Tag Archives: Christian

The Leap-Frog

A group of scientists studying frogs did the following experiment:

They took a frog and measured the distance of its jump. After three consecutive jumps the average was taken and noted down. Then they removed one of its legs and repeated the experiment. Every time they repeated the experiment round, they removed a further leg.

Every time they had removed a leg, they commanded the frog: “leap, frog, leap!” And it did.

When it failed to do so after removal of the fourth leg, they decided to draw their assumption: “When you remove all four legs of the frog, it goes death.”

Now while this is a small anecdote, in our Christian communities, often much of this happens before our noses and we do not seem to realize. Allow me to contextualize this anecdote in merely two possible ways to explain what I mean:

  1. The drawn assumption does not match the condition.

The underlying assumption of the frog having gone death after removal of all its legs is like assuming the love for Christ can be measured by the person’s active involvement in church ministry.

The love of a person for Christ can be absolutely genuine and deep without that person being a leader of some ministry or being constantly actively involved in such a ministry. It might very well be, that the respective person is called to minister Christ to people outside a church setting primarily. Likewise the opposite might be untrue. A person very much involved in church, might merely be religious or lonely outside of church and thus find own fulfilment within the service toward others, rather than demonstrating devotion to Christ.

However we as Christians often fall into this pit, without even noticing, judging people unknowingly and falsely at that.

  1. Increased pain eventually stops our listening skills.

This is true so some extend. While some pain in a person’s life might draw them (closer) to Christ, surmounting pain, will make them oblivious to anything significant said to them, outside of this pain.

It is this knowledge that allows us to understand that the starving person will first need food before they will be effective listeners to the Gospel.

At some stage, constant and increased pain will blindside us. Then it is vital to get perspective again and re-calibrate our faith and lives with the help of others and God.

Unless the pain is alleviated however we will die (physically – possibly due to severe illness and thus might be with God; or spiritually – turning away from Christ due to pain experienced.).

Recognizing this second condition in time, will prevent unnecessary damage to people’s faith.

While the “leap frog, leap” is a mere anecdote, it points to significant issues of life. Living a balanced life in the midst of emotional and societal pain and prejudice/assumptions, we will have to learn to not only cope with these two scenarios effectively, but likewise to anticipate and when possible learn to prevent them, living a pro-active rather than re-active life as a Christian.

May God bless you!

Religious Routine or Adventurous Faith?

I have heard comments like “Christians have no fun”, “all the things that are fun happen outside of faith”, “being a Christian is boring” and many more… you too I presume. And sadly often these comments have a bit of truth – but why? And should it be like that?

Well to tell you the truth – NO, it shouldn’t be like that. God calls us to lead a life in abundance. A life FULL of joy and adventure – an adventure that can only be written WITH Jesus in your life.

But how do we get there? How do we go from routine and mediocrity to abundance and adventure in our daily lives on a daily level?

I hope to lead you closer to that.

Step 1:

Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? (Romans 10:9) If not so… or if you are unsure study Romans 10:9 until God helps you understand fully…call upon Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.

Step 2:

Do you believe what the Bible says? I mean… do you believe ALL of what it says?

If so… great. If not so – then let us embark on a journey to help you make a founded and solid decision on the matter using scientific proof (please see blog posts on uniqueness of the Bible or check out provethebible.net; www.answersingenesis.org ; www.josh.org ).

If you are unsure… well then let us embark on the adventure of experiencing truth.

Step 3:

Act upon what the Bible says: i.e.

– if it tells you to spend time with God, do so… it might start out as something you are not used to doing…but will after some while be exciting above all!

– if it tells you to pray for the sick – try it. Do it again and again until God moves and the sick get healed.

– if it tells you to preach the Gospel – by all means please do!

– if it tells you that you need fellowship – then you probably do (remember, God has designed you – he should know)

etc. Just act upon what you come to know to be truth!

Step 4:

Challenge yourself to live radically!

