Posts Tagged With: Christian

Faith Ops – Video Games as Ministry

GAMER. Just the mere mention of the word, conjures up images of lethargic teens glued to a couch while barking taunts into a headset. They are a curious sect to many; surviving on a diet of Cheetos and Mountain Dew while hibernating in the dark lair known as their parent’s basement. Then throw in a couple incidents where troubled-teens mention a video game because their not man enough to admit their responsible for their own actions, and you’ve got society labeling gamers as boys living ‘on the edge,’ who are one Red Bull away from marching into a high school with a handgun and re-enacting the exploits of their pixelated heroes. While this may seem a bit too cliché, unfortunately this is the ‘stereotype’ that mainstream America believes the life of a gamer is all about.

“Put down that silly controller, get outside, go play baseball, or hop on your bike and go out for a ride with your friends.” Yes, the argument could be made that these activities are not only a million times healthier, but also socially engaging as well. Likewise, video games today have become so realistic that their graphic images do seem to warrant parental guidance. However, this is not the premise for which this article is being written. As a gamer myself, I grew up with the introduction of the first video game ‘Pong’ and have seen the evolution of video game entertainment transform over the years. Looking back it still amazes me that gaming has evolved from a ball and two paddles, to now having the ability to control an entire universe of digitized soldiers while lounging on my couch in the confines of my home.

Stereotypes aside, today the video game industry is a multi-billion dollar business. Yet, while much of society believes that gamers are nothing more than a bunch of socially awkward teenage boys, statistically this could not be farther from the truth. As the Entertainment Software Association confirms, “As of 2011, the average age for a video game player is 37, a number slowly increasing as people who were children playing the first arcade, console, and home computer games continue playing now on current systems. The gender distribution of gamers is also reaching equilibrium, according to a 2011 study showing that 58% of gamers are male and 42% female” (The ESA). This being said, the stereotypical gamer really is not whom society determines them to be.

If you are a parent, I concede the point that video games have become far too violent. Violent behavior, vengeance, and aggression are often looked upon as a reward rather than a negative in today’s modern video games. And as a pastor I have struggled with the thought if I should be playing these types of games; so much that at one point about a year ago I was seriously contemplating getting rid of my game system all together. Then late one night while playing my favorite game series ‘Call of Duty’ an Xbox Live message popped up on my screen. To my surprise the message said, “Do you know Jesus?” Immediately I quit my game and contacted the sender of the message, Daniel Beck who goes by the gamertag BornAgain2001. Over the course of the next few months a camaraderie and mentorship began to take shape between us. Daniel began to share with me a calling that God had placed in his heart years ago.

“As men of God, we are identified by many titles: son, father, husband, Christ Follower. But identify yourself as a ‘gamer’ and instantly you’re looked upon as a ‘trouble maker’ or ‘unmotivated freethinker’ who is not truly following Christ,” Daniel said. “Yes, games can be negative. But turning away from evil does not mean that we are called to ignore that it exists in the world,” he concluded. As scripture asserts, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). And this was the motivation behind Daniel taking a leap of faith and founding the Christian Gamer Community called “The 116 Boyz.”

Founded in June of 2012, The 116 Boyz fashioned there name after Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:16). The group exists so that Christian male gamers of all ages can enjoy online gaming while incorporating biblical principles and fellowship within the gaming community. This ministry covers all game spectrums and all game consoles to include Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, and PC Gamers. While on the surface, it may appear that gaming is their reason for existence. When a member takes on the coveted role as a 116 Boyz Disciple, they affirm to be Salt and Light to an ever-dimming world. As Daniel says, “We exist to lead those who are lost to Christ; and also to pour our lives into believers who seek a place of community and fellowship with other Christian believers. While we love our gaming, at the end of the day when we lay our controllers down, it’s not about who is the best player; but who has made the most impact of ministering into the lives of online gamers for Jesus Christ!”

