Archive for Christ

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.


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.

Can He Hear You Now…?

Posted in Christian, Church, Culture, Devotion, Digital, Faith, Global, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Pastors, Prayer, Real Talk, The Church with tags , , , , , on November 18, 2014 by BigPhatPastor


As a culture we are accustomed to acknowledging great deeds and achievements.  Whether they be in sports, movies, science, or the arts we give attention to those who do, what we would believe, are great things.  And then there’s God; who created all things and in whom all things are held together; who not only deserves our attention but our worship as well.  And He gives us His attention because He, wants to hear, from us.  “Each time, before you intercede, be quiet first and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!” – Andrew Murray

Law and Order

Posted in Bible, Christian, Culture, Digital, Faith, God, Jesus Christ, New Testament, Old Testament, The Church, The Law, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2014 by BigPhatPastor

I find it amazing how many people try to discount the Old Testament even though it is the foundation for our faith in the New Testament.  The most alarming thing is when people try to discount the Law that God revealed to the Israelites.

In the book of Exodus from chapter 20 on God is revealing Himself to the people of Israel who have been living in a land devotedLawandorder01 to worship of idols and living there as slaves.  God begins to teach former slaves how to interact with Him, with each other, and with foreigners who don’t know Him or them.  To accomplish this God introduces the Law.  In the same way we educate our children today, God begins educating the Israelites.  God reveals several aspects of the law:

– The Ceremonial portions of the Law: These are the feasts and celebrations that point to Jesus Christ and are now fulfilled in Him.  They are all about worshipping God and living in His presence.  These laws are eternal, not bound by time.  Jesus did not do away with these laws, He fulfilled them.

-The Moral portions of the Law are grounded in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  They reveal the nature and will of God for His people and all of humanity.  They stress how we interact with each other (those of similar belief), others, and even our enemies.  These laws are the epitome of what is good and right and still apply today and exist for all time.  For example, since the beginning of time and until the end of time murder will always be considered wrong.

– The Civil/Cultural portions of the Law were instructions on how to live with each other, with others, and with God in that particular day.  Although some were based on solid morals and can be applied today others were only applicable for that particular time and season (with the introduction of indoor plumbing it is no longer required to build latrines away from where one lives…still a great idea for camping though).  The consequences for failing to fulfill these portions of the law were also for a particular time and season.  To put this in perspective think of keeping a child safe.  You tell your child to look both ways before crossing the street.  If you see them dart out into the street and you don’t see them look both ways you may reprimand or punish them.  If this occurs with your teenager or young adult, although the same desire to keep them safe applies,  you may be less likely to reprimand or punish them as you might deem them to be more aware of their surroundings.

One of the best examples of this is seen in the latter part of Exodus 23: 19.  Many people use this verse to claim how irrelevant or invalid the Old Testament is to the Church today.  However, God has a very valid reason for advising the people of Israel not to cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.  The Egyptians did this and then used the broth to sprinkle on their gardens and fields as a magic potion they hoped would bring a good harvest.  However, most of chapter 23 is God telling the people of Israel that He would provide a bountiful harvest for them.  So although God is saying don’t cook a goat in its mothers milk, He is telling the Isralites then and us today, don’t depend upon false tricks or magic for your resources.  He is able to provide all we need.  Although the civil law does not apply today, the moral principle upon which it is based, God is able to provide for His people, is still applicable today.

As you read through the Old Testament don’t just write off things that don’t seem to make sense in today’s culture.  Pull out a commentary (or bring up the app) and read the why and how of each thing.  Also ask your pastor about it or even start a Bible study around a list of questions you and others have.  God’s desire is not to confuse or mislead us, but to provide substantial written documentation that reveals His timeless love for us.

Scariest Thing Ever

Posted in Bible, Christian, Culture, Devotion, God, Holiday, Jesus Christ, Life, Prayer, Real Talk, The Church, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2013 by BigPhatPastor

This past week I took a few teens from our youth group to a haunted house.  It was operated by a Christian organization called Teen Quest at a house in a community neighboring ours.  The scare was centered around an actual even that took place in the house, the 7 deadly sins, and an explanation afterwards about life, death, and Jesus’ perspective on it all.

