The Disrespect of Our Disillusion

Tom sat with his head in his open, sweaty hands.  How could he have done this?  What prevailed inside his mind that would allow him to do such a heinous act?  He decided to pour a drink to calm his nerves.  He got up and opened the oldest bottle of scotch he could find.  As he poured himself a double shot, the bottle chattered against the glass.  His hands could not stay still.  His mind raced with thoughts of anger toward himself.  “How could you have done this”, he thought.  “What was it that brought you this far away from reality?”

In the other room, a young lady walked in with a smile on her face and his shirt on her torso.  She graced herself over, grabbed the glass from his hand and took a sip of the scotch.  A kiss from her was placed on his cheek with these words, “That was really special”.  He tried to muster a smile, but could not as he knew he betrayed his love, his wife and the woman before him wasn’t her.

Every decision we make, every word we speak and every thought we think, has a consequence.  Whether good or bad, every action, work or thought has a reaction, a consequence.  We may not see it at the time, but be rest assured, a consequence is there, ready to peak it’s head, like a viper when it is about to strike.

Recently, I have been an observer of social media and news agencies.  I have cautiously not opened myself to a specific political view, social movement or radical divide.  Day by day, I have seen many people, good people, begin the process of drawing a hypothetical line in the sand declaring where they stand and what they believe.  Whether it is about which political candidate you like or whomever lives matter, many of us are going out of our way to declare what we believe to be the truth.  We have been convinced of our reality no matter how disillusioned we are.

This disillusionment has caused us to become a divided nation.  A nation where all conflicting  testimonies are correct, truth has become irrelevant and division among people groups are growing at a rapid pace.  Conflict is on the rise while love is declining into extinction.  All over the news and social media we see the results of this lack of love and increase of hatred and rebellion.  Many have taken to the street to protest in ways that breaks out in violence, fist shaking and gnashing of our teeth.  So how did we get here?  What caused us to be in this global predicament?  Was it a specific people group, ideology or is it human nature to destroy oneself?

Both Christian and Atheist, Buddhist and Islamic, Jew and Greek, have bought into this disillusionment, making each other vulnerable to prejudice and exposure.  We all have allowed our society to fall into an illness that can be likened to terminal cancer.  If we do not turn away from what we have become, we will ultimately bring ourselves into the chasm of death and be buried in the annals of history lost.

Unfortunately, most will exclude this writing as nothing more than someone who is disgruntled or upset with others behaviors without looking at themselves.  Let me make this disclaimer.  What I am bringing up has nothing to do with you or someone else.  It has to do with us.  We are the problem.  All of us are feeding the beast of this culture.  We all are to blame.  No matter our background, no matter our skin color, no matter who we think we are, we are all to blame, including me.

History has shown that when a nation is divided, then that same nation falls at the hands of others not of the same mindset.  Our own history shows how divided we were but the declaration of United We Stand was the war cry for change.  Today that war cry has gone unheard and ignored.  We have become the nightmare of countries and the falsehood of hatred.   Change is inevitable but it doesn’t have to be negative.  A positive change can happen, but it cannot start with us.  It cannot start with any other person from any other nation.  It can only happen when we reserve ourselves to allow the Gospel of Jesus Christ to transform our lives.

“…we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit,[b] as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth…” – Colossians 1:4-6 (NKJV)

It is the Gospel that changes lives.  It is the Gospel that bears fruit in our lives.  Only the Gospel can change our hearts and minds to unity and progress.  Because we have forsaken the Gospel, we have forsaken our Creator.  Because we have forsaken the Gospel, our lives are deteriorating into the very pit of Hell.  We have allowed sin to overtake our lives and become our slave master.  We have forsaken the freedom of loving others the way Jesus Christ loves us.  So what is sin compared to salvation in Jesus Christ?

Sin is the chain maker.  Salvation is the chain breaker.  Sin binds us to things.  Salvation frees us.  Sin tells us we are worthless.  Salvation tells us we are worth more than we realize.  Sin leads to death.  Salvation leads to life eternal.

No matter how you feel about society, no matter how you feel about the current social, economic or political environment, sin is the reason we are where we are today.  It has been used by Satan to ensure that our lives are chained to the slavery and division.  Sin has placed in our hearts that some lives matter while others do not.  Sin has told us that one person is a liar and the other is a scam artist.  Sin informed us that one group of people are to blame for the ills of our society.  Let me make sure I am very clear.  Satan is using our sinful lives to bind us, destroy us and ultimately convince us to reject our Creator.

