The Loudmouth Protestant

June 15, 2010

Big Butter Jesus Meltdown

Filed under: Jesus,recent news — nickisym @ 12:19 pm
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Last night, after being struck by lightning, a 62-foot Jesus burned to the ground leaving nothing but the dusty remains of plastic foam and fiberglass in its wake.  The statue was built as a “beacon of hope and salvation” at the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio. And now it’s just a tragic reminder to invest a little bit more in big Jesus statues, or, maybe don’t invest anything at all in big Jesus statues because these are recessionary times and who in the world spends $250,000 on a Jesus statue when you probably have a church where at least 25% of your congregation is unemployed or  underemployed? What sense does it make to rebuild that statue and then be in the pulpit talking about, “Please give to the “building the big Jesus statue fund”?” No sense at all. (Granted, sources say that the statue was financed through earmark donations, not general church finds. But really? You got earmark donations for a giant Jesus statue for your church? Not a billboard, not advertisements, not even a cross, but a big Jesus?)

Could it be that the burning down of the statue is a sign that that church, and maybe us as the church universal, need to stop wasting money on frivolous things. I know it seems really crazy to say a huge statue of Jesus is frivolous, but honestly, I don’t think Jesus would be okay with a church spending that much money on a statue of Him when they could use that money to do “greater works”. The statue of Jesus that can be seen from the Interstate is not “greater works”. At least, I’m not certain it is the greater works He was referring to.

Anyways, I’m not going to ramble on about this. I might be alone on this matter and others might think this is a national tragedy. I just wonder if this strikes anyone else as slightly strange and unusual?

December 3, 2009

A Philippians 4:13 Meditation

Filed under: bible,christianity,Jesus — nickisym @ 8:00 am
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Last night I spent alot of time at my desk with my hands on my head trying to get my brain to comprehend what it just doesn’t seem to want to grasp at the moment. I sat back and thought to myself, “I need a scripture to meditate on.” No sooner than the thought popped into my mind did the scripture pop into my mind. It’s an oldie but goody, but I meditated on it differently, choosing to repeat it over and over again with strong emphasis on every word as I went through the repetition. The scripture and its intent were illuminated in my mind by doing this and I just had to get it out of my head and put it down so that others might be blessed by it too.

A Phillipians 4:13 Meditation to be repeated and each time you repeat it emphasize the next word.

Say it normally the first time:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Second time say it and emphasize the first word:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Third time say it and emphasize the second word:

“I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Fourth time say it and emphasize the third word:

“I can DO all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

And so on so forth. At the end of it, your meditation should look like this:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

“I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

“I can DO all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

“I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”

“I can do all THINGS through Christ who strengthens me.”

“I can do all things THROUGH Christ who strengthens me.”

“I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens me.”

“I can do all things through Christ WHO strengthens me.”

“I can do all things through Christ who STRENGTHENS me.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens ME.”

Then say it one last time. Scream it to the mountain tops. Shout it in the devil’s face or to anyone or anything that is trying to convince you that you can’t do what you have set out to do.

“I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME.”

All better. 🙂

October 1, 2009

What I Love About Jesus

Filed under: God,Jesus,spirituality — nickisym @ 8:00 am

I have been meaning to take a praise break. Actually, I’ve taken one numerous times throughout this week, but I really wanted to share the praise break.

So, what I have been thinking about in regards to one of the reasons why I love Jesus–because there are so many reasons, some of which I don’t even know about yet–is that there is nobody like Him. I mean seriously. I think it was last week when I was bowled over by the fact that at the name of Jesus demons tremble. Or the fact that there is no other name in heaven by which a man can be saved. Or the fact that it is at the name of Jesus that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord. Or that having the choice to live His life, he decided that we would die for our sins. He would not come down from the cross just to save himself. Or the fact that because of Jesus I have the most awesome health insurance ever because well before I was formed in my mother’s womb, Jesus was walking around healing lepers, bringing people back from the dead, making invalids valid, spitting into dirt creating mud and rubbing it over a blind man’s eyes and restoring his vision–and we all know mud is not a cure for the blind but in Jesus’ hands it’s a miracle salve.

The list is endless for why there is nobody like Jesus. But I just wanted to take a moment to express my love for Him because there is nobody like Him. And I am so thankful that I can say all of this and it be received by a living God. There really is nobody like Him.

