Monday, April 30, 2012

Are you AWOL?

Are you a 'good' Christian? Do you go to church, serve on committees, work the church dinners and other events? Do you have a Christian bumper sticker on your car? Do you continually post on Facebook all the catchy sayings about being a Christian? Those are all good things! BUT, if you are not acting according to the 'greatest commandments' (Jesus' name for them) of loving God, "with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength," AND "love your neighbor as yourself," then you are AWOL.

AWOL military personnel go against their Prime Directive and forfeit the rights and privileges of their rank. AWOL Christians go against their Prime Directive listed above, and forfeit their rights and privileges under the Blessing of God.

They also turn more people away from Christ by their example. Brennan Manning has said, "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny him with their life style. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."

Are you judging others? Gossiping about others? Talking down to others? If so, you are AWOL, my friend.

To learn more please order AWOL (Acting WithOut Love) Christians today!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Love Lesson for Valentine's Day....and always

[From A.W.O.L. (Acting WithOut Love) Christians]:

A lesson in forgiving love

Jesus taught this lesson to Simon in Luke chapter seven. Simon was a Pharisee who had invited Jesus to dine with him in his home. We know how Jesus attracted crowds of people who followed him wherever he went. On this particular occasion there was a woman in the crowd who is referred to as a “sinner.” Perhaps she was a prostitute, or guilty of some other type of sexual sin. In any case, it seems that everyone who saw her knew her reputation.

As Jesus was reclined to eat his meal this woman stood behind Him, no doubt convicted by whatever type of sin was in her heart. Her tears dropped onto Jesus’ feet and she washed His feet with those tears, using her own hair to dry them. She kissed His feet and then took out an alabaster flask of scented oil she had brought. She broke it open and anointed Jesus feet with that perfumed oil. As I mentioned, Simon was a Pharisee, a stickler for the law and one who looked down upon all who did not live by every letter of the law. It seems Simon could not help himself. He had to comment on this scene, referring to Jesus, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner” (Luke 7: 39). Can you hear him say it? He no doubt emphasized that word, sinner. There was probably a tone of disgust and repulsion in his voice. He could not understand how a true “man of God” (which he thought of himself as) would allow such a person to even touch him.

But what was Jesus’ reaction? In verse forty we hear Jesus say, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” I can imagine there was a sternness in Jesus’ voice. He is not happy with Simon’s attitude toward this woman. Jesus tells Simon the story of two creditors:

"There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five
hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing
with which to repay, he freely forgave them both.
Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, "You have rightly judged" (Luke 7:41 – 43).

And to punctuate the parable, Jesus berates Simon’s lack of hospitality toward Him, contrasting all the care and love expressed by this unknown woman with Simon’s seeming effrontery toward his guest:

"Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see
this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My
feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them
with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman
has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did
not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet
with fragrant oil" (Luke 7:44 - 46).

Max Lucado envisions this scene and makes this observation:
"You’d think Simon of all people would show such love. Is he not the reverend of the church, the student of Scripture? … You’d think the woman would avoid Jesus. Is she not the woman of the night, the town hussy? … How do we explain the difference between the two? … Think about it. What one discovery has she made that Simon hasn’t? What one treasure does she cherish that Simon doesn’t? Simple. God’s love."

I think it is very telling that in verse forty-four Jesus “turned to the woman and said to Simon.” It is as if Jesus is forcing Simon to focus on this woman, a woman that Simon finds detestable and even unlovable, because of his so-called piety and her life of sin. And to the point of our discussion here Jesus forgives this woman her sins, telling Simon, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little” (Luke 7:47).

This story provides a most vivid picture of God’s forgiving love. It is something that Simon did not understand, regardless of all knowledge of the Law that he possessed. As we are about to see in the next chapters, there is little we can profess in the way of gifts of the Spirit, or little we can take pride in regarding our obedience to the Law, without the supreme law, the law of love that Jesus proclaimed, represented, and lived.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween and horror movies

(an excerpt from A.W.O.L. Christians)

Chapter 5: LOVE = NO FEAR

"There is no fear in love;
but perfect love casteth out fear:
because fear hath torment.
He that feareth is not made perfect in love."
I John 4:18 (KJV)

As I begin my work on this chapter, it is one week before Halloween. While watching television last evening I heard a commercial for a marathon of scary movies. The advertisement was attracting viewers to these shows by portraying the week-long movie presentation with phrases like, “The only emotion you’ll feel is fear”, and “Eight movies that will scare you to death!”

