Saturday, March 3, 2012

ME4JC Transition Challenge

Throughout March, thanks to Elaine Muniak, several evangelists on FaceBook will be taking on the challenge of transitioning a current event into the gospel message. Ben, Doug and I(Virgil)will be using this blog to capture whatever articles we attempt to do this challenge with. I pray that God would use these gospel transitions mightily to bring salvation to lost souls. If you would like to join the challenge, here is the LINK. We will be adding our articles and messages daily so be sure to bookmark this post and check back regularly! Soli Deo Gloria!

The Swarm by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg-March 2
What great lengths people will go to for the "fun" of feeling fear. Scary movies,
skydiving, bungee jumping, and even roller coasters are just a few examples of places people dump hard earned cash in order to be frightened. This new thrill ride in London, called The Swarm, simulates a flight through the Apocalypse and is just another great example of this. Traveling at an eye-drying 57 mph and taking it's riders through various near misses in which crash dummies have lost limbs, The Swarm looks to succeed using man's love of the feeling of fear. But as fun as I'm sure this ride will be and as fun as a day at a theme park is, a day is coming that will be no fun. It is coming for everyone yet many have no fear of it at all. Judgment Day. People, especially young people, think of it as some far off day yet it could be tomorrow if they were to die in some unexpected way. Car crashes, thrill ride accident, meteorite hitting them. It could be anything. We are not guaranteed tomorrow no matter how much our"expectant" youth want to believe that. The Bible says, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Why people aren't fearful of this is beyond me. All of us have either lied, stolen or wanted something that didn't belong to them, lusted, hated, dishonored our parents, blasphemed God's Holy Name, or not put Him first in our lives. We all deserve the punishment of Hell upon death because of these things. It would be fearful indeed to fall into eternity carrying my own sin with me. Thankfully God made a way for us to go to Heaven, yet still punish our sin. 1 Peter 2:24 says, "He(Jesus)himself bore our sins in His body on the tree so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed." Christ lived a perfect life. He was tempted in every way that we are, yet without sin. Christ had no sins of His own that need to be atoned for. That is why He could take our sins upon Himself and God can graciously give us eternal life in Heaven. If we repent and trust in Christ alone for salvation, we have no need to be fearful on the day we are Judged. God will look at us as if we had never done anything wrong. We will be completely justified by the blood of Christ and His perfect love will cast out fear!

The Darkness by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg-March 3rd
What would spur someone to make a game called "The Darkness"? How about 2 games with that moniker? A third, fourth or fifth? This is a game where evil reigns. Imps and "dark tentacles" do your bidding as you use darkness guns to make your way through the game. So why is Xbox Live so dark? Why do gamers eat games like this up for breakfast? Why is the developer clamoring for yet another sequel? Christ answers this for us in John chapter 3 verse 19. "And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil." Fortunately, we don't have to wallow in this darkness. Christ died on a roman cross to save us from this love of evil. When Christ rose from the dead and the Father accepted the atoning sacrifice of His precious Son, evil, sin, death and darkness were forever defeated. You don't have to go to Hell, a place of darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. If you would repent(turn from sin) and trust in Christ alone(not religious works, self righteousness, or anything else) for salvation you can be freed from the love o f darkness and spend eternity in Heaven. You will then become a person for His own possession and you will gladly proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Toy Fads
by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg-March 4th

Fads come and go. The craze surrounding the undertakings of man in this article have come and gone, even if you can still find the products here and there. The same can be said of man made, man centered religious systems. We are reminded of this in the book of Acts, chapter 5. One of the Jewish leaders, Gamaliel, says,“Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined
him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” We can plainly see, Christianity remains some 2000 years later. As does the command from our Lord Jesus to repent and believe the gospel. We see man made religions still around here and there and they will ultimately fail like the craze of a new toy. But the one true message of Godhas never changed. We broke God's Law and Jesus paid our fine. If we would turn from our sin and trust in Christ we can be saved. What great news and what a great God we have who has shown that the undertaking of the Christians in the first century was all of Him and it still remains to this day!

