Followers of Christ

What God declares the believing heart confesses without the need for further proof. Indeed, to seek proof is to admit doubt, and to obtain proof is to render faith superfluous. – A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy

Boy I was mad when I read this quote on my Facebook page the other day. The quote seemed to be used to excuse our ignorance and encourage us to avoid looking into the context to back our beliefs.

I recently have been part of a few frustrating conversations on Facebook. I was questioning the literalness of the Genesis story. There are many Christians who still consider the Earth to be six thousand years old. There are also many Christians who think it is wrong to question whether the Bible is infallible. Not only do the scriptures need to be divinely inspired, they must not have faults. What do these Christians use to back up their claim of the Bible’s infallibility? Well the Bible of course. This is like me saying I am without error because I say so. It doesn’t make sense. So here is where the quote comes in. We are not supposed to make sense of it. In fact, if we are to seek out proof of the Bible being infallible we are showing ourselves to be with doubt. Having doubt is a big no no in Christianity.

Well I must admit, I have my doubts about my faith. I find myself constantly questioning the validity of scriptures and sometimes even have my doubts as to whether or not God is there for me. But, to me the ones who show the most doubt are those who are not willing to ask or look into the tough questions. If one truly has faith in something he or she should be willing to test it. Instead most Christians I have encountered close themselves up. When I question one of their beliefs I am accused of wanting to start an argument. I am told Facebook isn’t a good forum for conversation or debate. Face to face conversation doesn’t seem to work out much better. I left Church about four years ago. Before I left however I sat down with many friends and talked with my youth pastor about the reasons I was frustrated. I told them about my problems with the Church and asked some tough questions about leadership’s doctrines and beliefs. My questions were almost entirely ignored. My pastors told me they would get back to me and never did. I wasn’t doing my job. I wasn’t playing my role as a mindless sheep.

Christians look at the world and say, “It needs salvation”. I want to know what is “salvation” to most Christians? Is it saying, “I accept Jesus”? Is it going to Church? Is it getting drunk in the Holy Spirit? I have seen people do all these things and nothing really fruitful has come out of it. I remember every year going to the Vision Conference with my Church’s youth ministry and observing countless people get “blown away by the Holly Spirit”. Leadership spent tons of time and resources getting videos made, surround sound working, and big name Christian speakers to come in so they could convert the unsaved youth. After each conference we heard about how lives were changed and God was going to show up and grow the numbers. As of now the youth ministry I attended is less than half the size it was when I left but they’re still preaching the same message.

An emotionally charged service can give you a high just like any other drug. I need to keep reminding myself when most Christians post statuses on Facebook like, “I am so hungry for God’s mysteries” they are not inviting conversation as much as inviting people to “like” their status or write a nice short, “Amen” or “That is so good bro”. I can’t blame them. Living on a high feels good. Seeing people “like” or complement me on my status makes me feel special. These are not unnatural things to want. However, they are selfish. What bothers me is the way some disguise them to seem noble and righteous.

I am reminded of a quote from Gandhi, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”. I think this is because where Gandhi found Christ open minded he found Christians closed off. Where he found Christ to be inclusive he found most Christians to exclusive. Jesus had no need to be in a building in order to minister. He did not go to the people who considered themselves religious; instead he went to the tax collectors, prostitutes, and those on the fringes. Jesus had us reexamine the scriptures. He built upon the teachings of the scriptures and made the people see His father outside the Jewish religion. Just look at Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 5 and the parable of the Good Samaritan.

The Bible does not become stronger when you deny its faults. Instead you are making it inaccessible by claiming righteousness where there is fault. Literally thousands of people were involved with creating what we now consider the Bible. And as of today there are several dozen different version of the English translation alone. You will read different commentaries from each theologian who writes the study notes you see on the bottom half of your Bible. This is because the Bible isn’t black and white. The Bible consists of sixty-six different pieces of writings, chosen from many other pieces that for holy or political reasons were left out.

