Saturday, December 10, 2011

This Fantastical Realm

There is a certain fantasy to reality that we either deny or embrace in such a way that it changes how we act and how we view the world. We call it fantasy when we think of heroism, but we call it romance when we think of love.

This is more so a matter of perspective than of genre. We are prone to accept only that which we would like to and sort of brush off the things that do not directly interest or affect us. The danger in this is abundant, and there is always danger in accepting anything, but risks must be taken. The danger in what I am presenting is both the very prevalent thought of, "if this is not real, then life threatening risks are not worth taking," as well as the danger of, "all fantasy is reality." So let me just get to the point.

I have had this abundant feeling of overwhelming awe when it comes to finding the 'nuggets,' as they say, in scripture. I see such a poetry in scripture and how it is so beautifully woven into reality that the simplest things are becoming mind-blowing. The greatest example is of course Jesus. Discovering the person, life, and works of Christ within the text of the Old Testament is actually fun. It is supposed to be called studying, but I enjoy it too much to associate it with such an ugly term (joke) To see something of Christ come out of a story is incredible, especially when the stories are true.

Here is what I'm getting at...Superman. So there are so many obvious connections between Kal-El and Jesus [the suffix 'el' hebrew for 'of God'] and the question is why. For some, the connection leads to an understanding of all these stories being imaginary, mythologies and such. Something of a fantasy that this savior must come to save us from evil. Well, maybe the mere fact that these stories exist means that there is a deeper sense of our need for a hero.

Every story has a moral, or at least a message to it. The moral/message is proclaimed through the story for the purpose of people grasping its meaning and applying it to their lives. Stories as childish as the boogyman may be teaching something as simple as to be careful for what lurks in the darkness, and how profound is that, for us to be weary of evil.

Perhaps the reason we write of these fantasy stories is our desire for them to be true. Perhaps we've been so blinded by the plethora of stories that when truth comes along we just can't tell the difference. Well, I don't know about you, but when romance comes in your life, we don't often claim it false. When somebody saves a life here, there are very few who do not claim that person to be heroic. Maybe the deep inner draw we have towards these stories is exactly why the Jesus story sounds too good to be true.

This idea was definitely not thought out as well as it should have before being published, but I cannot help but hope somebody gets the point. In speaking of the supernatural, C.S. Lewis wrote something like this, "The world works naturally by natural means. God merely works with natural things supernaturally." It is the subtle differences that blur just enough to cause doubt. My thinking, as of now, is that God is romancing people to Himself but people no longer believe in romance. Jesus is our super hero, but we don't trust in fantasy any longer. That stuff is for children, it is too childish right?

"Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 18:1-5

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Don't Want To Become John Piper

This will be short, it is just a thought that has weaved itself into my mind today.

"I don't want to become John Piper."

If you know John Piper, you know that he is a Boss. P.H.D. to be exact. Dude is serious when it comes to Bible knowledge and PASSION for Jesus. I don't want to become John Piper.

Dr. Piper is a leading voice in missions. If you know me, then you know that I am hoping my life to be left to waste on the mission field. I trust nearly everything that this man says, and often joke that I am about an inch away from idolatry when it comes to John Piper. I am the equivalent to a teen bieber believer in many ways.

To my surprise, the very same sunday I was preaching, Pastor John Piper was preaching the very same text. So I watched his video sermon so as to be sure I didn't get anything wrong, and in comparison I would say that very similar points were presented, so I had a good feeling in myself thinking I had been true to the scripture text.

So I was sitting at working and this thought popped into my mind. I don't want to become John Piper. I admire all he has done and I take in absolutely everything he says, but I don't want to become him. Pastor Paul Washer said this similar thing when he addressed young men in a youtube video, he said that we shouldn't want to be these 'big names' now, and I think I understand.

Dr. Piper knows more than I ever will, and has touched more lives than I'll ever comprehend, but although he is 100% for missions [in fact I learn quite a lot about missions from Pastor John] he is still in his pulpit, and not on the field. This is not to belittle the pulpit, his position, any of it, for it is all in worship of God and glorifying to Him.

So here is my point. I want to do God's Will, not follow in the footsteps of those whom I admire. I don't want to become John Piper, I want to become Brandon McKenzie, a child of God. There is yet still the drive in me, probably prideful, that says "I have to Go!" I need to be in missions. It burns in my heart. It breaks my every tie because I believe it is God calling me to go.

Lastly, just a reminder I guess, don't be like other people, be like God wants you to be...and KEEP LOVING JESUS!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

So Simple It Hurts

I have had a lot of time with children lately.

