Posts Tagged With: Bible

Jesus and Alcohol (My Confession)

Dreams are one of the ways God speaks to me. Sometimes I don’t listen very well and I soon forget the very important message Jesus was doing his best to convey to me.

The other night I dreamed I was with some brothers and sisters in Christ explaining how I didn’t want to be associated with alcohol or anything else short of Jesus, Redemption, and Love. One girl started to sing a song about the love of God for us. She sang it poorly but it didn’t matter. The truth of the lyrics immediately made me cry. It made me cry because I knew all the ways I resist God and shut him out and yet He still loves me deeply.

I wanted to learn that song so someone printed off just the chords without lyrics. I played it on my guitar and someone else sang an epic version of a beautiful song about the love of God for us… a song I hope to write soon.

(Note: I was informed this post comes across disjointed. That’s what happens when you start a post in July and finish it in December.)

Since my last posts on the subject (see Alcohol and Jesus) I have grown a great deal in my views of alcohols proper place in the believer’s life (if at all). As a follower of Jesus we all have a responsibility to heed the Lord’s personal direction concerning all things, including the use (or lack of use) of alcohol.

My friend Jeff asked me, “So what’s the upside to alcohol?”

My attempt to answer that:

1.) To enjoy with family when we get together?

While perfectly enjoyable and acceptable, it must be with discretion. For instance, are we setting a good example for young impressionable children in the family? Maybe we can do this by showing how to use moderately and not abuse? But often times it is best to just refrain.

2.) Perhaps there is an occasion where you are hanging with lost people or slippery Christians that having a beer might help build a bridge for sharing the Gospel? (Jesus wants to save Christians too!)

I remember hearing a pastor tell of how he was invited to his neighbor’s house for a barbecue. Someone tossed him a cold beer. He tossed it back announcing, “I don’t drink, I am a Christian.” He regrets that to this day and says, “Why didn’t I just have the beer?” So with this story in mind I firmly believed a beer or a glass of wine could build a bridge for the Gospel of God’s grace (and being led by the Spirit on all future occasions this might still be employed).

Has it ever worked for me? Maybe… but I don’t think so. What has happened on a few occasions is that either I, or the person or people I am with, have too much to drink. This leaves either of us with a sense of shame and regret (or regrettably not). Jesus was not given glory. People are not closer to Jesus thanks to alcohol.

3.) For the pure enjoyment and relaxation “a” beer or glass of wine can bring?

What’s wrong with this? Nothing really. Used in moderation alcohol is not evil. In fact, there are many health benefits to wine. Look it up. My perceptions are that in other cultures, the use of alcohol does not have the same stigma as it does in America. Take Europe for example. Wine with every meal is perfectly acceptable (Christian or not).

images-1Here in America alcohol is often seen as just a tool to get drunk. Likely, our history with the prohibition (and a puritanical Church stance) is to blame for rendering alcohol with its low reputation. It’s given the sin tax by the government as if to say, “Sure, we will allow you this evil much like we allow you to smoke and give yourself cancer or allow you to kill your baby.”

I wonder if America were mentioned in the Bible would it be on par with the Cretans reputation (“Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons”). Personally I don’t have much respect for how our American ancestors behaved when it came to alcohol or otherwise. A quote from the movie “Gangs of New York” comes to mind: “America was born in the streets”. I have heard or read stories of American history when seemingly everyone was getting drunk, and often. We lacked self-control and alcohol plagued our society for quite some time (and it still does). This is why the prohibition came about. Politicians and sensible people at the time saw the destruction alcohol was wreaking upon society and wanted it stopped.

