In regards to Phil Robertson


If you didn’t already know, A&E has suspended Phil Robertson from the show Duck Dynasty indefinitely due to his comments in a GQ interview.

He spoke about his own beliefs and his own opinions saying that the Bible was against homosexuality and he himself did not understand why people would be drawn to someone of the same sex.

Well, I have nothing to say about homosexuality.

This post isn’t about what I believe, or contradicting what you believe.

To be completely honest, I know what I believe and I could care less what you believe. You have the right to believe what you believe and I have the right to believe what I believe.

This post is about the fact that America is so sensitive.

America is like the playground in fourth grade, where children get offended by the smallest stuff.  Me, I didn’t grow up in America in the fourth grade. I lived in Mali, West Africa.  I was the only white kid in the neighborhood and I loved soccer, so I would go out and play with all my buddies on the street.  We’d have to jump over the sewer that ran freely in the middle of the street every once in a while.  They all played barefoot. My feet were too sensitive, and the one time I tried to play barefoot, I got cut up on a rock.  From then on, I left the the barefoot to those whose feet were used to it and not sensitive.

America today is like my feet in the fourth grade. So damn sensitive.

My point is this: It does not matter, and why does anyone care that a Louisianan with a beard believes that homosexuality is wrong.

So what?

Are we seriously so childish that we care? Why does it offend you that he said he believes homosexuality is wrong?  This post should be more offensive, because I’m calling anyone who got offended a sensitive fourth grader’s foot.

A&E should not have suspended him because he never said that his views were shared by the network. The LGBT movement should not be offended because his views about what the Bible said were true, and he believes those views, and anyone saying he cannot express that is against religious freedom.  Also, anyone who believes he shouldn’t say what he said is just way too sensitive.

Come on America, when the founding fathers decided to revolt against Britain, those that were sensitive decided to stay loyal with Britain.

It should not matter what he says or believes. If what Robertson said offends you, maybe there is a reason that you are insecure in your beliefs.

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When It Is Finished


Two days ago, I went running in downtown Lynchburg.  The weather was great; a perfect day to go running.  As I was running on the path, I passed an overweight gentleman who wore a weighted vest and was speed walking.  I presumed he was drastically trying to lose weight the best he could.  As I passed him, he nodded at me in a friendly gesture, and I replied, “how are you doing today?”  As I kept running, I heard his reply.  He said, “we’ll see when it’s finished.”  I guess he was in some pain from working out, and wouldn’t be able to tell how he really was doing until it was over.  This brought up a theological point to my mind.  Many people in this world don’t believe they can know their position in the eyes of God.  For Christians, we know exactly where our position with God is.

God doesn’t tell us that if we believe in Jesus Christ, we might be saved.  He tells us that if we believe in Jesus Christ, we will surely be saved.

John 3:16 NLT  “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

This is a common verse, that many people quote everyday.  We don’t have to wait for the finish to know whether or not we are acceptable in the eyes of God. Because of God’s son Jesus, everyone who believes in Jesus Christ is made acceptable by Christ’s sacrifice.

The book of 1st John is a perfect read if you struggle with wondering whether or not God’s grace covers you.

1 John 5:11-13 NLT “And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life , and this life is in his Son.  12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.  13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.”

There is no doubt.  If we believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, we have no doubt that we are saved.  We do not have to wait until the journey is over to find out how we did, or what “grade” we got.  Believing in Jesus Christ as our savior is the way to salvation, and the Bible clearly tells us that we can be sure of it.

The Other One


It was right there in front of me, and no one was watching.  On a normal day, I never would have thought about it.  I had never considered myself a thief, but it was hard times.  I needed the money.  And if it was needed by the owner, he wouldn’t just leave it out all alone.  I grabbed the coin purse.  A few other silver pieces were laying on the table, so I grabbed them also.  but just then, someone exited the nearby building, and looked straight at me.

“Hey! What are you doing?” He yelled, as I fidgeted with the coin purse trying to put it into the pocket on my robe.

I turned and ran.  My heart started racing, and adrenaline overcame me.  It was too easy to follow me, first of all, I left tracks in the soft dirt, and second, a cloud of dust was being formed behind me.  I had to outrun him.

“Stop him. Thief. Stop him!” Came the cry from behind me.  I obviously wasn’t alone.  I took a glance over my shoulder, and he was right there, only about ten yards behind me, on the pursuit.  I kept up my pace as best as I could, and so did he.  I wove around corners, and through the town, as if I was trying to escape a maze.  If he caught me, and turned me in to the authorities, the punishment would be harsh.  I knew I couldn’t get caught.

All of a sudden, my path turned into a dead end.  In front of me, was a wall.  I tried to think of a way to get over it, but it was impossible.  I turned around, and just like that, he was there.

I didn’t know what to do.  I thought about giving up, but giving up meant letting him turn me in, and the penalty for robbery was one that I did not want to accept.

“You’ll pay for this,” he said as he advanced.

I wanted to explain that I was in need of the money, but even then, that didn’t give me the right.  So I stayed silent.  I thought that if I fought him, and punched him a few times, I’d have a chance at getting away, and him never seeing me again.

