Tuesday, August 28, 2007

American Gospel Enterprise

I'm not sure what brought this topic up in my mind, but today i was thinking about our American Gospel Enterprise. Now, considering the fact the the President of the Bible school that i graduated from, Dr. Michael Brown, had written a book sometime ago entitled "The End of the American Gospel Enterprise," which was basically smashing the whole idea of marketing the gospel of Jesus. Let me start off by saying that my collection of books is rapidly growing. I'm a book junkie. Since coming down to FIRE, my collection has grown by leaps and bounds. Of course, a portion of that might have to do that while I was in school, our 'textbooks' were books that people had written.

I can remember the a popular Christian music artist, Stephen Curtis Chapman, has a song about it even. About the fact that we as American Christians have conferences on just about every topic known to man. We have prophetic conferences and financial conferences and tons of other things as well. And they're all well and good and all, for the most part. Now, my concern is is whats the difference that's being made? There had better be some sort of difference that's happening in our lives. I used to be a 'conference junkie'. meaning that i was going from conference to conference to experience something. and thats fine and i'm not coming down on those who go to christian conferences for whatever reason. but again, what is the difference being made.

You look at other parts of the world and they don't have conferences and seminars for all sorts of things. But the gospel is spreading the Christendom is growing at a rapid pace.

I personally don't watch much Christian programming on tv or on the radio at all. I just personally can't stand it much. People point fingers at them and accuse these people of all sorts of wrong doing. I don't necessarily have anything against the stuff, but what change is made.

I also get different music cds every month (meaning like 3-4 a month or so).

I just personally ask people what is the point of it all? some of it may be well and good... but i know for myself, i don't really want to need to go to a conference to experience God and to have a relationship with Jesus. if you so desire to go to a conference or seminar on whatever topic, go for it. I won't stop you. It's your money and your time. but i can't wait to see the fruits from it all.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Something ain't right here..

A personal note here... I received this in an email just the other day. And from my standpoint, i've never lost anyone to a horrific incident such as 9/11 or the Oklahoma City bombings. My heart does go out to these people and I would love to talk with them and see how they're doing.

But from another standpoint, i'm just like "come on folks, give me a break here! Unfortunately, there are people out there with a sick and twisted mindset. And unfortunately, those people sometimes do things about it." but how long are we going to keep asking others to pay for their deaths? Sometimes we have such a victim mentality. Did the families of the soldiers who died in Pearl Harbor seek compensation to this degree? Honestly folks, can we please grow up?

Love him or loathe him, he nailed this one right on the head.
By Rush Limbaugh:

I think the vast differences in compensation between victims of the September 11 casualty and those who die serving our country in Uniform are profound. No one is really talking about it either, because you just don't criticize anything having to do with September 11. Well, I can't let the numbers pass by because it says something really disturbing about the entitlement mentality of this country. If you lost a family member in the September 11 attack, you're going to get an average of $1,185,000. The range is a minimum guarantee of $250,000, all the way up to $4.7 million. If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in action, the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit, half of which is taxable.

Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are the surviving spouse, you get $833 a month until you remarry. And there's a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those payments come to a screeching halt.

Keep in mind that some of the people who are getting an average of $1.185 million up to $4.7 million are complaining that it's not enough their deaths were tragic, but for most, they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Soldiers put themselves in harms way FOR ALL OF US, and they and their families know the dangers.
We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma City bombing have started an organization asking for the same deal that the September 11 families are getting. In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for compensation as well.

You see where this is going, don't you? Folks, this is part and parcel of over 50 years of entitlement politics in this country. It's just really sad. Every time a pay raise comes up for the military, they usually receive next to nothing of a raise. Now the green machine is in combat in the Middle East while their families have to survive on food stamps and live in low-rent housing Make sense?

