FireBrimstone

So Busy Being A Christian But Forgetting To Love Part 1

Forgetting to Love Your Fellow Man

In church this past Wednesday we watched a video that touched on the love of Christ and how most Christians do not even realize how much they lack love for others. I was thankful for the time to self-reflect and hear from the Holy Spirit on what may seem as such a general topic. We preach it from pulpits, sunday school classrooms and coffee shops around the country that we are to go make disciples, reach a lost world for Christ. We can mistakenly associate the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20) with the love we are to have according to the Apostle John.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. – 1 John 3:16-18 ESV

There are so many missionaries and ministers of the gospel both home and abroad who genuinely love their fellow man, so I say some of this within that context. When I first began the ministry journey I remember being so excited to win souls for Christ. I was so eager to make an impact for the kingdom that I often caused as much damage as I did good. I was so zealous to do things right on the outside and learned the hard way that what is truly on the inside is not only what God see, it will eventually be what everyone will see.

FireBrimstoneIn the western church, the drive for church growth, book sales and conference seats being filled can often blind us from the real dictate of the gospel. Laying down our lives for the church, the Bride of Christ. We are to love the unsaved as well, but the world will know that we are Christians because of the way we love each other (John 13:35). The Great Commission is not so much about love as it is obedience and the Christ being worthy of the reward of His sufferings. We get so busy about the things of God that we forget about the people of God.

As a preacher, the danger of becoming zealous and lacking love can come out in fiery preaching that can damage the church. Since I was a kid in an Assemblies of God church, the running joke about traveling evangelists is that they do the real preaching, while the pastor does the real cleaning. How true that bit of sarcasm is… Evangelists are called by God and have a role in the Body of Christ, but it is real easy to go into a different chruch each week and preach your heart out until the people bleed and then walk away pumped up for the next time. However, the local pastor has the challenge of literally loving the congregation, preaching, teaching and leading consistently.

I find it impossible to love the people of God without the power of the Holy Spirit, and I know that many times I have functioned in the flesh instead. A false love for people can be masked and depending on the endurance of the individual, for a very long time. Preaching a fiery sermon of fire and brimstone with no tender ministry to the people is usually a sign. Preaching a watered down message to grow the church is also a sign  There is a balance, of which I am not master or even close to attaining. Don’t get me wrong, preaching a fire brimstone message can often be necessary and appropriate, but we should never find ourselves having a reputation for harsh preaching, instead a reputation for truth in love.

Pope Francis Politics

Christianity and Politics Will Never Agree

Pope Francis PoliticsThere is no perfect political party for the devout Christian, period! I was watching MSNBC this evening for a short while and a commentary on Pope Francis was in progress. While Fox News and CNN have generally highlighted the historic value of an Argentinian Cardinal becoming the head of the Catholic church, MSNBC has mostly chosen to amplify his stand on abortion (pseudo-name “Women’s Rights”) and gay marriage (pseudo-name “minority civil rights”). I find it humorous that when it is convenient, liberal media will jump on the big sotyr of the Pope. The same media will also support the banning of the Ten Commandments in the courthouses and the public square, and now somehow they feel they have a right to have influence in the Vatican or church leadership.

One of the major comments that disturbed me was that MSNBC pointed out that, then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio lost a battle in politics because the former Cardinal asked the church in Argentina to pray against gay marriage being legalized. They continued to say how irrelevant he is because religion is different now. That is the key difference… mankind always changes… God never changes. For so-called progressives the idea of standing ground and keeping to beliefs that never change is backwards and enslaving.

As Christians, may we never look to politics, political leaders or lawful societies for any confirmation of the gospel message. The gospel should stand alone as the source of truth. I think that our trying to be all things to all men has gotten so far out of hand for so many of us believers. The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 discusses this area of faith. In my years of ministry I have often been thrown this scripture passage when I confronted an issue of compromise or preached on standing ground on certain issues. There is a misinterpretation of this scripture available at every turn.

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 ESV

Paul was not urging Christians to go to nightclubs and only drink one beer so they can win their non-believing friends to Christ. Paul was not saying for us to endorse or support abortion and gay marriage because that will get people to like us and think we are with the times. What Paul was saying is that in order for us to bring understanding in our gospel message we cannot elevate our humanity above anyone else, the ground is level at the cross. If I am an academic or intellectual, I am not to talk with children at a level that would bore them or make them think Christianity is out of reach.  I believe Paul’s motto for his life and ministry lies in Philippians 2:2-4.

Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:2-4 ESV

We are told by atheists, agnostics and liberals to keep church and state separated when ministers and Christian leaders publicize their political opinions but the same standard does not apply the other way around it seems. The stark hypocrisy is ironic, but the Bible is clear what will be endorsed by a secular society:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV

The gospel does not change and God does not change so as “times change” so the persecution of the saints should grow. The Bible does not tell us to “do what is necessary to avoid conflict and hide your beliefs if they disagree with society”. The Bible does tell us to “be holy as I (God) am holy” Having the media correct Christianity is irrelevant and a mute point and believers everywhere should avoid becoming desensitized by the media powers that be. The only way to do that is to be in the Word of God daily and have a powerful prayer life.

