Denial of Invitation: No-Ga Yoga!

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Yoga pants….a comfortable wearing, pant-like, workout attire designed especially for the natural movements for yoga and exercising.   Amazing enough this blog, if you are a fan of them or even wear them a lot, will NOT be a favorite read.  For the purpose they were designed for….they are awesome.   For all other uses and wearing of them outside the designed areas of intent….is society’s acceptable way of introducing sexuality or even pornography into everyday life.

Geez Chad,  that’s pretty harsh.  Yep, you dang right it is and YES it is my obvious opinion of the topic; but as a man attempting to keep his eyes and his mindset pure for Jesus’ sake, ladies….please understand.

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With sex all around us, it’s hard enough to keep our thoughts centered on good things.  The issue here isn’t though my natural male struggle to keep sexual thoughts from oozing out of my ears; it’s the dignity of the lady….the woman….the image young girls see and accept.  This is a BOUNDARY PROBLEM!  Gaurantee if a male pays more attention than you might feel you wanted from your flaunting butt cheeks and private parts; you’ll call out sexual harassment or boundary violations to men.  Ladies and women in general….if you go out of the intended environment those pants or the like we’re designed for….you are putting yourself as a sheep among wolves.

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It’s one thing to feel proud of your body and confident in your looks;  it’s another to sexualize yourself in front of the men you so desire to gain acceptance from.  When you do, you draw the self esteem you want from the inwardly, to the outwardly where that’s all our eyes are drawn to!

Young girls in high school,  to mothers and even grand-mothers are flaunting this look.  If you want men to constantly think of you sexually instead of who you are inside….keep wearing them.  But as a man who desires to serve the Lord over all else;  this angers me if you wear them and you are a Jesus follower.  Who are you representing when you flaunt your body parts with only a thin layer of material “hiding” (LOL)….your private parts?

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Think of it this way:

1 Corinthians 8:9-10 NLT

But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. For if others see you—with your “superior knowledge”—eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol?

What’s your idol you may ask according to this verse?   Well….your body.  When your body’s image trumps the Modesty that the Lord desires of us, it’s seen as an idol.   It’s importance is shown higher in priority than God’s.   Then, as the scripture finishes, “won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol? ”  Meaning your body will be devoured mindfully and possibly physically by those weaker in conscience.  Abused, lusted after, judged for…..as we men must be accountable to our actions and mindsets; you as created women of God should as well.

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How could this viewpoint be true?  ONLY if these weren’t meant for a bedroom with a husband & wife!   Otherwise all they should be meant for is yoga!!

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Again, I know that there is some positive views of these looks for women (and yes men too…even though, YUCK comes to mind).  But for some, I only wish that someone loved them enough to tell them who’s child they are and to stop trying to be someone they are not.

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Dignity, respect and spiritual confidence is the key in my opinion.  God doesn’t want us to sell ourselves short and let the world mis-interpret who we are as Jesus followers.  Ladies who read this can get defensive or even annoyed with my thoughts of this and that is fine.   However I want to view your heart and mind before my flesh, which will always be weak while in the world. ..it’s home, sees you sexually.  I’m not embarrassed to admit my weakness before anyone.   I’m a man, I’m human and born into the flesh.   My spirit is not of this world and I’ll do or say whatever is necessary to protect its purity before my Father in Heaven.  So I pray this blog will make you rethink your image of you as a yoga pants wearer in public.  If you aren’t, then pray earnestly for the young and older ladies alike that need a Savior to see their image as pure and carry themselves like they are before God and His other children.  🙂

1 Timothy 4:12 NLT

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.

Psalms 86:11 NLT

Teach me your ways, O  lord , that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.

1 Peter 3:4 NLT

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.

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I love you all…..stay praying about this…..

A Joke for Jesus

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I have been a believer for almost 22 years of my life.   In that 22 years I have tested God numerous times and have felt I have abused the “all have fallen short of the glory of God” verse.  Yet with all my history of mistakes and shame I’ve overcome; the one behavior I have despised the most within myself and others is when Jesus is a joke.  What do I mean by this?  Simple. ..when you claim Jesus as your Lord and Savior and act as if it’s a joke,  not an honor.

This wasn’t a reality to me until one stupid night I had in college.  She and I were both highly involved in the campus ministry.  She and I were on and off dating, searching for what we really wanted….but God HAD to be involved.   She and I decided to have sex one night wrecklessly in my dorm room….then Jesus slapped me HARD in the face as His picture hung right above my bed and I locked eyes with Him in the middle of my poor choice.