In the words of the famous theologian Francis Schaeffer “How then shall we live?”

“…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, 12 so that you will [i]behave properly toward outsiders and [j]not be in any need.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

“19 [a]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…” – Matthew 28:19-20

These two passages show us what our lives are really about.  These passages show us that our goal is to live a quiet life, mind our own business and work with our hands.  We are to be productive, kind, loving and ready to serve others.  We are to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ by our testimony.  We are to make disciples, not division.  We are to do the work that has been commanded to us.  Did you notice that?  Both of these were commanded.  They were not suggestions.  These are things we are to do.

What I will say next is for those who claim to the servants of Jesus Christ….

WAKE UP CHURCH!  We are not doing what God has commanded us to do.  We do not love others when we bash our government leaders and others via social media.  We are not living how God commanded us to live when we shout from the mountain top about our rights and forget to love those who are lost.  We are living in sin if we do not do the things commanded us.

Our goal in this life is to spread the love of Jesus Christ and make disciples.  That’s it!  We may have the “American right” to speak our peace, but is that the way Jesus handled it?  He didn’t go after the political leaders, he went after those who claimed to be His.  He toppled the tables and drove the money changers away because they had no respect for where God’s people gathered.  He didn’t go after the Roman government or voice his discontent with Caesar.  He simply served others, drew people to Himself, showed them compassion and reprimanded the religious leaders who were enslaving their own people with rules and regulations.

The good news about all of this, is we still have time to turn to God.  We NEED to turn back to God and repent of our lack of love.  We NEED to repent of our sin of division and disrespect.  This country CANNOT change unless Jesus Christ is involved and this country CANNOT change unless WE (the Church) repent of our sin and change how we do things.

If we (the Church) do not change, our country will run the high risk of extinction.  The United States is not mentioned in Scripture nor is it implied.  The United States is not the center of this world but God has used us to further His Gospel all over the world.  His Gospel is the center of all creation, not us.

I hope you understand the tears I shed for us.  I pray that we all change our current travels on the wide path (which leads to destruction) and turn toward the narrow path (which leads to life eternal).  Only Jesus Christ and His Gospel will change us.  Please join me in repenting of our sin and making a positive difference by refraining from passionate division and disrespect.

May God have mercy and grace on us as we all seek to change the direction of this country toward Him.  God bless and encourage someone today.


What is Your Greatest Passion? – Greatest Life Series Pt. 2

When you think of the word “passion”, what do you think of?  Do you think about the movie where two people have a “passionate moment”?  What about business?  Have you ever heard of someone pursuing their “passion” and being successful?  Now think of those who are in the news yelling and screaming about change.  Aren’t they described as being “passionate”?  In my opinion, the word “passion” is grossly overused and totally misunderstood.

Recently, I was speaking with someone regarding a situation where they upset me.  As loving as I could muster, at that time, I asked the individual several questions, asking them to explain their actions.  Their response to me was, “I can hear your passion.”  After think about this for a moment, I thought to myself, “This isn’t passion.  This is being pissed.”   If it was “passion”, my strong desire would have led me to do something that I would probably regret.  Luckily for everyone involved, we were able to come to an agreement that we would never agree.

The term “passion” is used for so many things.  When someone voices their anger, we call it passion.  When someone pursues their dreams, we call it passion.  When someone is in “love” or “lust”, we call that passion.

So what is passion?  In the simplest of terms, passion is an overwhelming desire that leads one to action.  This could be negative or positive action, but in all cases, the overwhelming desire leads to action.  What is your greatest passion?  What are you so excited about that it led you to action?  Not just saying words, but actual action?

In Scripture, we see a verse that so many people in our culture have become familiar with…

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son.  That whoever believes in Him, will not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

Have you ever thought about this in detail?  Have you ever considered its implications?  If not, let me share some quick thoughts.

First, this verse says that “God so loved the world…”  In the Greek, the word “loved” translated from the word “agapos”.  We get the term “agape” or “unconditional” from this word.  It is a form of decided unconditional love.

Second, what did this “agape” love trigger?  “…that He gave His only Son.”  Did you catch it?  The God of the all creation unconditionally loved us so much that it led Him to action, to send His only Son.  God was so passionate about us, that it led him to act accordingly.  What’s even more mind blowing is this verse:

“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.  This command I received from my Father.” – John 10:17-18

Isn’t that amazing?  After John wrote how much God passionately loved the world, Jesus confirms this with stating, “No one takes it (my life) from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.”  Jesus was so obedient to the Father, that He too passionately loved the world.  So much so, that He gave His life up for us.

