It's Just A Cup

Readers of this blog know that I usually don't comment on "culture war" items and the insanity that erupts on social media.  Yet the recent Starbucks "controversy" has filled my social media feeds to the point where I decided to go against the grain.

For the few who may be unaware, Joshua Feuerstein, a former television and radio evangelist, decided to upload a video to his 1.8 million Facebook followers re. Starbucks new cups. Feuerstein calls himself a "social media personality."  This should have been a warning to people not to take him seriously!

Feuerstein went into a Starbucks with his Jesus t-shirt, a gun (don't ask), and his video rolling and gave his name as Merry Christmas so that the barista would be forced to say, "Merry Christmas." Feuerstein rails against Starbuck taking the Christ out of Christmas and encourages his followers to also give their name as Merry Christmas and started a hashtag for his followers to tweet about all of this.

Now Starbucks has never had Merry Christmas on their red cups.  They have had everything from minimalist snowflakes and hand-drawn reindeer to a winking snowman and decorative ornaments.  This year it was just a simple red design. 

Missing in this hoopla is the fact that Feuerstein claims to share a message of hope and healing.  I missed that in the midst of all his marketing and self promotion under the guise of "putting Christ back in Christmas."

The media picks up on this one guy's viral video and I have seen numerous stories about how Christians are boycotting and protesting Starbucks because of the assault on Christmas! 

Sadly, though many Christians will not support this one man's attempt at self promotion, some will embrace this as yet another battlefield and in an ongoing culture war against our faith. Meanwhile, unbelievers will shake their head, think Christians are off their rockers and never see the grace, hope and life that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

I have not found a place in the Bible where Jesus calls us to protest over red cups, chicken sandwiches or greetings at area businesses.  I do see where He calls us to share the Gospel (Matthew 28:16-20) and to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). 

It is beyond time for Christians to protest less and share the Gospel more.  If we want to truly change our culture, let us focus on sharing the work Jesus accomplished on the cross. 

Instead of protesting over a cup of coffee, why not buy a coffee for you and a friend (or a stranger) and share how Jesus Christ has changed your life.


Supper's Ready

I remember as a kid, we would be playing out in the yard all day, but when our Mom called us for supper (we called it dinner), we would high tail it for the house.  Sometimes I was so engrossed in my play that I would not even think about food, but when the call went out, I would realize how famished I was.

There is something comforting about hearing the call for supper!  To gather together with friends and loved ones, to hear their stories, to get to know them better! 

"When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, 'Come, the banquet is ready.'" (Luke 14:17)

Come, the banquet is ready. 

That passage of Scripture is located in the Parable of the Banquet, a story where people are invited to a huge feast and make all kinds of excuse why they can't attend.  Eventually, the master of the house sends his servant out to bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. (v.21)

The needy, the hungry, they came to the feast.

Though Jesus tells this story to teach a lesson, I find encouragement in that passage as well as the marriage supper of the Lamb found in Revelation 19:6-9 which says "Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb."

I get excited when I think about this feast. 

I long to sit at table with Jesus Christ, to worship Him, to hear His voice, to know Him more!

When the call goes out that supper is ready, will you be coming to the table?


The Original Jesus

I had a recent conversation with a friend and fellow pastor and he mentioned that we live in a society that wants to design our own Jesus. 

The Original Jesus by Daniel Darling addresses this very topic.  He looks at the Jesus we have created in our culture today.  As I read through this book, I encountered numerous Jesus-types of our own design. 

The author talks about the "Red-Letter Jesus, the American Jesus, the Braveheart Jesus, the BFF Jesus and the prosperity Jesus" among others. Each chapter looks at a different type of Jesus and then calls the reader to look at what the Scripture really says about Jesus.

I have to say I was more than intrigued.  The book starts off slowly.  I could not relate to the Play-Doh or Guru Jesus but after that, I started seeing a more familiar Jesus. A Jesus that fits our needs as opposed to one that calls us to repentance, to a deeper life, to a true relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Daniel Darling does a good job of calling the reader to get to know the Savior as we see Him in the Word. 

If you get the chance, pick up this new release from Baker Books.

"This book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Baker Publishing in exchange for an honest review."


No Fear in Death

I was preaching on heaven and hell recently.  As I spoke to the congregation, I said, "We are all going to die.  In fact every breath we take is one step closer to the end."

I was taken aback when just then a man in the service began having a seizure.  He was ok and later that week he joked about how he had that seizure at that point in the message.  He was scared in the moment but later saw the humor in it. 

Google the term "fear of death" and you will get 160,000,000 results.

160 Million!

Coping, ovecoming, medical labels...there is a ton of stuff on the topic.  I get the sense that quite a few people out there must be afraid of dying.  I know that over the years I've been one of them.  