However, our own US Congress voted themselves a raise. Many of you don't know that they only have to be in Congress one time to receive a pension that is more than $15,000 per month. And most are now equal to being millionaires plus. They do not receive Social Security on retirement because they didn't have to pay into the system. If some of the military people stay in for 20 years and get out as an E-7, they may receive a pension of $1,000 per month, and the very people who placed them in harm's way receives a pension of $15,000 per month.

I would like to see our elected officials pick up a weapon and join ranks before they start cutting out benefits an d lowering pay for our sons and daughters who are now fighting.

"When do we finally do something about this?"

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Immersion 2007

Well, perhaps for the two of you who might check this site out from time to time, i'll quickly fill you in on whats going on.

FIRE School is about to start a whole new trimester. So we decided to retreat into the hills on the western side of North Carolina to immerse this new class into FIRE. So, we rented a retreat center out in Marion, NC and we brought the students out here. We're splitting this whole week into two segments. Wed-Sat. is the new students and then Sat-Mon is the returning students. What is my job throughout all of this? It's basically to be here 'on staff' and make sure things run properly. I'm like the handy man around here. I got here Tuesday afternoon to bring food up. We've been building things since we got here. Wednesday morning before the students arrived, we made 8 3-tier bunk beds. Those go in the girls dorms. So, we the guys have put a lot of care into that. not only are we constructing them, but we're putting them together w/ loves of TLC for our precious sisters. This is a super quick overview of whats going on considering my time constraints. I actually got a nap in today for the first couple days! Amazing.. i know! i actually had time. Because Tuesday i got here and was working ever since other than sleeping and eating.

That's about it for now.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Authority comes with responsibility

Just this past week, the new young teen movie High School Musical 2 came out. I watched it here at home, and i thought it was a cute movie. It got me thinking to my high school days. That was 5 years ago already! That's not fair! lol. But it brought back some memories...

All my years of going through school, i was never one of the popular people so much. You might be thinking "Seeing what what you say here on your blog, i can imagine why.." and you might have a point there. But I've realized one important thing over there years: Your actions can speak louder than your words. People are watching you even when you don't think they are. And it usually happens that your misdoings go noticed much quicker than your good things.

I've come to realize that i did have a good bit of authority actually in high school. People knew me and they knew that i stood for something. With that comes a lot of responsibility. Some time ago, my mom ran into an old school friend. this friend moved into our town when she was in 3rd or 4th grade. her family was missionaries in Indonesia for a number of years. We were in some of the same classes in elementary school. I'm not totally sure what happened to her after elementary school. I can't even say that i remember seeing her much at all in middle school and then in high school. I know she was still around there, but I don't remember having much contact with her at all. From what i can remember though, she was still there and i think we even graduated together. My graduating class in high school was in the low hundreds from what i can remember.

In any case, my mom had mentioned that recently, she ran into this girl at the store. My mom didn't know her from anyone, but someone she recognised my mom, i guess with my last name and she took a chance of a relation. And she even asked about me. My mom filled her in briefly as to what i was up to. And she said that in her high school days, she went through a time of really just questioning God. But she mentioned that she remembered me and remembered what a firm stance i took.

Thats humbling for me. Sometimes you just never know what kind of an impact your making. With this comes a good amount of responsibility. A responsibility to keep your life clean. If and when people are looking up to you to represent Christ, that gives you an amount of responsibility and authority in their life. However, that needs to be handled with care. It's not something to lord it over w/, but to be used humbly. Keeping ones life clean isn't always easy.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A New Day

I got home from work today to find that i got my ipod back! yippee!! so i've been busy then working with that. to put all those songs and pictures on that thing... now i'm just waiting for my computer to get here.

