Friday, June 29, 2012

Fifty Shades: Merging the "black-and-white" in "Grey"



By now you are probably familiar with the book series that is polarizing social media. I am, of course, talking about 50 Shades of Grey. But that is not really what I am talking about.

I am not going to weigh in on the book (if you want a good opinion, here is one that I enjoyed). I want to look beyond the book at a phenomenon that is overtaking our culture.

For so long we have understood simple things to be “black and white” issues. Remember when your word and a handshake served as a binding agreement? Now high priced lawyers are experts at finding loopholes in written documents. They call these loopholes “gray areas.”

You were probably raised on the fact that lying is wrong. Now we want to debate if lying is ok in some instances (we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, for example). I could go on, but I think I made my point.

Whether it is an erotic book, a crude sitcom, a steamy cinema, a “fun” song, or anything else, ask yourself if you have to create a gray area for your conscience in order to enjoy it. When you do, that is called compromise.

Let’s go a step further and forget the black and white; let’s focus on the red letters.

“You have heard it said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone that looks at a woman with lustful intent has committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Jesus
Matthew 5:27-28

(this also applies to a woman having lustful thoughts from a man in a book, like Christian Grey)

The natural response becomes, “Don’t judge me!” So before someone uses that line let me remind the reader that the same rebuttal was used by the wicked men in Sodom the night that it was destroyed in Genesis 19:8-9.

“[Lot said] ‘I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.’ But they said, ‘Stand back! This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge!’”

It seems that sexual sin has a way of making people feel conviction and cry “Judge!” Then they hide in the gray of night and carry on.

Christian brother and sister, come out of the gray and into the light. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Just Another Birthday



If you haven’t heard the song Just Another Birthday from Casting Crown’s newest CD (Come to the Well), please read these lyrics:

Sixteen finds me blowing out candles and making wishes
And all around me is everyone but the one I'm wishing for
And he sent me flowers and gift-wrapped excuses
From a daddy whose daughter wants to see him again

And I know, I know it's just another birthday
But I guess I thought this would be the one
When he would call me, see me, hold me and free me
But it's just another birthday, and I'll be fine

Nineteen finds me and I'm wild-eyed and wide open
I gave myself away to love but backseat promises fade like a mist
I'm screaming at the midnight air. Everyone hears me but I don't care
My heart's clenched just like a fist ‘cause, people, I didn't ask for any of this

And I know, I know it's just another birthday
But I guess I thought this would be the one
When he would call me, see me, hold me and free me
But it's just another birthday, and I'm not fine

In the company of strangers in a cold and sterile room
All alone with a child inside me and I don't know what to do
Jesus, can You hear me? Come and heal my brokenness
Put the pieces back together and be a Father to the fatherless

Twenty-one finds me blowing out candles and making wishes
And all around me my barefoot princess twirls and sings
It's so amazing looking back at all God's brought us through
You are my happy birthday and you were born to break the chains

Now I know, I know it's not just another birthday
'Cause I'm here, she's here and look how far we've come
Since you've called me, saw me, held me and freed me
Thank you, Lord, for another birthday
And we'll be fine

I’ve had this CD since November but this song still gets to me. Then I found the music video, and that really got me choked up. Let this song serve as a reminder to daddies (and mommies) that our choices affect more than just ourselves. Leaving for “greener pastures” leaves a trail of broken hearts that won’t heal for decades, if ever.

And to the children of neglect and divorce, remember that even if an earthly parent has let you down, your Heavenly Father never will. If you put your faith and trust in Him, then as the song says, you’ll be fine. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

What You Need to Know About Bible Prophecy



The book What You Need to Know About Bible Prophecy by Max Anders is one installment of his ten part series called What You Need to Know. This book is published by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Anders’ book can be used as a Bible study course, complete with not only 12 lessons, but with discussion questions, fill in the blanks, information for additional study, and “speed bumps” to slow down and focus on the main point.

This book was not written as a way to say that the author has cracked the code of Bible prophecy; Anders humbly presents multiple viewpoints and lets the reader decide for himself. Anders, who was the general editor of the Holman Bible Commentary, has a high view of the authority of inspired Scripture, so he rejects prophecy that does not have it’s roots in the Word of God.

In this book Anders tackles some of the biggest biblical prophecies, such as the rapture, judgments, the afterlife, and the Millennium. He presents the leading schools of thought within each group: for example, in his chapter about the rapture he presents arguments for a pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation-and post-tribulation rapture. In his chapter on the Millennium he lays out the pre-millennial, post-millennial, and a-millennial views. Dealing with the afterlife Anders demonstrates how some interpret hell literally, some symbolically, and some hold to an annihilation concept.

In addition to looking at these major events on the prophetic calendar, Anders also has chapters that discus the need for studying prophecy, getting the big picture of prophecy, accounting for the differences in interpretation of prophecy, and he ends with understanding the universals upon which we all agree. Far from being ecumenical, this final chapter was an appeal to deal peaceably with those who might not hold to our own interpretation of prophecy, realizing that whether pre- , mid-, or post-tribulation, we all serve the same God and will one day live with him forever in heaven.

Anders makes his point by concluding: “When prophecy is used to beat non-Christians over the head, when it is used to create animosity among Christians, when it is used as an interesting subject to be studied as an end to itself, then the purpose of prophecy is not being realized.”

And finally, I want to leave the reader with this appeal from Anders’ conclusion. He admonishes the reader to “plan as though Jesus were not returning in our lifetime but live as though he were returning tomorrow.”

