You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. Psalm 91:13

Posts tagged “Christian Living

Red Pills, Blue Pills and Chasing Windmills

There is one thing that is necessary for someone to truly understand me, I’m a dreamer and an idealist. I believe in striving for the best, even if it might not be obtainable. I believe virtues are more than abstract morals but actually tangible qualities of living. I’ve been told to come down to reality, to see things for how they are and to accept them and move on, many times in my life. I don’t think that’s totally right though. I think there is more to the world than what we can see and that you should accept the fact of how things are, but not accept that it has to stay that way.  The idea that I should bring my expectations and beliefs down to reality is impossible for me to fully comprehend. It may sound narcissistic but I believe it should be the other way around. Who decided that “X” has to be just “X” or that there is no such thing as “Y”?

Everything that is, once wasn’t. At one point there was no universe, Earth, cities, art, or people. They were fiction. They were imagination. They didn’t exist, until one by one they were made. An all-wise God had a plan and he brought it into reality. He decided to make a universe, our planet and us.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…. God created man in his own image” – Genesis 1:1, 27

He made us in his image. His image gave us the tools and traits of a creator and so like our Maker, we created things. We built cities and made art and thought of ideas. The first act of creation allowed us to build on it and continue to build upon each subsequent act of creation.

One day some group of people came up with the idea to harvest fruit. We realized it was good. Then later those groups built on that and thought to farm it. We did that and had lots of it. Then some other group entirely came up with the idea that maybe we don’t want to be ill. Then someone took that and said maybe we can stop ourselves from becoming ill. Then someone thought to take those plants we farmed and made medicine from them and eventually stopped people from being ill.  At the beginning medicine was entirely unthought of, but by each step of creation they came to a point where it was able to be made tangible. By never being satisfied with the current status quo they made progress step by step. We are where we are because individuals refused to confine themselves to reality. What if more of us were willing to embrace that concept?

Look at a blank canvas. It requires imagination and motivated intent to fill it with something, to make it something else or create something new. Reality is a canvas. When we say “that’s just the way it is” or “this is all there is” we are saying that the canvas can only be blank, that it can’t be changed and that it can’t be made into something new. The fact is, that just isn’t true. We aren’t limited by our reality, reality is limited by us and our willingness to stretch our minds and dare to think of new things. It’s  scary but someone must always take that first step and speak out.

Switchfoot really gets this idea well. In their song, “The War Inside”, they have these lyrics:

Yeah, every thought or deed

Yeah, every tree or seed

The big things come from the little dreams

Every world is made by make believe”

And in their song “The World You Want”

“Is this the world you want?

Is this the world you want?

You’re making it

Every day you’re alive…

….You start to look like what you believe

You float through time like a stream

If the waters of time are made up by you and I

If you change the world for you, you change it for me”

What then? Well I’d repeat the words of Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” You in many different ways have the ability to change your world, internally and externally. When you are stuck in unfavorable circumstances that can’t be changed at the moment, you can still change how you respond. That’s probably the most important component, only you get to choose that. In this internal way, you create how you view the world and free yourself to change the world instead of the world changing you.

Which if there is a more hopeful idea, I’ve yet to hear it. Whatever life is to you right now. You are free to change it, to improve on it. To make it something beautiful and to put your own unique touch on it. Seriously what sentence is more freeing than this? Your reality is subject to you. That doesn’t mean it’s easy or that reality changes willingly. But it means that there is a choice to be made and steps to be taken.

Here’s the thing though. Too often, society buys into the state of reality. We love the status quo. It’s safe, it’s easy and it’s boring. We look at those who hold to their imagination, ideals and dreams as modern day Don Quixotes, wayward, well-meaning fools. And when they fall short, or their dreams are smashed, we laugh and say, “Welcome to the real world!”. Truth is we do that because we are afraid. We are afraid for them to succeed, afraid for them to challenge our beliefs, our ways of life. We laugh in fearful ignorance.

But when they succeed. And we are where we are today, because many have succeeded, the whole world stops laughing.  And maybe they embrace it, or maybe they fight it. But once you release change into the world, there’s no going back.