Possible trial as an adult by Death is Gain/Ben-March 4th
Thomas “T.J.” Lane, 17, claimed he walked into Chardon High School and randomly pointed a .22 Luger pistol at students he didn’t know. When asked why he would do that, he told Chardon police, “he could not say.”
This shooting has caused quite a bit of pain and sorrow for the families, students, faculty in the Chardon community. Leaving so many questioning why Lane did what he did. People have been questioning his upbringing, the use of drugs, alcohol and any other relation that could possibly be tied back to justify or associate his actions with actions of previous shooters. Some are defending him saying he was only 17 and didn't know what he was doing; while others are wishing he would get the death sentence as he had clear intent. Another quote from this article is below and talks about part of that intent:
Documents included in the filing of murder charges against Lane included a written statement by Chardon Police Patrolman M.J. DeLisa. According to the document, once in custody, Lane confessed to firing 10 rounds “high in the area of their heads” so his victims wouldn’t suffer after being shot.
Clearly Lane had thought this through... While many will pin the title of Shooter or Murderer on him and want justice served on him immediately; and to have him tried as an adult instead of a juvenile to allow the grieving process tocome to some close for those families. I see this and question the sin that exists in all of us, while not all of us are capable of walking into a school and shooting others or murdering someone we are all sinners. We are taught that "hatred" in God's eyes is the same as "murder", so we may not have murdered someone but we most certainly at some point have "hated" someone. James 2:10 says: for whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. You see breaking just one of the commandments leaves us waiting for justice. We all are wretched in God's eyes; For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, - Romans 3:23 It does not matter in God's eyes if we are children or adults in the sins that we commit. Whether we know who God is or not or whether we have heard His Law before or not, the Bible says in Romans 2:15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them. And just a few verses sooner we hear: For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.
So whether TJ is tried as a juvenile or an adult here on earth, he has a bigger judgment ahead of him. He, like you and myself will have to stand before a Holy and Just God and give account for every lie, theft, lustful thought and idol that we placed before God. We will not be able to say, "we didn't know any better" as our conscience bears witness to what is right and wrong. We cannot save ourselves, we cannot expect that all gods will take us to the same place in Heaven and that we can "buy", "pray or have others pray" our way into Heaven. We have to understand that Jesus is the only way (John 14:6) we must get right with God while He has given us time. We must repent, have a change of mind, turn from our sins and put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. That is how we can have atonement from our sins. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. My prayer for you this day is that you would realize your sinful nature and separation from Christ and that you would repent and turn to Christ for Salvation that can only come from Him.
Revelation 21:8 tells us: But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all the liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.
The Race by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg March 5th
r-disqualified-because-didn-t-sign-race-014434559.html How must it feel for this guy not only to finish a marathon, but to finish first and still lose? I'm sure he put a ton of effort into his training to best the other competitors and break the tape more than 3 minutes ahead of his closest competitor. Sadly this will be how it is for many who are racing towards eternity fueled by their very best efforts. Why? Because God sees our best efforts as filthy rags. Polluted garments according to the prophet Isaiah. Yet daily, 150,000 people who have broken God's Law, go into eternity with these filthy, polluted offerings in an effort to bribe the Great Judge. In spite of the fact that all have either lied, stolen, coveted, idolized, blasphemed or looked with lust, people think that being good will somehow outweigh those offenses. What they don't know is that apart from repentance and faith in Jesus, they will get to the finish line and be disqualified for Heaven. 1 Corinthians 9:24 tells us, "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it." So how do we obtain the prize if our best efforts won't suffice? Jesus. Fully God, fully man. He took the penalty for our sin upon Himself on a roman cross. He was buried but rose again 3 days later, defeating sin and death so that if we repent and trust in Him we can have eternal life. God did all the preparing of this race to Heaven for us in the finished work of Christ on the cross so that we don't have to go to Hell. In the race for eternity, Hell is the ultimate disqualification. Like this runner, I would hate for anyone to think their best is enough and suffer such disappointment at the end of the finish line.
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Congo Collapse by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg March 6th

As I read about people being caught under these collapsed buildings in the Congo, my thoughts immediately go to Luke chapter 13 where a building is described as having fallen on the Siloam people. Jesus poses the question, "do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?" In contrast, in society today most would ask, "why do bad things happen to good people?" I think of first importance is for our culture to get the right concept of good. What is the standard? Your definition of good can be different from all the other billions of people on the planet. Christ says that, "No one is good except God alone." To be good in God's eyes we would have to be perfect in thought, word and deed. His standard for good is to keep His Law, the 10 commandments. Have you done that? Not if you've lied, stolen, or misused God's name. Those are just three of the 10 Commandments. Breaking any one of the 10 Commandments has you guilty under the Law of God(James 2:10). This standard goes for you, the people in the Congo, the Siloams, everyone. The only way to be looked at as "good" by God on the day of Judgment is to have Christ's imputed righteousness. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." That, as John MacArthur has said, is the heart of the gospel. When you repent and trust in Christ for salvation alone, a transaction takes place. God looks at Christ on the cross and sees you and your sin but looks at you and sees the righteousness of Jesus. That's the only way you can avoid eternal punishment in Hell. You are not too good to go to Hell on you own merit and you are not good enough to deserve Heaven by your goodness either. Neither were the people Jesus spoke with in Luke 13. His warning to them and to us today was, "unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” So what about good things happening to bad people? If you still have that question, I'll let R.C. Sproul answer it for you. "That only happened once and He volunteered."

