Childish Ways

$373,801,078

As of this writing, that is how much the movie Wonder Women has made at the United States box office.  If it currently the third highest grossing movie of 2017. It is also a movie no one who is a believer in the things of the bible and a believer in Christ should sit down and watch. I tried last night, and I could not make it 20 minutes into the film without realizing how destructive it was to core Christian values.

In the first 20 minutes of the movie, we are told Zeus created man, and women was created to bring peace on the earth. We are then presented with a world where men are not needed (and do not exist) when introduced to the island. Now I get that the elite Hollywood feminist dream is for a non-male world, but anyone whose life is guided by the bible should be outraged over the first 20 minutes of the movie.

Man and women were created by God to coexist and be in union with each other. The two sexes (and yes, there are ONLY two) were created to be partners for each other. God did this because He knew one could not exist without the other. The disturbing Hollywood trend of diminishing God’s creation and Glory needs to be dealt with by every follower of Christ.

Many strong men and women of faith I know love the movies and television of today. I see it on their social network pages all the time. I see posts like “I just got out of this movie or that movie (Spiderman being the latest one, which openly advocates that there is nothing wrong with porn). I see them raving about how awesome a movie is, or how much they enjoyed a certain episode of a TV show. Yet when I go look a deeper into what they are watching, I am horrified to discover the content.

Many will say “oh calm down, it is just a movie.” The problem is, it is not just a movie. Every single action we as Christians take, and every word that comes out of our mouth (or put forth from our keyboards) needs to fall in line with the biblical teaching of God and Christ. Anything less, and we are falling short of our duties as ambassadors for Christ. At some point, the “calm down, it is just a movie” mentality among Christians needs to stop.

It is time we stop ingesting things of the world simply for our own enjoyment and pleasure and start lifting up only those things which are righteous. By letting Hollywood continue to diminish God by supporting movies and television shows, you are condoning it. Every time you spend a dollar on something that is unGodly and against His Word, you are funding the continuation of those who want to eradicate Christianity off the planet.

How much longer will you continue to allow Christ to be punching bag? How many more movies viewing will it take for you to stop talking about living a Christian life and instead start actually LIVING one.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (1 Corinthians 13:11)

It is time for us all to put away childish things. That mean no more movies that do not give praise to God, no more television that normalizes sex out of marriage, that normalizes violence and that removes God. That means no more music that needs to be censored every other word.

You want Christ to be the center of our world? Then start making Him the center of yours.

Break Time

I have a love/hate relationship with social media. The love part is that I enjoy catching up with people from all over the country and around the world. I enjoy seeing how others worship and love getting ideas for ministry. The hate part is..well..everything else.  There is a complete sense of disassociating oneself from any sense of reality and any real connection to people. How often have you been so moved by something you have seen on social media that it can really be said that it made a deep impact in your life, not just a 5 minute speed bump.

This was running through my mind earlier today as I was reading a story on the newest trend on Facebook: the new “pride” emoji you can get. This was coming off the “pride” jerseys the mens and women’s National soccer teams wore this past month. More and more, everywhere I was turning and logging onto, I was seeing nothing but unGodly images and trends. This is to be expected, because we live in satan’s world, and this vessel is just temporary until we reach our heavenly homes. But that does not mean we have to participate in it. And this is the reason I no longer will be.

It is time Christians to start to take the responsibility of being in the world but not of the world seriously. It is time we start to let others around us know that we belong to Jesus, and that we will not partake of the worldly sins which society says are alright. By continuing to support social media sites which advocate and advance sin, you are condoning their practices.

I have written many times about the need for us as followers of Christ to only support Christian media with our dollars (ie, PureFlix over NetFlix / Hulu). I am now urging all to to do the same with how you spend your time online. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and InstaGram are great tools for ministry. But they are also great tools for the world to influence you. Make sure you are logging in for the right reasons.

From today on, all my personal accounts will be inactive.  I still maintain and manage business accounts which will remain active. But my ministry work will continue right here on WordPress and through podcasts. I want to urge you all to consider doing the same.

1440. That is how many minutes you have in your day to spread God’s Word. That is your one and only purpose while here on earth. How effective are you using that time? If you are being buried under an avalanche of sin, you must move on.

Matthew 12:33
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.”

Increasingly, social media produces bad fruit, and is taking more and more children of Christ down. You have to be able to recognize this in your life and be willing to say that the benefits of being on these sites do not outweigh the negative effects it has on your walk with God.