I guess this is that Matrix moment. You’ve been given the choice, now you got to choose. Ignore your ability to change the world or embrace it and open your eyes to the horizon. It’s up to you. Your decision.

Luke

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.”  – Robert Fulghum

“I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen.” – J.G. Ballard

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Freedom from the Slavery of Ordinary

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream in the dark recesses of the night awake in the day to find all was vanity. But the dreamers of day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, and make it possible.”

Did you ever have fantasies about Disney movies as a kid? What about Star Wars?  Worlds of  knights, princesses and dragons? Cowboys and Indians? I think at some point growing up, we all have. My name being Luke instantly made me think I was in fact Luke Skywalker. We wanted to fight evil. Save the day. Be the hero. It was a matter of living significantly and acting boldly.

Then we start to grow up. You are told to quit being childish, and sure you can love those old stories, but you better not believe in them. Take whatever morals from them you need not to kill people and then put them up on a shelf to be forgotten. That is a serious problem.

I don’t believe that virtues and ideals are just philosophical banter. I believe they are real tangible ways of living, with real visible reactions. They usually aren’t easy to live by, and you can’t live by them alone. Life isn’t the same without them though. Just look at society to see what a lack of them leads to, and then look to your real life heroes and notice the reasons you are drawn to them. Virtues aren’t just fairy tales.

We  are meant for more in this life. We are given a short amount of time to live, and it seems that this is meant to make us live with intention.  Life isn’t meant to be lived quiet and slow and we aren’t built for it. Judging by life we  are meant to live bright and fast (eternally at least). So why do we kill our souls? In our teenage years, we begin to try to bury ourselves in an early grave. We allow awful burdens to be heaped upon us bit by bit. All of our hopes and ambitions we begin with slowly fade away until we are just shuffling day to day using whatever will help distract us as time passes. Nobody wants to live like that, yet so often…too often, we choose just that!

It’s here you might be wanting to say, “Look I admire your enthusiasm Luke, but you clearly haven’t lived enough of life yet, just wait a bit and you’ll see and then that eagerness will dampen.” Truth is though, I’ve seen quite a bit of life. I silently dealt with unbelievable emotional trauma for 10 years of childhood. I’ve seen my share of disappointment. Make no mistake, I understand why people become jaded, I just see that it isn’t meant to be that way, nor does it have to be.

Life is nothing but tension. It’s that tension that allows all of our hopes and dreams to have meaning! Our choices are one of our shining attributes as humans, it is part of being the image of God. When we choose to stand up and act in opposition to the weight of tension upon us, we do something remarkable.

The fact of the matter is God doesn’t want you to be part of the status quo.  He knew of the the great and big things you could do before you were even in existence. He has plans to give you a future and a hope. For a God who is infinite and who’s ways are higher than our ways, that means it’s safe to assume He has something huge for us all, something audacious and bold.

So my hope for you is this: that you come to understand God for who He is. That your view of how infinite He is will grow. Because once you see that, you’ll realize that in Him you can do anything. I hope that you will dare to do unthinkable things, even reckless things for His glory. I hope that you’ll pray for discernment and a spirit of selflessness, so as to avoid being misled and allowing dreams to be corrupted.

And don’t just dream. Do. Act. Be waking dreamers. Inspire others! Live life in liberation. You only get one opportunity at this life, do something with it. With Christ, no obstacle truly stands in front of you, no goal is out of reach, no hope is ever really lost. In Christ, the greatest Hero, we can be the hero we grew up thinking we would be.

Dream big. Live big.

