Dueling Jesuses

pic for dueling jesuses2

“My God is a God of love; My God would not send anyone to hell!” –Oprah Winfrey

Okay Oprah lovers, forgive me in advance, but Oprah could not be more wrong with this opinion.

A few years ago I heard her make this comment after I had momentarily stopped on her show while channel surfing.  The topic of the show is irrelevant; but her comment is.

While I appreciate her sentiment of wanting a loving God (which He is) and her best desires for people (which God shares), the God she is talking about simply doesn’t exist.  While God is loving as she suggests; he is also perfectly just.

The God she holds to is a God fabricated in her own mind.  She may as well have taken a piece of wood and carved her ideal image of God and worshipped it, because this is what she has done in her  imagination.

We hear similar quotes and opinions about God, Jesus, and religion from the media and celebrities.

Specifically, everybody has an opinion of Jesus. Just do a quick Google search and you will find a plethora of ideas about Jesus. Everybody wants a Jesus who matches with their views and sentiments.  They want a “user-friendly Jesus.” There are hundreds of “dueling” Jesuses out there.

A question – does Jesus give us the liberty to define who he is and what he is like? I don’t think so.

Do we get to do this with other personalities?

Can we fabricate a fictional image of, say:

  • Abraham Lincoln?
  • Mother Teresa?
  • Ronald Reagan?
  • Barbara Walters?
  • Princess Kate Middleton?


Well, I guess we do have the vampire-slaying Abraham Lincoln.  But you get the idea.  We can’t just make up what we think these very real people were or are like.

Although people might disagree about their legacy and their personalities, we have to take what they’ve said about themselves and what they’ve done to determine who they are and what they are like.  Then we can like them, hate them, or dismiss them; but we can’t make them into something they aren’t.

Jesus is no different. We do not have the liberty to “make Jesus in our own image.”  The absolutely only place we know about him is from the New Testament.  It is the only place that has any record about who he is, what is important to him, what his teachings are, what his personality is like, what his instructions are for his followers, etc.

To be honest about what Jesus is really like, we must look seriously at the source.  And once we get a picture about him from the source, a decision has to be made about whether we will believe it or not – or believe in him or not.  He can be accepted or he can be rejected.  He can also be marginalized.  The one thing that can’t be done, at least honestly, is to make him into something He is not – which is what Oprah has done.

If you want to find out who Jesus really is, jump into the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).

And yes, Oprah, Jesus does love us and he is also the coming King and Judge.


Mandy Patinkin Blames America for Terrorist Attacks

Mandy Patinkin

I rarely watch Colbert’s show and last night it took me about 3 minutes to be reminded why.  While flipping channels, I happened to see Colbert interviewing Mandy Patinkin of CSI and Homeland fame – so I thought I would watch it for a few minutes.   They were discussing (if you can call it that) terrorism, the wars in the Middle East, etc.  So here’s how the dialogue went…

Colbert: “So you blame America for the terrorist attacks (against her)”?

Patinkin: “Yes, of course. And I blame them; but I blame America also.”

Colbert: “So what would you do?”

Patinkin: “I would talk to them. Before ever picking up a weapon, I would sit down and talk with them.  I would take some people like you and me and talk.  I would talk myself to death.”

The ludicrousness of that view is almost beyond comprehension.  It’s offensive, infantile, void of understanding the terrorist mind, among many other things.  So would he also say…

Rape – “It was the woman’s fault because she dressed provocatively”

Holocaust – “It was really the Jews fault; if they hadn’t been so greedy, covetous, and insistent on worshiping in their own way.”

Robbery – “It was the victims fault; he shouldn’t have been walking in that neighborhood after dark.”

Pearl Harbor – “America deserved to be attacked by a country they had not provoked.”

The thinking is so obviously ridiculous that it numbs the mind.  The idea that you can “talk” with someone who has committed an act of terrorism is likewise ridiculous.  They don’t want to talk to you; they want you to accept their agenda (whatever that is) with no qualifications and they’ll use violence to accomplish their goals.

While most people abhor violence and want to avoid it at almost any cost, the reality is we live in a world where evil exists – and Evil cannot be reasoned with.  It must be stood up to, defended against, and squashed.

Letter to KC Star (promoting abortion on the FYI page)

Isn’t the FYI page supposed to be about human interest items?  In a recent issue of the Kansas City Star the front page of the FYI section highlighted a local employee for Planned Parenthood.  My issue isn’t with her as my letter shows below, but the fact that the Star’s management seems to be using the FYI page to promote thier pro-abortion views – in my opinion.  What do you think?

