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The Clipboard (Are you known in Hell)

The Clipboard

ASSIGNMENT:  Read Acts 19 

BRIEFING:  As we do our tour of duty there are often times people that we know quite well.  Those are the people that often times we deal with on a regular basis, the “frequent flyers”.  We have dealt  with them a plethora of times and often times on different types of calls.  Well, believe it or not those in society also remember and know certain officers that they have dealt with.  Some maybe in a positive note and others in a not so positive note.  However, people are known by us and we are known by people. 

THE STREET:  In the book of Acts chapter 19 the Apostle Paul was performing many miracles in the city of Ephesus as he proclaimed the gospel of Christ there.  One of the things that Paul was doing was casting out evil spirits.  A group of Jews who were the sons of Sceva, a person who identified himself as a Jewish priest went around from town to town casting out evil spirits.  They tried to use the name of Jesus while doing this saying “in the name of Jesus who Paul preaches, come out!”  On this one occasion the evil spirit spoke back saying “ I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?”  The evil spirit then attacked the young men, battering them causing them to run away from the house.

The evil spirits were proclaiming that they knew Jesus, because of Jesus’s divinity, of course Jesus is the one who created everything and defeated hell, death and the grave.  They were acquainted with Paul as a servant of Jesus because of the impact that Paul was having for the kingdom of God.  Paul was causing havoc in this spiritual war, and many were coming to Christ and many evil spirits were being cast out.  Paul as a servant of Christ was a threat to the kingdom of hell, to the enemy, to the evil in this world.  So, these evil spirits were acquainted with him, they knew who he was.

Some officers are well known in their community, they have made a positive impact in the community.  They are well known by the criminal element of society because of the impact they have had on crime.

However, my question to all officers of faith is: are you known by the enemy (Satan)?  Do you have a spiritual impact on your community, or in the area that you work in, that the enemy knows you. Would the enemy say “Jesus I know and (Insert your name) I know, but who are you”. Or would you be the “who are you” of this verse? 

OFFICER SAFETY:  We need to ask ourselves do I have a spiritual impact on my community, on my place of employment?  What would the devil say about your life?  Do they know you like they know Jesus and knew the Apostle Paul.  Does the evidence of your life lead the way to Christ thus making the enemy notice you.

INVESTIGATIVE RESOURCES:  Romans 12:22, Galatians 1:10, Matthew 22:37, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Matthew 6:33, Matthew 6:24, Mathew 7:21-23

 

 

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Radical Christianity

Being a follower of Christ is not for the faint of heart.  However, you would never know that today.  You see we have taken Christianity and have made it into a moderate religion, which is just what the world likes.  However, Christianity in its purest form is a radical relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is radical in every sense of the word.  It is radical in love for God and love for others.

It is radical in that God became a man a dwelt among us.  It is radical in that God loves us so much that He sacrificed His one and only Son so that we can spend eternity with Him.  It is radical that Jesus not only died for our sins, but He rose from the dead on the third day.

It is radical in that Jesus said that in order for us to be his disciple we must take up our cross and follow Him.  He said that whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life will find it.  (Matthew 16:24)

It is radical in that Jesus said that not only is murder wrong, but being angry with your brother and sister is wrong.  Not only is adultery wrong, but looking at someone and lusting after them is wrong.  It is radical in that Jesus said that we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

It is radical in that Jesus wants all of you and not just a part.  He doesn’t desire for us to follow Him half heartily.  He says that we must deny ourselves, we must give everything we have and are to Him, we must sacrifice ourselves as a living sacrifice to Him.

It is radical in that we must not only be willing to die for Him, we must be willing to live for him.  Pure Christianity is radical in that it Loves.  It loves those that are un-loveable, it loves those that are broken, and it loves those that are living in sin.  It loves all people, no matter of race, creed, or sexual orientation.

It is radical in that it is the ONLY way to heaven.  It is radical in that we MUST, (it is not an option) love God with ALL our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind and we MUST love everyone, as much as we love ourselves.

We have taken this radical relationship with Christ and have made it into a moderate religion then we wonder why the world is the way that it is.  We are more interested in being accepted by the world, applauded by the world and being friends with the world that we have become just like the world.

Being radical means that you are very different from the usual or the traditional.  It means to be extreme.  The world doesn’t need another usual or traditional religion. It needs a radical relationship with the person who turned this world right side up, JESUS.

Be radical for Jesus!

#TellTheWorld #LiveLove #JesusIsTheOnlyWay #JesusSaves #RadicalForJesus

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I Found Jesus! (My story)

At the age of 16 I found Jesus, and my life has never been the same.  My first 16 years of my life brought me to the point to where I was ready to except the One who died for me.  Those years were filled with a plethora of hurt, confusion, and just plain being lost.  Now that’s not to say that I have no good memories, because I do but it was all these things combined that led me to find Jesus.

