Jar of Blessings?!?!?

Posted in Apps, Bible, Christian, Church, Devotion, Digital, Faith, Fun, God, Jesus Christ, Life, Love, Pastors, Real Talk with tags , , , , on January 6, 2016 by BigPhatPastor

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So I can’t be the only one who kept reading about the Jar of Blessings and thought “No one actually does this”, right?  I mean I’ve been in a lot of people’s homes and have not seen one jar sitting around.  So I thought it was bunk…until I tried it.  In January of 2015 I thought I’d give it a try…with a digital spin.  Instead of using an actual jar I created a notebook in Evernote and jotted down blessings throughout the year.  Since Evernote is cloud based I was able to jot down notes anytime anywhere.  Granted, I was new at it and probably missed jotting down multiple things but every now and then I’d jot something down and think how blessed I truly am.

Towards the latter part of 2015 I was feeling less and less blessed.  Just dealing with my own junk and extended family issues drew me away from focusing on blessings and caused me to focus on trials and issues instead.  But then recently as I was going over some lists in Evernote I saw the Jar of Blessings notebook and decided to look through it.  I was shocked at my perception of God’s blessings; little things that I was greatful for, tiny events that others might ridicule I was extremely ecstatic over.  And all the blessings I listed continued even in the times where I seemed to be focused on my trials.  It was amazing to look back and see not just how good God was but to see His hand of blessing even in times when I didn’t think I felt blessed.

So I started another notebook and began jotting down blessings for this year.  I’ll definitely be more active in recording things and way more active in referring back to them.  If you haven’t done so, start now and begin listing God’s blessings in your life, big and small.  And if you have done so ensure you make time to refer back to them regularly.

You’re Doing It Wrong

Posted in Bible, Bullying, Christian, Church, Country, Culture, Devotion, Faith, Global, God, Jesus Christ, Leadership, Life, Ministry, New Testament, Pittsburgh, Real Talk, The Church with tags , , , , , , on July 16, 2015 by BigPhatPastor

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Every time there is a disagreement between Christ followers and the culture people are quick to tell Christ followers to stop judging others.  They are quick to remind us that the Bible says not to judge others.  They post, tweet, & Snapchat Matthew 7:1, “Judge not that ye be not judged.” It seems everyone is fluent in King James when criticizing others.

The problem is they’re wrong because the Bible does tell Christians to judge others.  The rest of the passage in Matthew 7 is about using a right judgement and not being hypocritical.  In fact, John records that one of the times that Jesus was being criticized for living a Christian life that went against the grain of the culture that He told those criticizing him, who were being hypocritical by the way, to judge not by appearances but by righteous judgement.

We as Christ followers are supposed to judge whether something is right in accordance with God’s righteousness or not.  So please, if you’re going to keep quoting that verse at least read the rest of the passage and start doing it right. #RantOver…#ForNow

This Has Nothing To Do With The Duggars, Kardashians, or Jenners But…

Posted in Atheist, Bible, Bullying, Christian, Church, Comics, Community, Country, Culture, Digital, Entertainment, Faith, Family, Geek, God, Trending with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2015 by BigPhatPastor

I have to be honest it pains me to write this.  I was supposed to be working on the recording for my podcast for comic fans, techies, and geeks: The BiFrost Bridge Podcast, but instead I’m writing this (and I would so much rather be doing that).  I was also supposed to be putting together the agenda for the CrossRoads Community Church Board Meeting but instead I’m writing this (good thing the board doesn’t read my blog, lol). It’s just that I have seen such hatred and so many harsh words exchanged between people who were previously “friends”, or whatever that means from a social media aspect, and all over people that neither person has even met and over stories neither person has heard first hand from the people involved.

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It doesn’t matter to me which side of team Jenner or Duggar you fall on.  What does matter is that every person in America has a right to express their opinion.  According to the U.S. Constitution, which I dedicated 12 years of my life to defending as a member of the U.S. Army, free speech is still a constitutional right.  That includes ones right to disagree publically, verbally or in writing, and on every social media venue they care to use with another person’s point of view.  It does not give anyone the right to bad mouth, trash, or belittle someone else because of a differing viewpoint.

How can anyone justify trashing someone else for sharing a differing view, when by trashing them for sharing their view you are doing the exact same thing you are trashing them for?  That makes absolutely no sense.  How can someone come down on another person for speaking what they believe when by doing so you are literally speaking for and about what you believe? Does that mean everyone has the right to come down on and belittle you? #HypocriteMuch

I’ve seen many posts saying “here is what I believe and you can delete me if you disagree.” I have yet to delete anyone although I disagree with a majority of people, Christians, non-Christians, atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, and a host of other people with religious preferences (yes, I have quite of mix of social media contacts and yes, I have at some point disagreed with something they posted or a stance they took).  I respect their beliefs, their right to express their beliefs, and hope they respect mine.  I’ve had aggressive conversations and exchanges with many of them but have not disrespected them because we disagree.

I seriously hope we can get back to what is considered one of the foundational principles our nation was founded upon: not just hearing one another but respecting one another.  If we can’t then, yes, feel free to delete me, lol.

Passion

Posted in Bible, Christian, Church, Devotion, Digital, Evangelism, Faith, Global, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Life, Ministry, Missionary, Passion, Real Talk with tags , , , , , , , on May 22, 2015 by BigPhatPastor

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This past weekend I was blessed to be able to spend the weekend with some friends visiting from Chile.  They are missionaries who share the Gospel with people in Chile.  I’ve known Christian and Magaly since my first mission trip which was to their facility in Santiago Chile in 2002.  They, and other families and individuals, share the Gospel with children, youth, and young adults via week long summer camps at their facility.  They also put on large stage productions at their facility and in schools (yes, I said in schools, and I was with them as they did this in one school on my 2nd mission trip to Chile), communities, and apartment complexes in and around Santiago.  At the end of each production all of the cast and crew pick up a Bible and go out into the audience and shares the Gospel. 