Here’s the article…


Here’s my letter…

May 23, 2009


The Kansas City Star

1729 Grand Blvd.

Kansas City, MO 64108


To the editorial board,

I am perplexed.  Why was the local Planned Parenthood public relations and media coordinator highlighted on the FYI front page recently? I am sure that Miss Phillips is an interesting and nice enough person.  However, it appears this section of the paper is reserved for human interest stories about random, local people. It’s surprising that this random person happened to be a Planned Parenthood employee during the week that the abortion/prolife issue was in the news because our President was scheduled to speak at Notre Dame. Perhaps the next person highlighted in this section could be one of the faithful employees of Rachel House an organization which serves several thousand young women each year with counseling, new baby supplies, and medical assistance.  The only difference between these organizations is that Rachel House protects life at all stages including the preborn.



Shawn Barr

Adult Ministries Pastor

Antioch Bible Baptist Church

Are you stimulated by the Stimulus Package


Okay – the accountant in me is coming out.  I’m game for a tax cut or check as much as the next guy; don’t get me wrong.  But I question the impact this upcoming $825 billion is really going to have on our economy.  $825 billion is a lot of money – even for Bill Gates.  But in comparison to our overall economy it’s a little over a penny on the dollar.

For comparison….

The US Gross Domestic Product for 2008 = $57,400,000,000,000 (that’s trillion – give or take a few billion).  The stimulus is 1.4% of this.

The US Personal Income for 2008 = $48,300,000,000,000.  Thus the stimulus equals 1.7% of this amount.

Is adding another trillion dollars to our national debt really going to do that much for our economy?  I’m questioning this philosophy of borrowing our way out of an economic crisis.  Isn’t debt what got us in this mess to begin with?

But hey…send me the check.  I’ve got four teenagers; I’ll find a way to use it!

President Elect Obama Talks With Jesus



Dear God, Thank you for the opportunity to lead this great nation.

You’re welcome.

Whoa – you answered.  That’s new.

Yes, I thought you could use some more direct communication from me over the next few years.

Wow – I’m talking with God.

You were before also. 

Uh,….good point.

Now – how can I help you?

What advice do you have regarding my new assignment?

Protect life.

Oh…abortion; I thought you might have an opinion on that.

I said life; you brought up abortion.   Forget about abortion for the moment.

Okay, you’re the boss.  I mean, um, er, … you’re God.

Back to the life question – shouldn’t the president protect life?

That would seem to be a part of the job…

You don’t sound convinced.

I’m responding carefully.

Very wise. Consider the constitution…“We the people…”  – that’s about life

Makes sense.

“A more perfect Union…”  – that’s about life


Well, a union of what? States – people live in states – people are living.  It’s about life.

Good point.


“Justice…” – that’s about life.

“Domestic Tranquility…”  – life.

“Common defense…”  – protecting life.

Yes, yes, and yes.

“General welfare…” – life.


“Blessings of Liberty…” – for who? Living people – life again.

I’ve never thought of the Constitution that way.

You’re whole job is about life; so is the job of the Legislature and Courts.

Well, when you put it that way, I agree.

Good.  By the way, abortion ends a life.

I thought we might get back to that.

You were right.

What about a woman’s right to choose. 

Complete fiction.

How so?

Read my book, the Bible, and report back to me where you find this concept?

Let me put it on my list.  I’m pretty busy right now.

What about an unwanted pregnancy?

Unwanted by who? Who said I didn’t want it?

What about rape?

What a terrible crime.  There’s a special place in hell reserved for rapists.

So we have an exception.

No.  Simple answer – two wrongs don’t make a right. No matter how difficult this situation is.

What about babies with deformities?

I have a reason for everything and you said the key word, “babies.”

Shouldn’t the parents have some choice in this?

In what?

Whether the baby should come into this earth or not?  I mean a deformed baby.  What kind of a life will it have?

She will have a life, no matter how short.

But isn’t quality important?

Quality according to who? Everyone on this planet has some differing level of “quality of life.” Consider for example the wealthy Swiss banker compared to a black child in the slums of Nairobi.  Should that child be deprived of life because of an arbitrary standard of quality?  Should I allow that child be snuffed because of his economic conditions?

Abortion and infanticide – that’s a little different.

Not according to me.

