Archive for faith

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.

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. 

Talk This Way…

Posted in Bible, Church, Devotion, Digital, Faith, Global, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Life, Prayer, Real Talk with tags , , , , , , on November 20, 2014 by BigPhatPastor

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I’m not a talker.  I don’t like talking in front of people I don’t know (I know…kind of clashes with what I’m doing with my life), and although I know Him, I do find it difficult talking to God.  Some people are outgoing and social and can talk to everyone including God as easy as walking.  Others like me find it difficult holding a conversation especially with the Creator of the universe.  How do you start a conversation with the one who designed communication?  Somehow “S’up God” doesn’t seem to cut it. 

But believe it or not it does.  God looks forward to, and tells us in His word, that He longs to hear from us.  And like a parent who receives just the one word text on occasion, or who only hears from a child when tagged in their funny picture or post, God cherishes that and every moment we take to communicate with Him.  So if it has been days, weeks, years, or even if you just spoke with Him yesterday, take a moment and talk with God today.  – “Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.” – John Bunyan.

What Christ Followers Can Learn From Comics

Posted in Christian, Comics, Culture, DC, Devotion, Digital, Entertainment, Fantasy, Geek, Jesus Christ, Leadership, Life, Marvel, Movies, Nerd, Real Talk, Sci Fi, Superheroes, The Church, TV, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2014 by BigPhatPastor

My top 3 movies of all time are 7 Brides for 7 Brothers, The Matrix, with Ultra Violet, Aeon Flux, and the Bollywood hit movie Bride and Prejudice all in a tie for third place (don’t judge me if you haven’t seen them).  But the super hero movies fromBlack Logo4V Marvel Comics are definitely edging their way into my top 10.  The Avengers movie from 2012, which grossed close to 2
billion dollars worldwide, was probably my favorite and sits nicely as my fourth favorite.  I went to see it with my son and some friends who were also comic book fans.  My son and I were the only ones who were actually brought to tears (yes, real tears).  Mainly because we were watching comic book heroes we were fond of brought to life on the big screen…together.

Although many of the characters appeared in movies of their own prior to the Avengers movie, seeing them overcome their differences and issues to come together for a greater cause to fight a common enemy made the movie hit home.  Marvel did the same thing with the recent hit Guardians of the Galaxy.  As a comic book fan I had a passing idea of the comic book group on which the movie was based.  However, many people who did not know the group still loved the movie.  Why?  Well (no spoilers for those who have not yet seen it), in addition to the great comedic factor, and the extremely awesome soundtrack (which any fan or child of the 1980’s will love), the movie again focused on bringing people together.  Individuals who each had different ideas of how to achieve a common goal put their differences aside to overcome a common enemy.  This hasn’t escaped the notice of DC Comics who are planning on bringing several superheroes together in the upcoming Batman v Superman movie and the Justice League movie.  Somehow Hollywood has taken notice that unity is the key to success.

Hero2So for those who have not quite caught on to where this is going I will ask the obvious question…why hasn’t the Church taken notice?  Today, depending upon your definition of the word denomination, there are close to 400,000 different denominations that exist on the planet.  These span the three major world views: Theism which holds that there is a God over all who made all; Pantheism which holds that God is all and everyone and everything is a part of that all; and Atheism which holds that there is no God at all.  Within the Christian denominations most hold to a common belief system:  there is one God who manifests Himself as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit;   that God the Father loved humanity so much that He sent God the Son to die for the sins of humanity in the place of humanity and then was resurrected; that evidence for this exists via God the Son sending God the Holy Spirit residing within all those who believe as the promised seal of God the Father.  Many denominations have different structures and ways of worshipping God.  But of the ones who hold the above in common, and who believe that the most important role of the Church, the body of Christ, is to reveal this truth to the world, the question still remains, why are they not coming together?

