Just Another Rhetorical Sunday

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The alarm goes on this Sunday morning at 7:00am and immediately we hit the snooze. Then the phone rings and we cancel the call to voice mail. We finally roll out of bed around 8:10am (Amber) and 8:32am for me….church starting at 9:00am. We leave the house at 8:55am and run through the Sonic drive-thru for a quick breakfast. We walk in at 9:07am….stating prior to entering, “It’s okay if we’re late; with a church this size, were definitely not the only late walkers!”

It’s just another day of worship; when we come as we are as sinners and leave….mainly just as we came. Why is that? Lets continue….

We come in to a mediocre crowd all looking half asleep with “worship” music that is passion-less (I’m sorry, just my perception/opinion only). Sitting semi-close in the pew I look around at all the dressed up people. Some looking around (like me), and others playing on their electronic devices. I get it, I’m just as guilty at times doing this! In fact, I’m writing this now as the second service is in session! I did however get inspiration to write this from the first service; the same message the pastor is speaking of now! The sermon was good, it gave insight to me; however did it for everyone else? I’m a deep thinker and the little things I tend to get easily and think about deeper; hence why I’m writing this now. 🙂

Why has church become such a rhetorical, mundane experience that is no more (for most people) than a checked box off their to do list? Where has our mindsets gone as Christians where when we used to enter into the house of The Lord, it was reverend, it was reflective, it was exciting….and now; it’s just another day of activities to do! 😦

Service concludes and we’re dismissed to Sunday School; the next greatest let down in the churches today. However, the attendance of this event each week seems to be good; yet the content expressed of the heart during it lacks a pulse. A group of people sitting in a semi-circle reading questions designed from another person to stimulate our spiritual senses….but typically it doesn’t for more than 30 minutes.

I am only describing the general census on church experiences more than griping or even picking on the church. I am speaking specifically as a passionate Christian, who is also a pastor CRAVING to make Christ’s church an Acts passionate church again! We are His; not our own and we need to be vulnerable towards Him when we are there!

If we are fighting sleepiness in God’s house, what does that truly say about our sincerity to Him when we go?? If we can’t go into His house and give our all to Him, what’s the point? It’s all mockery with a lukewarm attitude! You might read this and say to yourself, “How dare he!? I love The Lord and always come to give my all to Him!” Well, my only response to that is simply this: IF HE WATCHES YOUR EVERY MOMENT OF WORSHIP, WOULD HE BE PLEASED AND FEEL HONORED?

Every Sunday that I prepared to preach it felt like an honor to learn deeper about The Lord and His desires for us. What it really means to follow Him and not just pray a prayer to join the family and then live a life sitting on the comfy spiritual couch! We get fat on the absorption of everyone else’s spiritual work & walk and not use it like we’re CALLED to! Never once did Christ call us to come, sit and get fat on His word as not exercise it!

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:19, 20 NKJV)

He didn’t say, “Go and witness to others and once you do, go chill back out on your couch.” He said, “GO therefore and MAKE disciples of ALL NATIONS…” It’s an everyday, every hour, every breath movement of your soul (which is His) to make disciples. Meaning you not only tell people about Jesus, you model Him for them, everyday, every hour, every breath to ensure His cross is being continually carried by His people.

It doesn’t have to be “Just another Sunday”….it can be an every moment excitement to live a real life of freedom! Freedom we have only by the death of Christ on the cross!! So why wouldn’t you want to enjoy every minute worshipping our Father! When you walk in the doors each Sunday, Wednesday or ANYDAY….you should carry these words from Paul:

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. (Philippians 2:1-5 NLT)

The SAME attitude of Christ….in His Father’s house….How’s your attitude been lately?

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Lost & Conditioned Love

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It’s funny to me how life changes as we get older; yet unfortunately there are some desires for change that NEVER happen. Hello, my name is Chad Taylor, I’m 37 years old and I have a dysfunctional parental relationship. “Hello Chad!!”

For the better part of my life, my relationship with my mom, or lack there of at times; defined much of the drama in my life. I even hate to say that, yet the truth is, if there wasn’t any drama there wouldn’t be much to talk about or interactions made. Last night reminded me how much, as I’ve gotten older, I despise the drama at all and would rather evade it all together; even if that ended the relationship permanently.

