White Noise

White noise helps babies sleep.  It is a noise that cancels out other noises allowing children and babies and even adults to have a restful sleep.  Technically it is something like all the sounds in the middle range of sound frequency and so it is comfortable noise.

I think God hates white noise.  Think about it, how many times in the Bible does Jesus have the people eating out of His hand only to say something that turns them all away?  Almost every time!  Nicodemus is ready to jump in and follow this messiah!  He is ready to report to the other Pharisees and bring them along, and Jesus throws the “New Birth” concept at him telling Nic that he has to drop all his self-righteous pretention in order to follow Christ. (John 3)  The 5000 are ready to follow Jesus having pursued him across the sea!  He turns to them and says, “unless you eat my flesh, (in other words, unless you find your sufficiency in ME) you will not have eternal life!” (John 6) In Luke 9 a man comes to him and says, “I wanna come follow you!”  Jesus says, “Foxes have homes, Birds have nests… the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”  Another one says, ”I’d follow but,  I need to burry my dead,” and Jesus replies, “let them take care of themselves!”  Then to another Jesus says you can’t even say bye to your loved ones. (Luke 9:57-62) Jesus has opportunity after opportunity to make people comfortable and He NEVER does it.  It is as if the Kingdom is being built on and fueled by Christ’s angst against and His frustration with this world.  So, I think God hates white noise.

Why does God hate white noise?

Tell me, is it loving to let someone sleep while the world around them burns?  What if it is the person that is burning?  Would you sing a lullaby to a young child to help that precious one sleep only to die in the fire surrounding them?  Of course not!  That’s insane.

I think God sees His people burning up in the false affections and entrapments of this world.  Things that keep them from knowing HIM, the Truth, The Life, The Way!  God sees people dying, I think we sometimes imagine their just sleeping.  Could you imagine what it would be like if the church of Jesus saw the world as He does?  What if we saw the church as He does?

So I live in church culture.  More than that, I’ve dedicated my life to ministering in that culture.  I love the American Church.  Seriously, I love everything about it.  The history, the present weight of weakness, the strengths, the flawed systems, everything!  I can honestly say that there are times when I love business meetings! (rare, but they do happen) Lord knows I have tried to consider being a missionary to unreached places and each time I do, God breaks my heart for the church in America and I cannot leave.

In my experience, we, the church, want people to be comfortable.  Here’s the problem with that…  It seems like Jesus wanted to make people uncomfortable.  Rather than being a white noise that could be added to their slumber, Jesus wanted to be a fog horn that aroused them from sleep and saved them from certain death.  Unfortunately, as churches in America, we are often comfortable to be white noise to the world around us and the “Christians” we call brothers.  We often would rather people be happy and comfortable in attendance than be struggling and uncomfortable in their pursuit for holiness.  But, is that what Jesus was about?  No…  Jesus called the people who met Him to holiness and change.  Moreover, He changed their hearts so they COULD NOT stay the same.  Jesus invaded culture to war against affections of the world.  He did not let Nic think that religious activity was a suitable substitute for true regeneration.  Nor did He allow the 5000 and the Pharisees around them to think that they just had to come get fed and that was all they needed.  Nor did he simply tell people, “you’re awesome just because you want to follow me! You are so self-actualized!”  No…  those words never came out of His mouth.  For, to follow Jesus must cost you everything.

I don’t want to be white noise.  I want to call brothers and sisters to holiness and address sin with intensity and honesty.  I want the world around me to be saved from the impending doom of the coming Judge.  I want the world to see Christ’s holiness in His Church and to feel the Love that Christ has laid into our hearts!  I want the people I love, the church I love, to stand with me as I meet the Lord, my Master, when He returns to collect His bride!  I think most of us want these things.

So why is it we are so often just white noise?

Well, let’s be honest with ourselves… let’s not settle for white noise…  Do we believe that there is punishment for wickedness?  Do we believe that Jesus will return and when He does, so we believe that He is going to judge?  Do we believe that Hell is real?  Do we believe that those who do not trust Christ for salvation will not see Heaven?  Not to mention the lists that Paul give us of those who will not see the Kingdom!?  (Gal. 5:19-21, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) Do we believe what we read in the Bible?  If we do, then how can we be content to be white noise?  The lifestyle we live and the things we say must be uncomfortable, loving, difficult, engaging, and even noisy.  The noise we create must reflect what we believe about eternity.  If we engaged our lives with an eternal perspective, perhaps things like church discipline, Bible Study, faithful communion with the saints, personal evangelism,  and living life together would be greater priorities in our lives.