Our own mind sets limitations to what we believe God can do! Challenge yourself to experience God radically… to live for God radically… to love radically…

Step 5:

Spend enough time with God to feel His heartbeat and His desire becoming yours. And spend enough time with the people to know their heartbeat and their needs.

Share of what you have – give all God gives to you to others and experience Gods provisions.

And experience the joy of giving it all you have and are and still being filled to the brim and overflowing.

You will never get bored. Not if you follow wholeheartedly… if you act upon the truths revealed to you and open up to God and allow Him be become Lord over every part of your live and being!

Church will not be a place to which you go – you will be the church.

Faith will not be a separated part of who you aim at to be – it will be the core of your being.

Every day life will no longer stand in contrast to Christianity, but will be an expression of it.

Boredom of Christians will NOT be part of who you are… it will be a thing of the past, that sounds abstract and that has proven itself as completely wrong once you follow Jesus wholeheartedly!

I hope you take the journey and stay on it! I’d love to hear all about it!

 

Finding God

As humans we all, constantly, look for solutions and answers. As a Christian one of the most vital ones seems the answer to where to find God… how to find Him… how to rediscover what it is all about…how to draw near again.

Let’s look at some biblical truth in this matter:

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Deuteronomy 4:29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Amos 5:4 For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: “Seek me and live;

If anything, it seems that we CAN in fact find God. He wants to be found. However he will be found only in His true nature, when we seek wholeheartedly.

Here some ideas of where to look when you seek God and which ways will lead you astray eventually:

–          The Bible. I’d say the most logical place to look and the safest one if you want true information. For all we know about God will be found in there and in personal experiences, that no matter how personal they are won’t EVER contradict the Bible.

Books by Christians are often much loved and valued, are however never a solid choice. They might add to the picture given in the Bible, but every human depiction of who God is and how He is etc is fallible in itself.

So unless you just want to hype your feelings about what others experience with God, I’d suggest looking at the source of it all: God’s Word (the Bible).

–          Information outside the Bible and outside Christianity will – just like Christian faith – always be colored by a belief system. Thus is not objective, though it might claim to be (e.g. by saying it is scientific – because you find Christian scientists and non-Christian scientist that are thus again part of another belief system).

Though outside sources might support the biblical claims, I ask you to be aware of the fact that every person has a belief system and every statement made is colored by such.

So if you desire to find the Christian God, look at His own work – the Bible, read it.  

Pray – you will be surprised that God answers those that truly seek Him.

Seek fellowship with other Christians – they might in fact be able to guide the way further even though we are all fallible.

May God bless your journey in finding God!

If you are Christian but feel far away from God and want to draw near again:

spend time alone with God!

visit a church (even if it is not perfect – none is. But the Church is God’s choice for a body.)

read the Bible again!

choose to worship and make it all about God and less about yourself!

Trust… God will be found… He wants to be found by you again! You CAN draw near again! God is waiting for you!

And if you like… share your story about finding God with us! Email it to me… or post it as a comment!

Be blessed!

What if … ?

“What if…” – a standalone phrase that we say all too often. I want to challenge you to not brush it off this time…but to let it sink in and to allow it to revolutionize your life.

Let me state before I start, that this post is directed specifically for Christians.

So let us be honest with ourselves… let us pray in advance:

“Dear Lord, I love you and I want to remain teachable in response to your Spirit. I pray that the parts of this post that are applicable to my own life will stand out to me, and those that simply to not apply, will not condemn, but simply fall away. I trust and I believe in your unconditional love and I invite only you, Holy Spirit, God to work within me today. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.”

Now, read through the post, even if you didn’t pray…perhaps you feel like it later, if not, then not. Allow me to ask some bold “what if – questions”.  You might want to read them as though they are questions you pose toward yourself.

What if…

… I believed every word the Bible contains?

… I believed that God truly loves me unconditional and always has my best in mind?