Think of it this way.  God (Father) passionately loved us so much that He gave His Son (Jesus).  Jesus passionately loved the Father and the world that He gave His life up by his own willingness.  He wasn’t surprised to see Judas and the soldiers when they came for Him.  It wasn’t unexpected when they beat Him and cursed at Him.  He wasn’t surprised or shocked when He hung on the cross and suffered.  In fact, it was Jesus who asked the Father to forgive us, because we didn’t realize what we were doing.  Jesus was passionately in love with you and I.  His love led Him to action.

So, what is your greatest passion?

Maybe, you love your career so much that you work as much as you can.  Is it possibly your kids or spouse?  You desire to spend as much time with them that even your work schedule revolves around them?

Whatever, your “passion” is, may I suggest that if you are not passionate about Jesus Christ, you are not living your “greatest life”?  We all have dreams and goals.  We all want to achieve the best for our families.  We all desire to be the best, but without Christ, our lives won’t be the greatest they can be.

As I stated earlier, Jesus was so passionately in love with the Father and us, that He gave His life for us.  It is because of Christ and Christ alone, that we can go to the Father and worship.  It is because of Christ alone, that we can pray with confidence.

We call the time surrounding Easter, “The Passion of Christ”.  This proves that our understanding of what passion is, is correct at times.  Those who termed that time of the year understood that His love for us was so great, so real, it led Him to take action.

We didn’t deserve His passionate love and still don’t.  Yet, Christ in all His understanding decided to love us with action.  So what should our response be?

I don’t know about you, but for me, our response is logical.  We should respond to Christ by accepting His free gift of eternal life.  Then once we do that, He places a “passion” in us to serve the Father.  That “inserted free passion” allows us show the love of Christ to others through action.

“Faith without works, is dead.” – James 2:17

Are we acting in a way that shows the passionate love of Christ?  Do we say things that show others how passionately in love He is with them?  When we take this perspective of Christ’s passion for us, we see the world differently.  We see what others can be in Christ, rather than who they are.  We act in love toward others, caring for them in every way.  Not just those we like, but also to those who hate us.

Living your greatest life, must include the passion of Christ.  Living your greatest life must include loving others like Christ loves us.  Living your greatest life must include a living, breathing, action packed life that displays the supernatural change that only God can do through Christ.  Live your greatest life and make Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior.  He passionately loves you.  What’s your action toward love going to be?

Among the Thorns…

The sun shone in the heat of the day.  The temperature rose to a limit that desert animals couldn’t bear.  From the heads of men, sweat vaporized into eternity.  Hydration was key in surviving the current day.

In the house, was a young boy who dreamed of spending insanely amounts of time with his father.  He peered out the window to the land which his father sowed and harvested.  He imagined a cooler day with a breeze to satisfy the soul.  He daydreamed about his father trying to find him among the outer rim of trees and forest.  In his mind, when his father found him, he tackled him and tickled him incessantly, until the very breath he bore could no longer be found.  Joy overfilled and overwhelmed the thoughts of the young boy’s mind.

He asked his mother, “Can I go meet father in the field?”

Mother responded, “Not today.  It is too hot for you.”

The boy replied, “But mother, I want to spend time with father.”

Mother said, “When the sun starts to set and father is in the barn, then you may go out and meet him.”

The seconds felt like hours.  Minutes felt like years.  Hours felt like an eternity.  The boys mind wandered from one thought to the next.  Never did the boy have the same thought, but imagined different ways to spend time with his father.

Around midday, Father came into the house to nourish his mind, body and soul.  Mother placed a pitcher of freshly made, ice cold, iced tea, next to a plate filled with a sandwich and Father’s favorite chips.  As Father ate, the young boy sat and stared at his father wondering if they were having the same thoughts.

“What is on your mind, son?” asked Father.

“Spending time with you”, said the young boy.

“You’re spending time with me now”, responded Father.

“Yes.  But I want to play with you”, stated the smiling young boy.

“When the sun goes down and I am in the barn, then come out to see me.  Then we will play a game”, Father told the young boy.

“What kind of game?” asked the boy.

“A game you will love”, responded Father with a smile and a keen look.

Father finished his meal, sighed a deep breath to signal he was satisfied with what Mother prepared.  After a few minutes, Father got up, placed his dishes in the sink and left to go back into the field.

As the sun continued it’s harassment on the earth and water was nothing more than an after-thought, the boy became impatient.  His yearning to spend time with his father took over any sensible thoughts.  The young boy decided to disobey what Mother and Father told him and run out into the field to meet his Father.