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16


Prayer to Suffer, Pt. 2

Welcome back, I left on a real depressing note last week and I did that with a purpose. I’m hoping that purpose was fulfilled, that is to let it sink in. To most of the world, that’s not a depressing statistic. That is life. It’s a life Jesus has called us to reach out to. To try to do all we can for this broken world, for God’s glory. Let’s look at some scripture.
Luke 12:33
Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
Luke 14:13-14
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
1 John 3:17-18
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
James 1:27
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”


So let’s see. We believe in God and Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. Check. We believe that the bible is God’s infallible word. Check. Living out all the things commanded of us in the bible Ch—No. You see the issue here? If Christ is real, and the Word is true, we can not deny what has been asked of us.
How can we stand by Jesus and yet not do what he asks? This isn’t your parent, this isn’t your boss, he isn’t some teacher. This is the God who according to Psalm 148:5,  commanded and all things were created. If we believe this then how can we dare make up excuses not to live these? Believe me, I’m no better than anyone else. My eyes have been opened to what’s going on around me though, and I can’t sit still any longer.
I said it last time, I’ll say it again. How can we really love thy neighbor, like our selves, when the world is so broken and we live such pampered existences? Is it just me or do we have a sense of entitlement? Doesn’t it seem like this is our life? Our luxury? Our everything? That we are entitled to it, it is ours, to do with as we please.  How can that be so?
The cold, hard fact is when you are born, you are only guaranteed one, sole thing: death.  If you at some point come to Christ, then you at that point, you are guaranteed two things: death, followed by life.
You may die the moment you are born. You may be disabled. Life in itself is a privilege.  That air you breathe? A gift. The fact you have any place to live at all? A gift. The money you have? A gift. Your family? A gift. Your moments of peace? A gift.
All these things are given to us, as gifts. Gifts with a clause. They are all meant to be used to glorify God and make His name known. They aren’t for us to be lazy, happy, satisfied, unresponsive etc. Our satisfaction is in God alone. Not His gifts.
How can we use our gifts to glorify Him? How can we help the poor and needy in this world? By acting. Not waiting. We are richer than most of the world. We have better educations than most of the world. So what is to stop you right this moment from doing something? Nothing. Jesus took 12 of the dumbest, most ignorant and clueless people he could find, absolute nobody’s, and changed the world as it was known.
He does not call the equipped. He equips the called. You saw those verses, at the beginning of this, you’ve been called. I’ve been called. As believers, we’ve all been called. Do we forget that it’s the God of endless power and miracles from the bible who lives in us?
Are you unsatisfied with the way, we show our “love” for others? I am. What are you going to do?

Much Love,
Luke
“What are you afraid of? Let God act. Abandon yourself to Him. You will suffer, but you will suffer with love, peace and consolation. You will fight, but you can carry off the victory, and God Himself, after having fought with you, will crown you with His own hand. You will weep, but your tears will be sweet, and God Himself will come with satisfaction to dry them. You will not be free any longer to give yourself up to your tyrannical passions, but you will sacrifice your liberty freely, and you will enter into a new liberty unknown to the world, in which you will do nothing except for love.” – Francois Fenelon


Prayer to Suffer, Pt. 1

I have an optimistic vision for the future of the Church. The youth are rising up and preparing to take their place in the leadership. They are no longer satisfied with this thing we’ve made, this hypocrisy. They are longing for the gritty, honest, hard, sold-out truth.
They are looking to throw aside rituals, the politics, the rules, all the baggage, even themselves to chase with full abandonment, the new dream. The Christian Dream.
This generation has seen where the American Dream has led Christianity and they are done with it. Instead, they want to give up on that manifesto and seek biblical truth and biblical driven dream that makes up a true Christ-follower. They are believing whole heartedly that they are to die to themselves, carry their crosses and seek God above all else.  They want Jesus and only Jesus. None of the “fluff”.
They want nothing to do with the prosperity gospel. This group plans to to take the church to its knees and begin again with a true gospel-driven, Acts living agenda. We aren’t talking about a division or a new sect. We are talking about a revolution from within. There will be no compromising. It’s Christ or bust.
These people are patriots to God. Willing and hoping to lose it all to Christ’s glory. I’m one of them. Interested?


This all comes down to this. If the bible is true, then how can we deny verses like Luke 9:57-62. What about 1 Peter 4:12? How is it that we see all through Acts 2:42-47 the believers living the way they do and God adding to the saved daily, yet we seem to ignore it?  Jesus showed us the way to live. He wasn’t rich, yet he was eternally wealthy
We hide behind our talks of abundance and blessing but do we really understand it? God gives us our abundance to steward and use to glorify Him and meet the needs of those around us! Not to watch Flat Screens, spend our money on fast-food and waste our time and money. No. I believe Jesus would look in disgust at such things.