Matthew 5:45b For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

World of Warcraft News by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg-March 7th
I wonder how many will jump at this gift from Blizzard. As part of coming back to the game, using an invite from a friend, returning players will receive a bevvy of goodies. These include a week of free play time, an upgrade to the latest expansion pack, and most impressively and instant level 80 for one of your characters. I don't play the game but I can only imagine how much work it would actually take to get to be a level 80 character. I don't even want to think of the hours that one would need to spend to achieve such a high level on this very popular, very addictive game. So I guess the real question isn't how many people will return because of these free gifts, but why would anyone reject the only truly free Gift in this world. Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the FREE gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.(emphasis added)" My dad has said that if people could pay $10,000 to go to Heaven, everyone would go. They could all say, "look what I did to get here!" However, no one can pay for this gift of eternal life. The price has already been paid for by Jesus through His shed blood on the cross at Calvary. If you confess with your mouth that He is Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead you can be saved. You can escape the penalty of Hell that you deserve because Christ already paid for every lie, theft, lustful look, and murderous, hateful thought. And unlike the advertised "free" upgrades in World of Warcraft which you really have to pay a monthly fee to obtain, the gift God gave us is indeed 100% free for us. Jesus paid it all. Repent and believe in Him.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Control Issues by Vulture/Doug-March 7th

Utah and Arizona are seeking land that the Federal Government owns. They do not feel that the Fed uses the land in a way that is beneficial to the State and locals.
God on the other hand is asking you to give up your heart to Him. He knows that you do not use it in a manner fitting to H
im. While we may think that we do great things, they are not fitting to God Isa 64:6 KJV - "But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.". God wants to take control of you heart. He sent Jesus to die for us,John 3:16. All you have to do is believe it and repen
t. Jhn 14:1 KJV - "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me." Once you realize the truth and believe it, you will at that point have given your heart to the Lord and will then Mat 22:37 KJV - "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." Mat 22:38 KJV - "This is the first and great commandment." Mat 22:39 KJV - "And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."1Jo 1:8 KJV - "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." 1Jo 1:9 KJV - "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."You see, we are all sinners and fall short of God's righteous will for our lives. Let me prove it to you. Have you ever lied? Stolen? Looked at another person with lust? Have you ever hated someone? Of course you have. There is a way to turn your life around and be forgiven for these things you've done. Believe on Him who was slain. Rom 10:9 KJV - "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
Will you take these words to heart and believe today?

No Hiding! By SaulBecomesPaul/Virg-March 8th
It's almost laughable looking at what things and people that some try to hide in cars for the purpose of smuggling over the border. My personal favorite from the slideshow was the guy dressed as the backseat chair. Admittedly, some of the hiding spots are kinda clever. Nevertheless, border patrol agents can sniff out these suspicious people, items and vehicles time and time again. Sure they miss a lot. They are only human. People are bound to get away with being sneaky in the eyes of other feeble persons. God however will not be fooled. One of my favorite bible verses, Hebrews 4:13, tells us, "And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account." God sees every cleverly disguised lie. He sees every time you take something from work or steal time by doing nothing. He hears every idle word and every time you curse His Holy name. God won't hold anyone blameless who misuses it according to His Word(Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5). So what's the takeaway? Acts 17 tells us that, "He has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” That man that He has appointed is Jesus Christ. Jesus who was fully God and fully man took the penalty for these sins that people so cleverly think they are hiding from God. He rose again three days after His work on the cross, defeating sin and death so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. If we repent and trust in Jesus we can escape the punishment due to us in Hell. There's no use hiding your sin just like, in most cases, dressing like a car seat wont help you across the border . Proverbs 28:13 says,"Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy." while Proverbs 15:3 states,"The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good." Confess your sins. God sees you like He sees these people in this article. Don't try to hide from Him. It's futile and there's Hell to pay.