The boy carefully and slothfully, made his way to the back door.  He cautiously looked around in order to ensure he was not caught.  His hand placed on the handle, slowly turned it ensuring that no noise was made to signal his disobedience.  The door crept, the boy turned and closed the door with extreme care.

He could feel the heat and decided that even the sun could not stop his eagerness to spend time with his father.  The stairs made no sound as the boy jumped from the top step to the grassy area at the bottom.  Many times before, in many days past, the young boy would jump from the top step and bypass the other three to feel the soft grass on the bottom of his soles.

His legs could take it no more and so the young boy ran as if it were a race for a prize.  A smile on his face was brighter than the sun.  Every stride was one closer to his father.  As he ran, he could see the small distorted image of a man.  He knew it was his father, so the boy ran faster.

As the boy approached his working father, he heard in a cry of terror, “STOP!  NOW SON STOP!!!!”

Excitement took over and the ears stopped working.


Suddenly, sense came back to the boy’s mind which then he realized, his father was serious.  The boy stopped his pursuit and stood in complete shock.  He didn’t understand. Why would his father tell him not to come any further?  Why would his father not want to spend time with him?  He knew he had disobeyed, but also knew his father’s love was greater than his actions, but why was Father screaming so loudly?

“Son, whatever you do, do not move”, said Father with a shaky, scared voice.

“But Father, why?”  asked the young boy.

“Son, do exactly what I say and do no more or less”, Father instructed.

“But Father, why?” asked the young boy a second time.

“Take one full step backward”, Father stated with a look of care and fear.

The boy took the backward step as his father instructed.

“Now son, take two steps to your right.  Large ones.  Not small ones.” said Father with a crooked smile.

The boy did exactly as his father told him to do.

The boy asked, “Can I come to you now Father?”

“Not yet.  Now take three more large steps backwards”, Father said.

Again, the boy did everything his father instructed.

“Son, when I tell you, run into my arms.” said Father with a sense of fear.

“Okay Father”, the excited boy said.

In a matter of a moment, the boy could see his Father bend down, taking some actions in the brush and said, “Run to me son!”

The boy ran as fast as he could.  His father had his arms opened wide.  As the boy and his father bonded, the boy could feel his father’s arms securing him as tightly as they could go without crushing the young boy.

Father cried and cried.  Tears flowed from his face and onto the shirt of the young boy.

“Why are you crying Father?”

“I almost lost you, son.  You almost died”

A confused look distorted the boys face.  Almost died?  It didn’t feel like he almost died and besides, what did death feel like anyway?  As the boy’s mind continued to process the information, Father said with tears in his eyes, “Let me show you why I was so upset.”

Both approached the place where the boy stood before the confusing turmoil.  Father continued to hold the boy and expressed how he didn’t want to let go.  As they approached the place, Father slowed down and said, “Look among the thorns, son.”

The boy leaned over his father’s arms, turned his head toward the ground and peered into the thorny brush.  A noise came from the thorns.  It sounded like a toy, similar to his baby sister’s rattle.

“What is that noise father?”

Father took a long branch and poked into the brush.  A hissing sound was heard as the thorns moved.  Suddenly, the brush stopped movement and several heads peaked out.  It was a family of rattlesnakes.

Father told the young boy, “Had you not stopped when I told you, your foot would have stepped into the brush.  If that had happened, the snakes would have bitten you and you would have died.”

The boy then realized the danger that lurked among the thorns and was glad he was in his father’s arms because the boy understood, it is better to be in the Father’s arms, safe and secure than in the den of snakes and vipers.

Stay in the safe arms of our Father and Savior.

God Bless and encourage someone today.

The Darkness of Sight (Starting Out Life Right Pt. 3)

Have you ever had an experience that overwhelmed your mind?  What about your senses?  A number of years ago, I was driving from one service call to another.  The traffic was normal and I was able to do just above the speed limit.  As I drove, I was listening to various preachers talk about reaching those who need Christ.  During this time, I started to think about my life prior to knowing Christ.

I was young when I met Christ and never experienced an adult life without Him.  The doubt started and I wondered what it would be like to be a non-Christian.  How could I understand the mindset of those who haven’t had Christ most of their lives?  I wanted to know what it was like.

As I drove down the highway, I turned off my radio and prayed, “Lord, please allow me to see as those who don’t know you see.”  Almost immediately, it was as if I could no longer see the road ahead.  Here I am, driving 60mph and couldn’t see.  I felt blinded and could only know what was only a few feet in front of me.

