If You Give A Man

There are many things that are said to bring destruction to a man’s soul. Proverbs goes into great detail the consequences of foolery and rebellion; much of the Old Testament displays the negative effects of individual pride and selfish ambition.

Today foolery, pride, and selfish ambition still have similar effects to the human condition; you might even say that getting the human race to steep oneself into foolishness, pride, and selfish ambition is on Satan’s never-ending list to do list.

Amongst these out-in-the-open tactics maybe we can talk about another; it’s more covert. This certain strategy is not so much aimed at bringing the human soul down into the miry clay, but to a place much more sinister and ominous.

Apathy, Christian brethren, is one of our greatest, collective downfalls . The ability to have everything that we would possibly need is potentially deadly; at times we begin to require less of a Savior that required nothing of ourselves.

“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”

-Matthew 16:26

Apathy is decrepit because at face value it is an immensely beautiful thing. Apathy fueled by abundant resources, restorative community, and a lack of suffering can all look like God’s beautiful provision.

Healthy? Check. Great friends? Check. Fulfilling career? Check. Enough money in the bank? Check.

None of these things are mentioned as benchmarks of a Christian, yet I think we tend to use them as criteria for ourselves when pondering what it means to be in relationship with Jesus.

This passage in Matthew is in reference to fully surrendering to Christ and taking up a cross that would otherwise be too heavy for any of us to carry. We are to prioritize obeying the commands of God, by the grace of God.

Anyone who has a fulfilling life coupled with worldly possessions and an altogether convenient life ought not to be demonized or condemned for their lifestyle; rather believers should be compelled to look at their own spiritual fruit in order to fully quantify whether or not they are truly taking up their cross.

Apathy occurs when we no longer align our lifestyle preferences with the commands of God; apathy creeps in when obedience and surrender begin to take a backseat to personal agenda.

That being said, believers should be challenged everyday to deny themselves and take up their cross for the sake of following Christ; we ought to be faced with the daily decisions of prioritizing the commands of God over our own fleshly agenda.

We need not be wary of nice things, a phenomenal life, or daresay even the white picket fence. However, brethren, let us be wary of apathy; let us be wary of no longer carrying a cross that we’ve been asked to bear, by His wonderful grace.

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La La Land

Review of Movie: worth its Rotten Tomatoes audience score of 91%. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone play an excellent duo intertwined in tasteful, yet deceptively engaging antics in an overall well done film complete with musical numbers and outstanding cinematography. Thank you run on sentences

Review of Movie-over.

But, let’s pull away something biblical and wholesome.

Millenials we are the most entitled and idealistic generation to date; why? Our parents raised us to believe that we can do anything; for goodness sake we received medals for mere participation in everything whether it was recreational sports to art class. We are idealistic to a tee and, often times, this is the knock against us.

We need to be real with where we are at; yes, we can be idealistic, entitled, and disillusioned to a world that may not present a feasible reality.

Yet, I think there is something to the idealistic mind that God wants to use for his glory.

Call me out if this piece of scripture is being misused/misinterpreted, but this piece of Revelation, I believe, is meant as an indication that Jesus is going to come back and make everything new:

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

-Revleations 21:4

The idea of a perfect, uninhibited world is the idealist’s dream-is it not?

The ultimate goal for our faith is to worship Jesus in unadulterated manner, in perfection, and without sin.

This is our hope that stands on nothing less; Jesus won’t fail us. For this reason we keep running the race called life and press on to receive the prize that is eternity with Christ.

Let it be known, however, we do not presently live in a reality where we are uninhibited by sin; we live in a world with a lot of sin.

The immature, idealistic Christian will try to ignore the sin, hurt, and pain and attempt to create an environment in which everything is as perfect as possible. This often leads to unfruitful Christians that lack the diligence and faithfulness Christ freely gives us to love and obey him.

The mature, idealistic Christian will openly acknowledge and live within the realm of an imperfect Earth requiring Jesus’ return. This type of living will lead to a diligence and faithfulness gladly accepted through God’s grace; the fruitfulness becomes a natural byproduct of abiding in the Vine. Finally, eager expectation for Christ’s return becomes a burning longing for necessary redemption of the Earth and its sin.

Idealists, we have the potential to live with heaven in our hearts and to usher the coming kingdom of Christ through our fruit and intercession. We also have the potential to live unfruitful, disillusioned lives that begets apathy. Let us be wary of the latter.