I have been working with youth legitimately for some 4 years now, and I can tell you that I have had some of the most profound insights come from interactions with them. The deepest, most incredibly enlightening aspect of my work with young people is how they so well mirror my own relationship with God.

At times, young people want absolutely nothing to do with me. They don't want to hear what I have to say nor participate in any activity that I bring to them. I can't really blame them, I'm a terrible 'pastor' or 'teacher' but I hope that I can truly affect their lives in the long term. Here are a few examples:

1] I saw my sunday school student leaving my class, not asking to use the washroom, and later waving to me as he made his way to the park, not having taken part in any bit of the class. What a picture of how we look to God when we sin. We know where we are supposed to be, and we really do not want to be there. Knowing all that we do of Him, and yet still waving goodbye as we go and 'play'. What is more amazing is that this child was actually doing well just last week, participating and even helping out after class. Lesson, well this walk with God has its close moments and its distant ones. Should I punish him? Definitely. Is he still me student? Of course.

2] I am a God-Father. I am absolutely in love with these two amazing baby girls. They could each have a lung and a kidney each if they needed, anything at all. I am in shambles thinking how far away from them I would be while on Mission, and how much of a failed Ninong that would be. Enough mush, so one day one of them got really clingy. Not the parents, not even the baby slaying Lolo/Grandfather would do, only I the Ninong (sorry, it is sort of wrong that I get happy from that but w/e) Let me just say that at this moment, in this position, I have the closest idea of what fatherhood is like. To be provider and protector, willing to lay life down for their betterment, to see nothing but precious child when I see them and to be filled with pure joy when they recognize me, how could that not be a vision of God's affection for His kids? Furthermore, I honestly get a little jealous myself when others get their attention or have them at all (ok I'm a big losery hater for that, but I am speaking about people who don't have some immediate (most likely blood-tie) to them) I could only imagine how their father feels seeing his child seek after anything other than him and his love for them. Imagine how it would feel when either one would come to love some dude and he would actually become 3rd place or less [God is 1st place of course] I am not their father and I can already understand the jealousy, the hurt, the desire for them to come back. Is this not what God sees in us when we fall in love with sin? When we give ourselves over to anything other than Him and what He would provide, is it any surprise that He would get jealous? He is our Father.

In short, look at how children are and you will most likely grasp what God sees when He looks at us. In our dealing with God, don't we most often seek other things and what they offer us? Don't we often look back at God one moment, then look to whatever our heart's desire is the next? Maybe we can take a look at the simplicity of our human relationships, and actually get an image of how God might be reacting to us. Pick up your Bible and read it through, then maybe things will make sense.

Keep Loving Jesus!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Is God In Love?

Have you ever looked back on your life and realized that specific moments were so obviously planned out and not by you? Times when you just kept running into the same person/people and eventually something just happened involving you and them, or unfortunately for some, something didn't happen involving you and them. Looking back at life, do you ever recall moments where you just know that without that particular part of your life you would not be the person you are today, for the good or the bad. Well as I was dwelling in my past earlier, I found what seemed to be God in the midst of turbulence, and I felt it worth sharing.

I was once in love. I loved this woman deeply. I cared for her in ways she did not particularly care for. My concern for her spiritually was misled to a great degree, but the reality is that I loved this woman so much that I asked God for something that I can't even comprehend. I prayed my salvation be hers, and the guilt of her sin be my own. My life is actually completely God's. I have nothing but Christ, and Jesus IS my life [Galatians 2:20] My prayer was for ALL of that to be transferred to her. I was once in love.

There came a time when it was no longer I who caught her eye. I was no longer the object of her affection. I called to her, and she wouldn't respond. Then she did to me what couldn't have hurt more, she gave me back my letters. My poems, notes, stories, as odd an badly written as they may have been, were returned to me, she no longer wanted them. Here is where the imagery gets deep. She gave me back my Word. I had given my scripture, and she preferred something else.

Question. Who is Jesus? Jesus is the Word. Scripture is the written Word and it speaks of Him. Jesus is the Word made flesh, the exact representation of God. When the world was spoken into being, He was the Words spoken. When the scribes were penning the books of the Bible, He was their message. "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son..." God gave His Word, and His word was this one promise, "...that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."