Last weekend as they were visiting Christian shared with the CrossRoads congregation that we were created, called, and equipped to live with passion; and a huge part of that passionate life is sharing the Gospel.  For me, my passion, what gets me up and excited each day is sharing God’s word with people. Sometimes I forget what drives me.  Sometimes business, or lack there of can quench my passion and it takes someone else to inspire that passion.

So what is your passion?  What drives and pushes you each and every day?

What drives you each day?

National Day of Prayer

Posted in Apps, Atheist, Bible, Celebration, Christian, Church, Community, Country, Culture, DC, Devotion, Digital, Election, Faith, Family, God, Government, HIstory, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2015 by BigPhatPastor

NDPThis year I am torn more than ever regarding the National Day of Prayer.  I know it is a huge nationwide event that brings out people and congregations in droves to events all over the nation.  I strongly encourage people and congregations to gather publically and pray for their friends, their families, their communities, and our nation and its leaders.  However, isn’t that what the body of Christ is supposed to do anyway?  And do it daily?

I am torn because some view the National Day of Prayer as the only day to engage in prayer.  Prayer is one of the most valuable assets that the body of Christ has today.  If that is true then shouldn’t the body of Christ be gathering together, even across denominational lines, to pray for people, communities, and our nation…regularly?

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for praying together and in public.  I  am just all for it more than just one day a year.  Why aren’t there monthly or quarterly prayer events going on across our nation on a regular basis?  Why is it usually when tragedy strikes that we see a call to prayer?  Why does it have to take a Tsunami, an earthquake, or a questionable action by a civil servant, or a city in mourning to bring the body of Christ together to pray?  I am not trying to be cynical, but perhaps if we held more prayer events than protests or more prayer events other than to pray against a politician all of our cities and our nation would be in better place.

As I write this, yes, I am trying and have tried to coordinate cross-denominational prayer events for the National Day of Prayer (for those who are wondering if I practice what I preach, lol).  And yes, I am aware that multiple congregations are already engaged in doing regular prayer events with their congregations and with other congregations across denominational lines.  But God help us, literally, if we ever get to a point where we feel like we are praying too much.  This year we are trying to add the following to our local prayer events and if possible perhaps you and your congregation can do the same if it is not being done already:

-Quarterly or regularly scheduled cross denominational pray events

-Public prayer events and prayer walks

That being said, what are you praying for and who will you be praying with for the National Day of Prayer on Thursday May 7th of this year?

What We Don’t See With Cultural Morality

Posted in Atheist, Bible, Christian, Church, Community, Country, Digital, Evangelism, Faith, Family, Global, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Leadership, Lent, Life, Ministry, New Testament, Old Testament, Pastors, Pittsburgh, Prayer, Real Talk, Spiritual, The Church, The Law with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2015 by BigPhatPastor

What We Don’t See With Cultural Morality
I used to talk a lot of junk and carry a pretty big Bible. It was a parallel Bible incorporating the KJV, Amplified, NAS, and NIV into one thick 3,000 plus page Bible. I stopped using mine because the print was so small, or I was getting so old I couldn’t see the print (toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe); that plus I had used it so much the pages were falling out. After getting reading glasses I began using my wife’s parallel Bible for my morning study time. As I was reading through 2 Corinthians chapter 5 I can came across some notes she had written in her Bible. They were likely 7 to 10 years old but they speak volumes about what we are seeing in the world today. I have reprinted them here, with my insights after each one. However, they are likely from a Bible study or a sermon she heard preached somewhere so I cannot take credit for them. The title she had over the notes: Dangers of Cultural Morality…
1. Not our commission-we have not been mandated by God. The we being Christ followers and although true some Christ followers have embraced cultural morality more than the Gospel.
2. Wastes precious mounts of resources – is a distraction by the enemy, Eph 5:16. If we are Christ followers then we should devote all resources (time, talent, & treasures) to doing what Christ has called us to do: share & show the love of Christ, invite people to be recipients of Christ’s love.
3. If you don’t change the heart you will redirect the sin. Only God can change a person’s heart. Anything else is merely a bandaid on an eternal wound: sin.
4. Fails to understand the kingdom of God, John 18:36. Just as Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John chapter 3, without the Spirit of God one cannot understand the things of God. Cultural morality moves people away from understanding God’s overwhelming love for humanity.
5.

Talk To The Animals

Posted in Atheist, Bible, Christian, Church, Devotion, Faith, God, Ministry, New Testament, Old Testament, Pastors, The Church with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2015 by BigPhatPastor

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Many theologians and atheists and people in general argue over which animals God is referencing in Job chapter 40 (the answer to which I’ll provide shortly #imho).  By focusing on the animals we miss the greater point that God is making.  God highlights the characteristics of a land and then a sea animal.  His point to Job is if you cannot understand or grasp the concept of why these creatures were created, if you cannot meet their varying needs, if you cannot see their role in the universe then how can you begin to question God and His purpose?  If Job cannot grasp what God is doing with and for these animals how could Job get and grasp what God is doing with and for humanity. 

We know God has just demonstrated what faith in God can do; not just to Job but also to satan (and by extension to us).  That same faith is what saved the Old Testament saints as they looked forward to the Cross and the New Testament saints and us as we look back to it.  As to the animals God is referencing? They could easily be ones no longer in existence in our day.  But the main point is they are identified as ones God created; ones He knows and created for His purpose.  The same is true of you and me.  God created us to know Him and more so than the animals to be recipients of His amazing love. Like Job, we just need to put our faith and trust in God even in the midst of the trials and tribulations of this world.

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