Archive for the ‘christianity’ Category

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In this blog post I attempt to discuss the different views people have regarding the Rapture.  What is the Rapture?  The word “Rapture” is a Latin word for the words “caught up” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.  The concept is that the Lord will return for believers (John 14:3 and Acts 1:9-11).  1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says that those who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…”  The context of this concept from chapter 4 is found in 1:10 which says, “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”  Some things stand out, like the promise of the Lord’s return.  Also there is a wrath that is coming.  This word “wrath” is not defined for us until 5:9, which says “For did not appoint us to wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  The context of the word “wrath” here is found in the preceding verses.  5:4 says, “But you brethern are not in darkness so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.”  The word “Day” is referring to the concept of the Day of the Lord (5:2).  The Day of the Lord is an OT concept, that has two phases 1. God’s judgment against sinful people 2. God’s eternal reign over His people (Joel 2:28-32; Isaiah 13:9-11; Zephaniah 1:14-18; 3:14-15).  The book of Joel as a whole is an exposition of the Day of the Lord.  On a side note, it is important to understand that the word “Day” is not meaning an actual 24 hour period, but rather a span of time.  In this 1 Thessalonians book, Paul uses the phrase Day of the Lord to refer to Christ’s return and coming Judgment.

The college and seminary I went to did me a favor in the way I was to approach the bible.  They taught me not a systematic theology (although I took all the courses on that), but to be a bible expositor.  What does that mean?  It means to read the bible and look at key factors before I interpret like 1. the Grammar 2. Language (Greek or Hebrew) 3. the audience 4. the style 5. Historical.  Why is this important?  Many today feel the need to read the bible through their systematic theology rather than allowing the bible to speak for itself.  This is extremely easy to do.  For example, many of a Reformed Church background like to substitute the church for Israel in scripture.  Therefore, the promises of God to Israel are now meant for believers.  Israel rejected Christ therefore, the promises transfer to the church.  The problem with this way of looking at scripture is that the context twisted.  It can lead a person down a slippery slope.  In my opinion, legalism usually follows close behind.

What does this have to do with the Rapture?  The audience and context is highly important when one reads the bible, especially concerning prophecy.  The Rapture is a biblical concept that means to be caught up to meet Jesus in the air.  My next blog will be about the different views on when the Rapture will take place.

 

 

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I was standing on the field at Laguna Beach High School, it was halftime, and Costa Mesa was losing a football game.  It was about 100 degrees on the field.  I had sweat through my shirt and knew the players were giving everything they had.  Therefore, it was odd to hear someone from the crowd yell out the N- word.  I was completely shocked.  The head coach of the Freshman team was African American and the comment was meant for him to hear.  Obviously it was not enough for the home team to be winning, they had to stoop to new lows in order to intimidate or rather get under the skin of the Mustangs.  The game had gotten out of control and the referees allowed much to happen.

I will never forget the play before half time.  One of the Laguna players made a great play, but then decided it was appropriate to do a dance of some kind in front of the Mustang bench.  I am still trying to figure out why he felt the need to do it, because he only made one tackle.  We lost that day, despite a courageous comeback.

However, afterwards I went to my car and I thought how in the world can people attempt to demean others with such hateful words in the day and age that we live.  My rose colored glasses had been knocked off.  While the football game was many years ago, it has left an impression on me and the way people think.  It saddens me.

We all come from some place.   Everyone’s place is different, which is what makes us unique.  I grew up in the MidWest and by all accounts in a sheltered environment in Zionsville, Indiana (by the way it was a great place to grow up).  Yet I did not have the experiences others might by growing up in a different one.   I write this because it took a book to change my thinking about race and how I viewed things.  I grew up Christian, yet when I was in college I knew nothing of my faith.  I discovered a book by Ken Ham called One Blood, which got my mind thinking.  In the book he says that we (the human race) are not that different in fact we are very similar.  What we see on the outside is only a fraction of the difference.  Yet people make a big deal of fractions.  We fear the differences rather than embrace them.

When God looks at us, He does not see the definitions we give ourselves or others give, but rather He sees us as who we really are.  He loves that person.  God does not see in color, but in love.  Religion today can be a hot button topic.  However, it was religion or in my opinion a relationship with Jesus, which taught me how to look at people and how to live better.