I don’t want to be white noise, let’s wake up the world and the church!

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Warm Socks and Zechariah

I have cold feet at night.  I didn’t always, but somewhere in my late 20’s I began to feel the chill in my feet as I walked around my house.  I am 30 now, so this is a relatively recent development.  Often my feet will even hurt because of the sharp chill that shoots through my feet on the cold tile of the kitchen and bathrooms in my home.  I am fully convinced that this pain is perhaps the most annoying pain to endure right before bedtime.  Well, I was reading through Zechariah and came across verse 6 of chapter 14.

It says, “On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost.”  How wonderful, there will be no need for slippers!

Now to be fair, Zechariah was talking about the coming of the Lord… not cold feet and slippers.  On “that day” He will level His enemies and will set up the temple in perfection.  In verses 6-7 we are told that there is no more day or night, just light.  It is peculiar that there would be no day or night, just light!?  Think about it, there will be no more time passage.  Just light!  No more need for a sun, just The Son.  No more need for lights on the earth, for the Light will dwell on earth with us!  Can you imagine just having light?  No more darkness.  No more hiding.  No more secrets.  Everything will be brought to light.  Everything will be exposed.  (I know, you thought this would just be happy, but that would be far to uncharacteristic for me.)  Everything that we have been so careful to tip toe around and avoid will be laid bare before the Light!

Verse 8 is the picture of life coming from the temple in Jerusalem.  We see the same picture in Ezekiel when there is a stream from the altar.  You see, when Christ returns life will cover the world from the altar on which the Lamb was slain.  You get it?  Christ’s death and resurrection is a river of life, covering the whole earth, overwhelming the sin that has corrupted the earth.  Just as there was a stream of blood coming from the altar during the day of atonement historically, so in “that day” the river of life will flow from the altar of God.  What is amazing is that it covers the whole earth and overwhelms even the sea!  Now, just in case you don’t know.  You must believe in Christ in order to be given access to this life.  If you don’t believe, you’re part is verse 12 and following.  (Scary!)  Jesus brings us life!  His blood sacrificed on the altar of the cross grants us salvation and will become life to the whole earth!  Repent from sin and believe in Christ!

Verse 9-11 proclaim that God is ruler.  Not only that, but He will level the playing field so that the ONLY high place is where He rules!  How awesome!  The throne of the Lord, where the Priest/King sits is the temple of Jerusalem.  He rules as High Priest and King over the entire earth.  The imagery is unmistakable… you cannot have another God.  All the field around will be leveled and the ONLY one given worship will be the King who reigns in the Holy City.  He is the only God and there will be no other high places for false worship.

Throughout the book of Zechariah the Lord takes care to redeem his people constantly sanctifying those who were dirty, stained with sin.  He intercedes for His people and punishes His enemies.  In the end, the Lord returns for His people and, in gracious love, He rules over his people.

So…  I look forward to no more cold feet.  For now my warm socks will just remain a shadow of  heaven.

Trauma and Paradigms

Traumatic events often change the way people think.  We adjust our parameters of social acceptance and allow ourselves a little more or less freedom as a result.  Our abilities to discern what is acceptable become more and more skewed by our discretion or lack thereof as a result of trauma.  Someone is offended on a deep level by someone else.  As a result of the offense, a traumatic event triggers a self-defense mechanism within the offended party that then builds a wall or opens a gate.  We see it all the time.  For example, an abused person will either seek out other people who will continue abuse or they will push everyone else away.  Or a person who has lost a loved one will typically stay away from any deep relationships or they will cling to any and every relationship they can with greater extremity.    Either way they choose a path.

What this indicates is a paradigm shift in the way the affected party responds, from trust to distrust or from caution to recklessness.  What was once considered standard is now called into question.  There is a hardening one way or another.  Either the person will raise a hardened barrier to defend themselves or the person will harden themselves against the world.  Right or wrong, this is nature.  Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not the created order.  This is an effect of the fall.  It is an effect of the fall in that sin causes trauma and therefore trauma began at the fall.  God made humanity naturally adaptable.  We can adapt in small ways to our environment and in great measure we can invent ways of more or less adaptation.  Case in point: we wear coats in winter.  This is an adaptation to cold.  And there you go.  Adaptation takes place in the soul as well.  You see, we all have a paradigm by which we understand the world.  A set of norms that underlie other truths and that we expect to see and that we consider as true.

