God’s Not Dead – This Should NOT be Headline news!

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The movie, GOD’S NOT DEAD by Pure Flix Entertainment featuring  Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) and Shane Harper (Spencer in Disney’s Good Luck Charlie), Dean Cain (Superman) and David A.R. White (Jerusalem Countdown) with special appearances by Christian super-band, Newsboys who perform — God’s Not Dead , Willie and Korie of the Duck Dynasty (which I do not watch)  opened today in theaters across America. There are plans to screen the movie in other parts of the world too.

The movie synopsis stems from the book by Dr. Rice Broocks  a highly respected senior minister and founder of  Every Nation  family of churches, which according to the website, “currently includes more than 1,000 churches in more than 60 countries …  is on hundreds of college campuses ….focusing on equipping college students around the world to defend their faith.” He also developed the 10 questions conversation – The God Test.

The book presents Nine (9) basic proofs of God’s existence and includes stories of the journey of faith, doubt, disbelief from people ranging from an atheist Harvard Professor to campus students having to defend His existence intellectually. The reality is that while God is evident to Christians, the rest of the human population could be completely oblivious or worse indifferent.

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The book tackles the arguments of atheists such as Dawkins, Harris, Krauss, Mahrer and explores the direct  impact that the teachings of Darwin and Nietzsche have, especially on the highly intellectual communities and shapes the minds our children and young adults. (Parents need to pay attention…our children have to learn to defend their faith.)

Why is this important and Who needs this?

  • The Seekers – those wondering, what if God REALLY exists? It’s not a sappy movie, but a serious INTELLECTUAL, CEREBRAL discourse around the question that plagues our hearts.
  •  The Hungry – people feeling empty and searching for more in life. C.S.Lewis said, “If you are hungry, that points to the existence of food.”
  • Christians  who have always wanted a non-preachy way to articulate and express their faith. The Spirit convicts the heart, we cannot do His job, but we can offer plain intellectual and logical answers to questions about our faith and belief in the Lord.
  • Parents who want to fortify their children with information that is powerful in the face of dogmatic philosophies that run rampant in colleges and schools.
  • Anyone who is still alive, breathing and just for Pete’s sake, wants to know the straight forward truth
Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 2.04.54 PMI entered college as a Christian, got carried away, flunked a few (OK, a lot) of courses, got angry with God for “failing” me and basically ignored Him for a good chuck of my early adult years. That decision cost me dearly.
Without a solid foundation and core understanding of WHY we believe, by the time we get through college, most us will suffer a crisis of faith.

Here are some questions from the Dr Broocks’ book to ponder as you head into the theater or order the book:

  1.  Why would you believe that there is nothing rather than something?
  2.  Where did life come from? Evolution doesn’t explain where the first self replicating mutation came from.
  3. Where did our unseen conscience come from? Across cultures, nations and creed, why are we moral, how do we innately and universally know right from wrong?
  4. Who can you trust? A being who demands sacrifices from you or one who became the sacrifice?

Sites like RatioChristi and PoachedEgg provide apologetic resources that shakes us out of our comfort zone, so that we learn to give logical reasons for our faith.  Some one said, “We are not salt-shakers but real change agents when we engage our world.”

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So get out there, get some organic popcorn (*wink*), grab a friend, your child or loved one, pay for a stranger to go see the movie and  if you stumbled on this post after it’s gone from theaters, please get the DVD and read the book. In the indelible lyrics of the Newsboys, “Our God’s not dead, He is surely alive!” (And this should NOT be headline news.)

*All image credits from God’snotdead.org site.

Prompt: How far would you go…to defend your belief in God?

About That Parable of Talents

Parable about talentAbout that Parable of Talents – People are Depending on Us!

I got a message from a family in desperate need and I was so sad that I couldn’t just write out a check for the exact amount to help them out. It got me thinking…how long have I been dancing around the bonfire instead of igniting my potential and letting the sparks fly? How long have I chosen job security and ended up with no ‘time’ to write? Did I say sad? I meant pathetic!

People are depending me, on us, generations are depending on what we do today. With our gifts and talents, we can change the fortunes of our families first, then cities and nations…and why not? I am preaching to myself and the choir because every “what ifs” can be replaced with “here’s what”. These are the two main excuses we give ourselves:

FEAR

cartoon-44575_150Fear is as natural as scratching an itch, it’s there to trigger a response either to flee from legitimate danger or to recognize an opportunity to stretch ourselves.
Fearful thoughts or a twisted mindset makes people abdicate the responsibility of developing their talents. Many ‘babies’ have been starved to death or buried alive. Like the lazy servant did in the Bible parable – he hid his one talent and incurred his master’s wrath.

His defense was:
“I was AFRAID so I went and buried the talent in the ground.”

FEAR. Enough said.