Macbook Air

Macbook Air for A Web Designer

Macbook AirI have owned and used Macbook Pro models for a long time, back to the G3/4 models and have built my side business of web design around these machines. In the last 2 years life has changed, I am currently employed by an advertising agency as Digital Marketing Director, my side business is limited to the clients I already had before and my ministry involvement is minimal at the moment (my desire is to be back to full-time ministry soon of course).  So my needs for a powerful laptop are not the same either and mobility has become just as important to me as performance. I took the risk and sold my 2010 Macbook Pro and bought a 2012 Macbook Air from craigslist. Great decision!

My Macbook Pro could run all the Adobe CS 5.5 Master Suite programs except for Flash Catalyst, but that was due to OS issues more than hardware. I read so many blogs and reviews on the Macbook Air and mostly negative about using Adobe products, but I just had to see for myself. I was able to install most of the Adobe CS 5.5 Master Suite except for Adobe Premier and After Effects and to be honest I was not going to install those to my Macbook Air anyway.

My Configuration:

  • Processor  1.8 GHz Intel Core i5
  • Memory  4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
  • Graphics  Intel HD Graphics 4000 512 MB
  • Software  OS X 10.8.2

Speed

The Macbook Air is twice as fast at loading programs, obviously due to the SSD hard drive. Loading Illustrator and Photoshop files for large banners I create take little time to load and I really see no difference between the two machines.

Mobility

There is something to be said for the weight and size of my 13″ Macbook Air, perfect! I did not want to go as small as the 11″ Air but the 13″ is perfect, I carry a much smaller bag around to coffee shops.

Battery Life

The known problems with the previous Macbook Air battery life have simply disappeared with the 2012 and newer models. I can spend 3-4 hours running Photoshop with a full charge. if I am just using the internet, email and reading my Bible programs more like 5-6 hours easy. I have no complaints on battery life.

Overall, the purchase was a win and I only had to pay $300 out of pocket after I sold my Macbook Pro to get the Macbook Air. If you are a graphic designer that has an iMac or better at home or work and just need a laptop to keep up on some of your design work, the Macbook Air is just fine. Also, I run my Logos 4 Bible Software on the Macbook Air faster than I ever did on my Macbook Pro and so my ministerial friends could benefit from a sleek and cool machine like the Macbook Air

Photo Source: http://www.digitaltrends.com/laptop-reviews/apple-macbook-air-11-inch-2012-review/

Keurig B70

Keurig B70 Review

Keurig B70Since I last wrote my review of the Mr Coffee Keurig Model: BVMC-KG5-001 last week, I ordered a Keurig B70 Platinum Brewing System for our house. I ordered it from QVC so I could make 4 payments and not take a big hit all at once. The cost of the unit was $159.99 plus shipping and handling, but I also received 48 K-Cups, Water Filter Kits, and a My K-Cup.

The Keurig B70 is a really cool unit with a digital screen, easy setup and can brew 5 sizes: 4 oz, 6 oz, 8 oz, 10 oz, 12 oz. The water reservoir holds 72 ounces of water and the heating element of the Keurig B70 holds about 25-35 ounces so you can make 3-4 cups of coffee just from the heated water inside the unit.

The Keurig B70 is very quiet and quick! The unit has a good amount of clearance so you can fit just about any coffee cup. You can set the temperature of each brew, set a brew time and a default brew size. Overall the Keurig B70 is a great buy and I will update this post with any issues if I have any.

 

Mr Coffee Keurig

Mr Coffee Keurig Model: BVMC-KG5-001 Review

Mr Coffee KeurigSix weeks ago I went to Walmart and bought the Mr. Coffee Keurig for our office and the machine was working great and the only complaint I had was that the water cover would always fall off. I then decided to buy the ame machine for my home and it was working great for us at home as well.

Last week, the unit I have at home started to not make the right amount of coffee as was being selected. I would choose the larger cup setting and it would take in 2-3 ounces of water and make what looked and tasted like an espresso shot. Assuming it was user error, I then tried it again and it has been having that problem ever since.

Today at the office, I went to make a cup of coffee and the same exact thing happened on the Mr. Coffe Keuring at the office. What is the chance of the same machine model having the identical issue at two different locations with the same owner? Not likely unless it is a known issue with the manufacturing of the machine. I have cleaned out the exit needle and done descaling to no avail.

DO NOT buy the Mr. Coffee Keurig, spend an extra $20 and get the Mini Keurig System  or better. I have posted on the Mr Coffee Facebook and awaiting some resolution.