This shouldn’t be how a mother/son relationship should be. Over time our relationship grew up and we began treating each other like we should. But every seasonal change (as in relationship change), whether it was her and a boyfriend, her and sis or whatever; things just got out of line emotionally with us even though I wasn’t directly involved.

One thing I’m glad The Lord changed in me over time and that was I have not been afraid anymore to admit my wrongness in a conversation, behavior or whatever towards mom. It’s never easy though, because usually the admittance of fault caused the elaborated torture of extenuated pouring of salt being ground into the open wound of humility. I’ve never claimed to be always right in an argument; history would show that it wouldn’t do any good anyway. I have felt that whatever level of healing occurs (if any) at one time, being humble and admitting your mistakes will eventually be appreciated by my Father in Heaven if not by my mother on earth.

Why was I born to be the son of a mother to whom I truly believe is a good woman and has a caring heart; yet empathy and humility evade her towards her adult children? To teach us growing up to remember “Honesty is always the best policy;” yet shows little to no signs of modeling it herself when she’s upset about something or someone?? Who would take and drop us off as kids to go to church, even though she wouldn’t go with us and in my life come to know Jesus Christ and then tell me one time out of anger that she didn’t want that “crap” in her house! 😥

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I don’t desire to spend my entire time blogging and complaining about my mother and I’s lack of a healthy relationship; I simply needed to express the heart break I feel about a prayer unanswered. To think of love as conditional is foreign to me; and to view a real intimate mother/son bond as lost has numbed my senses. Year after year after year; month after month, week after week, and day after day I find myself pondering the “WHY” to the unanswered questions that stem from a now-a-days discussion between us.

The most recent issue stemmed from again a discussion that crossed a boundary I had set with her (even though I don’t believe she respects them or listens to them) about talking negatively towards Dad or Sis. I can empathize her past wounds; I was not a perfect child or even nice to her at times; yet as an adult I have made many efforts to try. I feel as if when I try to empathize both sides of an issue and be an impartial person into the issue; she gets angry with me if I don’t automatically side with her since “I’m her son”. I stated I would not choose sides between she and my sister since there are always two sides to the stories and I was only there to listen and give advice if asked for.

Yet no matter what I do, I am a very evil, non-caring, spiteful, “just like your Dad” son who wishes the worst for her. If I don’t call or text her for awhile, I’ve written her off or don’t care anymore. Who cares if I work 70-80 hours a week and have a family or church life….and most importantly….I HAVE TO INITIATE THE CONTACT! When she does, I always call/text back as soon as I can. But that is few and far between! Come and visit her!? Sure thing, if I am by myself or can spare a day….it’s not that I don’t want to see her….it’s just making the time that satisfies her that makes it difficult. Why can I see my Dad more often at times?? He drives to meet me in Bloomington a lot when I’m there for work….and doesn’t care of its only for 20 minutes! How can one get that across that ANY time is better than no time at all! Am I or my family not worth coming to see instead of us having to go to her??

I want my mother to love me for the me I am today….not remember me for the 12 year old or younger child she has the worst memories of? Jesus Christ has forgiven all my sins and I have asked for her to forgive mine and accept me for me….I love her deeply, I really do, but how can I “honor thy father and thy mother” when there is no honor to see?

If she or anyone else in my family reads this, please don’t judge me. I want our relationship to heal and be healthy, but I don’t want to feel like a target anymore when there should be no ammo shot towards me. Please God, please heal us both….

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Anti-Crack-a-lac-tic!

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Never in my life have I, or will I understand the so called “style” of the “saggin”, “droopy drawers”, or the “booty-boatin” (that last term I made up) that young and unfortunately older adults are sporting. I was negatively inspired today by a guy around his mid-to-upper 20’s who decides to show us more than what was on the menu at Cracker Barrel while eating with my in-laws.

This reaction by my daughter when pointing it out made me realize I wanted to talk about this issue!

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So what’s the deal? Did someone young and lazy get out of bed one day, decided to attempt to put on his pants and got them just up to the lower butt cheeks and fall back to sleep? Then got up and forgot his pants were that way and went on with his day?? It’s unreal how truly unattractive and a sign of pure laziness that is!! No one, IN THEIR RIGHT MIND would want to see that area of a man or boy! Brown streaks to name one; left overs and not to mention the escaped smell for two….and having to watching them fall down, be pulled up, fall down, be pulled up….fall down…etc.