Due to a scheduling glitch, we had to return to Laguna Beach the next year and this time we won on a last second play.  It was very gratifying walking off that field again with a win.  I was more happy for the head coach, knowing what he endured the previous season.  I was proud of our guys who fought for the victory.  Our victory on the field that day did not whip out what happened in the past.  It serves as a reminder of what happened and how with each day I am blessed with I can live to be a difference.

After all we are all bleed the same.  There is really not that much difference if any at all.

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I was at a camp when I heard about the war between Israel and Hamas.  This skirmish should come as no surprise to believers because the conflict is written in the Bible.  The unrest will continue despite President Obama’s best efforts.  The peace will only happen albeit temporarily when the Beast (of Revelation) or King of the North (Daniel 11) strikes a covenant.  This covenant will assure the world of a false peace and will signal the start of the Tribulation (Daniel 9:23-24).  While the US plays a major role today in the peace talks it will soon find itself on the outside looking in.  Someone new will step in and be able to do what no other nation could do.

This individual will use his new found fame to capture the attention of the world.  The Tribulation will be a turbulent time to say the least.  However, the Beast will grow in popularity until all the world recognizes him and worships him.  The ironic part is the message that the new atheism espouses about the end of Faith.  I have been amazed by how they evolutionist and humanist alike can speak of the end of God with confidence and yet ignore what is happening right before their eyes.  Say what you will, disagree with me but there is an unrest in the Middle East and in Russia, that should make the world take note and pause.  As the old saying goes, “There are no atheist in foxholes.”  Everyone believes or exercises faith in something.  Now that faith may be in science.  Those who exercise their faith in science feel comfortable because they believe they have the facts or at least smarter people in their corner.  The god of atheism is the god called self.  Or as Richard Dawkins might put it, “The selfish Gene.”  Nevertheless, despite this new atheism the world will exercise faith and put that faith in the Beast of Revelation.  It will be a fatal mistake.

When will all these events take place?  They are beginning to happen, but the next event on God’s time table is the Rapture of His church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).  Afterwards the covenant with Israel will be signed.

What do we do now?  Put your faith in Jesus for eternal life (John 6:47).  You do not need to join a church or get baptized in order to be saved.  You simply need to believe in the Son (Acts 16:30-31).

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This blog called Prophecy for Today is one that specializes in bible prophecy.  I do not believe in just spewing doomsday dogma at people on the Internet.  Over the past year it has been amazing to me to find support as well as opposition.  Most of the opposition I have been given has been people who do not believe in the authority of the bible.  I always find it very interesting when they comment or try to get a rise out of me.

I am not a doomsday prepper.  I also do not endorse people running for the hills and isolating themselves in fear of what may happen to this world.  Jesus said in Luke’s Gospel, “For whosever desires to save his life will lose it, but whosever loses his life for My sake will save it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and is himself destroyed or lost?” (9:24-25).  The very thing preppers attempt to do is hold on or protect their life.  As Jesus said it is the very thing they will lose.  It is not wrong to work hard and make money and have nice things.  But if that is all we live for then it is pointless, because we gain everything then when we die we lose it all.  Or the stock market crashes and then we lose it all.  Instead of wasting time prepping we should be using that time that God gives us to share the truth of what Jesus did for the world (1 John 2:2).

Jesus came to earth to give humanity hope through faith in Him.  John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  Another way to say the word “begotten” is only.  The emphasis is on the fact that Jesus was God’s only Son.

I do not believe in prepping or storing canned goods.  I believe in a Holy, loving, gracious, and Just God.  Throughout the bible whenever God judged the world or nations, He always provided a way of escape.  He did this during the flood in Genesis 6 then with Moses in Egypt.  God has a plan and though I may not understand it completely I know that He will take of His people.  We have to walk by Faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).  Believe in Jesus for eternal life (John 6:47).

The Real Gospel

Posted: May 23, 2014 in bible, christianity, faith, truth
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The word Gospel means Good News.  It is the good news about Jesus.  I recently went to a conference and an old truth hit home to me.  The question was what sends people to Hell?  If you walk into any Christian bookstore you will notice a wall of the latest and greatest books.  Books that deal with many different topics about the bible and the Christian life.  A few of these books I have read over the years and found myself in serious disagreement with the author, like Francis Chan, John McArthur, and RC Sproul.

