My Takes

It's Just My Take

Archive for the tag “Jesus”

God’s Gone High Tech!

When my Pastor walked up to the pulpit and opened up his Ipad to read the Bible passage, I was aghast!  This has got to be sacrilegious!  Blasphemous even!  That was about 15 years ago.  I was slow to embrace this new trend.  How could the Holy Bible be traded in for an electronic device? It’s just not the same. What would people think?  What would God himself think?

I reluctantly started using my cell phone in church to access the Bible about 2 years ago.  Before using it in church, I used the Bible Gateway app for my daily devotions.  In church, I was not comfortable and felt the urge to make sure everyone knew that I was not on my phone texting but perusing the Gospel. Hello! I am actually reading the book of John here, not texting my friend John.

Last week, a friend posed the question pertaining to the above on his Facebook status.  He had visited a church and was surprised to see the elders using their cell phones instead of Bibles.  He wanted to see how his friends felt about this. Many felt that cellphones or any other such electronic gadgets had no place in a church. Although I understood the sentiments, I had to disagree.

Having the ease to access the Bible using an app on my phone has actually enabled me to become better at navigating the Bible. It also encourages me to read more often by the suggestions of devotions, geared to every life issues.  I always have my cell phone but I do not always have my bible.

Like it or hate it, technology is here to stay.  A phone is not just a phone anymore,  it’s our computer, our planner, our journal, our Bible.  It’s our one-stop shop. In order to reach out to the masses, we need to be on their level.

The world’s a changing place.  To attract people to God, we need to adapt to the changes. Music has to have appeal without sacrificing the Message. The Bible has to appeal to young readers, churches need to feel like a happy fun place.  Whatever medium it takes to realize this, as long as God is not compromised, it’s all good.

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Say A Prayer Then Do Something

There’s a joke about a woman who prayed every day to win the lottery.  One day while praying hard and telling God how she’s at the end of her financial rope, a voice was heard from Heaven, “Work with me here, first buy a lottery ticket!”

That’s the mentality of many of us Christians, myself included.  We pray for everyone and everything but do nothing further.  A friend on Facebook announces that they have cancer and our statuses send up prayers.  Earthquake devastates a country and our prayers are with the victims.  How many of us, again myself included, are quick to jump when these victims are asking for money or material help? All of a sudden we are MIA.

Prayers are good. We need to pray.  We also need to spring into action.  Telling a starving beggar you would pray for him does not feed him. Give him bread and then pray that he finds food or that someone else would also give him bread.

Praying is good. Very good. But sitting at home praying for a job won’t get you the job unless you send out some applications.

Just my take!

Fill My Cup, Lord. My Starbucks Cup or I’ve Got 99 Problems And The Cup Ain’t One

I unfortunately overhead one of the most asinine things I’ve heard in a long time, on the radio while driving to work a few days ago.  I wish I could ‘unheard’ it but it was cemented in after various other media blasted it into my brain. It was the story about the Starbucks Christmas Cup Controversy.  Lucky you if this is your first time hearing about this. Some guy with obviously too much time on his hands and a penchant for igniting controversial discussions, made a video stating that Starbucks was out to wage a ‘war on Christmas’ because of its minimalistic Christmas coffee cups. They were not Christmassy enough for his liking.

Joshua Feuerstein, the guy behind all this, wrote, “Starbucks removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus,” Yes, Josh, that’s a pure sign of hatred if I ever did see one.  It reeks of disdain and loathe for Jesus!

“I think in the age of political correctness we’ve become so open-minded our brains have literally fallen out of our head.” Feuerstein said in his Facebook video “Did you realize that Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off of their brand new cups? That’s why they are just plain red.”  I applaud you for bringing this to my attention Mr. Feuerstein, I knew my head was missing something, just never realized it was my brain.  I know a few others with missing brains.   Have you found yours yet, Josh?

I am a Christian and I love Christmas.  I know that the day is not actually the day Christ was born but I use it to remember the BIRTH and celebrate accordingly.  I really don’t give two hoots about who wants to join me in celebrating or who choose not to. In fact, I barely notice the difference these days.  In this age of political correctness that Joshua refers to, I have seen ‘Christmas’ switched to ‘holiday’ for fear that it tramples the rights of those who choose not to celebrate this day.  Still, I see it as a non-issue.  It’s the way of the world.  Farther along we’ll understand why.

