Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why are you a Christian?

Have you ever been asked, 'Why are you a Christian?' How did you answer? Did you have an answer?

Recently president Obama was at a town hall- style meeting in the yard of a home in Albuquerque, New Mexico when a lady got up and asked three questions. One of them was about abortion, though important, not the focus of this post, the last question was about some chili peppers her husband grows she wanted president Obama to try (careful Mr. President:-) and actually the first one is obviously the one we want to focus on here: 'Why are you a Christian?'

Watch the video below (click here if you get this via email/RSS feed) then continue reading below...

Obama began his answer by saying, "I am a Christian by choice." I hope that all Christians are Christians by choice. Honestly though, this post is not necessarily about dissecting Obama's answer to the question, though of course it will.

The answer that we should really be evaluating is our own. How have we and are we answering that same question, "Why are you a Christian?"  More directly to each one of us, we need to ask 'Why are you a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, or a Baptist, Methodist Christian (you fill in the denomination)?

Would love to hear your answers? Hopefully it's not one of those in which people say, "well I just grew up..."


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Trapped Miners in Chile & Time

For the last 55 days 33 miners have been stuck 2,700 ft below Chile's Atacam desert. The story has made headlines since the mine caved in on the 33 men August 5th.

For the last 55 days these 33 miners have essentially lived in a room that is only 538 sq. ft. although there is a section they have set aside as a bathroom and another area they seem to have for when some wants to be alone. Nonetheless they have been in a very tight, confined space with nowhere to go for 55 days and counting!

Officials have said that they expect to finally be able to drill down to where the miners are by perhaps mid-Oct (it had earlier been stated it would be November before they would get to them). Yet as the drilling continues the drama is being watched and studied by many psychiatrist, anthropologist, and perhaps even sociologist's on what 33 miners confined for that long in that space says about human behavior.

A recent Time magazine article about this same subject quotes  Colonel Tom Kolditz a psychologist and behavioral scientist at West Point saying:

"The need for normality is only the second most powerful driver of behavior in a crisis, however. The first is what Kolditz calls "mortality salience." For everyone, death is inevitable, but most of the time we think of it as eventual. If that changes — if death seems possibly imminent — behavior changes too. "When you fear for your lives," says Kolditz, "you pull together."
Essentially Dr. Kolditz is saying at least two things about these men. First they are finding ways to adapt to their environment and keep things 'normal', have some kind of a routine. Secondly they are working together in order to stay alive and healthy. 

As I have been following this incredible story, this aspect of how these men must be living and their response to the conditions they are in has been intriguing to say the least and at the same time has made me think about some spiritual issues.

Particularly I want to focus here on the first driver of behavior Kloditz mentions as 'mortality salience' which again means that if we know death is possibly imminent we change our behavior. 

So I ask how would your behavior change if you knew that you were perhaps going to die sooner than later? How would you treat other people? What would you do for Jesus that you aren't doing now?! 

Maybe it's time that we start living for Jesus as if this was our last day! This past weekend I spoke on this issue (click here to see the sermon) as I expounded on the text where Paul says in Ephesians 5:15-17:
"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil."
I pray those miners are rescued much sooner that later, and when they are rescued I would venture to say that they will have a new outlook on life making the best use of time, especially since they have spent so much time away from their friends and family.

May we be challenged as people who are not 2,300 ft below the earth in confined quarters to make the most of our time for Jesus, NOW, while we still can.

So how are you using your time? Are you 'making the best use of the time' for the cause of Jesus?


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Catching up & Adventist Superbowl commercial?

Vacation pic: Sun setting at Waimea Bay, Hawaii
Well it's been about two weeks since my last post. I went on vacation for a little over a week (just my wife and i, had an amazing time! Thank You Jesus!) and then about a week to catch up on things. Now it's time to continue blogging here at Bathos and continue this journey of going deeper with Jesus.

I pray that you were blessed by the last post that my colleague and friend Pastor Rodlie Ortiz made here regarding the connection with the mosque wanting to be built next to ground zero in New York and Revelation 13. If you haven't read and listen to his sermon by clicking here.

Also as of this post we have raised with the help of all those that have contributed $600 for the Charity:Water campaign that we started nearly 3 months ago. Even though we haven't reached our major goal, as I've mentioned before I'm certainly pleased that we have been able to help bring clean, fresh drinking water to 30 people! Praise the Lord. As of this post there is still 15 days left on the campaign I would love to reach $1,000! Click here to check out the campaign and donate!

