Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Revelation Revealed

When I was younger I had a strange and powerful fascination with the book of Revelation, as I believe nearly every Christian has had at one point or another. I read the book probably four times in the span of a few months and spent hours wondering what it all meant. I looked forward to the day when I would either be caught up in heaven with Jesus or be sealed on my forehead as one of His beloved. I must have been either 14 or 15 when my mother bought me an in depth commentary by one of the nation’s leading scholars on biblical end time prophecy. Being the complete nerd that I was, I powered through the book in no time. After reading it, I felt I had a deeper understanding of what was going to happen, when it would happen, and to whom it would happen. That was several years ago, and all that knowledge is buried deep inside my cerebral hard drive.

Recently, the topic of the end times has come up several times in my life. An old coworker of mine has a very deep interest for all the prophecies in not only Revelation, but also Daniel, Matthew, and 2 Thessalonians. He and I spent a lot of time both on and off the clock discussing what we each believed concerning that fateful day. Our discussions were very rarely in agreement, and more times than not, we had tiny debates on some of the semantics of biblical prophecy. I’ve also overheard a few of The Elect discussing what they think will happen when the proverbial poo hits the fan, and have been asked my opinion by one or two of the youth.

Before I continue, I feel it is important to point out that there are a few hot buttons in scripture that I believe can cause hindrances in one’s walk with God. Romans 12:18 tells us to, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” (NLT) After having my fair share of conflicts with other Christians concerning different doctrinal teachings, I finally learned that living in peace with everyone can sometimes mean completely avoiding most of these discussions. It can be tough sometimes, but I usually find answers in another truth that has been revealed to me, and that is the importance of application.

The book of Revelation and end time prophecy is very much a hot button in biblical studies. Are John’s and Daniel’s visions meant to be taken literally or are they all symbolic? What’s the deal with the locusts mentioned in Revelation 9:1-11? Do they represent tanks? Helicopters? Is it possible they are literal locusts with the face of a man and the fangs of a lion? What about the rapture? When will that happen? Some say it’s before the tribulation. Some say in the middle. Still a third group says at the end of the tribulation. Who is the Antichrist? Is he alive today? How can I really know him when he does show up?

One can get caught up in the mystery of the unknown, the anxiety of that day, and the fear of the wrath of the Almighty. It’s when you get to that point of confusion, fear, and anxiety that you take a step back, exhale, and think about the importance of application.

Imagine you’re at the airport, boarding onto a plane that is going to take you to your dream vacation. The plane starts to board and you grab your luggage and make your way to the terminal doors. After finding your seat and stashing your carryon into the overhead compartment, you settle in for a nice relaxing flight. Not long after that, the captain’s voice is heard over the intercom.

“Attention passengers, this is your captain speaking. Thank you for joining us on this nonstop flight to your dream destination. Please rest assured that even though I have never actually flown a plane, I have read all the manuals and have seen several well experienced pilots fly dozens of times. I also love the movie ConAir. Please fasten your seat belts and enjoy your flight!”

What kind of confidence would you have in that pilot? My confidence would not be very high, that’s for sure. It’s the same way with the bible. Reading it all and knowing it all in your head is pointless if you’re not seeking out the underlying principle of the scripture and finding ways to apply it to your life.

Just like the rest of the bible, the book of Revelation is nothing more than a giant neon sign pointing to Jesus.

“The spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who hears this say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who is thirsty, come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.” (Revelation 22:17 NLT)

Therein lays the truth of Revelation. Don’t concern yourselves with the semantics and technicalities of what is going to happen when Jesus comes for His own and prepares to set up His kingdom. Just come. Don’t sit amongst yourselves and argue whether or not John is talking about bombs or dragons or prostitutes. Simply come.

Don’t come alone. We are told to not only come ourselves, but to tell others, “Come.” The day is fast approaching when all that we see here will be wiped away. We will live in a new Heaven and new Earth; we will reign for ever with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He has set up a place for us and is preparing it even now. We need not concern ourselves with the how or the when or the what. We only need to come.

Monday, March 16, 2009

You Stay Classy San Diego

"Where did you get your suit? The Toilet....Store?"

"You've got red on you."