The Pharisees could not see who Jesus really was because their religion blinded them. Let us not make the same mistake. I like the phrase, “The proof is in the pudding”. When we see religions advocating for feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and providing for the homeless, we need to stop and see where God can be seen. As Christians lets seek out the proof of our God, no matter where it takes us. We must not fall into the same trap the followers of the crusades, supporters of slavery, or those responsible for the many massacres of the Native Americans used to justify their follies. Even today the Bible is being used as support for dehumanizing homosexual relationships, justification for woman to not be allowed in leadership, and an excuse to not to take care of the natural resources of this world. Without our God given ability to reason we can make something as wonderful as the Bible support awful and destructive things. God does not want mindless followers. He wants followers who are so confident in their faith proof will only strengthen it.


The One Who Rules

I have this wood carving above the head of my bed. It was given to me on my 13th birthday. In bold font there is the word Leadership. Below the word Leadership is a phrase in smaller letters, “If you command wisely, you will be obeyed cheerfully”. And to the side in even smaller letters is a verse from the Bible, it comes from Luke 22:26, “The greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves”.

I have read this Luke 22 verse many times through out the years. It is the part out of the whole wood carving that impacts me the most. Why would Jesus say such a thing? We have seen many rulers in our history show their power through the fear and aw they have created in their followers, yet very few rulers have we seen be like servants to their people. It certainly does not seem we Christians see God in that way.

What I hear from most Christians about God is how powerful He is. I hear how aw inspired and fearful of God’s holiness we should be. God actually is described as a ruler who shows his power and holiness through His magnificent acts of destroying temples, parting seas, and creating plagues. The idea of a eternal Hell is used to lift God’s holiness up. We are expressed an God who can not bear to be in the presence of sin. We are shown a God, by most Christians, who will torment us for all eternity if we do not bow down and serve Him.

The image the Western Church has created for God confuses me to be honest. I do not understand how curtain qualities of God fit with our idea of the powerful holy God who can not bear the sight of sin. For example, how does God’s everlasting love fit into the idea of His powerful and holy wrath? Can a God be loving to us all if he sends most of us to a eternal punishment with no chance of escaping? Incredibly most Christians say yes. However, none have been able to explain to me how something like an eternal punishment is loving, they just claim it is.

I wish Christians understood the message they were spreading in regards to God’s holy wrath. I wish Christians understood how the message of God’s eternal punishment counters their message of God’s eternal love. Saying God loves us even though he will send most of us to a eternal punishment, is like saying a father is still loving to his son even if he throws him into the fire to be tormented forever. Any father who punishes his son in the way we believe God will punish non-Christians after they die, would be immediately locked away and called insane. Why does our criteria to what is wrong and right change when God comes into the mix?

I believe, like any dictator, God has the power to do anything he wants. Even though I would not consider God to be loving or just for throwing us into an eternal hell, He can do it if He wants to. He is God you know. I mean, why not? Why should we expect God not be any different then the many other kings and dictators that have come into this world and ruled with an iron fist?

The reason why I consider my God to be different is because I saw His example expressed on this earth in the form of a carpenter named Jesus.

Think about this for a second. Why would our almighty Ruler’s son come to this earth in the form of a carpenter and not a king? Why was it God’s son who told us to forgive our neighbors, take care of the sick, and love our enemies? Why did Jesus go among the people and perform many miracles?  Why did Jesus, the son of our Holy and Powerful God, wash his disciples feet? And, why was it Jesus who was sacrificed on the cross and not us?

The greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.

Why do I freely choose to love Jesus? Because he first loved me. Why do I freely choose to serve Jesus? Because he first served me. Jesus was the representation of his Father God. He did not come here to condemn the world but to save it. Jesus expressed to us clearly the true power of his Father and it was not shown through temples falling down, seas parting, or plagues spreading, but rather through humility. God is our greatest servant. His commandments and His punishments are in service to us. God commands us so that we may be fulfilled. God punishes us so that we may see His love clearly.