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Why not cut holes in the bottom of a sleeping bag and walk in it? Or maybe a paper bag or trash bag? I know growing up that seeing cute baby’s bottoms were seen as adorable and picture worthy even; yet that was the stopping point! When you were a baby!! Not in your teens and twenties!!

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The downfall to this is you begin to not look any better than the sad senior citizens that can’t help their droopy drawers and even half the time don’t even realize it’s down!

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And what about you parents that actually LET them go out in public like that! I was appalled the other day at the mall when a mom was walking with her daughter as the shorts she was wearing (the daughter) was barely covering her butt cheeks! With each step the cheeks kept popping out and just seeing a glance of it, I felt dirty and like I cheated on my wife! But Dads….DON’T think that trying to be like them or mocking them will help keep them from doing it! You must help them see the idiosyncrasies of their style choice!

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Thank The Lord that many towns and communities are banning the sag effect! The bottom line with this whole issue, in my opinion, is that parents have set the tone for laxidaisy self-awareness of who they are. Identities that are confident and secure are a rarity and the beauty of God’s children have been distorted by a world of fakeness.

God has an abundance of love and admiration for His children; yet the hands and feet of Christ….US have been lacking in servanthood for these youth. If showing their backsides is what they feel they need to do for attention and for validation; then people….IT’S OUR FAULT! Our generation of family and leaders have not seen enough of the VALUE to these youth and for that they are left to go with the world’s acceptance which presumably will die.

Could you love in your actions and verbalization and ATTITUDE these lost kids!? Or does the disgusting feeling you get looking at them make your heart grow cold and your love mute? We need to be the example, not the complaining wedge driving them farther away! Let us campaign to get back the only cute acceptable droopy drawers allowed and the importance of self-identity and love in Christ be the dominant desires of their expressions!

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The Conscious of Delay

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The Conscious of Delay:

We’ve all experienced it at least a thousand times in our lives….
From all dimensions, lands and walks of life; this is a common frustrating strife.
Physically it torments our muscles, confusing the very nature of its tensions of play.
Emotionally it creates a void of blankness that is neither happy or sad; ultimately though it leaves our heart’s spirit a wee bit mad!
Mentally it redefines our reactions to the common sense of our walking; yet numbs the very nerve He gave us to speak our intellectual instead of gawking.
Spiritually though? What is its point? To carry itself within the
realm of the omnipotent one is crass; yet our allowance of its control in our obedience is worse than Judas kissing the Devil’s jackass!
We have a natural conscious of delay that affects our walk both night and day.
We see a need, we see a sin; we hear a groan, we hear us give in.
A moment here, a moment there; lost souls leaving this earth….everywhere
He gives us the drive when we move over ego’s seat; He enriches the fuel within our souls to surpass all frieghtening feats!
Our doubts may be the walls that are built within our brains; yet God is the one with the sledgehammer to break through the world’s pains.
So in the moment, the breath, the blink; be conscious of the delay that places our witness on the brink.
React, move, get on your feet….don’t let another blessing pass due to your own unlocked chains of faithless defeat!
Our conscious of delay is not an “uh”, a “duh”, or a “hmmm”….it’s a excuse with no use to allow the Devil to have the amuse of another soul severed.
Are we going to continue on this path of knowingly letting God’s calling of us go to a busy signal?

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Pope Francis: I am the Tweet…

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There was a time in my life when I questioned if I could ever talk to Jesus or God because I never knew what that really meant. Now that I understand I am a child of His, the realism and intimacy comes easier and I KNOW I can talk to Him at any time. After today, my heart is breaking for approximately 1.2 Billion Catholics.

In my opinion, this news as pictured above, has ripped away the intimacy we had from Christ and gave permission to technology substituting for it. The leader of a group the size of Catholicism, the Pope has driven a deeper wedge between “Christians” and their healing of forgiveness.

Multiple articles have confirmed that Pope Francis has now offered to reduce time in “purgatory” if Catholics follow him on Twitter….other articles word it “Pope Francis will offer plenary indulgences on Twitter….the Pope will start relieving the punishment for your sins via social media.” Am I the only one who feels this is absurd and completely anti-scripture??