Theology is a system, which helps us look at God through the Bible.  The word “theology,” is the study of God.  Many different denominations and churches have different theologies.  Therefore, if your Theology is off then it will affect the way you read the bible.  The beautiful of the bible is that anyone can read it and understand it.  However, there are passages in the bible that can be difficult to understand, especially if we do not know the background, literary devices the writer is using, and culture significance.  This is the main problem with Evangelical Christianity today.  There has been a major influx of Reformed Theology that is influencing Christians today through the local Christian bookstore.  People see a popular author and pull out the book and lead to a works based system.  I read the book “Crazy Love,” and my thought was that Francis Chan was the one who was crazy.  As a pastor I can say that it is always a temptation to make the bible say what I want it to say.  However, I have a responsibility from God to rightly divide the word of truth.  As much as I do not want to spend time in my Greek, I make the sacrifice in order to lead the sheep correctly.  The God that Francis Chan serves is not the God that I know or serve.  The God I serve has a plan of salvation that is through faith ALONE in Jesus Christ (John 3:16 and 6:47).

What sends people to Hell?  It has nothing to do with sin.  Jesus already died for the sins of the world ) 1 John 2:1-2; John 3:16).  He died for ALL who have ever lived, currently living, and will live.  People die and go to Hell because they do not have life.  Life is only found in the Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:6).  It is after all the book of Life that will be opened and Revelation tells us that if people’s name are not found in it then they will go into the Lake of Fire (20:15).  God has removed the Sin problem of the world through His Son’s death and resurrection.  People only need to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life and they will be saved.  It is really that simple.

This blog post is not about bashing certain Christian authors, whom I disagree with.  However, it is about rightly dividing the truth and being discerning of the truth.  You might read this and disagree with everything I have written, which is totally fine.  Jesus paid it all so I do not have too.

It

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Are we in the End Times?  It is a question, which is on the mind of many people these days.  One only has to turn on the news and watch the conflict in the Middle East unfold.  Are these the last days?  Maybe.  Or maybe not. The book of Revelation is about God’s plan for future events and how they will be unfolding.

Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “God who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom he appointed heir of all things…”  I hope you were able to catch the words “last days.”  We are and have been living in the “last days” ever since Christ.  In God’s eyes these are the last days and He will come or Rapture His church before the day (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3).

What is next on God’s timetable of events?  I believe the next event is the Rapture of the church before the Tribulation.  The tribulation can only start once the covenant is signed between Israel and the Antichrist (Daniel 9:27).  However, the church is a mystery and was not on the radar of the Jews during Jesus’ time, which is highlighted by the parable in Matthew 22:1-14.  The Rapture can happen at any moment because it is not tied to any event or even what is happening in the world. God could rapture His church up and then twenty years from that point the Tribulation begins.  Or it be more time or less.  The point is the church needs to be ready.

As I look at what is happening in the world I do see events and things being set in place for Antichrist to come to power.  I was watching the news the other day and saw that the pope was taking a different approach or at least discussing a different stance on homosexuality than previous popes.  I thought this was huge.  This pope seems to be more about unity and bringing everyone together, which can be a good thing.  However, during the first three and half years of the Tribulation the world will be united under one religion.  Therefore, the pope’s statement to me is an indication of where religion is heading and will be during the first part of the Tribulation.  The last half of the Tribulation Antichrist will force everyone to worship him as a god.  The Antichrist will dispose of that faith one world faith (Revelation 17:1-14).

What does this mean for believers today?  We need to be ready for the Lord’s return (1 John 2:28).  We will not be in the Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  Over the years I have run across a few pastors and Christian writers, who say that believers who are looking for the Lord’s return are only looking to escape.  They go on to speak about how believers should want to be in the Tribulation so they can make a difference.  While I understand their viewpoint, I believe they are misguided in saying that Christians should be looking to escape.  The Rapture is not about escaping, the Rapture is about God gathering His church to Himself.  The Lord made a promise to His people in John 14:1-3 and Jesus always keeps His promises.  Also since we do not know the hour or day He will return that means we need to be ready.  We should be out telling others about the Lord.  There should be a passion for His word and desire to go and tell.  This life can be mundane, however, God has called all believers to be the light in their corner of this dark world.  Therefore, in the moments, hours, days, weeks, months, or years we have left lets make the most of it.

We are in the last days and now is the time to live for Him.