While Christian Gamers is not a new idea, The 116 Boyz do try and set themselves apart amongst other Christian gaming organizations. Like other gaming ministries, they conduct weekly Bible studies online and provide inspirational messages of hope and guidance on their website. However, Daniel was determined that The 116 Boyz was not to be just another gaming ministry. To be part of The 116 Boyz, members must adhere to a very strict code of conduct. A code that expects all members to reach out and minister to gamers each time they log-on to multiplayer type games. Additionally, “Followers of Christ come to us at many different points in their spiritual walk. Life sometimes deals us a hand we don’t know how to play. Therefore, I am thankful that we have an ordained on-call pastor available 24-hours a day for counseling and spiritual guidance. I believe this is what really sets our community of gamers apart,” Daniel said.

Since it’s inception, The 116 Boyz have multiplied to over 150 members in just 2-months! Needless to say, if you spend anytime on ‘Call of Duty’ multiplier games, you’re likely to come across a 116 Boy a time or two. With gamertags like Gods Gladiator, x iPastor x, and Jesus Possessed, it becomes a little easier to identify whom it’s members are. But the really standout attribute is found by those who are defeated during ‘Call of Duty’ multiplayer missions. When a person is slain in the game, the other opponent’s Call Sign Tag is displayed. 116 Boyz take advantage of this feature and use the clan tag option to display scriptures (seen below). With the current number of members playing ‘Call of Duty’ the Word of God is being flashed to Xbox live opponents at a staggering rate per hour. And as most people are aware, this can be a very powerful ministry tool as history has proven. During the 2009 College National Championship game, Tim Tebow wore John 3:16 on his eye black; the result, “John 3:16” was searched for on Google more than 90 million times.

One great thing about the 116 Boyz ministry is that it provides parents with a piece of mind about whom their children are friends with online. There’s no doubt that today’s online community can be a doorway that leads down a road of rejection, hostility, and impropriety. For normal youth this is bad enough, but for Christian gamers it can be detrimental to one’s spiritual walk. As 13-year old Kyler Moses, who goes by the gamertag KylerM1999 said, “Before the 116 Boyz, my parents disliked that I was involved with a Call of Duty Clan. The clan swore and verbally attacked other gamers. This is not what men of God are supposed to do. Now my parents love that I am involved with brothers who share my beliefs and make it a point to lift me up so that I remain faithful to what God calls me to do with my life.”

There are many critics that would argue that due to the nature of these games, Christians should not be playing them. Like anything, I believe the most important thing to ask yourself is why you are playing them and what’s the condition of your heart? I have personally witnessed 16-gamers in an online room about to start playing a ‘Modern Warfare 3’ match and hear, “Does anyone have any prayer requests?” And then there was the night when that simple casting of your nets question, “Do you know Jesus?” led a 28-year old man in London, England to Christ. So to say that all gamers, and games for that matter are inherently evil would be callous and unwarranted.

After reading this, maybe you’re still not convinced that gaming can be a real and authentic means of ministry. But as 1 Peter 2:5 says, “You are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.” Just because gaming or any other activity isn’t for you, doesn’t mean that those who choose to participate aren’t making a huge impact for God’s kingdom. In today’s society, it’s very easy to become a spectator for Christ’s ministry and not one of His disciples. How often do we spend time on the sidelines of life acting more like an armchair quarterback saying, “I would never do it like that.” Yet, no matter if it’s sports, dance, or yes gaming, we all should seek to find our niche and participate; for everyone of us is a stone for which God to use. I’d like to close with a quote from one of our great former Presidents, Theodore Roosevelt who once said: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out where the strong stumbled or how the doer could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is in the arena, his face marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and falls short again and again: There is no effort without error.” In the end, the one that claims the victory is the one who gets out there and does something. It’s the one who is determined to live by the motto, “leave no man behind.” And it is the one that when others are running away from conflict; is seen running into the conflict. It is the Christian Gamer’s ‘Medal of Honor.’ A medal earned on the ‘Battlefield,’ and for members of the 116 Boyz, it is our ‘Call of Duty.’

If you are interested in becoming a member of The 116 Boyz, please visit http://116boyz.com for more information.

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

Works Cited:
“Essential Facts About the Video Game Industry.” The ESA. Web. August 24, 2012.

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Categories: Daily Living | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Think Chick-fil-A is Alone? 9 Other Bible-Banging Companies

Since Dan T. Cathy, President and Chief Operating Officer of Chick-fil-A came out and publicly opposed same-sex marriage, many people have been forced to take a hard look at what companies they will support. While some of the big conglomerates throw a little money at both sides of the debate in an effort to remain neutral; readers may be shocked to find that just because they’re not as outspoken, some companies make a point to be purposeful about their faith.

