All scripture is from the ESV translation unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Professing Christian, Practical Atheist

I posted this status a couple days ago on Facebook and wanted to expound more on it.

“Professing Christian, Practical Atheist - someone who says Christ is the Lord of their lives but lives as if there is no God.”

I wanted to bring light to this reality. There are many who claim to be believers but are  children of hell and it is messed up. It’s messed up that some people profess Christianity but live their life in rebellion to the calling of the Christian faith – which is a call to self denial, separation from the ways of the world, and a clinging to Christ as if he truly is your only hope. But I did not post to condemn them and, in turn, elevate myself because I claim to be a believer and the way I live my life testifies to that. I can’t elevate myself above these people because this used to be me.

I’ve been a professing Christian since 7th grade but there was nothing in my life that testified to the fact that I had a relationship with the Creator of the world. I went to church most Sundays and tried not to use the Lord’s name in vain but my God was my pleasure. Hedonism – the religion of America. I stopped going to church in December of 2007 until the following April when my friend invited me to their church and that night I had an encounter with God. I do not remember any of the songs played or the message that was preached but I remember realizing for the first time that there was something deeply wrong with me and that my pursuit of pleasure would never satisfy me; the only thing that could satisfy me was knowing God. He was real and was drawing me to himself.

I by no means stopped sinning then, but since then I have seen very strongly what the Bible calls “sanctification”, or growing in likeness to Christ, happen in my life. No longer am I a child of hell – I am a son of the one true King.

In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul writes, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Christ Jesus is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” I also write this post to challenge you with the question of “is this me?” To those who profess faith in Christ, is there any evidence in your life that you are a child of God? Have you seen growth in your desire for the things of God and your hatred of sin? Answer this question humbly. If the answer is no, I exhort you to get on your knees and pray to God – “Do I even know you?” Then open up a bible (or go to or just download the “youversion” app if you have a smart phone) and read Romans 1:18-3:23. Understand the depths of your wickedness and your inability to gain the approval of God. You need him. This is not me saying “I think your life would be better if you believed this” – I’m saying you have a rebel heart and you need curing from that or you will die and spend eternity in hell separated from a holy God. God sent his son Jesus to the earth and he lived a perfect life and died to pay the penalty that you deserved and then was resurrected to show that death had no hold on him. And now death has no hold on those who believe in him either. Apart from faith in Jesus you will never know or see God and I do not desire this for you. I write this to those of you who profess Christianity, that you might examine your lives to see if you’re living as if there is no God as I was. If so, take heart; He saved me in the midst of my hypocrisy and he can save you too.

Romans 5:8
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Truth That Changes Everything

If there was one post of mine that I’d ever want you to read, it’d be this one. Please read it. I want to share with you an objective truth (not just “my opinion”) that is one of the major driving forces behind nearly everything I do, and it is this:

One day you are going to stand before God and face judgment, either when you die or when Jesus comes back (whichever happens first). After judgment you will either spend eternity in heaven or in a real place called hell. There’s no purgatory where you will pay some time for your sins then go to heaven. There’s also no time to change your mind about what you believe during your life once you’re standing before him (Hebrews 9:27). You need to decide during this lifetime what you will believe, and there is only one belief that leads to heaven, and it is this:

God is holy and perfect and he created us to be in a relationship with him. We can find happiness in many things in life, but lasting satisfaction only comes from a relationship with him. But here’s the thing about man which you surely know – we are messed up. There’s something wrong with us for we know the good we ought to do yet we frequently don’t do it. The bible calls this sin. Because we have sinned we are incapable of having a relationship with God and are deserving of eternal separation from him in hell. He would be completely just to send us there.

But do you remember what I said earlier? “He created us to be in a relationship with him”. He desires this. So what did God do? He said, “I will take the punishment they deserve so that they can experience this relationship and serve me.” God sent his Son in the flesh to live the perfect life and die for the sins of the world. John puts it so eloquently when he writes, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus lived the life that you couldn’t, died for you, and then was RESURRECTED FROM THE GRAVE showing that death had no dominion over him. Belief in this good news is the only way you can have eternal life.

The only way. You will not get into heaven by going to church every Sunday or even by being kind to every person that you meet. “But didn’t Jesus that the most important thing was to love your neighbor as yourself?” No, he said that was the second most important thing. The most important thing is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind (see Matthew 22:36-39). If you love God you will love others (see 1 John 4:19). Salvation comes through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 2:8-9). Please consider this truth. It changes everything.

Scripture referenced:

Hebrews 9:27
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.