For example: we believe in gravity and that gravity will bring us back to earth, therefore we have no fear that jumping will propel us into the upper atmosphere (as cool as that sounds.)

 

Imagine a traumatic event being like jumping and not being pulled back down by gravity but having to be pulled back down another way.  This would then lead the jumper to think twice about jumping…  they even buy special shoes that prevent them from being propelled into space.  Or they might learn to jump with more freedom risking their lives in insane aerial acrobatics.  Either way, their paradigm for what is acceptable has changed.

Paradigms shift and change constantly, but that is not because of the nature of truth, it is because of the nature of belief.  We believe things based on supposed sets of knowledge that are often unverifiable, we call these supposed sets of knowledge: “theories.”  Now, having set this whole thing up; I want to ask a question (which I am not going to answer) and then tell a story.

Why does the persecuted church respond so amazingly to paradigm shifts?

When I arrived on campus at Baylor University in 2000 I had ambitions of being a doctor, a strong fervor for missions and missional lifestyle, and a love for the Bible as God’s word.  I was a solid young Christian man who was going to make a difference and change the world!  Or at least change the part I was in.  Anyhow, Louie Giglio and his Passion buddies were blowing out college campuses everywhere with messages of God’s sovereign grace and His great love as shown in Jesus Christ.  So, naturally, in a college dorm at a Baptist University where everyone wants to sound smart, discussions erupted as to what sovereignty is, how sovereign God is, predestination, free will, sublapsaranism vs. supralapsarianism, several other ‘isms,’ and so on and so on.  Sometimes these were beneficial discussions, sometimes they weren’t.  For me all these discussions triggered a theological trauma.  The truth is that I loved Jesus, but I didn’t know Him deeply.  Sure, sure, I knew he was stronger than everything and that He loves.  I knew my Bible, or at least I read it more than the average person.  I knew that God was both big and intimate.  But I couldn’t articulate much else other than, “Jesus loves you.“  My world was rocked.  So I did what any good Christian would do, I went to Whataburger, got a burger, then I went to my big brother and said something like, “isn’t this God stuff insane!?  I don’t get it.”  He responded with, “we learn who God is through the Bible.”  He kept talking for a while about spiritual disciplines, but that quote is the only thing that actually stuck with me from that conversation.  For all the statements my brother ever made to me, this one changed my paradigm the most… and it is the most simple. So I dug and dug.  Until that point my paradigm had been developed from my own meandering thoughts about God and what I had learned at camps and Sunday School.  I simply believed that God was the one who made things right and was distant from any disaster, because God is love and love is all flowers and teddy bears and sunshine!  (right.)  But as I dug into the Scripture, who God was began to shift from who I wanted Him to be toward who He says He is.  That was a radical change for me.  We must be careful that we do not make God who we want, but that we believe what He says about Himself.

I think the persecuted church probably understands what I had to learn.  I think it is why they can face sooo much trauma and still be surviving.  They understand that as Christians, our paradigm is based on God and who he says he is, not who we think he is.  And sometimes what we think needs to be changed to fit what is true.  Now that I have left you with all kinds of questions as to what I believe, I’ll end this blog.

Our Great God: Ezekiel 16

It’s been a while since I posted anything… So here ya go interweb:

In my Bible study group thingy that meets at my house on Thursday nights (still not sure what to call this thing we do other than Thursday Night Bible Study), we just started studying Hosea.  A few weeks ago we read Ezekiel 16 for the purpose of cross references with Hosea 1:10-3:1.  I was struck by the graphic depiction of the people whom he loves.

First, verses 3-5 describes Israel as a baby that was unwanted and left in a field to die.   There is nothing intrinsically in the people of God that makes them desirable.  Instead, they are unwanted and left to die.  It actually says the people of God were abhorred!

And God walks by:

When God comes by in verses 6-14 God makes His people beautiful and brings them to life!  In the midst of their depravity and death, God spreads His garment over them, protects them, cloths them, loves them, cleans them, and dresses them up!  Then in verse 14 the people of God become famous because of the beauty that God gives them.  It is remarkable the beauty of the saints as a result of God’s mercy toward them.