"Do ya have to call me fat? It hurts my feelins ya know."

"I'll never let go Jack. I'll never let go."

Ten cool points per movie line that you can identify. Bonus points for naming who said it to whom.

"From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in-we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we're telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us."

1000 cool points to the person who can name where that quote is from. Any guesses? Ok here's a bit more of it:

"WE saw it, we heard it, and now we're telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: WE want you to enjoy this too. Your joy will double our joy!"

Anything yet? Ok Ok I'll tell you. That is from the bible. It's 1 John 1:1-4 in the Message translation. Take a gander at it and truly ponder on what it means. While you're at it, think of your favorite movie. Or better yet, the last movie you saw. What was it? What did you think of it? Most importantly, would you recommend it?

I love going to the movies and really watching them. I don't watch a movie the way I think a majority of people watch movies. I like to look at the cinematography, the writing, the directing, the acting, etc. I'm a bit pretentious when I watch a movie. If I don't like it, I'll let you know I don't like it. On the other hand, if I do like it, I'm going to strongly recommend it to you. Right now the movie I'm recommending people see right now is Grand Torino. It's excellently written, acted, and directed. But that's not what this blog is about.

Why does someone recommend a movie? Watching a movie is an experience. You sit in a theater with popcorn, soda, and sour jacks and totally escape what's going on in your life. For two hours you immerse yourself into the lives of the characters and the intricacies of the plot (if any). When I watch a movie that I enjoy, I tell other people about it because I want them to share in that experience with me.

I would like to pause here and give a shout out to Dennis Weinman for his contributions to my ramblings. Check out his blog.

As Christians we have been taken from the depths of our sins and brought to eat at the table of the King. When we were in our worst moments, at our lowest points, with our faces in the pig slop with no where else to turn, God loved us enough to see His only Son bruised, battered, and butchered for our sins. Through grace, we can boldly approach the throne and speak to the creator of a the universe on a daily basis. We have been given a measure of faith to help us accomplish His amazing and incredible plans for our lives. We're promised a peace that's beyond all human understanding in times of trouble. Not to mention those moments when you're at the altar and the presence of the Holy Spirit begins to flood over you. That is truly an experience worth sharing am I right?

John starts his first letter with an explanation as to why he's writing it. He gives his motivation behind pretty much his entire existence. He wants to spread the Gospel of Christ to as many people that he can. He flat out tells you why he's doing it. John has this desire to tell everyone about Jesus because it's an indescribable experience that can't be beat. He wants everyone around him to experience that as well! Do you have that motivation behind your witnessing?

A good movie will stay with you for a while. If it's a romance film, you'll try to emulate the hero or heroin in your relationship with your significant other. A great action movie will cause you to race out of the theater ready to kick some butt and drive really fast. You'll quote the lines from your favorite comedy for years. Sharing a movie with a friend or loved one is more than fun. You'll walk out of the theater talking about the movie, laughing at the funny parts, crying over the tragic moments, getting angry when remembering the villain's upper hand. There's almost a certain degree of fellowship with that person or those people.

What about those awesome moments you share with a brother or sister in Christ? A couple weeks ago I picked up a friend from his house and took him to mine while I cooked lunch and took it to another friend's job and the three of us sat together and hung out in a fourth grade classroom. While Jose and I were on our way to my house, I asked him to tell me his testimony. I won't get into it right now because this post is proving to be more than lengthy. Just know that it was amazing to hear how he fell in love with the Lord. It was true fellowship that was way better than talking about the latest movie that we had seen.

True fellowship is all about sharing those moments with your brothers and sisters in Christ. It's about talking about how much you love Jesus and what he's done for you. It's about finding as many people that you can and sharing that experience with them and helping them get to the point where they can share their own experiences with other people. After you read this, continue to think about the last movie you saw and whether or not you would recommend it to other people. While you're at it, think about Jesus and whether or not what He's done in your life is something you would recommend to someone.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Time's Fun When You're Having Flies

I haven't blogged in a while because of different circumstances that have come up. I was let go from my job at Masco Builder Cabinet group. That's pretty much because the economy sucks and no one is buying houses, which means no one is buying cabinets for those houses. They let go about 15 people in the time span of about 45 minutes one day. I happened to be one of the casualties. It was a bit shocking because I've never really been fired from a job or anything like that. I went home with all my stuff that I took from my cubicle (I'll never need pens again.) and spent the day using my blackberry as a modem to sign up for unemployment and post my resume on career builder so I could find a new job as quick as possible.