BibleAs it was my first ever haunted house I didn’t know what to expect so I made the following pact with the teens: If anyone screams because they’re scared it stays between us.  For me the scariest part was twofold: 1) one lady got way to close to me with a rubber mouse that turned out not to be rubber (mice, bugs, varmints of any kind…I hate them all); and 2) there were times when we were in complete darkness for extended periods of time and had to maneuver forward.  As I was moving forward in the dark, I had my hands out in front of me slightly, expecting to touch a wall or something that would give me an idea of what direction to go.  I didn’t know if there was anything actually out there in front of me, but I was hoping there was and I was truly expecting there was, even though I didn’t know.

This got me thinking about what could possibly be the scariest thing on the planet for “some” Christians.  I would say the scariest thing is if God actually answered a prayer.  For some Christians, they have put their faith in the Bible because it is tangible and they can see and hold it.  They have trusted the Thou Shalt Nots and turned those sayings into their God.  Some other Christians have put their faith in their congregation for the same reason.  They can see and touch and interact physically with the group of people on Sunday morning.  They can hear their pastor’s message and hold it up as the thing they will try to do better each week.  But they have not put their faith in the One True God.  And if God actually answered their prayer they would be forced to take a look at putting their faith and trust in Him, not just in words they read but in the living Word.  Instead of walking forward slowly with hands outstretched towards their Bible or towards their congregation and the Sunday Celebration they would have to come out of the dark and acknowledge that God is their light, they would have to stop just going to church and acknowledge that God has called them to BE the Church.

Many of you are thinking that God answers prayer all the time.  But for many, for the living God to actually manifest Himself in the life of some people who call themselves Christians, that’s a pretty scary thought. It shouldn’t be, but sadly it is.  So my prayer for all of these people is that they get a good scare in the days to come.

The #1 Problem on the Planet

Posted in Bible, Celebration, Christian, Church, Community, Culture, Devotion, Digital, Evangelism, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Life, Real Talk, The Church, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2013 by BigPhatPastor

I realize I have talked about, blogged about, tweeted about and even preached about this topic before but it definitely bears repeating.  If you ask one hundred people what is the #1 problem on the planet you will likely receive 100 different responses depending upon their background and life experiences.  If you ask within numerous denominations you might receive different answers but they will center on the fact that sin, the acts and attitudes, and our human transgression that separate us from God, is the #1 problem on the planet.  However, since sin has been done away with by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it cannot occupy the #1 spot.  Communicating this truth is the problem the Church is facing and why I believe that “lack of effective communication is the #1 problem on the planet”.

Countdown !A few weeks ago my nephew, who I have not seen in over a decade came to visit.  He has a hearing disability and communicates using American Sign Language (ASL).  Prior to his arriving my son and daughter spent time with him and quickly picked up ASL. I used to be fluent in Spanish from my three years stationed in Panama while I was serving in the Army however, this was going to be an entirely different challenge for me.  When my nephew arrived he began teaching my wife and I how to communicate using ASL.  We both picked up much quicker than we thought.

As I became more proficient, but definitely not fluent, in communicating via ASL I noticed there were no tenses in the language.  I also recalled that whenever my nephew would send me a Facebook message or a text his writing did not contain tenses.  Since he was 21 I thought he was communicating like most other young adults do via text, fast and not necessarily using correct grammar.  However, I began to understand he was writing in the same way he would sign using ASL, without tenses.  A message of “I go store” was not incorrect to him as that is how he would communicate via sign.  A message of “I sleep now go home later” would also be correct communication. A lady within our congregation stated that one of her friends who has a hearing disability also communicates via ASL and also writes the same way.  It was clear that I had to learn not only how to communicate TO my nephew but how to understand him so that I could communicate WITH him more effectively.

This truth exists in any company, government, and especially of those who do not know Jesus Christ.  There is a need not to just communicate TO people but WITH them.  The problem with sharing the gospel isn’t limited because of sin.  The gospel message itself is that sin has been overcome by the precious Lamb of God, Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross.  However, if we want to communicate effectively with those who do not know Jesus Christ then we, within the Church, have to learn to communicate more effectively.  People who are not Christ followers or who do not regularly attend a Sunday Celebration do not talk about redemption, sin, grace, and atonement the way those who do know Christ might.  In fact, those words may likely never come up in their day to day conversation.  To effectively communicate the gospel to them we have to do it in a way they understand.  This does not mean changing or decreasing the level or amount of biblical truth we reveal (what is known at watering down the gospel).  It does mean, taking the time to get to know the people we are sharing the gospel with and communicating the truths of God’s word to them in a way that makes sense to them.

