Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wild Ride!

Wow, this last year has been a crazy ride. While working full time with Joe Lunghamer selling cars, going to school full time, working more and more with the youth at Faith and loving on my family, this last year has been a huge blessing.

I often remind myself that everything I do is for the Lord. I cannot express the amount of knowledge I have gained while attending Liberty University. Everything from my Theology classes to Philosophy, to the love gospel of John, it has been an incredible journey. I thank those people that have encouraged me to follow this path that the Lord has given me; my beautiful wife Amanda, Pastor Chris Doak, Pastor Jayson Combs, Pastor Jim Combs and Pastor Ernesto Alaniz. You all kept encouraging me to get my schooling and now that I only have 6 months left, it makes me a little sad. I don't want to stop. I have learned so much about God's word that I didn't know before.


My amazing wife has been so awesome this last year. She has had to put up with a lot of late nights, me staying up to do homework, not coming to bed with her, Sunday's with me locked in the bedroom studying, not being able to help as much with household chores. Thank you babe for being so amazing and supporting me through this amazing journey!


My little girl has gotten so big! Every day is new, every day is a new adventure, a new word, a new look. Lorelai changes everyday and sometimes I feel like I missed something. She is now speaking in full sentences. This morning as I am leaving I give her a kiss and say I love you, and she says Love you too, and that she'll miss me. When did my baby girl turn into this sweet little girl that runs up to me when I get home and raps her arms around my legs.


To the amazing pastors that are my spiritual mentors and guides, you guys are amazing. I am SURE that Jayson is probably getting annoyed with me, asking so many questions. We don't always agree on things, but you have sure been a huge help to me through this time. I love being able to work with you in the church, and learning how to work with youth. These kids are a huge part of my world! I am so blessed by these kids everyday and especially this year working on these service events.


Writing this blog has been an amazing journey for me. I thank all of you that continue to read it. It helps me further my knowledge and my writing skills. It is amazing to write down all that I feel on a specific subject and get feedback from a lot of you. Writing this helps me to expand on what I am learning at Liberty and also let all of you learn right along with me. This is probably my last blog for the year. I am taking 18 credit hours next semester, so I am sure I will be posting a lot of material after January 14. Pray for me because this will be hard but I know that the Lord has a plan for me, and I know that He will guide me.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Spirit

"Best of all, Christmas means a spirit of love, a time when the love of God and love of our fellow men should prevail over all hatred and bitterness, a time when our thoughts and deeds and the spirit of our lives manifest the presence of God." -George F. McDougall

It's Christmas everyone! Be of good cheer!

While Lorelai is only 2 years old, we try to teach her the true meaning of Christmas. She knows about Santa, about Christina Marie (Her Christmas elf,) and that Christmas she gets presents; but we also ask her what Christmas really means. We try and teach her that the true meaning of Christmas is all about Jesus. We are teaching Lorelai that Christmas is Jesus' birthday.

In the time that should be all about God and His gift to us, His son Jesus, we should remember to follow the words of Jesus. While reading the quote above, I thought of what Christ teaches us about prevailing over hatred. In Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus teaches "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." How are each of us loving our enemies in this time. How about loving strangers, people that you don't even know their names? It is important to remember that Christ teaches us to love everybody, not just our friends, our family, and our enemies.

There are so many outlets out there that are showing hate, what's the latest news on the shooter at the school, instead of showing all the people that are helping the town. Do something for someone today that you would not normally do. Send a card to somebody that needs it, call someone and pray for them and be a blessing to a person that would not expect it from you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Right to Work

Alright, so I have to chime on in this whole "Right to Work" issue. I contemplated all day yesterday whether I should post something on Facebook or not, because I didn't want to stir up any issues. I have many friends that are anti-union and many that are pro-union. But I figure that you come on here to read my opinion anyways, so I will blog about it.

At one time, the unions were incredibly important. They were placed to protect the workers of companies and make sure they received fair pay and benefits, but also kept them safe. There are now programs put in place to keep workers safe and I believe that unions have served it's purpose, and either need to be restructured or gone away.

I am all for our police officer and firemen unions. These men and women risk their lives everyday for us and I don't think they get paid enough to do what they do. I believe that teachers unions are good to a point, but they protect way too many lazy teachers that have tenure. Also, shame on all those teachers yesterday that called off to go picket Lansing and schools had to shut down. You became a teacher to teach children, and those schools had to call a day off because of your pride. Shame.

I believe automotive unions are one of the reasons why our automotive industry is in the tank right now. I believe that too many people got greedy for too long now. The automotive unions protect those who should have lost jobs, pay too much for meaningless jobs, and feed the pockets of the hungry, greedy union bosses.

