Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Yackety Yack! You Talk Back (Popular posts from July)


That's a Yak
It's great to see more interaction on the blog. More of you are stepping up to let me know what you think about these topics. That's the whole point! Keep up the great work!


Jul 5, 2012, 2 comments
Jul 12, 2012                                                32


Dec 20, 2011, 1 comment
Jul 5, 2012, 2 comments
Apr 30, 2012, 2 comments


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chik-fil-a & Muppets. Two things I love

Raise your hand if you love the smell of idiocy in the morning!

Me. "Chicken with a side of guilt, please!"

What's wrong?

Apparently, Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-a (CFA), issued a statement to a Baptist magazine in defense of the definition of marriage remaining as a union between a man and a woman. This caused the socially conscious Muppets to pull their toys from the CFA children's meal on the basis of gay rights. This has spiraled directly into the political arena (election year much?).

This is a "Holy Things" blog, so I'm focusing on the spiritual aspects of this controversy. Who has the right to express their deep seated beliefs? And, how should those deep-seated beliefs be displayed in the corporate world?

Who has the right?

The first thing that struck me as idiotic is this: Dan Cathy said this to a Baptist magazine! It's not like he shoved these comments down the throat of corporate America. This was not for Time magazine or People magazine. This is not the voice of America, this is the voice of the Baptists! In fact, given this backdrop, it's amazing that Dan Cathy was so diplomatic with his response. All he said was, in essence, I support the traditional family. Note, while it implies that he is against gay marriage, he doesn't say anything in the negative.

The next players are the Muppets. I love the Muppets--present tense. I think they are hilarious & usually right on target. They have every right to be socially conscious & make business decisions based on their beliefs. This right should be enjoyed by both the Muppets & CFA. The only way this would be wrong is if the Muppets broke contract in order to back out, though I'm sure they covered themselves.

A side note to this whole business relationship, didn't these companies research each other before forming this partnership? The Muppets have always been progressive. CFA has always been Baptist. Hello? Idiocy much?

Politicians have also dug their claws into this opportunity. However, they have every right to stand up for the interests of the people. Do the people want to take a moral stand & ban a restaurant from their fair city? Would they rather have all the new jobs that come with a new restaurant? I suppose the politicians have a moral obligation to listen to the people who elected him & determine the right course of action from there.

Brokeback Kermit?--I couldn't resist

How do personal beliefs inform business practice?

To be honest, I have never felt like I've been preached at in any CFA restaurant or TV ad. I don't leave the restaurant with a belly half-full of chicken, topped off by spiritual guilt. I guess cows know better than to beat people up with the Bible.

If CFA decided to be more open with their Baptist beliefs, would their chicken taste more foul than fowl? Perhaps, but I see nothing close to fundamentalism or condemnation in any of the comments so far. It seems to me that what we are seeing from corporate CFA is as close to a "Christian fast food joint" as we're going to find.

Scripture says

Give to government what they require, give to God what He requires (Mark 12.17 CMJ Version). As long as CFA does that, they should be fine. Hopefully their business practices are sound, because you know everyone's looking for them to crap their pants (taxes, hiring practices).

May God be graceful to everyone involved in this saga.

What do you think?

Seems everyone has an opinion. Do you think there is a right or wrong party here? Did Chick-fil-a single out a group for discrimination? Are the Muppets blowing this out of proportion? Can we at least agree that the politicians probably have ulterior motives here?

Tell me what you think!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thesis Statements are Great!

Why St. Peter wrote those two epistles @ the end of your Bible

We tend to think of these apostles as opposites, but...

The Bible

This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh your memory.
-- 2 Peter 3.1 NLT

Thesis Statement

A thesis statement anything from a simple sentence to a paragraph which states your topic & the essence of your argument. For example, I am writing the blog post to share with you what I feel was Peter's original intent for his two recorded epistles.

This kind of statement is critical for any good piece of writing. This has nothing to do with sacred scripture, it has everything to do with grammar & the structure of argument/rhetoric. If you don't know what you're actually trying to say, how can you say it without contradicting yourself?

Given these facts, it is also important to note that these thesis statements are common in scripture. I am almost certain that, given simple study, one can find the thesis statement of any book in scripture fairly easily. This is especially true since this statement is seldom cryptic and almost always sounds like I am writing to...

Two Things

 St. Peter tells us his message is twofold: to stimulate wholesome thinking & to refresh your memory. So the ultimate goal or result of all his arguments is to occupy our thoughts with wholesome things and to serve as a reminder.

