Archive for the ‘ Lifestyle ’ Category

Seeing Courageous

As I mentioned on Sunday …

YOU NEED TO SEE THIS MOVIE!

Courageous is the fourth movie to come out of Sherwood Pictures of Sherwood Baptist Church. It has the theme of men taking a stand as fathers and husbands to raise up strong families and prepare the next generation for life and faithfulness to God.

Four police officers are also close friends. Javier Martinez, a latino struggling to provide for his wife and two children, becomes one of their friends as well. After tragedy strikes one of them, it results in the Resolution: a promise before God and family to everything they can to live godly lives to impact the next generation (to sum it up very poorly).

This movie is full of action, romance, violence, and camaraderie. It will make you laugh, pull at your heart-strings (those jerks!), knock you down emotionally, lift you back up, and encourage and embolden you. It is rated PG-13 for violence (chasing bad guys, a shoot-out, a gang initiation) and drug content (seeing baggies with powder and pills). I would suggest many more mature children can see this movie, but I would also suggest parents use wisdom and see it first to decide for yourself.

Courageous is by far the greatest movie to come out of Sherwood Pictures to date, and it is now one of my favorite movies. (The other three, if you are unaware, are Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof) The Kendrick brothers are great at working the Gospel message into these films, the acting gets better all the time, and they definitely had a larger budget with which to work this time! This movie is sure to punch you in the gut and then dust you off and lift you up. I laughed, laughed until I cried, cried for sorrow, cried for joy, and wanted to cheer and praise by the end of the movie.

I will say it again …

GO SEE THIS MOVIE!

And like I asked last week, see where your heart is and how important God is in your life. This movie will help!

Got God?

There is something that really amazes me. I mean something that absolutely blows my mind.

First, I must tell you that God got a hold of me almost twelve years ago, and He got a firm hold of me (which means I finally stopped wiggling around enough to pay attention to Him holding me) four and a half years ago. From all of this I have dedicated my life to transforming others’ lives by opening myself to God using me for His glory. I do a lot with my church and different ministries. My college major is Christian Leadership. I love reading my Bible and sharing what I learn with those around me. I help younger Christians grow in their faith.

But this post is not about me.

I am amazed by the people who are not in “full-time ministry” and impact people’s lives for Christ. These are Christians who are (in no particular order):

  1. Teachers
  2. Doctors
  3. Bus drivers
  4. Taxi drivers
  5. Garbage removal technicians (cool title, eh?)
  6. Retail workers (like my mom!)
  7. Carpenters (like my pop!)
  8. Computer technicians
  9. Web-designers
  10. Farmers
  11. City workers
  12. Office workers
  13. Your mom
  14. Salesmen
  15. Wait staff (you know, the people who serve food)
  16. Kitchen staff (the people who make the food)
  17. Bussers (the people who clean up after you have eaten the food)
  18. Business people
  19. Executives
  20. Business owners
  21. Single parents
  22. Multi-jobbers (providing for their families by working many jobs)
  23. Street cleaners
  24. Security guards
  25. Police officers
  26. Firefighters
  27. Paramedics
  28. And way more people than I could ever hope to include in this list (at least right now)

To do this requires completely selling out to God.

To do this means letting God’s love pour through you toward others.

To do this takes loving God and others way more than your family, your friends, yourself.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14: 26

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
Matthew 22:37-39

Have you let yourself see just how tightly God is holding on to you? Do you let Him move freely through your life? Is He everything?

The Lovable Jerk

I know. A corvette and mention of a jerk. It must be that I have a corvette and you love me for it!

No, actually this is a dear friend and his first corvette. Trust me. It applies. You probably have a good question, though.

What is a lovable jerk?

To help you understand this, I have a couple of stories.

This past weekend was the monthly mens breakfast for my church. We had a great time at Denny’s with stories, life updates, and a great challenge about finishing strong. The pastor ducked out a little early. I jokingly thought to myself “He did not really finish! He left early!” When the rest of us walked to the front to pay our bills, there was some confusion at the register. It took a minute to figure out that “That one man with the glasses” (the pastor) “paid for it all.” I sent him a text message (do not get too mad at me, because I will explain myself):

“You are a jerk, but a lovable jerk who is greatly loved! May the Lord bless you and keep you, brother!”