For those so called peaceful union members that attacked the Right to work supporters yesterday...I just don't understand this. You always hear that Democrats are the peaceful side and Republicans are the hateful side. I am not standing up for one or the other; but the anti-Republican, pro-union people that attacked others yesterday should be ashamed. This country is beautiful because we have the right to stand up for what we believe in and say what we think is right, but when you start attacking other people, that is horrible. This shows that you are anti-American, don't stand for what is right in this country, and anti-freedom of speech.

So, I am not anti-union, if anything I believe that our unions need a restructuring, a face-lift per say. I know this is just my opinion, but I hope my opinion does not offend anybody.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


John wrote about eight “I Am” sayings of Jesus Christ. These sayings were expressed in such a way that Christ wanted those who heard Him to know exactly what He was talking about. These eight “I Am” sayings are given to those around Jesus in ways that the people will understand. He uses His environment and objects close by to help Him teach those who are listening. People understand bread, light or shepherding in the times of Jesus, it is what they were used to. Jesus uses eight of these circumstances to further his deity and people can now see how it relates to the Old Testament prophecies.

In John 6:35 Jesus states that He is the bread of life. The disciples had just eaten a meal provided by the Lord when Jesus fed thousands. They had their fill of food and they are satisfied. Jesus starts talking to them and states that the reason they have believed is not because they saw his miracle, but because they were full. The disciples then bring up the manna that had fulfilled the Israelites during the time of Moses, and Jesus said that He is now the Bread of Life. That bread had sustained life and God gave that manna to provide nourishment and life to the Israelites. Jesus now refers to himself as that bread that will provide life. He says that “Whoever comes to me will never go hungry...” in John 6:35. This is the first time that Jesus refers to Himself as that everlasting nourishment that the disciples will need.

Light was an important necessity in the time of Jesus. People had to get their work done during the day because they didn't have the tools we have now for light. So Jesus used this tool to teach those that knew how important light was. Jesus was approached by pharisees that had caught a prostitute in a bad position. The pharisees brought this woman to Jesus to try and trick Jesus. They asked Jesus what should be done with this woman, because according to Old Testament law, she needed to be stoned to death. They knew that if Jesus answered in their favor and to stone her, that Jesus was no friend to the people and would be just like the pharisees, but if Jesus answered in favor of the woman, He would be ignoring the Word of the Lord. After the altercation, Jesus starts teaching the people saying He is the light of the world. Anyone that comes to Him will no longer be in darkness. These people understand how important the light and darkness is. He wanted the people to know that He was the light in moral darkness. For those that try to assume a moral compass, that He was the one they needed to find. As stated by Elmer Towns, Jesus may have also been comparing Himself as a “...reminder to the people of the cloud/pillar of fire a theophany that was a manifestation of God Himself,”1 to show that He is their Light and Guide.
Another thing that Jesus does for the Light of the World “I AM” is the healing of the blind man to show that He is the Light to the world physically. In John 9:5, Jesus once again reminds His disciples that He is the only light of the World after healing the blind man. He physically used earth and spittle to show that man is still made from God and was originally from the Earth.

Jesus is speaking with the Pharisee's and using the example of a shepherd and the area where sheep are contained. They know about these things, so Jesus uses things and objects in people's lives that they know about; even today. But according to John 10:6 the pharisees didn't understand what Jesus was trying to tell them. Jesus was trying to tell the people that the only way to protection or salvation, as a sheep would be protected in it's area, is through Him. He is that door to salvation and He is the only way in to the salvation. Through Jesus we receive life and salvation. As Leon Morris puts it; “If there is but one door for all the race, then once more we are reminded of something very important about Jesus.”2 This is another reminder of His deity and the only way to salvation.

The actual word that Jesus uses when describing Himself as the Good Shepherd is kalos,which means good with “moral overtones,” as described by Elmer Towns in The Book of John: Believe and Live. This word is meant to mean noble or beautiful, or many other meanings along that same line. I like how Vincent puts it “The epithet kalos, applied here to the shepherd, points to the essential goodness as nobly realized and appealing to admiring respect and affection.”3 Christ is showing he is worthy of admiration, glory and honor. Everything a shepherd is supposed to be is a guardian, trusting, loving; and Jesus is saying that He is all of these things. He may also be symbolizing that He would give His life for His people as a shepherd would for his sheep. In 1 Samuel 17:34-35 it states “But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from it's mouth. When it turned to me, I seized it by it's hair, struck it and killed it.” (NIV) David was explaining to Saul that as a shepherd he would give his life for his sheep, and that is also what Jesus was trying to explain.