You see,  it’s one thing to claim to live for Him, it’s another to actually LIVE for Him as the word describes:

Luke 14:26 NIV

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.”

It’s a deeper sacrifice that many, if any, could even compare.  What breaks my heart the most is to watch those in the church….the place where Jesus should be shown the most, make a joke out of their commitment and service to Him towards others seeking Him.  What’s even worse is they don’t even realize they are being this way.  It’s become the “norm”….the proverbial box where Jesus has been put in the human mind’s limited and fearful interpretations of the truth in God’s word.

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With our human frailties and narrowed minded views, we give an often smaller picture of how awesome Jesus is to others.  It’s then typically described base solely upon that individual’s time spent studying about Him.  How can we feel comfortable about limiting Jesus this way?  Haven’t we had plenty of loving encouragement and strict warnings about the importance of following His words?

Revelation 3:15-18, 20 NIV

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.  You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.  I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.    Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

What part of lukewarm do we not understand?   Let alone the meaning and purposeful description of Him SPITTING YOU OUT OF HIS MOUTH!?  In the same latter verses, He states that He stands at our door and knocks…. Who when they knock at our door do we not go to answer it?  Then He will come in and dine(eat) with us, and we will dine(eat) with Him! Yet we would like to stand Him in the doorway, have meaningless conversations with Him at an arms distance. This is not what He desires for us, so why do we constantly do this??

Here’s what I think:  I think we are so comfortable with the Jesus SEEN in professed “Christians” that we have lost a drive to dig deeper and live more obedient to the Jesus of the Word.  Jefferson Bethke, writer of the book “Jesus > Religion” states:

“The Jesus of the Bible is a radical man with a radical message, changing people’s lives in a radical way. In the Scriptures, Jesus isn’t safe. No one knew what to do with him. The liberals called him too conservative, and the conservatives called him too liberal. I mean, think about it: His first miracle was turning water into wine. He made a whip of leather and went UFC on people who’d pimped out his father’s temple. He completely disregarded any social, gender, or racial boundary his society imposed. He called himself the Son of God. He called himself the judge over everyone, determining who goes to heaven and hell. He said things like, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” That’s dangerous— and weird.”

We are NOT meant to be of this world when we accept Jesus as our Savior.  We are meant to be as radical and obedient and sacrificial as Peter and Andrew were when Jesus approached them and simply said,  “Come, Follow me….”(Matthew 4:19).  They left their homes, families and livelihoods and followed the Savior.  Why are we unable to do more of that today?  LIVE that in LOVE with Jesus today??

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This kind of mockery of His personality and who He IS gives others who are seeking the “jokester” attitude.   Now granted, the picture above is funny to read….but the meaning behind it is purposeful.  Everything Jesus was ever reported to have said or did was on purpose and for our benefit.   The Apostle Paul meant whole heartedly what he wrote in our needing to have the attitude of Jesus:

Philippians 4:8 NLT

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

How hard is it to fix your thoughts on those things?  I know for me that I cannot always fix my mind on those things….but I know this because our bodies, minds, thoughts,  etc; are all corrupted because of the sin we’ve been born into.  We all fall short, as mentioned before, yet some believe their specks in their eyes aren’t really logs either.   Here I am, 38 years old and part-time pastoring….and killing bugs.  My passion is to serve.  My desire is to be His hands and feet.  My wish is to lead a community in revival…in a church body.

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When Jesus knew He was to be betrayed soon and ultimately die, He went to a quiet place to pray and be with His Father.  The anguish caused Him to sweat blood (See the beautiful picture above–Luke 22:44).  My craving to be rid of these human burdens and weaknesses is so great; I reflect upon this vision of Jesus and His emotional state.  I don’t want to be a joke.  I don’t want to change His words to my own; even though I know in some ways I always will because I’m human.

To many church leaders of the old traditions see my ministry as a kind of joke.   Being divorced is already a strike of unrighteousness.   To serve as a leader I must be dang near perfect I guess; as if being married to one for 20+ years is a prerequisite.   To teach the word of God you must be seen as a well balanced man or woman with very little faults or known sins.  Even though Jesus can be less emphasized and “watered-down” by those unable to know the depth of real repentive grace.

I guess these people were a mistake God made for His work:

~Noah was a drunk

~ Abraham was too old

~ Isaac was a daydreamer

~ Jacob was a liar

~ Leah was ugly

~ Joseph was abused

~ Moses had a stuttering problem

~ Gideon was afraid

~ Samson had long hair and was a womanizer

~ Rahab was a prostitute

~ Jeremiah and Timothy were too young

~ David was an adulterer and a murderer

~ Elijah was suicidal

~ Isaiah preached naked

~ Jonah ran from God

~ Naomi was a widow

~ Job went bankrupt

~ John the Baptist ate bugs

~ Peter denied Christ

~ The disciples fell asleep while praying

~ Martha worried about everything

~ The Samaritan woman was divorced (more than once)

~ Zaccheus was too small

~ Paul was too religious

~ Timothy had an ulcer

~ Lazarus was dead!