The Father's Love Letter, was His Son. Scripture had to be fulfilled, and it pleased God to crush His Son that many would be saved. However, as I think back to how I felt when my Words were returned to me, I can't help but think maybe there is something of what God feels in there. God gives His Son, His Word, the Promise of life everlasting. He does what pleases Him and yet He takes no pleasure when people perish (Ezekiel 18:23) He does not want anyone to be without Him, and yet so many reject Jesus, and hand God back His Word to Him.

I once heard a preacher say that God loves unbelievers differently than He does believers. It makes sense, when we think of Jesus being the Bridegroom and the Church being His Bride. How could we say we love one person as deeply or even more so than our own spouse? A claim like that would make God out to be an adulterer or polygamist and that is something He simply is not. He is however full of Grace. Every breath is a blessing and every moment should leave us in awe simply because He has yet to do away with us in our sin. God loves all, but He will not remain with all forever. It is not His desire for that to be the case, no that is actually our desire, to be without God. We let Him know, every time we give Him back His Word.

1 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. [Romans 9:1-5]

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Who are We? [Spoken Word]

What have I created?
What have I done?
Who is this before me?
Who have I become?

I was just wondering if there is as much that goes into making a tree, in quantity, than there is that goes into making a dream. I wondered if you or I had any idea to the like and we do, a lie, whether loose lipped or tight fit there is quite a bit that goes into what we've made. Have we ever thought about what a price there is to be paid for stories spun and with every lyric of our lie sung comes the increased potential of destroying lives. Some don't even have the chance to realize the one it already has.

What have I created?
What have I done?
Who is this before me?
Who have I become?

And I was once lied to when they told me time heals all wounds, buffoons! There is a swift head kick that looms in the wait for the believer of that faith and I don't mean to offend but rather to put you on to defensive because if I get shot the time clock will tick tock me into eternity, and that person will have murdered me too. To this Scar is proof but I am more than Simba though I have my Lion King. Every stroke of pen that outlines my existence and each brush of color speaks to the insistence of Him. What hope can come from searching within if I am the product, the picture on the pad following His pen.

What have I created?
What have I done?
Who is this before me?
Who have I become?

When I hold her, all the metaphors manifest and all I though of interest just doesn't seem interesting. In her eyes is such a deep sense of centering. If this were the place I lived then she would be where I stay. Awe and wonder, amazement abounds. Description doesn't do its duty for there are no words to be found. Yet there is a burden of sound that blocks me from listening, the worries of life and all of its conditioning, my purpose being driven off by difficult decisioning, it seems she can be misplaced because of my positioning. Will she know when I go that she will be what I miss most?...from the twinkle in her eyes to the twinkle of her toes. From when she was being knitted to when she first started to show LORD will she know YOU, when I go?

What have I created?
What have I done?
Who is this before me?
Who have I become?

What have I created? What have I even planned? What could I have ever built? I did not even construct these hands.
What have I done? When have I ever started? When I had just begun 87 had just parted.
Who is this before me? Many men of but one face. None of whom could stand this day if it weren't but for God's grace.
Who have I become? A sinner turned a saint. All of which impossible unless my JESUS, He saves.

Monday, June 6, 2011

They Burned A Holy DVD!

I haven't stepped into religious debate in some time, but I find it a very interesting thought, "what to make of burning the Quran?" Does the Christian claim it wrong on account of emotions? Do we love our enemy less by destroying what is most precious to them? Is it not in their best interest to remove that which is most distracting them from worship of the Lord?

Didn't Jesus tell a rich young man to sell all he had and follow Him? Would we leave a video game addict with their gaming systems, or a porn addict with their materials, or a drug addict with their drugs? Is there not something similar between sin and addiction? Are they not both robbing God of worship?

Furthermore, sometimes the very thing a person needs is to be separated from that which they care for the most. If we strip back everything in this world, would we not have easier access to the knowledge Paul had when he wrote of all things being as rubbish in comparison to knowing Christ? What is the difference between converting ALL muslims to Christ and removing their book from them if the result or intention is to eliminate that which robs God of His Glory through Jesus? Is it not comparable to removing all secular music albums, pornographic materials, and narcotic influences from the hands of those who promote/follow/worship them? Or is the condition of man as, and I believe it was Spurgeon who said this, "an idol factory" in constant need of worship whether giving or receiving.

You may think me a bigot, and I don't know how my words might flow out had I not had this platform of written word to stand on, but that is not of my concern when writing this. There are several areas I'd love to investigate and argue. Areas such as the origin and compilations of the Quran, and the matter or degree of Truth within any given area of life or other religious/world view, if we can actually separate our emotions from our intellect in an honest seeking after Truth. But for now, my hope is this, that we seek understanding.