So I moved closer.  He made the first move, and swung at me, but I leaned back and let his arm move right past my face.  And it was then that I saw my opportunity.  With my left arm, I jabbed towards his jaw, and made contact.  He definitely wasn’t ready for what came next. As I brought my left arm back, I used my momentum to produce a devastating blow with my right fist.  It whirled around his guard and caught his left ear, putting him on the ground.

I immediately took off running. I turned the corner looking back at my victim.

BANG!

I was on the ground and dazed.  For a few seconds, I was looking straight into the sky.  Then I saw a helmet, and a chest plate, and then a spear.  A Roman soldier!

There were two of them.  The one that knocked me over picked me up, and the other one grabbed my arm with a firm grasp.  I knew I was caught.  I knew this was very bad and that I had made a mistake.

The man I punched spent a bit of time on the ground.  The Roman soldiers did not assist him to his feet, for he was a Jew, and even though they were the authority, they didn’t like us Jews very much.  When he managed to get to his feet he came over to where they were holding me yelling.  He seemed very upset.

“What exactly happened?” The Roman soldier asked as he looked from me to the other man.

“Well, I was selling my clay jars outside of my home, and I decided to get a drink. I left my money bag on the table.  I was only gone for a few seconds, I didn’t think anyone would take it.  Then this man. . .” He said pointing at me. ” This man right here stole it, and I saw him take it right as I was walking back to my stand.  Then he ran and I chased him.  I know I’m out of shape, but when someone takes the money I have worked for all day, well, I am 15 again.  When I cornered him I tried to wrestle him down to get my money and he punched me in the face.  And then you two showed up. You should have been here earlier!”

The higher ranking soldier looked at me.

“And what do you have to say for yourself?” He asked.

I looked down in shame.  I had no excuse.

They marched me to the palace, well, more like I stumbled to the palace.  They chained both my wrists, and kept pushing me over as I walked to express their power.  They took me to Pontius Pilate.  He was the ruler over Jerusalem and I was about to be tried as a thief, and the use of violence was not going to help my case one bit.

When I stood before Pilate, there were no crowds.  The two Roman soldiers were there, and the one man whom I had stolen from.

He explained to Pilate what had happened.  And when Pilate asked me what had happened, I again had no answer.  I was guilty.  The punishment I was given was one that I thought was quite harsh.  Tears started to stream down my face as he condemned me to death, on a cross!  It was then that I tried to defend myself, but it was too late. Pilate had already left, and the soldiers turned me over to the prison guards.

I ended up staying in the palace jail for the night.  My one hand was bound in chains to the wall, and the other one was left free.  The floor was cold and damp.  I couldn’t sleep, but even if I was given a comfortable bed, I wouldn’t have been able to sleep.  I just thought about my life, and how I should have done it differently.  I prayed, and I prayed more.  I wanted God to save me.  I wanted God to give me one last chance.  Before I knew it, morning had come.  There were no windows, and the sunlight did not penetrate my cell.  The way I knew it was morning was that I could hear someone being beat out in the courtyard.  It signaled that the day had started, and someone was being beat badly.

The next thing I knew, a Roman soldier was standing at the door.  His keys clashed together as he found the appropriate one.  He grabbed me, and unlocked my hand from the chains.  He could tell that I was terrified, and didn’t even trouble with tying me up, he just grabbed me underneath the arm and walked me out to a courtyard where three wooden crosses lay.

Another prisoner was there.  He also was being held by a Roman soldier, but, he had his hands chained in front of him. I did not recognize this man.

All of a sudden, a couple of Roman soldiers marched a new man into the courtyard.  This man was bloody, and was only wearing his undergarments. I could tell that he was probably the man that was being beaten earlier.  As the man moved closer, he looked familiar.  And then, I realized who he was.  I had seen this man in the temple.

They forced me to pick up my cross. And they marched me out of the barracks and into the streets of Jerusalem.  There were crowds of people who lined the streets, watching as I trudged by, carrying the very thing that I would be nailed to.  I knew the crowd wasn’t there for me.  No one knew who I was.  I trailed behind the other criminal.  He was in front of me, he too carried his cross.  The crowd was not there for this man either.  The one that they were standing there for was a ways behind me.  He was the man who had been beaten and bruised.

When we got to the top of the hill which was called “The Skull”, they ripped my robe from my back, and laid me down on the cross that I had brought up with me.  Roman soldiers pierced my wrists, and my feet with nails as long as my hand.  The pain was overwhelming.

I turned my head to the right, and there he was.  His whole body was bloody, and he wore a crown.  It was a crown made from a plant; probably acanthus.  I watched as he was also nailed, and once all three of us had been attached, we were hoisted up, for all to see.

From Luke 23: 39-43 (NLT)

39 The other criminal on the cross turned his head as best as he could towards the man who was bloodied, and scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you?  Prove it by saving yourself- and us, too, while you’re at it!”

40 I inhaled real quick, and protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die?  41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.”  42 Then I said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

43 Jesus allowed his head to swing partially towards me.  He took a breath and replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

I am not a hero!