Here’s a list of some of the more well known religious companies and how they demonstrate their religious freedom. This list is in no particular order.

1. Tyson Foods – While known as the world’s largest chicken company, it is also known for employing the most chaplains in any work force. “Tyson Chaplain Services has chaplains available to team members at numerous plants around the company and in our corporate offices. The chaplains provide compassionate pastoral care and ministry to team members and their families regardless of their religious or spiritual affiliation or beliefs,” according to a banner on Tyson’s website. Tyson not only employs chaplains throughout it’s company, but they also recently funded “The Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace” located at The University of Arkansas http://tfsw.uark.edu

2. Interstate Batteries – Like Tyson Foods, Interstate Batteries also employs it’s own chaplain. On it’s companies corporate website (http://corporate.interstatebatteries.com/giving/) the following is listed; “Part of what makes Interstate a unique company is its unabashed mission to conduct business in a way that honors God. That was Norm Miller’s vision when he became President in 1978. Today as chairman he is not involved in the day-to-day operation, and this allows Norm the time to speak to a variety of audiences interested in how he found the truth of Christianity and how he learned to effectively apply Biblical Principles to create a more successful business. Part of our corporate culture, through a full-time Chaplain and supporting staff, is to provide opportunities for people within and outside our company for Bible study, prayer, and Christian mission. While it is not necessary to be a Christian to be employed, it is a part of the daily work life for Interstate team members.”

3. Herman Miller – This Michigan-based furniture manufacturer who’s most famous for it’s Aeron chair, is grounded in the Reformed Protestant tradition. The company was founded in 1905 by D.J. De Pree, a Christian evangelical. He named the company after his beloved father-in-law, Miller. Today, De Pree’s sons Max and Hugh lead the company and outwardly declare that they too are servant-leaders just like their father. This being said, it’s no wonder that Herman Miller consistently appears on Fortune’s yearly list of The Best Companies to Work for.

4. In-N-Out-Burger – While Chick-fil-A asserts that it’s recipes come from its strong religious values, In-N-Out Burger also prides itself on its ongoing effort to print Bible scriptures on its packaging. In 1948, Harry and Esther Snyder founded the company on their devout Christian faith. It is this devotion that leads the company to continue to promote the Word of God in a very unique way today. Since the late 1980’s, In-N-Out Burger fanatics have been able to find scriptures on their burger wrappers and cups to name just a few examples. For instance, “John 3:16” can be found at the bottom of each drinking cup (pictured). It is the pinnacle verse used throughout all Christian denominations; “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Other verses have been found like Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” and also Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” Currently In-N-Out Burger has 275 locations nationwide and growing.

5. ServiceMaster – While the name may not ring a bell for some, this companies residential service businesses may be more recognizable. Names like TruGreen, Merry Maids and Terminix have led the company to achieve over 5,100 franchises around the United States. In 1929, Marion E. Wade founded the company, which derived its name from the concept of Christianity known as “Service thy Master.” According to it’s website (http://www.servicemaster.com/about-us/history), “Wade had a strong personal faith and a desire to honor God in all he did. Translating this into the marketplace, he viewed each individual employee and customer as being made in God’s image – worthy of dignity and respect. His successors, Ken Hansen and Ken Wessner, also shared this view. These three leaders shaped what became our company objectives: To Honor God in All We Do; To Help People Develop; To Pursue Excellence; and To Grow Profitably.”

6. Hobby Lobby – This privately held chain of arts and crafts stores has amassed more than 500 locations nationwide. It was founded in 1972 by David Green and to this day resonates Hobby Lobby’s ethos, “Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.” And it stands by the assertion “We believe that it is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured. He has been faithful in the past, we trust Him for our future.” On the companies Vision page (http://www.hobbylobby.com/our_company/ministry.cfm) it states “Hobby Lobby Partners with organizations working to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the world.” These organizations include The Alliance Defense Fund, WyCliffe, and Oral Roberts University. One interesting fact, David Green, the companies founder, is the owner of “The Green Collection;” a compilation of more than 40,000 biblical antiquities currently featured via a worldwide traveling exhibition called “Passages.” Like Chick-fil-A, its more than 500 stores are closed on Sundays.