… I believed that God is judge and that there is a hell?

…  I believed the punishment for sin is eternity in hell?

Would I live differently? Would I then act differently? Would I stop to fancy sin? Would I fear God?

What if…

… I believed that there was a heaven?

… I believed God doesn’t want to see ANY person end up in hell?

… I truly believed that Jesus has died for every sin and is willing to forgive ALL my sins?

… I believed I am being forgiven in the same measure that I forgive others?

… I believed the Bible is a love letter from God to me?

… I believed that the great commission was given to me?

Would I read my Bible more? Would I love more? Would I forgive more? Would I share the Gospel more?

What if …

… I believed God truly knows the depths of my heart?

… I believed God is the same: yesterday, today and tomorrow?

… I believed submission to leadership is from God?

… I believed that there lies immeasurable power in prayer?

Would I allow God to purify me? Would I trust in His provisions more? Would I believe in miracles? Would I submit more instead of gossip and moan? Would I PRAY more?

As a Christian we answer to all these “what if’s” that we do. However does that reflect in our behaviour?

EVERY person on earth ALWAYS acts on what they TRULY believe.

(If you believe it will rain any second, you will not go outside the house unprepared – right?)

FAITH is only true and honest faith, if we act on it.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN?

God bless you!

Abortion

Lately everyone seems either pro life or against those that are pro lifers. I feel all too often both sides miss the point. Let us look at some aspects of this huge and emotion stirring issue together.

The questions I want to ask in this article are:

–          When is something alive?

–          Isn’t it my choice?

–          How to help (someone who has undergone an abortion and someone who might decide against one).

When is something alive?

I believe we can agree that when looking at life from a biological view we need to look at it within its environment and ecosystem. A fish will not survive outside the water…neither will a dog survive under water (to simplify the meaning). Looking at human life, most people argue that life is established when a child is born and some will add, or when it can be sustained to live outside the womb. If I ask, “When is it alive?” those mentioned might be the answers. But ask yourself “what about the day before? And the day before that?” and you will find that the boundaries are fluent. However no one can argue that there was a once off incident that caused this life – namely conception. Looking at it further, I want to leave this question with you: “defining life on an embryo outside the womb is like defining a fish’s life outside the water – thus quite inaccurate. Is an embryo therefore alive or just a lump of tissue?

Isn’t it my choice?

The primary argument for any abortion is that of the mother’s choice to decide what she does with her body. And I DO agree… she has a choice and always should have a choice! I’d like to challenge you to look at the time when she makes a/the choice.

To support my point, let us look at a metaphor: If I had a deadly poisonous snake with me and an antidote and I’d come up to you asking and saying: “The bite of this snake is deadly…it kills every time, unless you get the antidote. In that case if you are not allergic to the antidote it saves your life with a 98% chance. If however you have a stomach bug, flu, or you eat something still today that might make you sick the chances of it saving your life sink to 89%. Now the facts stated… would you allow it to bite you here right on the spot?” Most people would say “no” right?

Well…now let us look at the choices again. I truly and deeply believe that every person alive should have a choice: The choice WHEN to have sex. Sex in its biological sense is for reproduction (and yes…we all love the fun that comes with it and I agree it should at all times be fun too!), i.e. when having sex the biological implication is a pregnancy. Having the antidote to the consequence – namely a condom, a pill,… , doesn’t change that fact a bit it only eases our conscience. The choice to have sex, should ALWAYS be that of the participants (and I am not going to go into details on when you should have sex or not, as that fact should be clear to every Christian and will change no argument with a non-Christian). Once that choice is made however… the consequence is that of the participants as well. i.e. if you get pregnant, you are pregnant…don’t argue it is your choice still. Think about it and be honest with yourself. If you get into a car drunk and cause an accident, no judge will let you go on terms of the argument that you didn’t choose to get into the accident. He will simply say that it was your choice to drive in a drunken state of mind.

