The Nature of Sin

I want to talk today about one of my favorite stories from the bible. If you have spent even a minimal amount of time in church, you’ve heard this story. It’s right up there with Moses parting the Red Sea and Daniel in the lion’s den. It’s the story of Adam and Eve, but more specifically the six verses that talk about original sin and the effect it had on mankind as a whole.

I want to look at it from a different perspective than you’ve probably heard because I think the story itself lends great insights into the nature of sin and what it means to actually sin. Much of the church talks about sin as if it’s just a list of rules that God writes down and then just commands us not to do. Very few churches or preachers give any serious guidance on WHY it’s considered wrong to sin and, because of it, I think it’s turned people away from the church.

I tend to think the stories in the book of Genesis are more on the level of myths that were handed down from generation to generation and that they aren’t exactly historical stories of things that actually happened. However, I would like to point out that it doesn’t necessarily matter if you believe in that one way or the other. The importance of the story isn’t whether it actually happened or not. The importance of the story is the lessons that it means to teach us. And that’s what I want to focus on today. Continue reading “The Nature of Sin”

Use it for Good

When I was about 14 years old, I went to church camp. Back in those days, I was a pretty hardcore christian kid. I went to church three times a week. I fasted when the adults of the church fasted. I prayed three times a day. I read the bible from cover to cover three times over the course of about five years. I studied. I even tried to learn Greek at one point thinking that I’d like to read the bible in the language it was written. So, while I had fun and enjoyed all the fun things church camp had to offer, I was also there to seek God and figure out his will for my life.

I was also popular with the younger kids, and they would crowd around me because they looked up to me and I gave them attention. One day at camp, I was sitting in the chairs and a bunch of the younger kids were sitting next to me in our little group. The message the preacher preached was about Saul and how he “stood head and shoulders above the crowd.” It was a message about God’s calling for your life and how God used Saul in the beginning. I looked around and noticed that I, too, was standing head and shoulders above everyone around me because I was surrounded by kids. I took this to mean that God had called me to preach.

I remember as I was returning home with my parents, I told them that I felt like God had called me to preach. I said that I wanted to go to bible school and to become a preacher. And I’ll never forget what they said to me. I was actually a little surprised. They said to pray about it and to think about it, and that I shouldn’t put off going to actual college to go to bible school because I needed a way to provide for myself and my family. I mean, at the time, I wondered why they would say something like that. Isn’t the standard answer to your child saying he wants to be a preacher an emphatic “heck yes”? What sort of parents would actually tell their child to hold off on being a preacher until you go do something that’s going to make you money? Continue reading “Use it for Good”

The Storm of Depression

I read a post on another corner of the internet tonight that moved me. A man was talking about how he was unable to buy a gun because his aunt went to the gun shop and told them about his history of mental illness. Essentially, he wanted to buy a gun to kill himself, but his aunt interceded on his behalf. Because of this event he decided that, if he must live, he might as well start improving his life.

The post made an impression on me. It reminded me of the times in my life when I was hit with depression and how low that feeling can bring you. It reminded me that not everything we do in life is “rah rah rah” and happy-go-lucky rainbows with sparkles. There’s a dark side to life, a depth that we all reach at some point that drags us down. We are all faced with grief and suffering and many of us never make it back to true happiness.

Some of you reading ┬áthis today are in the eye of the storm. Maybe you’ve been there for a long time. Maybe you feel your whole life has been this storm. If you don’t know how depression feels, I urge you to search out some psychology forums where people go to talk about their depression. You’ll find that it’s enlightening. Or, if you’re like me, your heart will go out to these people. You’ll feel their pain and feel helpless in the ability to help them see beyond it. Continue reading “The Storm of Depression”

Beautiful in its Time

I want to touch on a topic that I think all of us has entertained at one point or another. Well, all of us who are over the age of 25 or 30 anyway. Not that younger people don’t think about this, but there is a very clear moment that happens as you approach the middle of your life that you begin to think about the deeper things of life. A young person just starting out their life may not be focusing on what happens at the end of it. If you’re a young person reading this, I apologize if my generalization is wrong. I’m just saying that the weight of these things doesn’t truly hit you until you reach your mid 30’s.

I was curious tonight. It had been a while since I read the book of Ecclesiastes. When I finished my last article, I felt that I wanted to talk about depression in my next one. I asked myself what scriptures in the bible deal with depression, and the first thing that came to me was this book. This, quite literally, is the most depressing book of the bible. It was written by King Solomon in his old age. Yes, the guy who gave us the wisdom of Proverbs, built the temple, and basically put Israel on the map, looked back over his life in his old age and uttered the words “life is meaningless.” Continue reading “Beautiful in its Time”

Be your own Source

About seven years ago, I had one of the biggest breakthroughs in my life. After my divorce, I spent a few years really diving into the personal development genre. Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss…you name it, I read it. I learned about NLP, cognitive behavior therapy, the seven habits of highly effective people…and so on. I kept meeting a wall in my life, and I was so frustrated about what I was supposed to do to overcome the feelings I had within myself.