Consider how Peter has directed his messages. He navigated us through wondrous thoughts of our position in Christ & what that means for proper behavior. A famous football coach once said, They are who we thought they were. Guess what, you are who you think you are. Think you are trash? You will behave that way. Think you are a child of God? You will behave that way.

Peter also reminds us over and over again that our standing is only on the grace of God. This serves to limit our pride to Christ, which is where it remains secure. If you have pride in anything but God's omnipresence, omnipotence or omniscience then it is misplaced. In fact, Peter endorses Paul's writings about grace later in the chapter! Should we be marked by grace? Absolutely. It should be simultaneously our lifeline & our joy. It is our great hope which should never be taken for granted or replaced by legalism.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Off the Menu

Things to remember

A few notes on 1 Peter (Chapter 5)

The cure for everything (1-7)
Are you an older person? Be humble.
Are you a younger person? Be humble.
Are you a leader? Be humble.
Are you a lay person? Be humble.

You get the picture? Know that there is no way to humiliate a humble person. Know that the humble person doesn't fall too far. Know that the humble person cannot be embarrassed. Know that when you are humble you are more like Jesus.

The Devil did it (8-10)
Going through a few trials? Remember that we have an adversary--Satan. I remember Ron Ward saying, "If Satan is not bothering you, you're not worth being bothered." Satan does not oppose people who are going his way, only those who are behaving contrary to his will. So if he's bugging you, that's probably a good sign.

And remember, he's looking for someone to devour. Thankfully, the Christian has been removed from his menu by virtue of Christ's work on the cross.

More Reading

Notes on 1 Peter

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Shockingly Normal

A few notes on 1 Peter (Chapter 4)

The Electric Chair (1-6)

It's called capital punishment & only the worst offenders deserve it. Only the nastiest of the nasty should fry. Oh, & this punishment should only be reserved for the convicted-beyond-the-shadow-of-any-doubt criminal. If there's any doubt, we should not proceed.

Given the evidence, we should definitely execute the Old Man. We should crucify him with Christ & move on with our new lives. If we could only be successful in doing this, we would provide an incredible shock to the world (4). We would be Christians who were Christ-like, & that would be different than anything else they have to offer.

It is the End (7-11)

Peter declares nonchalantly that we are in the end times. He then prescribes our behavior. Namely:
  1. Be of sound judgement
  2. Be sober
  3. Pray (a lot)
  4. Love each other
  5. Use your gifts to...
  6. ...Serve each other
  7. Be a good steward of God's grace
  8. When speaking, keep God in mind
  9. Serve with the same attitude as God
  10. Remember to do everything to God's glory
Sounds like some good advice to me.

When Bad Stuff Happens (12-19)

Don't be surprised. You're going to get push-back from anyone who is not on the same wave-length as you. Here's the deal, you have to figure out if your wave-length is God's wave-length. Don't be surprised if you are wrong--just be humble enough to make it right. Don't be surprised if you're right--be gracious enough to proceed by doing all things to God's glory.

I've been on both sides of the fence, I've seen the effects of right & wrong decisions. Bad stuff will happen, watch your reactions.

More Reading

Notes on 1 Peter

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Oh No You Didn't!

A Few Notes on 1 Peter, Chapter 3

Don't, don't, don't...

Don't be a terror at home (1-7)

In the previous chapter, Peter states gives warning against using God's word to justify anarchy. Unfortunately for the anarchist, God's word promotes orderly conduct & social responsibility. Peter extends that responsibility from the public sphere to the home. There is a certain way to run your house. Not just anything goes. We must follow Christ in our home life.

Don't be drab (3-4)

A lot of people interpret this passage to mean that women shouldn't dress nice or wear pearls or earrings. This is a very narrow reading that is probably very prejudiced. The idea in this passage is that your main focus should not be on the external, your main focus on the internal (spiritual) state of your life. Again, he's not saying it's evil to look nice, he is saying it's carnal to only care about how you look, to the detriment of your soul.

Don't hate women (7)

I love the inherent tension in scripture. This same verse is used to accuse Christianity of putting women down (weaker vessel) & it's used to prove that Christianity lifts women up (fellow heirs). I tend to lean towards the latter, especially given the historical context of the day. Men are to treat women as something precious, which is what a weaker vessel is. Men are to be gentle & not harsh with their wives--which was a counterculture move. Also, to name women as fellow heirs, there is no way to rationalize that as anything but uplifting to women, placing them on the same plane as recipients of God's grace.