I look forward to using the time which is now freed to explore the bible on a deeper and more meaningful level, and sharing with you all my thoughts through this ministry.

May God’s wisdom and grace shine on you all, and I plead with you to look and see if your online activity is interfering with your relationship with your Savior.

Beauty and the Agenda Beast

I was simply going to let this one pass. Every day, I see many stories pop up which affect how we, as Christians, should live in society. Through the endless scrolls of Facebook and Twitter, I come across so much agenda driven material, I would do nothing but write all day long on the things I see. So when I saw Disney was going to slightly insert the gay agenda into their newest Beauty and the Beast release, I rolled my eyes with an “Of course they are, because the director of the movie wants to rip apart bibles in the hotel rooms he stay in.”

I made one post on my Facebook about this (around the same time I urged my Christian brothers and sisters to avoid The Shack as well).  I figured enough believers would realize how destructive the movie would be to their children and simply make the Godly choice to not subject their kids to this sin. Apparently the power of a complaining 7 year old is more powerful than the call to stay strong in God, because as I type this, the movie is about to cross the $170 million barrier in just 3 days. That will make it the highest grossing PG movie opening weekend ever.

More importantly, this gives Disney and all the other studios open season to continue to trickle sinful behavior into material designed for children. All they have to say is “well, you Christians had no issue it with it in this movie, so we will just continue to indoctrinate your children with the sins of the world.”

I am sure I will lose friends on my social networks over this posting, because I saw in my feed throughout the weekend that many of them went to the movie, and raved about it. I also saw many of my friends went to The Shack last week. My question to you is simple: At what point did you decide to simply forgot our call to Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. (Col. 3:2 NKJV). When did the Christians of this country think is was ok to ignore God’s Word when it tells us Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 ESV). Did you discern that the will of God was to have you sit through a movie which promotes homosexuality? Did you think it was good, acceptable and perfect?

“But it was just one little scene” is what I am sure some of you will say. My response is simple, that scene is in a violation of God’s Word, and should never be put into your mind. Period, end of discussion. There is no other response.  Playing the “it was just one small scene” card is EXACTLY what Disney was hoping for Christians to do. They were counting on us as a church to not draw the line and say enough is enough. We will no longer allow you to put sin into our mind. Instead, the Christians of America simply opened their wallets and said “take what you want, so I don’t have to say no to my kids”.

This is not just a gay issue. It is EVERY form of entertainment coming out of Hollywood today that promotes unGodly ways. I was stunned last month when I saw two pastor friends of mine excited to be going to Fifty Shades Darker. Another could not wait to step into John Wick 2.  These are people who are charged with leading churches excited to be going into movies which completely destroy God’s Word. I wanted to scream “what are you thinking!!” But then I remembered, everyone must come to realize on their own what is right and what is wrong in God’s eyes.

As Christians, we should be showing the world through every action we do every day what it means to live a life led by the bible. Part of living that life is NOT supporting things which are against the bible. I heard two quick little things this week which to me hit this point home. In our Wednesday night bible study, my pastor said “If the world embraces you and your behavior, there is probably too much compromise in your life”. Then this morning in his sermon he said “If the world thinks we are one of them, what we are doing is actually denying Jesus.”

Powerful things to think about the next time you decide to download that new disc, tune into that TV show or put your money down at the box office.

The Final Destination

2016 is coming to an end soon. And the past week has seen three “icons” (for lack of a better term) in the entertaiment industry pass on into eternity. As we watch the tributes and reflections of the lives of George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, we will remember fondly the joy they brought us for a brief moment through their work. And this is fine. It is good to remember where you were the first time you watched Star Wars, the first time you saw the classic Singing In The Rain, or the first time you heard Father Figure or Careless Whisper. It is ok to let those memories put a smile on your face. 

But the importmant thing you should take from the passing of these entertainment figures (along with the others we lost this year like Prince and Gary Shandling) is a question. And that question quite simply is: Did they know Jesus as their Savior? Did they have a relationship with the God of the universe? If the answer to this question is no, then they are damned to a life of eternal torment.

This is a reality that society does not want to think about. But just because you do not want to think about it and accept it, does not make it any less true. Whenever we read or hear about someone passing away, be it a famous figure in our society or a friend or family member, it should make us examine our relationship with Jesus. It should make us get our house in a little more order. It should make us reach for our bible for comfort and security in knowing where our final destination will be. 