The reason why this Luke 22 verse effects me so greatly is because it represents the heart of Jesus’ message. The verse represents the core of who I should be as a leader. My parents gave me the wood carving because they believed Leadership was a strength and calling in my life. It is amazing how humbling the idea of leadership has become for me. I pray that every step I make is in service to the people I lead. I pray I can be the kind of servant my God is towards me.

I can not express how thankful I am that the one who rules over all creation is the one who is creation’s greatest servant.

Where God Shows Up

The manifestation of God! That is what the subject is for the synchroblog this month. I must admit I volunteered to do this blog early on and then forgot completely about it. It was not until my mother reminded me a few days ago that I started thinking about what I was going to write.

This is a tough subject. Often we think of the manifestation of God as being a sudden impact at a church service, usually during worship, where we feel weak in the knees and start talking in tongues. To be honest I always considered this weird and sometimes embarrassing. Sure it is fine to see my mother and father pray for God to come down and manifest himself on this earth. The unnerving part is when it actually happens. I remember seeing my mother wobbling back and forth while praying for someone. She was making some of the most awkward noises. She did a lot of, “Humin nah you lababwa tah tah tah tah” and “Puuusssshhhhh mmmmmmmmm yah nanah nah nah nah nah”. All I could do was roll my eyes and sort of act like I did not know her.

I am not trying to make fun of the manifestation of God. Nor am I trying to make fun of the act of speaking in tongues. Just for me, especially when I was younger, I did not understand it. I did not know why people got so consumed that they felt they needed to jibber a bunch of nonsense and go all twitchy on me. To this day I hardly ever feel like speaking in tongues or twitchy because of the presence of God.

One of the only times I ever feel enthralled, weak at the knees, or completely blown away both emotionally and physically, is after watching a exceptionally well crafted movie. But how can this have anything to do with the manifestation of God?

At first I did not think it had anything to do with God. I watched movies because I wanted to be entertained. Spiderman was thrilling because he could swing across buildings and beat up bad guys. I originally felt like I was gripped by film because that is what good film does, it grips you and takes you on a ride.

However, if you ask anyone of my friends, they will tell you that I am sort of obsessed with film. I am a student of film and have passions on making my own stories come to life on screen. Why so passionate you might ask? Well I think it is because film speaks to me in a way nothing else does. Good film moves me in profound ways. I began to realize that the impact that curtain films had on me, such as Dead Poets Society and Schindler’s List, had more to do with God then I originally thought.

God manifests himself to me through film. I have actually heard God speak through curtain movies. When watching Schindler’s List, God beckoned me to step up and do the kind of things I was seeing Schindler do in the movie. God actually showed up in the man Schindler. He made it clear that he can manifest through imperfection, that color and race didn’t matter to Him. God showed me that His love was and is for all. In fact the movie Schindler’s List spoke more to me then any sermon I had ever gone to.

The place God shows up the most for me is in the movies. I know this is hard to believe for some. Some might think that it is just an excuse to watch more film. I will admit that if my life only consisted of watching films it would be a very sad and unhealthy life. Even if God manifests himself to me through films, I can not just sit there getting high from film to film. It comes down to what the manifestation of God is for.

In my experience there is too many people seeking out God’s manifestation, then there are people who are trying to manifest to others. God is not a drug, He is not here to show up just so we can “Awe” at his beauty. God shows up to us so we can show Him to others. The manifestation of God, whether through a worship service or a movie, is meant to not only awe you but inspire you to act.

Before I ever knew it was Him, God was showing up in the movies. He has moved me in so many ways. He has brought me to tears through movies like Blood Diamond and Dead Poets Society. He has inspired me to act through movies like Braveheart and Schindler’s List.  The manifestation of God has opened my eyes. The question we should now all be asking ourselves is, what do we do when God shows up?

Mike Victorino – What To Do?