So yes, I enjoy the fleeting happiness a favorite beer or glass of wine can bring. But I also certainly hate the shame and regret, not to mention the physical consequences, of having too much alcohol. It pains me to see what it is doing to my family, friends, and neighbors. And just as the Bible predicts, it’s difficult being a voice against its abuse when I was “for” its use. After all, I wouldn’t want anyone to feel bad or anything or jeopardize my own tolerance for it in my life. “Yea, I know we drink a lot”, someone would say to me. My response: “Well, I enjoy a glass of wine myself.” (And while it’s probably a good thing to refrain from being everyone’s conscience for them, it’s also good not to invalidate their own conscience’s convictions and conclusions.)

Can You Drink AND Love Jesus?

Some may and do come to the conclusion that just as drinking and driving don’t mix, neither does drinking and radically loving Jesus. This would be a position I would never take. Think about it. Can you honestly say to someone who has an occasional drink (like Jesus did) that they cannot radically love Jesus? No, not really.

However, for those Israelites who wished to be close to God they would take a Nazarite vow which meant that they would abstain from alcohol for a season. For a few of the most important prophets in Biblical history this was a lifelong commitment. So there is definitely a strong biblical argument for giving it up for good, especially considering the times and the need for prophets who are close to Jesus and hear from him.

This blog post isn’t about using alcohol responsibly. It’s about the times we fail to do so… and I have failed to do so. In my last post on the subject I talked about how I would never abuse alcohol again! Did you know that “never” can also mean “in two months”? Yes, I have slipped a few times. That is the strength of a persons resolve.

I recently watched a sobering movie about an alcoholic. It was amazing to see the freedom and even faith gained in the end by someone choosing honesty and facing who you are rather than continuing to lie. In Elementary, one of my favorite shows, Sherlock is a recovering addict. What baffles me is how we can even manage to “control” one area of our life, as the character in Elementary does, but then allow other areas of our life to be completely out of control. For instance Sherlock controls his substance addiction but gives himself complete license when it comes to sexual sin.

Isn’t there a higher goal beyond controlling our addictions or managing our sin? Indeed there is. Jesus holds out to us complete and absolute freedom in our relationship with him and gives us a kind of grace that is a game changer.

It’s his commitment to forgive and remain committed to love us that teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and live soberly and righteous lives.

 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,  while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:11-14 NIV)

I have an unparalleled ability in recent years to immediately receive the grace and forgiveness of Jesus when I fail – which is a REALLY GOOD THING! I don’t wallow in shame or beat myself up. Honestly I didn’t expect any better from the saboteur anyway. BUT, I would never want to justify my sin! I’d rather simply part ways with it. Thankfully Jesus makes repenting and parting ways with sin rather simple. You just have to be ruthlessly honest about yourself and your sin (not always as publicly as I am).

Because I came out publicly with such a “pro” argument for its acceptable use I felt the need to address this issue again (hopefully for the last time). This is why I am publicly repenting of my abuse of alcohol and being as brutally honest as I can be… OK, that’s a lie. You will never get the full brutally honest story. Only God knows that one.

I met a woman recently who had been sober 24 years after being an alcoholic for most of her life previous. She said she has never felt accepted or loved until she found it in Jesus. She keeps trying to reach her alcoholic son and refuses to give up hope for him because Jesus never gave up on her.

I recently came back from visiting where I grew up. One of the people I used to drink with is still a raging alcoholic nearly twenty years later. Don’t we ever learn? Another has turned to alcohol to self medicate a constant physical pain and I think perhaps to also numb the emotional pain of the past. But even more than this I think it is used to numb the ache of just missing Jesus.

In a broken world such as ours with so much pain and anguish, is it any wonder people turn to alcohol (among other things)? But don’t we know to turn to Jesus? Why not?

So many people just don’t know, or don’t believe, that Jesus loves them. I don’t know about you but most of the time when I hear, “Jesus loves you”, it seems trite and silly like that old Sunday school song. It’s old hat. You know what I mean? The message so often fails to even enter our heart. We are immune and inoculated from the love of Jesus.


I think it’s because we aren’t willing to trust and be willing to give up all the carefully constructed ways we medicate our misery. Ultimately, this isn’t about drinking at all, is it? It’s about knowing and loving Jesus. Do we really know him? Have we embraced his love? Are we really his disciple? (See a previous blog about being a disciple called Dust).