I hear all the time after someone passes “I pray they are in heaven now”. It is too late for that prayer once they have left this earth. Right now, today, we should be praying for those who are not in Christ to come to know His love and mercy. We should be making sure that we are doing everything we can to bring people to Christ. 

Once someone leaves this earth, the decision is made. And not making a decision is a decision. Ignoring God and Christ is a choice. You can not stand in front of God and say “but I did not know” because the bible is clear that everyone will be given a chance to come to know Jesus. 

For those who are not in relationship with Him, there is no guarantte of tomorrow. Romans 5:8 tells us:

But God demonstrates Hs love towards us, in that while we were still sinner, Christ died for us. 

Make no mistake, you, me and every single person you encounter today is a sinner. There is no one walking this planet today that is not living in sin. What you need to ask yourself is, are you sins covered by the blood of Christ? If you know they are, then you know your enternal destination is secure in God. If you don’t know that they are, it is time to stop what you are doing right now, and accept Christ as your Savior. 

If we learned anything from this past week, it is that our time on earth is not guaranteed. It is now time to start making your final destination plans. It is only one of two choices: heaven or hell. There is nothing in between. And the choice is completely and totally up to you. 

As I Have Loved You

I rarely get into discussions with people on social media, because it is the pure definition of an exercise in futility. But every now and then, I will see someone comment on a story I read that makes it impossible not to respond. This was the case today, as I read the story of how the nation’s largest jewelry chain (Zales) now has an ad glorifying homosexual “marriage” (no, I this is not what this blog will be about). After reading the article, I glanced the comments section, where I saw this:
“Jesus said we are to love everyone, no matter what, so why can’t all you homophobes just do what your make believe God told you to do.”
Now, I did not engage with particular person, because, well, as you can see from their comment, it would have done no good. But this comment did spark something in my mind. Like so many other well quoted verses of scripture, this misguided commenter is only getting half the truth. Because what these people are doing is quoting John 13:34, where Jesus says:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another
Sound nice doesn’t it? We all just get in a circle, hold hands and sway as we sing around a campfire. But wait! There is that pesky second part to the scripture that no one ever bothers to recite. And that second part makes ALL the difference in what Jesus is saying here. You see, just like “Judge not lest ye be judged” and “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”, if you stop right there, it is easy to make the bible fit into your sin. But you can’t stop, you have to finish to the end of the sentence. And the end of John 13:34 is:
as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 
Oh now why did Jesus have to go and add that. You see, without that last part, it is perfectly fine to accept anyone, and let anyone do anything , because you can always go back and say “see see, Jesus said you have to love me like I am.” But oh my how it changes when the second part to the sentence comes into play. 
How does Jesus love us? Well, let’s take a look shall we:
Mark 2:15-17

Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”

When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Well that does not sound good for all who want to keep sinning and think we should just accept it. But surely that is the only time Jesus says something like this, right? Um, wrong:
John 3:17-21

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Read the italics again. This is Jesus saying this right after he says what is probably the most quoted piece of scripture ever. How Jesus loves us is by showing us the path to eternal salvation. And that path is one way and one way only: belief in Him and repentance of sin. 
So how can we love anyone like Jesus loves us unless we show them the destructive ways they are living. Now, make no mistake, Christians have a long long way to go in learning how to communicate this message with love and understanding. We all could us a little dose of “look in the mirror” before we speak with someone about their sin. But that does not mean we don’t speak to them. 
To love like Jesus loves us means we have to be willing to have the hard conversations with those around us. It means we have to be willing to make ourselves and those we care about uncomfortable because that is what Jesus’ message of love is. It is uncomfortable to know we are sinners, to know that only through seeing and acknowledging our sin can we love like Jesus loves us. It is only through making the choice to stand up against society and say No, we will not accept the sin of the world, and we are doing a EXACTLY what Jesus called us to do, that we can truly love people like Jesus loves us. 
So remember, next time someone wants to throw this verse in your face, tell them to go to the end of the sentence, and then tell them you are doing exactly what Jesus said you are do to. 