Isn’t there more strength in numbers? Yes.  Wouldn’t the Church be more effective at reaching people with this truth if they combined resources? Possibly.  Has coming together to achieve a common goal proven effective for more than just comic book heroes?  Most definitely!  No matter where one stands on same sex marriage it cannot be denied that the overwhelming accomplishment of 19 states approving same sex marriage has come about because those who are proponents of it have banded together, inside and outside of the church, putting their differences aside to achieve a common goal.  The same is true of the legalization of marijuana.  Proponents of the legal use of marijuana have banded together for a common goal and currently over 20 states have laws allowing either medical use of marijuana or use for recreational purposes.  I am not trying to be negative but if “potheads” can come together, surely the Spirit filled people of God can as well.

If the Church believes the message and truth of the gospel is a more important and more life changing message than that of same sex legislation or marijuana legalization then why aren’t they banding together?  Why aren’t larger congregations and smaller congregation sharing resources?  Why are disagreements over hymns and traditional music still being debated?  Why are there still predominantly white or black congregations in communities with diversity when we are all one in Christ? Why aren’t fundamentalists and charismatics acknowledging God’s Spirit exists in all true believers and coming together to share that good news?

Just recently, over 25,000 people came together for the three day Franklin Graham Three Rivers of Hope Festival in the city of Pittsburgh. 3 Rivers2  Hundreds of churches came together for a common goal and thousands upon thousands of people put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  How would our congregations benefit if instead of bringing congregations together every few decades when a member of the Graham family came to town, we brought them together every few months?  What would it say to our communities if they consistently and regularly saw various denominations coming together to worship Jesus Christ?  How much more would the message of true transformation be heard by those in our circles of influence if the focus of all of our congregations was on inviting people into our lives and into God’s kingdom instead of just into our buildings on Sunday mornings?

As Stan Lee, comic book icon, is quoted as saying, “With great power must also come…greater responsibility,”  Since the Church, the body of Christ is filled with the greatest power known to exist on the planet, the Spirit of the Living God, we BigPhatChecklisthave a greater responsibility to come together to see God’s purposes fulfilled through His Church.   Plan a meeting with your pastor, ministry team, and then with other local pastors and/or their ministry teams within your community to see how you can start coming together to plan a community worship celebration, a praise in the park event, a community Thanksgiving celebration or to meet a community need. #wearethechurch

#NOMORE

Posted in Bullying, Community, Culture, Faith, Family, Life, Love, Real Talk, Taboo Topics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2013 by BigPhatPastor

I had to go back before I wrote this and try to search how many posts, blogs, and tweets had come my way but I did nothing about.  Let’s just say there was an extremely embarrassing amount.  Every time someone sent me a tweet, or img_6747_bw_3posted on their blog about bullying I was angry about the act, but I still did nothing.  Maybe it was because my kids are no longer kids.  Maybe it was because even when they were they didn’t bully people or get bullied (my oldest son is a professional cage fighter so I could be wrong on this one).  Maybe it’s because I haven’t heard about any of the youth in our congregation being bullied or bullying others but for whatever reason I somehow didn’t think the posts, tweets, or social media groups applied to me…until December 1st 2013, the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend.

A friend sent me a text which I was only able to read part of at the time.  Our praise team was taking part in a community choir festival involving multiple congregations and musicians from various communities.  I didn’t want to be that guy reading text messages during the event (although I was that guy taking pictures and posting them during the event).  The only part of the text I saw was: ‘call Popeye, his daughter hun’.  I consider myself a pretty smart guy so I figured I could determine the full message by just what I read but nothing seemed to make sense.  And the thing that did make sense didn’t make sense…so I read the rest of the text whilst standing with everyone at the festival to sing Silent Night.  Unfortunately, I was right.  Popeye, a friend, part of a motorcycle ministry called Michael’s Marauders, had a teenage daughter named Faith.   Some of the Marauders and their family members had visited CrossRoads for a weekend in mid-September, their third annual visit with our CrossRoads congregation.  Many of the Marauders I knew from when we were all part of the same congregation in Northern, VA where they are based.  I had just met Popeye’s family including Faith during the September visit.  Although I did not know Faith that well, it was still painful and shocking to read the text in its entirety: ‘call Popeye, his daughter hung herself and died. I just got off the phone with him.’