May 5, 2009

Quote of the Day: The New Christians

Filed under: christianity,Jesus — nickisym @ 1:21 pm
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Sometimes, it’s not the blog post that renders the quote but people’s response to it. This quote is just that. I won’t preface it with anything because the real discourse can only happen after a couple of people take a whiff.

“Why the hell would I want to be a Christian if Jesus never rose from the dead?”

Check out Tony’s post on Why It Really Matters that Jesus Rose from the Dead.

But stay here to let me know how you feel about the quote.

April 12, 2009

Happy Resurrection Sunday

Filed under: christianity,christians,God,Jesus — nickisym @ 12:23 am
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Today we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Not Easter bunnies, not Peeps, not candy, not hard-boiled Paas-dyed eggs,  not frilly Easter dresses, not even Easter, but Resurrection Sunday. (Side note: “Easter”, the term we’ve become entirely too comfortable with, is connected to the Anglo-Saxon pagan goddess Eostre and has it’s origin in pre-Christian pagan practice. So let’s call tomorrow what it actually is, Resurrection Sunday. None shall be confused then.) The day when the stone covering His tomb was rolled back and He appeared with countenance like lightening and a raiment that was as white as snow. His resurrection signifies new life. Many of us have been fasting for the last 40+ days and while we are excited to break the fast later on today, we should not go back to those things which had us in bondage prior to going in. 

We fast for change, to make God a stronghold, and to receive revelation and breakthrough. The last 40+ days were not for form or fashion. Not to show people how pious we could be but for us to make God and His business top priority. We should not go back to business as usual tomorrow. Tomorrow is not a license to fall back into the same pattern that had us enslaved before. No! The point of the resurrection was to give us a second chance to get it right the first time. And we should be excited for this opportunity and thankful that it is through God that we could welcome such a great gift that has given us access to life and life more abundantly.

I’m truly excited for this day. Excited to give thanks unto God for His greatest sacrifice. The sacrifice which atoned for my sins and made me righteous. I am so very thankful to God that today, symbolically, He has given me new life. 

I pray that you and yours will have a blessed Resurrection Sunday and forget not the most awesome gift you have ever received. 

Thank you God for your most precious son. You are so awesome.

April 8, 2009

Your Role in the Crucifixion

Last night an interesting question was posed,  “If you were there during the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, what role would you have played?” Would you have been Judas, Peter, Pilate, Barrabas, Sanhedrin, Roman soldier, Simon of Cyrene, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the theif who scoffed at Jesus or the one who asked to be remembered? Those present  for the crucifixion of Jesus  are uncanny archetypes of us now.

We were there to fake the funk and sell him out for some spare change, there to judge rather than stand up for what we believed in our hearts and let him die, there to be set free when we know we didn’t deserve it, there to participate in the mocking and beating, there to carry the cross, there to sit at the cross, there to simply wait for his return.

Last night, my mind spun as I thought about who I would be then. I saw myself as Pilate, there to judge, but inevitably give Him up because the press of the crowd was overwhelming. I saw myself as Simon of Cyrene, a mere bystander who happened to be in the right place at the right time to help a righteous man finish an assignment that would atone for my sins, I saw myself as Barrabbas, wild and wooly and set free despite my past indiscretions. I could have been any of those people.

Who are you?

April 7, 2009

Take My Breath Away

This afternoon, as I was winding down from a full day’s work, Israel Houghton’s “Breathe In Me” came on my iPod. As Israel breathlessly sung about the Lord taking his breath away, I thought about how people talk about men or women taking their breath away by their earthly beauty or some earthly attribute. For one second, I even thought I might like to say the same about the man I will walk toward on my wedding day. That is until, in my daydream, the man I was walking toward was Jesus. I was getting married to the lover of my soul and my breath was really being taken away at the sight and thought of it.

Just one moment took me from daydreaming about a temporal love to coming to realizing that my every step on this earth is a part of my bridal march down the aisle toward an everlasting love who I will be with in eternity. Talk about breathtaking…

April 2, 2009

Rethinking the Mitzvah Tank: A Christ Caravan

Filed under: Jesus — nickisym @ 4:15 pm
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This afternoon, as I was sitting at my desk finishing lunch, I heard loud music blaring from a vehicle in the street. It wasn’t the latest hip-hop song–trust it does happen on Park Avenue–it was actually a whimsical melody. I left my cube to find the music and as I stared out the window, there was the source of the sound. The source that comes around at every time this year to helps Jews on the go. That’s right, the Mitzvah Tank. This vehicle operated by Orthodox Jews is an outreach for secular and alienated Jews to promote the practice of traditional Judaism to Jews.