In the beginning of June of this year the Lord was trying to get my attention and was calling me to be his disciple. He did this by giving me the following dream:

I saw the world for what it truly was in the spiritual dimension. It was a place of darkness and confusion and the air was filled with poison. It was as if the entire world was a house filled with carbon monoxide. People were dropping around me like flies and I was shaken by it. Someone, who I perceived was the Lord, was trying his best to rescue people. But people were hiding from him. Demons were also constantly busy hiding people from Jesus and in frustration he said to himself (the Trinity) “It seems like they are going to get away with everything.”

So how in the world did I turn a profound dream of Jesus loving rescue operation into a defense for a Christians right to drink? How slippery I am!

In fact, after I poured out all my alcohol, I was making it again within two days! Why, you may ask? Oh, I had my reasons. Among all my reasons, the biggest reason is this:

I miss Jesus. I wanted to relieve the ache of missing him. Alcohol did that for me and I wasn’t ready to give it up. Now, however, I’d rather just have Jesus, even if it means never having alcohol ever again.

I was afraid to feel the pain of Christ for others as well. I avoided this pain and so was sabotaging the advancement of the kingdom of God. Unless you and I embrace the love of Jesus and join with Jesus in his rescue operation, unless that becomes our driving ambition in our life as it is Christ’s, and yes, even embrace the pain that comes with the mission of actually caring about lost people, then we become part of the problem. We end up putting sandbags on the drowning victims instead of pulling them to safety. We end up turning away from, and skirting around, the beat up victim instead of coming to their aid (see the Good Samaritan story). We end up handing a drink to the alcoholic. We remain silent when we should speak out. We stand by and watch them suffocate. We stand by and watch people drown themselves with alcohol and give them encouragement, “It’s ok. It’s your Christian right to drink.”

I don’t want that anymore.

I don’t want any more people whom Jesus dearly loves to slip by and never fully embrace the love and grace and redemption that Jesus has for them! I don’t want Christian brothers and sisters to settle for an existence that is so far below anything you could remotely call an ‘abundant life’ that Jesus offers them. I want everyone to “be found” by Jesus and be in love with their Creator and Savior!

This isn’t really about alcohol at all. This is about Jesus finding people and saving them from whatever may be distracting and drowning them (their idols). This is about people becoming disciples of Jesus.

There are probably plenty of reasons to never drink again. My permissive attitudes might have already encouraged others to drink who shouldn’t be drinking. This is tragic and feels like I’m handing a loaded gun to someone who is suicidal.

I was reminded today from reflecting on the Psalms that God holds each one of us accountable. You and I will be held accountable and none of our excuses will be valid or amount to anything. Sooner or later our hearts WILL be exposed, our sin will come to light. I choose the sooner.

My wife was reading through the Bible and came upon this Scripture from the prophet Micah:

“Suppose a prophet full of lies would say to you,
“I’ll preach to you the joys of wine and alcohol!”
That’s just the kind of prophet you would like!” Micah 2:11 NLT

I was arrested.

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12 NLT

Even if it is entirely ok for me to drink or even have a winemaking hobby, (which I know it is – I do still agree with everything in my first blog on this topic), God has a way of exposing our carefully constructed arguments and excuses for what they are to expose our heart and motives.

Why was an occasional drink so important to me anyway?

I felt it made me more human. I felt that it further separated me from the realm of religious prick (which I abhor) and into the realm of real and human and love. This is why I was committed to not being a teetotaler.

But… on the flip side, might I be a partaker of destroying lives and helping people to hide from Jesus and giving them a Biblical defense to do so? If that is the case, then God help me!

The thing is, God has helped me and continues to help me. He sets me free from idols… because even if I had the slightest doubt that alcohol stood between me and Jesus, then guess what… it did. Because, “whatever is not of faith is sin.”

