Lenten Lessons

Posted in Christian, Community, Devotion, Faith, Global, God, Holiday, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Lent, Life, Prayer, Real Talk, Resurrection, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2015 by BigPhatPastor

Although I do not participate in Ash Wednesday, as many did this past week, I do acknowledge the purpose of Lent.  In the 4th century the early Church believers wanted to dedicate a time leading up to Resurrection Sunday to focusing on what Jesus Christ did for us by giving His life so that we might have life.  They decided to start that time of focus 40 days before Resurrection Sunday since Jesus Christ fasted for 40 days before jump starting His ministry.

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I get the people that give up things for Lent as a way of fasting and focusing on God’s love, goodness, and grace.  What I don’t get are people who just go through the motions.  I have talked to people who gave up meat for Lent and when I ask them why they literally just say “Because we are supposed to…aren’t we?”  Why would you engage in a 40 day long practice without knowing what you are doing or why you are doing it?  I’m not trying to judge, ridicule, or criticize anyone but here are a few suggestions,  #IMHO, to get the most out of Lent.

  1. DON’T give up anything for Lent if you don’t know why you are doing it.  That isn’t called fasting, it’s foolishness.
  2. DON’T give up anything for Lent without spending time that would normally be used engaging in what you are fasting from drawing closer to Christ by reflecting on what He gave up for you.
  1. DON’T spend the 40 days of Lent griping and moaning about what you gave up. That just shows you don’t really understand what’s going on.
  2. DO celebrate and rejoice in the fact that whatever you gave up pales in comparison to what Jesus Christ gave up for you and that He loves you with a never ending love. Rejoice in that for eternity.
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Upon Further Examination

Posted in Bible, Christian, Church, Country, Devotion, Digital, End Times, Faith, Global, Holy Spirit, Life, Ministry, New Testament, Old Testament, Real Talk, Supernatural with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2015 by BigPhatPastor

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I am literally dentisted-out.  Over the past few months I’ve had multiple dental exams, measurements, procedures, not to mention a dental surgery early last year.  It is my own fault for not seeing a dentist for the last 5 or 6 years.  At my last few visits I was told two different things by two dentists.  One said your teeth are fine but your gums need more checkups and more flossing. This was pretty consistent with what they had been telling me all along.  Another dentist recommended surgery and a possible bone graft.  How could they both look at the same thing and recommend two different strategies? 

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People ask the same thing about the revelation of God to humanity.  If God exists why are there so many different religions?  Even within Christianity why are there so many different denominations?  The religion question I can address in a different (and much longer) post.  As to the denominations it is the same thing that happened with the dentist.  We all see the same thing but interpret what we see through our own experiences.  We respond to what we see based on how we interpret it.  Neither dentist was wrong but each suggested a different approach.  And whilst I cannot speak for every denomination many read the same Word of God and experience His revelation of Himself to humanity and respond to that revelation and choose different ways to reverence and worship Him based on their understanding and life experiences.  The most important thing is that they do recognize His revelation and they do respond. 

Blessings in a Bottle

Posted in Apps, Bible, Christian, Devotion, Digital, Electronics, Faith, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Life, Pastors, Pittsburgh, Prayer, Real Talk with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2015 by BigPhatPastor

At the beginning of every year people are always trying to list out new things to try and do for the coming year.  I don’t do resolutions but I do try to implement things into my life that will make it better and make me a better person.  This year I saw a post regarding a jar of blessings.  It may have been around for a while but this is the 1st year I took notice of it.

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The idea is to take a jar and fill it with little notes about blessings that take place in your life; little things that happen throughout the day and big things that occur on certain days.  Well, since one of my wife’s motto’s is “Let’s not put things on display, they add to clutter.” I decided that instead of a jar of blessings I would keep an online notebook.  This way I have access to it no matter where I am and no matter which device is nearby.  I can also look at the blessings that occurred within a given week, month, or other specified time frame.

To date, I’ve filled it with some funny stuff, some light hearted stuff, tiny things about people I’ve met and other things God has blessed me with; some pretty huge.

If there was an app that would let me tweet these things out that would be even better; if anyone knows of one let me know.  Until then I will just have to keep blowing up my notebook because God is blessing my pants off.

How about you?  Anything special God is doing in your life?  And when He does do something do you share it with others?

Put A Bandaid On It…

Posted in Christian, Christmas, Christmas Party, Church, Comics, Community, Country, Culture, DC, Devotion, Digital, Dining, Election, Electronics, End Times, Entertainment, Evangelism, Faith, Family, Fantasy, Food, Fun, Geek, Global, God, Government, Health, HIstory, Holiday, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Leadership, Life, Love, Marriage, Marvel, Medical, Military, Ministry, Money, Movies, Music, Nerd, New Testament, Old Testament, Pastors, Pittsburgh, Political, Prayer, Real Talk, Resurrection, Sacrifice, Sci Fi, Social Media, Spiritual, sports, Superheroes, Supernatural, Taboo Topics, The Church, The Law, Travel, TV, Tworship, Vampires, Werewolf, worship with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2014 by BigPhatPastor

So a few months ago I pulled a tendon in my left arm.  It took forever to heal because I kept going right back out and doing the thing that caused the damage in the first place, #dagorhir (you’re going to have to Google it).  After weeks of it not healing I finally took a few weeks off from sparring and gym workouts to let it heal.  Then I gradually re-engaged in both #dagorhir  and gym workouts.  It took time but it healed. 