Beth Patterson – A Robust Universe Includes The Botched and Bungled

Jeff Goins – The Manifestation Of God

Jeremy Myers – Pagan Prophecies Of Christ

Mark Smith – Manifestation Of God

Minnow – When God Shows Up

Alan Knox – A Day I Saw Jesus

Ellen Haroutunian – Stories of Epiphany

Liz Dyer – God Breaking Through Moments

Kathy Escobar – orphans

Josh Morgan – The Manifestation Of God

Steve Hayes – Theophany: the manifestation of God

Sarah Bessey – In which Annie opens the door of her heart

Christine Sine – Eve of Epiphany – We Have Come, We Have Seen, Now We Must Follow

Tammy Carter – Paralysis In His Presence

Katherine Gunn – Who Is God

Peter Walker – Epiphany Outside Theophany (Outside Christianity)

Annie Bullock – God With Us

Through The Eyes of The Marginalized

To be honest I think I have a curtain amount of experience in the marginalized category. Both when I went to school and when I went to Church I felt slightly on the outside of almost all the social groups. There were many times where I just hung out by myself in the library or in the art room at school. When I went to Church I usually sat by myself having very little interaction with others.

I personally did these things on purpose because I did not really want to be part of the “in crowd”. I have found that being part of the “majority” means thinking a curtain way. That “way”, being the way everyone else thinks. In my personal experiences the “in” and “out” crowd is created based on who is able or willing to adapt to others.

It is good to be able to adapt to others up to a curtain point. However, in my experience I have found being part of the “in crowd” usually means sacrificing many of my own principles and visions. I think with our society in general we marginalize those who do not think or act the way we do.

At school I found people marginalizing me because I did not think the way my fellow teachers and classmates thought. In Church I found myself marginalized because I pushed others to think of things in a different way then they were used to. We as a society usually throw out those who do not go along with the majority of the crowd. The marginalized consists of those who dare to think in different ways then the norm or those who have pushed us to go out of our comfort zone.

Naturally we want to be comfortable while believing that we are intelligent and our way of thinking is the best way of thinking. When someone comes with a different way of seeing things, he or she is frequently rejected. This is one of the greatest problems with the Church. We the Church have tradition. We have a specific interpretation of scripture. We label the interpretation of scripture as “ the infallible word of God”. When others question and deny our interpretation of God we quickly  reject them thus marginalizing them.

The marginalized don’t just consists of the rebellious visionaries however, you can also apply it to the unintentional drug addicts, starving, and homeless of the world. They are all marginalized because they unintentionally push us to get out of our comfort zones. It is much easier to walk past the homeless then to try to find them shelter. It is much easier to close your eyes to the starving then to find them something to eat. It is much easier to shut the drug addicts in their room then to find a way to help them.

The problem with marginalizing is that there is no growth.

If we do not care about the hungry, the drug addicts, or the homeless, there will be no change. If we do not listen to those who think differently from ourselves, there will be no change. Change only comes when we open our eyes to the marginalized. There is a lot we can learn from them and there is a lot we can do for them but first we need to be able to acknowledge them.

We as God’s people should take a lesson from His son. Jesus was not the common thinker of his day. Jesus came to us with ideas that were unheard of. He told us to forgive rather then punish. He told us to love rather then hate. Jesus opened up His Kingdom to those we thought were most unworthy of it. Jesus was the healer of the sick and the servant of the homeless. Jesus came to this earth and saw through the eyes of the marginalized. He was part of the marginalized. We as His followers need to be willing to be seen in those same circumstances. We need to be willing to see the world through eyes of Jesus, where all are equal and worthy of our attention and love.