Economic Judgment by Vulture/Doug-March 8th

While Mr. Salem may escape his judgement for his crimes, you and I will not escape the judgment of God. God is righteous and judges accordingly. You and I will stand in front of Him: Hebrews 9:27 KJV - "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"
So now that we know that we will indeed stand before a Holy God, let's take a quick test
to see what our judgement will be. (God is good enough to let us know the outcome before so that we can seek a way out; to escape judgement)Have you ever told a lie? What does it make you? Have you ever stolen anything? What does it make you? So when you stand before God, will you be guilty or innocent? Will you go to Heaven or Hell?If this concerns you, you might like to know that God provided a way to escape His judgement according to the Law. John 3:16 KJV - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Jesus took on our sin and died on the cross so that you could escape this judgement and live with Him for eternity in Heaven. Think of it like this, you are standing in the court room, God on the throne. God is telling you that you are guilty of this and that and this etc., when Jesus stands up next to you and says, "Father, I have paid the price for this child. Because they believe in me, he/she has no debt to pay anymore and I ask you to release this child." Isn't that awesome!? Jhn 14:6 KJV - "[6] Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." It really is this easy! Rom 10:9 KJV - "[9] That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."Revelation 20:11-15 KJV - "[11] And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. [12] And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. [13] And the sea gave up the deadwhich were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. [14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. [15] And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
DLC by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg-March 9th
I am super excited to learn that Battlefield 3 will be getting new DLC throughout 2012. "DLC" is Downloadable Content for those who don't know and it is a way to keep your $59.99 purchase fresh and feeling new over the course of weeks, months, possibly even years with a nominal, additional expense. Content can range from multiplayer maps to weapons to co-op levels to additional story elements that tie in to the original game on the disc. Most games these days, especially online multiplayer games, are designed with DLC in mind. For gaming, it works. Sadly this is the same thing that goes on when people come up with a religion outside of what is spoken of in the Bible. Sinful humanity is constantly adding to God's Word with their own ideas, additional "holy" books, and other ways of trying to reach Him. The Bible explicitly states at the end of the Book of Revelation, " I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book." This means that any new ideas or revelations by would-be prophets are invalid and unnecessary. To reach God we have to do it His way; through repenting and believing in Jesus Christ. We will be judged for every lie, every lustful look, blasphemous outburst, and every idle thought one day. Christ paid the penalty of these sins for us. If we repent and trust in Him alone for salvation, we can be saved from an eternity in Hell. God's Word is so packed with content that He has guaranteed us that there will be no need for DLC. No new revelations were ever to be added nor are they ever to be added...ever again. Everything we need to know to be saved is included in the original package. The Bible. Like I stated to start, I am very excited for new Battlefield 3 DLC. However, I am infinitely more thankful and excited that God has sealed up His Word and has done all that was needed for us to go to Heaven in Christ's finished work on the cross. Soli Deo Gloria!!
Unwritten Rules by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg-March 10th
Sports are full of unwritten rules. In basketball you would be in violation of one if you took a 3 point shot while up by 20 points or more with only a couple minutes to play. You may take a glove to the face from an angry defenseman protecting his goalie in hockey if you put a shot on goal after the whistle or the buzzer. Apparently in baseball it's not cool to kick another teams scout out of your practice which is just what Giant's manager Bruce Bochy did recently. Thankfully when it comes to God's rules they are written in stone so we know what the expectations are. The 10 commandments are God's expectations. Let's look at them. Idolatry(x2). Blasphemy. Sabbath day observance. Honoring your mother and father. Murder. Adultery. Theft. Lying. Coveting. All of us are guilty of these in some form or another. The penalty for violating these written rules is an eternity in Hell. That is not God's will. He sent His Son Jesus, fully God & fully man, to live a perfect life. He was tempted in every way as we are yet without sin. He died on a cross for our sins and rose again three days later, defeating sin and death. If we repent and trust in that fact we will not perish but have everlasting life. God does not have unwritten rules. He not only gave us His Word, the Bible, but He has also written the rules on our hearts. Romans 2:15-16 says, "they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus." What is a conscience? "Con" means with and "science" means knowledge. When we break God's rules, we do it "with knowledge" that we have done wrong and our conscience bears witness that we have sinned against a Holy God. I am so thankful that, unlike sports, God has not left us with unwritten rules. His expectations are clear. We have broken those clear expectations. We know that and, thanks to our God given conscience, are left without excuse and without hope apart from Jesus Christ. Repent and believe the gospel.

Injuries by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg-March 11th
Knee injuries can be devastating for athletes. I can't think of one sport where the legs aren't a key part of being successful. Basketball players, in particular, count on their legs for running, jumping, quick stops, pivoting, and lightning fast cuts to the basket. Sadly for the Timberwolve's rookie, Ricky Rubio, injuries are just part of the fallen world that we live in. Thanks to Adam's disobedience to God in the garden we now dwell in a place that is rampant with sin, death, disease, and injury. You can read all about the fall of man in Genesis 3 and how God dispatched Adam and Eve from the paradise of Eden. Fast forward to Revelation 21:3-4 which says, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” So how does sinful man go from being kicked out of paradise in the beginning, spend a whole life separated from his Creator, and then in the end find himself dwelling with God in Heaven for eternity? Romans 5:18-19 explains this for us. "Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous." We are all born into sin because of Adam. That is why we break God's commandments by lying, stealing, hating, and blaspheming constantly. Thankfully, in spite of our sin, God made a way for us to be restored to Him through Jesus and His perfect life, death, and resurrection. If we repent and trust in Christ we can look forward to an eternity in Heaven. There will be no more injuries like this young man has to deal with. No more sin or sickness. Just worshiping God forever in Paradise. The alternative is worse than an ACL tear. The separation from God suffered by Adam in the garden will continue for mankind into an eternity in Hell apart from repentance and faith in Jesus.