Not with the following facts:
6.8 BILLION people alive on Earth.
Liberal estimate has 1/3 population Christians. (This isn’t talking true Christ-followers, but EVERYONE who says they are Christian, regardless of anything else. However, for the sake of this, we will pretend all 1/3 are living for Christ.)
That leaves 4.5 BILLION people who are lost and on a path to a eternal Hell.
That’s not all though. Let’s look past spiritual need and look at physical need.
850 Million people will go to bed hungry every night.
11 Million kids will die before their 5th birthday.
This means 30,000 kids die daily from hunger and preventable diseases.
This means 1 kid every 3 second dies. 1…2…3… gone.
In some countries 1 in 5 kids die during childbirth.
20% of the world has no access to clean water.
1.6-2.5 million children die of diarrhea that is preventable every year.
In the least developed countries the average literacy rate is 51%
Afghanistan for women has a literacy rate of 12%
More than 1/2 of Africans do not have access to even basic modern health facilities.
This results in 10 million deaths per year from the four most common preventable diseases. Such as Diarrhea, acute respiratory illness, malaria and measles.
Many countries do not have life expectancies beyond age 30.
Other countries, only 10% of the ENTIRE country is able to be formally employed.
Now for the real kicker.
1 Billion live on less than $1 a day.
2 Billion live on $1-2 dollars a day.
1 Billion live on $2-4 dollars a day.
4 out of 6.8 BILLION people are living on less that FOUR dollars a day.

Quoting a book by Peter Greer and Phil Smith “The wealthy, and that includes everyone reading this, lead lives that many of the four billion living on less than 4 dollars a day consider an unreachable dream.”
Can we truly say we are loving thy neighbor as thy self and saying we are caring for the least when we look at all we have and how much they are in need?  I can’t. I’m not sure Jesus would either. Think about it. I’m not done with this. Be ready for more.

Much Love,
Luke


Many Are Called, Few Are Chosen

Leader or Servant?

Leadership, something I’ve always revered. A leader, something I’ve always wanted to be. I asked and thanks to God, I received. He has blessed me with a some excellent leadership opportunities over the last few years. I want to dispense some of those things, I’ve learned in my short time in those shoes.
Jesus was and is, a leader. No doubt about it. He led His disciples, He conducts over all creation, etc. However, for most of the bible, beyond public speaking, you see very little “leading”.  What do you see?
Instead you see a servant. He puts others over himself numerous times. Why is that? Well first look to Mark 10:45. Now there is your reason: he wasn’t here to lead. He was here to serve and to sacrifice. That may make you speculate, so was he a leader? Well, it’s clear all throughout the Word that Jesus is, most certainly, a leader.

Sacrifice

The answer lies in that to lead, you must serve and sacrifice. A leader isn’t a station of exaltation, all on it’s own. A leader removes “self” from the equation and instead takes on a role for all who he leads over. His “self” is still there but it’s after everyone else. A leader after doing that, takes on the worries, issues, and situations of the group and makes it his main priority. There lies the sacrifice. You sacrifice “self” and all the baggage that comes with that for the greater good. The honor that often comes with being a leader, is a result of that sacrifice. It’s an honor because it’s laborious. If it was straightforward everyone would be a leader. Leadership as we all know requires an abundance of responsibility and competency. That is because of that sacrifice, it’s not easy  to keep and hence takes a whole lot to keep that commitment.

Matthew 20:16  “In the same way, the last will be first, and the first will be last, because many are called, but few are chosen.”

That’s the ticket right there. It fires the old concept of being a leader out the window. The leader will be last, and the servant will be first. This verse has a lot to be said about it. However this is the motif for this material. If you feel called by God to be a leader in some type of embodiment, then listen.  It’s not undoubtedly going to be prestigious, it will come at a cost, and you are to be held at a much higher level of accountability. MANY are called. FEW are chosen.
That’s not to scare you, that’s being real with you. I’ve only seen it on a rather small scale and let me tell you, it gets real serious, real fast, without regard to what kind of leadership.