How to help

I believe all too often people being pro life stand demonstrating in front of abortion clinics affecting little other but causing offence, hurt, and soothing their conscience. I would like to propose another approach to Christians being pro life:

Try this… build an outside flat to your place. Let the flat come with all it needs. Then stand by the clinics with a sign reading something like: “no matter what you choose, let’s talk about your future and find a way together”. When they then approach you (be it before or after an abortion), talk with them… but primarily listen. Then invite them to stay with you for the next 1,5 years in that outside flat free of charge. Let them sign to a few basic rules of living with you, and allow them to be part of your family. If they decided not to abort, by that time the child will most probably be a year old and many of the challenges they were afraid to face alone become manageable by the offer you make to them. If they aborted, it gives them time to heal.

Either way: A woman that considers/or undergoes abortion needs most of all emotional help. She is hurting, afraid, challenged beyond her abilities. Allow her to get close…allow her to witness your own family life with God. Do not preach to her, but let her witness and become part of the healing and change that only GOD can bring forth. Do not judge her, but decide to love her, like Jesus.

I believe if every pro lifer would do that ONCE in their life time and would stop demonstrating in front of clinics, we could change the attitude of a nation and be within the will of God.

God bless you and keep you!

The Authority of the Bible

The following scriptures and notes are not intended to give an all inclusive or exclusive view on the matter. However it is an attempt to lead you in studying the Word of God i.e. the Bible; and allow GOD to speak to youexplain to you and draw you closer.

My challenge to you is this:

Read 1 to 3 scriptures of these daily and meditate on what they mean, what implications they have for your life and how you could allow them to change your life in a practical way.

(Please take note that though most verses are the same, some verses might shift one or two in numbering as they are taken from a German Bible.)

The Basics:

Matthew 4:4; Isaiah 55:10+11; John 1:1+14; 1 Tim. 2:4;

The Bible is the basis for our faith. Knowing what it contains and what that content means will deepen our understanding…strengthen our convictions… lead us to make decisions, take positions and act upon what we believe.

1. The Word of God is infallible

2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21;

Belief in the Bible and its infallibility gives us a guideline to life.

2. The Word of God is/contains the thoughts of God

Isaiah 55:7-11

The Word of God and God are one. As God never changes, His word does neither. i.e. the authority and timeliness remain.

3. The Word of God has strength and gives strength

Romans 10:17; Hebrews 4:12;

4. The Word of God provides spiritual life

2 Peter 1:3-4; Psalm 119:89+160; Matthew 24:35; John 8:31-32+37;

The Word of God provides us with core values in a time of chaos regarding definite values and morale. From beginning to end it is truth.

5. The Word of God effects:

A. Faith (Romans 10:17)

B. New Birth (i.e. conversion to God) (1 Peter 1:23 describes this experience)

C. Physical Healing (Psalm 107:20; Proverbs 4:20-22)

D. Victory over sin and guilt (Psalm 119:11;) (to answer the question of what Christians may or may not do study: 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17; we find two principles: 1. To do all things to honour God. 2. To do everything in the name of Christ and say thanks to God through Him) (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

E. Victory over Satan (Ephesians 6:17; 1 John 2:14; 1 Corinthians 2:11-12; Revelation 22:18+19)

6. How does God speak to us?

– Personally (Genesis 3:8-9)

– Through prophets (Isaiah 1:2)

– Jesus (Luke 5:1)

7. What do we do with the Word of God?

– Listen/Hear/Absorb (Acts 17:11)

– Understand (Matthew 13:23)

– Love (Psalm 119:47)

– Look forward to it in joy (Psalm 119:16)

– Treasure (Psalm 119:11)

– Trust (Psalm 119:42+74+81)

– Follow (Psalm 119:9)

Revelation 22:18-19

 

What climbing can teach about Faith.

I recently started climbing and bouldering and am enjoying it very much. However the question that determines most of the things I do is: “What does it teach me about God or my Faith?”