The simple truth is this. Our conscience dictates all these gray areas of morality. This makes perfect sense when you think of this in terms of relationship. I am one side of the relationship, God is on the other. If I think something is hindering that relationship then it most certainly is because I “think” it is and that affects me. Even if to God that gray area is perfectly acceptable, I may not be mature or aware enough to know that. My faith may not connect with that.

Paul writes about this in terms of meat offered to idols. My understanding is that in Paul’s day in age you could hardly find meat in the market that hadn’t been offered to an idol because the butcher shops served the idol worship industry that was so prevalent. Many early Christians ceased eating meat altogether lest they “offend God” by unwittingly taking part of idol worship. Paul was mature and aware of the fact that an idol is nothing and nonsense so enjoy the meat, but never at the expense of another’s conscience. In that case the persons conscience always trumped the “freedom” because that person’s relationship is worth more than the freedom.

A person’s relationship with God is always worth more than any freedom.

My bottom line is this: What do we want our life to be about?

I don’t want to be known as the guy who makes and enjoys wine, but as the man who loves and is passionate about Jesus! Ultimately I want my life to be about knowing and experiencing fully and then preaching the joy of knowing Jesus.  I’d rather not be a stumbling block to anyone finding that joy!

Please pray for me.

Categories: Alcohol, Dreams, Exposing Self-Righteous Religion | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Is Jesus Really the ONLY Way to Salvation?

I came across this image on facebook, posted it, and enjoyed a lively discussion. Jesus claims to be the only way of salvation. That is an incredible and very exclusive claim, which contradicts every other proposition for salvation or enlightenment, doesn’t it? I want to share with you why I know this is true.

Jesus said:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NLT)

Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, repeats this idea as he addresses the Jews in Jerusalem:

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 (NIV)

Could this be  true? Where does the evidence point? Or do we still care about such things as evidence and truth?

The Evidence:

Jesus fulfilled hundreds of specific prophecies, he performed miracles (even raising the rotting corpse of his friend Lazarus!), his Father testified about him from heaven in front of witnesses on three separate occasions, and he rose from the dead and appeared to more than 500 witnesses at once. I think it’s quite amazing that you can take the evidence that is presented regarding the resurrection and actually prove in a court of law that it did indeed happen. Everything hinges on his resurrection and God did everything to secure this ultimate witness and testimony to who his Son really is. I wrote and talked about this here: Resurrection

The Bible teaches us that God has revealed himself in Jesus. God has made a profound statement in Jesus! God is telling us, “If you want to know what I Am like, what I think, what moves me, what angers me, and how desperately I love you, then look no further than my Son Jesus.”

Why is Jesus the ONLY way?

Jesus came on a rescue mission to save the world. The cross was an essential part of this rescue but He didn’t want to go. Jesus was practically begging his Father, “If there is any other way, please, please, don’t make me endure this!”

Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Matthew 26:38-39 (NIV)

“And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:44 (NIV)

His Father listened with a profound ache in his heart as His Son pleaded with him for another way. Don’t you think that God would have provided another way to save mankind if there were one? If anything other than Jesus resulted in salvation for mankind, wouldn’t he have not sent his Son to suffer and die on a cross?

But this was the only way.

God knew it was the only perfect way to rescue us.

Only through the cross could God be both just and loving. A price had to be paid, sin must be judged and none of us could survive the weight of sins judgement. So God himself stepped in and became the One to save us. Jesus bore all punishment for sin… every last drop of punishment for every last sin.

 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

Yes, God has made a profound statement to the world.

Here is your salvation, I give you my Son!

Jesus very name (in his own language is Yehoshua) literally means, “I AM Salvation” or “I AM your Savior”.

Those who receive him are made holy and new and free and have a glorious future in paradise with him. They are reconciled to God and have begun a relationship with him that will last forever. It’s this relationship – this connection – that is our salvation.

