Take up the True Cross

Jesus and the cross

The good of the many outweigh the good of the few, or the one. Spock

Christians are called to sacrifice. Without the Sacrifice of Jesus there is no Christianity. Without sacrifice there is no Christianity.

Jesus sacrificed all for others. Would you do that? Would you die for someone you hated? For a Muslim terrorist? According to most theologies, that is exactly what Jesus did. Well of course Jesus didn’t hate them but he did die for them and he calls you to do the same. 1) To love them and 2) to be willing to die for them.

Jesus calls us to Love our enemies. Democrats, Muslims, homosexuals, the liberal media environmentalists, believers in evolution, or anyone else you disagree with.

Jesus calls us to give out of our abundance. Mark 12:44 but all that is talked in church is make sure you follow the tithing rules. No Jesus wants more.

Jesus tells us to go beyond reasonable. Jesus says when you are made to go one mile, go two. When you are asked to give you robe, give two. When you are asked to bake a cake make two, when you are asked to serve someone you don’t like serve them twice as well. Matthew 5:41

Jesus says that we are to forgive. That means you have to sacrifice your pride and learn that you are no better than anyone else.

Jesus says do not be selfish. Yet most of us have the latest Cell phones several TV’s, the latest fashions, computers, toys etc.. etc… while people are starving, going without medicine and dying when we could be helping them instead of passing them by. In fact we often throw stones at them saying they are lazy, or need to get a job or that they are just faking it or using the system. Excuses we give to say we don’t have to help. Shame on us!!

Jesus says that he came for the sinners, not for the righteous and yet on average 97% of a churches income is spent on the people in the church. We are not here for the people in the church we are here for those outside the church. How did we get this messed up? We are not to be taking care of our buildings for the sake of drawing people in. We are supposed to be out in the world for the sake of drawing them. No cool music program is going to turn people to God but our sacrifice for them will.

Jesus said “Do not judge” and yet we continue to do that. Paul says “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 and yet we do. We constantly belittle others to make us better. Look at their sins I don’t do that. That’s kind of what Paul was saying in Romans 1-3 First he lists the sins the church people were complaining about in others, then (chap 2) he lists the sins committed by the church people then in chapter 3 he says “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” In other words, you are no different than someone else just because your sin is different than that of people you don’t like. So shut up because “all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24

When Jesus says “Take up your cross and follow me” he means your life is over. And it has just begun, because when you truly take up the cross and sacrifice for your fellow man you have truly found Jesus.

In the view of Jesus, The good of the many is better than the good of you.

Church, let’s start on this Easter to be real followers of Christ.

A Quick History Lesson about a “Quick History Lesson”

historylesson

This meme was posted by a friend on Facebook. I really wanted to tell them it was nonsense, but we’ve had so many discussions on how they don’t know or understand history and yet they don’t wake up.  I wonder if it’s even worth discussing it with them anymore. I grew up like them, so I understand what they were trying to say but this meme is nonsense to me.

Some people might look at this and say the republicans are always on the right side. While others will look at it and say the republicans haven’t done a thing in 150 years. The truth of course is some place in between. Neither political party is all good or all bad no matter what you’ve been told. I grew up being taught that the Republican Party was God’s party. What a joke! God isn’t political. Man is. When politicians talk about God, most of the time they just want your vote.

Ok, off my soap box for a minute and back to the meme.

If you understood the political voting in America you might ask why do some areas of the country always vote one way or the other? Why do the one time confederate states now vote heavily republican now and the one time union vote heavily Democrat? When up to the 1950’s it was completely the opposite? What caused the shift? And does it matter. Yes,  At least I believe it does.

If we really understood what the meme said you’d know that some things never change but others do. But it may not be what you think.

In the 1960’s the Democrats held the oval office but the republicans owned congress. There was a battle over civil rights. Not unlike today. In the 1960’s it was the black civil rights movement. Have you ever wondered why since the Republicans freed the slaves and gave the African Americans the right to vote et el why today they vote heavily Democrat?