Jesus' great friend has just passed away. Lazarus, Martha and Mary are considered to be friends of Jesus and Lazarus has passed. While speaking with Martha, Jesus states that Lazarus will rise again. Mary responds with what she comprehends. She says that she knows that he will arise on the last day, and she believes in the teachings of Jesus. But Jesus then responds that He is the resurrection and the life. Jesus is trying to explain that He is bigger than death, that not even this can stand in his way. He is over life and death. Jesus is life and He can bring Lazarus back from the dead. The deity of the Lord and Savior rose a man from the dead.

In John 14:6 Jesus states that “I am the way, the truth and life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” (NIV) Jesus is the only way to the Father. In the Old Testament the only way to get to the Father was going to priests, and they would approach the father for you on the Day of Atonement. Now, Jesus is the only way you can approach the Father. Jesus saying that He is the Truth is saying to be careful what you believe. There are many false teachings and people saying that the can help you to the Lord, but the truth is through Jesus. While Jesus is in the upper room with the disciples in John 14, the disciples start asking Jesus where He is going. Jesus responds with Life. Jesus is the way to everlasting life. Only through Him can we receive this life. This shows that the deity of Jesus is the only way to approach our Father.

In Old Testament times the vine represents Israel, the Holy land of the people. Now the True Vine is Jesus Christ. In John 15:5, Jesus refers to Himself as the Vine. The Vine connects the fruit to the Gardner, and the only way to get to the Gardner from the fruit is through the vine. Jesus is telling the people that we must remain in Him to bear fruit.Without a vine, the fruit will wither. Without the tender care of the Gardner the fruit will go away, but the only way to do that is through the vine. This is once again explaining Christ's deity for our access to the Lord is through Him. But not only that, Jesus is explaining to have nourishment, that we must stay connected to the vine, and that is Him. The only way to receive nourishment is to stay connected to Christ.

Christ uses many “I AM's” throughout Scripture to explain His deity. Some of these are found in John 4:26, John 8:28, John 13:13, John 18:8, and more. Jesus is showing that He is life, that Jesus is the only salvation to His people. The belief is that John is trying hard to express Jesus' “I AM” sayings to stress the deity of Christ and to show the importance of what Christ is saying. The “I AM” is putting the stressor on Jesus, showing that He is the center of what people should be focusing on.

As Slick John's view of Jesus when discussing what John thought of Jesus; “Is it safe to say that John in his gospel merely considers Jesus a man or even a special angel? Is a mere man or an angel the giver of eternal life or is this something God does? Is a mere man or an angel the way, the truth, and the life, or the light of the world. Is a creature one with the Father, or does a creature share in God's glory, or even knowing all things? No. Not at all.”4 John was showing that He truly loved Jesus, knew exactly who Jesus was and wanted generations to know the deity of Christ. John knew exactly who he was writing about, the “I AM!”

1 Town, Elmer. The Gospel of John: Believe and Live. (Chattanooga, TN. AMG Publishers. 2002), 87.

2Morris, Leon. Jesus is the Christ: Studies in the Theology of John. (Grand Rapids, MI. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 1989), 114.

3Vincent, Marvin R. Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 2. (Grand Rapids, MI. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 1965), 190.

4Slick, Matt. Who is Jesus According to John the Apostle? Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry. Last accessed 10 Dec 2012.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Resurrection Sign Miracle

The Resurrection of Jesus was truly the greatest miracle of all time. John uses many miracles through the book of John to show the signs that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Some of these miracles are turning water into wine, feeding thousands or healing the blind man. All of these miracles show how Christ is God and show His deity. There is no greater way to show the deity of Christ than the resurrection. No other man or being in history has done this act, and no other will. On Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry, they put the resurrection as a miracle, but in three different ways. “It is either a Biological Miracle, A psychological miracle or a theological miracle.”1 In each of these ways, Jesus shows He was above Biology, above what we might think to be normal and above any theological debate. Christ showed His true deity as being God's son through this act.

Imagine the delight on the disciples faces when they saw the Lord after the resurrection. In John 20:20 it says “...the disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.” I would assume that they were not just overjoyed but shocked! Jesus was showing Himself to the disciples so that they would go on and continue His ministry. They needed to know He was Messiah. Many of them didn't even understand Christ's teachings until they either saw His empty grave or in the Upper room. (John 20:8) Max Lucado puts it good when he says “Each of the Gospel accounts makes one thing very clear: Jesus's followers were not expecting anything to happen on that Resurrection morning.”2 Jesus needed to still prove His deity to the ones He spent the most time with.