Divorce will do that to a person. It will take every ounce of confidence you thought you had and turn it on itself. You’ll reach what you feel is rock bottom and won’t know how to climb out of the hole you find yourself in. I grabbed wildly for anything and everything I could hold onto. In my studies, I stumbled onto a personal growth message board. I posted for days on end about how I was stuck. I poured my heart out and shared every last intimate detail I could muster from my life in the hopes that somebody…anybody…could help me move forward.

I finally got what I needed when a kind soul took the time to listen to everything I had to say, offer words of encouragement, and gave me a free phone session. Everything that I am today spiraled out of that phone session because it forced me to shift away from the “woe is me” record that I was playing on repeat within myself and onto a path of personal responsibility. I learned that nobody was coming to save me. All of my internal and external struggles were my responsibility and mine alone. I could not shift blame. I could not make excuses. I merely had to make choices. New choices. Continue reading “Be your own Source”

Heirs to the Hope

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably have heard about the events of Charlottesville. I’m not going to spend time hashing out the details because everybody knows them at this point. If you don’t know them, then Google is your friend. I don’t care what your political leanings are or what side of the issue you find yourself on. What I want to do is offer you a perspective that empowers you to be a better person.

That perspective can be found in a rather obscure scripture in the bible. The book of Titus is one of those “gloss through” books in the bible because it’s so short. Also there’s very little “marketable” material in there that hasn’t been said in a more powerful, more empowering, and more uplifting way somewhere else in the bible. There’s nothing exciting going on in this book. Titus was left on the island of Crete to be the pastor of the church there. He was looking for guidance, and his mentor, Paul, decided to write him a letter about sound doctrine. It’s a book that is very much cut and dry, right down the middle, and basically meant to encourage the preaching and teaching of sound doctrine.

So why have I chosen to use a scripture from Titus to apply to the situation in Charlottesville? Because there’s a powerful nugget rooted in there that I think we all need to hear and apply to our lives. Continue reading “Heirs to the Hope”

The Faith of Whores

Today’s post is one that I like because it gives you insight into the types of people that God uses and/or the types of people that find massive success. We tend to look at successful people and think that they have their act together. They step into the spotlight and shine and their brilliance sends a big ole spotlight down onto our own lives and highlights all those little insecurities we have.

What we don’t see is everything that went on behind the scenes to make that person shine. We look at the scarlet chord on their window and think “wow, that’s beautiful,” but we don’t see that the person living there is someone who put herself on the line for strangers. We don’t see that the person sold themselves for sex for a living. Bear in mind, I don’t see that in a negative light (her occupation). In fact, typing up the words “she is a whore,” while factually accurate, seems overly harsh and judgmental to me. So, before we get started, I just want to clear the air here. I’m not judging her. If I call her a “whore,” I’m really just doing it for effect rather than judgment. Sometimes I think stronger language is necessary to drive home a point. And in this message there is some powerful stuff. Continue reading “The Faith of Whores”

You Are Not Ready Yet

The scripture I want to share with you today is one that has been on my mind for about a week now. It’s the one that actually spurred me to start this website. As a first post, I find it truly fitting. I’ve been really thinking about how I wanted to proceed with a new blog. I’ve been toying with blogs and posts for about a decade now with little traction. I’d get an idea for a direction that I wanted to take a website, buy a domain name, and go to town building the site. By the time I would finish and write a few posts, I’d lose the motivation for that site and move on.

It never dawned on me, until I read this scripture, that there are periods in your life when you may want to do or try a certain thing, but the truth is you just aren’t ready for that thing yet. And that was my truth for many years. But lets not get ahead of ourselves. I want to share this scripture with you because I think it’s a part of the Exodus story that kind of gets glossed over. I mean, who wants to focus on this part of the scripture when the next chapter talks about one of the greatest, most miraculous victories in history? We all want to believe that we are standing on the edge of the Red Sea, staff stretched out over the water, waiting for the sea to part and for dry land to cross. Nobody wants to think “I’m not ready yet.” Nobody wants to focus on what had to be a few days journey of people wondering where on earth Moses was leading them. Or if they did know, surely some of them had to wonder why they were taking a route straight towards the sea when they could just go get the land God had promised them. Right? Continue reading “You Are Not Ready Yet”