Immediately following God’s mercy the people of God begin to trust in their own beauty and begin to sell off the beauty that God had given them.  Verses 15-22 describe a horrific scene.  The people of God begin to make their own gods and begin to worship them… they pay for the privilege of playing the prostitute.  How wicked!  Can you imagine!?  Someone paying to BE the prostitute!?  They take the gold and jewels that God gave them and use them to create images that they can prostitute themselves toward.  They sacrifice the children that they are supposed to raise to “love the LORD their God with all their mind soul and strength” to their false idols.  The sad part is that our culture is no better.  We are prostituting ourselves to consumerism, self-centeredness, pornography, indulgence, license, and immoralities of all kinds.  The people of God give themselves over to false gods.  What’s more, we hand our children off to a entertainment focused consumer driven world, surrendering our responsibilities as parents to the TV, internet, extra-curricular activities, schools, etc… (that list is intended to make us think, not tick us off. Sorry if I accomplished the latter) In sad comparison, we pay for those things too.

In verses 30-34 it just keeps getting worse.  The people of God are pursue unsolicited wickedness!  It’s as if God is saying, “you weren’t even tempted! And yet you chased down sin.”  Worse than a prostitute, the people of God are freely adulterous with strangers.

As you go through the rest of the text, God proclaims that he will judge by giving the people of God over to their own lusts.  (ex. Verse 39) This is the way that God disciplines.  He need not send sever famine or tornados (though He can)…  He simply lets us have our way and we feel the consequences of our actions.   Think about Romans 1, “and God gave them over” is repeated multiple times.  We like to think that we are being oppressed by some outside force, but that is not so.  God is not vindictive or petty.  He is just, and we reap what we sow.  (Gal. 6:7)

As terrible as all this seems, The God of all grace changes the story in verses 59-63.  In our wickedness, God atones for our sin and we are confounded by His great love.  No matter what we have done, Jesus makes His covenant with us and then promises that He will keep the agreement that we have so defiled.  Those last two verses break me in half and I am confounded by the love of God:

” 62 I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, 63 that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord God.”

I love the LORD

Rambling about dreams

I have weird dreams. It’s nothing new, it’s not that they are difficult or absurd, they aren’t nightmares, I don’t wake up in cold sweats (I live in Texas, it’s hard to wake up cool, let alone cold.), and I seldom ever feel shaky because of them. Well… I recently read through Daniel and saw how the kings were constantly having nightmares. Some of my favorite lines come from these nightmares. One in particular is the beginning of Daniel 4, verse 4-5, “I, Nebuchadnezzar (from here on out, he will be known as Nebby) was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace. I saw a dream that made me afraid.”
We often live in a false sense of security so it shouldn’t surprise us that in our frailty we could have a dream that frightens us. The dream ends up being a prophecy that old Nebby is going to go crazy and be humbled by God. Not the best prospects for a king who is “at ease” and “prospering.” However it is precisely our ease that gets us into these insecure states. When we are at ease with the world around us, then we are in trouble. David has the same trouble. You remember the line I am sure. From 2 Samuel, “When kings go off to war, David stayed home.” (John Elkins paraphrase, 2 Sam. 11:1) The story in 2 Samuel 11 begins the downfall of Israel. It’s a tragic failure of the king that displays the truth that ease and idle hands lead to turmoil and wicked actions. This is why we must discipline ourselves beyond simply looking over our kingdoms and relaxing.
One of my favorite quotes is from Andrew Murray. He states,
“You will ask me, ‘are you satisfied, have you got all you want?’ God Forbid! With the deepest feeling of my soul I can say that I am satisfied with Jesus now, but there is also the consciousness of how much fuller the revelation can be through the exceeding abundance of His grace. Let us never hesitate to say, this is only the beginning.”
We should never truly be satisfied with where we are but should always be pressing further into the character of Jesus.
Anyhow, back to the dreams. As I type this, there is a letter that was written to me a long time ago from some anonymous source that recounts a dream of the youth building here at my church. The building is a tremendous blessing and affords me the opportunity to reach students in a comfortable setting. The dream ends with a statement of peace. This person wrote that they came away with a feeling of deep abiding peace (at least that’s what they said in the letter). Sometimes our dreams bring us peace, though that is not often. Someone once told me that it is a bad sign when God has to use a dream to get your attention. It means you’re not listening on a regular basis. Indeed, the dreams that are in the Bible often seem that way. So… if point number one was never let yourself at ease, then point number B is, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8.
So like I said, I dream pretty often, rarely does it ever mean anything. In the dream story of Nebby, God tells him he will go crazy so that he will know that “the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will and sets over it the lowliest of men.” (v.17b) That quote sends chills down my spine! God is awesome! No wonder Nebby was afraid, wouldn’t you be? He trembles in fear of the proclamation of God. Nebby would eventually echo the phrase in 4:34-35. So… I think maybe our dreaming is supposed to lead us to echo God’s praises? Perhaps…