Do you still need convincing of Christ's deity? What further proof does our world need today? This is not just a fairy tale, this is real.

1Schumacher, Robin. The Resurrection of Jesus – A miracle in One of Three Ways. Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry. Last accessed 09 Dec 2012.
2Lucado, Max. The Gospel of John. Thomas Nelson. 2007. 101.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Role of Women in the church

What should the role of women in the church be? There are some churches that have pastors or deacons that are women, but why don't all churches allow women in those roles? There are women leaders within different programs such as youth group, worship or growth groups, but not in authority roles. So in this I try to explain what the Scripture provides when talking about elders or deacons in the church and what the Biblical requirements are for each, can a woman be a deacon or elder in the church, if there are limitations on the women in the church and if that should apply outside of the church, and what contribution do women bring to the church.

The term “elder” is derived from the Greek word “presbuteros” which in Christian terms is used interchangeably with “bishop, elders, and presbyters.”1 Often the bishops, elders, and presbyters hold a leadership role in the church, while having authority of the congregation of the church. Some of the requirements of a elder are listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and this says that they must be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, and it goes on to give many other requirements. There are many references to the men being the head of the household as they should be in the church. Many today debate whether a woman should be a elder or pastor in the church. 1 Timothy 2:12 states that “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man...” Paul writes many letters to the Elders of the church, which means they had some type of authority. The word elder is completely different from the word deacon.
A deacon is derived from the word “diakonos” which refers to servants. The term “deacon” meaning servant is different from the leadership role of a elder. While Scripture supports women servants in the church such as Phoebe in Romans 16:1 or Priscilla in Acts, there is a piece of Scripture that seems to support women deacons. In 1 Timothy 3, while describing requirements of deacons, it says that deacons must be “worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain.” It also goes on to say in verse 11, “In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.” Paul says this while describing the role of deacons, so it is safe to assume he was describing women deacons. While there are limitations to the woman’s role in the church, they do not apply outside of the church. Paul was writing directly to the elders of the church, who assumed authority, that women were not to have authority roles. The Lord was giving requirements for the church, the elders and the deacons; not the blacksmiths, jewelers and farmers.

Many people may view this belief on women being deacons as preposterous and use 1 Timothy 8:12 as a defense when it says that a deacon “must be faithful to his wife.” Study the Scripture around that verse. The conclusion is Paul was mentioning one requirement to the “men” deacons. It seems that Paul was making a requirement for a woman deacon right before this verse. If deacons are supposed to be servants to the church, why cant women be servants? Deacons are not supposed to have any position of authority within the church, that is why we have the elders or bishops.

Women bring a strong servant contribution to the church. According to George Elwell, Scripture “...provides for women a place of unusual dignity and significance.”2 Women are built for compassion. While men can have compassion, it often is composed for Harley Davidson's, the most recent Call of Duty game or their favorite sports team. Women have compassion towards individuals that sometimes the man cannot compose. Women need other women to lean on and help tend to each other.

My wife, Amanda, says that she needs other women in the church “there are some things that women can only relate to other women.” Examples of this is like being a mom, or being a good wife. Men cannot be a good wife or a good mom, so women need to step in as the deacon or servant in this example and be there for the church. When I say the church, I don't mean a building or a gathering place, I mean the people. I believe that without the women in the church, we would lose an important piece of compassion and commitment that just men cannot compose.

Outside of the main paper:
While these are my personal beliefs, they were taken straight from scripture. I am trying to interpret the Scripture the best that I can. Some may say that this was a different time, and that women were not as respected as they are now. Well, I disagree. Women played a major part of many pieces of scripture. The most important to me is Phoebe, whom Paul in Romans 16:1 mentioned to give her whatever she needs for her ministry. Women were the first to see Jesus upon His rising from the dead. Priscilla was among some of the greatest church planters in the church history. I believe the Jewish Sanhedrin didn't have as much respect for women, but I do believe Jesus, Paul and the church age Christians did.

There is also one verse that seemed to confuse me a bit so I will try to explain it. 1 Corinthians 14:33-35 says that a woman should remain silent in church. While it does say this in our modern day Bible, the translation of the word "silent" here means that they should not babble. I make the assumption that the Corinth church was having a problem with women gossipping or babbling during church services.

1 Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Presbuteros". "The New Testament Greek Lexicon".

2Elwell, George. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology: Second Edition. Baker Book House Company. 2001. 1285