As a kid I was afraid of the dark, afraid of death and at times afraid of my own shadow!  My fear of death was not so much the death itself but the possible pain involved in getting there.  I was afraid of the suffering and misery, the long goodbye that is often associated with death. Even after I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I was worried about death.  I have had panic attacks sitting in doctors offices, heart papatations while getting x-rays and near nervous breakdowns waiting for test results.

I admit it.  I've been weak at times.

I know the Bible talks about fear. I quoted 2 Timothy 1:7 and Phillippians 4:6-7 until I was blue in the face.  No matter what I did, fear would only be tamped down but for a moment.  

I found Proverbs 12: 25 to be true. "Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad."  I was being weighed down by my anxiety.

Yet today, I can testify that that fear is rapidly diminishing.  I have grown more comfortable in my own mortality. Through prayer and God speaking through a friend and brother, I have been healed of that anxiety.  I know I am going to die and I am ok with it.  My eternal destination is one I long for more than dread.

My son CJ and I had a converations about heaven recently and listening to his child like faith, I found myself longing for the day I can spend eternity with no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears.

I get excited because I am literally dying to meet Jesus!

I came across this quote while reading a Civil War history book today:

"Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to always be ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave." - General "Stonewall" Jackson.

"O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

Victory in Jesus!


He Thinks I'm a Hero

My son drew this picture last month while we were at a Salvation Army Leadership Camp down in Gibsons, BC.

He was asked to draw somebody and he told me it was a picture of me as a superhero!  Apparently I was flying and able to shoot fire out of my hands.  Now I must admit, that would be pretty cool.  I would love to be able to fly and shoot fire out of my hands.  I would settle for just flying.  I was also tickled as a Dad that my son saw me as a superhero!  I know he won't always see me this way.

When my daughter was very young she also told me I was her hero.  I want to be my kids hero but more importantly, I want my kids to look at me and see Jesus living in me and through me.  I want my life, my actions, to point my children to their Heavenly Father.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

I have read that passage a lot lately.  I want my family to love God with all out heart, soul and strength.  I want to impress that on my children.  I want to share the love of God and how awesome He is.  If my kids walk with God throughout their life, then I truly will feel like a superhero!


Death On Hold

I am always hesitant to write anything around the death penalty.  I have noticed people's passions are such that they begin to go overboard in arguing their point.  I wrote about this topic and my wrestling with it way back in 2008 http://apperson.blogspot.ca/2008/11/wrestling-with-word.html and though the comments on this blog were not too over the top...I received tons of emails about it and even had people stop talking to me for a season.  I was fairly raked over the coals.

So at first I was unsure if I wanted to review Death on Hold by Burt and Anita Folsom.

This is the story of Mitch Rutledge, a man on death row with an IQ of 84.  He admitted his crime and was sentenced to death.  He also said he was sorry for what he did. A story in time magazine about people on death row addressed the life of Rutledge and the last line of the story said, "Forget him."

The Folsoms and a few others could do no such thing.  They began a correspondance with Mitch Rutledge that has continued on for 30+ years now.  Rutledge had his sentence upheld once, then saw it later reduced to life without parole.  He still sits in prison today.

He is not the same man he once was though.  With the support of his new "family" and a faith in Christ, Mitch learned to read and write, received his GED and later took college courses.  He became a model prisoner and has appeared in videos and given lectures to groups brought to the prison about the dangers of poor choices.

Mitch had a hard life before his crime but owns the fact that he also made por choices.  The take away from this book is that ALL lives matter, even a teenage murderer with an IQ of 84!  This is the story of how God can redeem ANY life.  It doesn't matter if you are for or against the death penalty, you should read this book and see how God can transform lives.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers http://booklookbloggers.com; book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.


Raising Boys By Design

I am not a huge fan of parenting books.  It is not that I am a perfect parent, far from it.  However, the ones I have read always seemed a bit unrealistic.  It got to the point where I avoided said books any way I could.  Then I got an email offering this book.  I was intrigued...I sid Yes.

Raising Boys by Design by Gregory Jantz and Michael Gurian was not what I expected.  The first part of the book spent a bit of time looking at how mens/womens brains worked.  As I read what could have been a very dry section, I found myself very, very interested.  The authors drew me in with their explanations.  I started reading parts out loud to my wife.  My daughter picked it up when I left it in the car and started reding it.  She said it was very interesting. I learned things not only about my kids, but about myself as well.  I started sharing parts of this section with others.

I guess you could say I liked it.

The second part of the book was a practical application of all that was discussed in the first part.  Using the acrynom HERO, the authors provide a vision for parenting your son.


As they look at areas like character, sex, technology and other areas, the authors build a case for raising your son to be a hero.

I have to give this book 2 thumbs up.  Why not pick up a copy today.

This book was provided for an honest book revciew by graf-martin and Waterbrook Press.