Don't forget Jesus (18-22)

Finally, as Peter tends to do, he reminds us of God's grace through Jesus. Don't forget who places us in the position to succeed. He has given all for us, we should give all for Him.

#DailyBibleNotes Let's Try It!

The Importance of Daily Bible Reading

My Picture!

It's important

Ya, ya.. I know it's important to read my Bible. But a closet Bible study is pretty easy to fake when you've grown up in Church. It's not like I'm going to read something new in the Bible! So I am about to propose something BIG, something that will let MY READERS know when I'm not reading something daily.

Public reading & active study

I have tried blogging with the 1 Thing I Learned Today tag. And that's cool & all, but I have not kept it up. I need to do something that does not require formatting an entire blog entry around it. There's just too much work to do when sitting in front of a blank screen with random thoughts floating from earlobe to earlobe.

A recent trend

IF you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed a new trend. From approx 12.30 PM to 1 PM, I have been posting links that have the root bible.us in it. These are notes that I have been taking from my daily readings during lunch.

The BIG Proposal

I got to thinking, why don't I create a hashtag & make this a formal twitter tag? I will be tweeting out my notes using the hashtag #DailyBibleNotes. I read from the YouVersion Bible on my phone. This lets me write notes right in the app and make them public on Twitter & Facebook.

Since this will be a public activity, it will create accountability for myself. However, I also invite my readers to join the conversation! Anyone can tweet with this hashtag. I challenge YOU to read one chapter every day and tweet YOUR observations about the text.

A Bonus

With the rough notes already online, it helps organize my thoughts for blogging. I can take my notes and expound on them in a coherent way. Yay!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Few Notes on 1 Peter, Chapter 2

The, The, The

Desire this? More than the Bible? No way!
A few quick notes on the first epistle written by Peter. (The second chapter)

The Desire (2-3)

Have you ever had a hankering for something? I mean a real desire for some treat that will not be satiated until you get your bootie in the car & make it to that particular restaurant to purchase & consume that special dish. For instance, I have that fetish with cinnamon rolls. Sometimes I just have to have one!

That is the feeling that Peter says we should have toward God's word. It should be like an addiction. We should crave it. Why should we crave it? We should because we have tasted it & know it to be good. We should gobble it up like candy or sourdough bread or cinnamon rolls, because it is good stuff.

The Stones (4-8)

Peter uses the picture of a stone to describe Christ & to imply our own position. Take note of how people reacted to Jesus. If Jesus was rejected, why would we be accepted? If Jesus offended, why should we appease people? If people stumbled at Jesus' message, should we be surprised that they trip over ours? The answer is no.

God's grace appears to us as great. It appears as a terror to the unbeliever in an equal magnitude.

The People (9, 10)

Peter now declares that we are God's special treasure. But how is this special treasure treated? He is treated as follows:

  • God delights in the believer. 
  • God chooses & calls the believer.
  • God owns the believer.
  • God illuminates the believer.
  • God reveals Himself to the believer. 
  • God is merciful to the believer.
  • God employs the believer.

The Aliens (11, 12)

Aliens make a return in verse 11! It's a reminder that we need to behave in this world. However, this means more than just playing nice--it's a call to be more like Christ.

The Anarchists (13-20)

Lest we take our position in Christ to mean we can behave like anarchists in this world, Peter makes sure we know this is not what he means. We are to be respectful of authorities while always giving preference to The Divine Authority.

The Purpose (21-25)

Verse 21 gives us our purpose in this world: to follow in Christ's steps. Be humble & bring salvation by presenting His finished work to the world

More Reading

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Few Notes on 1 Peter, Chapter 1

Aliens reminded of their position

A few quick notes on the first epistle written by Peter.

Attribution to: Repoort

Resident Aliens (1)

In the very first verse of the book I stumbled into a poetic truth. The epistle is written "To those who reside as aliens," Truly, we as Christians are resident aliens. This is a vivid term for who we are: resident aliens. We are here because we've been placed here, not because we belong. We are here on a working visa, not for our comfort. We are as aimless as we are attached & we should not be marked by either term.

A Quick Reminder (3-9)

Peter continues with a marvelous reminder of the mercy & grace of God in the person of Christ. As a result of His work, we have salvation. It was not easy or simple or cheap, but it is free. Remember, even our faith is an outcome of His work.