I get frequent emails from a friend of mine in Israel. Which, by the way, I still stand with Israel and will always stand with them. They're God's choosen people and will always be God's choosen people. The church hasn't replaced them. We're lucky to have been grafted into their world. If your truly a Christian, you will stand with them. The Bible commands it. Don't call yourself a Christian and go against Israel. That's blatant stupidity and ignorance. In Genesis it states that if you curse Israel, you will be cursed. If you bless them, you'll be blessed. We need to pray for our leaders to see whats really going on. Giving land to the Muslims for peace is a dead on failure. They won't be happy until they have the world. We need to quit caving into the people who threaten us.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hate Crimes Bill

This is what can happen should we not speak up. This is something that our children will be dealing with. Lord, forgive me for sitting passively by and watching your Word tarnished. I want to make something VERY clear: I do not hate those who practice homosexuality. I reach out to them w/ the Love of Christ. Just like I don't hate anyone who practices any form of immorality. Quite the contrary. Should someone who practices homosexuality or a Muslim or anyone practicing a sin comes to me and wants help, i will be glad to reach out to them and see them set free.

I do hate the sin of immorality though! I don't condone sin. I don't condone practicing things which are against the Word of God. I want to make that perfectly clear. thanks again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Beef..its what's for dinner

I enjoy getting books that are thought provoking and tell a good challenging story line. I like to watch movies and read things that challenge me in every sphere of life. I can't stand sitting and listening to sermons and reading books that just tell me that i'm a good person. it's just one of my pet peeves. if i go to the doctors office and i would have a serious medical condition, i don't want him to say "well Shawn, you have some problems here, but ur an overall nice guy and i really like you..." well doc, thats great, but whats the problem? i'm not paying you $20 copay to sit here and for you to stroke my ego. same goes for cars. if my car is having a problem, i don't just wanna go there and have them tiptoe around the problem and just tell me i'm a nice guy. b/c at that point in time, i'll be a nice guy w/ some serious car problems or other issues.

same goes for preaching of the Word. i can't stand to sit there and listen to a preacher just tell me nice things. now, if its the word of the Lord, then ok... so be it. but lets get over the nicey nice stuff and see what the Holy Ghost is saying to the church. lets dig deep, get over our own little offenses and change this world. sometimes, i can understand how someone might be offended at something a minister says. but sometimes, i'm just like "get over yourself you wimp." and usually when there's an offense, something was taken out of context. sometimes its that the speaker does need to hone some of their speaking skills, admittedly i'm sure i've said stuff in the past that i now regret.

i guess all this is coming from the fact that i just got Jesus Freaks Vol. 2: Revolutionaries. People who have made a lasting impact in our world. i'm sure numerous times through it i'll be questioning my own salvation. what makes me think i'm soo revolutionary...? but sometimes, you gotta take things into perspective...

Jesus loves you and has a plan for your life. Its more than just living and going to work or school. Its not about what you can get from it. it's about you giving of your life. It's not about you receiving Jesus into your heart and him giving you a nice car, house, pool in the back yard, 2.3 kids, dog Spot, white picket fence, living in suburbia America. all that stuff is fine and not to say that if you have those things, your in sin. God looks at your heart. what are you doing for Christendom? what are you doing to impact your world? what am I doing to impact my world?

just something to chew on here....

Monday, August 13, 2007

Lately at church...

One of the things about FIRE church is is that its actually a place that i don't like to miss on sunday mornings and thursday nites. I can remember remarking to one of my buddies Joel when we first started at FIRE... we were driving back down from PA to Concord from a short time in Lancaster. I remember saying in the car, after missing a FIRE church service "i miss being at church at FIRE! Thats such a wonderful feeling..." he remarked that he felt the same way. The thing is is that for about a year in between graduating high school and moving down to FIRE, i dreaded going to church. I really didn't get much out of it at all... it was boring and i didn't feel like talking about it to people because i honestly didn't have a whole lot of good things to say about it. That's not the case now, for the most part. I don't like to miss many of our services! why, you ask..? well, because things are commonly happening! granted, we're not seeing salvations every week and healings and deliverance and all that fun stuff... but God is going something and i love being on the front lines for it.