Recently someone that has been following this blog proposed this question to me.  What happens when a child or teenager dies?  The reason for the question is because the youth may not know Jesus as their savior.   Therefore, what happens to them?  Do they go to a Christless eternity?  The Bible is silent for the most part on this subject, however, there are a couple of passages and examples that might shed some light where a youth would go.

It was almost two years go when a student in my youth group came into my office before youth group to talk, because his friend who was 17 at the time (roughly) had committed suicide.   I remember talking to this young man and counseling him.  After a few minutes he asked the obvious question, Is my friend in heaven or Hell?  I understood the background of the boy, who committed suicide, and knew that he did not know Jesus as his savior.  It was a difficult question to answer.

Before I go on and answer the question let me write that, how you view or answer this question is largely dependent upon your theological view.  I understand from Catholic friends that someone who commits suicide does not go to heaven.  I know some people, who believe in Lordship salvation that they have a hard time explaining a child getting saved or where a child goes when they die.  (By the way: Lordship salvation is the belief that you must make Jesus your Lord before you can get saved.  Meaning you must be willing to get rid of things in your life before you can accept Christ’s gift of Salvation.  The author of this blog does not believe this to be true.)  The person, who asked me about child salvation, hinted that this could be the reason for infant baptism.  I will confess I do not know much about infant baptism.  However, I do offer an alternate view about child or youth salvation for your consideration.

Many years ago I worked at Coast Bible Church in California.  I worked under a pastor, who knew his bible extremely well and was a pastor’s pastor.  I can remember speaking with him about this subject and question.  He offered me a solution or a theory, which I believe to be true.  Again it all depends on how you view God.

2 Samuel 12:22-23 is the only passage that directly deals with the issue of children going to heaven when they die.  David’s son dies as a result of his sin.  David had mourned his son’s sickness and was broken up about it.  After his son dies, David gets up and cleans himself and goes and eats.  His servants are shocked by his behavior.  They ask him about it and why he is now all of a sudden calm and seemingly done mourning.  Here is David’s response in verse 23, “But now he is dead; why should I fast?  Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”  The last phrase is the key.  This is the passage that many pastors and lay leaders call the “age of accountability” passage.  David knew that one day he would see his son again.  His confidence was in God.  He could not mourn his son’s death knowing he would be with him again.  The passage does not directly answer the question, however, I do believe it is implied, that the child is in heaven.

The other passage is a story about the Israelites entering the Promised Land.  They had left Egypt and were journeying to the land that God had promised them.  The Israelites sent about 40 spies out to see the land God had given them.  They returned with reports, which had caused the people to disbelieve that God had given them the land.  Only two spies returned with good reports, they were Joshua and Caleb.  The other spies caused the camp to distrust God.  God punished them.  Their punishment was that they would not be able to enter the Promised Land.  They had to wander the desert for 40 years.  The generation that disbelieved in God died off.  However, God would made it so that Joshua and Caleb were healthy enough to enter in.  Here is the interesting part, did the Israelites during that 40 years continue to have children? Or did they have children when they sinned?  The answer to both is yes.  While the Promised Land was not heaven, it was their inheritance.  However, they had to work and claim their inheritance.  For the NT believer, our inheritance is the Kingdom of God.  While salvation is a free gift the more I work and serve the Lord the better my inheritance will be.  I write all that to say the younger generation the children and teenagers entered the Promised Land.  Why or How?  By God’s grace.

What is the “age of accountability”?  I have heard pastors say it was 12 years old.  Or it is when a child can determine right from wrong.  Both these seem like good answers, however, neither is the based upon what the bible says.  I recognize that my theory equally does not have a direct scripture quote.  However, it stands to reason based upon how God dealt with the generation that entered the Promised Land (the children) that if a child dies or teen then they would go to heaven. I believe in a just God and in my opinion (which this is) this view makes sense.  I do not believe in infant baptism or in a hard line “age of accountability.”

A teenager’s brain is not fully developed until they are in their early twenties (roughly).  Therefore, I would ask the question why would a teenager go to Hell?  Their brain is not fully developed.  They are considered a child by our culture and in Jesus’ time would be considered that.  If God permitted the children to enter in the Promised Land then why would He not do the same here.

There is no passage that directly deals with this question, but I believe we can make some conclusions based upon these two examples.  Lastly the question about suicide, I would simply write that there is nothing in my bible that tells me a person who commits suicide goes to Hell.  I would argue that if it is a youth then they are in Heaven.  If it is an adult then I would need to know if they knew Jesus.  If they were saved then without a doubt they are in Heaven despite their sin.  The only sin, which keeps people out of heaven is the sin of unbelief.  Now the person who commits suicide and goes to heaven will have to give an account for why they did what they did, but God is gracious and just.