When I asked God for His protection, my sight came back fully.  It was only for a minute or so, but I suddenly understood the mind of those who don’t know Christ.

Romans 4:4 says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (NIV)

During my “blinding” experience, I realized that those who don’t know Christ cannot see and when we cry out to God for help, He is willing and able to do what we cannot accomplish.  Only God can allow us to see Him.  Only God can take our blindness and give us sight.

John 9 talks about a situation where a blind man receives his sight and the ramifications that came along with it.  First, the disciples see this blind man, who had been blind from birth and asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents?”  Isn’t it amazing that instead of asking Jesus to heal the man, the disciples immediately assumed this man or his parents had sinned.  They thought, “If someone had a disability, either they or their parents sinned.”  However, this was not the case.

Jesus responded, “Neither this man or his parents sinned…”  So why did God allow this man to be blind all his life?  Think about it.  Here is a man who could not contribute to society.  All his life, he probably heard people say, “I wonder what his parents did?” or “I wonder what he did to make God upset?”  It was no surprise for this man to hear what the disciples said.  What probably came as a surprise was what Jesus said next.

“…but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

Suddenly, this man heard that God allowed him to be blind in order to show others that God exists and loves those who respond to His calling.  AMAZING!!!  There was no sin.  There was no accident.  There was no scientific possibilities   Simply, God allowed him to be blind to work in his life.

How many times do was ask God to take away or problems, illnesses or circumstances?  The last time you and I suffered, did we ask God to take our situation away from us?  The story that keeps coming to mind is my friend Peter.  God allowed him to suffer greatly.  God allowed him to experience abuse, loss and extreme pain.  Yet during his last days, he was on fire for God.  God was able to use his painful experiences and painful circumstances to bring others to Christ.  It was in Peter’s weakness that God showed His mercy to others.  But the story doesn’t end there.

This blind man was healed and then experienced another aspect of God working in his life…persecution and disbelief.  The religious leaders of his day found out he was healed and wanted to know more.  When they asked him when he was healed, they realized it was the Sabbath (a holy day that required no one to work).  According to the religious leaders, anyone who worked on the Sabbath must not be from God.  They thought that the traditions of religiosity out weighed the actual healing.  Over a few different times of questioning, they threw this man out of the synagogue.

So for a moment, here is a man who was not a part of society, gained his sight and wanted to be a part of society but was kicked out of the synagogue which meant he was no longer part of society again.  How would you feel?  If I were him, I would probably be angry and depressed.  I would want to try and figure out why God gave me my sight back only to take what I thought was my life, away again.  Jesus had a solution.

When Jesus heard about the man’s situation, he approached him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  Basically, Jesus wanted to know if this man believed in Him.  Unlike many others, Jesus healed this man prior to his believing in Jesus.  God gave him the gift of sight without requiring him to believe in Jesus.  That was why Jesus asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

This man answered, “Who is he, sir?  Tell me so that I may believe in him.”  This man wanted to know who Christ was.  He desired to know who the Messiah was.  Jesus responded with the greatest surprise of all.  Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”  WHAT A GREAT RESPONSE!  WHAT A GREAT SURPRISE!  It was then the man worshiped Christ.  But did you notice what Jesus actually said?

Jesus didn’t focus on the man’s prior disabilities   He focused on what God had done for him.  Jesus then revealed Himself to this man to call him into a relationship with God.

The same holds true for us today.  Sometimes, God uses painful circumstances to work in our lives.  When we come out of those experiences and tell others, we are ridiculed and told (sometimes by Christians) how un-Christian-like it is to think or do what God has called us to proclaim.  Yet through all of this, Jesus reminds us of what God has done in order to bring us closer to Him.

In our life, we should not focus on our negative past, nor should we worry about what others think.  The only part of life we need to be concerned about is that Jesus loves us, died for us, healed us and wants us to tell others that we have been healed.  Unfortunately, we have a tendency to become angry or depressed because life isn’t going our way.  What we need to do is focus our attention on our relationship with God.  This way, He can help us see clearly the path He has for our lives.

Don’t allow the darkness of physical sight to blind us.  Allow God to remove that blindness and enter into a closer relationship with God.  Only Jesus can heal us, but no matter where we are in life, He will use our disabilities for His purposed and glory.

God bless and encourage someone today.

If You Don’t Think Your Loved….Read This

Have you ever felt you weren’t loved?  Did you ever have the feeling that the world was against you?  Was there a time in your life you doubted anyone could understand what you were going through?