Or not… the master called him wicked. He called the lack of his growth, wicked as in – capable of harming someone or something or allowing an extremely unpleasant situation to exist.We are created for good works that inspire, evoke emotions, expose injustice,  or use our resources to feed an extra striving child etc. and our gift is the vehicle that takes us to unbelievable destinations.

Fear strolls in with its posse  or an extended family of uncles, aunts and cousins who insist on coming to the party, you might recognize them as procrastination, anxiety, worry, agitation, apprehension, timidity, cowardice and grandpa funk!

“You do not need to shrink difficulties and act as if they do not exist. Just don’t magnify them.” Dr. Eric R. Maisel, Ph.D.

Pursing goals and dreams can be scary and gut-wrenching hard work. Fear uses lies like – Nobody cares, Who do you think you are, You are wasting your time, and on and on…to defeat our purpose and keep us small.
Instead of bolting or perpetuating the lies, we can reign in our thinking, meditate, be still for a moment then keep moving – be the peace within the chaos. Like Steven Pressfield advises, recognize the resistance for what it is, but go ahead and  do it anyway.

DEVALUATION

We esteem the gifts and positions of other people and devalue ours thinking that they are mundane and not as special. I can’t win a singing contest to save my life, but I can write. But I’ll revere a voice like Celine Dion’s and not think much of my innate ability to structure, plot, and craft a story.
Just like Esau, when he despised his birthright trading it to Jacob for a bowl of stew when he came home famished. He said, “Look I am about to die (of hunger), what good is the birthright to me?” That’s how people reason: this —- (fill in your blanks) cannot possibly sustain me!

“…All who make wages will be troubled of soul” Isaiah 19:10 ; “…And he who earns wages, earns wages to put in a bag with holes.” Haggai 1:6

There is nothing wrong with wages, It has its place. It should be for seasons and transitions, not for life because it is never enough! I know God wants better for us than a dead-end job with fixed income, so we’ve got to define our “works” and not just work to pay bills and barely survive. And I think that’s why creative people with regular jobs have “hobbies”. Our hands and minds are wired to be creative and our imagination is always reaching for what we are too scared to say out loud.

My parable about talentI mentioned my love for writing to a senior manager in my former office and the response was, “Good for you, but how will that put food on the table?” What is it with food? The norm is full tummies but malnourished souls.
Until success comes, everybody else puts on blinders but we have to doggedly believe in ourselves.

The acorn doesn’t worry if there will be enough room for its humongous trunk and wide-spread branches, it just shoots up without a care, catching a breeze here and there. So should we…day by day,word by word, page by page.We have to believe that the talent was given for a purpose and that there are people waiting and depending on us to show up.

Don’t take the Mark When You Wake Up

Don't take the mark

Are you counting on your good deeds? Don’t hold your breath!

If God is the Guy up there, Dude and not Father, or you don’t believe or care that He exists or you think Jesus was a good man or prophet and a curse word to make a point,  you are not alone. It’s hard to walk the faith path. We are so visual and tactile by nature that we want to see to believe. We limit ourselves when we are awake but when we sleep we still dream.

There is something about that – the dreaming I mean. It’s a reminder that we are infinite. Here are some facts about how unique and special creation is : Even with advanced technology, man can’t make common dirt. No two snow flakes are EVER the same, there are over 4000 varieties  of the common potatoes and more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples. You are thinking…snowflakes and food – where is this going?

Snow – for at least 21 centuries, water vapor frozen into ice crystals has fallen on us in light white exquisite flakes which we don’t mind, then it turns into this hard white layer on trees and the ground, a potentially hazardous element that can cause frostbite, falls and car skids.  Still no two flakes are alike in 21 centuries – we are like snow flakes, no two people are exactly alike and it’s for one reason. LOVE.

I know Darwin thinks we evolved from a some strange creäture, who probably one that had a tail – half man and monkey, but a loving God, wasn’t confused or unsure about what we would be. Hence the saying , that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. With eyes closed and laying still, we dream.  We exist in a form that does not require physical eyes, we experience a world that doesn’t need us to move a limb. Heck, we even fly, dive into ocean depths  and experience emotions in a completely different dimension! Well, at least I do…

Don't Take the MarkTo really know who you are, is to be either loved or a fool. There is no straddling the fence. It’s like being your parent’s child. You’re either that or not. Don’t be cold in your heart towards Him. You can ask out loud for clarity if you are confused about God’s existence. He’ll find a way to get to you.

But if you chose to remain relentless in your denial of His existence … You’ll be left behind as grace departs and the savage beast ravages the earth for the remnants, like a scavenger, more determined to drag as many souls to his putrid pit of hell. Each soul a piece of the God-heart and displayed as trophies.

There’s still hope even when chaos erupts, if you keep the only part of you that matters – your soul. If you must, starve to death, get beheaded…find a way to leave without pledging your alliance in the attempt to ease your suffering. Desperate, you’ll feel cornered ….but please no matter what, DON’T take the Mark!

