The Real Jesus

It used to bother me when I would hear of people researching the “historical” Jesus. Different “Jesus” projects seemed just insulting when all (as I thought) we needed to know about Jesus was in the Bible. Lately I’ve even heard some talk about the “Jesus myth” as if he didn’t really exist at all. Really? I can’t imagine setting the calendar by someone’s birth who was totally fictitious.

Over the years, I have learned to value these various searchings as a trend. A valuable trend. People in the 21st  century are still interested in Jesus. Even attempts to discredit him must begin with someone, somewhere, looking at the available information. That’s a good thing. I tell believers and unbelievers the same thing: don’t bring your own agenda to the Bible. Just let it say what it says and make your decision.

Today I ran across an interesting article about the many images of Jesus in the world. Sometimes we stop searching and just try to make him in our own image, but sometimes it’s just an attempt to make some type of connection with him. Read it and look at the pictures: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/03/15/five-things-you-didnt-know-about-jesus/?hpt=hp_c3 .

If you or someone you know really wants to find Jesus, start by talking to his “Father.” Go see: www.therealprayer.org 

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Published in: on March 17, 2014 at 3:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The World Needs a “Day of Prayer”

In his resignation speech, the Pope said he wondered if “The Lord was sleeping” throughout the trials and distresses of the Catholic Church recently. He no doubt experienced what most of us experience–the silence of God. Although Psalm 121 teaches “He who watches over Israel slumbers not, nor does he sleep,” it is easy to feel ignored sometimes. We all need a Day of Prayer.

That’s why a day for prayer seems so important now, because so many people feel ignored that unbelief is on a rapid rise. But I do know this–prayers are answered. But many today just don’t bother. They might pray once or twice and then give up. “Pray without ceasing,” Paul writes. It is the habit of prayer, or more accurately, the habit of FAITH, that moves mountains, not a knee-jerk, slot machine style of asking.

I advise beginners to start with the simple Lord’s Prayer. Once you understand its simplicity, you can use the framework for all of your daily prayers. Once you start, it becomes a habit. A habit of believing.

For a good little e-book on prayer, go see: www.therealprayer.org

Published in: on February 27, 2013 at 12:38 pm  Comments (1)  
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As We Forgive Others…

I’ve been reading some psychology articles on forgiveness recently, and I’m impressed by the amount of data that suggests that forgiveness is good for you.There was even some hint of a debate that says we forgive for one of two reasons: 1. It makes us feel better, or 2. It’s the right thing to do.

Why can’t it be both? I mean, doing the right thing should make us feel better, right? And whether purging our hearts of resentment and hurt restores a damaged relationship, or merely releases us from the weight of a damaged ego, either way it’s good, right?

People who forgive sleep better, digest their food more efficiently, and maybe even eliminate one more cause of high blood pressure. I know there are many self-help gurus who talk about both the emotional and physical benefits of  forgiveness, but there is an enormous spiritual benefit as well. Forgive us as we forgive others.

This might be the original win-win.

Pray about it…

For a great little e-book on prayer, go see:

www.therealprayer.org

Published in: on February 24, 2013 at 4:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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December 21, 2012-End of the world?

If I really thought December 21, 2012 was the end of the world, I would not be sitting here blogging about it. I would be out enjoying the world, not telling myself to stay at work because I can goof-off tomorrow. I would not care a bit about trying to pay my bills, plan for the holidays, or anything else related to the future, because I wouldn’t believe there was one.

Depending on my mental state, I might become psychotically depressed and go on some crazy binge of desperation. I might become violent and want to commit insane crimes, or I might just want to hole-up somewhere like a hermit and wait for the end to come.

I might be like the other end of the spectrum and believe that what is coming is not the end, but the end of an era. I read today a website foretelling a new world on December 21. Peace and harmony will abound, UFO’s will land, and, well…you get it.

But I don’t believe any of that. I think December 21, 2012 will be a day off for me, like I had planned, and I will do some Christmas shopping, visit with friends and family, and maybe take my wife out to a nice restaurant.

I believe there is already a plan in place for the end, and it doesn’t involve the Mayans, UFOs, crop circles, or anything else outside the Bible. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we actively see “Thy will”, that is to say, the will of “Our Father.”

If the end comes–well, I’m ready. If it doesn’t, I’ll be out enjoying life.

And I might even spend some time in prayer.

For a great little book on prayer, go see: www.therealprayer.com

Published in: on December 18, 2012 at 7:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Prayer Banned at High School Graduation

Prayer has been banned at the graduation ceremonies of  a high school in Castroville, Texas by Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery. His ruling came in response to two parents who thought prayer at a school ceremony would cause their child “irreparable harm.”