FaithIt turned out that Faith took her own life as a result of bullying.  I can’t imagine how bad a teenage girl with a loving family and friends has to be treated to be pushed to the point where she feels she cannot live another day.  I cannot imagine what Popeye, his wife, Faith’s siblings, or her friends are going through at having lost someone they loved so much.  For me, every time I look at her picture my heart literally breaks with pain for Faith, what she must have went through, and for her family, what they are going through now.  But I have to be honest.  I also get extremely ticked off! I feel like I am boiling with rage!  All over the world children are dying from curable and incurable diseases, from hunger, from adults that want to hurt them and do unspeakable things to them.  They should not be dying because of the way they are treated by other children.  #NOMORE

One thing I have always felt strongly about and still do is that with all of the national and global resources available, no child, or adult, should ever have to die from hunger.  Now I can add to that, that no child should ever be treated in such a way that they feel their only recourse is to stop living.  So from now on, I will not just read, but will retweet and repost everything that comes my way that will help put a stop to bullying.  I will aggressively respond to those who feel bullied and even more aggressively call out children who do it, and parents and school districts who allow it.  This isn’t a church thing, this isn’t a race thing, this isn’t a political thing or a separation of church and state or separation of 99% and 1% thing.  This is a pure and simple “have some freaking decency and respect for human life thing”.  #NOMORE

The End????

Posted in Christian, Devotion, Digital, End Times, Evangelism, Faith, Family, Global, God, Jesus Christ, Life, Love, Real Talk, Supernatural, The Church, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2013 by BigPhatPastor

My mother in law sent me a gift box to cheer my up a few weeks ago (in true Big-Phat fashion I did an unboxing video of my wife and I opening the gift box and revealing the contents which included, among other goodies, the superman cup I now use quite regularly).  She sent it because 2013 is not turning out to be as awesome as I thought it would. Earlier this year one of my cousins passed away. His mother was unable to make it to the funeral because she was diagnosed with a severe type of cancer days before. She just passed away a few weeks ago. At the end of March my brother passed away at the age of 48; still relatively young.

IMAG1355I’m not used to being on this side of the funeral arrangements. Normally I am sitting with grieving families praying for them and with them and trying to comfort them. But this was new for me. And it is still kind of difficult to deal with.

However, this did make me realize why we as Christ followers are sometimes so persistent in sharing our faith. It is because we believe that death is not the end, but the beginning. Many Christ followers believe that death is the beginning of a transition where we transition from this life into eternity.  I am NOT using this space to defend that belief or to try to explain it.  However, I would be happy to do so and provide practical and factual information for this belief if anyone wants to contact me to find our more.  However, I am stating that this is clearly what many Christ followers believe. And it is this belief that drives us to want to share the good news of Jesus Christ with those around us. We are not judgmental, we are not anal, we are not delusional or ignorant.  We are just convinced that there’s more to this life than just this life. Because of that we want to do everything we can to share that information with those in our lives.  So don’t hate me, don’t judge me, maybe even listen to me and hear my love for you coming through.

Faith Pittsburgh

Posted in Bible, Christian, Community, Culture, Digital, Evangelism, Faith, Fun, Jesus Christ, Life, Pastors, Pittsburgh, Real Talk, The Church with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2013 by BigPhatPastor

A brand new magazine premiered in the Pittsburgh area this past week.  Faith Pittsburgh South Magazine premiered with 25,000 issues being distributed all over the South Hills area of Pittsburgh.

Wayne Dollard, publisher of IN Community Magazines, and Mike Granovitz, Project Manager for Faith Pittsburgh, have plans for Faith Pittsburgh North, East, and West magazines in the near future.

The Faith Pittsburgh South magazine has articles and news updates from pastors, ministry leaders, and congregations from in and around the south hills area.  Mike advised that they are still looking for content for the quarterly magazine from pastors and ministry leaders.  Those interested in checking out or distributing the premier issue or contributing content for future issues can contact Mike via this website:  http://faithpittsburgh.com

Do you think pastors or ministry leaders from your congregation would be interested in contributing?  Leave a comment  below if you think they would…

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