George at the Love Revolution – The Hierarchy of Dirt

Arthur Stewart – The Bank

Sonnie Swenston – Seeing through the Eyes of the Marginalized

Wendy McCaig – An Empty Chair at the Debate

Ellen Haroutunian – Reading the Bible from the Margins

Christine Sine – Seeing through the Eyes of the Marginalized

Alan Knox – Naming the Marginalized

Margaret Boehlman – Just Out of Sight

Liz Dyer – Step Away from the Keyhole

John O’Keefe – Viewing the World in Different Ways

Steve Hayes – Ministry to Refugees–Synchroblog on Marginalised People

Andries Louw – The South African Squatter Problem

Drew Tatusko – Invisible Margins of a White Male Body

K.W. Leslie – Who’s the Man? We Christians Are

The God Drug!

Ever think of God as a drug? The more I look around and study my fellow Christians, the more I get the feeling God is just another way to get high and forget about the hurts and needs of this world. Yes this is a big observation but I do not say it lightly. We live in world full of self indulgence. I can not help but notice how we as “Christians” are looking more and more like the world we claim to be trying to “save”.

There are two things that have inspired this post. First off, I have recently been impacted by a conversation/debate/argument (depending on who you ask) I have had with an old Church friend of mine about the topics of serving “the least of these” (Originating from Matthew 25: 31-46) and eternal damnation. Equally, I have been impacted by reading the book Gandhi An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth. In this book, Gandhi seek after God far better then myself. In Mohandas Gandhi’s autobiography I have seen a man devoted to truth. Gandhi was willing to push himself to extremes for his cause. I have seen a man who had a heart for loving his neighbors and helping the needy. He seemed to use every aspect of his gifting and recourses to seek out God.

A problem arose for me in my discussion with my friend when my friend kept on posing the argument that we, “need to first seek out God”, before something like helping “the least of these” is relevant. My argument was, “When we help ‘the least of these’ we show we are seeking out God”. My friend did not agree. We went on for days with emails back and forth, both posing some good arguments and I think both would admit some “less then par” arguments as well. Eventually my friend requested we end the conversation. I felt we were stopping in a very bad spot, but reluctantly agreed.

The idea we need to first “seek out God” before “helping the least of these is relevant“, bugged me. The problem becomes how then do we seek out God? The only answers from my friend seemed to be through verbal prayer, fasting, and reading the Bible. Through experience and observation I have found that God can easily become a selfish thing. Prayer can easily be just a way to get hyped up and usually does not go much farther then  words. Fasting is often done for attention rather then to seek God out. And, reading the Bible often consists of finding verses that make God who you want Him to be, not figuring out who He really is.

When God is used in these ways He becomes just another drug we get high on. The problem with getting “high” on God is that it does not last. I have gone to Church conferences where the building seemed to be “on fire” for the Holy Spirit. I saw people dancing in the rows and falling down on the ground because they were so overpowered by the presence of God. I am not saying this was fake, that God was not really moving, but my problem was Nothing. Else. Happened. When we got back from the conference we talked a little about “how God moved”. We gave our testimonies to our Church congregations. Then life went back to normal, where we went to Church on Sunday morning and attended the weekly youth group. And, we began to look forward to the next conference where we could get our next high.

When we leave out a way of knowing or seeing God such as “helping the least of these”, we begin to make Christianity a very selfish thing. When we do not realize that loving our  neighbor is directly related to loving God, Christianity becomes stagnate and insignificant to the rest of the world.

In Matthew 22: 37-40 Jesus replied to the Pharisees when asked what is the greatest commandment, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments”. The “Love your neighbor as yourself” was just as important as loving the Lord. The reason why Jesus answered with both is because they go hand in hand.

Even though we have been commanded to minister in this world we also were told not to be of this world. The world tells us that possession and power is what brings us happiness. However, Jesus taught us to go beyond our selfish desires and turn to humility and forgiveness. Jesus taught us that we are suppose to be God’s hands and feet and start to show the world the selfless love of God.

Just because you know the right name does not mean you are serving God better then those who have not even heard of Christianity. The Pharisees were the ones that were interested in the letter of the law. They knew all the “right names”. But, Jesus made it clear “knowing” was not what was going to save them (John 5:39). What God cares about is how we follow Him. Instead of making God just another drug we get high on, let’s start to own His principles along with His name and change the world.