Now I realize that by expressing my thoughts on this that many if my friends who are of Catholic background may take offence; however, I pray and plead with those of you who do to take a step back from the emotions and see the reality in what scripture says and how misleading this offer from the Pope is!

Consider this: The articles say that the Pope is going to give “plenary indulgences”….meaning what? It’s described as an act that will lesson one’s time in purgatory. Again, lets look at not the fancy words, but the literal meaning of it all. Plenary means, “Full, complete or entire; attended by qualified members.” Indulgences means, “being lenient or permissive.” So in another words, the Pope is going to offer full leniency on sins if people follow him on Twitter??

Oh, after you follow him, I guess they (those asking for plenary indulgence) have to admit their sins, lift up prayers and THEN attend mass….yep, I remember that scripture!! Since when, being that I’ve always wondered, have we entrusted another sinful man to give submit our sins to for forgiveness?? Wasn’t the curtain of the temple torn when Christ rose from the grave?? (Matthew 27:51)

The tearing of the temple curtain is not just an unusual coincidence. It is a dramatic sign. The Most Holy Place is the inner sanctum of the temple, where God dwells in darkness and mystery. Only one person is allowed beyond the great curtain, and that is the high priest. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, he enters the sanctuary, holding before him the blood of sacrifice for sins. Now, by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, the way into the presence of God is open to all. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews understands that Jesus is the perfect high priest who offers the perfect sacrifice of himself. He opens the way into the holy place of heaven, through the torn curtain of his own body (Hebrews 10:19–20).

Just that scripture alone shows that because of Jesus, to whom we all should share a relationship with, we have direct connection to the Father. Yet emphasis still is given to a MAN, here on earth, surrounded by the same flesh and desires we all struggle with and sin from (Romans 3:23), and tells us that HE will offer his followers pardon from the punishment of theirs sins which have already been “absolved”.

Hmmm….the Apostle Paul stated in 1 Thessalonians 4:6that “…The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you.“. So….how can this man (who isn’t Jesus or God) pardon his followers from the punishment their sin comes with? Why have we become a nation, a world that can place such emphasis on the word of God and then place a MAN in the position clearly contradictive to it? How is this any better than the religious leaders and Pharisees in Jesus’ time? Oh wait! I know! Because they use Christ (and Mary) as their focal reasoning for justification to the twisting of God’s word.

Now I know you might be thinking, “Well, other men of God wrote the Bible, why can’t another man be appointed to lead His people according to the Bible?” Now if that is your similar thought, then consider this: people are appointed by God to lead others for Him, to Him everyday….yet it’s the ones who KEEP to His words and don’t refocus the emphasis given to someone/something else.

Focus: John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. That whosoever believes IN HIM ( not Mary, or the Pope) shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

John 14:6, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

No one…..anyone….can come TO THE FATHER….except through me….Jesus said this, not the Pope…..not Buda, not Ghandi, not the Dali Lama….but Christ….God’s ONLY begotten Son.

Telling someone your sins is confession and is best only for accountability and relieving yourself emotionally somewhat. Confessing to another man who claims to offer “pardon” from that sin’s punishment is, in my opinion, sac religious according to scripture. I don’t see the Pope offering to carry an enormously heavy cross to be crucified for all 1.2 billion Catholics….

And another thing…..social media is cool and all….giving millions an opportunity to reconnect or connect for the first time with old friends, new friends, etc. But when I read the Pope’s intentions through social media…all that is is a popularity contest that’s unfortunately giving millions of sinners an escape from responsibility of their actions, an excuse to sin more and most importantly…..FALSE HOPE.

I wonder who has more followers? The Pope or the Queen??

Find rest in Christ….one-on-one like He asks us to, “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28, 29 NLT)

Read the article referenced:

http://mashable.com/2013/07/16/pope-forgive-sins-twitter/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/one-hell-of-a-deal-pope-francis-offers-reduced-time-in-purgatory-for-catholics-that-follow-him-on-twitter-8713666.html

Frustrated Fatherhood

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“I inherited that calm from my father, who was a farmer. You sow, you wait for good or bad weather, you harvest; but working is just something you always need to do.”
–Miguel Indurain

No one ever said it would be easy; and most told me that I had it coming! Yet each time I look at that beautiful creation God has given Amber and I, I want to hug her and whip her bottom! It has amazed me lately how a 7-year-old can act like a ungrateful teenager!