Now, we could begin a long discussion on the celebration of Halloween in general and whether as good Christians we should allow our children to dress up and go trick-or-treating. If you have strong beliefs about the need not to recognize this “holiday”, I think you are justified. However I do feel there is a bigger issue in today’s culture regarding how much our society promotes anything involving the emotion of fear.

Just one look to see what Christ told John in Revelation 21 can be eye-opening:

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and
murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters,
and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth
with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
(Revelation 21:8, KJV, emphasis added)

Do you see how those who are “fearful” are lumped in with these other “abominable” characters? That tells me that this notion of living in fear, or dealing with fear as a recreational activity is far more serious than most of us understand. To purposely sit at home or in a theater and allow fear to infiltrate your mind and spirit through what you see is as bad as letting pornographic material take hold of your will and emotions. Both are deeply affecting the souls of people all over the world today, believers and nonbelievers alike.

Monday, October 24, 2011

God loves without partiality

**(From A.W.O.L. Christians, written before the death of Osama bin Laden)**

"... God is many things, but His character is most clearly defined by the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23) in the statement he reiterated twice in the fourth chapter of I John, “God is love.”

You see God cannot hate one of his creations, “For everything God created is good” (I Timothy 4:4, NIV). So since each one of us was created by the Almighty God of heaven, He loves us. And not only that, He loves each of us equally.

Wow, that’s hard to fathom isn’t it? God loves me the same as He loves Mother Teresa, or Osama bin Ladin? When you think about the latter you are probably a bit upset. He loves a murdering terrorist as much as me? But it is sobering to take the other extreme. You mean He loves little old “ordinary” me as much as someone so loving and self-sacrificing as Mother Teresa?

Do you want a real eye opener? Check Jesus own words in John 17 as he prays for all believers, “…that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (John 17:23, emphasis added). God loves us as He loved Jesus! You may be thinking that Jesus meant that only for his disciples, but check it out! His prayer in that portion of John 17 is for all believers!

You may need to catch your breath after that revelation. The point is very clear in scripture that God loves every human being on this planet. As Peter stated in Acts 10:34, “Most certainly and thoroughly I now perceive and understand that God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons” (TAB). This means that God does not love preachers more than bankers, or prophets more than teachers, or evangelists more than car salesmen, or even believers more than non-believers. He loves equally.

It is up to us to experience that love that God has for us. Scripture tells us to, “Draw near to God and [then] He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). We must be in covenant with God to experience the benefits and the mercy and grace that are the consequences of His love. As Dr. Charles Stanley puts it, “It is God’s nature to love both saint and sinner…The unbeliever has simply positioned himself in such a way that he cannot experience that love – a situation that can be remedied by trusting Jesus as Savior.” Osama bin Laden could experience the same love of God that is available to you and I if only he would repent of his past and embrace Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. Most of us don’t expect that to happen, but this is the story of how we all received our salvation, and it is how thousands of upon thousands become children of God each and every year."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back to School Special


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Want one of each? Get the pair for $25.

All handsigned of course!

Friday, July 29, 2011

No Fear Here!

Worry is a sin!!

1 Peter 5:7 tells us, "...humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you,

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully."

You see when we "take care" upon ourselves, through worrying about a problem or an issue, we are saying our God is not great enough to handle it. He cares about us so "affectionately" that He wants to take our care and worry from us. He wants us to live totally reliant on His care and love. By not allowing Him to do so, we are not walking in faith, but in fear.

If we are constantly asking "What am I going to do about ....?" we are denying to trust in the loving "Abba" Father of us all. Worrying about a problem never solves it, but He always has the solution!

The key issue is for us to "humble" ourselves and admit we do not have all the answers, and no amount of worry and care will reveal any answers to us. By trusting God and casting all our cares on Him, we can be confident that the answer is on its way and we can sleep soundly and release the stress that causes so many illnesses in the world today!

As Joel Osteen puts it, "Stop talking to God about how big your problems are and start talking to your problems about how BIG your God is!"

When worry comes upon you, speak to it! Say, "No thank you I will not take that worrisome thought! My Father loves me and He takes all my cares and worries from me and brings me the solution to them all!"