I am in no position to claim total knowledge, but then again no person truly is, and that doesn't stop us from claiming truth everyday does it? I am hoping that we would be able to step back for a moment and really evaluate ourselves. Are we really believing what we believe or do we just do as we are told? When I come to evaluate myself and my faith, I find most often that they do not go hand in hand, and yet the Faith I proclaim calls itself the very bridge to that gap. I am a sinner in my eyes and in the eyes of all around me. I fail, I fall, I am wicked and selfish, but I am no longer condemned for this. Do I participate in sin any longer? By no means! I am apart from the condemnation and it is my heart to seek not to sin any further. If I am to sin, it is this flesh and my cleaving onto the world which is my weakness, but my strength is in Him who died for me. Jesus on the Cross separates my sin from my self and I am made new. I am made His. I am made no longer a sinner, but a saint.

My dilemma. Many people see no need for this. Many people have no concept of sin or even of God let alone our Christ. If I believe that all are under the same condition as I, and I am free by means of Jesus alone and faith in Him alone, then am I not obligated under sheer decency aside from the Command of God to let them know about it?

And what of those who distort that message? Well, in thinking of who is Jesus, isn't that all I've been writing about?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What If God Said Sell It All?

When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Well if He said sell everything and give it to the poor, then they would get about enough to survive maybe a month or few by Canada's standards, probably up to a good chunk of months in 3rd world nations, depending on how they handle the funds. They would have enough clothes for maybe all the people in their family who could fit a 6 foot slender frame. They would have entertaining movies, almost every episode of Buffy and Angel, and a pretty nice laptop to play them on. They would have a bed and some cool little trinkets, some gadgets, a broke down phone, and a pretty good bed with covers and pillows to comfort them. All that they get, would last them a while, but to tell them AND show them that Christ is worth more than anything I possess, that His Love is Greater than Life, would be incredible to say the least. So why do I pause?

To let loose of all I own, and trust in Him alone. To allow the God of all to lead my life and provide completely for every need, wouldn't that be a life more blessed than anything I'm being sold in stores and in the media? So why do I pause?

Am I called to this? Is this practical? What shall I do? What will you? Am I ready to follow Him in all things? Am I willing to find out?

Matthew 5:16 ESV
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Israel is Real

This is my thought at the moment. That God's people will be tempted, tested, have trials suffering and tribulation but they cannot give up. God's people can NEVER give up! They MUST HOPE beyond despair, for what else can one do in the face of death but hold onto what they truly believe. Perhaps that is where we will be most tested, when we finally stare into the face of death and say "O death where is your victory? O death where is your sting?"

There must be a wrestling not only against sin and temptation, but a wrestling even with God. Jacob in Genesis wrestled with a man all night, fighting for what? [Gen. 32:22-32] Fighting who? He fought for the blessing of a man? Though this 'man' wrestled with him all night, in a moment he was able to end the matter by merely touching Jacob's hip. What reason for all the struggle? Jacob had to want this blessing. When it was finished, this 'man' gave Jacob the name Israel, and Jacob had determined that he had wrestled with God. Who can change a man's name? The courts? The judges? Parents? Jesus did, and thats interesting now isn't it, for don't we all know Simon the son of John as Cephas which means Peter [John 1:42] We wrestle with God so as to be His people.

Job wrestled with God. Righteous without wrong doing, serving God faithfully, but His suffering had to come about so that He might show God as the source of his EVERYTHING. Suffering is not punishment, but rather it is sharing in Christ's affliction. Who knew more suffering than Jesus, and yet we find the disciples of Christ "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name" [Acts 5:41]

Here is my point. The people of God, Israel, are real, and they will really wrestle for their faith. They will wrestle with unbelief like David in Psalm 42-43. And who do we wrestle with in order that we may believe in God? We fight the self and seek the LORD. God's people may not be able to explain everything, but they will wrestle to be able to answer everyone who asks what the hope is that lives in their heart. God's people will wrestle, and they will be sanctified. Will they overcome on their own strength? Never, and thus we NEED Jesus, the free gift of God that brings eternal life [Rom. 6:23] For Israel, God's people, has never become God's people by their own efforts.

6"For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 10and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. 11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.
[Deuteronomy 7:6-11]

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Light

Revelations 21:23 - Christ the Lamp of God's Light to illuminate the world.

1 Corinthians 13:12 - We see now only a blur.

Isaiah 9:2 - In darkness a Light has dawned upon people living in darkness.