(He loves me, too. And if you know about whom I am speaking, just praise God for his love.)

Another person is a lovable jerk. I put the same disclaimer here as for the pastor: praise God.

This man is that dear friend who, quite honestly, deserves a corvette. If you know this man, you agree. The story about him takes place when I was first allowed to see this man in action. Our car was having some issues, and (as has happened many times since) he offered to fix it. He fixed the car and paid for the parts he needed. I was at work when he did this, and I remember thinking “He better not have topped off the gas tank.” He did. He is still floored to this day that when I saw the gas gauge jump to “F” I looked at him and said “You jerk!” He asked his son later, “Was he mad at me?”
“No, dad,” he said. “He was saying thank you!”
Again, he still is amazed by this.

He has learned, though, what I really mean when I say it.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16

When I call you a jerk, it usually means “You are jerking on my heart-strings, right now.”

When I call you a jerk, it usually means “You have done quite well!”

When I call you a jerk, it usually means “God, I praise You for this blessing through this person.”

You lovable jerks make me praise God.

Go be a lovable jerk for God. (See the related Philippians 2:12-13)

Go on! Do it!

(On a side note, today I was hired to work with 1st and 2nd grade autistic children in the same school district as my wonderful wife! Praise God! No, seriously … PRAISE HIM!)

Misunderstanding Love, Muslims, and Americans in recent history

I have recently read some interesting things. In keeping with this week’s theme of whether or not you may be in love with someone, I refer to an article from USA Today last month. Hay El Nasser and Paul Overberg wrote and article titled “1990-2010: How America Changed” published on August 11, 2011.

There were some interesting facts such as the top five states with largest latino populations (1) California, 2) Texas, 3) New York, 4) Florida, 5) Illinois), we have the lowest ever proportion of those 18-years-old and younger in our population (24%), and 40 million more people living in suburbs.

The one that relates to this week: in 1990, 26% of births were by single women, as opposed to 41% in 2010. Almost half of the births in this nation last year happened outside of marriage. This tells us something of the state of our culture today.

  1. Marriage is being seen as an outdated institution.
  2. Women find less need for a father to help raise their children.
  3. Men are not as involved in child-rearing.
  4. Abortion is not quite as acceptable anymore.

The article continued by stating that single mothers are higher among Hispanics (53%) and blacks (73%), and in Europe between half and two-thirds of births are to single mothers. It reminds me of the recent fad of teenage girls wanting to have children or “Octo-mom” and others like her having multiple children “because they can.”

We have gained a misunderstanding of love.

Moving on, while some Americans think all Muslims are violent and want to kill all non-Muslims, and some think Islam is merely a religion of peace and tolerance, both of which are misunderstandings, but I read an article today about the people in Afghanistan. Apparently, the vast majority of Afghans have no idea why Americans and others are in their country, and that includes not understanding what happened on September 11, 2oo1. It not only shows that most Afghans had nothing to do with the attacks (very rural living, after all), but “we” have done a horrible job explaining ourselves to the locals.

This reminds me that the Western culture has massive misunderstanding of the rest of the world, and really of itself.

Overall lesson I am seeing: impatience, selfishness, and arrogance is a common theme among people in the West. As we see the Church continue to slide in influence in our culture, is it any wonder?

Used goods

I once prayed “Father, use me for Your will.” When I say “once,” what I really mean is that I did not understand exactly what I was asking for when I first prayed that prayer.

Most of us would like to do something great for God. We have those dreams of leading thousands at a time to Christ or performing amazing miracles which lead many to investigate the claims of the Gospel message. Some of us want to write that devotional, Bible study curriculum, or song that changes the way people think about God.

We take Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do,” and use it as evidence that we are to do great things.

I must point out that it merely says “to do good works” (and is also referring to our inability to gain God’s favor or salvation through works, but only by God’s grace). Jesus told us to do good works, as well.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16

We must remember, however, that on our own “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), which means our good works are worthless. It is only when we are used by God that our works mean anything, are in fact “good.”

