Thursday, July 31, 2008

RIP Grandpa

On a completely different note here.... for those of you who have ever lost a close loved one, you can understand the following post more. When i first found out about my grandpa's death, it hadn't hit me truly for a couple days. I found out about it on a Monday night and spent some of that night and the following two days crying off and on. I luckily had the next day off of work and i tried to go in that Wednesday, but didn't last. Then that Thursday I was traveling and doing the viewing. I went right from the airport to the private viewing for the family. I was doing somewhat ok until i got to the private viewing and then I saw my relatives and the tearing started flowing once again. And you know what, I'm glad they did. It was tears of bitter sweetness. Sad that grandpa was gone but happy that he was in Heaven with Jesus. Sad that my family had to go through this (and for someone like me, I want to be able to fix everything). And sometimes the best way to fix this stuff is let the reality of it sink in. Ever have those times where you want to cry but you just can't? I don't know about you, but i get them a lot! it might be my ministerial calling that just having a heart like that. But i can remember monday night when i first heard about it, i couldn't really cry and i don't know why. But right before going to bed, i went and grabbed a hankerchief, when into my roommates room and put my head on one of their shoulders and let it the tears roll. And man did it feel good! (for those of you wanting to know how to console someone in this time, sometimes its just letting them wet your shoulder with their tears.)

But this evening in the mail, i got a letter from my grandma (which, by the way, she had already changed the return address sticker on it by taking my grandpa's name off... proud of you grandma for doing that..) and in it was a poem by someone. It reads as follows: :: clears throat ::

If You Could See Where I Have Gone

If you could see where I have gone, the beauty of this place
And how it feels to know you're home to see the Savior's face
To wake in peace and know no fear, just joy beyond compare
While still on earth you miss me, yet you wouldn't want me there
If you could see where I have gone

If you could see where I have gone and made the trip with me
You'd know I didn't go alone, the Savior came with me
When I awoke, He was by my side, and reached down His hand
Said, "Hurry, you're going home to a grand and glorious land
Don't worry over those you love to I'm not just with you
And don't you know with you at home, they'll long to be here too."

If you could see where I have gone, and see what I've been shown
You'd never know another fear or ever feel alone.
You'd marvel at the care of God, His hand on every life
And realize He really cares and bears with us in strife
And that he weeps when one is lost, His heart is filled with pain
But, oh the joy when one comes Home, a child at Home again

If you could see where I have gone, could stay awhile with me
could share the things that God has made to grace eternity
But, no, you couldn't ever leave once Heaven's joy you'd known.
You couldn't bear to walk earth's paths once Heaven was your home

If you could see where I have gone, you'd know we'll meet some day
And though I'm parted from you know, that I am just away.
So thank you wife, thank you children, for living for the Lord
For encouraging me to love Him, to trust Him and His word
And now that I'm Home with Him, secure in every way,
I'm waiting here at Heaven's door to greet you some sweet day.

Wow, that is one good poem. Everyone grieves differently. As I was back in PA for the funeral, i was talking with a old friend of mine who we used to terrorize the neighborhood there and he said that when they lost a relative of there's, it was actually a celebration of a life they'd lived. And he was completely right. It was a celebration of a life lived. It's just going through the grief of loosing someone, but knowing they're in a much better place.

The Lord holds the future in His hands, and its up to us to stay close to Him to rest in His love for us and to give that away to the world. My grandpa will be very missed. But i'm also happy for him that He is with Jesus.

This is a picture of me and my mom's parents, Grandma and Grandpa Yoder

And this is a picture of my dad's parents, Grandma and Grandpa Landis

A Few Things...

The idea of abuses has been on my heart and mind a lot lately. I've seen a lot of them you might say. In all my years of being in this mess some call Christianity, i've seen a lot of junk. I've experienced a lot of junk. Maybe/hopefully i'm the only one. Although i'm sure i'm not. I don't know about you, but i've have my fair shut of beat ups in church. Not physical ones, but just drama and things have happened to me personally and my friends. And not of it feels good. And this isn't anything against any one church. This is just to state a fact.

Why do you think God would entrust His children with His bride? I'm sure He knew we'd botch things up... my brother in law has a video on his blogspot of a guy faking being a minister of the gospel. I watched a good bit of it before i almost had to run to the bathroom to throw up. In a lot of meetings I'm apart of, i've seen some weird stuff. Being in the charismaniac/pentecostal/non denom whatever-the-heck-you-wanna-call it circles, weird things take place. And some might say "oh, that's just because they're not preaching from the Bible." Which, in some cases, there is legitimacy to it. But sometimes, that's not the case. I always tell folks "look, i don't care if you get slain in the spirit or whatever, but it's what you do when you get up that i care about."