But Scripture is clear that those who reject him or ignore him are doomed. (Ignoring Him is rejection).

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:18

The wrath of God remains on them, and they will suffer the torments of hell. Forever alone. Forever suffering the same torments, agony, and rejection that Jesus has already suffered for them. Yet they chose to reject his sacrifice for them and chose sin and hell instead.

So you see, Jesus really is the only way of salvation and we must choose.

We are not free not to choose. We must surrender our lives to Jesus and ask him to save us. He will! Ask him to save you right now! Read the Gospel of John to get to know Jesus better and then read the New Testament and then the whole Bible. Get to know God!

What are your thoughts? Leave a Comment!

Categories: Gospel, Redemption | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

My Hitchhiking Adventure With God – More on Baptism

BaptismI chose to write a blog on baptism because I wanted to force myself to learn more and research this further. When I first started my research, I began to realize just how ignorant I was and, though I felt I was onto something with the few insights that I did have on the subject, I had to admit I did have some mistaken ideas. I also began to realize that this subject is a “can of worms” for many people. Churches and denominations have their lines drawn in the sand regarding baptism. Sometimes their beliefs land in agreement with Jesus and the apostles, but other times… not so much. I think also that there are some unfounded fears and superstitions regarding baptism. (see comments)

I found that the internet and Wikipedia are definitely not the place to go to research baptism if you want sound teaching (this probably goes for any important spiritual subject). The top two sites that came up in a search for baptism teaching, though well researched and presented, I believe, came to wrong conclusions.

The most important thing regarding spiritual matters, is to find out what Jesus and the apostles have to say on the subject and somehow manage to not misinterpret them. This is a huge task that I am not going to pull off (nor attempt to) in a single blog. Instead, I will share my experiences and a few thoughts and leave it at that. I am not the end all be all of spiritual truth – we have the word of God and the Holy Spirit for that.

My Experience With Baptism

I was maybe seven years old I was first “baptized” at Riverview family Bible camp. My mom asked me if I wanted to be baptized and I said yes. The pastor tried to explain baptism to me but I don’t think I understood a word of it. I probably had quite a puzzled look on my face as he explained baptism, but he baptized me anyway. I remember standing down by the river wearing the white robe with the other people about to get baptized and wishing I could go play on the water slide.

image007Many years later, when I was 18, my best friend Jacob was getting baptized through our church Calvary Chapel. He asked me if I would join him and I told him I’d be happy to. I had just come back to the Lord that year and I was excited about God. I was so excited about God that, as often as I could, I would go to every church service and college group that I could possibly find around Spokane Washington where I lived. I loved hearing God’s word and being around God’s people. I regularly went to Calvary Chapel and a church called Life Center, both excellent and wonderful fellowships where I sensed God was doing amazing things.

My friend Jacob and I went through a class about baptism at Calvary Chapel and then the day came for us to be baptized. The experience itself was unremarkable. A dove did not descend. I can’t say the experience changed anything for me.

I also remember something that happened at a church called Life Center about that same time. They had a big baptism service there every so often and they would encourage those who brought a person to faith in Christ to be the one to baptize them. They had pastoral staff there to guide the whole process. I had a friend named Claire who wanted me to baptize her. She wanted her sins to be washed away. So there I was, having just come back to God and to my faith, wearing a ying and yang t-shirt baptizing my friend.

A Few Thoughts on Baptism

Baptism is one of the few words in the Bible that has never been translated from the Greek into English. Baptism is from the Greek noun Βάπτισμα – baptisma. It means “to immerse”. So, I thought, why was this word transliterated instead of being translated? Why not use the word “immersed” instead of simply Englishifying this Greek word?

Up until last week I thought it was a conspiracy. I believed that the translators of Scripture didn’t translate the word just to accommodate already well established church practices. If the Greek word means “to immerse”, can you guess why the translators would hesitate to render its true meaning? Church practice for centuries was to sprinkle the foreheads, or pour water over the head, but not to fully immerse them. I am under the impression that there is a great deal of superstition around baptism as well. I believe some churches practice infant baptism thinking it best to do this as early as possible so as to save them from an eternity in hell… so they think.