To Question The Church

Is it okay to question the Church? I personally would have to answer this question yes, especially if I consider myself part the Church. In the past I have been taught a lot of doctrine from the Church that has never really been questioned by those who taught me. When I began to question this doctrine I found out quickly that I was not supposed to. With some friends it seemed that every time I asked a question I was accused of “arguing” and told my questions were not legitimate.

Throughout Churches history we slowly treated doctrine (our theories about what the Bible says) as if it was actually what scripture says, or “the infallible word of God”. When I get into a debate about a doctrine, such as the existence of eternal Hell, the main argument I hear is something like, “The Bible clearly says that there is a eternal Hell”. However, when I point out verses from the Bible, that counter what my debaters say the Bible “clearly says”, I am told, “I guess I will need to trust God with those verses”, even though the verses clearly contradict each other. It is not a matter of not understanding. It is a matter of choosing to give a specific interpretation of a verse more weight because it lines up with what we have been taught the Bible says AND saying the contradictory verse just can’t be understood and therefore must be left to God. This makes me quickly realize that it is not the Bible that most are using to support things like eternal hell. Besides, there are many other things that the Bible “Clearly speaks against” that a modern day Christian is just fine doing. Things like: cutting your hair, women speaking in Church, or people getting tattoos, are all accepted now a days, even though parts of the Bible clearly speaks against such behavior.

Doctrine is what the Church relies on to determine its identity and guide its behavior all the while calling it the Bible. The reason why there are 2000+ denominations of Christianity, is because very few agree on all the same doctrines (interpretations of the Bible). Sadly, the reason why most denominations can not work together for the betterment of society, is because each of their doctrines can not be questioned. If everyone thinks they are right, they must think everyone else is wrong. And, another doctrine most of us are taught is: we should not be unequally yoked (or in other words, we should not work with people who don’t think like we do).

I have found that the Church gets away with ignorance because it is willing to be exclusive. On the outside we claim that our God is willing to accept and forgive any sinner, but on the inside we build our church on foundational doctrines that are described as “infallible”, and as soon as someone starts to reject or question these “foundational doctrines” they are quickly excluded. Making our doctrine god allows us to be in control. When our doctrine is the ruler however, we can quickly become ignorant  through denying any other points of view.

I am convinced more than ever before that my God is absolute. However, we must come to the realization that none of us know God absolutely. Questioning and testing faith is one of the best ways to separate the truth from the lies and find out who God truly is. If I believe that my doctrine is truth then it is up for debate. When others come with different views I will truly try to listen. When used in the right way, testing and questioning are like fire. If we truly have faith in our doctrine we will allow the fire to test it. Through constant questioning and testing some of our views will change and some will burn away, but the truth will hold and get stronger through this refining fire of testing and questioning.

If the Church is to be a beacon for the World, we must come together and build on strong foundations. Strong foundations can only come from vigorous study and questioning. Questioning is a crucial aspect to the growth of the Church. Everyone has a mind of their own, everyone sees things from a different angle and sometimes in a different light. I have found that many non-Christians are able to see my faith in a way I can not, their insight can be greatly helpful. We as Christians have made statements to what Christianity is about, such as loving others, providing for the needy, and showing the outside world Jesus. However, when we are told by non-Christians that they are not seeing this “Jesus“ we claim to be representing, we need to take them seriously.

One of my core beliefs is that my God is strong enough to be questioned. I have talked to people who are scared of questioning interpretations of the Bible because they think that if we drop one doctrine we need to be willing to drop them all. I agree that we need to be willing to drop everything we have come to believe. If my goal is to seek Gods heart, anything is up for exam.

To question the Church means questioning ourselves and that means opening ourselves up. If we let down our walls we will show others who we truly are, full of strengths and faults like everyone else. However, if we as the Church are willing to open ourselves up, we stop being exclusive. I believe truths like: God is a loving God, will last through even the most intense questioning. When someone is faced with a undeniable truth he is forced to own his prejudices. Even if the person with the prejudices is stuck in his ways, he is severely crippled when it comes to gaining followers. True questioning reveals truth and truth is what will change this world.