Lately at church on sunday mornings, we've been going thru the book of Acts. this last week, we did Acts 20. It's been really neat! Granted, its a quick overview of each chapter. its really hard to do like a serious indepth study of a chapter in an hour. that just doesn't happen. but i enjoy the fact that the Holy Spirit is given room and time to move. also take into account that we do have a limited time of being there. we have to be out of the gym by 12:30. so a 3 hour time limit is on us. which for a church like ours, thats hard to do. and just recently, they've started up a prayer team at church. so of course i joined that (i'm a prayer glutton.. i didn't start getting drunk until i started going to FIRE) i remarked to Brian Mitchell the other day that i should make up a shirt that says "I got drunk at church." that would stir up a hornets nest....

coming up, our school is planning a retreat to start off the new trimester. It's called Immersion. The whole point is for everyone to be coming in and start off strongly together. Get relationships going and hearts primed and prepped. I'm going to be helping various means (like toilet papering the place... lol). but seriously, i'm going to be running around like a chicken w/ my head cut off keeping things running. you would think that thats nothing, but in all actuality, if you want power, serve. think about it: who are the people we always go to when things happen? the tech people.... you want some real power... serve.

Electronic toys

This is one of my more selfish blogs, just to let you all know. I am a huge music fan. I get new cds like crazy. (And books too... i love to read). but the other nite, i dropped my ipod and had to send it away to get repaired/replaced. So for like the past 2 weeks i've been w/o the pod. I'm learning to cope with it. After all, i've only had it for about a little over a year maybe. so i've coped before. It's also been a chance to go through my iTunes music and get things ready for when i get the toy back and plug it back in and put all my music and pictures on their. That's one of the good things about getting a new pod. i'm able to edit some of the stuff. I think i had a good amount of doubled songs and even had a song or two that i have no idea how they got on their and definitely didn't want on there. ( i was listening to one of the songs once and all of a sudden, the guy starts dropping all sorts of interesting language. one of the sad things is is that i had a few songs on their from my parents computer that i now lost... oh well. it was fun while it lasted...

also, i recently purchased a brand spankin' new computer online! yippee!! my very own computer... at last. it wasn't exactly what i wanted to drop about a thousand on, but things things happen. luckily, my credit limit has been stretched due to the fact that i've always been good on paying off credit. so i just put the whole things on card. i'm not concerned. i plan on using both ipod and computer for future preaching appointments.

the ipod was a gift i bought myself w/ money from graduating FIRE and the computer is just kinda a necessity.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Rage Against the Machine

The youth at our church just got back from their yearly retreat. And one girl was giving a testimony of her time. She had been coming to church for a time, but she was basically an atheist or agnostic, and she was more or less just going thru the motions. It angered me in a way and got me to thinking at the same time. How often do i go through the motions? How often do i put on a nice face, wanting to mask hurt, or disappointment? When people ask how i'm doing and i just say "oh wonderful" when i really want to say that i feel like hell right now. like i basically don't feel like being here right now.

How often do you, dear reader, put on the nice face? The nice Christian face and go through the motions. When everything inside of you wants to start balling your eyes out from the hurt, anger, disappointment etc? Honestly w/ me, i'd prefer people to be themselves. if they're having a bad day, just say so. typically, i let language fly. when people are feeling hurt and they start cussing up a storm, i don't go "oh, please don't say that." at times i might. depending on the situation. but honestly folks, its time for a change. this man-made system we got going for us isn't really working too well.

FIRE School of Ministry is all about a Jesus Revolution. We recognise that we need a change in our society and we're going to make some changes. This doesn't give us a license to be jerks, or airheads. On the contrary, i believe that we should make wise choices and educated decisions. Get the facts and make a choice. Some of us around here have no problem voicing our opinions. We're very bold. One guy in our fellowship takes to the street with a 10' wooden cross. You wanna talk about a conversation starter.... he takes it downtown Charlotte, or right into the heart of race traffic. We've seen great and wonderful miracles happen.