I understand all the issues, difficulties, crimes related to difficult pregnancies, etc.  There are some truly difficult situations that are hard to understand and deal with.  However, my solution is not to end a life; but to be there, through my children, in these situations.  If a person will come to Me, I am able to provide help, direction and purpose even in difficult circumstances.  I love the mother, father, and baby more than anyone can imagine.

What about if the mother’s life is in danger?

Sin has made every pregnancy dangerous.

What about…

What if, what about, coulda, woulda, shoulda…

What about what I want?  You know – Me! God! :

·         The Maker of heaven and earth.

·         The Giver of life in the first place.

·         The One who breathed life into Adam.

·         The One who came to earth as a baby.

·         The One who died on the cross for all mankind.

·         The One who rose from the dead.

·         The Giver of eternal life.

Life was my idea.  Does anyone care what I want?

Sir, God – I really do care what you think.

Then read my book about this topic.  Read it in its context.  Read it for yourself. Don’t make it say something it doesn’t – like many others do.  And when you’ve come to what I want, adopt the right position and stand firm.  By the way, it’s not the position you currently have.

Many of my voters don’t like your position.

I love them anyway – but they are wrong.

I ran on a platform supporting the right to choose.

A change to the right position is never wrong.

Sigh.  This would be difficult.

Keep coming back, I’ll give you courage.

There are so many issues at the moment: the economy, Iraq, the war on terror, education, the inauguration, transition plans, staff selection, immigration, and on and on.

The protection of the most innocent person imaginable takes priority to all other issues.

I inspired another leader to say it best, “For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows very well. ” (Psalm 139:13-14)

This would be tough.

More than you can ever imagine.  But it would be right.

My constituents won’t like it.

But I would and that’s what matters.


(Fyi – I believe God’s sovereignty has led to President-Elect Obama being our next president.  Although I disagree with him on this issue, I am praying for him.  He has a very difficult road ahead and I’m supporting my president as he prepares for office to tackle the enormous responsibilities before him.  I think it is historic in a very positive way that we have elected a black president.  It reflects the true opportunity in this great country in which we live. The picture at the top of this article was snapped as I was driving around Kansas City one day.  It was intriguing and prompted me to write this article.)



We Buried a Marine

He did not die in a conflict or during active duty.  In fact his time in the Corps was long past.  The soldier we put in the ground this week was 80 and his nineteen years of service happened many years ago.

We recognized him with a Marine Corps honor guard. Seven Marines performed a 21 gun salute and another played Taps on his bugle. The team crisply folded an American flag and presented to his eldest daughter.

The setting was a stunning fall scene with the trees beginning to show their fire.  While contemplating this scene, tears came as I thought about the sacrifice many men and women have made over the years.  Sacrifices not just of their lives, but of time away from family, the rigors of military service, the years taken from a career, and the many other things these men and women give in service to us, the citizens of the USA.

During this political season, I remembered that this man we were burying is one of the reasons we have free elections and freedom of speech.  We should thank him for the ability to debate issues and the ability to enter a voting booth.  Without his service these freedoms might not be available.  Although his service happened decades ago, it is directly related to our rights today.

Standing by the grave I reminded the attendees about his service.  I also reminded them the grave is not the end.  For the believer in Christ there is much hope for the future – for a life after death.

My text was John 11, where Jesus was comforting Mary and Martha about the death of their brother.  He said,

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  26 “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  (John 11:25-26 nkjv)

In response to Jesus’ question Martha said “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Jesus gives the same promise to us today; by believing in Him we can have eternal life.

We put this Marine in the ground today.  His life and service on this earth is over.  However, the promise of a next life is real.

Thank you and rest well my friend.

Best Pray of the Game

The game ended with a few desperation plays.  A long pass was thrown for a touchdown by Belton.  They also had scored one time previously in the second half.  Oak Park had some great passing and running plays.  But in the end Oak Park prevailed after leading all of the game.

The best play came at the end.

The majority of both teams met at the center of the field.  It appeared to be a meeting of opponents to say the typical, “good game.”  However, once there they dropped to their knees.  One of the players stayed standing and prayed.

Here were two teams that had just toughed it out for 4 quarters.  They each had penalties called on each other.  I’m sure there were times it got heated and words were said.  I’m sure I saw a couple of late hits.  But in the end they were able to put those things aside and pray to God with each other.

It was spine chilling to watch.

There’s something right going on in America.

(Game was September 5, 2008.  OP 30, Belton 12)

(Credit to Carolyn Hewitt for the pictures)