Archive for August, 2022

Where’s the Joy?

Posted: August 10, 2022 in Uncategorized

So I’m watching a Christian movie, and it’s not bad, but why do we have to take the main characters so far down before we can lift them up. I was getting so depressed, but then I realized it’s not all that unrealistic. I know the depths I fell to and where the Lord brought me from. That’s redemption. But it’s not just that. I have looked at the world and all that is going on, and I can go to dark places too, even now as a man of faith. I am redeemed and yet I still see the need tor redemption all around me. It can be overwhelming but that’s kind of the point.

We can’t do this on our own. We need the Redeemer. This world needs Jesus but there is something else they need. They need joy. We can’t afford to wallow in the dark places, the joy of the Lord is our strength. We can acknowledge that the darkness, but we need to remember to walk in the light, because darkness is conquered, every single time by light. Jesus is the light of the world. In Him is light and that light is the life of all mankind. We need to rest in Him, trust in Him, find His joy, point the world to its Redeemer and we need to shine with His light.  

Every so often publishers will send me emails offering review copies of their latest offerings. When I saw the title Crazy Joy, I was automatically drawn to it and asked for a copy. You see of late, things happening in our world have been weighing on me and maybe even stealing my joy. I figured I needed to read this book. When I review books, I will often look up the author just to find more about them and I did so with Ms. Backstrom. I found some things that showed we would likely have some pretty major disagreements. I became worried specifically because of the sub title of the book: “Finding wild happiness in a world that’s upside down.” I began to wonder what if she spends her time on what is upside down and the things she thinks are upside down are what I think is right side up? Would I finish this book crazy but without the joy I have been seeking?

I considered not reading the book, but seeing as how I hate cancel culture with the white hot passion of a thousand suns, I decided it would be best not to engage in it. I determined to read the book. I am glad I did. I finished it in two days. This book is devoid of controversy but instead deals with the matter at hand, helping people to find joy and she does it masterfully. This book is chock full of humorous and poignant stories from the author’s life (and a few other sources) that meld beautifully with the point she is making. If you are a person who is struggling to find joy, this is a book for you. It is well written, thought provoking and joy invoking. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it reminded me of something else, that I know pretty well but that is missing in much of our society. We don’t have to agree on every point to gain from each other. What we need to do is learn to understand each other, “hear” each other out, disagree agreeably and love our neighbors. I think we’d find a lot more joy in life if we did. Nice work Ms. Backstrom.

What Do You Do?

Posted: August 6, 2022 in Uncategorized

As many of you know, I am working on my doctorate through Kingdom Bible College and Seminary. In the process of my research, I came upon a book from a major expert on creativity. I haven’t gotten very far. In the introductory chapters, he speaks of God as if He is something we created to help us understand the things going on in the world, and basically asserts that as humanity’s creativity advanced, we no longer had the need for a god. I wanted to throw the book out the window, but it’s on my Kindle Fire and I’d just as soon not wreck that. I thought about quitting the book, and yet I am struggling. I’m not ashamed to admit the man’s point of view frustrates me, but is there still something to be learned from his research and scholarship? I’m really torn. I know there are many in the arts who would happily share his point of view, and many in the world who would see my reaction as narrow minded, but I am sorry, I know my Creator and I believe any creativity I have has been endowed on me by my Creator. To see God belittled as a figment of my imagination is hurtful and for the context of the book completely unnecessary. The book is not assigned reading or anything like that. It is just a book that comes well recommended. Am I being too thin-skinned? Am I becoming the Christian version of the “cancel-culture” from the world which I passionately hate?

Here’s what I think I will do. I think I will read on, and direct my anger and frustration and prayer for the author and all those who think like him. I think I will try to glean any good information on creativity that I can in hopes that it will help my research and then in the process, I will do what I planned to do all along which is write (as best as I am able) the consummate book on creativity for the Church, one that acknowledges our Lord on every page and encourages believing creatives to use their creativity for the sake of the Gospel and the Kingdom of God.

What would you do?

Would You Rather?

Posted: August 5, 2022 in Uncategorized

I’ve been ministering this week for the Family Art Camp at the Washington, PA Corps of the Salvation Army with my friends Captains Amber and Jason Imhoff, and what a blessed week it has been! I have been responsible for the evening messages and some of the art projects, while Amber has been doing other art projet/crafts and some icebreaker games. Last night’s game really got me thinking. We played “Would You Rather?” based on things that happened in the Bible. Basically the participants had to go to the side of the room that matched their answer. One of the questions really hit me.

“Would you rather have 15 years added to your live (like Hezekiah) or ride to heaven in a flaming chariot (like Elijah)?”

For me this one wasn’t even hard. I made a b-line for the side of the room for having 15 years added to your life. That might sound shallow or even unspiritual for someone who does what I do. Here’s why it’s not. I am a believer in Jesus Christ. He is my Lord and Savior and I believe with all my heart that His sacrifice secures my space in eternity. I’d have to believe there will be a lot of opportunities for flaming chariot rides where I am headed when this life is through. Here’s what I am also sure of. This world is a mess and everywhere I look are people who need to find the hope that I have found. 15 more years of life (tacked on to whatever God is already determined to give me, since He already knows what that is), would equal 15 more years to do good in this world. It would be fifteen more years to share the good news of Jesus Christ with that many more people. There’s nothing that compares to serving the Lord, especially when I know what’s on the other side. Lord, I know what is on the other side of the grave because of the hope I have found in you. Please give me as much time as you desire to share that hope while I am here.

The Power of Prayer

Posted: August 1, 2022 in Uncategorized

I recently came upon a post which spoke to the idea of reframing I’ll pray for you. They included this graphic.

This was my response…

“I’ll pray for you, and…’ any of these would be fine, except for “holding space” because what the heck does that mean? lol Seriously we who are believers have to resist giving into culture’s idea that prayer is the equivalent to doing nothing. I understand that not everyone believes in the power of prayer, but I think we need to at least acknowledge our belief in it. I often go back to the story of the paralyzed man lowered through the roof in front of Jesus. Notice it says when Jesus saw their faith. It wasn’t necessarily the faith of the paralyzed man that borough his healing but rather of the guys willing to go to extraordinary lengths to bring their friend before the Lord. That’s prayer and when God acts on our prayers, people should know what we believe happened… Just my two cents.”

Prayer is taking the situation to the Creator of all things, the most powerful being in the Universe. It is not just something it is THE thing, and to my mind it should be the first thing. What say you?