Many people go through life feeling like no one understands their problems or circumstances.  They think God has some sick plan to torture their life while blessing others.  Depending on our circumstances, maybe we feel lost, lonely and afraid.  Well in this blog, I will show you how much your loved.

The Bible starts out with a book called Genesis, which basically means “the beginning”.  It the start of a series of books that have stories spanning thousands of years.  What became interesting to me was that during the first chapter we see God not only creating the entire universe and life contained within that universe, but we also see God desiring to make human life.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God, he created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

He had just created all the stars, planets, galaxies, birds, fish and beasts.  Instead of having his own little zoo, he creates people.  Why would He do that?  As we read we find out that God created a man He called Adam.  As God brings the animals to Adam to name, he also observes how Adam interacts with them.  This is when Scripture shows us some insight.

“But for Adam no suitable helper was found.” – Genesis 2:20b

God noted that Adam needed someone and not something.  He saw how Adam interacted with His creation but decided that Adam having no suitable helper was not a good thing.  So God puts Adam to sleep and creates a woman out of Adam’s rib.

Now we have all probably heard this story before, but you may be asking how this shows love toward you or how someone else understands your circumstances?  Well, God saw that Adam needed a helper, not wanted but needed.  There was an unmet need in Adam’s life, a need for a relationship.  Adam desired to be loved.  He desired to have someone else respond to his love toward them.  So the only suitable helper for him was a woman.

Why would God decide to go down this road, especially this way?  Later on, we find Adam and Eve being tempted by a serpent.  After both Adam and Eve sin they hide and cover their nakedness.  Then the Bible says this…

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” – Genesis 3:8

Did you see that?  Both Adam and Eve knew the sound of the Lord.  They knew what God sounded like.  Although not stated, it is a logical conclusion to understand that God, Adam and Eve must have spent some time together.  They knew what His steps sounded like.  For a short time, Adam, Eve and God had a relationship that was right and perfect.  Once Adam and Eve sinned, that relationship was tarnished.

We see more examples of this in Scripture.  We see God calling Abraham into a relationship with Him.  We see God calling a group of people as His own, the Israelites.  We see God spending time guiding His people for forty years in the desert.

In Ezekiel, God gives Ezekiel a mission, to be a watchman for Israel and Judah.  He was told to warn them about their sin.  He tells Ezekiel to be in a relationship with God’s people and take care of them.

Why would God want to create a universe, where one planet has creatures made in His image that rebelled against Him, yet at the same time seeks them out to have a relationship with Him?  Simply, because He loves YOU!

He loves us so much that He sends Jesus to live with us, eat with us and discover life with us.  He loves us so much that Jesus made a conscience decision to live a servants life knowing He would one day have to die a horrible death.  He loves us so much that on the cross, Jesus cries out to God and says, “Father forgive them, because  they don’t understand what they are doing.”  Jesus actually cries out to God to forgive those who tortured Him.

After Jesus died and rose again, he told His disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit.  Once the Holy Spirit came to the disciples, they were commanded to leave and tell others about Jesus.  Jesus felt it was so important to have a relationship with us that He sent the Holy Spirit to guide us, teach us, discipline us and talk with us.

In fact, Scripture says that Jesus suffered all of what we experience so that we would not be alone in our suffering.  The New Testament commands Christians to be in a relationship with others, telling them about Jesus.

When we look at Scripture as a ‘one story at a time’ view, we miss the actual picture, God seeks to have a relationship with us.  When we look at our circumstances as “one story at a time”, we fail to see how those bad circumstances can be used for a much larger purpose than us.

This past year, I lost a close friend of mine to cancer.  Until his very last breath, he always smiled, praised God and asked everyone who saw him if they knew Jesus.  This was a testimony of God’s love toward mankind.

In the past month, another friend of mine ended up doing things that landed him in prison.  Time after time, people talked with him about the love of God, yet he chose the opposite path.  A day or so ago, his mother told me that he is now reading the Bible, seeking God and “testing the waters” to see how much God loves him.

Two very different stories, with different outcomes, yet one purpose.  To tell the love of God toward mankind.  No matter how bad things get in this world, whether sickness, poverty and even death, God loves us.  He allows each of us to suffer in unique ways for the purpose of sharing His love toward mankind.

Don’t ever give up!  Don’t ever think you are alone.  You are not alone.  Someone out there is going through the same type of suffering as you are.  Just ask God to bring them into your life and show you how much God loves you.

God Bless and encourage someone today.