Making a issue over a company’s choice on how they want to adorn their cups is silly and a waste of thought.  Surprisingly, millions like-minded people agree that Starbucks is definitely out to kill Christmas! Astounding!  It’s only a cup. My Christmas does not hinge on a disposable cup.  Well maybe what’s inside when I wake up early on Christmas morning does help…so why are we discussing this?  Folks, there are more important things out there to worry about, like how do they get the caramilk inside one of those caramel bars.

When Jesus said ‘Take this cup away from me’, he wasn’t referring to a Starbucks cup. Or was he??

Starbucks

Just My Take

 

Unplugging From God

Last night I felt too hot to be comfortable so I got up in the middle of the night and opened the window, letting in some much-needed cool air.  My wife awoke to my rustling and warned me that it wasn’t a good idea as it would get extremely cold in the room.  I didn’t listen.

It didn’t take long for my wife’s words to prove prophetic.  I tried to hide under the blanket and the sheet to get warm.  The thought of getting up and closing the window crossed my mind but the idea of getting out from the covers was not appealing. My face was cold and so were my fingers and toes but I couldn’t risk a total body chill so I chose to stew in my own stupidity.

While I lay there fighting against the smart thing to do, which would have been to get up and close the window, I thought to myself that what I did was like unplugging a heater that was keeping a room warm.  Then I drew a parallel.  Unplugging the heater was like unplugging from God.  We are warm when we are plugged into him but sometimes we feel like it is not comfortable enough.  We want it our way.  So we unplug.  We live with the consequences of unplugging, coldness, distant, lost…We try to cope by seeking comfort elsewhere or by other quick-fix means other than just re-plugging in, even though our families and friends urge us to just plug back in.

Stay warm, stay plugged in.

 

Hey, Look Who Showed Up To Church!

English: St Michael's Church, Llanvihangel Pon...

English: St Michael’s Church, Llanvihangel Pontymoel St Michael’s Church at Llanvihangel Pontymoel. Services are held here on two Sundays each month, three if a month includes five Sundays. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hate missing church.  But I do.  We all do. In a perfect world, nothing we do should supersede God but we still let our personal agendas interfere with HIS schedule. So yes, there are times when I miss church to attend personal and pressing matters.  Don’t you?  Now don’t you hate when there’s that one Sunday you just cannot get your worshiping mojo on?   You just don’t feel it.  Even playing some religious music is not doing it.  Going to church is perhaps the least thing you feel like doing and you would stay at home but you have missed the last two Sundays and the regulars, including the pastor would surely notice your extended absence.  At least you think they would.   So off to church you go.  Decision made based solely on not wanting to let your brothers and sisters down rather than a motivation to give praises to God from whom all blessings come.

Now don’t feel bad. We are humans and I am sure that even our pastors have days where they feel like staying in bed.  The thing is, it’s not how you go, it’s that you go.  People have wandered into church quite by chance and found Christ.   The times when I have dragged my butt out the door, I have actually had the best worshiping experiences.

If you have taken a more than a few Sundays off, don’t feel bad and give up altogether.  Go back next Sunday.  Or the next.  No one will judge you.  At least they shouldn’t.

My Take.

 

Psst, I Agree With Victoria Osteen

A while back, the wife of renowned televangelist Joel Osteen made headlines when she made the following comments,  “When we obey God, we’re not doing it for God…we’re doing it for ourself. Because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. Do good ’cause God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God, really. You’re doing it for yourself because that’s what makes God happy.”  This set off a maelstrom of criticisms from Christians who were dismayed over these words.  Some church leaders and pastors posted the incriminating video on Facebook with various unflattering captions.  I read a few but try as I may, I just could not see what the issue was. Maybe I need to be prayed for because, heaven forbid, not only did I not see a problem with what she said, I actually saw the point she was trying to make.

As selfish as it sounds, Victoria Osteen is right, we really are worshiping God to ensure our own happiness.  The Psalmist sings that ‘Trust and obey to be happy in Jesus.”  We sing it in our churches without ever questioning the merit of it.  So why now?  We try to bring people to Christ by telling them it’s the way to their happiness.  We promise the sad and depressed that their lives will be happier and more fulfilling if they find and follow Jesus.  Isn’t that what our Christianity is based on?  We never start by telling the non-believers that they should worship God because he needs it.  Or that he deserves it.  No, we tell them how much their lives would be enriched by knowing Christ.  Your neighbour complains to you how miserable her life is and you go, “Maybe you should come to church with me.  It might make you feel better.”  Isn’t that exactly what Victoria said?

So in a nutshell, we are not exactly doing it for God since his existence does not hinge on whether we worship him or not.  We are doing it for ourselves.  For our continual happiness and existence. To say it doesn’t make him happy when we do worship him is denying a fact.  When he’s happy with us, we reap the harvest.  We find happiness that comes from him. Therefore, we really can’t deny the fact that we are indeed doing it for ourselves.

