So, today we’re gonna brush off the cobwebs and wander over into the Old Testament.
In 2 Chronicles 33 (and 2 Kings 21), we meet a guy named Manasseh. Despite having a pretty solid role model for a dad (yay, Hezekiah), Manasseh turns out to be a pretty rotten king. Idolatry, demon worship, the wholesale slaughter of innocents. He basically trained the nation to flip God the bird, and God wasn’t having any of it.
After a time, God lays the smack-down on Manasseh, bringing in the Assyrians to take over his kingdom (Judah).
Then, things get interesting. Manasseh, now in Assyrian jail, repents. And God hears him. Not only that, but God restores Manasseh to the throne and the man finishes off the rest of his term in relative peace.
Just goes to show you: God is does not tolerate fools, but He is quick to redeem where there is true forgiveness being sought. No, not all of us will experience such a quick and whole return. Sometimes, the consequences are paid in full.
But how cool is it to believe in a God who cares about us enough both to correct us when we have wronged and to lift us up when we are ready to rise again.
I love Barnabas. We first meet him, he’s selling his field and giving it to the disciples for use in their ministry. Our first introduction to him is an act of giving. And it just gets better from there.
Barnabas is the first disciple to come beside Paul when nobody else would touch him. Paul’s history as a persecutor of Christians made the believers understandably fearful, but, Barnabas’ perfect love for his new brother drove out that fear.
Not only does Barnabas take Paul in, but he also takes the man with him on his important gospel missions. Pretty soon, he takes a step back and lets Paul do all the preaching, paving the way for Paul the Evangelist, who would take the Gospel to the Gentiles like no other disciple ever had before. Barnabas’ selfless love empowers Paul to become not just a part of the family, but a fully realized individual as well.
Barnabas’ journey takes an interest turn from there. You see, Paul wants to take a return trip to all the places he and Barnabas visited together. Barnabas wants to take John Mark with them, but Paul is having none of it. Apparently, Mark had ditched them on a previous mission and now Paul sees him a liability. Barnabas remains Barnabas though. So, Paul heads off alone.
It just goes to show ya: we are often far too quick to forget that the same God that called us out exclusion calls others too. But God never forgets. He continues to extend the olive branch, sometimes in spite of us.
The story has a happy ending, though. At the end of his live Paul summons Mark to his side (2 Timothy 4:11). That Barnabas love finally got through.
This line comes from Peter. (Full story in Acts 10-11)
He has just come off of Pentecost. Holy Spirit came down, people started speaking in tongues, thousands of people gave their lives to God.
Off this high, God comes to Peter in a vision. He tells Peter to eat foods he thought he was forbidden to eat. God’s like, it’s cool. And Peter goes back and forth on this for a while but eventually digs in.
Then he gets a visit from the servant of Cornelius, an important Roman dude. The servant calls Peter to come and, though Jews did not usually hang with Gentiles, Peter goes.
Once he arrives, Cornelius tells Peter that he’s had a vision and Peter takes the opportunity to preach about it. Afterwards the Holy Spirit comes upon the whole house of Cornelius and Peter realizes that, like the food he thought was taboo, the Gentiles are now just as welcome at God’s table as the Jews.
But we know from later in Scriptures that Paul calls Peter out on withdrawing from this conviction, of just hanging out with the Jews even though God’s message is for all.
It just goes to show you, the greatest inhibitor of the Gospel is us. God is out there in the trenches, letting His presence be known. He just needs hands and feet and mouths and hearts to work through to give the whole message traction.
Will let His word work through us, even though it challenges everything we know or are comfortable/familiar with, or will we be another road block on other’s travels to the Divine?
Whelp, my first speaking role just aired on Investigation Discovery’s “Murder Comes to Town” (also available on Amazon Prime and iTunes). I know what kind of talent goes out for these auditions. Often I feel like the least qualified in the room, but here I am! Color me blessed. It just goes to show you: if God wants to you to do something, He will track you down until it happens. Just a reminder that God’s purposes for your life will lead you on a twisting and wild road, but in the end it’s well worth the ride!
I am super proud and excited to announce that our new short, “Dana,” will premiere at this year’s 168 Film Fest Aug. 25. If you are in the area, buy tix here. If not, we will have it up on YouTube the following day.
“Dana” follows the story of a young woman whom God helps through a terrible divorce. So thankful for Dana Marie and all our wonderful cast and crew for helping making this project happen.
God loves you very much.
Abide in His love,
God loves you
You may or not have been told this before
It may or may not have been reflected back to you by others,
but it’s a fact.
God came to Earth
endured inexplicable pain
and was murdered at the hands of double-faced fans
so that death could die with Him,
before rising again
leaving our hurt and pain and past buried and burning in hell,
where it belongs.
He lifted us up with Him
and gave us His Spirit
so that we could live an abundant life.
How’s that for a rallying cry?
All praise to God,
who love you and me
and everyone so very dearly.
I am heading to Kairos this week. As part of Kairos, we go into a prison (in our case, it’s Craggy Correctional Facility), we feed them and share Jesus with them.
Funny, as I began posting about it, people from all walks of life approached me and offered to contribute, even those who may or not identify with the Christian faith. That’s the rub. Christianity is not dead. It’s roots began in the feeding of the poor, the embrace of the outsider, the visiting of the prisoner, the caring for the sick. People were so moved by this that they ran to Christianity in droves.
As the numbers began to grow, we gave them chairs to sit in and roofs to block out the elements and walls to provide structure to our meetings. In short, we became comfortable and contained.
But the Holy Spirit is a wildfire. Everyone, I don’t care who you are, knows when it’s on the move. It will burn down walls. It will light new paths for the wayward stray.
As I wrote letters to our 35 inmates, I began to weep because I knew how much God loves us and how far short I fell from loving in that same way. Change is needed. In my heart. In this world. Let’s make it happen, people! Today.