I'm not going to get to theological in this blog, but I will say that I was not worried for one minute because I knew that God will constantly be my provider as He has always been. Unlike the last time I was unemployed, which was for six months, I only spent two weeks without a job.

Ok so anywho I don't want to ramble on too much so I'll get straight to the point. I had my resume on career builder and I was looking around trying to find something I could do. I was thinking that I had had my fill of costumer service. After Verizon, AT&T, and Masco, I was ready to get into something different. I searched for tons of different things that seemed like something worth trying out including a photographers position for school pictures in the North Dallas area. I was really wanting to try that one out because I love taking pictures and the whole photography thing. Well I never got around to faxing in the application because who actually has easy access to a fax machine if they aren't working?

I applied for a couple of marketing positions because it seemed like something interesting and new for me. After one unsuccessful and huge time waster of an interview, I had another one with Zephyr International Promotions in Arlington Texas. I went on the first interview, which was very similar to the other marketing job I had interviewed with earlier, about five minutes long. However, Jeremy actually called me back for the second interview.

I had the interview, which was a half day ride along with a beautiful Brazilian girl named Elke. We went to the Walgreens on Great Southwest Pkwy and she set up a table right outside the door and asked people as they walked out if they wanted to buy something from the table to help raise money for a charity that helps locate missing children.

It was cold, I didn't have a good jacket on, and I was standing the whole day. I was not happy and I was thinking, "What on earth am I doing here??"

After the half day ride along thing, we went back to the office and I sat and waited for a good 45 minutes while waiting for Jeremy to get back from whatever it was that he was doing. After that I had a third interview with him where he further explained to me what the job was about and offered it to me. I accepted because it sounded exciting and challenging.

Fast forward two weeks and here I am in Victoria Texas with Jake and Kevin.

At my job I do pretty much the exact same thing that Elke was doing at the Walgreens. We work with different organizations and do event marketing for them. The job is much more than soliciting though. It's a management training program that will eventually teach me to run my own office, and essentially, my own business. So far it's been kicking my butt. I'm working 12 hour days, six days a week, standing on my feet all day, hearing tons of people tell me no and look at me like a pan-handler.

I'm not gonna lie, this is by far the hardest job I've ever had. I'm not a salesman and I hate salesmen. This job is pushing me so far out of my comfort zone that I can barely see it on the horizon. It's not like every other job that I've had where I can just show up and perform subpar and still know that I'm going to get my check in a week. It's commission based, so I actually have to work hard to get good money. I'm still not very good at it because, like I said, it's way out of my comfort zone, but once I get good at it, I'm looking at making very good money.

Back to Victoria.

From time to time the company sends a small group of people to different areas to set up events out of town. Kevin, the leader of this trip, says that in the past couple months he has been pretty much everywhere there is to go in Texas. Beaumont, Austin, Amarillo, Lubbock, to name a few. These road trips are also great opportunities to make a crap load of money, so once another one became available, I quickly jumped on it.

We left Arlington around 1:30 and got here a little bit before 7 tonight. We made a couple stops and a very interesting lady quoted her brother by saying the title of this unintentionally long blog.

I hope to be able to post a little bit more later this week and let everyone know about the most likely inevitable fun times we're sure to have.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis

Before you continue reading, you should click on this link and watch video number 3.

The Big Bang Theory

First of all, I love this show. I'm a nerd and its a show for nerds. I think it's hilarious.

Ok now to the point. I was watching this last night with Collin, my coworker. He came over to the house to watch the big Heroes midseason finale. If you've watched the clip (which you should have, cuz its too funny not to), you'll notice something that I've always thought was wrong with the holidays. Sheldon, the tall skinny and neurotic one, tells Penny, "You haven't given me a gift, you've given me an obligation!"