Let us run this race with a diligence given by the grace of God; we are saved by grace let us therefore live fruitfully by grace.

 

Be Different, It’s Ok

Listen, this hipster stuff has been all the rage in the last decade. Actually, being a hipster, in some circles, has been a perennial phenomenon in which individuals who feel the need simply to be different choose to go against the grain of societal norms-isn’t that what hipsterdom is?

But now, more than ever, it’s pretty cool to be a hipster. The fashion and the lifestyle have become ideals highly sought after by the youth and, guess what, it’s working.

Here’s the deal: it’s pretty important nowadays to be cool and to be cool you have to be different. This is what the world tells us and we are eating this message up. Do the different thing, wear the different shirt, date the different guy/girl, etc…

I think, for the most part, this is not a bad message. As Christ following millenials there is something in the air of being different that liberates us and brings us into solidarity. If we read Romans 12:1-2, we find Paul exhorting believers to be different and to allow the Gospel to renew the mind and transform it:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

At face value, this verse is pretty straightforward. If we read in between the lines in a biblical, safe manner we might find something a little bit more nuanced. The exhortation is based on the Gospel [good, sweet, I like the Gospel]. We are to be living sacrifices devoted to God in terms of our everyday choices, actions, and thoughts; this is our true worship because it is a daily sacrifice to go against our selfish ambition and give ourselves to the desires of the living Spirit of God.

Thus, this idea of daily, sacrificial worship becomes a non-conformist lifestyle that goes against the grain of societal norms and expectations.

Hipsters, we got it all wrong and it’s a shame. If our deal is that we want to be different, just to be different and individual then we are clearly missing the point [hey, that sounds something along the lines of “missing the mark”]. Millenials we are so obsessed with being different and cool that we are missing the point of why we are called to be different and set apart in the first place. We are called to be living representatives of a Gospel so simple, true, and impactful that we can’t help, but be different from the rest of the secular societies that we live in because the Gospel touches and impacts every portion of our lives.

Millenial Christians we are to be different because of Christ’s great sacrifice that calls each one who would call themselves a Christian to live holy and set apart. This call for Christians is not limited to our clothing, lingo, or friend group; friends it’s everything.

Suffering as a Christ Follower Expanded

Millenials most of us have it pretty good. Most of us grew up with hard working parents that focused on possessions and giving their children [us] better opportunities than they had growing up. In a society that has become increasingly progressive there has also been an increasing amount of opportunities in career choice, prospective significant others, and socially acceptable hobbies-I digress.

Our society allows us to do many things; we are virtually able to do whatever we want because of how socially acceptable a number of activities and lifestyles have become. Who would have thought jumping from the stratosphere would become a lucrative and impressive career opportunity? Thanks to Red Bull anyone can go on Youtube, watch the video, and witness the “impressiveness” of a jump from the stratosphere. Who would have thought people could travel the world, start a blog, and somehow make enough money to live a lifestyle of travel, leisure, and relaxation? Thanks to the millenials and Gen-X’ers, this type of lifestyle has become ideal and admirable within many circles of society.

The society us millenials have grown in has groomed us to believe that we can find success in nearly anything we do and have the acceptance of society to go ahead and pursue the wildest of dreams-it’s America right?

If you are a millenial and proclaimed Christian you presently live in a brilliant and perhaps puzzling paradox of lifestyle possibilities. On one hand the world gives a green light and encourages a variety of initiatives in lifestyle choices; utmost freedom is abundant and at large. On the other hand Christian millenials ought to be wary of the call Christ has given to those that would choose to follow him. Ultimately, Christ mandates that we must make a sacrifice that is going to be of great cost; he asks us to suffer.

Suffering can look like a number of things; suffering as a Christian does not explicitly infer physical harm, although fasting can be thrown that category.

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

-Romans 8:17

Suffering, in this case, might mean a denial of self. Christ denied himself his own needs and wants so the life of all mankind might be restored and redeemed.

Likewise, Christ calls us to make a complete denial of self and follow him at any cost; this is called surrender and obedience.

If we are to follow Christ, we are to be obedient and surrendered. The complete obedience and surrender and Christ, in a sense, is us choosing to suffer. Our propensity, because of our sin nature, is towards ourselves; we love to inherently focus on ourselves and our needs. On a daily basis we can choose to suffer in following Christ because we are taking something natural and effortless [to focus on ourselves and live by our own means] and replace it with something unnatural and tedious [the commands of loving Christ and loving others].