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Controversy, Controversy

Good Morning!  Here’s an update for those who are curious about how the ministry is going here in Nebraska.  Last night we had about 40 kids total – it was pretty exciting to see how God is already beginning to work in this ministry. Next week we split high school and middle school, so your continued prayer is greatly appreciated.

Today I was reading another blog and I thought everyone else should read it too, so without further ado:

“We had a great team of people show up for Atlanta Gay Pride Event. We are going to post stories and recaps here…Stay tuned:

Standing in our vendor booth at the Atlanta Gay Pride Festival caused a commotion of compassion.  Rarely, was there a minute that went by that we were not able to give a white bracelet to the attenders that simply said, “We’re Sorry” and pink bracelets that said, “It’s True, He does.”   The first, begged the question, “Sorry for what?”  For Craig and I, this last stop on the Jesus Loves You This I Know book tour, offered us an opportunity to apologize to the gay community for the way many Christians, Evangelicals, and Fundamentalist have made the gay community their punching bag over the last three decades.  The second reiterated the truth that we have shared is more than a cliché, “Jesus Loves You.”

Beyond the vendor area and along the parade route, we were able to hand out more than 1000 bottles of water wrapped with the aged old truth, Jesus Loves You This I Know.  In the midst of such a diverse culture, we realized that the traction our book has found created the opportunity for a new conversation that starts with spirituality rather than sexuality.

The book is an easy read to take back the message of Jesus that has been high-jacked by zealots and hate mongers who claim to be God’s spoke persons.  At Atlanta Pride, we had hundreds of conversations, one person at a time, that helped close the gap that has created polarizing propaganda on both sides.  For us, it’s simple, Jesus’ love is available for anyone.”

Jason and Craig

Check out the videos, but even more read the book Jesus Loves You This I Know by Craig Gross and Jason Harper.

http://www.jesuslovesyou.net/blogs/news/atlantagaypridevolunteerinfo.html#content

Thoughts and comments?

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Good morning!  Last weekend was enjoyable; I went to Lincoln to watch a couple teens play indoor soccer.  Then Sunday Shannon and two of the youth preformed a great skit at church.  But my favorite part came Saturday night where I received an unsavory comment.

The comment was based on the changes that are being made to the church and the things that the person doesn’t like.  The person feels that I am ruining the church to the point that they can’t come anymore.

 Now, some would take a comment that was made towards them and dwell on it and take it as a complete insult.  I, on the other hand, take it as a compliment.  A compliment?   Well, in the Bible it says, “Do not be surprised if the world hates you for my sake.  For it hated me first”.  Now, I am not saying that this person is of the world, but sometimes we get so comfortable it’s like we are in the world.  

But truthfully, change is refreshing and gets out of our comfort zone.  I have a prime example of this.  A year ago, my mom could not text, Facebook, and could barely use a computer (no offense mom).  But with a little effort, she now has a cell phone that she uses to text often and she updates her Facebook status more than I do.  Change keeps us from staying in our comfort level. Change is necessary in order to adapt with the times.  Churches and youth ministry, doctors, hospitals, and other business all have to adapt and change with the culture.

Therefore, in my eyes a negative comment, even delivered as a rude insult, is a compliment because it means that you are rocking the boat and making changes.  Keep this in mind next time you feel insulted – sometimes insults are the best indicators that you are making difference.

Thoughts and comments?

The Book of Eli

To my followers, I’m sorry I haven’t been keeping up with Frosted Flakes.  The internet connection in my new office has been sporadic, but I do believe it is fixed now.  Well, let’s jump right in.

Two nights ago, I went to a movie by myself.  This isn’t particularly surprising, since Shannon and I don’t have the same taste in movies.  So what did I see?  I went and saw “The Book of Eli”.  Now, if you have not heard of this epic flick, let me enlighten you. It’s about a man name Eli.  Eli’s world is a dry and weary one. There’s no water, and he walks through the ash of a jagged place, where men eat men and the sky’s torn in two.

Godforsaken, many would call this dystopian earth. But God is not gone, nor forgotten. For Eli carries, along with his gloves and guns and cruel, broad blade, something special. Something sacred.

A book. The Book.

In the age gone by, Bibles were burned by the bushel. They caused the war that tore a hole through the sky, the people said. It’s a book of evil, the people said. It must be destroyed—wiped from the face of the earth.