I am plain.  There is nothing interesting about me.  I am a real human being.  In the wake of my every footstep, my footprint is left.  There are no gold drops, no glitter, and as for glamour…none.  The experiences I have been through in my life are more than others, but it does not even compare to the life of a baby boy born into poverty in Northern Uganda.  I have nothing worthwhile to say, let alone think.  There really is nothing.  Everyday I wake up, and every night I go to sleep. Same thing, over and over. There are no original ideas generated in my mind.  I am no one.  I do not have war stories, and I have never saved another human being.  I am not a hero!

But God, knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I am created intricately, so that every second, my heart beats.  Without thinking, my body knows that I need to breathe.  Breathe?  Is that all I do?  God created me to be here right now.  And there is a purpose for that.  He did not want me to be anywhere else.  He did not want me to have war stories, and I have never saved another human being.  But God saved me.  He made me with a mind to think.  He made with a heart to love.  I may not show love in every situation, but even so, I was created for a purpose.  I may feel plain, but I am nowhere near plain.  No one else in the whole world possesses what I have…my life.  I was not born into poverty; maybe my purpose is to end it.  I was born in the land of opportunity.  Maybe I need to give opportunity to those who do not have.  My life is not plain.  No one’s life is plain.  Everyone was born for a purpose.  But my question is this, whose purpose are you fulfilling?

-dedicated to R.M.

Zachary

Follow, Following, Followers!


Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about how it’s a bad thing to be a follower.  I’ve heard: “you’re a follower”, and “you don’t make your own decisions”.  These comments haven’t been pointed directly towards me, but they’ve been aimed at one of my friends.  Well I would like to explain to you today, the ways a person should be a follower, and why we as a society are naturally followers.

First of all, what is the definition of a follower?  The Merriam-Webster dictionary had two good definitions for it.  1. “one that imitates another”  2. “one that chases”.  We see that in the Bible, the apostles were, by definition, followers.  They not only followed Jesus around,  but they left their lives behind to follow someone who had changed their point of view, and their life.  Simon Peter was a fisherman, and when Jesus asked him to leave his work and follow, Simon dropped everything and left it all behind.  From then on, he followed Jesus everywhere he went, and followed His teaching until the day he died.  That’s the kind of follower we all should be.  I use this example of Jesus because that’s a big part of my life.  But it could be anything, from a war starting where you have to take sides, or a humanitarian crisis where you are urged by your own conviction to take action.  I recently joined the Invisible Children group at Liberty University.  From day one in the group I have been working with them to spread the word and to raise money for the rehabilitation center we are trying to build in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  This is the kind of following we should be doing.

Our society is also a follower society, but most of the time, it’s not in a healthy way.  The person calling my friend a follower is also very much so a follower.  He thinks he isn’t because he is on leadership, but he is, and I’ll tell you why.  Our society as a whole is following.  We have become so interested in what others believe that when something new comes out, or something nice is available, we want it.  We follow trends on the market because we want others to accept us.  We follow politicians, advertisers, social media, television, music, and many others.  I’m not trying to put any of these down, but I do think we need to take a step back and realize exactly who and what we follow.  Just like on twitter, there’s the follow button.  I myself am on twitter so follow me @pinkpanther1122.  Haha but I want to warn you, before clicking that button to follow, think about the pros and cons.  Why are you wanting to follow a politician, why is this trend in clothing a good choice for you, and why should you allow yourself to listen to this music group.  Many times we listen or watch, or follow specific things that go against our own value system.  Don’t follow blindly, and don’t be persuaded into something you know you shouldn’t be doing.  I must admit, this has happened to me more than once, and later I reap the consequences.  But I want to urge you to think about the decisions you take, and the messages you follow and associate your name with.  While wearing a certain brand isn’t a big deal, following a certain politician is.  You can’t stand with someone that doesn’t believe the same thing as you.  Your point of view will change, and unfortunately, your belief system will change also. I urge you to also take action against the wrongs you see in society.  I personally am involved in Invisible Children because I see slavery and child soldiers as something that is wrong and should be stopped right now.  There are many other issues going on, and I encourage you to take a stand for what you believe, instead of just watching the results!

Choose Life


I just finished watching a disturbing movie about a group of friends in Scotland addicted to heroine. And to be honest, it really messed with my head and my emotions. It made me realize one simple but crucial point. And here it is!
There are things in life that seem so great, so desirable, that they mask us from what is truly worth living for. We can relate this to anything that comes between us, and the things that we know deep down are more important, and should be first priority. That could be our children, our education, and one thing that affects me a lot, God. Many times I catch myself saying “oh it can wait” or “tomorrow is a better time for that”. I put God off to do my own thing, and in the end, my own thing doesn’t amount to anything. I give up time with God for a seat in the sewer. This movie was about how a group of people put drugs before anything else in life, and I have many friends who deal with that everyday, and if they were to read this, I’d say: “friend, choose life”. Thank God I’m not dealing with that right now, and that my biggest problem is not finding time to open the Bible. But I urge anyone reading this to think of the things that you put before the people who love you. I urge you, as myself being a follower of Jesus, don’t neglect God. Don’t let the the craziness of this world mask you from what is truly important.  And please, choose life!

-Zachary