The Positional Argument Begins (10-22)

Peter lays out the foundation for the argument that we are now in a position of privilege & responsiblity concerning God's word. The knowledge we have is complete, & we are responsible for what we know. He says our lives should be marked by certain characteristics like...
  • Holiness (14-16) Given our privilege, we now take on the responsibility of holiness in order to please God.
  • Love (22) We have been guided into God's truth. As a direct result of that experience, we should be full of love for one another. It should be a natural outpouring.

More Reading

Saturday, July 14, 2012

...The Life that I Now Live...

On my way to South Carolina for a wedding, I listened to this great sermon from my buddy Jonathan Roberts. He's on twitter as @skylarkk & you should listen to this message too. It's pretty good!

(By the way, this is my 200th post!! Woot!!)

God's Heart

The Presence of the Lord

Thoughts on Jonah 4.

Inner City vs. Suburbs

It's interesting to note the contrasts in scripture. Here we see that God's presence is felt both within the city limits & out in the countryside. No matter how stubborn Jonah proved to be, God still worked with him. He never gives up on people. Though we tend to be prejudiced, God is compassionate. He is love.

In the Dumps Much?

As a side note, ever notice that Jonah has a death wish? The dude seems to think he's run into the reaper at every turn! What makes a believer--a mouthpiece for God!--become someone like Jonah? He obviously has some issue that has turned him sour. Bitterness has taken hold of his life & won't let go. I've met a few Christians who are like that. It's a sad thing to lose the joy of the Lord, especially when all God wants to do is rejoice with you (for proof, read Philippians).

Man is Worthy

Again, God decides to move through nature to make His point. The point is that it is good to share His nature with people, because He wants to reveal Himself to all people. God wants to be compassionate on mankind. Jonah was not to be the judge that determines the worthiness of man, God is. Further, God has declared that man is worthy of compassion.

Clearly, man is not worthy based on his own activity. God states that man's spiritual state was akin to not knowing the difference between right & left. No, no, man is incapable of securing their own sanctification. I suggest that what God saw as worthwhile is man's potential--the potential of an honest relationship with Himself. That is what God seeks from man. God seeks to share his heart with man, & have man reciprocate with sincerity. That is how things were in the Garden of Eden, & that is what God is offering to restore us to.

He has always been there, offering the same thing to us.

More Reading

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Destination & the Journey

#RatTerriers meet a big fish

The Presence of the Lord

Jonah chapter three.

Déjà Vu

By the time verse one rolls around, Jonah is already laid out on a beach, having been barfed out of a fish by the mercy of God. Now we see God's calling again, just like it was at first, sending Jonah to the Great City to preach. God is still there with Jonah, never leaving his side.

You would think that God would have given up by this time. Wouldn't it be easier to go shopping for a new tool? Throw this disobedient one away! But God is gracious, & sees value in both the destination & in the journey. That is everyone's saving grace.

With the Enemy

So Jonah finally makes it to Nineveh, & sure enough the Ninevites make a whole production of repentance. Even the king gets in on the action & the last we hear, the entire city places their hopes on God's mercy. Sounds like a good place to put yourself, no?

Guess what, according to verse 10, God was close enough to those foreign people--pagans!--to see their deeds. This was revolutionary literature to the Hebrew ear. God drew near to the Gentiles! God was there & saw their repentance! How great is our God! He is mighty, & willing to save all.

Want to know what God's will is? It is to seek & save the lost, wherever they are.

More Reading

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Lord, His God

The Presence of the Lord

From Jonah Two

Lord, His God...

...In the Pit

Even from the stomach of the great fish, Jonah is able to communicate with his God. Notice his expectation--he thought he was going to die! He probably still feels doomed since he interprets his location as the "depth of Sheol." No matter how remote your location is, God is there & God is personally interested in you.

...In a Bad Place

Have you ever found yourself in a bad place? Maybe you're still in your own house with your family, but something still feels off. Perhaps you are in a bad place spiritually. Your connection with the Lord seems frayed. As a result, it just sparks & flashes, but never actually powers your soul. That is where Jonah found himself from verses 4-7. He had lost his bearings. He was communicating to the Lord, but he was not communicating with the Lord. Still, the Lord, God Almighty hears Jonah's cry and responds with the final verse of the chapter.

