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.

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More of the Tea Party Gospel

  • political-cartoons-tea-party

‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men’.”

Matthew 15:8-9

The following are some verses changed for you so that the Tea Party and Right winged Christian Republicans can here what they are saying with their speech and actions.

  • For I was a homosexual and you would not serve me, I was homeless and you told me to go get a job, I was different and you made racist remarks,  I was disabled and you called me lazy, I was sick and you and you fought against healthcare, I was in prison and you sentenced me to death. I was depressed and you called me sinful. “Then the right will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you as a homosexual, homeless, different, disabled, sick in prison or depressed?’“The King will reply, ‘truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:35-40
  • For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor if they are a white, straight, republican whose family was born in God’s country (America) unless you are Ted Cruz then we’ll over look that.” Galatians 5:14
  • For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall close your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ Deuteronomy 15:11
  • Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Devil, and God will repay him for his evil deeds.  Proverbs 19:17
  • For real christians will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. 2 Timothy 3 2-4
  • And he died for some, that those who live might live for themselves but not for Christ who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Corinthians 5:15
  • Do everything from rivalry or conceit, but in false humility count others much less significant than yourselves. Let each of you look only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
  • Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: Homosexuality! That’s it. I didn’t like what the actual verses said, so I removed them, when I saw it. Ezekiel 16: 49-50
  • Above all, our rules and laws keep us loving one another earnestly, since laws covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
  • Do not give to the one who begs from you, and refuse the one who would borrow from you. Matthew 5:42

https://hadespotos.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/the-tea-party-gospel/

Jesus, No Stable, Just Love

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But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
 Luke 2:10

Merry Christmas or whatever your holiday is this holiday season.  I hope you have or are having a good one.  I am a Christian but don’t hold to the traditional look at the Christmas story.  I don’t think Jesus was born in a barn or cave, but in a home of Joseph’s relatives.  He did after all go to Bethlehem because he was from there.  The word that Luke uses for inn when we translate “there was no room in the inn” is the same word that is used for the “upper room” at the last supper.  Now I don’t know about you, but I never pictured the last supper in the Holiday Inn banquet hall.  Ok, that’s stretching it a little.  But what makes more sense that Joseph and Mary were visiting relatives and when she was reading to give birth they moved her to a bigger room or they were traveling and about to give birth and some jerk throws them in a stable?  Especially when you think about the importance of hospitality in that region during that time and before.  The Old testament has many verses about taking care of the stranger or traveler so it was important to them to do that.

If you are wondering about the manger,…. Many people kept their animals in the house at night for the extra body heat.  They would keep a small manger filled with food in the home to keep the animals quiet at night.  I wish that worked with my cats.

Do we know about what year he was born?  Absolutely not.  Everyone says 4-6 BCE because they  only read Matthews account talking about Herod the Great.  Yes, He died in 4 BCE so that should make Jesus born before that date.  That would work except that Luke says that Jesus was born while Quirinius who took the position in 6 CE.  That’s 10 years after Herod died.  Hmmmm Can’t exactly make the stories not fit can we.  Yes he was the Legate of Galatia from 5-3 BCE but that isn’t the word that Luke uses.

So we either have to admit that Luke is wrong or our tradition is wrong about the time of the birth.

Now we could sit and debate about whether I’m right or wrong, but that isn’t really what is important.  What is important is what the birth of Jesus represents.  It’s a change.  A big Change that calls to us all.

Throughout the book of Deuteronomy, judges and the books of Samuel and the Kings there is a cycle that is continued to be pointed to that Matthew points to.  the Deuteronomy cycle is basically this.  You are in good standing with God, you commit sins, you are punished and a Messiah (judge, good King) comes and brings you back to good standing.

The Jews at that time would have felt they were in bad standing and Jesus is pointed out as the Messiah.  The one that would lead them back to good standing.  He would lead them into caring about one another and not following some religious laws or tradition that has been made up.  Jesus calls us to love and sacrifice.  He said the greatest command was to Love God and love your neighbor as yourself and then he showed the way by sacrificing himself for this idea.  When he says to take up your cross he is saying you better be willing to die as a revolutionary.  Not necessarily a revolutionary against the government, but against any group or organization that holds to ideas that are hurtful to people.

A true Christian follows in the steps of Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and fights for the poor, oppressed, persecuted, underprivileged and victimized.  Just like Jesus fought for women and foreigners we must continue to change the world as he did.  To do that we have to see each other as someone to be loved, no matter what they are liked or what your religion has taught you to think of them.

When it all comes down to what is important, those traditions aren’t important. It’s whether you actually love.  Are you willing to sacrifice it all and make the change?

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

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?