7. Tom’s of Maine – In 1970, along with his wife Kate, CEO Tom Chappell launched a line of natural home products that includes toothpaste, deodorant, soap to name a few. Many people may be surprised to know that Tom Chappelle received his Master’s Degree at Harvard Divinity School and almost didn’t start Tom’s of Maine in order to work in full-time ministry. With advice of one of his professors, Tom decided to treat his business as ministry. To this day Tom’s website states that he personally vows to, “Create a better world by exchanging our faith, experience, and hope.” (http://www.tomsofmaine.com/business-practices/values-beliefs/stewardship-model)

8. Forever 21 – While this company describes itself a fashion-forward clothing store for young ladies, it markets to another demographic; the Christian community. Like, In-N-Out Burger, Forever 21 also emblazons the bottom of its packaging with the scripture John 3:16 (pictured). According to a company spokeswoman, John 3:16 is used as a “demonstration of the owners’ Christian faith.” Additionally, consumers are able to purchase ladies T-shirts at its stores that unapologetically reveal various other Christian messages.

9. Walmart – This last inclusion could be taken by some with a grain of salt. While there is a “They do or they don’t mindset” going around about Walmart’s view on gay rights. In 2008, after Christian Conservative groups threatened a boycott, Wal-Mart left the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, with a spokesperson saying the company had decided not “to support or oppose highly controversial issues.”

Walmart was founded by the Walton family. Sam Walton founded the company in 1962 on the Christian Servant leadership model. The company based its shopping habits on Arkansas churchgoers and developed its business model from there. Today, Walmart is known as being the world’s largest retailer. Since the company was founded on Christian principles, this would explain why Walmart has long-carried Christian books that were once only available at larger Christian bookstores. Today, Sam Walton’s heirs own 48% of the stake in the publicly-traded corporation. This has enabled the Walton family to continue its stronghold over Walmart’s Christian based business practices.

While in recent days the media has tried to assault Chick-fil-A for its stance on gay marriage, it’s nice to learn that other well known companies support Christian values and are active; despite how the media tries to make us believe that Chick-fil-A stands alone in their commitment of biblical principles. I applaud these companies for not wavering in these times of spiritual indifference. At least I know where to grab my next burger, shop for chicken products, or purchase some great household décor. Am I advocating all Christians to support these companies; Yes! In a day and age where moral wrongs are constantly being askewed as a civil-right, we as Christians should go out of our way to support those companies striving to, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:16).

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

Works Cited:
The idea and some of the thoughts for this story came from the CNN Article “9 Religious Companies Besides Chick-Fil-A” Author Dan Gilgoff, July 24, 2012.

Categories: National Headlines | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Are You a Lukewarm Christian?

There are very few things in life that are good when it comes to being lukewarm. For instance, we don’t hear people say, “You’d feel better if you would go take a lukewarm shower.” Or what about going out to eat? If we get our food served to us lukewarm, what do we do? We send it back if it’s not hot, or cold if that’s the way it’s supposed to be prepared. By nature, society tells us things should be hot or cold.

But for some reason, in the area of Christianity, we make excuses and try and manipulate what the scriptures convey to us. I apologize if what I’m about to say upsets you. But as a pastor, our jobs are not always meant to build you up. Sometimes we are called to steer you in the right direction when you stray off course; hence why pastors care called God’s Shepherds. The Greek Word for Pastor: ‘poimaino’ = (herdsman, a shepherd… one who cares for, feeds, guides, and protects the sheep).

Let me cut right to the heart of the matter. The Bible makes it emphatically clear; being a lukewarm Christian is NOT considered good in the eyes of the Lord. What does lukewarm Christianity look like? It’s the place that is found somewhere between being hot (on fire and living your life for what God desires) and being cold (not believing in or having no desire to follow God). One of my favorite lines comes from Pastor Craig Groeschel, “Just because it doesn’t bother you… Doesn’t mean it shouldn’t bother you.” And that’s exactly what’s occurring in society and the church today. We have become a Christian society that spends more time debating scripture and twisting it, rather than doing what it says. Instead of following God’s Word, we follow it up with, “Well the Bible doesn’t really say…” Let’s be clear, the Bible does say! In fact, in the area of lukewarm Christianity, scripture proves that Christ Himself knew that the nature of our society would pull away from God just as it is today. In fact, Jesus was so concerned that He sent a clear message to those living a lukewarm walk with God. He actually states that He would rather you and I be “cold” rather than lukewarm; and that lukewarmness is so disgusting that it makes God want to vomit. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).