God is Love, Ama.

Pale Colored Shoes

Pale colored shoes

I walked into my favorite DSW Shoe store at the Northridge Mall, with a very specific agenda to get new shoes –  black pumps for work. They had to have sturdy two or three-inch heels and be comfortable, as my job involves a bit of walking.

After about two hours of browsing up and down aisles of designer shoes and rummaging the clearance section, these days since I have taken to asking for help under my breath for everything about my life, I quietly asked, “Lord, please show me which shoes to pick.”  I am still learning to ask FIRST instead of after I have exhausted my “superior” intellect and, so far this has been the greatest time management tool for me.

God is omniscient and we have unlimited access to the smartest being in the universe but we are so used to being in control, that we have to work at exercising our faith muscle.
One more thing, He is really interested in EVERY aspect of our lives – big issues, small issues, every minuscule detail, even work shoes! If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally – James 1:5.
So when confused or unsure about anything in your life, ask Him and have confidence, that He will answer. It sometimes isn’t what you were expecting, but it will be what you need.

So back to my shoe hunt, I turned the corner and stopped dead in my tracks. On the counter was this leather ‘Naturalizer’ pale tan pumps, two-inch wooden heels with the cutest pleat design. I had seen them earlier, but because I was so focused on black shoes, I had paid no attention to them.

As I slowly reached out to pick them up, I was thinking, “But Lord, I wanted black shoes.”  Well, as you guessed, they were perfect! Cushy, very pretty and trendy. Until I bought mine, I really didn’t realize how versatile pale shoes were and while He winks, I chuckle when I get compliments on these shoes. Everyone is going pale, I think it’s a very classy, fresh look that is here to stay. Oprah’s magazine even had a feature on ‘No-Fail Pale Shoes and Accessories’  Maybe one of her ‘favorite’ things?

If you think God is boring and out of touch, you are dead wrong – You have hung out with the wrong crowd! Of course, He wants the best for us, we are His living epistles, manifesting His goodness and He gets the glory when we are successful and I will add, attractive!
He will not withhold any good thing from us – Psalm 84:11

I shook my head in awe, knowing that God, who was having a belly laugh on my account that afternoon, was also showing me that I am still the apple of His eyes, that His thoughts towards me are loving, precious, innumerable and uncountable as the sand. That He  knows and understands my thoughts, my needs and is perfectly acquainted with all my ways. (Psalm 139)

Pale colored shoesGod is the greatest Father ever and a fantastic shopper too. When we go out, I get the best deals and favors such as a great parking! He always knows what I need, I am still playing catch up.

This Sunday and the weeks ahead, don’t leave Him at the Church service or ignore the still small voice within. He’ll rather come to your aid than watch you struggle alone.
He says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go” – Psalm 33:8
His real ‘make-over’ is for eternity, because He loves to make us beautiful from within our hearts and souls and everything else, such as cute pale colored shoes are just the perks of  knowing Him as Abba Father.

God is Love,
Ama

Invitation to Party..

Invitation to Party

Surprisingly, the checklist and criteria to get in, is rather unimpressive.. it’s almost too easy:
1. Cowardly and Fearful
2. Unbelieving
3. Abominable
4. Murderers
5. Sexually Immoral
6. Sorcerers
7. Idolaters
8. Liars

This is the revelation – its extremely low standards means you only need ONE attribute to qualify and be ushered in. I used to think that only sin-crazed maniacs got a specially reserved personal hearth in hell, also described as a place of eternal torment, a burning lake of fire and brimstone, the belly of the earth.

Imagine drowning in a sea of volcanos, furnaces of flaming lava and hot vapor eruptions eternally timed to guarantee extreme misery, in a pit made for fallen angels, demons and not you.
In there cloaked in suffocating darkness – your dry and parched throats strained from the blood curdling screams of pain and terror in the realization that, in exercising God given free will, you made this choice and any hope of relief for your burning flesh and unquenchable thirst is forever lost in this second and last death.

The place of the damned…filled with the unimaginable stench of fear and putrid sweat from the heat that melts even the staunchest of hearts. Unless you are certain that someone other than Jesus, made the big blue sky, we all will acknowledge that He is Lord….EVERYONE will. In the game-show of life,  it’s too late to give the answer after the buzzer sounds…I know, I really should say “trumpet”, but you get the idea.

Here and now, while you still have a choice, check the venue of the party on that invitation card you have accepted into your heart, will there be a party over there? You bet, there was a party when I said my “yes” and the Bible states that there’s a party in heaven,when we decide to accept God’s invitation to come home.
Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard nor can our finite minds imagine what God has planned for those who love Him.
Whew! I made it…This time I scored an invite to the right party on the best side of the Heavens and all I had to do was believe….that too, was quite easy.

Just Say Yes, God does the rest.

Ama