Most people don’t know that I was growing up in a migrant family, there were seven of kids and my mom and dad.  I don’t remember much of those days but I know that we traveled to different states working in the fields.  I remember that both of my parents were very hard working people and did their best to provide for us kids.

When I was three years old my dad died leaving my mother to raise seven children on her own.  I cannot imagine what it must have felt like for my mom.  To have lost the love of her life (they had been together since they were both very young) and to be left with seven kids.  I’m sure she went through a myriad emotions mourning the loss of my father and wondering how she would be able to provide for seven children.  It must have been difficult but none the less she managed.

A short time after my father passed away we moved to Marion.  I remember living at 10th and Branson for a short time and then moving to a house at 30th and Branson then eventually moving to 2708 S. Gallatin, were I lived for most of my childhood.

Of course a single mom with seven kids, life was difficult for us.  We weren’t rich and didn’t have an abundance of money but mom worked hard and provided the necessities of life.  We always had a roof over our head, food on the table and cloths to wear.

Growing up without a father was difficult, but I had older brothers to look up to and that is what I did.  I always struggled with my identity, who was I, why was I here and what is my life all about were often times questions that filtered through my mind.

While growing up, I was often times confused, lonely and never felt excepted.  Now don’t take me wrong, I knew my mother loved me and I always felt excepted by my family, but it was the issue that many kids go through.  Being excepted by your peers.  I often times didn’t feel good enough, or rich enough to be excepted.  I will always remember the times that I would be made fun of because maybe I didn’t have the popular shoes, the popular clothing or the popular games. So I tried to forge my own image and my own way.

Now there are things that I did that I am not proud of and to some it may not seem that bad, but the road it was leading me down was nothing but trouble.  I remember starting off stealing cigarettes from my parents and smoking them at a very young age.  You see I wanted to be cool so this is what I did.  I remember the first time I ever smoked a joint (marijuana) I was in the sixth grade.  It was at that time that I felt as if I was cool because other kids my age were not doing that.

A significant thing that happened to me was something that I will never forget.  I was walking home from school, I was in 6th grade, and as me and my friends walked through this field, the owner of the field began yelling at us to get off his property.  Of course, trying to be cool I began to yell back at him and started cussing at him.  I’ll never forget what happened next,  he grabbed me by my shoulders and looked me dead in the eyes and he told me that I would never amount to anything, that I was nothing but a piece of “shit” and I would be in jail by the time I was eighteen.

These words he said penetrated my most inner being, and I believed every word he said about me.  From that day forward I felt as if my path had been set and I would never amount to much.  There was no hope for me so I started living my life the way it had been described to me.

I was confused, not knowing where to go in my life, so I looked at my brothers and although they were much older, I began to pattern my life after them.  By the time I was in eighth grade I was already doing things that the kids in high school or college were doing.  I was drinking, smoking and using marijuana.  There were even times when I would go to school drinking.  My life was going downhill just as that man had predicted.

In order to make some money I began to steal candy from the store and selling it at school.  I remember some kids bragging about doing drugs so I remember stealing cold medicine and selling to kids as if the cold medicine was “speed”.  I also remember breaking open packages of Lipton Tea, rolling it up like a joint and selling to some of the kids at school.  I couldn’t fit in so I tried to be the bad kid, the tough kid, and the kid who would prove that man right.

My heart was hardening, even at that young age.  Fighting was no big deal to me, you see my brothers were tough, they were drinking smoking, doing drugs and I wanted to be just like them.  So I started to go down that road.  I don’t blame my brothers for my choices, because they were my choices, I chose to do what I did.

By the time I reached 9th grade I had a little bit of reputation.  My best friend’s mother hated the fact that he hung around me.  I was a “bad influence” on him.  But still, we were best friends and we did everything together.  He was the money man (he had a paper route) and I had the connections so we made a good team.

During this whole time however there was always a war waging within me.  I was confused, not knowing where my life was going or were I wanted it to go.  I felt that I was destined for failure because of what I was told in that field, but I was always hoping for something better.

While I was growing up we were Catholic and would go to church every once in a while.  I did my communion in the Catholic church and was at one time an alter boy.  Also, while growing up we were often times visited by a Mennonite pastor and we would sometime go to his church.

However, church was never a big part of my life, until the day I found Jesus.  So here I was, a young, confused, lonely boy searching to be accepted, and loved.  Being told that my life was worthless and believing it.  My life was headed down the wrong road and unless something happened I would end up in jail.