Well now that we've briefly caught up I wanted to start back up blogging with this interesting endeavor that pastor Leo Schreven is trying to achieve. I just became aware of it this week through another pastor. Pastor Schreven is essentially trying to get a petition signed by 144,00 (interesting choice for a number:-) and then raise funds in order to run a commercial during the Super Bowl that will remind the people who watch it (which a lot of people watch the superbowl, something like 100 million give or take) that the Sabbath is still on the 7th day.

From what I've been able to garner he seems to have good intentions and wants to do it in a way that will not seem offensive. Make SURE you click HERE  to check on the site and if you're willing sign the petition!

So what do you think should we try and help pastor Schreven and have this ad run during the superbowl? Let me know what you think! More to less than two weeks:-)


Saturday, September 11, 2010

What The Mosque Controversy Has to Do With Revelation 13

(I took this photo of ground zero when I visited N.Y. in 2008)
Note: Unless you've absolutely not watched the news this week you now that a pastor by the name of  Terry Jones has captured the headlines because of his desire to burn Qurans.  Along with that we have the issue of the Mosque that a group wants to build near ground zero. 

Recently I heard my friend and colleague Pastor Rodlie Ortiz who pastors in Tampa, FL, preach a sermon that is related to the above mentioned issues (specifically the mosque). I asked him to guest post here at Bathos. It certainly is fitting since he was the one who helped me get started blogging. Thanks Rodlie! 

I know that you will be blessed by his post and sermon below. They will certainly make you go Bathos-Deeper with Jesus!

The last few weeks has been a perfect example of real life intersecting with prophecy. It's certainly been a foretaste of it anyway. Allow me to explain.

If you've been reading and watching the news in the last few weeks, then you've certainly heard about the mosque controversy. In case you haven't, there's a group that's been wanting to build a mosque relatively close to ground zero. As a result, there's a whole segment of society that has risen up and vowed to not allow this. Politicians as well as lay people have been speaking against it, and many have been crusading to stop mosques from being built in other states and cities as well.

Note some of what's being said in the printed media.

The August 19 issues of Time magazine asked the following question: "Does America Have A Muslim Problem?" In the article, the author notes what many people have been saying and thinking concerning Islam:
"The arguments marshaled by Islam's detractors have been familiar: 'Since most terrorist attacks are conducted by Muslims and in the name of their faith, Islam must be a violent creed. Passages of the Koran taken out of context are brandished as evidence that Islam required believers to kill or convert all others. Shari'a laws requiring the stoning of adulterers or other gruesome punishments serve as proof that Muslims are savage and backward. The conclusion of this line of reasoning is that Islam is a death cult, not a religion, so constitutional freedoms don't apply to it."
Here's another powerful quote form that same article:
"Although the American strain of Islamophobia lacks some of the traditional elements of religious persecution--there's no sign that violence against Muslims is on the rise for instance--there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that hate speech against Muslims and Islam is growing both more widespread and more heated. 'Islamophobia has become the accepted form of racism in America.'"
And in a recent article from the New York Times, a Muslim Chaplain at Duke that studied the holocaust noted that "Some of what of people are saying in this mosque controversy is very similar to what German media was saying about Jews in the 1920s and's very scary."

For most people, this is nothing more than a social disturbance. At worst, it's outright racism. At best, it's been political grandstanding. But I believe there's a little more than meets the eye here. I'd like to take a moment, then, to show how this Muslim controversy may be a foreshadowing of what takes place in Revelation 13. In the video below I expound in a lot more detail.

In Revelation 13 we note the existence of two different beasts. In the first few verses we note a beast who is "speaking arrogant words and blasphemies," and who was given authority to act for 42 months. After this prophetic time period of 42 months has passed, we note in verse 11 that another, and different beast, has arrived on the scene.
"Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed."
Do you notice what the major issue is in these verses? Worship. This second beast is seemingly making the entire world worship the first beast. And if you notice in v. 16, you'll see that this beast will try to compel all to receive a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. So there will be some kind of distinctive mark that the followers of the beast will show. It is a mark that points to the worship of the first beast.

Now, let's jump over to Revelation 14 and see something else. In Revelation 14:9, 12 heavenly messengers, in the form of angels, make reference to this "mark of the beast."

"Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives the mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God...Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus."

Notice what's happening. A juxtapose is made with those that receive the mark of the beast on one side, and those that are keeping the commandments of God on the other side. So again, we notice that in some way, this is about those that are worshiping the beast, verses those that are worshiping the creator God.