Peter writes that baptism is not a matter of the removal of filth from the body (the physical act of washing) but about the spiritual reality that baptism represents. Just like the Jewish practice of circumcision represented a spiritual cleansing of the filth of the flesh – the removal of sin, so now baptism represents the death and burial of our old life and the resurrection to a new life by the Spirit of God. It truly is the spiritual reality that means something, and the physical act is pointless without this. So what significance does the physical act play?

Think about how differently certain commands of Jesus would read if this word had been translated:

“Go therefore into all the world and make followers of Christ, immersing them in the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit. Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Immersing them in the name. Not immersing them in water per say, but in a name. What would this signify?

However, I could not ignore the fact that most of the instances that baptism is talked about or commanded, it is referring to the Christian rite of baptism. It seemed then to make sense then why the translators would not translate the word. If the word does in fact most often refer to the “rite” of baptism, then it may just add confusion to the subject to say immerse… unless that’s what God and the apostles actually meant to say. What do you think?

I came to see that I was not at liberty to spiritualize “baptism” into solely a mystical experience of being immersed in God. But, that the physical act also matters to God and is commanded by God. I have a lot more to learn but I’d love to hear back from you. Is there something you think I should know or am overlooking in this brief look at baptism? Leave me a comment!

Categories: Baptism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My Hitchhiking Adventure With God – Part 2

As with any story, it is best to start at the beginning:

Here is Part 1 of My Hitchhiking Adventure With God (not to be missed!)


too funny

too funny

The first ride, oddly enough, took me from the Colony, where we lived, and placed me just a few blocks away from the church where my mom was at her Bible study. I thought for a moment how easy it would be to give up and just catch a ride home with my mom, but I pressed on, walking down the side of Interstate 75.

(My mom told me later that some friends of hers from that Bible study drove past me as I was walking and thought I looked like an angel.)

The next person to pick me up swerved across a few lanes of traffic in his old beat up Volkswagen. He was nice enough to take me to the East side of Dallas to Hwy 80. Once there I didn’t have to wait long before a van stopped.

I had recently read No Compromise, which is the biography of Keith Green (Which I would recommend you read – it looks like you can pick it up for a penny at Amazon). Keith and his wife had started a ministry called Last Days Ministries near Tyler, Texas (about 80 miles East of Dallas). I felt that the Lord was telling me that this was my next stop.

Well, after asking directions I ended up at the place where Last Days Ministry used to be and where Teen Mania now is. This was the ministry I had mentioned where my friend Neal had found the Lord and freedom from drugs. I was turned away immediately at the front gate and was directed down the street to the YWAM (Youth With A Mission) Mercy Ships Ministry.

The YWAM Mercy Ships training facility was fairly empty at the time because all the students had just left for a mission. Two women named Marilyn greeted me. I thought this was funny because my mom’s name is Marilyn as well.

After explaining my story, one Marilyn thought I was off my rocker and needed to go home. The other Marilyn actually believed I was following God’s call, even as crazy as it seemed.

Finally they drove me over to the other YWAM Twin Oaks Ranch in Garden Valley and got me set up in a bunk house and introduced me to some of the guys in the Discipleship Training program.

We had some really great fellowship for the rest of the day. When I shared what I was doing they were excited for me and told me about the YWAM base in New Orleans. They called them up, told them I was coming, and gave me their address. Then they invited me to join them on a witnessing mission they were planning for that evening.  They were planning a trip to downtown Dallas to witness on the streets in Deep Elum.

I then called my mom. When she heard I was coming back to Dallas, she said, “Great, I will come and pick you up.” I told her that I wanted to see this thing through to the end and that I couldn’t back out now.