This book is available through Amazon.com 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Book Review and Discount

My 8th grade Creative Writing teacher, Mrs. Henry, was kind enough to write a review of my newest book Asleep in Heaven's Nursery on her blog Create 4 Christ. You can read it here.

If you decide to purchase the book after reading her review, then you can get a 20% discount by going to my store and using the code 20off.

Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Narrow-Minded Christians



To be narrow-minded means that a person has a limited perspective, or that he refuses to consider a viewpoint different from his own. I often hear Christians being accused of being narrow minded. Is this true?

Our classrooms teach that the world came into existence accidentally, without any sort of Creator involved. If Christians reject this then they are narrow-minded.

Our culture teaches that all religions are the same, and as long as people are sincere then everyone will be fine in the end. If Christians reject this then are narrow-minded.

Our churches teach that there are no absolutes, that no one can know anything for sure (which assumes that the one saying that knows something for sure), even when it comes to the Bible. If Christians reject this then they are narrow-minded.

Does this make Christians narrow-minded? Yes!

Think about this: the evolutionist has a broad view, allowing for endless amounts of guessing in the name of science to influence his mind.

The politically correct person has a broad view, allowing for any religion, no matter how violent, contradictory, or even absurd, to be considered as valid. (The only exceptions are Christianity and Judaism, which are typically frowned on and belittled)

The church member who rejects absolute truth has a broad view, allowing for any interpretation of a concept or Bible verse to be considered right simply because that is what “he believes.”

And in light of all of this broadness, consider the words of the very narrow-minded Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14. “For the gate is broad and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” 

These people with their broad interpretations are on a path that leads to destruction, and they need to be very careful. If they call you narrow-minded, it might just mean that you are on the narrow path that leads to life with God.

I am proud to be a narrow-minded, narrow way Christian.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Interview With Brandy Allison



Last week I interviewed new Christian recording artist Brandy Allison. Her debut album, as well as music video, have just been released, and she has graciously agreed to give away a copy of her new CD through this blog.

To enter the contest for the free CD you only need to do 2 things: either like her Facebook page or follow her on Twitter, and then comment here that you did. It's that simple. After 2 weeks a winner will be randomly chosen. But first, here is a chance to get to know Brandy:

When did you know you wanted to be a recording artist?  
I’ve always dreamed of being a recording artist since the age of 3.  I sang in Country music all my life, touring the South East with bands, ect.  Every night in the lime light singing country music I use to say to myself “There is no purpose to this.” I lost focus. Then I got married to my husband in 2005.  I decided to go on the road with him, and be a housewife. I wanted a family more than a music career, but I still always dreamed of being a well-known artist, and continued to sing in the bedroom at home, in the car (I would go into concert).  Several years later—2010—a tragedy fell upon me and changes went into the works. This was “a life changing experience.”

What was it like shooting your first music video? 
Wow, first of all, I was just amazed at how God was working in my life since I had truly given myself to Him, not only was it my first music video, but I was doing this to glorify Him, after all that I had been through, and what I was going through, I was just amazed.  I was really nervous, when the producer said “action” GOD given strength came over me, a strength I had finally learned to recognize.  He took over, I relaxed and I think the overall message was delivered as God intended!  The video turned out amazing!

What are your favorite lyrics from your CD?
From my 1st single “My Hallelujah”  
“My hallelujah
Hands to heaven
Every minute, every hour 
I'm surrounded by Your power
Holy, Holy
My King forever
Your mercy is a gift I'll never earn
And all I have to offer in return
Is my hallelujah”
Despite everyday earthly distractions our God is a merciful God, I am not deserving of anything my God has to offer me and the only thing I can offer him in return is my praise: “My Hallelujah”
Is there a website your fans can go to keep up with your music?
www.brandyallison.com  Here you will find 4 songs from the album and all lyrics, also the official music  video  for  “My Hallelujah.”
I also have a fan page on Facebook  Brandy Allison,” to find all tour dates and what’s next  (also friend me and get to know who Brandy Allison is).
I am also on Twitter @ballison424

What do you want people to take away from listening to your music?
No matter who you are, what path you are on right now, or what path you have taken, Jesus Christ is waiting for you!  It took me losing my husband to understand the love of Jesus Christ. Sometimes it takes something major to happen in our lives before we “wake up.” After all that I have done, I am not deserving of anything that the Lord has blessed me with, things as simple as waking up another day. I have learned to put everything I am and everything I will ever be in the hands of God. If things don’t pan out the way I want them to, I have learned to accept it because if we don’t, we tend to start holding resentment, and that is not at all what God plans for us. He loves us, and He is in control of our lives whether we like it or not!

Please share a testimony you would like people to know.
August 20th 2010. The day Josh was killed was the day God showed up in my life, and it is also the day I surrendered everything to Him. It’s by far the best and most important decision I have ever made!

When a tragedy like this befalls a couple this young, it’s impossible to predict how you’ll act, but I found a way to face my challenges without fear. While everyone around me seemed paralyzed by the utter shock of what had happened, I decided to be courageous and reaffirm my faith and strengthen my walk with Jesus.  It still took me time of grieving and prayerful contemplation to redirect myself as a servant of a living God. I had to be useful. I wondered: “What had God given me to use for His Glory?” It was during this time of uncertainty that I wandered into Best Buy and bought three CDs. I didn’t know anything about Contemporary Christian music, but I bought three of the best sellers: Casting Crowns, Third Day, and Amy Grant. I had been listening to country music and crying my eyes out every day until that point, but God started speaking to me through the lyrics of Christian music and each day had me feeling a little more positive. So at that time in my life I decided I was going to sing for His glory and that is why I am here doing what I do.