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So what do you think I did when I pulled a tendon in my right arm a few weeks later (this was after a pulled abdominal muscle and a few thumb smashes…#dagorhir)? I went right back at it without allowing time for healing.  Of course once I finally took a few weeks off it began to heal; I am still in that healing process.

I look at our nation now and I see a nation that needs to heal, from wounds of lost loved ones, from wounds of lost trust and confidence, and from wounds caused by hatred and bigotry. This nation, we make up this nation, need time to heal.

Over the Christmas weekend take some time to heal.  Step away from the keyboard.  Don’t respond to any flagrant posts or tweets. Ignore the rants and tirades and spend the weekend with family and loved ones.  We all need time to heal.  #merrychristmas.

The Gift That Matters

Posted in Bible, Celebration, Christian, Christmas, Christmas Party, Church, Community, Faith, Family, Global, God, Holiday, Real Talk with tags , , , , , , on December 17, 2014 by BigPhatPastor

As we get closer to the day when we celebrate God’s greatest gift to humanity, the birth of His Son Jesus Christ, we tend to get busier trying to find, purchase, or make a good gift for others.  Whether you make it, order it online, or hunt for it in retail stores realize there is way more value in a thoughtful inexpensive gift than an overpriced last minute gift (a cruise being the exception…everyone loves a cruise).

Although our list of who to shop for may be long, have you taken a minute to consider what gift you can give to God?  Yes, we can give gifts to God and here are 3 excellent ones:

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1.  Your Talent: although God has equipped each of us with gifts and talents many of us aren’t using those skills to build God’s kingdom.  This doesn’t mean you have to use your gifts and talents in the local church although that is the best place to start. You can also use your gifts and talents within a local organization within your community.  Using your gifts and talents that God has blessed you with and acknowledging those gifts and talents are from God is a great way to bless others and give something back to the God who gives us everything.

2. Your Time: You don’t have to have a special skill or talent to volunteer your time.  Every local church needs people to help out with numerous activities and ministries.  Local organizations in your community that are blessing the lives of others could also use extra hands.  And since we cannot earn that time back in any way shape or fashion it tops the list as one of the most precious things in existence; when you give your precious time to help others it is reminiscent of God giving His precious Son to us.

3. Your Presence (Not Your Presents): Take a little extra time to spend with family this Christmas season; hug them a little closer and a little tighter.  The overtime, the special projects at work, they’ll all be waiting for you.  All your family really needs to have a happy and blessed Christmas is you showing up, telling them you love them, and celebrating the birth of Christ with them.  Take the whole family to a Christmas Eve celebration and rejoice in the birth of Christ together.  #merrychristmas #tistheseason

Peace on Earth…Begins With You

Posted in Christian, Christmas, Devotion, Digital, Faith, God, Holiday, Jesus Christ, Prayer, Real Talk, The Church with tags , , , , , on December 9, 2014 by BigPhatPastor

Martin Luther said “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness.”  As we draw closer to Christmas we see the need for communities, legal systems, corporate and government officials, individuals, and families to grab hold of God’s willingness to offer peace on earth and good will towards our fellow man. 

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As we go about our business of each day this Christmas season take an extra moment to pray for peace, safety, and rest for our soldiers, their families, and that we all would show good will toward our fellow man. Peace on earth was made possible by the birth of Jesus Christ but the spreading of it begins with you and how you treat others.  #merrychristmas #tistheseason

We Can Still Give Thanks…

Posted in Bible, Christian, Church, Community, Culture, Evangelism, Faith, Global, God, Government, Jesus Christ, Leadership, Life, Prayer, Real Talk, Spiritual, The Church with tags , , , , , , on November 26, 2014 by BigPhatPastor

In a week that should be capitalized with a time of giving thanks and praise to God for His blessings we as a nation are again divided over human hurts.  If nothing else, the events of this week in our nation  confirm how much this nation and this world needs the peace that only Jesus Christ can bring.  We need that peace so we are not fearful of people because of their race, or what clothes they wear, or what position of authority they hold. We need that peace so that hate is no longer one of the most powerful weapons on the planet.  We need that peace because it reveals the truth that every single life is precious to God and should be precious to His people.

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Now more than ever we, who are the Church, should pray for a spiritual awakening  across the nation: that the Gospel would be communicated across the full spectrum of American society and that people of all ages, races, backgrounds regardless of political affiliation or economic situation would be drawn to Jesus Christ and receive His life, His salvation, and His peace…and we should give thanks that we live in a nation that allows us to do so freely #givethanks

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