The Civil rights act of 1964 seemed to change a lot. President LBJ said after its passing that “”I think we’ve just delivered the South to the Republican Party for the rest of my life, and yours.” Why did he think so? The south was still very anti-equal rights and highly democratic. The southerners felt betrayed by their party and flipped sides. The next two elections were landslides for the Republican Party as the country elected Nixon to the Whitehouse. The Republicans controlled the Whitehouse for 20 out of the next 24 years becoming more conservative as they were led by Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and others who then chased the liberal wing to the democratic party. If it wasn’t for Watergate the Democrats might not have won any of those elections.

In the 1860’s the Republicans were the radical liberals fighting for equality, but not today. That has changed. What hasn’t changed is that the conservatives don’t want that equality. In both cases the conservatives used the Bible to say they were right. Slavery is ok according to the Bible and homosexuality is wrong according to the Bible.

As an ordained pastor in a very conservative denomination I know that people will use the Bible or their religion to support their bigotry. That’s what the Pharisees did and that’s what a lot of the church does today. Some things never change. But there are real followers of Christ that teach love for all. Glad that doesn’t change. Just wish there were more.

So, whether you agree with it or not with the meme it basically says most liberals vote for equality while most conservatives continue to vote for themselves.  It has nothing to do with the political parties.

Vote totals for “Civil Rights act of 1964”

Totals are in “YeaNay

  • The original House version: 290–130   (69–31%).
  • Cloture in the Senate: 71–29   (71–29%).
  • The Senate version: 73–27   (73–27%).
  • The Senate version, as voted on by the House: 289–126   (70–30%).

By party

The original House version:

  • Democratic Party: 152–96   (61–39%)
  • Republican Party: 138–34   (80–20%)

Cloture in the Senate:

  • Democratic Party: 44–23   (66–34%)
  • Republican Party: 27–6   (82–18%)

The Senate version:

  • Democratic Party: 46–21   (69–31%)
  • Republican Party: 27–6   (82–18%)

The Senate version, voted on by the House:

  • Democratic Party: 153–91   (63–37%)
  • Republican Party: 136–35   (80–20%)

http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2004/summer/civil-rights-act-2.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964

http://www.270towin.com/states/

Turning Misbelief to Relief

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 The first step toward change is awareness.  The second step is acceptance.

Nathaniel Branden

Have you ever really believed in something and found out that it wasn’t true? Maybe it was your Santa Clause moment. That time when you discovered Santa really didn’t bring your presents. I never had that moment with Santa. That’s one falsehood I didn’t grow up believing.

I’ve had many of those moments though. The first came in my late teenage years. I had just read a book on how “Christian” America’s founding fathers were. So being a lover of God and history I had to go read their writings and biographies to see their faith in action. I read Jefferson and Franklin and was like “What the hell was that author thinking?” So I said “Well, maybe they weren’t but I bet Washington, Adams, Madison and others were. Nope, Nope, Nope! Now I’m not saying that I found no Christians, but the vast majority of the founding fathers were not conservative orthodox Christians as I had been led to believe.

Still that did not change my belief in Orthodox Christianity and I went on to become a pastor and surprise surprise, college brought a few more, “What??!” moments.

I was taking my Theology 1 class and had to write a paper. I chose to write on the canonization of the Bible. When I was young, I was basically led to believe that these wonderful Christian men got together and in unison chose exactly these books because God led them.   Ummm Nope. They fought over books put in, fought over books left out and pretty much chose the books that Eusibius wanted because he was Constantine the (not so) Greats right hand man when it came to religion. The same Constantine who made the religious leaders create the Orthodoxy of religion by getting rid of the Arians and the vote there was almost unanimous. Those couple that voted no were exiled from the empire. Hmmm. I wonder why it was almost unanimous. Could it be that people didn’t want to lose their jobs, homes, or lives?

Then I started studying the Bible about the Rapture. That’s a huge belief in the conservative world.  But it just doesn’t fit anywhere in the Bible unless you like to look at your Bible as a pretzel and twist away your doctrine. But hey we can make money with books and movies so let’s keep the deception going…

Those moments kept coming and coming and coming. Especially as I read about the late Roman Empire and its hold over Christianity. One big reason I love the separation of church and state. And while we are being political let us at least acknowledge that the Republican Party has no interest in religion except that it great for getting votes.  The Republican Party is nothing more than a bunch of Pharisees with the Tea Party candidates being their High Priests and you know what Jesus thought of them.