John 1:4-5 - The light of men is life which emanates from Christ Jesus and darkness CANNOT conquer.

John 8:12 - Following the Light is having the Light. Life is having Christ in our inner being.

John 9:5 - While Christ was here, HE was the Light.

Matthew 5:14 - He gave that responsibility to us.

Matthew 28:20 - And will not leave us nor forsake us.

Philippians 2:12-18 - We are now to the world as He was to us, and we must take up His example

Genesis 1:3-4 - For from the beginning light has conquered darkness, and has been set apart, the very meaning of holy.

Matthew 25:31-32 - And on that Day, the Day of the Lord, we will be with Him forever.

Thank you
And now a video,

Friday, March 11, 2011

Probably Erroneous Thoughts

I was just thinking about time in relation to God. I thought that perhaps, since time finds its origin in the beginning, then the reality is that time does not exist, it is merely a human/material function.

If God is eternal, the Great I AM meaning simply to Be, exist, are, verb, that God just IS WAS and WILL ALWAYS BE, if this is God then what is time? Time has a beginning, eternity has no end. Does eternity have a beginning? Or does the Ancient of Days have no point of origin? If so, then what is time to Him?

It only became a topic of interest when I considered if God really cared about the future. He has it planned out, and He already knows the past from its first moment, and if He is able to forgive for the past then it wouldn't be a stretch for Him to forgive for the future. Then it would make sense that At One Moment, when Christ died on the Cross, the entirety of our sins were washed away before we were even born. Yet we are still in need of the Gospel, why is that?

My thinking brought me to ponder, maybe all God really cares about is Right Now. The present. Maybe it is all He's ever cared about because it is all He's ever seen. How could Jesus be the Alpha AND Omega, the first and the last if all He was and is or could be is flesh, one of the many that pass through past to future. He has to exceed time, which is finite, and thus be infinite. Otherwise He couldn't have been "before Abraham" and yet I can still be here awaiting His return unless time has no grip on Him. If so, then it matters not if one was born before Christ or after, it is always Faith in Him that saves. Abraham believed God and it was accredited to him as righteousness. I believing in Christ am granted His righteousness. Does Abraham have a righteousness of His own apart from Jesus? No. If Jesus IS God, then Abraham believed the Lord. Jesus is Lord, and I believe Him.

Believe and receive has always been the way, and Jesus makes it so. This is now our concern, that God cares about our RIGHT NOW, not our future. Arguments of "I'll change in the future" or "I'm not ready now" simply do not work. They are not assurance of I am saved or I will be saved, they are rejections of God who is present Right Now. Jesus said do not worry about tomorrow, it has enough worries for itself, and He forgave people of the things in their past, because Right Now, at every moment, we need Him. We are always in need of the Gospel, not to be saved over and over again, but to be empowered by the knowledge that we in fact are, or that we in fact are not.

Ya, even I'm confused right now. Just need more Jesus time.

Keep Loving Jesus!

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Father Gifts His Son

What would the perfect relationship be between a father and son?

The father would have authority over the son, and teach him all his ways. He would care for and provide good so that the son would be able to do all that the father does.
The son would do as the father says, not out of authorities obligation, but out of a trust that his father has not left him lacking. He can trust his father, because his father has taught him everything, and now has trusted his son to do so at a distance.

The father shows, and the son goes to do as he has been instructed, for the instruction is for the benefit of all parties involved. If the father sends his son to find a wife, the son can trust that the father has tought him exactly what to do and exactly who to woo, but the son must still go off on his own.

Think now, if at any point in your life you father gave you a gift that was good. Look at how he acts, and how you act, and if you have inherited anything good from him, genetic or nurtured or passed through nature. If you possess something in you, of him, that is good, then your father on earth has blessed you with good gifts.

"Which of you, if your son asks for bread, would give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything you do, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets" [Matthew 7:9-12]

God sent His Son to do His Will so that we may inherit His Kingdom. We enter in by the precious blood of Christ. We are stamped, here and now, by the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who gives gifts, and He only does so by Will of the father, and the Son, for they are not at odds with one another, but in perfect harmony. The Blessed Trinity, God ALL MIGHTY, cares for us as His own children. Made once, the bought anew, fresh in the death of Jesus. He is RISEN, and if He did not come back from the grave, then we have not the Spirit inside, we have not live, and there is no Christ....but blessed are we, Jesus is alive.

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." [Romans 6:23]

Our gift from God was wrapped on the Cross. Christ Jesus, the Son of God came to claim His wife, His bride, His lover the church. We belong to Christ.