Model: BVMC-KG5-001

I took a small video of what the problem is below

 

Legs and Back XT – TapouT XT – Workout

Today was Day 5 of the TapouT XT workout and it was difficult but required quite a bit of bands and a few jump exercises which I appreciated since I live in an apartment. The most difficult part of the workout was getting the right band ready in time to join the video without having to pause. I used a 60 lb band for this workout. I was skeptical of the back portion of the workout because there were no pull ups involved.

As far as the legs part of the routine, it was pretty intense and will definitely bring results for me. A difficult portion of the workout was the band squats with a small hop, my band kept coming out from under my feet. The addition of the closed band to add resistance was good and helped challenge me.

The back part of the workout was adequate but you end up working your arms and chest heavily to get the back work done. Push ups with a closed band and punches, resistance band lawnmowers and many others build the back routine. I liked the workout but I think P90X back routines are more impacting due to pull ups.

Workout Stats
Time: 44 Min
Avg HR: 138
Calories Burned: 404

 

Yoga XT – TapouT XT – Workout

I will be the first to admit, I hate Yoga! I do not like slow moving, steady concentration on stretching. I am also humble enough to know that Yoga kicks my butt and I need it badly. This love-hate relationship with yoga was at the forefront this morning. I was very skeptical about the Yoga XT and my experience with Yoga X with P90X told me I would hate it and fail miserably.

I actually ended up giving up on the Yoga X routine due to the 1 hour and 20 minute routine and the crazy ridiculous positions I could not even hope to hold. I ended up doing a 40 minute jog and stretch on my own. I started off this morning assuming I would be doing the same with TapouT XT, but I liked it much better. TapouT XT Yoga XT is a dressed down version of yoga that has the non-flexible male in mind. I was able to hold most positions just not as long as some of the people in the video. The stretches were tough and painful but worth the effort.

The Yoga XT workout is just about 50 minutes long so it is shorter than Yoga X. One thing about Yoga XT is that some of the terminology was short of accurate as far as pure yogalites are concerned (so my wife told me). So a purist might be slightly offended but personally I enjoyed the not-so-serious approach to Yoga XT and was able to complete over 80% of the workout.

Day 3 – Plyo XT – TapouT XT

So this morning I woke up ready to work out! The Plyo XT Workout was INTENSE and difficult to do the full jumps in our 3rd floor apartment but id as many as possible. I would have to say that I only completed 50% of the workout overall but saw it through the end and did every exercise.

Plyometrics: Insanity vs. P90X vs. TapouT XT

The difference between TapouT XT and Insanity was the premise of the moves. With Insanity the moves are based on basic plyometrics or athletic contexts while TapouT XT uses an MMA context. Insanity also keeps the moves simpler and repetitive while keeping a high intensity. TapouT XT is just as intense and perhaps more difficult than Insanity Plyo and the moves can often be more complex as well; furthermore, the routine is fast moving and combats boredom in your workout. While some moves in TapouT XT build on one another, you do not have the sense of sets or repetition that you get in both Insanity or P90X.

P90X Plyo was very clear and easy to follow for anyone and the workout really built up to a climax. TapouT XT is  just Climax with 2 moments that were called stretches and was very hard to finish. I find the instructor, Mike Karpenko, easier to see day in and day out, while Tony Horton is good but a little overwhelming on a daily basis. I like both P90X Plyo and TapouT XT but it seems P90X PLyo is easier to do in an apartment.

Overall, TapouT XT is a better routine for me that can give me a full workout without dumb bells. The people in the workout video seem normal where the ones in Beachbody workout videos seem to be super human, especially the dude in the Ab routine in P90X (those who X, know what I mean).

Workout Stats

Min: 51:30
Avg HR: 145
Calories Burned: 685

Tip of the day: Get plenty of sleep!

Strength and Force Upper Tapout XT

Day 2 – Strength and Force Upper – TapouT XT

Got up at 5:45 AM this morning to complete this workout with my wife and glad I did it even though I felt like going back to bed. The workout is pretty intense and my wife used the 5lb bands just fine. I tried with my 60 lb and that was not a good idea. So I switched to 30 lb resistance bands and I was more than challenged. Today I will pick up 10, 20, and 40 lb bands to bring some versatility.
Strength and Force Upper Tapout XTThe workout goes back and forth between a band exercise and a push up exercise through most of the routine. I was burned quickly after about 24 minutes in but pushed through. I know the benefits are there because I felt sore while at work today (not looking forward to the soreness in the morning). I use Daily Burn for my nutrition and body tracking and they make a cool app for Android and iPhone.
Rest is very important and if you do not rest as hard as you work out you are forcing yourself to work harder for results. Sleep, workout and eat!

Workout Stats

Minutes: 53
Calories Burned: 354
Avg HR: 133