So there I was, back in Dallas, witnessing on the streets with my new-found friends. We had such amazing fellowship that night! Let me tell you that the friendships we can have with other believers are like no other friendships you will ever have. With Jesus as the bond between you, friendships can happen quickly just like when you made friends as children. It’s such an amazing thing when the Holy Spirit brings us together in perfect harmony!

The next morning I set out on the road once again. The first ride took me as far as Shreveport. But this was only after I walked a long time. As I walked, I talked with the Lord, and sang Christian songs. It was then, as I walked along that road that the Lord told me to buy a bus ticket and move to Wisconsin when I get back home.

Once I made it to Shreveport, getting a ride South out of Shreveport proved difficult. I walked for most of the day and I was exhausted. As the sun was setting, a man finally stopped to pick me up. He was on his way to an evening worship service at a Pentecostal church in Alexandria. I agreed to go with him and he said that he would do what he could to fix me up with a place to stay that night at the homeless shelter called the Grace House.

The church was bizarre to say the least. There was a woman playing the keyboard with several other people dancing around on stage. As she played, there was another woman saying something about Ruth’s sister-in-law becoming the great-grandmother of Goliath while Ruth went on to be the great-grandmother of David (which is pretty ridiculous).

There were a large number of people at the front of the church all jumping up and down and yelling, supposedly speaking in “tongues”. Though “la, la, la, la” doesn’t really seem to say much of anything – not even for a toddler. Forgive me for saying so, but it just seemed like madness to me. While all this was happening on stage, there were many people in the back just looking on seeming disconnected. I went back to visit with them.

After the service another man drove me to Grace House. Along the way he asked me the details of how had I been baptized. He wanted to know what was spoken over me when I was baptized and I told him, “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” He then went on to explain to me that this wasn’t good enough and that what needed to be said was, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

He then offered to take me to get baptized right then and there so that I could get my salvation put in order. As I started to decline his gracious offer of salvation, he became quite hostile with me just as we were walking into the Grace House. I started to try to explain where I was coming from but he cut me off and started yelling at me. “If you don’t let me baptize you proper, then yer faith is worth less than a nickel!” he told me.

Exhausted from the day’s walk as I was, this confrontation put me over the edge emotionally. I pulled out my Bible and was starting to share with him what Peter had to say on the subject. “But Peter says, baptism is not the removal of filth from the body – about taking a dunk in some water – but of an answer of a clean conscience toward God.”

“…and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ…”  (1 Peter 3:21 NIV)

(Even as I write this I am struck with a new insight into the significance of what Peter has to say and what this means. I remember the apostle Paul talked on several occasions that he strove to maintain a clean conscience before God. It seems to me that this is the essence of healthy spirituality – maintaining a clean conscience.)

On the verge of tears, I finally found and read the Scripture verse in 1 Peter. I looked up, however, to see that the man had already left and that about twenty guys were staring at me wondering what in the heck I was ranting about. It was in that moment that the subject of baptism became very important to me.

To be continued…

Stay tuned for a blog on Baptism and then the continuation of the story. If you have enjoyed this story, feel free to share it and subscribe to this blog! Leave me a comment below!

Categories: faith adventure | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Creation, a historical and scientific truth?

I had a conversation with someone last night. He says to me, “So, don’t you believe in evolution? Couldn’t God just have set everything in motion and just been the cause of evolution? Couldn’t he have just “created” using the evolutionary process?”

I had to disagree. If you see my post: “Creation Science: Oxymoron” I talk a little about how the authority of God’s word is at stake here. If we can’t believe that God created the world in six literal days, then how can we believe that this same God then becomes a human being who then somehow mysteriously pays for our sin by his death on a cross, and then rose from the dead? How can we believe the message of salvation revealed to us in Scripture? The same Scripture that tells us God created… in no more than 6 days?

The Bible is the source of all truth. It is true historically, scientifically, geographically and in every other way you can think of.

Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not? Leave a response below!

Categories: Creation Science | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Create a website or blog at