The Lot Issue

We can learn much about ourselves as we look at the choices Lot makes throughout Genesis. The biggest word to me that comes to mind as you read all of Lot’s choice is easy. Every step of the way, when faced with a decision, he chose the easy way out. Let’s take a look at a few examples. 
The very first choice we see Lot making is not where to settle his herdsman. It is actually before this. You see when Abram (not yet Abraham) gives Lot the choice on which direction to go as they separate, this is the first sign we see that Lot is going to take therapy way out. Because the choice is actually not Lot’s to make, it is Abram’s. Instead for of deferring back to Abram (which would have been the right thing to do), Lot instead does make the decision. It is right versus easy, and it is not the last time we will see Lot chose easy. 

Because in the very next chapter, we read:

Genesis 13:10-11

And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other.

In other words, Lot picked the land that was going to be easiest to work, even though he knew it was going to be the closest to temptation. How often do we do this? How many times have you chosen to go somewhere, knowing you would be put into a position where you would have to fight off temptation? 

Now make no mistake, I am not saying you should never leave your house because you will be tempted. That is just lunacy. What I am saying is that the choices you make should be made with the idea of minimal risk of being pulled away from God. I wil give you an example from one of the choices I made in my life recently. 
I had seen myself slipping away from studying God’s Word on a daily basis. I looked at my life, because I knew that suddenly there had not become less hours in the day. What was causing me to move away from God? And it was pretty easy to see what it was. My time in front of the TV had increased in direct proportion to my time in the bible decreasing. So I instantly pulled the plug (well, not technically since my TV is also my computer computer screen lol). What I did was take the cable completely off the TV that was giving me a signal. So know, I use the glorious flat screen I have for work (I am a video editor) and studying God’s Word. In the almost 2 weeks since doing this, I can not tell you how much better I feel. All because I made the choice not to do the easy thing, and instead commit to coming back closer to God. 
In Lot’s case, he chose the land close to sin (Sodom) because he knew it was already well watered and his herds and crops would be easier to maintain. He did not take into account the dangers of being to close to the temptations of Sodom. 
So now we jump ahead (approx 20ish years). Sodom is about to be destroyed because they have become so sinful. God is sending His 2 angels into the city, and what do we read: 
Genesis 19:1

Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. 

There is great magnitude in this passage of scripture. By Lot sitting at the gate, this would mean he had become a city leader. The city gate was a place for the leaders of the city to meet and discuss the politics of Sodom. By the Lot being at the gate, it would mean he had become completely woven into the fabric of Sodom. Which we see come to life very soon. 
Genesis 19:8

See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.”

Ok, yeah, that is bad, really bad. But, one thing to understand here. In this time, a person reputation was largely based on how hospitable they were to travelers. It is horrible to think Lot would throw his virgin daughters to the townsmen, but this once again shows how fall into sin Lot had fallen. He wanted to protect his reputation with the people of the town, no matter what.Have you ever been put into this situation (no, not where you had to throw your daughter to a pack of men). 

I am talking about a time where you had to stand up for God and His ways in the face or massive societal pressure to do otherwise. When it comes down to it, that is exactly what is happening here with Lot. He has taken on the practices of society while abandoning those of God. Before you say “I would never do that!”, stop and think. Do you support (by watching or buying) entertainment that is not inline with God’s principles? Do you find it ok to shop at stores which have anti-biblical policies? You see, it your boycott Target and Burger King for their policies that are against God but then sit down and watch the NFL which promotes alcohol and sexual exploitation of women, then you are doing what Lot did. 
Now you can say “hold on Patrick, are seriously I comparing me watching a football with Lot throwing his daughters out to the crowd?”… well, I am not saying it, the bible is:

Colossians 3:2

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Romans 12:2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Honestly, these are my three favorite verses in the bible, because they remind me what my attention and focus should be on. You see, like we do, Lot forgot these things (yes I know they were not written in Lot’s time, but he still knew what God expected of him). It is only when we can admit we have drifted from God that we can start the process of moving back to Him. We can look at two final pieces in Lot’s sage to see what the effects are from us becoming acceptable in the site of sinful society. 
Genesis 19:14

So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, “Get up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city!” But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking.

Lot had fallen so far from God that not even his own family believed him when he tried to deliver God’s message. Are you like this? Have you become so immersed in culture that your friends and family will not be able to take you seriously when you deliver God’s Word? It is hard for people to tell you from the sinful society we live in? Or perhaps more importantly, does your own household know you stand for Godly principles? Because Lot had moved so far from God, which own daughter (you know the virgins he was trying to throw out to the depraved men at his door) do not know this is wrong:

Genesis 19:31-32

Now the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man on the earth to come in to us as is the custom of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.”