ME4JC Transition Challenge
Decisions, Decisions by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg-March 12th Apparently, "With time ticking away", Peyton Manning has narrowed down his choices of teams to play for this coming season. While time may be of the essence in regards to Peytons decision, a much more important choice remains for everyone alive today. Heaven or Hell. You see, you get to decide today. Will you go into eternity carrying your own sins and end up in Hell? Or will you trust that Christ paid the penalty for your sins as a substitionary atonement on the cross of Calvary? If you are not sure what sins you have comminted and why a good person like you would go to Hell apart from Christ's love and sacrifice, please look to the 10 commandments. They will not save you by keeping them but they will show you why you are indeed a sinner in need of salvation. All have either lied or stolen or misused God's name as a swear word. Those are just 3 of the 10 commandments. That is why Paul tells us in Romans 3, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Not making a decision to repent and trust in Christ today is, in fact, making a decision. A decision to go to Hell. We are not guaranteed tomorrow and God's offer of grace expires when you do. You and everyone else on the planet will be dead longer than you will be alive. That is just a fact. With that in mind, eternity is all that really matters. This makes your decision infinitely more time sensitive and important than Mr. Manning's. Cry out to God for forgiveness today. Repent and believe the gospel.

Death is Gain by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg-March 13th
I've always enjoyed the Resistance series of games for the PlayStation 3. The most recent game in the trilogy was made better from the help of hundreds of pre-release testers and the feedback that they provided. It's great when the developers actually listen to the target audience. It's even better when they come down with us common folk and get to see their product being played first hand by these helpful testers. One of the defining moments of the testing was, as the article describes, when a gamer died 3 times in under two minutes. That is indeed frustrating. But thankfully the developer was involved and that is what lead to the major fixes that helped Resistance 3 become the most critically acclaimed title of the trilogy. It also lead to the title of this article which really grabbed me. I mean, how could it not? My favorite verse of the bible is Philippians 1:21, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." That is truly a case "When death helps." But for who? For those who repent and trust in Christ alone for salvation. For those who humbly realize that every lie, theft, blasphemy and lustful thought will come into account on Judgment Day. For those who realize that they need forgiveness of these sins so they don't end up in Hell for eternity. If you don't know today that your sins are forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ and you don't know what it means for death to be gain, cry out for forgiveness now. Jesus knows your pains, your sufferings, your fears. He came to earth and felt hunger, sadness, pain and even death. Jesus, like the game developer in the article, came to the people He was trying to reach so He can sympathize with whatever you are going through. Following Him won't take away these afflictions but having your name written in the Book of Life helps with keeping them in perspective. Knowing that your name is in that Book is the only way for death to truly be gain. Forsake your sin and trust in Jesus today. Otherwise, sadly, the words of Joel Osteen will ring true and your best life will indeed be now with only Hell to look forward to. Death will be of no help for you.

Let me Axe you this by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg-March 14th

"Lizzie Borden took an Ax, And gave her mother forty whacks, When she had seen what she had done, She gave her father forty-one."

So goes the clever poem about Lizzie Borden in spite of the fact that she was acquitted of both murders. The general public is brutal in the judgment of certain people when it comes to heinous crimes. From Lizzie Borden to O.J. to Casey Anthony, we as a society love to point at them and assign guilt. This blame assigned from a nation of people who constantly taunt the throwing of the first stone and whose favorite quote from the Bible is, "Judge not lets ye be judged." Whether these people are guilty or not, somehow in our country we've gone from 'innocent until proven guilty by a jury of our peers' to 'guilty until proven innocent by public opinion.' Like Voddie Baucham said in regards to how we view sin, "we watch the nightly news and we think those people are bad, not us." Most who are throwing stones at these high profile cases don't realize that they have committed murder in God's eyes too. According to the Bible, hatred is the same as murder(1 John 3:15, Matthew 5:21-22). How many of you are guilty when judged by that standard? Maybe you haven't hated anyone. That doesn't put you in the clear. God is not going to only punish "bad" people; murderers, rapists, and child molesters. He will one day punish liars, thieves, fornicators, adulterers, blasphemers, and idolators too. He can not tolerate sin. His place of punishment for sinners is a terrible, real place called Hell. So how can we stand before Him in righteousness on Judgment day and avoid this eternal torment? God made a way. He loved us so much that He sent His only Son Jesus, fully God and fully man, to live a perfect life. He died on a cross for our sins. 3 days later He rose from the dead, forever defeating sin and death. If we would repent and trust in Him we can spend eternity with Him in Heaven. Proverbs 17:15 states, "He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord." Rest assured that if Ms. Borden, O.J., and countless others have been freed even though truly guilty, God will repay. There is a judgment coming that no fallible jury can acquit condemned sinners from. Only the blood of Jesus Christ will be able to set you free on that day. Repent and believe the gospel.