I was utterly fascinated by this, having seen them in the city for the last 2 years but never really having anyone break it down for me. I watched intently for about 20 minutes as the volunteers combed the street religiously profiling people, asking if they are Jews, asking if they have a  Passover seder to attend, passing out shmura matzo and Passover candles and talking into the tank’s intercom. In the midst of this, I was getting My Jewish Learning from my colleagues. It was all so amazing to me and then I thought, wait a minute, “Why don’t Christians have a caravan that travels around the city?”

We could load up a few good Christian soldiers to go into the city with bottles of water, loaves of bread, fish and Bibles and stop on random corners blasting John 3:16 is musical form. People would come to see where the sound is coming from and stay to find out  about Jesus. The caravan would be there to plant seeds. We’ll force nothing on no one. We won’t religiously profile, we’ll just let the sounds and scents draw them to us. And the Christ Caravan will serve a tri-fold purpose by not only spreading the Good News but feeding the poor and clothing the naked.

Hmm…

March 26, 2009

The Exceeding Greatness of His Power

Filed under: bible,christianity,God,Jesus,spirituality — nickisym @ 12:27 pm
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Don’t you love those moments, while reading the scripture, when you can actually feel your heart being flooded with light and the eyes of your understanding being opened? I had such a moment this morning. Well, it started very early this morning when I woke up in the midst of my sleep and all that was on my mind was, “The exceeding greatness of His power.” It’s lodged in my subconscious for a few reasons. Those words are part of a ministry piece I am currently learning, it was the last song I played before I went to bed, and I was thinking about the actual scripture in Ephesians 1 which my Bible Study has prayed over us for the last four years.

I laid there in my bed early this morning having this scripture lodged in my mind, cutting through every false perception I was holding onto. Right there in my bed at about 3:00AM, “the exceeding greatness of His power” was taking a hold of me. I lay there thinking about what I believe about the exceeding greatness of His power and as I lay there the list began to form. The power to heal, the power to save, the power to cut through doubt, the power to deliver, etc.

I woke up this morning intent on reading the prayer all the way through because I knew there was more to it that I needed to sit with. And as I read Paul’s prayer to the church of Ephesus, I claimed it for myself and realized that it isn’t just about understanding the exceeding greatness of His power, but coming to that understanding through the prerequisites set forth.

Before Paul prayed that the church of Ephesus would understand the exceeding greatness of His power, he prayed that they would receive wisdom and insight so that they might grow in their knowledge of God and then that their hearts may be flooded with light so that they could understand the confident hope He has given to those he called and then after those things they would be able to understand the exceeding greatness of His power for us who believe in Him.

But why do we have to believe in the exceeding greatness of His power? Because “this is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now because of this, he is far above any ruler, authority, power, leader or anything else, not only in this world but the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him the head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.”

After all of that, could I not believe in the exceeding greatness of His power? Could you not believe in it?

March 9, 2009

Why Was He Slain?

Following a discussion about standing on God’s word and having faith that He can keep us beyond our circumstances, a friend asked me if I could shed some light on the church shooting in Illinois. Specifically, why did the pastor get shot when initially the Bible stopped the first bullet.

I was dumbfounded at the thought that the Bible shielded the first bullet but thereafter the bullet penetrated his flesh and he was murdered right before his congregation’s eyes. I didn’t take long to think about why it happened, I simply prefaced my statement to my friend saying, “This may be hard to swallow but, maybe it is possible this was his time to go. Just as God knows every second of our lives from start to finish and knows how we will leave this world, would it be so crazy to believe that this was God’s plan for Pastor Winters?” At my response my friend replied, “His plan was to have him shot to death, that seems kind of brutal.” And just like that, my response came like lightning, “Did God not send his only begotten son to walk down the Via Dolorosa to be crucified on a cross and die for the sins of perfect strangers in front of His followers.” Should we be so surprised that modern-day martyrs exist? Now that’s one side of the story. Maybe Pastor Winters wasn’t a martyr and there’s a part of the story that we don’t know. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds…

I acknowledge this is no time to speculate on the 5W’s and the H. These are all just interesting thoughts I had in the course of 30 minutes this evening. So I’ll assume my rightful position, one of prayer–isn’t it always. Prayer for the Winters’ family, prayer for the Sedlacek family, pray for the suspect, Terry Sedlacek, pray that the congregation can recover and heal from this. Just prayer.

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