Tag Archives: jesus

Define Christian

In the past few weeks I’ve struggled with what it means to be Christian.  I know, trust me I know, Christian means to be Christ like. (If you’re a Christian that’s the definition) But it felt/feels like I want a definition to the definition, but not just “well He was kind, generous, helpful, loving…” ect.  

Maybe what I’ve been wondering is how does being a Christian pertain to me by definition.  I think because the bible is “living” a meaning can change based on the person and the circumstance.  To me this new self revelation of sorts has came through a week of detox from the world.  We cut out all tv, all social media (with the exception of Facebook Pages for our business), 95% of video games on out tablets.  At the end of all of this I’ve realized 3 main points about being a Christian.

  1. It’s Hard: I think it’s osmosis of sorts being in the world and having parts of the world creep into your life.  But really, isn’t that part of being human? Completly eradicating the world from your life would mean you’re perfect, which you can’t be.  This week I accepted for my self that I wouldn’t always be able to catch every sin before it happens and more times than not I wouldn’t see it until after it happens.  All together with that, I’m not sure if it is because there really that much sin in my life or if separating my self from parts of the world has made it more evident by default, this week it really seems like it’s been one big failure after the other.  I honestly believe that detoxing the world is the equivalent of pulling tint off a car window, before hand you can see a tinted reality of your life masked by your own bias of your self then after you can see a clear reality of the sin stained wretch that you really are.  In other words it’s enlightening.
  2. It’s Enlighening:  I would be remiss if I acted like any opportunity to drop parts of the world out of my life wasn’t beneficial.  This week has brought a lot of realization to my life, things I need to change and other things I just need to drop all together.  The most influential thing that I learned this week is freedom.  Through out my life I viewed Christianity as restrictive, dogmatic, and more recently parts as legalistic.  Restrictive because you couldn’t fully live (in this world), dogmatic because there’s a series of rules to live by and worship by (found in many Christian mindsets), legalistic because of the “rules” to gain salvation (most people when asked would deny this but all to often it’s really there).  This week I’ve realized the former gangsta can worship in a different way than the redneck out in the country and still be worshiping the same God.  I’ve realized that making a mistake is ok and as a human we might make it over and over and over, and although it isn’t ok to be complacent it is ok to make mistakes.  The mistakes we make no longer define us once we get saved.  I’ve realized something about music on a side note.  There is a lot of really good worship songs in the contemporary Christian genre, equally there’s a lot of good worship songs in a lot of Christian genres and I think we (me included) tend to forget that.  In the end it’s freedom.  God can reach anyone on any platform with in the culture they grew up in.  Knowing that is more than fulfilling.  
  3. It’s Fulfilling:  For once my thirst for God is at its apex, the more I experience the more I want – the deeper I want to go.  The relationship I have, I want more.  This week has been one of if not the most fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had with and for God and my wife.  On the one hand I feel closer to her than ever, and I feel like our relationship is closer to God.  That to me has been worth it all.  

    In closing I’ve wondered.  Why does this for me have to stop this week?  Why can’t I reach for more?  I don’t like Facebook, I have played enough useless video games, it just seems like such a waste.  Should I let it stop now?  Go back to how it was?  I don’t think so.  This is…just the beginning.  Being a Christian doesn’t have to be restrictive, but by definition I truely believe it would be summed up like this:

    A christian is one who is’t sep’rates himself from the w’rld to beest clos’r to god
    Seperated:

    Matt

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    Chapter 1 Why We Need Men of Resolution

    If you know me, you know I loathe New Years Resolutions.  It’s essentially setting a goal you know you’ll fail at, but you expect to be fully committed and successful at.  If you were going to do what you’re wanting to start on Jan 1, you would have started it on Dec 31.  That being said.  I am making a resolution public that I’ve already attempted since July 2014.  Being the man of God that he intended for me to be.  At this point in my life, it’s being a Godly husband, the leader to my house, the leader my wife needs me to be, and yes I said needs because…well…it’s biblical.  So the next series of posts will be a personal account of my resolution to God, my wife, and my family.

    We don’t have s first chapter is basically talking about why children need their father.  So as I read through it I won’t lie, I thought “this isn’t for me”.   But it occurred to me I missed two very important parts.  First, I hope one day we will be blessed with a flannel wearing, camp loving, fishing, rough baby boy.  Second, I have a nephew who needs a Godly uncle in his life.  So I went back through it, reread it, and came away from it with a different mindset.

