Archive for Resurrection

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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The First Un-Boxing

Posted in Bible, Celebration, Christian, Culture, Devotion, Digital, Electronics, Faith, Global, God, HIstory, Holiday, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Resurrection, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2014 by BigPhatPastor

Although many people have moved on from their Christmas gifts to focusing on other things I am still playing with and intrigued by some of my gifts.  As a self-proclaimed techno geek (no, I do not think more highly of myself than I ought) I love playing with gadgets and technical things, especially one gift in particular.  I saw a video of a backup battery case in operation and thought it looked good so I gave one to my daughter as a Christmas gift.  She enjoyed it so much so I used a few of my Christmas gift cards to purchase one for my smart phone.  The case has a built in battery so if the phone’s battery gets depleted the case itself becomes a charger and can provide about 191% of the battery power needed to fully charge the phone.

empty-tomb-of-jesusI was  intrigued by the device because of the un-boxing videos I’ve seen for this and similar products.  For those that do not know an un-boxing video is not a review.  It is literally watching a person open a boxed product and take stock of what is inside.  The video will usually shine some light on what the product is, what it is used for, what the contents are, and a slight hint of what their review will hold.  Every time I watch an actual un-boxing, where the product has not been opened before, I feel as if I am sharing in the surprise, hope, and joy of the person opening the box. It is almost like watching people open Christmas gifts all year long.

Each year as we come upon the season commemorating Resurrection Sunday, I get that same level of excitement, hope, and joy.  I think of the wonderment of Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome as they brought spices to the tomb of Jesus and found the tomb open, or un-boxed.  I think of the amazement, unbelief, and spark of hope as they entered the tomb and found not a body, but an angel sitting inside.  Mark chapter 16 records the women were trembling and that they were amazed.  Some translations use the word bewildered.  However, the Greek word used is a word where we derive our English word “ecstatic”.  These women weren’t confused; they were in a state of divine hope and delight beyond reasoning.

Luke records that Peter ran to the tomb upon hearing it was empty and was filled with wonder whilst John records that they saw it empty and believed.  Oddly enough, in the very next verse John confirms that they didn’t understand that Jesus had to rise from the dead, yet still they believed.  The empty tomb, the first un-boxing if you will, was God’s fulfillment of scripture.  But it was also a sign, a guarantee of who Jesus Christ was, the Savior, the Son of God and of the Spirit filled life that would be there for all those who believed.

In the days and weeks leading to this year’s Resurrection Sunday Celebration, God invites us all to search our hearts; to determine what the empty tomb represents to each of us and to determine who Jesus will be in our lives.  Will His resurrection be just a historical event or will it be the earth shattering act from the Creator of the universe to show humanity that He knows us, cares about us, and is able to give us a new life in and with Him?  Will Jesus be just a teacher and religious icon that sparks societal controversy or will He be God in the flesh who lived, died, and was resurrected so that nothing would separate us from the love of God and so that we might spend an eternity experiencing God’s goodness, grace, and love?

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.

The Bible

Posted in Bible, Celebration, Christian, Community, Culture, Digital, Entertainment, Family, God, Jesus Christ, Life, Real Talk, Resurrection, Spiritual, The Church, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2013 by BigPhatPastor

This week saw the launching of a new TV miniseries on the History Channel called The Bible.  The series is produced by Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett.  The series, which started this past Sunday evening, is set to end on the evening of Resurrection Sunday (Easter) with the televised depiction of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Many in the Christian community expect that the series will be a powerful display of one of the most amazing and best-selling books on the planet.  Obviously, a 10 episode mini-series cannot portray all that is in the Bible.  However, it can, and hopefully will, inspire Christ followers, Bible skeptics, and those seeking to know more about the Bible to actually pick up the book and read it for themselves.

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Unfortunately, in many congregations, the Bible is not actually opened.  When it is, it is opened  only by the pastor so the congregation doesn’t read the Bible and is only exposed to the opinion of the pastor or guest speaker.  In other instances liturgical elements may take up most of the time for the Sunday Celebration and the actual message from the bible gets a 10 – 15 minute spot in a 60 – 90 minute celebration.

This is a great opportunity for people to actually dig into the revealed word of God and read for themselves the spiritual and historical truths that have literally transformed lives.

What part of the Bible Series was your favorite?  Leave a comment below.

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.

3 Questions Every Christ Follower Should Ask…Now

Posted in Celebration, Christian, Christmas, Community, Culture, Family, God, Holiday, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Life, Real Talk, Spiritual, Taboo Topics, The Church, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2012 by BigPhatPastor

I realize this post may offend some but it will inspire others.  For those of you who are into more of my lighter and more casual stuff skip this one…next one is for you, I promise.

Manger CrossRoadsIf you are a Christ follower and are a part of a congregation that is looking forward to and planning on celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, here are 3 questions every member of that congregation needs to ask of themselves, their leadership, and their pastor.  While I respect the views and differing opinions of everyone, I also respect the Words of Jesus Christ on this topic.  So, just as I allow you the freedom to express your opinion I appreciate being allowed to express mine.

1 – Do you/we believe that Jesus Christ was really born of an actual virgin: This is important because there are many discussions going around today that say this verbiage should be minimized in order not to offend others.  This includes changes to Bibles to remove the word virgin from Old and New Testament passages.  That is totally different from those who say the virgin birth did not actually occur but was an analogy.  In otherwords, they claim there was no physical birth by a virgin woman that occurred via the Holy Spirit although there are the claims of numerous Old Testament prophecies, Mary and Joseph (Joseph had absolutely nothing to gain by supporting the claim), and many New Testament writers who record the virgin birth not just as a miracle, but a factual one.

2 – Do you/we believe that Jesus’ birth has an impact on my life: This question is kind of crucial because Jesus Himself said He was the Messiah, the one of whom over 300 Old Testament prophecies foretold.  If He was not telling the truth about His birth, then why should we believe the truth about His death, burial, and resurrection which are the actual events that free us from sin and allow us to enter into relationship with God the Creator?  The birth of Jesus Christ only impacts one’s life if it is true, even if no one believes it.  If it is false, it really has no impact on anyone’s life even if they choose to believe it (not a Godly impact anyway).  Believing a lie doesn’t make it true.

3 – If I/we believe the virgin, historical, factual birth of Jesus Christ occurred, and does impact my life, is it worth celebrating: There are many today who, as Christ followers, feel that we should not celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ because it is associated with a pagan holiday.  Although that is an un-biblical stance I will not try to persuade people one way or another (although in a teaching series called “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” I addressed this topic Biblically in great detail.  You can check it out on the Our Message page of the CrossRoads Website).  I will say this though, with all the sports game wins, family or scholastic or job achievements we celebrate, surely, the birth of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, deserves a joyful remembrance by comparison.

Praying everyone has a safe, blessed, and very merry Christmas!

March Lent Madness

Posted in Christian, Devotion, Digital, Fun, Jesus Christ, Life, Resurrection, sports, The Church, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2012 by BigPhatPastor

So March Madness brings out the best and worst in people.  Even people who know nothing about, nor care for basketball in any way shape or form dive into the bracket loving craziness that is March Madness.

March Madness sometimes coincides with the season of Lent.  Lent is that time of the year, starting 40 days prior to the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that Christians traditionally take time to focus on prayer, repentance, Christ’s sacrifice, and self-denial.

If you combine the two, you get a mix of dis-interested participants who will likely forgot what either season represents and die hard-ers who are committed, win or lose, to see the season through to the bitter end.  You also get quite an interesting bracket…

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