Matthew 22:36-39
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

1 John 4:19
We love because he first loved us.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

God, In His Sovereignty, Has Placed You Exactly Where He Wants You

In November of 2011 I suffered a strain in my right hip flexor and what should have been a minor injury has now turned into a year and a half of 0 physical activity for me. It's kept me from doing many things I wanted to do like attending A&M football games, playing for Dozen Ultimate, and being able to labor physically while in Honduras last summer. In addition to all of this, one of the biggest pains for me was having to turn down a job at Pine Cove this summer, where I have wanted to work since I first went there after freshman year of high school. Today God showed me one reason why he kept me from working there.

I am currently teaching Spanish at a local summer school in Dallas and have been laboring to preach the gospel in my actions and have been praying for opportunities to preach the gospel verbally to my students. I have had conversations here and there about Jesus and my faith with my new batch of students that I got last week but today was HUGE. The topic of dating came up and I spoke about what I wanted my marriage to be like/the qualities I desired in a wife. I spoke about Ephesians 5, "love your wife as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her." I said plainly that that was my desire. To love a woman like that. I apparently have lost sight of exactly how countercultural aligning yourself with scripture is. My students were blown away. One girl said to me, "Talking to you makes me want to start going to church again." Another guy in my class echoed this. I will never forget those words. This opened up a big fat door for me and I began to preach to them the gospel and talk about salvation for a good 20 minutes.

Pine Cove is an incredibly ministry and I am who I am today because of that camp, but God said to me, "I'm going to put you somewhere where, if you weren't there, the people you'll come into contact with would not hear the Good News of Jesus Christ." I am not sure if my ministry here will save any souls for the Kingdom of God but my job is not to save people anyways. My job is to plant seeds, which by God's grace I have faithfully done and will continue to do. I am praying earnestly that God will give growth to these seeds and that eternal destinies would be changed. I ask that you pray for this too. Please. Thank you.

Be encouraged by this. Learn from me what I have learned from God - that God, in His sovereignty, has placed you exactly where he wants you. Look at the people that God has sovereignly placed in your life. Preach the gospel to them in word and in deed. Please. They may have never met someone who was truly following Christ, and it might change their life or even more importantly their eternity.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Loving Homosexuals

Before anything else, I want to make clear that this is not a “Is homosexuality a sin?” post. I stand firm on the side that homosexuality is a sin. If you’re torn on this issue, I encourage you to listen to this sermon: I used to be on the other side of the issue mainly because that’s what I wanted to believe but when I humbly sought the truth, God revealed it to me in power.

This issue is one that is very close to my heart because I have several friends and relatives who are homosexuals, including my Aunt Win who passed away when I was in 7th grade and was easily the most selfless, caring person that I have ever met. It pains me that many of these people have been pushed so far away from Jesus because of the way they have been treated by those who claim to follow him, and that’s why I feel the need the write this post. While it seems that Christians could easily deduce how to treat those living in the sin of homosexuality by simply studying the Word of God, it has become increasingly apparent to me that many who bear the name of Christ are oblivious on this issue.

1 John 4:19 is a verse that is simple, meaningful, and yet ignored. It reads, “ We love because he first loved us”. That is, the true ability to love can only come from one who has experienced the love of God. The implication of this is that those who are in Christ are able to love others more fully and servant-heartedly than those who do not know Jesus. Why is it, then, that so many homosexuals characterize Christians as “hateful”? How did we miss this? It’d be bad enough if they said “Oh yeah, Christians are nice. I’m not really great friends with any, though”, but we are in fact on the opposite extreme of where we should be!

Many Christians, especially in the south, were raised in homes where homosexuality was set apart as a sin that was far more condemning than others. There are alcoholics who condemn homosexuals for being “against God” while they fail to heed Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 5:18 – “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” These people have committed two sins – drunkenness and being ashamed of the word of the Lord (Luke 9:26) – yet in their opinion they have a better standing with God than homosexuals. To have any hope for breaking ground in this area, we must revisit the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

At one point, we were all broken, sinful, bent away from God, and unrighteous. Because of our sin, we were separated from God in the present day and headed on a path leading to eternal separation – and well deserving of this fate. Yet, for a reason I will never understand, God made a way for us to have a relationship with him. He sent himself in the flesh to live the perfect life (that his sacrifice might be acceptable), die on a cross, and be resurrected (to show that death could not defeat him), so that whoever believes in him shall not perish in hell but have eternal life in heaven with God, not because of works of righteousness that you have done but according to his MERCY and GRACE (John 3:16, Titus 3:5).

The reasoning behind God loving us so is incomprehensible to me, but in this way he sets the example for how we should love others (as seen in 1 John 4:19) – with love that people cannot explain or understand. I dream of a day when, when asked about their thoughts on Christians, homosexuals will say , “It’s weird. I have friends that have no problem with my lifestyle who are great friends, but my best friends are Christians. They do not agree with many of my choices, but they love me in a way that I can’t comprehend.”