The Northern Frontier Experience (The Final Frontier)

In the last three blogs, I shared a fictional story of a father and his son.  The son wanted to discover new and exciting things.  The father started off skeptical but ended up discovering there was more to life than work.  In this last blog, of this series, I will share with you what Northern Frontier Camp means to me.

In 1974, my mom and dad answered the call of Christ and became disciples of the King.  They found a local church through a radio station my mom was listening to.  The name of the church is Bellerose Baptist Church in New York City.

While my parents started to attend this church and my dad was asked to help out in Christian Service Brigade.  He enjoyed working with the boys.  Sharing bible stories, making things out of wood and going camping.

I wanted to spend time with my dad, so from as far back as I can remember, I asked my dad if I could go with him.  On occasion, he would allow me to do the overnight camp out with them, but wouldn’t allow me to attend until the appropriate age of eight.

When I turned eight, I enjoyed spending time with other boys doing the things I had seen the other boys do.  Week after week, during the bible story time, I heard the message of Jesus.  I heard that Jesus loves me, that He died and rose again for me, but no matter how many times I heard this, my heart was just not into that “bible stuff”.  When an invitation to accept Christ came, I would raise my hand time after time.

My dad, being a wise man, told me that accepting Christ as Savior is a one time event.  So if I accepted Christ once, then that was all that was needed.  Being a hard-headed kid from  NYC, I  didn’t get it.

In the summer of 1979, my mom and dad asked me if I wanted to go to camp.  It sounded like a lot of fun so I agreed.  They paid for me to go to this camp called Northern Frontier Camp.  It was an all boys camp that had been started through the founder of Christian Service Brigade.

My parents dropped me off at a location, where a charter bus would take us to camp.  After six hours of traveling north, we arrived at the entrance.  Then after getting off the charter bus, an old diesel school bus would then take us the rest of the way.  The best part of the bus rides was the 3 mile off-road trip through the woods.  We would bounce around and laugh because this was no where like the city.

Year after year, I would go there for a week, have fun and enjoy every activity they provided.  From air rifle and archery to hiking and swimming, I enjoyed every summer there.

At night, we would have a camp fire where we would sing fun songs, do crazy acting out, see skits and finally listen to a message.  For the first couple of years, I would once again raise my hand to accept Christ.  (I told you I didn’t get it.)  I would then return home just for my parents to explain once again, that if I was a Christian, I didn’t need to do this year after year.

In one of those years, it had rained and we were listening to a special camp fire skit.  I remember it distinctly.  There was a few large sheets hung up that were separated by a pole.  A young man would come up and make believe he was knocking on the door.  The first young man said that he was good enough to enter because he didn’t lie or steal.  The voice on the other side said, “Walk through the left door”.  Almost immediately, he would enter through the left door and then scream in fear.

The second young man said, “I am good enough because I helped an old lady across the street, attended church and even went to Christian Service Brigade”.  The voice on the other side said, “Walk through the left door”.  Again, he walked through and screamed.

Finally, a different young man came forward, knocked and said, “I am not good enough, but I know Jesus.”  He was allowed to enter the right door, where there was praise and worship.  I was scared beyond what I knew possible.  I feared hell.  I feared being lost forever.  I was just plain scared of life.  That night, when the opportunity came, I yet again asked Jesus into my heart.  However, I did it out of fear rather than need.

Over the next year, my sister had a dream and was terrified.  She told me that she dreamed I was in a dark place, hurting and screaming.  As young as we were, she begged me to accept Christ as my Savior.  I brushed her off, forgetting what I had just experienced months prior.

That summer, I went back to Northern Frontier Camp.  One night there was a campfire and someone gave the message of hope through Christ.  (Sound familiar?)  However, this night was different.  It wasn’t the weather or the lake.  It wasn’t the campfire.  It was me.  I knew something was wrong.  Something made me feel uncomfortable.

When the speaker finished his message, he asked anyone who wanted to know more, to stay back.  I decided to stay and asked some questions.  The counselor asked me if I wanted to accept Christ and I acknowledged that I needed Christ.  He led me in prayer, but this time there was no fear.  There was no normal night.  My emotions overwhelmed me.  I couldn’t hold back.  I wept and wept.  I asked Jesus to take over my life and He did with a vengeance.  It was at this moment in time that I knew I no longer needed to ask, because Jesus was there.

When I got home, I told my parents about my experience, but they didn’t believe me.  It wasn’t until they saw me witnessing to my friends that they understood that the experience I had that summer was different, very different.

Northern Frontier Camp has a special place in my heart.  I went there for almost a decade, have spent time with my father and sons there.  Every time I go, I learn more and more.  This camp allows me to go out of my comfort zone and experience the love of God in a different way every time.