A Noisy Mess

In youth group we have been teaching through Romans and reading through a chapter Micah each Wednesday.  This past week we read Micah 2 and I was struck by a phrase in verse 12.  God promises His people that He will gather them “like sheep in a fold, like a flock in a pasture, a noisy multitude of men.”  It’s that last phrase that stuck out to me.  A “noisy multitude of men.”  I was talking with a friend recently who said “church work is messy.”  (He works in a different church, far far away from wherever you are.)  This got me to thinking.

God has gathered to himself a people who are a noisy mess!  Let’s be honest, we are… aren’t we?  Beyond the humor of the church being symbolized as one of the most helpless, half-witted creatures on earth: sheep, we are also sometimes privy to the view of what we look like from the outside.  Here in Micah 2:12 that is: noisy.  So let me just bring to light some of what is going on in my head at the moment.  I don’t like noise.  However, I used to.  You see, I always had some sort of noise around me.  A TV playing, a radio, a Walkman, a sibling yelling, a friend talking, etc…  (Props to anyone who remembers Walkman!)  The sound was a constant divergence to the things around me.  It kept me from ever having to deal with the real issues going on in my soul.  That is until my Dad passed away and we moved to a new house.  My mom started to sit out on the back porch with some frequency.  She would drink hot tea and watch the birds.  It was quiet out there.

For a while I stayed inside and watched the normal every day lineup of reruns.  Friends, Sinfield, etc… (you watched them too!)  TV, Radio, Internet… any noise that would distract me from my soul.  Then I began to realize that mom was on the back porch (I’m sad to say I can’t tell you when I noticed…  like most teens I was so self-absorbed that it could have been a year before I realized her routine).  So, one day I went to join her.  Let me set the scene.  Mom comes home from work, I’m lying on the couch, being a typical teenage boy hoping she doesn’t ask me to sweep or take out the trash.  Ginny was in her room watching Sound of Music, interactive style.  Now…  just so you realize, mom is a whirlwind of activity… even to this day she is a whirlwind.  She comes into the house lays down her bags, starts a pot of hot water, gets dinner going, goes to her room to change into jeans, picking things up in the midst of all this, comes back out into the living room, says hi to her silly teenage son on the couch, grabs her hot tea, opens the sliding glass door, shuts it behind herself and sits down with her cup of hot tea for about 20 minutes before going back inside to face the noise.  She was sooo loud when she came home!

So one day I walked outside and there was no sound other than the wind and birds.  I didn’t know I would like tea.  So I sat with my mother and had hot tea.  It was a peaceful moment in an otherwise fiercely noisy day.  Our lives are generally a noisy mess.  As a community we live in a noisy mess.  Sometimes more mess than noise.  In my mother, God taught me about noise.  You see, God has something better for us than just aimless noise.  He leads us to still waters, he restores our souls. (Psalm 23)  We are a noisy mess, but He can be the back porch.  On that porch God dealt with my noise.  I learned to love being noisy for Him and I started to care less about the noises around me.  So…  now I don’t like the noise of this world.  But, the noise God makes: AWESOME.

Now just to be careful, the noise that we make is not always a bad thing.  In the 13th verse of Micah 2 the image is that of a King leading sheep as if he is a warrior and they are his army.   He is the King who can deal with the noise and lead us to direct the noise the right way.  A noisy mess of people following their King to battle!  Oh that we could be a noisy mess that way!!  Oh that we could terrify the world with the noisy power of the love of God that invades every painful crevice of this world!  What a noise that would be!  It seems to me that God wants us to make noise in this world.  He wants us to stand up and be the noisy mess that challenges this life, the noise that shuts off entertainment and shallow nonsense for the sake of making a bigger noise for His Name.  He calls us to make a noise for Him, to shout His name, and to watch the walls of oppression fall down.  So… let’s make some noise…  He will lead us to the back porch when necessary, let’s you and I make some noise for the Kingdom.  (more on “how” later.)

