going to get, but I can dream and imagine. Jesus knows me real well, and he knows the things that I want. Maybe, he'll grant me some of those things...

After all, he helped place those desires in me!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Is this the real church?

Every year our students participate in a state Fine Arts Festival. They perform in category divisions like Music, Art, Drama, Communication, and others. This year we had about 13 different entries from my students. One of them was in the category of Large Human Video Group. Although they did not receive an invitation to the National Fine Arts Festival in Charlotte, NC, they certainly gave the judges some comic relief from all the wild party, violence, and crucifixion scenes they endured all day.

"Is this the real church? Is this the ministry?" is how the song begins. For those of you who grew up in the church, maybe you can relate.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Purity Matters

I like this...hope you do to.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Challenged by C.S. Lewis.

I've been reading The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis and he challenged me personally when he said, "I think we all sin by needlessly disobeying the apostolic injunction to 'rejoice' as much as by anything else."

I must admit that I don't always rejoice. Sometimes it takes work to focus on the good that is happening all around us. The question I have to ask myself is..."Why am I more passionate about the things that disturb me than the things that make me glad?"

What a world it would be, if I would only rejoice in all things, instead of complaining and moaning. What if we always looked for the good and brought those things to everyone's attention? I'm not talking about denying the realities of imperfection, I am talking about how I deal with those realities.

What about you?