The Democratic Party is not Satan’s tool as I was led to believe either. That was another “lie” that I had to overcome.

I had to learn that Muslims are not evil or setting up the anti-Christ and neither is the pope, most people on welfare are not milking the system, immigrants are people too. Did you know that the earth isn’t 4,000 years old or created in seven 24 hour periods? Ok, those are ones I never believed, but I know people who do.

Soon my naïve beliefs of youth one by one fell off, each one easier and not as noticeable. The rules of the church fell away and were replaced with life and love. My love of God grew, my love of people grew and I learned …….

What about you?

The Tea Party Gospel

CHRISTIAN_RIGHT

I don’t know about you, but I have a big problem with the Tea Party in the United States. I know it’s not actually a party any more but its former members have become so outspoken in the Republican Party that is painful to watch and listen to. They claim to love God and Jesus but they don’t seem to act that way. They seem to use the Bible for their own benefit. (getting elected) So I took some of the Bible and wrote what they seem to be really saying.

  • When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his Tea Party disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say Bill O’Reilly; others say Rush Limbaugh; and still others, Rick Perry or one of the presidential hopefuls.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Michele Bachman answered, “You’re the one we use to get votes.” Matthew 16:13-16
  • Guns are our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
    Ps 46:1
  • For God so loved the United States that whosoever believes in him shall have political and military power over the world. John 3:16
  • And Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me, so just ignore them and take care of only the members of your church. Matthew26:11
  • In, 4004 B. C., God created the heavens and the Earth and the dinosaurs roamed with them. Genesis 1:1
  • Let the children come unto me and then send them back to where they came from before they contaminate the chosen people. Matthew 19:14
  • For there is neither Republican nor rich, nor fundamentalist nor NRA member nor straight people no matter how many times you’ve been divorced, for you are the only ones that matter in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
  • God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number make sure no matter what no one can have an abortion even if it kills them; fill the earth and subdue it. Drill holes, refracting the earth, drain the oil, destroy the forest, kill the animals and pollute all you want cause the earths gonna burn someday anyway. Genesis 1:28
  • For it is by my church attendance that you are saved and that not of yourselves but it is the gift of tithes to the RNC, not of grace, so everyone can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
  • If I speak in the tongues of non English or of anyone outside The USA I will burn in hell because American English is the language of God. 1 Corinthians 13:1
  • “Tea is the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through Tea.” John 14:6
  • Let every person be subject to the governing authorities unless they are Democrat, then impeach them. For there is no authority except from our idea of God, and those that exist have been instituted by our God or are the anti-Christ.   Romans 13:1
  • “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. And after you were born I turned away and did nothing for you cause we only care if you’re unborn” Jeremiah 1:5
  • Render unto Caesar, Nothing and unto God, Nothing.  Mark 12:17

So how does the Tea Party look to you?

Christian…. Why vote only Republican?

god_is_not_a_republican

My Country is the world, and my religion is to do good.

Thomas Paine “Father of the revolution”

Many years ago I was asked by a woman in my church, “Who did you vote for?” Without giving me a moment to answer she continued. “You did vote for Bush, after all he is the Republican.”

Well, that got me thinking, “Why do many Christians believe you have to vote only Republican?” This was the way that I grew up but why? The two main issues that are normally stated are abortion and homosexuality. I understand that their reading of the Old Testament condemns homosexuality and so does the book of Romans. Abortion is never outright condemned, but Christians do believe that life is precious and shouldn’t be ended “prematurely” by man. God gives life and only God should take it. (Which makes me wonder why many of these Christians back the death penalty.) It is curious to look at what Jesus says and that he never mentions either of those subjects even though they were happening in his day. Do you think Jesus thought they weren’t all that important of issues?

Furthermore, will Rick Perry , Jeb Bush, Bobby Jidal or Ted Cruz do anything to stop abortion or prevent people from being homosexuals? (like that’s possible)Reagan nor either of the Bush presidencies did much and neither will any of your Republican hopefuls. To me, they simply seem to be using these issues to get elected and therefore using you.

What about the other issues? What about the poor? Jesus often talked about taking care of the poor. What about health care? Is that taking care of the poor? Which party really takes care of the poor people in this country? Which party is trying to get health care to the needy? Which party voted for equal pay for women? Which party wants to raise the minimum wage to help the poor?