Telling someone who doesn’t know God exists and therefore has no reason to believe that sin exists, that they are a sinner doesn’t make sense to them.  However, inviting them into your life and loving them the way God loves us might make all the difference in the world to them.  Sharing with them that there is a God, a Creator of the universe who loves them so much that He was willing to die for them, and put His Holy Spirit in them so that nothing could ever separate Him from them just might change their life.  Letting them know that certain attitudes and behaviors and actions can prohibit us from experiencing the level of intimacy with God that He wants us to have with Him just may draw them into the new life God wants them to have.

But it starts with the Church being able to recognize and overcome the #1 problem on the planet, lack of effective communication.

Jesus Geek

Posted in Bible, Christian, Devotion, Digital, Fun, God, Jesus Christ, Life, Sci Fi, Social Media, Uncategorized, Vampires, Werewolf with tags , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2011 by BigPhatPastor

Comic book, fantasy and computer game, social media and sci-fi lovers are typically referred to as the geeks in society.  We’re the ones who hated that The Gates went off air, waited patiently for the airing of the remake of V, have all the SyFy original shows downloaded to our digital and gaming devices…which we just happen to carry around all the time, and still hope and pray for a revival of Firefly.

That same level of unbridled and misunderstood devotion and passion is true of Jesus-Geeks as well.  We’re the ones who believe that Christmas is still all about Christ, are waiting patiently and eagerly for His return, have more sermon podcasts than music on our digital devices, and just pray for an outright revival.

Not sure which category you fall into?  Here are some ways to tell if you’re a Geek or a Jesus Geek:

Geek: If you refer to you, your parents, and friends as Wii instead of we

Jesus Geek: If you carry the board game, digital game, and card game of bible trivia around in every form imaginable

Geek: If you leave back-up flash drives at your family and friends homes just in case you forget yours and keep them all synched via dropbox

Jesus Geek: If you leave back-up bibles at your family and friends homes just in case you forget yours

Geek: If you proudly display your comic book action and fantasy game figures despite the references to them as “toys”

Jesus Geek: If you proudly wear your cross or other paraphernalia reflecting your love for Jesus Christ despite being in a culture that despises Him, hates Him, and continually insists He doesn’t exist

The First Chapter…

Posted in Christian, Devotion, End Times, Global, God, Jesus Christ, Life, Love, Resurrection, worship with tags , , , , on June 22, 2010 by BigPhatPastor

Last week our church kicked off a new series called A Summer of Revelation.  We plan to spend the summer walking through the Book of Revelation and last week we dug into the first chapter.  As many of you know this book is one of the most controversial books in the Bible.  It is also one of the least read and most misunderstood.  There have been many concepts, theories, theologies, and frames of thought (all created by man) regarding this book.  Some churches and denominations have chosen to not even teach from the book because of the division over how it should be interpreted.  Even those who do not believe in God have read it and thrown in their opinions (most of which fall in line with the more frequently quoted and well known book of 2nd Opinions).

The entire Bible is written by men as inspired by God, and there are books which record what occurred and record what God said to individuals.  But I find all the controversy extremely interesting about a book in which Jesus Christ comes to the Apostle John and says “take a memo” and deliver it to the Church.  If Jesus Christ says take a memo and deliver it to the Church then perhaps we should spend more time reading and discussing the book and less time arguing and dividing over it.  The word Revelation comes from the same Greek word where we get the word “apocalypse”.  A little strange since the Greek word for Revelation literally means “unveiling”.  Our culture has taken a book meant to be an unveiling of God’s will and His love for us and turned it into an apocalyptic horror story.  In fact, Revelation starts out by promising a blessing to those who read it and those who hear it and take it to heart.

Revelation is, in my opinion, more about Who God is and His love for us than a climax of events leading up to the end of the world.  In fact, in my humble opinion (yes, mine can be found in the book of 2nd Opinions as well), Revelation is the epitome of a supernatural chick flick.  It’s not a story about a guy swimming the longest river and climbing the highest mountain to get to the one he loves.  It is a supernatural unveiling of how God will dry up the rivers and kick over the mountains to get to the one He loves…the Church.

If you have not read the book of Revelation I encourage you to read it as we are reading it: as if for the very first time.  In addition we are asking God to use this time to reveal more of Himself to us, more about ourselves to us, and more about how we can impact the lives of others to us.

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