Thoughts About Heroes

We love heroes.  We love to have heroes who rise from the ground to fight the enemies of all that is righteous and good.  My favorite example of a hero is from an old TV movie that I used to watch.  I don’t remember the title, but it was one of those cheesy early 90s made for TV movies that was about a student or a teacher who moved into a high school where there was a drug dealing conspiracy in which the principle was getting rich off the drug dealer in his school and the student, or teacher, or whatever was the only one who could stop him!  Most often, the janitor was some sort of ex-special forces superhero who had to teach his amazing martial arts skills to the young hero.  (the moral of these was clear, when in trouble, find a janitor.)  We love these movies and stories of heroes who show the power of the redeemed human spirit.

Just some observations about our hero’s characteristics.  First, there is always a redeemer.  Either the hero is the redeemer, or some outside influence (the janitor) is his redemption. I love the image of a janitor being the redeemer.  You’ve all seen this cheesy line, but I wonder if you have ever thought of the spiritual reality of a man who is quietly cleaning up trash on this earth while retaining some hidden power.  This is the image of our King.  He takes the lowest state now, sweeping up refuse.  Waiting…  waiting for the right time.  Occasionally He redeems a warrior for His Kingdom and that warrior rises under his instruction to defeat one of the enemies of righteousness.  The hero either starts as the redeemer or becomes the redeemer.  This is the call of Christ on the life of all believers.  We are to be agents of redemption on this earth.  Because we have been loved, we are to love.  When we encounter our redeemer, we become his agents.  Human nature needs redemption.  We are wicked, but we don’t have to stay that way.  Christ makes us righteous.  (Romans 5-8.)  More than that, He gives us a mission, on to the next point…

Second, there is a clear enemy.  The hero always has an objective.  In the early 90’s that was the drug dealer in the fictional school and the corrupt authorities of this world that needed to be supplanted by goodness and righteousness. For us it’s Abortion, Sex Trafficking, Education, Poverty, Homelessness, Drug Addiction, etc… Place whatever justice issue you want there, lets just aim at all injustice and unrighteousness of mankind, deal!?  Good.  So the hero stands against these wicked ravings of mankind.   It is a clear enemy.  More modern hero stories try to complicate the hero’s mission.  They propose that the enemy has a justifiable end for what end it wants to see come to fruition.  However, in the end, the redeemed hero is not taken in by the ridiculous display of nonsense and he smashes the enemy.  In the same way, we as redeemed creations are called to war against wickedness…  while we are not THE HERO, we are His agents in this world…  until He comes back to get us, then the war ends.  (If you’re one of my non-christian friends…  I know I sound crazy, sometimes truth does.)

Third, the hero must learn to walk in redemption.  In every story the hero undergoes some type of training period.  The training is intense and usually done in some secluded area (the basement of the school with the janitor… cause all janitors live in the basement?)  Cut to a montage of martial arts and weapons training with the janitor.  Only after learning to live as redeemed is the hero able to defeat the enemy.  Now, this one is just a little sketchy.  The truth is that heroes are made in battle, not in training.  Our training is the battle.  The redeemer teaches us to fight in the midst of the war.  Another of my favorite hero stories is in Kingdom of Heaven with Orlando Bloom.  At the climatic war scene, the entire army of Saladin is outside the gates ready to charge, and Orlando Bloom and his 50 men are the only knights to protect the city.  The priest (a coward in the story), yells at Bloom, “we must escape! we cannot defend Jerusalem without knights!”  So Bloom turns and grabs a young squire, makes him kneel, and knights him right there.  In a fury of rage, the priest retorts, “does calling a man a knight make him a better fighter!?”  Bloom replies without looking up, “yes.”   That scene sends shivers down my spine!  It’s true!  Jesus changes us, gives us a new title and all of a sudden we go from wretched enemy of the cross to warrior for it!  II Cor. 5:21- “we become His Righteousness!”  You’re given a sword and told to go to war, no more beating around the bush.  Now, don’t get me wrong…  I believe that Christians should train.  Study your Bible, learn from others, find mentors, and the like… but you study in the tent on the battle field.  The enemy does not stand far away, you were given a sword and called “Knight,” so go to battle!

Fourth, the hero always gets beat up first and then rises for the victory.  The story always seems to go like this: hero rises, hero beat down, hero trains, hero rises again and tares the enemy to pieces.  So it is with us…  we have to learn to walk in this redeemed power and sometimes it takes some beat downs on us.  We become little heroes only when we imitate and walk along side THE HERO.

Fifth, their is always potential for a sequel.  So it is for us…  constant sequels until the day our King ends it all!  Revelation 21 will come sooner than we know.   As for now, when in trouble, look for the janitor.

I John 4:7-12