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

Philippians 2:12-13

 My simple prayer led me through many trials and tests. I was forced in many ways to re-examine all that I believe and think.

What have I learned?

Two things:
1) That I still have a lot to learn!
2) While we may be able to do things with good intentions, we can only truly do good things when used by God.

When we are God’s “used goods,” He will use us to accomplish His will, not only for us individually but for the all of Creation. We must remember that much of the time this means our good works may be doing the dishes, paying bills, and helping our neighbor. Sometimes it means scrubbing toilets, washing people, and feeding mean-spirited, smelly hungry people. Sometimes it means sharing the Gospel, preaching the Gospel, and leading ministries.

We must be open to God to know what to do. We must remember that much of our being used by God means faithfully living our lives in the day-t0-day routines of life. It also means faithfully following His leading if and when He uses us for “the greater things.”

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 08/28/2011

Believing requires some serious prayer, as I mentioned this week. Today I bring to you a prayer I praid (yes, praid) and wrote down in high school. I like the vividness of the action describing my brain. Quite. It reminds of something I said in 2007: “I hear a lot of people say they want to be a cup over-flowing for Jesus. I want to be like an M80 in a toilet: an explosive force that gets everywhere and everyone notices!”

I have the greatest imagination and sense of words, huh?!

Here is the poem:

Lord  i love You
daniel m  klem

Lord  i love You
with all my body and soul
fill my heart and
explode my mind
make it so i can not go
without feeling Your Love
everywhere i go  please
please let everyone know
i love You and
You love us
more than any other

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 164.

I BELIEVE! I think …

A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

“O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evilspirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

Mark 9:17-29, NIV

 I told you the man’s plea would return!

To go along with the prayer theme I started last week, I am looking at one of my personal prayers. Back in 2007, as God was bringing me back to my senses, I re-discovered this package. In particular, I noticed our friend the dad for the first time and finally paid attention to that last statement: “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

Why are the so relatively few miracles today, at least in Europe and the United States? Why had things gotten so rough in my life? How could I see more miracles in my life?

I prayed “God, I believe you can do amazing things, and I want to see You do amazing things in my life and the lives of others. Help me truly believe You still move today!”

It was not that I had never seen miracles. There were several times between 2000 and 2007 in which I saw and/or experienced things that amazed me or just could not be explained in our understanding of natural ways.

Perhaps, kind of like Matt Appling mentioned yesterday, I believed more in myself than God. I believed more in myself than God for the simple reason that I had stopped talking with Him for a couple years.

Why had I slipped so far from God? Why was I struggling with seeing – let alone being used by God to perform – miracles? Why did I struggle with … believing Him?

Faith grows through prayer. Belief grows through prayer. Miracles happen through prayer. God talks with us through prayer.

Do not get me wrong! God speaks to us through many different ways. It is just that much easier to hear Him and see Him acting when we talk with Him on a regular basis.

We may not see “miracles” happen every time we turn a corner. Heck, we may not see a “miracle” for years! The questions of God’s love, God’s power, God’s faithfulness, God’s works are more easily answered when we allow God to speak to and through us. The manifestations of God’s love, God’s power, God’s faithfulness, God’s works in our own lives are more easily seen and even felt when we allow God to speak to and through us.

This happens the mostest and the bestest through prayer, when we talk to God and let God talk to us.
(In other words, do not just tell God things. Sometimes you have to stop talking and listen!)

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 08/21/2011

To go along with my guest post over at Heather Joy’s blog, GrowUp318, here are a couple poems about prayer!

These were both written in later 2000 during the Christian craze over the book “The Prayer of Jabez” by Bruce Wilkinson. The youth group in which I happened to be also did an activity in which we were instructed to put the Lord’s Prayer into our own words.

my jabez prayer

Lord
please bless me as never before
and send those who need You to me
protect me and help me
so i do not hurt others

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 165.

my Lord’s prayer

my Father in heaven
You are the Holiest
Your Kingdom is here
where You say what happens
on earth just like in heaven
please supply me food
and forgive my sins
the same as i forgive others
and help me when tempted
keeping the devil away

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 166.