I have absolutely nothing against guys like Mark Hamill. I believe that they're doing this for very good reason. And some of what he said in there does have a good point. But I've been in the position where i've been slain in the Spirit and drunk and some of that other stuff. And yet I'm coming away with a desire to get into the Word and fellowship with Jesus. Again, things do get abused. And for those reading this and have been abused, i can't apologize enough. But what about the folks who have gone through this stuff and for them they're sincerely seeking God? (In essence, some of what Mark said was calling me a liar and a hypocrite. But listening to him did give me a chance to check up on myself and examine my own motives. And I hold nothing against the man.)

I was just talking with a precious sister in the Lord this evening whom i used to go to school with. Unfortunately, while she was here, something happened to her and she got hurt. It's just not right. The Lord has entrusted us with something so precious like His Bride, i pray that the Lord teach me proper stewardship, that i may be entrusted with more and treated it w/ care.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Beaten by a Stick

You may have thought that by reading the title of this entry that perhaps I had gotten flogged or something. But that isn't the case... I am writing this because of a part of a sermon I heard lately.

What is it about the preaching of the Cross or the Cross itself that is soo offensive to people? What is it about telling someone that someone was beaten and then hung on a tree (all the while being bloodied and their physical body being mutilated and bent out of shape) and taking this persons sins upon themselves and giving their life as a ransom for many, that is soo offensive and bothersome to many? Is it the fact that this person, Jesus Christ, did this as a way to reconcile the sinner to God the Father? And now this person has a way to not sin but live a holy lifestyle?

In 1 Corinthians, Paul says that "Jews demand a sign and Greeks look for wisdom, but i preach the Cross of Christ and Him crucified." Does that mean that whenever someone asked Paul for advice on something, He just said that Jesus was crucified on a Cross? Because then later on Paul is talking about spiritual gifts and He's baptizing folks in the Holy Spirit. I think (and this is just my opinion in reading the Scriptures and just kinda common sense), but i think He was moreso saying that the Cross is to be the very foundation of the gospel and everything should stem from that.

Jesus dying on the cross and taking my sins on Himself, and thus giving me a way to live a holy and sinless lifestyle is the foundation for Christianity. Repenting of your sins is the way to get in to Heaven. And then once you have Jesus are your Lord and Savior, you can start to live a lifestyle that is pleasing to the Father. Then you get to start to develop and maintain a relationship with Jesus, seeing as how He is your Lord and Savior. And you get to start doing like really cool things. Like praying for folks and seeing people get healed and set free from all sorts of oppressions and diseases. Some might say that we don't need emotional healing because Jesus died for that already. And therefore, once you receive Jesus, He takes all of that away. And some people haven't been through a lot of junk. But some have. And that's where the power of the gospel comes into play at. Through the authority that God has given us through Jesus, we get to make sick people better.

John the Immerser said that he (John) baptizes with water, but that there was one greater coming (Jesus) who would baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Lately, i've been reading a book called "Surprised by the Power of the Spirit" by Jack Deere. I was just reading a chapter about spiritual abuses. Every church has them. I've noticed in some circles that they emphasize being baptized in the Holy Spirit and praying in tongues MORE than repenting of sins and getting your life right back with God. While i firmly believe in the baptism of the Spirit, that has to be handled properly.

I think that's all for now.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

In Pursuit of the Authentic

So what will authentic church look like? What will a glorious spotless bride look like? To me, its really about what's going on in your life and heart. That's one way of putting it....

While working at Walmart and manning a cash register, you would come across times when people would try and give you fake money. We had those pens that you would take across the money to make sure they were real bills. I never came across money that was fake, or at least not that i knew of.

Just recently, i was talking w/ someone about church (I know, imagine that huh?). There are all types of church out there. There are mega-churches (usually characterized by a church body being 1,000 people or more.) And there are smaller community churches and house churches. Then there are even different brands of churches. There are some that are more dressy and then some that are not. Because there are all different types of people, your bound to have churches that have all different types of emphasis'.

Here is something to think about: there are all different types of presentation, and that's ok. But one thing stays the same: the message.

