“So Help Me God” by DC Talk

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An oldie, but a goodie.

If you really think about the lyrics in the chorus, it is a bit of an interesting paradox. Essentially, it is asking for HELP from God to put FAITH in God. At first glance, that might seem strange, but in reality, building more faith in God is something that is really beyond our natural, human capabilities. In essence, we have to have faith that God will help us have more faith in Him. It is a beautiful cycle if you really let it sink in.

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Dear Super-Angry Zimmerman Trial Watchers (From Either Side)


Dear People Who Are Really Angry About the Verdict of the Zimmerman Trial (or People Who Are Angry at All the People Who Are Angry About the Verdict of the ZImmerman Trial),

I guess you could call this an open letter, although this missive is probably going to be shorter than the salutation above. I watch with a certain morbid fascination the vitriol that spills from both sides of this case (both the supporters of Zimmerman and those who wanted him to hang). I am constantly amazed at the hate-filled invective of people who have no material connection to this case or the families involved.952313_79933908

All right, before I get to the “meat” of this post, let me get a few things off my chest that really don’t aim at the heart of this entry:

1. Unless you are a criminal lawyer, or are educated as an expert in tort law, you are NOT an expert and are not qualified to make judgments on the fine details of the case.

2. Unless you were an eyewitness to the alleged crime, you really have no idea what ACTUALLY happened that night. If you had such information, you would have been called as a witness.

Okay.

We’ve got those two things out of the way.

I’m speaking to people who are angry that Zimmerman was acquitted. You know how much anger, perhaps even hatred, you feel towards George Zimmerman, the defense team, maybe even the jury? As much as this might pain you, if you are a believer in Christ, it’s about 48 hours past time to let it go. This probably will also chap your hind-quarters a little bit: those people towards whom your angst is directed? They deserve God’s grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness just as much as you don’t. God offers it freely to all of us, in spite of our inability to deserve it.

Or, if you want to think about it another way: God views you as an equal with George Zimmerman, the defense attorneys, the jury, etc, in terms of your inherent goodness (or depravity, whichever way you want to look at it).

That’s right. God loves you just as much as those people you are cursing at on your 24-hour news channel of choice.

Okay, now I’m speaking to people who are angry that people are angry about the acquittal. You know how much anger, perhaps even hatred, you feel towards all those who are crying foul that the US judicial system is racially biased? As much as this might pain you, if you are a believer in Christ, it’s about 48 hours past time to let it go. This probably will also chap your hind-quarters a little bit: those people towards whom your angst is directed? All those people who are protesting and crying foul? They deserve God’s grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness just as much as you DON’T. God offers it freely to all of us, in spite of our inability to deserve it.

Or, if you want to think about it another way: God views you as an equal with all of those who are screaming for blood over the acquittal in terms of your inherent goodness (or depravity, whichever way you want to look at it).

For those of you who don’t care and wish everyone would just stop yapping about it? Well…

…God loves you too.

When “This is TOO Easy!” Equals Death


“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it.  How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.”

Matthew 7:13-14 (HCSB)

Being something of a “brainiac” is a blessing and a curse. Yes, I can still do complex mathematics in my head, even years after graduating with my Ph.D. But, it also has a tendency to make a person lazy. I had learned to “skate by” without really thinking about things substantially.

So it was with my “Christian” persona. I had learned every conceivable method of prestidigitation to make myself appear to be the Christian everyone thought I was. I was a regular David Copperfield (the magician, not the literary character), using a very crafty sleights of hand (and mind) to make myself appear as something I was not. I could call upon my vast knowledge of scripture, biblical history, and Christian “language” in order to prop myself up as a “humble brother in Christ.”

But one of the many many many MANY (read: “many”) things that constantly set my teeth on edge was how “easy” things felt. Like I had in so many of my high school and college classes, I was skating by on the so-called Christian life with very little resistance. Yeah, as a family we had PUH-LENTY troubles, but I also realized that the bulk of those troubles were not the result of “Spiritual warfare,” but rather, a result of my own internal disobedience to the Word of God.

I was a pretty crummy husband.

Certainly not a great father.

Spent lots of time pursuing my own interests and almost none seeking after the heart and will of God.

And it all came so easily. In fact, it came so easily and naturally that I had fooled myself into believing my own bill of goods. I had convinced myself that I was a phenomenal Christian, serving Him in as many ways as I could find.

That probably should have been a huge red-flag. Why was everything so easy? Jesus was very clear in Matthew Chapter 7 that the way to life eternal was a long, narrow road, and the road that leads to destruction is exactly the opposite: broad, smooth, probably even a slight downhill grade for lazy people like me.

But that’s exactly what Satan wants. He wants our spiritual muscles to atrophy by guiding us down the path of least resistance. Body builders use resistance training to focus on certain muscles (or groups of muscles) that they wish to build. When the resistance isn’t strong enough, the result is little to no improvement in strength or muscle tone. When there IS no resistance, muscles can actually weaken through atrophy.