Though the below might not be an all inclusive list…it is what stood out to me:

Dependence is what keeps you alive. Even though society tries to convince us that independence is the ultimate goal, here tied to a top rope you learn to treasure the dependence of another person below. Likewise dependence on God is an absolute essential for life!

You only climb ahead when secured. Equipment to be in good shape and order is essential and secures life. Choosing the right equipment is equally important. When you climb you want to make sure that equipment is in place and in good shape. That goes for every walk of our lives…for when it is not…we suffer the consequences. When thinking of it, the equipment represents the basics you have learned in faith…it is your gifting and the anointing combined with the acquired skills. Climbing without being secured onto a rope (i.e. dependence on God and a congregation) and the right equipment will lead to failure.

The rope is you life-belt. It is quite simple… the rope breaks, you fall and possibly die. The rope is a symbol for your personal relationship with God and what you do to maintain and enhance it daily.

You need to put the weight and emphasis where your foot is. i.e. don’t climb primarily by arms strength or you’ll grow tired! This is a wonderful analogy to mission work and/or growth in the congregation. The foot represents the land you can conquer spiritually; the arms are your outreaches. Only when you have taken a solid stand spiritually does an outreach have a long lasting effect… otherwise it is often comparable to a drop of water on a hot plate.

(Foot)hold is only provided once you put your full weight on it. I have often met Christians who barely take in the land given to them, before they move on… it seems they are only on a journey through. However for the land to remain in your possession you need to STAND on your foot. Feel the ground… rely on it to carry you.

Once your foot can reach, your hand can follow. It is when you have taken the land in a spiritual sense (i.e. foot hold), that your arms and hands can reach out in ministry.

Your foot gets you up… your hand keeps you close to the rock. Your taking the land will allow you to advance… your reaching out will keep you close to the heart of Jesus, the Rock.

Think about where you want to go how BEFORE you climb that part. It is vital to know where you are headed to avoid failure and disappointment as well as burn out (the latter goes especially for spiritual matters).

You only concentrate on where you are at that specific moment – it’s of no avail to think of the top. If you do not focus on where you are at that moment, you are losing momentum, concentration and strength. Though this might seem simple and logical I have seen numerous people and Christians for that matter, that focus too much on the end goal to acquire the abilities/skills God wants them to acquire in the here and now. Likewise they disobey God in not doing what they do wholeheartedly and in love.

It is good to take a short rest and breathe once in a while… even enjoying the view. There is nothing wrong with enjoying what you do, finding rest and regaining strength. That goes for spiritual issues as well!

Technique is best trained when bouldering i.e. close to the ground. Bouldering is done in proximity to the ground… it is done without rope or harness to secure you. Your feet and hands are equally trained with your mind and eyes, to find good hold. The spiritual implication this has is: a congregation is a training ground…it is a place to learn technique and skills.

Falling down is part of the deal, but you allow the rock/wall to challenge you and get up and do it again and try to improve on it. Falling is part of the deal…so are scrapes on your knees and the like… so you get up and do it again and avoid making the same mistake twice. Likewise in faith… you will not lead the perfect life… you will at times fail, backslide, get hurt and scraped… but remember… you can get back up… the Rock (i.e. Jesus) challenges you to do so… in order to grow.

No matter how good you get…you never really excel 100% and are still vulnerable and dependent (on the rock, the rope, the equipment, skills, …). It is good to remember this last point. It teaches you humility and respect. And that goes for faith and daily life especially.

So next time you climb… remember these lessons (or at least some of them) and allow God to teach you more on the matter. Or if you haven’t climbed before… why don’t you go and try it… it might teach you on faith through experience and a good, fun workout.

God bless.

Where did I come from?

 

5 Steps to knowing God personally (leading a conversation during evangelism)

The following can be used as a guideline in evangelism… it can also serve to give a quick overview on the matter as such. However it is not a recipe or an absolute. Not every person is the same… not every person gets saved the same way…or acknowledges God in the same fashion.