What about creation? ( environment) Who passes better legislation or repeals it? Do Christians know which administrations have done the most good or harm for God’s Earth? Or do they both give in to big business and screw creation?

Is not education important to Christians? Is mandating “No child left behind” good or bad? Do you just guess or are you involved in education? What do you know about Common Core and what teachers have to go through? Who cuts help to schools or to libraries? Is that more a Republican or Democratic thing? Do you pay attention?

How about the war? I understand defending your country, but isn’t Jesus the “Prince of Peace?” I also understand defending the weak and helping your neighbor, but is that being accomplished? So, which party will do what is right? Who will start helping people by not bombing another?

Jesus often spoke about the dangers of wealth and power. Are our candidates above this, or corrupted by this? Does either party do anything without consulting the people who gave them the Money to run? Which candidates are in the hands of the Koch brothers? Which are in the hands of Unions? Have you asked these questions?

On this note, what about the deficit? Are we voting for candidates that promote being responsible with our money or those that promote spending more than what we have and running up our governments credit cards and loans? Reagans economic policies of do it now pay for it later taught Americans it’s ok to rack up your credit card bills. It was also responsible for the biggest non war deficit in American history.

What about purity and honesty? Does either party promote this? In my lifetime (40 years) there has been political scandals and corruption associated with every administration. (except maybe Ford) Watergate, Iran Contra, Monica Lewinsky, Spygate to name some of the bigger ones.

Can a person truly say that one party is more Godly than another? Everyone of our presidents has claimed to be a Christian, whether from the Democratic, Republican, Federalist or Whig party. It is clear that most of them were not.

In the past 46 years we have had a Republican president 28 years and a Democrat 18. Is our country more “Godly” or “Christian” because of the leadership of Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either Bush’s? During the Obama, Clinton and Carter years, did we become less Godly? I don’t think so.

So I ask, why should a Christian vote only Republican? What do you think?

http://truepoizonblogs.blogspot.ca/2014/09/im-long-time-registered-republican-who.html

Guess who said that. Founding Fathers and God

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Many people over the years have told me how Christian our founding fathers were but I have found that our founding fathers had some very harsh things to say about Christianity.  I put together a few of their statements.  See if you know who said them.

I have thrown in quotes by the following.  Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Ben Franklin, Thomas Paine, and John Adams.  I also threw in some quotes by Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, and Hitler just to throw you off a bit.

1) “During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.”

2) “But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed? How has it happened that all the fine arts, architecture, painting, sculpture, statuary, music, poetry, and oratory, have been prostituted, from the creation of the world, to the sordid and detestable purposes of superstition and fraud?”

3) “There exists, I believe, throughout the whole Christian world, a law which makes it blasphemy to deny, or to doubt the divine inspiration of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, from Genesis to Revelations….Books that cannot bear examination, certainly ought not to be established as divine inspiration.”

4) “Those who fight in God’s cause will be victorious.”

5) “What we have to fight for is the freedom and independence… so that our people may be enabled to fulfill the mission assigned to it by the Creator.”

6) “I have found Christian dogma unintelligible”

7) “No oppressed or deceived or wrong, no master and no slave, but free brothers in a society over which, God willing, shall flutter the banner of brotherhood and quality. “

8) “Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law. Take away the law-establishment, and every religion re-assumes its original benignity.”

 

 

1) James Madison

2) John Adams

3) Thomas Jefferson

4) Saddam Hussein

5)Hitler

6) Ben Franklin

7) Gaddafi

8) Thomas Paine

 

How many did you get?  Yes, these are just a few quotes and there were many founding fathers.  Many of them it is hard to find quotes on Jesus or Christ.  They often use God providence or Almighty.  Even so I get the feeling that they are not unlike the politicians of today that use God, Christ, and religion to get elected.  Publicly they played the part, but privately they showed their true self. I’m sure that there were some that were Christians, but often it is made to seem like they all were deeply devoted Christians and they were not.

 

 

Where I got some of the quotes.