Um…what???!! That’s right, Lot’s daughters felt it was perfectly fine to sleep with him, after getting him drunk. The reason is because Lot did not instill values into them that this would be inappropriate behavior. 

As we look at the saga of Lot, there is a tendency to say how horrible the actions he took are. And there is no question, from our point of view today, we find his actions reprehensible. But I ask you, in God’s eyes, are some of our actions not just as horrific and reprehensible? Are you not just as guilty as Lot for falling away from God and instead immersing yourself in society? Think about this as you go about your week. Think about ways you falling more into society and less into God. And then make the hard choice to stand up for God in the face of societal pressure. Just imagine the change in Sodom that may have been made if Lot had stood for God. 

Concentrate On The Good

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8 NKJV)

Those who have heard my testimony know this is the verse that changed the course of my life. While most will tell a new Christian or someone who wants to begin to study God’s Word to start in the book of John, my mom urged me to read the 4 middle epistles of Paul (Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians). I took her advice, and when I stumbled on the above passage of scripture, it was like a great big CLICK. I came to realize that in order for me to begin to grow closer to God, I had to begin to purify my mind from all the garbage I was spent years putting into it.

This occurred three years ago today. I, like many others, can tell you exactly when I turned my life over to Christ. It was as I sat in a jail cell, completely guilty of what I had been charged with, and not knowing when I would be getting out. As I went through those four letters Paul had sent out to the churches thousands of years earlier, I began to realize how long and how far I had run from God. It was not just the turning away from church as soon as I could get out of my parent’s home. It was the complete lack of any conscience of what I should be doing with my life versus what I was doing with it. I had made a mess of everything I came into contact with, and as I sat in that cell, not knowing if anyone who I had I abandoned and burned would ever speak to me again, I realized that it didn’t matter. Because the only thing that did matter to me in that moment 3 years ago today was how can I make it up to God.

I know now this is not the proper way to come to God, but when you don’t have the biblical knowledge of what is the proper way, you will seek out the human nature way. And we all want to “make it up to” people we hurt. So every day for the 4 months I served, I would dissect parts of the bible, looking for how to make up all the lost time I had not given God. Slowly, I realized that it was not the past that mattered, but what I did in the moments I had left on this earth. And almost every day (and still to this day), I would go back to Philippians 4:8.

What do you spend your time on? What do you use your thoughts for? That is what this passage is speaking to. It is not speaking of money or possessions, which in the scheme of God’s plan for our lives comes second. Paul is telling us with these words that the biggest way we can glorify God is to use our minds and our time for Him. We are stewards of everything we have on this earth. This does not just mean the material things, but also what we spend our thoughts and time on.

I bring this up because I see so many of my social media friends putting their time and thoughts into nothing but negativity. A large chunk of it has to do with politics, but that is not everything. Whenever I speak to young adults (which is where a majority of my ministry focus lies) I always encourage them to go through their social media sites and ask themselves “is there anything on here that I would be ashamed of if Jesus saw it?”  This is a tough question to answer when you have your love for the newest Drake song plastered all over your Twitter page.

Go back and read Philippians 4:8 again. Does everything you do, both in your online AND offline life fit into this passage? If not, how will you start to make the changes in your life to bring it in line with this verse?

When speaking of this passage, I sometimes will use the metaphor of food. I love to eat, and what I eat would not fall on the healthy side. Buffets, burgers, steaks, pasta are my go to foods. I know it is bad for me, I know it causes me to gain weight and I know I shouldn’t do it, and it is one of the things I pray about often. When I eat healthier, I feel better, have more energy and actually normally can get more done in a day. And for about a week, I will be strong. Then the call of the Big Mac happens, and I am right back to my old ways.

The same is true with our thought diet. The more sinful TV, movies, music and online content we put into our minds, the less room for what is holy and righteous we have.  Every time I sit and watch a movie I know that is against God, I feel just yucky and I ask myself “why did I do that instead of picking up the bible and read?” Everytime I see a new disc from a band I used to love, I think “man, I would love to buy it” but then I remember Philippians 4:8 and know that it will not be good for my mind diet.

I urge you all to start concentrating on the good and holy. Look for feed your mind with thoughts and words that will help you shine for God to those around you. Break out from the crowd and start saying no to the things you know you God would not want you to be watching or listening too, because remember, you are not hiding anything from Him.