I hope this helps and maybe answers some questions.

Let me write this from the start: I am not asking for money.  Great!  Now that we have that out of the way let’s explore the subject of giving or the fancy bible term called “Stewardship.”

For some of us , when we think of giving to the church, images of a televangelist enter our minds or preachers miss using church funds.  I can understand and appreciate this sentiment.  The thought of giving or tithing to a church can make some people run right out of a church service.  While I sympathize with people who feel funny about tithing to churches, I also know that giving or tithing is a form of worship.

Before I go any further let me write this there is no command in the New Testament that forces believers to give to the local church.  I realize some of you may go to a church and they might believe that you should tithe 10% of your income.  I can appreciate and do support those pastors and churches who believe that.  However, I can write this blog with a clear conscience before God knowing that there is no command to give 10% for believers today to their church.  Before you label me crazy or a lunatic, keep in mind that the passages referring to the tithe are in the Old Testament.  God ordained the tithe for specific purposes for the Jewish nation.  Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe in Genesis 14:20.  Jesus died for the law (Romans 6:14), therefore, we no longer have to keep the letter of the law.  Those who claim that we must keep a 10% need to remember that the Jews were not only tithing financially but also with their cattle and land.  They were tithing 30% of what they had.  Also the law should be taken as a whole and not broken down to parts; meaning that if you sinned in one point of the law then you sinned against the whole law (James 2:10).  Therefore, if you want to keep the tithe then you will need to keep the whole law.

We are not under law but under grace or if you will the law of Christ.  The only passage in the New Testament that deals directly with giving and church is 2 Corinthians 9:7, which says “…for God loves a cheerful giver…”  Ephesians 5:18 says that we should be filled by the Spirit and not be controlled by alcohol.  What does that mean with what we are talking about?  It means that we should allow the Spirit to guide us as to what we should be doing with our finances.

Here are some principles to remember: 1. God is the owner of everything.  He gave us the jobs that we have, therefore, my money is not mine.  2. I am a manager not an owner.  This is about a philosophy if I approach money as if I own it then I might not want to give to the church, or youth carwashes, or to missionaries.  If the money that I have is from God and I am a manager then I need to be speaking with God on a regular basis on how I should be managing His money.  I believe this is the New Testament approach that believers should be taking.  We should walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).  When you get paid, pray and ask God what He would have you give that week and to whom.  You will be amazed by how God will answer and what He will lead you to do.  Again like the title suggests it is about taking a step of faith when we give.  It is also an act of worship but it is a step of faith.  You will start to see yourself grow as a believer when you do. If you struggle with that then take your concerns to the Lord.  I have heard many pastors say 10% is a good starting point and they are right, however, I believe praying and asking God what He would want you to do would be the better way to go.

I pray the Lord will give you the faith to take that step in giving.  God Bless.

It is interesting that President Obama appears to be dragging his feet in regards to helping the Syrian Rebels.  He said that America would only step in if chemical weapons were being used. Chemical Weapons are being use.  It is as if Assad is calling Obama’s bluff.  Now Obama, is stating that America will help, but not outlining how.  I understand what is happening, Obama does not want to come out looking bad in this matter.  If America were to support the rebels and the rebels lose then America looks bad for helping.  However, if America helps and the rebels win then America would have a new ally and strengthen it’s position in the Middle East.

The Obama administration has long stated that Assad’s days are numbered.  However, last week the Syrian forces ramped up air attacks on the rebels.  Syria has the greater power and strength and it appears as if this war is taking a turn.  Something radical will have to happen for the rebels to regain the ground lost.  Personally I would not be surprised if Assad is taken out secretly by the rebels.  We have witnessed many ruthless dictators fall over the last twenty years.  When the Assad regime falls, it will be a game of musical chairs for the rest of the world to get in with the new regime.

The Bible is pretty clear about where this one-world ruler (Antichrist) will come from (Micah 5:5).  The one thing the bible does not tell us is when.  The Antichrist could rise to power in the next couple of years or it could take a 100 years.  God is at work, setting the stage.