Questioning will not break my faith in God, it will only strengthen my knowledge of Him. The lie is when we make doctrine more important then God. To question the Church is something I must do. I am part of the Church and although my individual faith has flaws, through the Church as a whole (if the rest are willing to engage in questioning with me) we can create a very accurate representation of the one True God. But, we must be willing to seek Him out, no matter how vigorous the questioner or how numerous the questions.

The Passion of Evil

One of the greatest needs for Christianity is to truly take a look at how powerful and full of passion evil is. I look at the mass amounts of murder and abuse, that happen in this world and can not but help to feel weak compared to all that evil. The passion of evil is getting stronger.

People have done truly “great” things with evil. Pick a small subject like sports. Mark Magwire, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, are only a few people who have done great things by going an evil and selfish route. They broke some of the greatest records in baseball. They have all been idolized and have been well paid for their success. The problem is they have tarnished their reputations and the sport by taking illegal steroids to enhance their body and stats. Mark Magwire even admitted he was using steroids throughout his career and during his famous record breaking 70 home run season.

I, being a huge baseball fan, am very sad over what these people have done to the game. But, their passion for evil compares little to those who commit mass murder, who keep the child sex slave industry thriving, or those whose hearts are so turned toward money and worldly possessions they forget about humanity all together.

The passion of evil is getting stronger and it finds its roots in greed. We all have the tendency to be greedy. Americans are experts at the trade. Yet most of us do not even see our greediness. The fact is we Americans expect to have indoor plumbing and electricity. We want our own bedrooms and more than one bathroom. Most of our families have more than one car, and at least two TVs. We own more than one pair of shoes, a closet and dresser full of clothes. We have our own computers and cell phones and MP3 players, not to mention CDs and DVDs and… All this wealth, compared to the rest of the world, exposes our greed. But the sad truth is that barely touches the surface.

The people who are not bound by slavery, starvation, or violence, who can truly make a difference in this world, seem to be stuck. We seem to be stuck. We have bought into the philosophy that, “we only need to worry about ourselves.” We have told ourselves, “If I am not part of the problem, I do not need to worry about the solutions.” Even Christianity has become more of a safety blanket then armor for battle.

The passion of evil is getting stronger and the passion for good is getting weaker. Many Christians seem to be saying it is too late; the passion of evil is a sign of the “end times” and we can not do anything about it. So instead of stepping up and changing the world, they have been rendered inactive through their own belief system. Some even seem to want to see the world destroyed.

The passion of evil is getting stronger. So, how can we fight this passion, we see evidenced in people like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Kony? History has taught us about Hitler. He was not going to stop until he took over the world. Tragically, I can not help but be in aw of people like Hitler and Kony.

Joseph Kony has inspired thousands to follow him and forced others to comply. He is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), in Uganda. He used guerrilla warfare to establish and maintain a theocratic government he claims is based on the Christian Bible and the Ten Commandments. Since 1986 Joseph’s army has adducted a estimated 30,000 children and displaced more then 1.6 million people. There have been hundreds upon hundreds of families that have been ripped apart and slaughtered because of the passion of evil in this man.

The passion of evil is getting stronger. Alone, we have little power compared to the evil in this world. Yet, despite the darkness I see a light. No matter how overwhelming evil gets there will always be a light.

The light is God, and He has not given up on this world. He is a flame that wants to ignite us with goodness, love, and compassion. He calls us to fight, to put on our armor and pursue the dreams He has given us.

Just fending for ourselves is not good enough. The only reason Hitler was stopped is because millions of good people stepped up to stop him. Evil will not stop itself. It must be stopped by good. God has planted a light in all of us, a desire to do good and follow Him. We can no longer hide the light, we must let it shine.

The passion of evil is getting stronger. How will the light respond?