...Has the Power

We have considered God's omnipresence in this book a lot, but God's omnipotence is also very present and constantly displayed. Remember, it was proven in chapter one that God can work through heathen sailors, now it is proven that God can work through nature. God commands the great fish to swallow Jonah in order to preserve his life. Now, in verse 10 or chapter 2, God commands the fish to deliver Jonah safely to dry ground. Without God's power, His presence is relegated to being nice. With it, God's presence is everything! God is ever-present and ever-able to meet our needs!

More Reading!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fleeing From God's Will

Based on my reading of Jonah chapter one.
Image courtesy of @markretzloff

The Presence of the Lord

The first chapter of this book (& perhaps the entire book) seems to be concerned with the presence of the Lord. Namely, (at this point) fleeing from it. Jonah hears from God right where he is. We tend to long for that kind of communication from the Lord, Jonah received it in his own backyard (which I assume is in the Holy Land somewhere).


What is Jonah's reaction? He flees. Verse 2 tells us twice that Jonah went to Tarshish in order to flee from the presence of the Lord. Did Jonah assume that God was not there in Tarshish? Perhaps he assumed that the Lord would not pursue him there. Either way, Jonah figured that God would take the hint. However, we know Jonah is the one who ends up taking the hints.

Wave Goodbye!

Of course, calamity strikes while on the sea in order to remind Jonah that God is everywhere and able to get His message across through any medium. Jonah is awakened by the rough sailors & begged to pray to his god for deliverance. He--Jonah, prophet of God--was reminded by heathen sailors to pray to God. How far can we fall when running from God? We can fall all the way down to the very bottom.

We see in verse 7 that God was there when the heathen men cast lots! God used a game of chance to direct a move in the affairs of men. As a direct result of this unwilling preacher, God was able to instill the fear of Himself into the hearts of the heathen sailor.

Scuba Time

After being thrown in the sea, I'm not sure Jonah felt that he would get a chance to carry out God's will. In fact, he must have felt that the only way to get out of doing God's will at this point was to die--something he seems to rather do than to preach God's grace to the Ninevites.

More Reading

Thursday, July 5, 2012

@stickyJesus: A Book Review

The Book

Title: @stickyJesus: How to live out your faith online
Author(s): Toni Birdsong & Tami Heim

I came across this book as I was shopping for my week of camp (which just ended). Our (my wife & my) theme was @VOne2012 - I Like Camp Horizon. It was basically Social Media camp, where we took away their connection to the outside world and ran a program that played on some of the elements that go into social media--& some of the inherent responsibilities for the Christian who finds themselves in that world.

I came across the book about three weeks before our camp started & thought: Wow, I need to read this book & see what other people are saying about this topic! I'm glad I did!

Technical Merit

This book reads somewhat like a textbook. Albeit, a very interesting one that gives illustrations to illuminate & expound on the points being made in each chapter. The chapters end with bullet points that form a summary for easy synthesis. There is also a reinforcing prayer offered at the end. All of which are helpful to tie loose ends and emphasize the point.

I never found myself mesmerized by the diction or the tone of the book. The book strove to instruct rather than entertain or move the heart--though there are heartwarming stories between the two covers. 

The book also contains a "getting started" guide for social networking & a glossary of terms. Therefore, this book can serve as a quick reference guide.


Christians are called to be in the world, but not of it. In this day & age, that means having an online presence, but not succumbing to the temptations which abound in cyberspace. In essence, the message of this book is that what is acceptable & good for the Christian in real life, is acceptable & good for the Christian online. The converse also holds true, if it is sin in real life, it is also sin on the web.

However, this book is not just about right & wrong. It is also about the opportunities that abound in social networks. The authors try to illuminate readers to the various online channels they can utilize to be salt & light in the online community. The field truly is white for the harvest, & needy people are taking to the internet to find answers. We need to join the conversation & share the hope that we already have in Christ.

The following quote serves as a concise summary of the entire book:
The goal is to balance input (what you say), interaction (what you hear), value (what you add), and follow-up (what you give).

My Takeaway

This book does exactly what is needed--it vocalizes some common sense to Christendom. Granted, there is nothing in the book that a Christian does not already know, the real challenge is to do it. Perhaps people feel that since a lot of online activity can be done in solitude, that their virtual lives are also encapsulated in a private sphere. However, it is time to remember that nothing we do online is private. Everything we do should be for the Kingdom of God.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars & recommend it for anyone who needs to orient themselves to online ministry.

More Reading

Search my blog for anything labeled @VOne2012 or #BTSermon, these are my efforts to use social media for God's glory.
Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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