Speaking through another …

Today marks the first time I have written a guest post for another blogger!

Heather is out on a short-term mission trip to Costa Rica this week (pray for her, her team, and the Costa Ricans!), and I am one of the people helping her out while she is gone. I know some who read my blog do not care for a few of their beliefs, but Heather is a member of the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church which is famous/infamous (depending on your view) of being Kings-James-Version-Only-ists. In other words, they believe only the King James Version of the Bible is the only viable and authorized version. Regardless of this, Heather is one of the most amazing young Christian women I have ever had the privilege of befriending (albeit, only online).

Not only should you go check out my guest post, but seriously consider reading more of her work. As I said, she is pretty amazing.

God bless! Catch ya later, Bill and Ted… I mean, everyone!

Daniel M. Klem

(In case you want to copy and paste the link: http://growup318.com/2011/08/17/guestpoststupidprayers/ )

Polluted Dreamers

Last week I looked at differences of beliefs between churches, denominations, cities, and what have you, and how it is our pride and misunderstanding which gets in the way of unity.

I may “get in trouble” with some those who come across my blog or with whom I regularly associate, but this week I am continuing the topic by looking at those who cause the trouble.

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written aboutlong ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them.

Jude 3-10

 As I mentioned last week, it is pride and misunderstandings which get in the way, but it is in individuals where it starts and then spreads. As Jude remarked, we were warned that people would infiltrate the Church. These people “change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”

What does this look like?

Jude mentions sexual immorality. We definitely see this with all of the Catholic priests in trouble for abusing children, pastors having affairs, and the Church approving of the homosexual lifestyle. But this is not all there is.

We also see the change of grace through moral preaching. This also has a tendency to deny Jesus, but it is not universal. These teachings are based on “You can do anything and live a good life. Just try really hard. Do not worry about failing! After all, we are sinners!” I wish I could say this is a paraphrase to get the point across, but this is almost a direct quote from many different pulpits.

This carries over to the next point that “It does not matter what you believe as long as you are sincere.” This sounds great. There may even be truth in it, to a point (read C. S. Lewis’s works to see what I mean. I am not saying I agree, just pointing out a reference). However, Hitler sincerely believed the Germans were the new Arian race and far superior to all people. Stalin and Mao sincerely believed atheism was the way to go. Most people agree that they were sincerely wrong. Ask the dozens of millions of people who died under just the three men living out their sincere beliefs. According to this teaching, these three men are still on their way to heaven.

What about Jude’s line “those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire”? Many today are teaching “eternal does not always mean ‘forever’. Just look at some of God’s warnings in the Old Testament that His wrath would burn against Israel forever!” For starters, look at the context. Secondly, how come this may or may not apply to “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life“? We all must be wary of reading the Bible this way. There are people who will be FOREVER condemned to the Lake of Fire. I do not like. No one should, but it is there. It is true.

Many of the people who lead others astray make a fatal error.

They misunderstand how God works. This is not to say anyone can understand precisely how God works, but they tend to assume God does everything in ways we can and should understand. Therefore, miracles cannot work, because they go against the laws of nature. Jesus cannot be the only way to Heaven, because there is so much truth in the world. No one goes to or stays in Hell, because God could never harm His own Creation.

This is dangerous. This is prideful. This is eternally deadly.

They base their knowledge not primarily on what the Bible says, and many times not even tradition, but what “feels right” by their conscience. This is dangerous in that we do have a fallen nature. Just remember, Jonah did not think it felt right to save 100,000 people at Nineveh, but God still sent him to preach to and save them. Peter did not think it felt right that Jesus should die to save everyone, but Jesus still went and saved us.

Just so everyone knows, I am not calling all liberals or all Catholics or all Baptists or all Episcopalians or all whoevers bad Christians on their way to Hell. I would be just as guilty as those about whom this posting refers. I do not fully understand God’s grace, and He is more than capable of saving all those with whom I disagree and especially me.

These perversions and immorality Jude mentions are not necessarily sexual, but they can also include many of the things listed above.

What do you think? Am I way off base, or are many of the dissenters and distractors our leaders who allow pride and their own personal feelings to get in the way?