Christians who aren’t experiencing any resistance should start to ask the most important question:

“Why not???”

We Are the Hem of His Garment

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“Having heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His robe. For she said, ‘If I can just touch His robes, I’ll be made well!'”

Mark 5:27-28 (HCSB)

I had a friend of mine share this scripture on Facebook yesterday (thanks, Kyla!), and I was struck by something that I never had even considered before. This woman was changed by an encounter with Jesus Christ, but this was no ordinary encounter. She had such faith in Jesus, that she believed that merely touching His robe might heal her.

And, of course, she was right.

But here’s the thing. What struck me is that she didn’t have to touch JESUS HIMSELF. She just touched something that was in CONTACT with Him.

Isn’t that US as Christians? Aren’t we the hem of his garment–constantly in contact (or we should be) with Him?

And shouldn’t people who we interact with on a daily basis be fundamentally changed through their contact with us, just as this woman was by touching the robe that Jesus wore?

If not, does that mean our connection to the Savior needs to be repaired, reinstated, or recharged?

The Commedia dell’Arte of My Church Persona


I learned a great deal from my high school drama teacher, Kathy Breeden. Boistrous, delightful, and sometimes fear-inducing (“Commit!!!”), she was a shining beacon at Chillicothe High School. Aside from being a wonderful Christian woman, she also had an unbelievable command of the history and traditions of the theatre. We spent much of the year in “Drama I” learning about the Greek and Roman roots of modern day theatre. Some of the concepts I learned from her that continue to endure in my mind are:

  • Hamartia is the Greek word for a “fatal flaw.” Generally protagonists in tragedies have a hamartia.
  • Hubris is the Greek word for extreme pride. In many cases, in a Greek tragedy, the protagonist’s hamartia is hubris.
  • Deus ex machina, or “God from the machine,” was a device at the end of some Greek plays where something “miraculous” would happen to “save the day.” Literally,  in some cases, a Greek god would descend to the stage from a crane-like machine and resolve the plot of the play.

English: Commedia dell'arte masks

In addition to these Greek theatrical terms, we also learned about Commedia dell’Arte. Obviously, you can do a quick Google or Wikipedia search and find out more about what Commedia dell’Arte is, but the nutshell version is that it was a primarily Italian theatrical motif that featured a great deal of improvisational humor that was performed by sometimes masked performers who represented caricatured characters. For instance, there would be a “bumbling elderly man,” “typically overblown heroic males,” and “crafty, conniving servants.”

The actors in a Commedia dell’Arte troupe had to be very versatile, able to play any of the stereotypical roles with equal adeptness.

My Christian “walk” had become a one-man Commedia dell’Arte (of sorts) and I had become an extremely versatile “player.” Did our church need someone to serve in the hospitality ministry? I just needed to don my hospitality mask and play the hospitable servant. Did our church need someone to go on mission to Panama? I could whip out the missionary mask and play the part of the humble, evangelical missionary. Did our church need someone to teach a class on Wednesday nights? Hold on…let me just dig out the teacher mask and play the part of the wise teacher who knows the Bible forwards and backwards–well, forwards at least.

Thirty years of experience playing the part of dutiful Christian. That’s what I had. And you better believe that the longer it went on, the degree of difficulty increased as well. I was a “chameleon,” changing my color when the situation called for it. I could transform at the drop of a hat into whatever was needed.

And boy, was I good at it.

Funny thing about my little private Commedia dell’Arte…it was neither comedy, nor art. In retrospect it was despicable. Jesus tell the church in Laodicea:

 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth. —Revelation 3:15-16 (HCSB)

I don’t know about you, but that is one of the straight-up freakiest verses in the Bible.  I mean, think about it. Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, says that if we straddle the fence and try to be “lukewarm” or indifferent instead of on fire or cold towards Him, he’s going to vomit us out of His mouth.

Truth was, during that 30-year stretch I went from warm to lukewarm to cool-ish to cold, all while maintaining an “on fire for Jesus” exterior. But no matter how talented a deceiver I was, everything would eventually collapse under the weight of all the lies and trickery I had devised.

And eventually, it did…

Keep coming back as I detail more of my journey from someone with a gleaming “religious resume” to someone who fell into the arms of the Savior, exposing my long period of deceit.

“Meteor Shower” by Owl City

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Yes, that’s right. I’m posting an Owl City song on “The REboot” journal. For those of you who don’t know, Adam Young, the man behind Owl City, is a Christian, and while he doesn’t necessarily write a lot of songs with overt Christ-centered messages in them, he does record some on occasion. And, along with my posting of 2 Corinthians 5:17 today, this song follows the theme perfectly of a “new creation in Christ.”