It is a Prayer

A Lukewarm coffee sits beside my computer in the bagel shop.

Cars pass by the window, driven by people I only glimpse.

A smell of burnt toast wafts through the air.

A running man passes the shop window.

There’s a quick bang of a pan or two behind me in the kitchen.

A customer in nursing attire stirs creamer into her coffee at the counter. She has a black headband.

The coffee equipment is making an electrical, rattling noise.

An elderly couple graze over their food. They have careful hair; she with thick make up, and him with a shirt buttoned to his neck.

The workers are bantering at the end of their shift.

I have a message and a mandate of which to tell them.  Where do I begin?

It is a prayer.

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?

No.

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.

Email to Pastor Bill Wilson – Metro Ministries

Dear Pastor Bill,

 

THANK YOU!

 

I came to visit Metro Ministries for a few days last spring.  I wanted to learn about the man and the ministry behind the documentary  I saw on cable late one night, “The Legend of Pastor Bill.”  My visit was truly an inspiring experience.

 

I rode with Willie on his route and helped with a couple of sidewalk Sunday Schools.  I saw him teach the Bible with passion to a couple crowds of kids and parents.  I saw your interns interact with the kids, give snacks, pray with people.  I saw people without hope hear the real hope of Jesus Christ.

 

I also rode your bus! But you were on vacation 🙂  I saw kids get on who I’m sure have tough home backgrounds; but who were very excited about going to Sunday School.  Some were quiet and some jabbered away.  Some were sleepy and some were on Captain Crunch cocaine (if you know what I mean).  But the interns and staff loved them all, had fun with them, and got them to the building. During the Sunday School the kids had a solid, fun message about the Bible; they saw some great skits; had a blast singing songs; and were told how much the staff and God loved them.

 

It was one of the most inspiring and vision-building events of my life.

 

AND – at our new church plant, we are offering a new ministry based off your model.  On Wed nights we have a “KidZone” ministry.  We share the Gospel, give the kids prizes, help them learn verses, encourage them to bring their friends, and give them Bibles.

 

We’re small; but we’re trusting God and working hard to reach our community.  The first night two weeks ago we had 20 teens, 34 elementary kids, and 10 in the nursery. We had over 104 total! You can see some pic’s attached.

 

You, your ministry staff, and Metro Ministries inspired us to offer this.  God is changing lives on Des Moines East side because of you !

 

Pastor Bill – TELL YOUR STAFF THANKS!! They are a great group of folks!  You are and should be proud of them.

 

Thank you for being a world-changer for Jesus!

 

Sincerely,

 

Shawn Barr

Lead Pastor

Grace Fellowship Church

Des Moines, IA

www.gfdesmoines.com

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…

http://www.kansascity.com/238/story/1202418.html

Here’s my letter…

May 23, 2009

Letters

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.

Sincerely,

 

Shawn Barr

Adult Ministries Pastor

Antioch Bible Baptist Church

Cheapest Gas in the World…?

gas

In our own Gladstone, MO on November 20, 2008.

Shoot – I don’t know.  It could be the cheapest gas in the world – until tomorrow 🙂

I’ve given up trying to figure out how they set gas prices.  There has to be a monkey in a closet somewhere throwing darts…

KU Banner Unveiled – 2008 National Champions

flag

My boys and I attended the Kansas men’s basketball game last night with a good friend.  It was the scheduled night to raise the new 2008 championship banner.

Thought all you KU fans might enjoy it!

Thanks for the tickets Brian – you’re a great friend.

Oh yeah, it wasn’t much of a game.  KU stomped FGCU (Florida Gulf Coast University).

2008 Christian Writer’s Conference – Kansas City

Whether you write devotionals, Christian articles, books, Bible studies, curriculum, or online material there was a workshop for you at this year’s Christian writer’s conference in Kansas City sponsored by HACWN (Heart of America Christian Writer’s Network).

Mark and Jeanette Littleton are the co-directors of HACWN and organize the conference along with a group of members from the network.  Once again they offered a conference packed with informative workshops, experienced speakers, publisher representatives, writing contests, and numerous professional critique services.

Some of the publishers represented included:

·         Thomas Nelson

·         Focus on the Family

·         AMG

·         Barefoot Press

·         Gospel Publishing House

·         Kregel Books

·         Broadman and Holman

·         Come to the Fire

·         Bible Advocate

·         Share the Fire

·         Word Action

·         MomSense

There were 45 different workshops offered.  They included almost any writing topic imaginable: children’s books, blogging, fiction, basic photography, interviewing technique, the writer as speaker, etc.  The conference bookstore offered books on all kinds of writing and books written by local Christian authors.

You could also do the following:

·         Get a professional photo taken for promoting your work.

·         Get a free 10 minute appointment with an editor.

·         Sign-up for a manuscript critique (cost extra).

·         Get a website critique

·         Enter any of 8 writing contests

To see the conference brochure click here: http://hacw.winsunliterary.com/2008HACWNConferenceBrochure.pdf

The conference boasted 99 participants and 27 staff members, a 15% increase over last year’s conference.

I highly recommend HACWN and their annual conference to any writer; especially to those near enough to take advantage of other network benefits including: regular critique groups, professional email leads, and monthly meetings with professional speakers.

To learn more about HACWN click here:  http://hacw.winsunliterary.com/

Here’s a few pics of the event – yes, I need to sign up for the basic photography class next year 🙂

* Mark and Jeanette Littleton – HACWN Co-Directors

mark-and-jeanette

* Panel for First Page Exercise

first-page-panel

* Workshop on writing devotionals (Paul Smith – Gospel Publishing House)

devotional-workshop

* Conference Bookstore

bookstore

* One of Carmen Leal’s workshops (specializes in Marketing your work)

workshop-carmen

* Workshop on what editors look for in submissions.

editor-workshop

Lunch on the first day

lunch