We're all in the pursuit of something that is real. Who wants something that is fake or stale or dusty or something like that? But we're after something that is, at times, hard to explain. I was talking w/ a relative the other day and mentioned that i have a hard time sometimes in a 'church service'. Not because the preaching might be bad or the music isn't good, but to me it seems like we're vitally missing the presence of God. We have nice programs and nice instruments, but we're lacking something more important: the Guest of Honor.

My heart is for the Body of Christ (The Bride of Christ) to realize her full potential and begin and continue to walk in the anointing she should be walking in. And be walking in the full power she should be walking in.

In most homes, the lady usually likes to decorate the kitchen and living room and other rooms to how she likes it. The guys are usually satisfied the garage. But overall, the dad has final say. The Lord has allowed us as the bride to decorate the buildings, but He gets final say of how things are run.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Identity Theft

Is it just me or is there like a major problem in this world with identity. It's seems like we don't know who the world we are. Especially Christians! From time to time, I get into Christian bookstores and there are countless books about improving one's identity. Whatever happened to the preaching of the cross? I don't like the idea of self-esteem, it seems its soo much emphasis on yourself. From what i remember of the Bible, Jesus said to take up your cross and follow Him. He didn't say to be all self conscious of your image and be all concerned about stuff like that. Paul said "I die daily." When your secure in your relationship with Jesus, there really isn't a whole lot people can do or say to you. Leonard Ravenhill said that if your intimate with God, you won't be intimated by men. When you know who you are as a son of the Most High God, self esteem issues take care of themselves.

I've read books like Wild at Heart and Captivating... and i have bad days too and i love to spend time with folks. And i like to have a nice appearance. But there seems to be too much emphasis on self, and not enough on the Cross. But sometimes, things just seem soo superficial.

The Bible warns of flattering speech. Matter of fact, i'm uncomfortable whenever i hear 'prophetic words' and they're just all nice speech. Yes, the Lord loves you. But at times, God has to just smack you up side the head. The Lord disciplines those whom He loves. God can not and will not condone sin. He can't.

One passage of scripture i'd encourage someone who may be having self esteem issues or don't know who they are, read and pray through John 15:1-17.

Friday, July 4, 2008

More on Stewardship

Lately, the Lord has really been putting the idea of properly stewarding His presence properly. Not treating it haphazardly, but having proper respect for it and proper care for it. He reminded me of the story in the Bible where the Israelites were moving the ark and it started to fall and one of the men there reached out to steady the ark so it wouldn't hit the ground (2 Samuel 6) And the Lord struck the man dead because he touched the ark! To our finite minds, we might be thinking "but he was trying to do something good."

I've seen and been around a lot of weirdness in the Body of Christ. It's soo easy to fake Christianity, or at least certain aspects of it. But it's vitally important to always be using scripture as our ultimate authority. I've grown up in the Pentecostal/charismatic circles and am still apart of it. There can be a lot of flakiness at times. But then there can be a lot of good things. I've seen people getting totally duped and tricked all in the name of Jesus. It's very important that we watch our motives for why we do things and also make sure we check what's going on with scripture, so as to not get into error. Are we doing them to make a name for ourselves? What happens if you do a good job at something but get no credit for it?

The Bible tells us to test the spirits and make sure they're of God. I've heard stories where people have faked being a Christian and even preaching! When we don't have a firm hold on scripture and pay attention to what the Holy Spirit is saying, we can get taken.

Here are FIRE, we have services a lot where we're just worshiping and praying. And we can get a bit crazy at times. I tell people a lot I don't care if you fall or shake or whatever, but its what you do after you get up that i care about.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Family Ties

I was just talking on the phone with a friend of mine and I was relaying some of the stories that happened in PA. Monday night, we all went out for ice cream. The six of us: Dad, Mom, Shay, Me, Amber and Austin. It was fun to go and just get some ice cream. Our family is spread out all over the globe and its a miracle when we all come together.

But this time it really made me more appreciative of my family. The mindset in our culture today is soo anti-traditional family. I'm all for change as well, but good solid Biblical change. I believe the family unit is of God's design. That's why satan is doing everything he can to destroy it.

During the private family viewing time, we all cried together and hugged each other. Sometimes you realize that all the stupid petty differences are just stupid. It's just ignorance and pride and what can i get out of it. That mentality is just flat out annoying.

In any case, my grandpa left a strong legacy. And I know why of his greatest joys was to see his kids and grandkids coming together. And that happened. PTL!