Even so, I decided to post this as many do not seem to know and ask about how to get it down to a simple guideline. So like it if you do… discard it if you don’t. The more you learn about people, the easier and more comfortable you will feel around them. The more you know and learn about God, the more comfortable you are around Him and the more authentic you are in sharing about Him.

So here it comes, this is how a conversation guideline could look like (please remember that the below points are just your central theme points… it is NOT your complete or actual conversation!):

1. Gods plan for everyone

Did you know that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life?

2. The crucial question

If you would die, this very moment. Are you sure that you would spend eternity WITH God?

–          Yes. That’s great, so what gives you this assurance?

–          No. Then continue with 3.

If their answer is still another…continue as if they answered “no”

3. The problem

The Bible shows us that God is perfect and holy. We are separated from Him by our sin and iniquities.

Romans 3:10+23 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

4. Gods love

God loves you unconditionally. That is why He has gives his most precious for you: His son Jesus Christ, that has paid for all your sin.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

5. The most important decision

You can get to know God personally. Discover His plan for your life and have assurance of eternal life.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Now invite the person you spoke with to receive Jesus Christ through a short prayer. There is no fixed form for this prayer. They can pray it on their own… you can lead them in prayer…either form works fine.

As from my side I would like to ask you to:

–          PLEASE do not pressure them into it! It is the Holy Spirit that needs to do the convincing – not you! Even so DO ask them and offer to!

–          PLEASE do not sell them short of the whole truth! Life will NOT be without any struggles just because they become Christian!

–          PLEASE invite them or offer further contact to other Christians… a church (and it does not have to be your church – it can be any good bible believing church)… teach them how to read the Bible and how to pray… and most of all:

–          PLEASE remember… if you get the chance… the journey only starts at this point. The bible asks us to make DISCIPLES, not converts!

May God bless you!

Comparison Christianity and Islam Part 3

The idea behind this post is to educate. Further comparisons will follow in similar fashion.

(Information will partially be taken from: thereligionofpeace.com . That is not to say that I agree with all of their content, but I judge the content in this case as unbiased and a good representation of it.)

Differences Between 
Early Muslims and Early Christians

Muhammad’s Companions…

Jesus’ Disciples…

Lived as warriors.

Lived like harmless hippies.

Slew and persecuted religious minorities.

Were slain and persecuted
as a religious minority.

Emphasis on Jihad (the way of Muhammad)

“He who fights that Allah’s word should
be superior fights in Allah’s cause”
(Bukhari 53:355)

Emphasis on Evangelism (the way of Jesus)

“Go ye into all the world and preach
the gospel to every creature”

(Matthew 15:16)

Attacked and conquered the populations in
parts of 28 modern countries in just the first
three decades following Muhammad’s death.

Did not resort to violence of any sort,
despite tremendous persecution.

Declared holy war on the people of five
major world religions in just the first
100 years following Muhammad’s death.

Went centuries without declaring ‘holy war’.

Plundered and lived off the wealth of others.

Gave away their possessions to those in need.
(Acts 2:44-45)

Captured and enslaved non-Muslim people.

Considered themselves to be slaves of others.

Waged war to keep members from leaving
the religion.  Put apostates to death.

No record of aggression toward apostates.

Muhammad’s own family members quickly
fell into armed warfare against each other.

Jesus’ disciples never resorted to violence
against one another (or anyone else).

First 240 Years:
11 of the first 32 caliphs were
murdered by fellow Muslims.

First 240 Years: 
14 of the first 25 popes were martyred by
pagans (none by fellow Christians).

Caliphs were polygamous and maintained  harems of hundreds of captured sex slaves.

Popes were expected to be celibate.

Islamic mosques sustained by taxes forced from subjugated non-Muslims (the jizya).

Christian churches sustained
by voluntary tithes from Christians.