This is not all the time, but I’m beginning to think that a monster is brewing and I has the lethal combination of my DNA mixed in! (You’re welcome honey!) lol

What do you do when you feel that all your efforts, disciplinary measures, discussions, guidance and redirectives have failed you? When you gently reinforce and get back talk and disrespect. When you have your best ally spending the most time with you and you stomp them verbally instead of hugging them thankfully?

My daughter, named Angel is not always by her namesake. Yet she is an intelligent, beautiful and talented young lady who just likes to stir us up! I’m a frustrated Daddy!! A daddy broken hearted over the actions done behind my back to my partner, my wife and her mother! If we followed through on all the threats we’ve made in frustration; she would have no toys, no nice clothes, no books to read, no mouth to talk out of due to all the duck tape it’d have on it!

But….when you love someone enough and you realize through the heightened emotions that she is just a kid….a 7-year-old kid…..then the grace abounds in hopes a lesson through guilt is learned. I pray so much for my daughter to snap out of this behavior, yet it doesn’t happen for more than a day.

Amber and I have worked hard on trying to rear her appropriately. Yet, the efforts left us feeling defeated. Every normal response is a whine about what she isn’t getting or getting to do. How has it come to this? Where have we gone wrong??

Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.Deuteronomy 4:9

We sometimes forget who our lives and our souls belong to. In return for that forgetfulness, our hearts are led astray when it comes to our children. God is the God of our parental skills and I’d we don’t prayerfully submit them to Him daily or even hourly….Satan will sneak in and gain the glory.

The other area we tend to fail in is giving all the directives to our glories and blessings too God! “…make them KNOWN to your children.” means you tell them over, and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and….(Get the picture?). How will they truly fall in LOVE with Christ in their young lives if WE don’t teach them and REFLECT His greatness in our own lives!!?? If all they hear from us (which we are guilty of) is negative, complaining about life….WHERE IS THE TRUST IN CHRIST we know in our hearts??

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, BUT NOW (emphasis mine) they are holy.1 Corinthians 7:14

The Apostle Paul is emphasising that the husband and wife (Father & Mother) are accountable to each other! If one fails, we all fail and the end result is children become “unclean” or in laymen’s terms….they will stray away from the gift of a loving, intimate relationship with our Lord. Now….as Paul emphasises….they are holy….so as parents we must treat them as such…a GIFT from God:

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward!Psalm 127:3

Lord, please guide and bless us parents who read this and struggle to stay calm when needed; stay focused as directed by you; and show unconditional love and guidance like you do us sinful parents. Make our smiles shine like your spirit, our hearts beat with love in our responses and our ears hear your still small voice of peace when we feel in darkness. In JESUS name I pray…..AMEN.

V.B.S.: Vacation Bible School or “Very Bad STRESS”?

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Tonight began the months of preparation into a 5 evening event many of us have experienced called Vacation Bible School or V.B.S. My lovely wife is the director of her children’s ministry and the ring leader of this. For months hard work, dedication and TIME have been apart of the prayerful success of this ministry opportunity for kids.

But being in ministry, this event as popular as it is, keeps taking a negative down swing to me looking from the inside. What I mean is, why is it so stressful and frustrating to do God’s work….especially for the kids!? Time after time I see all the hard work on planning and prepping turn into tears and fears!

Jesus doesn’t want to see His children come to know Him by a group of stresses out, short-fused or even (Heaven forbid) emotion-less volunteers! Of course the decorations and attention getters are awesome….I mean its for the kids!! However at what cost to yourself is it worth trying to take the reins from God to make YOUR V.B.S. successful over HIS!!?

Who cares if you don’t have the best looking room, coolest costumes or best looking/tasting snacks! What part does Jesus want you to take and time He wants you to spend with those kids? Not the details of the looks, but the HEARTS of those curious seekers!!

So as you read, which I hope you do….pray for my wife’s V.B.S. this week and all the other V.B.S.’s this summer. We are His hands and feet and He will do the work….we just need to give Him the reins for it all! 🙂

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