However, God has a plan.  He used my best friend’s mother to reach me, and she probably doesn’t even know it.  You see she was a Christ follower and she would make her kids go to church.  One Saturday she made my best friend go to church so he asked me to go with him.  Of course I said no until he bribed me.  I owed him some money for some weed so he told me that if I went with him I wouldn’t have to pay him the money back.  I thought well that is a good way to get out of paying a debt.  So I told him I would go.

It was a youth service and the youth group was a decent size group with plenty of girls.  I had remembered being told that if you wanted an easy girl, to hook up with a church girl because some of them can be pretty wild.  So I made a bet with my friend, that I would be able to “hook” up with one of these church girls.

So that is why I started to go to church, because of the girls.  It started with going to youth service on Saturday and then I started going on Sunday morning, Sunday Night and Wednesday night.  I was determined to win my bet with my friend.

One Wednesday, my friend and I talked about going to church, and at the last minute we decided to go, hoping that we could talk to some of the girls there.  God had a different plan, the girls we were trying to talk to were not there and we had taken the bus to church so we stayed for the service.

I will never forget that service.  Pastor Jerrell Gallaway was preaching and he preached about the end times and the rapture of the church.  During his sermon he yells that rapture can happen this quick and he smacked the podium and the lights went on and off.  I looked at my friend, and he looked at me.  I can honestly say that I was scared, I did not want to miss the rapture, I did not want to spend eternity in hell, I did not want to be unprepared for the judgement.  Pastor Gallaway gave the alter call and asked if we were ready.  I knew I wasn’t, I knew my life was a mess and I had never accepted Christ.  I knew that if I was to die that day that I would spend eternity in hell or if the rapture was to take place, I would be left behind.

I raised my hand, and then he asked those that raised their hands to come forward.  I sat there, my heart was beating fast, my hands were wet with sweat, and I felt this tugging.  I went forward that night and prayed the sinner’s prayer.  I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and to come into my heart.

As I knelt there, Jesus took this lost, confused and hurting boy and he rescued me.  He rescued me from the path that I was going.  He gave my life purpose, He gave me hope, and he transformed my life.

At the age of 16 I found Jesus and my life has never been the same.

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Hitting the Target

cropped-me-with-m16.jpgThe closer you are to a target, the easier it is to hit it..

One of my favorite pastimes is to go target shooting.  I have noticed, and most shooters will tell you that the closer you are to the target the easier it is to hit the target.  I may not always hit the bullseye but I miss a lot less.

When you juxtapose Christianity and target shooting you will see the similarities.  In Christianity, just like in target shooting, the closer you are to the target the easier it is to hit the target.  You see sin is nothing more than missing the mark (target)

We all struggle with missing the target (sin) in our walk with Christ so the way to correct that is to get closer to the target.  Getting closer to Jesus (target) doesn’t necessarily mean that you will never sin, but it does mean that you can miss the mark a lot less.

If there are areas in your life that you struggle with,  areas in which you are missing the mark, then get closer to Jesus.

#TellTheWorld #JesusLovesYou #JesusIsTheOnlyWay

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My Coffee Cup

Like many people this morning I came into work and of course one of the first things I had to do was get a cup of coffee.  Of course for me, unlike others, one cup of coffee is normally all I drink.  So I sat my stuff down by my desk and I saw my coffee cup sitting on my desk.  As I picked up my cup I noticed that the outside of the cup was nice and clean (spotless), however the inside of the cup was dirty with yesterday’s coffee stains.  Now before people think that I am gross, when I finish my morning coffee I normally just sit my coffee cup down on my desk and I do not wash it.  However I do wash it the next morning before I put my new coffee in it.

As I looked at the cleanliness of my coffee cup (the outside), and then how dirty it was on the inside, I thought to myself how this sometimes reflects our lives.  Many of us go around making sure that the outside of our cup looks clean.  We act the right way, say the right things, we often times act like everything thing is going great, but the reality of the matter is that the inside of our coffee cup is stained with yesterday’s stuff, and it’s often times dirty.

I thought about how much work we put into making sure that everything is nice, neat and clean on the outside but we often time neglect the inside.  Just like the inside of our coffee cup the inside of our lives are often time stained with sin and everyday life, yesterday’s coffee.

So as I took my coffee cup to get it refilled, I washed the inside of the cup to remove the stains and filth.  Isn’t that what we should do daily with our lives?  We get up every day and make sure that the outside of our lives (outside of the cup) is clean, but how often do we make sure that the inside of our lives (inside the cup) is clean.

The Psalmist David said “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalms 51:2 NIV)

“Scrub away my quilt, soak out my sins in your laundry”. (Psalms 51:2 Message Bible)

Just like the water cleaned out the inside of my coffee cup this morning, God can help you in cleaning the inside of your life.  Let God scrub away your guilt and soak out your sins in His laundry, so that both the inside and outside of our coffee cup can be clean.

 

 

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