Breaking the Law by Rich Garey-March 14th

This man was excused from breaking the law because he was not properly warned about it, the state sets the standard for traffic signs and if local communities don't follow their standard then there is a chance that if challenged law breakers can be excused. God set the standard for his moral the 10 commandments and has them properly displayed in our hearts, this display is called our conscience. Look at those laws, everyone knows deep down inside it is wrong to do those things even if they have never heard of the 10 commandments. The Bible says God's law is written in our hearts we all know those things are wrong. We are all law breakers, we are all guilty of breaking these laws. Now when we stand before God on judgement day it wont be a trial, where we will have a chance to defend ourselves, it will be a sentencing hearing. The Bible says that no one will have excuse on that day. Those who are guilty will be sentenced to spend eternity in Hell, and those who declared righteous by the Blood of Jesus will spend eternity in Heaven. How can you be declared righteous? By repenting of your sins and putting your faith in or trusting in Jesus Christ because He has paid the penalty for sins. You won't be in Hell writing an appeal for your court case, the Bible says you will be paying for your sins in eternal conscious torment.

Bad Hair Day by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg-March15th

The battles continue to rage on in regards to what iconic symbols are allowed to be displayed and by whom. The 10 Commandments have been taken out of courtrooms. Nativity scenes cause on uproar for a few weeks of the year. Heaven forbid you see a cross in a public place. And don’t forget the all important…barber pole??? This quarrel between barbers and beauticians seems foolish to me. I mean we really shouldn’t need to pass a bill on this. Should we? Our government has many other things to waste their time and our money on don’t they? If you are a licensed barber put up the red, white and blue barber pole. If you are not a licensed barber, well, find your own symbol. Simple enough right? Now you might be thinking the same thing about the other icons that I mentioned. What’s so important about the 10 Commandments, for instance, that Christians try and fight for them to remain displayed? First of all, in a courtroom setting, the Commandments help establish an absolute moral standard. That is really the only way anyone can be brought to court in the first place. Without, “thou shall not murder”, who’s to say it’s wrong. The door to the court is left wide open to moral relativism and the sad reality is that some will claim murder is ok for them to commit. It becomes a “says who?” issue. Secondly, and most importantly, these 10 Commandments show us where we fall short of the glory of God and by which standard we will be judged when we die. You will have to give an account of every lie, theft, lustful look, and covetous thought on that day when you stand before a Holy God. So now when the “says who?” question arises the answer is God says. That’s Who. God’s Commandments should lead us to the other symbol we mentioned. The cross. John 1:17 says, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Sadly non-believers see the cross similar to how I see the issue between the barbers and stylists; as foolishness. The apostle Paul actually called that one in 1 Corinthians 1:18. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” So how does one go from foolishness to being saved? Repent and trust in Jesus. Jesus Christ died on the glorious cross of Calvary for our sins. He rose again three days later, defeating sin and death forever, and if we would turn from sin and believe in this Truth we can be saved. To remain in foolishness is to remain perishing and the penalty is Hell. God doesn’t want that (as evidenced by the cross, eg:Romans 5:8) and neither should you. A red, white, and blue swirly symbol may keep barbers and beauticians from working happily together. Thankfully God’s Law and the Cross do work together. The Law shows us our need for the cross. The cross shows us that Christ’s sacrifice was the only way to satisfy God’s wrath and those Laws being broken. Where you will spend Eternity is more important than where you get your hair done. A bad hair cut lasts a couple months. Eternity is forever.

Rocket Lie..I mean Launch by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg-March 16th
Apparently in an effort to skirt the edge in their agreement with the U.S. regarding nuclear weapons, North Korea is planning on launching a long range rocket. This is under the guise of being a "peaceful" satellite drop but the U.S. and South Korea see this as N. Korea being defiant of the U.N. ban. Maybe they North Koreans are telling the truth. Perhaps it is a partial truth. A partial truth is a full lie. There is always a price to be paid for lies. In this case, North Korea is in danger of losing the food exchange that we agreed to as part of the nuclear concessions deal. Many in our society always downplay the sin of lying by calling them fibs, or white lies, or even half truths. But as we see here, the penalty for lying could greatly cost the North Koreans. And it makes sense if you think about it. If you lie to your kid, they might get upset at you. If you lie to your wife it could be the proverbial doghouse for you with penalties ranging from a night on the couch, to a week at momma's or even divorce. If you were to lie to a judge there could be fines imposed. If you lie to our government jail could be your destination. God's penalty for sin is the Lake of Fire as told in Revelation 21:8. "all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” In all the above instances, you can clearly see that the sin of lying doesn't change but depending on who you lie to, the penalties alter drastically. Thankfully God doesn't want us to spend eternity in this lake of fire. He sent His Son Jesus, fully God, fully man, to die on a cross for these lies and every other trespass against His commandments. 3 days later He rose from the dead, defeating sin and death forever, so that if we would repent and trust in Him we can have eternal life. This is a promise from God's word that "everyone calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13) And unlike me, you, the North Koreans and everyone else alive, God does not lie. As a matter of fact the book of Hebrews says that it is impossible for Him to do so. Trust in Him today for your salvation. You don't need a treaty to trust Him. He has given us His word, in His Word that if you turn from your sin and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, believing in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved! Soli Deo Gloria!!