When did the concept of gift giving become so skewed? At what point did recieving a gift become part of a transaction? I've heard several people say, and I've said myself, "He didn't get me anything. Why should I get them something?" Well to the shock of all four of my readers, gift giving does not require reciprocity. I want to get to the point to where I can give someone a gift just because I love them. I want to be able to give someone something and not expect anything in return except maybe a thank you. If I try really hard, I'm pretty sure I can think of someone who gave a gift out of nothing but love...

Society today teaches that giving requires getting. We live in a world that revolves around materialism and trade and economy (albeit crumbling economy, but economy nonetheless). This mindset has become so skewed and backwards that the timeless tradition of gift giving at Christmas and birthdays has become nothing more than a typical transaction.

Think about it. Someone gets you a gift for your birthday, and while you're grateful and appreciate the thought, in the back of your head you're thinking, "Oh great now I have to get them something for their birthday!" That's not what giving a gift is all about. A gift is something you should give or get without the feeling of obligation to return the gift. Sure, it's good manners and considered polite to give a reciprocal gift, but it should not be obligatory. This is something I've been contemplating alot over the past few months, more so now with the holidays and the passing of a birthday that I've personally been debating whether or not to get a gift for. I think it's important because I've been given a gift that I could never offer anything as suitable recompense for, my salvation. But more on that in a little bit.

I've prayed about it and asked that the Lord would reveal to me what He thinks on this issue. I feel it's important for me to get to the point where I can give a gift and not expect anything in return. I've tried putting that into practice a few times by surprising a few friends with a random little gifts here and there, but every time I've secretly thought in my head, "This guy owes me now." I don't want to think that. That's not a true gift.

Remember that link I posted? Well click it again and watch video number one. Don't worry. I'll wait.


Ok that's enough time. Funny huh? "I POSSES THE DNA OF LEONARD NIMOY?!?!?" In case you're not sure, that's the guy who played Spock in the original Star Trek. Leonard, the character on the show, is most definetly a huge Star Trek fan, and here he's been given this amazing gift that is way more than anything he could ever ask for or hope to deserve. He's completly blown away and shocked and grateful. Earlier in the show, he's at the mall with the other two guys from the first clip you watched and isn't certain which size gift basket he should get for Penny. He comes up with the solution of buying one of every size. After he opens the gift from Penny, he was planning on excusing himself on account of indigestion and looking up the price of his gift online. He would then find the basket that is closest to the price of his gift and give it to Penny, successfully completing what he see as the Gift Transaction.

Imagine his surprise when he recieves something that he feels could never be repaid. He opens the box and sees the autograph from Spock, and the DNA, and is so overcome that he's practically speechless. So what does he do? He runs to his bedroom and grabs all the baskets and gives them to her. Even then, he feels as though his gift is not enough. So he does something that is completly out of character for him, he hugs Penny.

Ok I'm really hoping I don't have to spend too much time explaining what makes this scene so beautfiul.

We have been given a Gift so amazing and awesome that nothing we do could ever repay that. Jesus died on a cross to pay the price for our sins. He purchased an eternal life with him and freely offers it to all of us. It's a gift that all the bath gift baskets in the world could never repay! And yet He offers it to us! And when Jesus gives you a gift, He doesn't expect anything in return, expect love and gratitude. He understands what giving a gift is all about! Oh that we would realize how truly amazing His gift of eternal life is! Oh that we would learn the true meaning of gift giving and put into practice an obligatory-free holiday season!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Anniversary/Halloween

It was a year ago that I posted my first....post... on here. So happy anniversary to me and happy halloween to all of you. Well not anymore because halloween is over and now it's November 3rd. So happy anniversary to me.

Here are a few pictures from last Friday's Fall Festival at good ol' Harvest Temple.
Sarah the Tiger and Stormie her trainer
Javier is way too pretty for his own good.
This one isn't from the Festival, but it's still pretty funny.
Alfonso, on the other hand, is not pretty at all!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Broken Bow Teaser Trailer

Monday, October 20, 2008

State Fair Shenanigans

This past Saturday I went to the State Fair of Texas with a few peeps from church. It was fun. I really enjoyed myself and there was only really one awkward moment the whole day. For all 8 of my loyal readers, here are a few pics and some running commentary for your wonderful enjoyment.

And here's a little video of me being stupid and succuming to peer pressure.