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/08/23/list-of-hitler-quotes-he-was-q/

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/m.html

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=103×340428

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/gaddafi-quotes-the-dead-libya-dictator-275336

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/07/04/35-founding-father-quotes-conservative-christians-will-hate/

http://www.barefootsworld.net/founding.html

 

Fun Predictions for 2014

2014

Everyone seems to make predictions about the coming year.  Some get real specific about it and some don’t.  We all look forward to a coming year because it is a new start.  We can leave behind the pains of the past year and look forward to a fun and exciting year filled with promise.  I don’t know if it is ever as good as we hoped it would be but that is just life.  We often want more than what we can handle or really need.  So let’s have a little FUN and predict a few things I know will happen this year.

So as I look into my crystal ball, here are my 10 predictions for the coming year.

1)       Someone famous will pass away and we’ll all be sad.  Happens every year.  Nothing we can do about it.  It will remind us of some past good times when we enjoyed their movie, TV show, or music.  Even though it will make us sad, we will be happy in our memories.  It will help us connect with others who also share the same feelings.   We may even get out old videos of them or their music and watch or listen to them over and over just to take us out of our real lives just for a little while.   Hey we might even sell their action figures and make money off it.  That is the American way.

2)      President Obama will not be impeached for a so called impeachable act that some people don’t like.  If you really want some impeachable acts, look at our last president.  And the one before him.  And the one before him, and the one before him, and the one …. Ok, I think you get the picture.  Almost every president we have had has done something that could have gotten him impeached. So if we wanted to drag the country through an impeachment and waste our money on that instead of on things that were important we could. Of course we don’t waste any money now do we?  So, I guess whether you like him or not President Obama Is with us until January of 2017.  Vote Hillary/Jeb 2016 or is it Jeb/Hillary?

3)      Tuna.  Tuna will be the big thing.  McDonalds will offer the Tuna burger by mid August.  Then McDonalds will close and other fast food places will follow.   We will then all be a little thinner and happier for next year.

4)      My team will not win the championship.  Think about it.  No matter what sport it is there are around 30 other teams trying to win.  Odds are that my team isn’t going to win it.  Sure, they will have a good record just to tease me and give me hope that this is going to be the year.  One of them will wait until the last week of the season to fall apart and make me mad.  Another may get into the playoffs only to be beaten by that hated rival of mine.  You know who you are!  But really, I won’t be lucky enough this year to have my team win it all.  I’ll just have to wait until next year.  Oh wait it is next year.  Yeah, Go TEAM!

5)      Another possibility is that a blue and a red state will become a purple state and politics will no longer divide them.  Instead we will look at what America actually needs and work on those issues.

6)      The world will not end.  Yellowstone will not explode, a gigantic meteor will not hit the earth and the sun will not explode.  Yes there will be disasters and people will say we are nearing the end, after all each day we are getting closer.   But, it won’t be this year.  We might have some group buying Nike’s, standing on mountains, or drinking poison.  This might be their last year, but the world will keep spinning.  There is, however, a strong possibility though that Martians may invade.

7)      Some summer night this year, you won’t be able to get a song out of your head.  It will make you want to shout.  When you hear it,  you’ll be like a dancing queen and you’ll put your hands up in the air, they are playing that song once again there you’ll go on your own singing a song about your baby’s back.   Ok, do you really want to hurt me now? I guess I’ll just go get some ice baby and when you start singing it, call me….Maybe?  Hammer time!

8)      The gas problem will continue to plague us.  But maybe we should get rid of Mexicans.  After all if you eat a bean burrito you will truly have a gas problem.  But the Mexicans will keep coming and we will continue to have those problems.  Maybe we should mix the problems and see if Mexico wants to become the 51st state.  Then the beans won’t be from Mexico, but from America.  And we all know that if it is American made it must be good.  Then the gas problem will go away.  Maybe we can solve all the problems of the world like that.  All we have to do is make everyone just like us.

9)      The movie, Noah will have a flood, which ends in a rainbow.  Can a movie about God have a rainbow in it?  Noah will get confused about if he’s supposed to take 7 of the animals or 2.  The unicorn will get left off and evolve into a narwhal.  The sea water will go away and recede like my hair and people will go on with their lives, eating, drinking, and marrying just like they have for between 6,000 and 200,000 years.

Hope you have enjoyed your first day of the New Year and that this year will bring you many blessings and toilet paper.