For an example of this love, we need look no further than the woman at the well in John 4. She too was caught in sexual sin and Jesus came to her and told her, “Come to me and drink from my well of living water. I love you. I know of all your sin but I do not hold it against you.” Jesus not only told us to love, he showed us how. Let us follow his example.

By now I’m hoping you understand that we, as followers of Jesus, should treat homosexuals no differently than someone else who does not have a relationship with Jesus. The challenge is to put that into practice. If you have animosity built up towards homosexuals, it needs to be addressed because it is a hindrance to the gospel. In addition to pushing away homosexuals, a friend of yours who struggles with this sin will certainly keep his struggles to himself out of fear of your judgment. There is too much at stake for you to revel in your false convictions that homosexuals are somehow worse than you were before you knew Jesus.

The phrase, “love the sinner, hate the sin” is a great dictation of what this whole post is saying. The aforementioned conviction is such an issue because it is what I would call “rejection of the sinner”. While nearly all people see this as bad, you must understand that “acceptance of the sin” is just as bad. This came to my attention when I read a letter online from a lesbian to her church that said, “for those who tell us that what we’re doing is okay, you give us no hope.” For homosexuals in your congregation who desire to follow Jesus, you must tell them about God’s thoughts on the issue, but do so in love. For those who do not desire to follow him, your focus should not be on their sin at all. Even if they stopped having sexual relations with people of the same gender, they will go to hell if they don’t know Jesus. Your job is to preach the gospel to them... just like everyone else who doesn’t know him!

Lay your imperfections at the cross and pray that God will love through you. Remind me, Christian, was it hate that saved you?

I live in an adulterous and sinful generation. Without you, I am no better than the rest. Make me aware of my brokenness, in effect tearing down any pride I may have. Oh, if we loved how you first loved us – where your kingdom would go. Love through me, Dad. I desire to love others with a capacity that can only be explained by the Creator of the Universe dwelling inside of me. Then they will see you. I pray all of this in faith and in the name of your son Jesus who was victorious over sin and death,

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Sovereign Lord Works Everything for His Glory

For those that haven’t heard, there was a fertilizer factory that exploded in West, Texas last week (the video can be seen here: Many people helped out simply because they felt badly for the victims, but I know that given my naturally wicked heart, I would have no desire to serve people who were suffering if I did not know Jesus. Perhaps I’d donate some clothes than I didn’t need anyways, but that’s about all the goodness I could muster up by my lonesome. When I met Jesus, though, all of that changed. Now my life is 100% about making his glory known, as the life of every person who says Jesus is their Lord should be. My roommate, his brother, and I drove to West on Saturday to serve people not in the name of humanitarian sympathy, but in the name of Jesus. We have been shown compassion, therefore we show compassion.

We had no idea what the needs would look like when we got there, so we just prepared to do a lot of physical labor. We hardly did any. All the blocks that were deeply effected were blocked off so we could not help there, but we heard that those affected were told to go to a Catholic center in the town to talk to insurance companies, receive counseling, etc., so we went there to help out in whatever way we could. Throughout the day we did a lot of minor tasks (directing parking, carrying food around, etc.) but we were able to talk to a couple victims and hear their story. The main reason I am writing this blog post is because I want to share with you the story of a lady whom we will call Sarah (for the sake of confidentially).

Sarah does not live very close to the fertilizer plant but she was with her son, his wife, and his 10-month-old baby at the park (shown above) because her son was playing basketball. They were in their car (about 500 feet from the plant), which was parked somewhere in the yellow area in the picture, and had been watching the plant (because it was on fire before the explosion) when it happened. She heard the loudest sound she had ever heard and everything went black. She looked around and there were people on the ground surrounded by blood, many of which were probably dead. The firefighters that had been outside the plant spraying down the fire were now nowhere to be seen. Their car was destroyed and there were parts of it scattered all around, yet somehow the four of them in the car had survived. When her son saw that everyone was still alive, he cried out, “God! You exist!” Sarah too was unable to credit their survival to anything but the existence and grace of God. I weep over the fact that this tragedy happened, but I want my fellow Christians to take heart that the Lord was glorified through this event. No one in Sarah’s family was a follower of Jesus, but now they cannot deny him because they have seen him perform a miracle in their life (which is yet a small thing for God (see 2 Samuel 7:18-19)). The disaster relief organization there is working to get them involved in a local church and I pray that they would come to saving faith in Jesus Christ (which, in fact, is far more than just a belief in the existence of a God or in the existence of Jesus of Nazareth as a person (see James 2:19)) if they have not already.

In the midst of chaos the sovereign Lord still works everything for his glory and is no less worthy of praise.


Verses Referenced
2 Samuel 7:18-19
18 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? 19 And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God

James 2:19
19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!