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

Let the children come……

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Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Statue of Liberty

June 22, happy birthday Emma Lazarus. Most of you have no idea who that is, but she wrote the poem above. A poem that so many Americans love and hold on to. How we welcome people from all over and take them in.
Lately many Americans don’t seem to believe that this should be true. There is a growing fight over what to do with the refugees crossing our southern border. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is planning on activating the National Guard to keep the illegal aliens out and America safe. Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick is working to find a place for 1,000 of the children that are crossing the border daily.
This seems to be our history. Anytime a large group tries to immigrate into America some people get all up in arms and try to ban them. Jon Stewart puts it this way. “Why would you not come to a place that great? In fact, it’s why all of our ancestors came to this country, and were themselves originally unwelcome. Because that’s the story of America. From Ben Franklin’s worry that Germans were ruining Pennsylvania, to our 19th century 60-year ban on the Chinese immigrants who had just finished building our rail system, to our very real and justifiable concerns about the Irish, and their insatiable “applying for jobs”.” (Note the last part is sarcasm. You can watch it at the link below)
Stewart puts it a lot better than I can. These are Children. They are not a threat, nor an invasion. They are running from poverty and danger. They have no parents in a strange land wanting help.
While I do understand that there is a problem with just allowing everyone into the country, I don’t think we can just throw these kids back to where they came from. Setting up camps to immunize them and give them places to live is the most humane thing we can do. Sending them back to where they came from will be death for some of them. Many of them will just try again, hoping that someone will care this time.
As a follower of Jesus I have to ask what we can do for the least of these? If all we can do is throw them back to the wolves then you don’t know what Christ taught. Many of you like to throw out verses from Leviticus so here is one. 19:33-34 “‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”
Love them as yourself. I think Jesus said something about that too. That is one of the two great commands. Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Maybe you might ask, “Who is my neighbor”. When you get down to it, it’s everyone you ever see, hear about, etc… Your neighbor is these kids. Start treating them with love. Take care of them and you will have your reward. “’Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
Time to start doing what Jesus asked us to do.

http://dailysignal.com/2014/07/19/6-cities-react-illegal-immigrants-communities/
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865607317/Massachussetts-governor-offers-to-shelter-immigrant-children-Says-the-Bible-inspires-him-to-do-so.html
http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/21/politics/perry-national-guard-border/
http://www.compellingtruth.org/illegal-aliens-immigrants.html
http://www.tucsonweekly.com/TheRange/archives/2014/07/16/daily-shows-jon-stewart-tears-into-protesters-of-migrant-children-shelters

My hand at Bible Translating

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There are so many versions or translations of the Bible out there that it is often hard to really know if one is any better than the next. I once counted mine and I had around 25 different versions in my house.  Each version or translation tries to bring into modern language what the Bible writers were trying to say. So each Bible has bias, good or bad, of the person or people translating it. What they understand and believe will come across in how it is translated. I could not come up with an exact number of translations there are but several sites said there were thousands. So we have thousands of people trying to tell us what they think the Bible writers were trying to tell us when actually they weren’t talking to us at all. They were talking to someone of their day.

What we have to discover is what they said in their time and see if any of it fits into our time. Lately I have been toying with that and have tried to make a few verses more real to people. Some have liked it and some not, but here are a few of what I have tried.

So with the idea of bringing the Bible to modern language, I gave my attempt at a few of the more famous scriptures.

 

When our time began God created the Big Bang. Genesis 1:1

Love mom and dad, so that you may have a good life wherever you live. Exodus 20:12

Jesus told him, “I am the path, the realness, and the full life. No one can come to the Father except doing what I have taught you.” John 14:6

There is neither American nor Russian, neither citizen nor alien, nor is there male and female, nor is there homosexual or straight for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3;28

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and the second is this, Love that dude that cut you off this morning, don’t complain about that bum begging for money, don’t put down that person with different political or religious views, and for Christ sake, don’t be mean on facebook!  Mark 12:30-31

Go and make followers of God, baptize them in the name of God, and teach them to love one another like I loved you and not to follow what church laws you grow up with just because that’s the way you’ve always done it. If you do this, my spirit will be with you always. Matthew 28:19 &20

 For by grace you have been saved through faith; it is the gift of God, and not by following all the rules of the church or what you think everyone ought to do, so stop telling everyone how righteous you are. Ephesians 2:8 & 9

The price of sin is a horrible and lonely life, but the gift of God is a rich spiritual life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

For all have messed up, and remember that includes you and fallen short of what God intended. Romans 3:23

Do not give your opinion about what others are doing, and others won’t go around talking about what you are doing. Do not attack others, and you will not be attacked. Instead forgive and show mercy to those that talk about you and attack you, and you will be forgiven as well. Luke 6:37

Hey everyone, love each other, because love begins from God. Everyone who loves, understands God and truly knows God. Those that say God hates others, or is mean to another in God’s name or is unfair to others using God’s word has no clue, because if God is anything God is LOVE! 1 John 4:7-8

 

So what do you think? Did I miss the mark completely or was I close? Feel free to give it a try for yourself. After all it’s all about trying to understand the authors meaning or meanings the best we can so we can live it today.

Here is a list of the translations available if you are interested. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_Bible_translations