But they didn’t burn them all. Eli found one—or it found him—and for the last 31 years he’s carried the thing, protecting it by day, reading it by night. He carries it west, always west, where the sun comes down from heaven and seems to set upon the ground. The rest you will have to see I don’t want to ruin it for you.

This movie is rated R; there is no sex and only some language, but considerable violence.   After all, Eli protects this book with his life.

You may be thinking, Chad, it’s a Hollywood movie, so big deal, they have a Bible in it.  My friends, I promise you – see this movie and you won’t regret it!  I walked away inspired.  For 30 years, this man has been walking to an unknown destination led only by faith, and every night, he reads his Bible.  Without giving away the ending, all I am going to say is that it’s inspiring and powerful to see a man protect, cherish, love, dedicate, and endure all things for this Bible.

To think, I probably have 15-20 Bibles, and sadly to say, sometimes a day or two will go by when I don’t read from a single one. Eli made his Bible seem as essential as water or air.  He would do anything to keep it, to protect it, and to honor it.  In biblical times, that’s how it was with the Ten Commandments; they were guarded and protected, carried through wars, and sealed in back of the temple.  What happened to the honor and privilege of having a Bible?  Why don’t we read it and recognize its power like people once did?  I wish I knew that answer.

Please share your thoughts and comments.

See this movie, hide your eyes through the violence, but open your eyes to see Hollywood portray the Bible so accurately.  It doesn’t happen often.

Finally Back!

Folks, it’s been awhile, but “Frosted Flakes” is finally back.  It took a while, but now I’m here. Where did I go? Well, for those who don’t know, I am now the new youth director at Norfolk Presbyterian Church.  Our four day drive went well – we had some interesting stops, but those stories are for another time.

Truthfully, I have been so busy that I haven’t had a quiet moment to think. So give me a second…

So, the winter Olympics are fast approaching.  When I think of winter Olympics I think of athletes in training.  Much like an athlete prepares for a race, we have to continue to race with the end in mind.  My sister, who is an amazing swimmer, has often told me how she visualizes the finish; how she sees herself taking each stroke and each kick.  She sees every stroke into the water and out of the water. I believe this is what makes her so great.   

It is important to remember this same technique in our faith.  2 Timothy 4:7 says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  We have to continue to train, to push, to persevere; because if we don’t have the end in mind, at times it seems like such an arduous journey that we can’t make it.  It is at those times when we lean on the strength of others and of God to pull us through. But we must continue to train so we are prepared when the road gets tough.  It would be so easy for a sprinter to throw in the towel if he trips, or a swimmer to quit because their goggles fell off.  It’s just as easy to get tripped up in life if unexpected things take place, such as divorce, death, cancer, illness, miscarriage, depression, etc.  That’s why it is even more important to train.  This means taking time to know and read our Bibles, and making every effort to be connected with God.  That way, when turmoil strikes, we are trained to overcome.

Thoughts?

I hope everyone had a great weekend, My wife and my family and I went to see Mannheim Steamroller. They played classic Christmas carols it was really nice.  Went to Church and then watched some football and made the drive home from Oregon to Washington.  Great weekend.  Today and tomorrow and we will have concluded our Christmas story. Lets stop messin about and get right into it.

Matthew 2: 9-11

9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east[e]went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

To recap the wisemen traveled for months maybe even years to present these gifts and to worship the king.  What was so important about the gifts.  Have you ever wondered where did gift giving come from within Christmas? If we go back to the first Christmas story when God sent Jesus to earth, we recall that Jesus was given three gifts by the three wise men or Magi, which serve as the inspiration for all our Christmas gift giving today.

The wisemen presented three gifts of profound prophecy illustrating Jesus’ offices of King, Priest, and Savior.

Why Gold? God carries obvious significance. It’s precious and worthy across all cultures and times. There is not one culture or region that does not recognize the value of gold.  It’s a gift fit for royalty. It says to the Christ child, You will be a King.