It became illegal to say prayer, pray, invocation, amen, or anything other words and phrases associated with Christianity. Talk about stepping on someone’s rights!

So we spend a full semester teaching them about freedom of speech, freedom of religion (not freedom from religion,) constitutional rights, etc., then take away these rights through the smoke screen of a misappropriated civil liberties argument. It’s kind of like the way we teach them basic science and the scientific method, then flush it all down the drain by telling them life spontaneously generated and developed through evolution in some magical way we can’t really explain.

I like to quote the words of song writer and producer Steve Taylor in his song Lead the Way, “The more I chew the less I swallow.”  Great line.

Later, more rational folk lifted the ban and the school’s valedictorian can at least say “amen.” See the article at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/06/03/texas-senator-blasts-judges-decision-to-forbid-public-prayer-at-high-school/?test=latestnews 

And though I’m happy at the students’ restored rights to open or close their ceremony with prayer (or not to –if it is their collective choice) it saddens me that the argument ever lifted it’s head to begin with.

Pray everyday.

Go see: www.therealprayer.com

Continuous Partial Attention

I recently ran across Linda Stone’s blog site (www.lindastone.net) and was amazed and impressed to read so many things with which I agree. As a teacher and conference leader, the thing that made me want to stand up and shout a hearty YES was this concept of continuous partial attention. The term is used to describe the way we try to text, message, work, eat, and search for meaning in our lives–all at the same time. And we can’t give full attention to anything.

We have so many things to attend to in our busy lives that we have become unable to focus on any one thing for very long. One only has to observe spectators at a ball game, or even a committee meeting, and the emotional chaos that ensues to realize that we are truly sometimes incapable  of controlling our selves.

We have also lost the art of prayer and meditation. Our instructions were to go into our closet, and when we have closed the door, pray. “The one who hears in secret will answer openly.”

Make an effort to reclaim your quiet time in your quiet place.

For a useful prayer guide, go to: www.therealprayer.org

Good Friday Prayer

Many aeons ago, the one who taught us to pray saying “Our Father…” was killed for, among other things, teaching us to pray. With Jesus’ method, one could sidestep the legalisms and go-betweens and speak directly to the Creator. Spiritual independence!? What would that do for the organized business of religion?

What if everyone suddenly had believed him? What if folks prayed without ceasing, believing every word of every prayer was heard and heeded? What if they practiced their faith-making-them-whole on a daily basis? What if they then taught it to their children, and on to the next generation? What if believers gathered to celebrate their abundant life in true gratitude rather than in fear of punishment if they did not?

And what if each Friday we remembered that original Good Friday when Christ lay in the tomb, silenced for a few days because he was so intent on teaching us the truth that the only way to shut him was to crucify him? And what if the anticipation of the Sunday to come when he would prove the truth by returning from the dead was so real to us that we could not be silenced? What if we prayed Thy will, and meant it?

What a Good Friday that would be!

For an easy to use study on The Lord’s Prayer, visit www.therealprayer.org .

Our Father…

Few things in life will make you notice the people around you as quickly as thinking you have something in common with them–you’re rooting for the same team, same NASCAR driver, same horse, whatever. It’s sort of like that with family. Family members disagree frequently, but take a family trip to an unknown place and something like an us-against-them mentality develops. We bond when there is something as simple as a common foe, or common goal, or something as lofty as a common destiny.  But the day to day grind, that boring commute, that twentieth trip to the copier, somehow tends to blur all that. We become isolated, compartmentalized, separated.

The first two words of the Lord’s Prayer adress that issue. As soon as we say Our Father we have connected ouselves to the rest of humanity. We could just as easily drop the human imagery of “father” and replace it with creator and the effect would be the same. Here we all are scurrying about this tiny blue planet as if what happens in our corner is all there is; as if hunger on the other side of the planet is of no concern; as if the slow destruction of our air and water is of little consequence; as if we’re in this by ourselves. We must never forget that everything touches everything else, including our lives.

When we finally see ourselves and our ancestry of humanity, the term Our Father becomes quite important. That guy who just flipped me off is my brother in a sense; that rude clerk is my sister; the starving children on those ubiqitous commercials could easily be my children under the right circumstances. And while saving the world is a bit of a task for me, treating like family the people with whom I cross paths  shouldn’t be such a chore.

www.therealprayer.com

Published in: on March 21, 2009 at 2:50 am  Comments Off on Our Father…  
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