My biggest irk is those who sit in the pew and think they have it all together. I'll be the first one to tell you that the more you learn about God, the less you realize you know. People sit there and act like they know it all. Almost having an unteachable attitude. That bugs me. Because i know beyond a shadow of a doubt that an amount of the time they're bold face liars. I've learned its ok to say "yeah know, i don't know what that means."

All this to say that i really do love the Body of Christ. I believe in organization and following guidelines. i myself am quite gifted administratively. I can be very organized given the ability to do so. I just think its time to get a clue and get on our knees like we know we should. Sometimes, i wish we'd experience more persecution. The church always grows stronger thru it because people realize that its a reality. That its not just a nice little sunday morning thing, but they're lives count on it. i say its time to pray.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A stirred heart

Something happened to me 7 years ago that i can't let go of. Given the chance to check out an historic move of the Spirit of God. Now understand this, me and my friends had been praying for 'revival'. (To this day, i still don't really how to pray for the thing. to me a couple things have to be a characteristic for it to be a genuine revival. Lost souls brought into the kingdom; prodicals coming home; divine healings (physical healings); deliverance (emotional healings); the dead raised. That has to be some of the fruits of a revival to me. I laugh as i hear that churches are having a week long revival. its just funny to me to think that... its like trying to plan a snow storm.) Now some of you reading this are firsthand fruit of this revival in which i was granted to be a small part of.

in any case, my friends heard about a revival that was taking place in Pensacola, FL. So we went to the youth conference. Understand that all this while, i wasn't going as a skeptic... i was going as a hungry heart wanting Daddy to love on me his child. They did what we called 'prayer lines'. they had lines set up on the floor and you come and stand on these lines and people come along and pray for you. I had complete confidence in this. I've grown up in this.. i'd heard the stories of what was going on. So i was simply going to receive.

So i'm standing and just anticipating the prayer. So, after waiting a few minutes, this little lady makes her way to me. Simply touches her fingers to my forehead and says "Brand Him With Your Fire God." I'm out cold. I come to a short time later, i'm laying on the floor looking up at the roof of the arena where we were. i tried to get up, but i couldn't. So i'm just like 'ok, i'm just going to hang out for a few minutes until i could."

I know what some of you may think of some of the manifestations of the Spirit. And a part of me doesn't even care to listen. yes, people get flaky. I've seen it.. i've done it. but i know for a fact that this little lady did not push me. given my size and her size, just not doable. do people get like that in these situations? i'm sure they do. i've had it happen to me a time or two. unfortunately it happens. Why did God entrust His bride to people who He knew would mess it up? Ask Him.

well, during this time, my right leg just starts to shake a bit and it kinda felt like jolts of electricity were going thru my body. Thats the best way for me to explain it. in any case, i eventually got up and walked back to my seat. I think they had already done worship, so after everyone got prayer and they all went back to their seats, we had the preaching of the Word. That night it was Michael Rowan. I will NEVER forget what happened that nite. He preached on the Unsanctified Slide. and the 3 chairs you can sit in. Either the chair of commitment (usually an uncomfortable chair... hard and doesn't really give much... for which he used a simple folding chair), compromise (somewhat hard but not to bad... he used a softer chair) and then comfortable (you either need to get saved or u need a rude awakening... he used a big soft chair).

Needless to say, i died on that night. the power of God touched me and the Holy Ghost shook the hell out of me. I can't even begin to describe it on here. All this to say, that something has been deposited it me during that time that I can't let go of. The Lord deposited in me a hunger for Him, a hunger for His Word and His Spirit. He put a love for people that no human could do. One minute in His presence will do the work of a thousand sermons or worship songs.

Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? I don't completely know. I don't have all the answers. Ask Him?