If you are a dad or want your son to experience God in a whole new way, I encourage you to check out  Make time to spend a few days with your son in the wilderness where there are no distractions, only you, your son and God.  Because boys won’t just be boys.  Because boys will become men someday.

The Northern Frontier Experience (Part 3)

After the dad and son settled in, they approached the cafeteria.  The steps were made of wood but were sturdy.  They opened the screen doors and noticed a congregation of men and sons looking over papers and talking with two people at a table.

The dad and son started to walk toward the table.  As they approached, the woman sitting there smiled and asked, “What are your names?”  The dad said, “Paul and Troy Smith”.  The nurse thumbed through her paperwork and found the applications that the dad had previously sent in.  She then briefly looked them over and said, “Okay.  You have no medications, so please take your son and go over to the various activity tables and decide what you want to do over the next few days.”

Paul and Troy looked over every piece of paper there.  The dad noticed the assortment of activities and was dumbfounded on how much there was to do. He turned to his son and asked, “Troy, what would you like to do?”

Paul and Troy chose six activities that they could do.  Over the course of the next few days, they had loads of fun.  Troy was able to shoot a bow and arrow for the first time.  Paul was able to teach his son how to fish and sail.  Both of them had so much fun.  From swimming in the lake to the campfires at night.  Each evening, after the campfire they would carefully walk to the cabin.  Paul would tuck Troy in while the counselors decided it was time for a quick game before bed.

Paul then was told that the dads were going back to the cafeteria for coffee and snacks.  Little did Paul know what was going to change his life forever.  As he sat and listened to the stories, he noted how each dad had come from a situation or experience that was similar to his.  One dad said he as a former alcoholic but when Jesus found Him, he no longer needed to have a drink.  Another story that caught his attention was a dad who became so busy with his job that his wife left him with the kids and the struggles he had fighting to see his son again.

Paul remembered where he came from.  The busy world of work.  The inundated world of working from home and trying to work out at the gym.  What time did he actually have to himself?  All Paul knew was work, work and some more work.  But in this atmosphere of dads, he noticed one thing.  None of them had cell phones or iPads.  Each and every dad had a smile from ear to ear.  Every dad had a story that they wanted to share.  They wanted to show other dads they weren’t alone in their struggle.  Paul desired to have more of this type of experience, but he didn’t have the courage to ask about how to be so happy.

On the last evening of the campfire, a young man came up to speak and said, “My dad and I used to fish and sail.  He taught me everything, both good and bad.  Unfortunately, my dad passed away from a heart attack because he worked so much.  All he could think about was how to make more money.  He also taught me that there was one relationship that was necessary to have a happy life.”  At this, Paul’s ears became more attentive and wanted to understand the secret to happiness.

The young man continued, “Living a happy life is not dependent on how much money you make or how you love to fish or sail.  Living a life of true happiness comes from within.  Within each person is a desire to be something bigger and better than he knows he can achieve.  Each father desires to do better for his wife and son.  Each father knows that there is something out there bigger than he is.  I am here to tell you that no matter your status in life, work or socially, the only way to true happiness is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Paul then said to himself, “Is that it?  It doesn’t sound extravagant like the other dads made it seem.”  As he sat and listened to the rest of the story, Paul heard something he had never heard before.  It was as if his conscience was calling out to him.  Immediately, there was a sense of hopelessness yet hopefulness.  Then came the doubting, but the truth started to ring even louder.  The next thing he heard was the young man say, “If you want to meet Jesus tonight, stay back and talk with one of us.”  That was it!  Paul knew he needed to stay back and talk with the young man.

Paul and Troy stayed behind as others left for the night.  The young man who spoke approached, he could see the desire to learn on Paul’s face.  They spoke for a few minutes and then prayed.  After the prayer, Paul no longer heard the tension he had before.  There was an inner peace he had never felt before.  A sense of joy, happiness and contentment overwhelmed his soul.  This was something he never felt before, but he liked it, a lot.

Paul had been found by Jesus.  Jesus had healed his entire being.  His guilt was gone.  His fear subsided.  His life was different and he knew this was the first day of the rest of his life.  He then promised himself that nothing would ever get between him and his Savior.  He also made sure that his son and wife came before other things he enjoyed.  In the end, Paul knew that if God had not led them to Northern Frontier Camp, his life would have just continued down the slippery slope he was headed.  It was Northern Frontier Camp that showed him a new way of living and he wasn’t going to let it go.