Victoria’s wording may have left a bit to be desired but the message is not entirely lost.  It’s funny that even though we all fall under the umbrella of Christianity, we still can’t agree on what and who God is. and what he wants of us.  We have our own ideas and opinions, I do too, and that’s why this is just…

 

My Take.

 

 

Who Found Who?

I have always wondered about the saying,  “I was lost but Jesus found me”.  I never fully agree with it and have spent hours analyzing its true merit.   I have no argument with the ‘being lost’ part of it but the way to salvation or ‘Jesus finding you’ is what I am not in agreement with.

Before we are saved, we stumble through life blindly or lost but remember, we are lost to knowing Christ but HE knows where we are.  He does not need to find us. We need to find HIM. When a hunter or a hiker is lost in the woods for a few days then suddenly emerges to see his cabin in the distance, he cannot claim that his cabin found him. Yes, he was lost indeed but he was searching for a way back to his cabin. In the same way we search for God or some other reason for our existence and we find him.  He never finds us because he was and is, always around us!  Get what I’m saying here?  I know there’s a parable about the lost sheep being found by its shepherd but that’s different.  The sheep NEEDS to be found.  A sheep would not go looking for the shepherd.  Luckily, we are a bit smarter than sheep.

Saying we were lost but Jesus found us sounds as though we were sitting there waiting to be found and Jesus showed up and that was it. Found!  It’s not that simple.  We need to search for a way to HIM.  We were LOST TO HIM and need find our way back home, TO HIM.

Again, this is just, MY TAKE.

Bothering God?

Image result for prayingHave you ever felt that some things are not worth bothering God about? Like that headache that’s keeping you from going out with your friends or the pimple that suddenly showed up just when you finally had a date.  Dear God, please make this embarrassing thing go away so my date could go well.

I know we are supposed to take everything to the Lord in prayer but when tens of thousands are dead and thousands more affected by earthquake in Nepal and other disasters around the world, parents mourning the murder of their young child, my embarrassing cold sore pales in comparison.  So I don’t.  I know HE’s omnipotent and can see all and do all but still…I can’t help but feel selfish asking God to attend to my selfish and petty wants while others are in dire need.  Instead, I choose to pray for those whose needs exceed my own.  And there are many of those.

Don’t you agree? Or is it just My Take?

Find HIM Not IT

It suddenly occurred to me that one of the main reasons why there are so many religious fanatics and religion-based wars is because people have been finding religion rather than finding GOD.  But again, that’s just

My Take…

Let’s Talk About Jesus But Quietly Please Or They Might Hear Us

CHVN-FM

CHVN-FM (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you whisper God’s name out loud? It’s an oxymoron, I know.  But yes, we do! I do and maybe you do too.  At my last job, a Christian woman working adjacent to me listened to the local Christian radio station on her radio but it was turned down so low I was certain she could barely hear it herself.  Sometimes we would have a discussion that had to do with church.  Our conversation would be conspiratorially as though we were planning a heavenly take over.  Not so if we were discussing a secular activity.

Last week at work, another Christian co-worker was at my desk talking about a church-related matter. While talking, she actually glanced around and lowered her voice, again as if we were planning a surprise take over of the company.  And that’s when it struck me! Why are we ashamed to discuss God?  Why do I turn down my Christian radio in my car when I give someone a ride? Or change it to the hip hop station?  Why do we yell out on Facebook how we partied and got drunk the night before but not about how blessed we felt after attending church? Again, why are we ashamed to discuss God?

In Mark 8:38 Jesus says these words:  “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”  Admittedly, in this ‘cool age’ it’s easier to run with the in-crowd than go against the grain.  Wanna be hip?  How many beers you could down trumps how many bible verses you could quote.  Do you have a ‘Christian music workout mix?’  Didn’t think so.  I don’t either.  So why the quiet noise about God? Why the hesitancy to reveal ourselves as believers?

Could it be that we are ashamed because we are not yet fully clothed in God’s garments?  Is it that even though we think we are strong in our faith in God, we really are weak?  Maybe we are like Peter who thought he would not waver and stand with Jesus until the end only to deny him when challenged?  Is that why we do not have enough confidence to go against the grain?  To blast our christian music and to post Facebook messages that uplift HIM, to BE DIFFERENT?  Being different takes guts. Courage. Strong faith.

Today we whisper but as we grow and become fully immersed in HIM, I trust that one day we will SHOUT! And let them hear us.

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