….I guess I’m a joke.  But I am and always will be me….a crazy,  goofy, child-like, passionate,  loving, not-perfect, still struggling sinner; who will get in your face and love you awkwardly until you see Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life!!  I don’t care about my sin’s because Jesus took care of them!  I don’t judge who you are or where you’ve been!  If you’re in the valley I’ll jump in there with you until we let Jesus pull us out!  If your tired, I will help you up and fill your cup with love!

If I’m not good enough to be your church’s pastor….then that’s ok; I’ll be a joke for Jesus anyday and when I’m called to one again, He’ll make it for His glory! 🙂

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Trudging Muddy Waters

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I walk a lot.  I mean, everyday I walk to over 70% of the day.  Not that it’s a bad thing at all….but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like to walk.  The fresh air, the beautiful scenery, the sounds of God’s unique and gentle creatures,  and then the splash….your shoe soaked, the chilling rush of muddy waters that consume your sock feet; and the realization of your positive focus on God gone as you now are angry over your muddy, oowie-gooie shoes covered in gunk.

Typical right?  A great day goes south in a matter of a step.  All that noticing of good going on wiped away with the covered slug all over you.  Does that make you think of many different things that relate?   Negative thoughts?   Sinful acknowledgements?  Lustful thinking?  The mindful mud that covers our already clean selves IF we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior!  Yeah, we may know we are clean by the Blood of the Lamb; yet that won’t stop the mud from getting on us and working to convince us we are still dirty with God.

It begins to feel like this:

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Personally, I get tired of seeing the mud. To know that I am clean in the eyes of my Savior, yet nothing I see but filth.  Sure, you might be thinking to yourself, “Chad why you being so hard on yourself?” Yet you don’t know the weight that I still carry.  But Chad Jesus is the one now carrying your burdens! Yeah I know that, but I still like the world and what has to offer.

That’s hard for me to admit, loving my Jesus as much as I do. But in all reality, I’d be a fool not to admit that the tantalizations that this world gives is hard to resist.  You ever feel that way? That you can love something so much, and wannabe as close to it is possible so much, yet your held between the bars of lust and the reality of eternity?  You find yourself looking back at your life and thinking, “what would have been like if I chose this? How would I be viewed by others if I live this way, and not His way?”

To know that we can see, touch, and feel the world around us and all that has and yet have to have a belief and deep enough FAITH that what is unseen is better?  That’s way tougher than it looks! No matter what any narrow minded, better than you, kind of Christians like you to believe that they don’t struggle with that!  WE ARE ALL TRUDGING THROUGH THE MUD of sin, insecurities and feelings of unworthiness!

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It’s ok to admit the trudging….it’s ok to admit you are weak before an understanding and loving God.  But we must strive to change the amount of mud we allow on us!  For me the realization came a couple of weeks ago, when I found myself looking up old female friends and old girl friends on Facebook. Now there’s nothing to say that being friends with them is wrong; it’s what my mind was making me think that made it wrong.  I began to physically feel the tingles of lust run through my body as my eyes were looking at these pictures. To me, that is the Holy Spirit’s warning sign of me needing to flee and not go trudging!

Since then I realized that I need to limit the amount of people I have on Facebook. Its a sacrifice that I need to make, maybe that I don’t want to make, but I NEED to for my God, and for my wife.  Only people that I really consider a friend, I’ve tried to keep only on Facebook. There are a few exceptions, but they are mutually agreed upon by my wife and I as ok. What is it for you? What is it in your life that is the mud that sticks to you? What pits are you trudging through that God is trying to clean you out of?

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Today I’m writing this blog as a cry out to not only my God above for me, but for all those of you who read this blog. It’s time to quit looking at ourselves as dirty and filthy, it’s time to see ourselves the way God sees us! The only way we will ever be able to quit trudging through the mud, is to embrace the grace that he’s given us….stop living in sin, feeding your own egos, your own wants and your own desires, and LIVE like a free child of God!

The world wants us to believe that were average, and imperfect. But God, through His Son Jesus’ sacrifice, has made us beautiful to Him! Will you please, with me, embrace God and sacrifice your own wants that only carry mud?

Romans 6:1, 3-7 NIV

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.   For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set FREE FROM SIN.