ME4JC Transition Challenge

Express Check-in by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg-March 17th 2012

Staples has its easy button. GEICO claimed at one point that their insurance phone app was so easy “a caveman could do it.” Now the TSA is making checking in to some passengers’ easier. This service is provided at an additional cost of $100 for the background check and only some will be approved for this express lane check in. The rest of the world will continue to have to go through the hassle of pat-downs, shoe and belt removal, and the restriction of no liquids in your carry on items. Wherever your destination and however long it takes you to board your flight are definitely issues to consider, yet the bigger question remains. What would happen to you if the plane was to crash and your life ended that day? What if it was something besides a plane crash and today was that day? Would you go to Heaven or Hell? To find out, let’s take a little test. How many lies have you told in your life? The bible says that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. Have you ever stolen or wanted something that belonged to someone else, regardless of its value? Have you ever looked at a person with lust in your heart? Jesus tells us in Matthew 5 that lust is the same as adultery. The bible warns that thieves, the covetous and adulterers will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Have you ever misused God’s name? That is blasphemy and God says in His Word that He will not hold anyone blameless who misuses His name. Most don’t realize their true state before a Holy God but looking to the 10 commandments will help you see where you have fallen short and why you need the Savior(Acts 4:12). God doesn’t want you to go to Hell so He made a way for you to be forgiven and go to Heaven when you die. He sent Jesus to die on a cross and take the penalty for those sins. If we would turn from those sins, or repent, and trust in Christ alone for salvation then Heaven will be our destination. You can’t pay extra to go there. There’s nothing you can do in your own righteousness to go to Heaven either. Jesus took all the hard work out of eternity for you by taking your place on that Roman cross. Humbleness is the key here. If you will not humble yourself and confess that you have sinned before God then you are stuck with trying your own ways and trusting in your own goodness. Trusting in yourself for salvation leads to a trip to Hell and that is a flight I don’t want to be on. To me, as someone who doesn’t like flying already, the aforementioned type of aggravations make me want to fly even less. The planning, the packing, the check-ins are all real headaches. And I think that this is the hold up of some when they look at religions. The rules and yokes put in place by religion are a turn off to many. Like I said, I don’t care to fly but knowing that there is an easier way to get on board your plane makes it more appealing by far. And that is the appeal of Christianity for the humble. Jesus did the hard part already. Christ made the way easy for you with His finished work on the cross. His burden is light. Follow him today.

ME4JC Transition Challenge

St. Patrick by Ryan Muniak-March 18th 2012

Isn't it amazing that nearly 500,000 people came out to celebrate this holiday that was meant to honor a man who brought the message of Christ to Ireland? The problem though is that most people have forgotten about his work and celebrate by getting drunk and acting like fools! The Bible says, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." Are you on that list? If yes, you are guilty of braking God's law and in danger of heading to Hell.

Even though you deserve to spend eternity in Hell, God doesn't want you to go there. Jesus was sent to earth to take your place and pay for your sins with His life's blood. He rose from the grave three days later and offers you an escape from Hell. If you repent (confess your sins and turn from them) and trust in Jesus alone for salvation, you will be saved from Hell and be granted entrance into the Kingdom of God. More info at
Basketball Beatdown by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg-March 18th 2012
Man beats up daughters basketball coach
All actions have consequences as 37 year old Shelly Miller found out recently. He is up against Class C Felony charges for beating up his daughter's basketball coach. Miller did this in an effort to protect his daughter against repercussions for her actions at a middle school basketball practice. The coach, who was upset at Miler's daughter and her teammate, called on the time tested basketball punishment of running laps as the consequence of their actions. He did this to penalize the girls for arguing during their practice time. I played organized basketball for over 13 years so I know that running laps is affective way, along with suicide sprints, to discipline a team or individuals for bad behavior or performance. While the younger Miller has paid her penalty during practice with laps, her father will have his day in court for the felony battery charges some day soon. One day soon you might have your day in court as well. Except you will not be up against a human judge. You will have to face the Great Judge. God. The Creator of Heaven and earth. On that day you will be smack dab up against the consequences for your actions against Him. And trust me, running laps will be the least of your problems. Every lie, theft, blasphemy, hateful thought and lustful look will come into account on that day. The punishment for these transgressions of God's Law is an eternity in Hell. God does not want that. He sent His only Son Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, to take your punishment for you on a Roman Cross. In an imperfect analogy as it relates to the story, it would be something like the basketball coach making his son run instead of Miller's daughter. She was guilty of arguing but someone else who hadn't done anything wrong at the practice would run for her. We broke God's Law, Jesus paid the fine for us. Unlike the example of the coaches son, God's Son was perfect. Tempted in every way like we are, yet without sin. He could therefore take our penalties upon Himself. If we repent (turn from sin) and trust in His finished work on the cross we can go to Heaven and not Hell when we die. Like the Bible tells us, "For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." In other words, the consequences of breaking God's Law is eternal punishment but it doesn't have to be that way because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. Mr. Miller's punishment can end up being very temporary. But Hell is indeed forever. Thankfully so is Heaven and God made a way for guilty sinners to go there. Repent and believe the gospel.