    All to often, men, we fall asleep at the wheel.  We are the driver, think about how dangerous this really is.  Personally I never looked at this life as being in a car but it is the best analogy that could have been printed.  Men fail in two ways in this aspect:

    1. Asleep:  I am extremely guilty of this.  I forgot that money isn’t the most important thing.  My wife, bless her, has been sick 2 days.  She needed me to stay at home and nurture her this morning.  What did I do? Go off to my second job, which adding in I own the business I went to work at.  I didn’t need to go, we didn’t need the money, it was unnecessary and I was needed at home.  I put work first and it was a wrong decision.  This chapter was about being a dad though so I only half related.  When it comes to my nephew though…I failed him in the most agonizing way.  This last summer when we were planning the wedding I was at my in-laws house and me and my nephew had a moment we went outside to catch crickets for my spider.  Eventually, after catching 1 giant camel cricket he stopped and looked up at all of the stars and said “wow I’ve never noticed how many stars there are”.  Ding ding ding wake up Matt! Wake up!  WAKE UP!!!!!!  Missed it.  Asleep at the wheel.  I said yeah check out the Big Dipper, see that it’s the Milky Way, let’s see if we can see the satalite passing by….blah blah blah blah blah.  Stupid.  I missed an opportunity to connect with him in a deeper way than I’ve ever had before or since.  
    2. Dictatorship:  or some men take this leader thing to a new level.  You can’t lead on a high horse, leading means you get into the mud and get you hands dirty.  I hope I’m not this way ever so my experience is limited, but I will say that me and my wife work together as we can.  I pick up where she lacks as does she when I lack.  Even with that I fail sometimes.  

    Opportunities though.  Young men and women, boys and girls, need a father.  How will your son know what love is if you don’t know the love of Our Heavenly Father? They will by default look at you and connect God to the love you show them.  If you are not getting up, taking you son or daughter to church, talking to them about God, praying with them and for them, teaching them to be Godly.  You are handing them over to the world.  You are failing them, and your not fulfilling your role as a Godly rolemodel.  Then when they’re 16 on drugs, pregnant, in prison…..you’ll wonder why.  No I’m not saying if your child is 16 and any of those you didn’t stand and be courageous when the time was nigh, but you did fail them and God…and some of the reason falls on your head.  You have to ask yourself, am I willing to let sin into my home, into my child’s life, and risk their soul?  Are you willing to work to many hours, sacrifice time in front of a tv, reaching for a bottle, to jeopardize your child’s salvation?

    “Right now, this generation doesn’t know what true fatherhood looks like.  They rarely see it modeled in the media or at home.  And sadly, the result is another generation deeply struggling to understand what God is really like” (Kendrick & Alcorn, 2011).  This is what it’s came to? Stand up, wake up, take the wheel.  Be the leader.  

    “I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.” (Kendrick & Alcorn 2011)

    Kendrick, & Alcorn. (2011). The Resolution For Men. Nashville , TN: B&H Books.

    It Only Took A Little Faith

    I think if you’ve kept up with my blog you’ve found that I do not go with the general flow very often.  It’s probably arguable that I go against the flow more often than not, it’s probably one of my most noted characteristics.  I am very strong in my convictions and try to stand by them, even in the face of adversity I try to be a rock.  In the past few months I stood against essentially all of my social media friends pertaining to the recent election, and I may write a blog soon about how I think the church turned against the calling of God and commands of God to vote for either option.  The common consensus though was that my vote counted for something.  That sentiment was quite right from any side of that paradigm even the one where you vote for neither, which many forgot that.  That being said there’s been many other situations I’ve stood against the flow and nothing has changed and probably never will.

    I named my blog biblicallyinclined because I have a tendency to apply the Bible to everything I can, sometimes following what it says and other times failing to do so.  Recently I started a study on Philippians, so far only 13 verses into the first chapter.  I’ve always had a passion for the teachings of Paul because we both experienced prison, although my conversion to Christianity didn’t come until a few years later.  One of the reasons i am shameful for that time period was that I fooled many people including my own family into thinking I had just backslid away from Christianity, when in fact I personally do not believe I was ever saved.  (Another story for another time).  

    The primary point in this episode is to reiterate that standing behind your convictions isn’t wrong.  Also, voicing those convictions is far from judgement.  In the past few months I’ve been accused of judging someone for their actions, when in fact I posed a simple question concerning the validity of their “conversion” because of those actions.  Which essentially brings me to the point that judgement is different than discernment.  

    Paul had an opportunity in his life to stay Saul, even though that would have probably kept him blind and he probably would have went half mad in the process.  I don’t think that people realize the impact that Paul had on the future of the world.  Through the sands of time Paul’s faith in God paved the way for Christianity as we know it today.  Had Paul have said “I feel your conviction, I just don’t want to sit in prison the rest of my life” we wouldn’t have the New Testament in the capacity that we have it now.  Paul knew why he was going through the persecution to an extent, but he also knew the impact his faith was having on the Christian community.  Philippians 1:12 “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.”  Can you imagine the opportunity to be put under persecution to further the gospel? It’s not likely that any of us truest can because we in the US live under this shield of protection called the constitution (although it’s slowly deminishing each day).  Furthermore most of us, me included wouldn’t stand up under the kinds of persecution Paul faced.  I asked my self why Paul did this and was answered in vs 13 “So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in ALL the other places.”  This should be our mind set.  “I’m going to stand for God 110%, even if it costs me my life.  For Paul it did cost him his life, for Jesus he gave his life, for me and you, what do we go through because we’re Christian? A joke in the locker room at work? Backlash on social media for an “Offensive” post?  This cushion we have is killing the church in America and we don’t even see it happening.  Who was effected by Paul’s faithfulness? All of the brethren Vs 14 “And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word with out fear.”  What happened to the Christians with a backbone who would stand up and say “Hey this is wrong” the ones who didn’t settle for lukewarm? What happened to the faith that standing for right 110% would yield a profitable crop? Pleasing to God.  Woe is me that we’ve came to a point that we cherry pick what sounds good and skim over the parts that don’t fit our worldly agenda!  