My gut tells me that America will continue to drag it’s feet in regards to helping the Syrian rebels.  The new regime that is installed afterwards will not give America a chair when the music stops.  Thus America will really be put out of the Middle East and will never regain a foothold.  We will be more concerned with domestic affairs than foreign.  It is interesting to watch everything take place.  Bible prophecy is slowly happening right before our eyes.

My Dad

Posted: June 12, 2013 in christianity, religion
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Father’s Day is this Sunday and it coincides with my birthday.  I thought I would devout this post to him and give some insight into his spiritual life.  The man that he was and what I learned through his life.  My dad passed away October 2006.  He was 66.  He was mowing the lawn that day, when all of a sudden he felt very sick as if he was going to throw up.  He left the mower and ran inside to the bathroom.  Once he arrived in the bathroom, he suffered a heart attack.  He was dead before he hit the ground.  We found out later that my dad had an enlarged heart and hardening of his arteries due to his many years of smoking.

I had an interesting if not non-existant relationship with my dad.  He was a good man, however, I believe he struggled in the area of fatherhood.  I always knew his heart was in the right place.  However, it was odd at his funeral being told by strangers how much he loved and was proud of me.  I believe I could count on one hand how many times I heard those words from him.  I remember graduating high school and he finally said he loved me, which was the first time I heard it from him.  We had a complicated relationship.

In the years since his death I believe I have come to understand him more and more.  I am not bitter or harbor in any anger towards him.  If any thing I feel sad for him.  Children are a product of their parents.  This can be both a good and a bad thing.  Children learn from their parents.  However, they are not doomed to repeat the same mistakes as their parents.  They have the choice to chose their own paths and to live differently and be different.  For me I made a conscious decision many years ago to express to people what they meant to me.  There is no such thing as the perfect parent.  If we think that we can accomplish that then we are only fooling ourselves.  Albeit, there is such a thing as a parent who makes mistakes and tries to correct them during parenting.  I can remember my dad owning up to some of his mistakes when I was in college and it meant a lot to hear him say things.  He was a humble man and I believe he knew he could have done more, but was unable to.

There is no manual for raising kids or how to parent.  There are a lot of books, which attempt to accomplish it, but the reality is different children need different styles of parenting.  There is no one sure fire way to do it.  I believe being real, honest, loving, and making an effort are important characteristics in parenting.  If a parent can do those things then they will succeed.

Religion was a complicated subject for my dad.  He got saved after a car accident nearly took his life.  My dad suffered a hip injury. It result in him living the next approx. 17 years with one leg shorter than the other.  It was not until he had hip replacement surgery that the doctors were able to correct it.  He lived with a lot of physical pain for much of my childhood and teen years.  When I was about 15 my dad stopped going to church.  Only years later did begin to understand what was going on in his life.

My dad was a gifted trumpet player and he loved Jazz music.  In fact, he had considered playing in a Jazz band as a career, however, family responsibilities changed his plans.  After his accident my parents began attending two different churches.  Both churches had the same message.  Or I should write the same legalistic message, which was Jazz music was sinful.  My dad played the piano in the church on Sunday mornings and stopped because some individuals in the congregation felt that it was too jazzy.  Therefore, my dad stopped playing any musical instrument. For almost 10 years my dad did not do the thing he loved the most because he had been taught (incorrectly I might add) that it was wrong.  He wanted to please God so my dad obeyed what he thought God wanted.  It was not until the time he stopped going to church that he started playing his trumpet again.

He was playing in a Jazz band in the early 1990’s when he met a pastor.  My dad was shocked that this guy was playing in a different Jazz band.  It was through this relationship that my dad started to understand grace and God in a different way.  The yoke of legalism had stripped away years from my dad.  Let me define legalism as “adding any rule or regulation to the bible, which is not found in the bible and then putting it on the same level as the bible.  In order to please God one must live by these standards or rules.”  Or another way to put it would be living as Jesus did not die for the law (Romans 6:14).  A person is in a constant state of working to please.

We went through his things after he passed away.  We found a letter that he had written years earlier.  In it he chronicled his struggles with God.  I believe one day I will see my dad in heaven.  However, the God I know was not the God he knew. My dad knew God through the lens of legalism.  I know God through the lens of grace.  I am often saddened when I think of him, because I wish that I could know him now.  However, one day I will see him again and we will have an eternity to talk about all the craziness of life.  Therefore, I look forward to my Lord’s return.  I love Dad.