ME4JC Transition Challenge

Mass Effect by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg-March 19th

The Mass Effect video game trilogy is one of the highest rated and most critically acclaimed series of all time. With these games averaging scores in the 90's on metacritic it would be difficult to argue against why the series' enjoys an elevated place in the hearts of gamers worldwide. Evidently, however, many feel the ending has left a lot to be desired. So much so that there have been cries to BioWare to change what has happened in the game. That may or may not happen. Some things you just can't change. Thankfully, the most important ending that you will ever have in your life can be changed today. You see no matter how great your life is. No matter how good you are or how good things seem, you will not like how the game of life ends apart from repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. This sad ending for many will be an eternity separated from God in a real place called Hell. This is not without reason. A lot of people who are deemed "good" in the world's eyes are gonna be surprised on Judgment day. Why? Because they are still guilty of breaking God's Laws, the 10 Commandments. And in spite of any good they've done, guilt remains. Lying, stealing, lusting, coveting, hating, and blasphemy are just a few of these Commandments. Where would you end up if you were to die today and be judged by this standard? Hell is the place God has prepared for guilty sinners. But God who is rich in mercy does not want you to go to this place of eternal conscious torment. He made a way for these sins to be forgiven and for us to go to Heaven when we die. He sent His Son Jesus, fully God and fully man, to live a perfect life then die on a cross. Jesus paid the penalty for sin on a cross. Three days later He rose again defeating death and sin forever. If you would repent and trust in Christ you will be saved. There can be no better ending to life than an eternity in Heaven. That is an ending no reasonable, humble person can pass up. Maybe that is you today. Maybe you realize that sin is indeed sinful and you want your sins forgiven. Don't put this off. The Bible says that today is the day of salvation. This world is passing away and so is everything in it. Don't worry about the ending of a popular video game and call crying to the developer. Most big game companies won't hear or listen to the cries anyhow. Cry out to Jesus for forgiveness today and accept God's free gift of eternal life through Christ's shed blood on the cross. Change your ending right now. Eternity is a long time and it's not worth getting the wrong finish. Repent and believe the gospel.

ME4JC Transition Challenge

The Curtain by SaulBecomesPaul/Virg-March 20th
Companies try hard to get the right actors for their parts to draw in a crowd. Loads of money are spent on previews, commercials and even freeway billboards to get people into the latest blockbuster. Why? Because movies are made with the intention of them being profitable. Disney movies usually succeed at this. Their very well-made movies (other than their typically lousy straight-to-DVD sequels) are usually the rule, not the exception. Disney's latest movie "John Carter", however, is looking smack dab at achieving a 200 million dollar loss after all is said and done. Imagine for a minute that you could somehow get a hold of this $200,000,000. You could buy cars, houses, vacations, even friends. Anything in the world that you can think of is within your reach with that kind of money. But at what cost? The Bible says in Mark 8:36,"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul." If today you are not in fellowship with your Creator, none of this is worth it. You see, since the fall of Adam in the garden, we have been separated from God because of our sin. Sin is transgression of God's Law, the 10 commandments(lying, stealing, blasphemy, lust). Because of this, God's wrath abides on guilty sinners(John 3:36). It is not God's will that the guilty should go to Hell. He made a way to not only save sinners from Hell and sin, but to also restore fellowship with Him. He did this through Jesus Christ and His perfect life, death, and resurrection. Because God accepted the sacrifice of Christ, those who repent and trust in Him can be saved. Fellowship with our Creator can be restored because sin is now paid for. You might be excited for the curtains to be pulled back on the next summer blockbuster. But a more important curtain is the one you need to consider today. The Bible tells us that "the curtain of the temple was torn in two" when Jesus died giving us direct access to God. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" Repent and trust in Christ today. Your sins will be forgiven, fellowship will be restored with God and you will go to Heaven upon death. There will be no more lousy movies, no more tears, no pain or suffering. Just glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

ME4JC Transition Challenge

No comments:

Post a Comment