Know Your Faults and Limits

I want to also talk on another matter though. A few weeks ago my pastor, Ronnie Floyd, was discussing generosity. He said that you shouldn’t buy something if you are willing to give it away. If you can’t let go of it, then don’t buy it.  It was a word on stewardship and the fact nothing is truly ours. All belongs to God and is given by Him to use for Him.
I want to turn that to leadership. Do not take a position of leadership freely. Discern and work through what it means to have that position before you undertake it. Don’t take a position in leadership, if you can’t let it go. If you can’t step down, then you shouldn’t be up there in the first place. Unlike material goods though, a position in leadership can shift direction and purpose over time. Realize this, and act accordingly. If things change and you feel those feelings invade that are making it harder and harder to let go or making you more and more possessive, let it go. Give it up. That’s often a signal to move on or at least take a break. I can’t speak with certainty but I wonder if that’s a reason why John Piper is taking an eight month leave of absence. If so then, good for him!
You can write novels on leadership and I have volumes of other things that I’d love to say, but this was what was on my heart. I feel that these two points are greatly missed by the leaders of today and tomorrow. This is for those leaders looking to take up the reins in the workforce and in the community, and it’s especially for those looking to be leaders in the Church.  Think hard before making your choices. I’m praying for all of us.
Much Love,
Luke

“If I cannot in honest happiness take the second place (or the twentieth); if I cannot take the first without making a fuss about my unworthiness, then I know nothing of Calvary love.” – Anonymous
“The real test of a saint is not one’s willingness to preach the gospel, but one’s willingness to do something like washing the disciples’ feet – that is, being willing to do those things that seem unimportant in human estimation but count as everything to God.” –Oswald Chambers
“If you serve others for the reward of gaining their admiration and gratitude, then your reward will be fleeting and ultimately dissatisfying. If you serve others for the reward of bringing pleasure to your Father God’s heart as you work side by side with him, then you will gain eternal rewards.” – Anonymous


Lukewarm Christianity, Nothing Christian About It

I have a feeling that this post may potentially anger some people. I hope not, I’m not wanting to make people angry, it’s against my nature, but if that’s a by product of the Truth, then let people be angry. Jesus made plenty of people angry with the Truth. The prophets sure weren’t well liked, and God has revealed to me that I have a gift for prophecy. By that I mean not Old Testament, future predicting prophecy, but New Testament “given the power to preach repentance to those who do not want to hear the message and to warn of God’s wrath for disobedience” prophecy. Oh and thanks Wikipedia, for the excellent way of wording it. It’s safe to say that this would fall into that category.

What this would be is simple. Pretenders and Posers. Or as the hip term for it is today, “Lukewarm and Casual Christianity”. I’m sure most, if not all, have read of this or heard of it. It’s an affliction affecting the Church in America. It’s the idea of halfhearted faith and a lack of commitment to Christ. It’s a disease that Satan uses to give people the belief that they are “okay” when they aren’t! So many people are illusioned to think they are saved but are they? They can say they prayed a prayer, they can go to church, but if there aren’t good fruits. I’m sorry but I find it hard to believe. I’m not here to talk you out of your salvation. I am going to question it though, for your sake, and the Church’s. I’m asking you to look into your own heart and ask what’s your motivation, what’s your drive, where’s your good fruit. Because, if you don’t, then before you know it, a day is going to come when the Judge will and by then it’ll be far too late.

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The Light Shall Not Be Overcome (Spiritual Warfare Pt. 3)

That would be a reference to John 1:5 if you are wondering. I want to start right in on this. We’ve learned who we are fighting, and how to be equipped for the fight, it’s time to get down into it.

How on earth (literally) do we fight against such things as ourselves? I mean after all, at first glance it seems pretty counter productive. What about the world? Being hostile to the world also seems to give the wrong image. Finally, how do we fight against Satan, when we’ve never seen him physically? It seems like we have a lot to deal with. Thankfully, Christ is on our side.

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