So with that in mind, here are 10 signs you might be a lukewarm Christian…

1. You only seek God when things seem to be crashing down around you.

2. You rarely share your faith, and would have a difficult time sharing your faith if asked.

3. The acceptance of people matters more than the acceptance that God provides.

4. You come to church and “Play Christian.” But as soon as you leave, your life is really no different than others in the world.

5. Your friends would be shocked if they found out that you were a “Christian.”

6. You spend more time on Facebook rather than in His Book.

7. The Bible that you have been carrying back and forth to church still looks like you just bought it.

8. You sometimes skip saying grace before a meal while out in public because you are afraid of what others are thinking.

9. Being a Christian to you means that you want to know Christ just enough to save you from going to hell, but not so much that it means having to change your lifestyle.

10. And my all time favorite… You are more concerned with “offending people” that you don’t share your faith.

The Word of God is clear and concise on this matter. Since God’s love for us is so unfathomable, shouldn’t our love for Him be so radical and thankful for Him sending His Son to pay the ultimate price? As I have had the displeasure of seeing this country fall to the wayside by trying to remove God from all of society, I’ll be very blunt; I have no patience for “lukewarm Christians.”

Let me end with two thoughts. Christianity is not simply living a lifestyle; it is living and dying for Jesus. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35). For Christianity is not a brief emotional experience, it is a lifetime commitment made with our Savior Jesus Christ. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 10:22). In this life, God denounces lukewarmness. For Him, you are either a Christian… or you’re not! Which one are you?

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

Categories: Daily Living | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kirk Cameron Under Fire… Again

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:19). As many of us know, actor Kirk Cameron has transformed himself from the one time 80’s teen-beat idol, to one of today’s most out-spoken evangelical leaders. Just months after coming off the heels of a firestorm of sorts in which Cameron made comments about homosexuality being “Destructive” during an interview on Piers Morgan Tonight; it seems Cameron is now being brought under fire once again.

Recently, NOM (The National Organization for Marriage) named Kirk Cameron as “one of America’s most important champions of marriage.” To accompany this honor, NOM released a video on their website in which Cameron is shown speaking during an interview about the importance of preserving traditional marriage in the United States. Already, this interview has seemed to re-spark the debate against GLAAD and Cameron from months past; even finding media sources and bloggers alike to return to their keyboards in an attempt to revisit the Piers Morgan interview.

Ever since I read the controversy surrounding the Piers Morgan/Kirk Cameron interview, one statement that was made has always left me scratching my head. In their response to Cameron’s interview, GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) attacked Cameron saying, “Cameron is out of step with a growing majority of Americans, particularly people of faith who believe that their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters should be loved and accepted based on their character and not condemned because of their sexual orientation.” As I read this, I was left asking myself one question. To say people of faith believe in the gay agenda makes me wonder what Bible are they reading? We who call ourselves “Believers” accept the Bible as the Infallible Word of God, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Therefore, if a person claims to be a Christian, they must accept God’s Word as truth. While times may change and people become desensitized to social issues, the Bible is clear; “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

As Christians, sin is to be hated; there is no excuse for looking the other way or taking it lightly. There are many sinful acts that occur in all of us. And people who try and place homosexuality as a sin higher than any other are just out right wrong. Nowhere in the Bible does it describe homosexuality as a “greater” sin than any other. All sin whether it is theft, murder, dishonesty, or adultery; it’s still offensive to God. Homosexuality is just one of the many things listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that will keep a person from the Kingdom of God. Therefore, we are called to love all sinners by being faithful in witnessing to them of the forgiveness that is available through Jesus Christ.