But Shawn, if God is soo loving, how comes He allows children to be murdered in schools and the like? Because for the past 40 years, we've been telling Him we want nothing to do with Him in our society. It's me having a body guard, but telling this bodyguard that he can't be within 10 feet of me. Then, when i get slugged, i ask him why he didn't do anything to protect... b/c i told him not to step in and save me.

Our society wants the benefits of being Christians, but we don't wanna have to pay a price for it. We want leisure. we don't wanna have to bear a cross. soo many messages nowadays preach such a man centered message. there's no repentance, no denial of self. its all about what i can get out of the deal. and thats humanism. some churches don't even have a symbol of a cross in their facilities b/c they don't wanna offend a seeker. i don't know if you realize this, but the message of the Cross is one of, if not the most, offensive messages out there. its soo narrow-minded. How dare we call our selves believers when we won't even lay down our lives for our king.

I've given a good amount of stuff here to chew on. enjoy.

O'Reilly Factor

Considering that Letterman never allows O'Reilly to answer one of his own questions... Letterman probably wishes for world peace and for everyone to have a nice fluffy white bunny to hold.

These ladies are just... God Bless Them. This show is another reason I'm close to writing off ABC altogether. I've watched numerous clips of this show. These ladies need to stay out of politics. Do they watch the news? I would like to see them sit in the seat of our national leaders. See how they do.

Again, i want to state that i do not back EVERY little policy that our leaders do. I don't like war... people die. But someone has got to step in and fight injustice. I say pray for our leaders and those in authority that the Lord would bless them with wisdom and the correct information to make the proper decision.

And I thank God that i live in a nation where i can even post something like this w/o fear or retribution from the government.

Does anyone else notice that its ok to verbally trash our national leaders and yet when a radio celeb says mean things about a sports team (not something i condone either. the statement that was made about the ladies was mean.) we jump all over them? sounds like a double standard to me.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Man's Way vs. God's Way

A little over a year ago, i graduated from Bible school. During that time, I obviously got asked the question of "So what now?" Which it isn't a bad thing. i mean people just want to know your next step... as well as i wouldn't mind knowing it either. I could just jump right into a position somewhere and start doing stuff. Which isn't a bad thing so much. However, when its not what God wants at that time, then it will die eventually.

I would love to jump in and start leading a youth group. That would be preferred. However, that's not what happened. I'm still working in the market place. And i honestly don't mind it. I mean, my whole paradigm for 'ministry' has been challenged over the years. I love to preach... i don't mind getting up in front of people and speaking. Public speaking is not a fear to me. At times, give me something to speak on and i'll have fun w/ it. If i know enough about the topic and know how to present it. However, right now, that's not what i feel i'm to be doing.

I was talking w/ my mom on the phone sometime ago and we were talking about my future. and she said that although she would love to have me up in PA again, she also doesn't feel its the time for that yet. For the mom to say that speaks volumes! Of course, that was right after one of my teachers here at school and one of the leaders, Dr. Peters, also confirmed in my heart that i was right where God wants me.

But right now, i feel that God is checking me to see that i'll be faithful w/ what i have and He'll eventually trust me w/ more. I am good friends w/ the youth here at church and i simply sit w/ them at church and am just there for them. I give two of the guys a ride to church thursday nites. And i don't mind it. I'm getting a bit of time w/ them and i'm able to just talk w/ them and be relational. That to me is true ministry. simply sitting and talking w/ people. Sure, i'll eventually be up in front and speak to more at a given time... but that's not right now. And i'm cool and content w/ that. In the Lord's timing, doors will open up and the right opportunity will present itself. yes, its hard to wait for that at times... but i'm having a good time. I pray that i be found faithful w/ the little things and that i be a true servant and that my fruits speaks for itself.

So much of the world's way of doing it is if you have a degree behind your name and/or formal schooling. which is fine. but that's not God's way all the time. I tell people the FIRE is not for everyone. There are a number of families who are moving here and probably most of them won't go to FIRE school. And that's fine. That may not be their place. It's important to know your place and timing.