    Have I succeeded in every aspect of my life to stand for what is right? No.  But trying and failing is human, it’s the mortal sin we hold so close while not even meaning to.  Church, if we don’t start standing for right 110% how can we expect God to bless us at all?  If we keep muddying the waters, watering down Christianity, if we keep cooling it down to Luke warm how?  If we can not be the fire this world needs and a shinning light in the face of evil…even if it’s the lesser evil…we will be trodden down and our flame put out.  

    Philippians 1:20-21

    “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in NOTHING I shall be ASHAMED, but that with all boldness, as always, so now Christ shall be magnified in my body whether it be by life, or by death (21) For to me to LIVE is Christ, and to die is gain”
    One mans faith set the future of Christianity in stone….

    Who Am I?

    In today’s times our churches are plagued with men who lack the backbone to be, to their fullest potential, who God calls them to be.  All to often, we doubt our ability to rise to the calling.  What we do not realize is we aren’t just doubting ourselves, we’re doubting the very fiber of Gods ability to transform us into true men of God.  So we ask, “Who Am I?”.  Who we are isn’t as complicated as why we are, and although the bible is laced with examples of how a man should be there is an underlying likeness to most of the greates in the bible.  The Nazarite.

    The Nazarite vow to be exact is found in Number 6.  By all of the greates I primarily mean Samson, John the Baptist, Paul, and yes…Jesus.  One truth about the Nazarite vow is that either you were born into it (Samson, Jesus, John the Baptist) or God called you into it (Paul).  I personally feel like it’s VERY important in the question “Who Am I?”.  Why it’s important is very simple you are chosen, that’s who you are…a chosen child and man of God, not to single out the ladies because this applies to you also.  You are chosen to a higher calling in life, we are all called to be preachers, not all are called to be pastors though…not to confuse that.  I believe the Nazarite vow is crucial in describing Who I Am and what I am called to be.  I also believe there are three key factors to being a modern Nazarite and being a modern Christian.

    1. Act Different:  in our churches, homes, and personal lives today this is a point of conflict.  Verse 3 says “He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes or dried. 4 All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from their kernels even to the husk.”  Different.  It’s fairly debatable about drinking beer or alcohol in general, for the record I think it’s wrong.  And although I think that is part of what we can get from this, I believe it’s a small portion.  Different.  But different how?  I believe these verses are speaking to the very fiber of our daily life.  What are you putting into your soul?  Are you partying, listening to music that doesn’t please God?  Are you drinking, having premarital sex, adultey, lust.  Do you watch tv shows you know are wrong?  What are you bringing into your life?  Think about the positive difference it would make for you to listen to Christian music, watch Godly shows.  Think about the Child’s song “be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little ears what you hear….be careful where you go…because just like casting crowns wrote in their song…it’s a slow fade.  No, you’re not an alcoholic from day one, no you’re not cheating on your spouse at the first smile…everything ungodly that you let into your life is opening a door that leads to a road of destruction.  Different.  You should have a filter in your life, if you watch enough movies with cussing eventually you’re going to cuss, listen to enough sad beer drinking songs you’re going to drink, enough shows with unwed sex you’re going to have sex.  Different.  You are called as a Christian to hold yourself to a higher standard, so what are you waiting for.
    2. Look Different:  this set of verses basically says he shall not let a razor pass over his head for all the days of his seperation.  Although I’d like to have an excuse for growing my beard and hair, I actually do not.  Imagine that you were walking in the spirit to such an extent that someone could look at you and see a difference.  We should look different.  Someone’s perception of a Christian through us should be different than that of the world.  If we look like the world, act like the world, talk like the world…how is that being a Christian.  More so how is that being a church?  There’s a local church here with literally a Starbucks in the church, their services look like a rock concert, the preacher looks like he’s on his way to vacation, and although I’ve never fully heard the preaching I can only imagine what it’s like.  At another church they have known and admitted homosexual “Christians” as members and who believe they’re saved.  Church, people, we are on the road to destruction because we look like the world.  Different.  
    3. Socially Different: The last verse is a hard one.  It basically says all the days of his seperation he will not come in contact with the dead.  We have to separate ourselves from not only the things of the world but also the people.  The bible warns us about yoking ourselves to the unbeliever.  Do I think this means we can’t talk and witness with the unbeliever?  No.  But the key to all three of these is setting yourself apart from the world.  We can not be “a part” of this world but be part of something that tell us to be apart from this world.

    For me, I’m tired of just being good enough.  I don’t want to get to heaven and God say “well you did the bare minimum”.