So what does all of this have to do with the mosques?

This country was founded on the principles of freedom of religion and separation of church and state. That's why the earliest people from Europe came here; to escape religious persecution. And yet when we see people and politicians in America trying to inhibit people's ability to worship freely, and trying to get the government involved in such actions, America begins to look eerily similar to this beast power of Revelation 13.

I believe that our job as Christians is to strongly support the American principle of separation of church and state. So as long as someone is not doing anything illegal, their ability to gather and worship freely should not be hindered.

The time will come, no doubt, in which the ability of people to worship the creator God will be limited completely. The book of Revelation makes that clear. But until that day comes, we must strive to stand up for the minority that wants to worship freely, even if it means that some people feel uncomfortable.

For a complete walk through of Revelation 13 and how it intersects with the mosque controversy, see the sermon below.

Sermon- Stanger Danger. Rodlie Ortiz from Carrollwood SDA Church on Vimeo.

Rodlie Ortiz

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Charity Water: Live Drill part 2

In my last post I reminded those who would be interested in the live drilling of a water well in the Central Republic of Africa by Charity: Water. If you tuned in you quickly realized that, it did not go as planned! After much work they were not able to bring water to the Bayaka people. Though they were not successful they tried again in a different place the next day watch the video and see what happened!

If you receive this via RSS/email click here to watch.

Live Drill - No water for our birthday in Central African Republic from charity: water on Vimeo.

Live Drill Day 2 - We Hit Water! from charity: water on Vimeo.

It's incredible to see God use different people to bring life's most basic human need, water! I know lately I've been blogging a lot about this but it is Charity:Water's September campaign and I hope you've been both blessed and inspired to do something for Jesus, to be His hands and feet.

If you have helped in the Bathos Charity:water campaign I thank you again:-) If you haven't I continue to ask that you consider helping. Click HERE learn how and see my campaign.

One last note stay tuned for a guest blogger here on Bathos with a topic that has been making recent headlines!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

August #1 post & Reminder!

Here is last month's most viewed post. I didn't anticipate it would garner that much interest but I certainly appreciate the good conversation from all those who got involved! I thank all who take the time to read my blog.

Also I wanted to remind you if you are next to a computer this afternoon to watch the live drilling of a water well by the folks at Charity:water. For all the information in case you can't find the post click HERE. This should be really interesting!

Blessings to all! Your comments and suggestions are always welcome and don't forget it's still not too late to contribute to give water and therefore give life to those who don't have access to clean water by clicking HERE. Spread the word!


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Charity Water: Live Drill!

This coming Tuesday September 7th at 4:30p.m. EST,  as part of their September Campaign Charity:water is going to be streaming live the drilling of a water well in Moale, Central African Republic via Satellite. If your next to a computer you should really try and check this out! Watch the video below as Charity:water founder Scott Harrison explains.

Giving water=Giving life!

September is here. from charity: water on Vimeo.

If you want to help bring safe, clean, drinking water to people who need it check out my Charity:water campaign HERE to donate. Use the power of social media and let all your friends know about this. There are 36 days left on my campaign but you can always give by going to Charity:water's website. To those who have given thank you, we have raised $600! Let's keep it going!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Book Review: Linchpin-Are You Indispensable?

Seth Godin is perhaps one of the most unique people I've never met. He's a creative thinker that has written a dozen books, his latest being Linchpin. The book came out January of this year and several months ago,  for some reason, something lead me to buy the book. I wasn't disappointed!

Linchpin will make you mad, excited, and it will challenge you to go beyond your 'cog' ways. So what is a Linchpin? A 'cog'? "A Linchpin is an individual who can walk into chaos and create order, someone who can invent, connect, create, and make things happen." (p.8) A cog is someone who is controlled by their fears, who has to be told what to do, and listens to the resistance.

What to understand a bit more what Linchpin is about and become Indispensable? The people at Catalyst (an organization geared to help and empower Christian leaders) interviewed Seth about the book. Listen carefully to the videos below and then I highly recommend that you read Linchpin.

I believe that the principles in this book for the most part can lead you to do incredible things for Jesus!

Gotta love that huge tea cup!:-)

Let me know what you think about Seth Godin and his book?

Lastly don't forget their is still 37 days left in my Charity: Water campaign! I ask that you prayerfully consider giving to this incredible cause. Click HERE  to donate and share with all your friends on Facebook or Twitter!


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