Frankincense- The name for this resin likely comes from incense of Franks since it was reintroduced to Europe by Frankish Crusaders. Although it is better known as frankincense” to westerners the resin is also known as olibanum, which is derived from the Arabic al-lub (“the milk”) a reference to the milky sap tapped from the Boswellia tree. Frankincense has been touted for its medicinal and soothing properties. Herbalists say it is calming, restorative, gently clarifying, and meditative. Frankincense oil is thought to have stimulating, toning, and warming properties. The ancient world used it for treating depression. (thanks wikipedia)  We recognize the word incense in its name. Ancient people burned frankincense, believing it to carry their prayers to heaven. Often times in churches incense is burned as representation of our prayers being heard, In this case Frankincense was offered to illustrate His role as our Priest.  It is said in scripture Jesus will be at the right hand of God judging the living and the dead.

Myrrh- This is perhaps the oddest of Gifts. It is a resin produced by a small, tough, scraggly tree that grows in semi-desert regions of North Africa and the Red Sea. Myrrh is an Arabic word for bitter, and it is considered a wound healer because of its strong antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Calling it mo yao, the Chinese used it for centuries to treat wounds, bruises and bleeding and to relieve painful swelling.

The Egyptians made it famous in Biblical times, having acquired myrrh about the fifteenth century B.C. from Africa where cammiphora trees were abundant. (Once again thanks wikipedia) It was used in incense, perfumes and holy ointments and also medicinally as recorded in the Ebers Papyrus. But its most notable use to them was that of an embalming material, used in Egyptian mummies.  Ok the incredible amazing account.  Jesus was given Myrrh, essentially its a burial spice. Its prophetic telling that he was sent into the world to die for it.  What a gift all three represented what he would become.  KING, PRIEST, AND SAVIOR.   Now thats a gift.

Quiet Arrival

By: Shannon Hanson

Good afternoon everyone!  Only eight days til Christmas!  If you’re like us, the next week is going to be filled with the joyful pandemonium of traveling, baking, last minute shopping, and wrapping.  So, to throw a little moment of peace into the mix, watch the video below:

How true are those lyrics!  Jesus could have come into the earth with a bang; in fact, that’s what most people were expecting.  But, as Chad has been mentioning in his day by day account of the Christmas story, one of the most miraculous things about the birth of our Savior wasn’t the glamour of the event, but rather the subtlety that seems so unfit for a king.  Jesus’ arrival was quiet and humble, much like a gentle snowfall.  If God had wanted to, He could have made the birth of his Son like a hurricane, as the song mentions.  He could have appeared in the sky and shouted for all to hear that his Son had arrived.  But instead, he took a subtle approach.  He simply placed a star in the sky, inviting those with faith to go meet their King. 

Now, God didn’t just choose the subtle approach for the birth of Christ.  Often, He works in our lives in such a quiet way that, if we ignore His blessings, we can miss them all together.  Yesterday evening when Chad was on his way home from work, a drunk driver barreled through a red light and nearly t-boned him.  Because Chad was turning left, it was truly through the grace of God that he happened to glance to the right and slammed on the brakes just in time.  (The driver, who had two children in the car, was caught.)  Now, many people could say that it was just luck or fate or a coincidence.  But those are like the people who figured that the star over Bethlehem was just a big star.  You can discredit God, but it doesn’t mean He isn’t at work behind the scenes.  Rather than showing off His power, He allows us to recognize it on our own.  He has given us the gift to discover Him on our own.

I want to apologize for not being on top of the blog this week. I am just tired and have been so busy with everything else that I haven’t had a chance. I know I know, it a poor excuse, but that’s the one I am giving.  I figured that would be more believable than the classic “my dog ate it”.

Continuing on where we last left off; the angels had just appeared to the shepherds, and they told them about the birth of the Messiah.

Today’s Scripture – Matthew 2:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6” ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.”

7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

Notice here that it says that after Jesus was born, the wisemen were sent out to search for Him.  They followed the star.  Scripture never gives us a clear understanding of how far they traveled or how long it took them.  But I don’t think they arrived to see baby Jesus on the night he was born as it is so depicted in pictures and nativity scenes.  Odds are that they arrived anywhere from six to nine months later.

When it comes to Christmas and thinking once again about the today’s story, you have to admire the wisemen’s dedication.  They didn’t know how long or far they were traveling, they just followed the star.  Their perseverance astonishes me, their dedication baffles me, and their faith strengthens me.  This Christmas and New Year, may we chase after our Messiah; our Jesus, Lord, and Savior, with the same dedication, perseverance and faith as the wisemen did.  They didn’t ask questions; they simply followed the star, having faith that it would lead them to the Messiah.

Please share your thoughts and comments.

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