If we call ourselves followers of Christ, then we know that the truest act of love is treating someone with respect and kindness even though he/she knows you do not approve of their lifestyle or their choices. Looking the other way is not loving in the eyes of God. We are not called to allow a person to remain stuck in sin. Therefore, “We will speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). While people may stand upon their soapbox claiming Kirk or any other follower of Christ is judging or intolerable to the homosexual lifestyle, understand, it is not hateful to speak out against sin. In fact, the exact opposites are true. We as Christians are called at all times to love the person sinning. But as for the sinful acts, we must refuse to condone, ignore, or excuse them. Kirk Cameron’s remarks are not only biblically accurate, but in my opinion, refreshing in a day and age where Lukewarm Christianity is becoming socially tolerant.

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

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"It's Just Like an iPhone…”

Have you ever heard these words, “It’s just like an iPhone”? It seems that no matter what great product comes on the scene, rival companies quickly snatch it up, duplicate it’s look, and rebrand it so it can be passed off to the American public in a “just like the…” version. First and foremost, you know when it comes to the iPhone, most people know I am an devout junkie. Yes, I stand in line at 3 AM anxiously awaiting the doors to open so I can be one of the first to have the new version in hand. And I openly admit I am one of the people a recent poll referred to when it said that “35% of the people polled would buy a new iPhone version; sight unseen.”

As you read this you’re probably wondering what does this have to do with Christianity? Well, awhile back, I was reading an article on The Christian Post about all the different religions that are available today. All under the guise that they are considered “Christians.” I’d list them here, but as http://www.worldchristiandatabase.org provides, “There are over 9,000 Christian denominations worldwide.” As I was thinking about this, that now famous quote, “It’s just like an iPhone,” started ringing in my head. The fact of the matter is there are a lot of smart phones out there. And to be fair, let’s take the price factor out of the equation for why someone can or cannot afford different smart phones that are available.

A lot of these phones look like an iPhone. They have a touch screen, they run apps, and some are so close that from a distance you would actually start to believe that it’s an iPhone. However, while they may look like an iPhone and seem to work like an iPhone; they are not real iPhones. And just because there is an imitation posing as the “just like” version, doesn’t mean that it comes close to being like the genuine. Like most products, because there are replicas, you can be certain there is a genuine; a benchmark that all imitations can be measured by. Whenever someone says to me, “It’s just like an iPhone,” my response is simple. “If it’s just like an iPhone, why not buy the genuine?” Obviously if someone refers to an item as the “just like” version, by their own admission the genuine article is its purest form; one that others are trying to duplicate.

Which brings me to the question, “Why are there so many different religions and denominations available today? How do we know which belief is true and genuine from all the others? Just like the iPhone, when it comes to religion you can be assured that Satan will come along with his own “just like” replica. As the Apostle Paul confirms, Satan has a plan to confuse and make us believe that the replica is just like the genuine. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13-14).

Jesus Himself warned us to be on the lookout for imitations. In Matthew 13, the parable of the wheat and the tares is a great example of what the fake and genuine looks like when they are compared to one another. In His story, Jesus tells the account of the farmer who painstakingly planted a great field of wheat, but when night fell and no one was looking, his enemy snuck in and planted tares; tares is a plant that looked exactly like wheat. In fact, without careful examination, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two while it first begins to grow. Once it matures, the tares begin to uproot the wheat and by the time the farmer can recognize the imitation, his crop has already been affected and dies off.

Today, just look around at what passes off as “Christians.” On the surface with a little lip service it’s hard to tell if they are the genuine deal or the imitated version. As the Bible warns, in the last days, there will be genuine Christians and fake Christians. Jesus Himself told us to be on the lookout, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15). At first glance, they might even fool real Christians. They are sporting the NOTW bumper sticker, quote their favorite scriptures to you, and put on a religious front every Sunday; but on Monday they are no different from the rest of the world.

As believers in Christ am I saying that it’s our job to go out and single-out who the fake Christians are? No, as stated earlier Jesus said, “You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15). Just like the iPhone, the imitations will try and pass off that they are just like the genuine, but spend a little time with the imitation. Soon, how it operates and functions in the real world will be revealed on its own. Anyone that owns an iPhone knows why it’s the standard for other phones to try and imitate. We who call ourselves Christians need only be focused on one thing. We just need to make sure that when people look at us closely, they recognize that we are genuine followers of Jesus Christ; and not Satan’s knock-off version in an attempt to deceive the world.

Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…

Pastor Steve

Categories: Daily Living, The Church | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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