Monday, November 30, 2009

A Christmas Green Tea crash (part one?)

So another Christmas season is upon us. Big deal for some, little deal for others. For me, I celebrate the day Christ was born to save the world. But, tragically there have been campaigns to make Xmas "Holiday". I find it kind of silly, but also silly that Christians choose to protest and force the Jesus agenda down people's throats. Now, as of late I have been trying my best to align my values with scripture and fall away from emergent theology but I do not see that as an opportunity to share the gospel. I remember a time where TV specials like the Little Drummer Boy, which vividly depicts a story about the birth of Christ, aired with little or no complaints (that I was aware of). Charlie Brown's Xmas special even had Linus doing a narrative from the book of Luke chapter 2.

Xmas (keep in mind, I use Xmas as a short form for these reasons: Christ (the Greek letter Chi is a X, Christ died on a cross, although they don't look like X, we cross something out with an X. It is NOT NOT NOT a blasphemy to use Xmas as a short form).

The holiday season, is in my opinion one of the best opportunities to hear the good news of Jesus Christ, about His saving grace, salvation through Him. When I share the gospel, I do not like to condemn people who do not follow God to hell, but shed light on the message of the gospel. I think that message needs to be shared more often.

My favorite thing about Christmas (besides family gathering, good food and candlelight services) is the Christmas songs. Either public domain carols or Xmas hymns. My favorites being: The First Noel, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Joy to the World and How Great Our Joy. I also like other songs, loosely based on Xmas: Baby Please Come Home (Anberlin version), Christmas Shoes (TFK version) to name a few. Nothing beats hearing a great version of the Hallelujah chorus or the masterpiece Handel`s Messiah.

I recently have been reunited with an old Xmas favorite: Crash Test Dummies Jingle All the Way album. I forgot that Brad Roberts and Ellen Reid had such good singing voices. Their version of The First Noel is among the most beautiful I have ever heard, this is an iTunes MUST DOWNLOAD.

One more great Xmas tradition is 3 simple words: WORLD JUNIORS HOCKEY!!!
Bring home the Gold again Canada!!!!

As Advent begins, reflect upon Christ and his promise to the world. And for goodness sake, stay away from the malls! Do Xmas shopping online or better yet, not at all.

That's all for now. The crash has worn off.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Faith Without Action.

The book of James talks about faith without action being dead. 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if people claim to have faith but have no deeds? Can such faith save them?

15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,"[e] and he was called God's friend. 24 You see that people are justified by what they do and not by faith alone.

25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.


For years, I have been challenged to do something with my life. God has lately instilled a passion to help suffering people along with working with youth . I still also want my faith in Christ to mean something and make a difference for someone. Be it help lead a youth or adult to Christ, connect a homeless person to employment, or money. Volunteer somewhere. Whatever God would draw me towards. How and what.... not up to me is it? I'm sick of simplicity, but also lack confidence and self esteem. Hard to balance. I must make my faith alive and not a lie.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

When trusting God is a handful

A passage in 1 Kings got me thinking the other day. Trusting God is tough (now, that's not just a revelation I came to now. I always knew it!)

Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the LORD came to him: "Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, "Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?" 11 As she was going to get it, he called, "And bring me, please, a piece of bread."

"As surely as the LORD your God lives," she replied, "I don't have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die."

Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.' "

She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.


Now, this lady only had enough flour and oil to cook a small amount of bread. The fact that Elijah asked for her possible last meal is staggering. He followed with an intriguing challenge. Try and put yourself into both Elijah's and the widow's shoes. How would you react if your last meal on this earth was asked by s stranger? Despite his promise from God, would you trust in the heat of the moment? I sure wouldn't. Forigve my doubt but in the past I've had a Thomas-like faith. However, like always God fulfills his promise and the widow never runs out of flour and oil. Quite miraculous.
Consider how trusting God is like that. How much more faith would we have if we trusted like that widow?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yet another Green Tea crash

It's been a while since I've blogged. Or even read anything including my bible. I really feel convicted about some of my blogs, perhaps a bit too brash. Apologies peeps.

I really want to grow spiritually, know God more and try and be a better person. I've been casually swearing more, which I dont like. It's a reflex now. Hate it. My devotional life is fading as well. A friend told me that those are my lifeline. Dont know what to think of it. However, God can use the broken, the weak to do some great work.

Into my third year of college, I wonder if the path I am on is God's. Should I really be a youth pastor? Or is this social work thing going to come up down the road? I'd love to work with Teen Challenge

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Under Bridges

Yesterday while walking,
Beneath an overpass,
I saw the figure of Jesus,
Standing barefoot on broken glass.
His beard was graying,
The smell of urine filled the air,
Asking if I had some change,
Anything that I could spare.

Emaciated,
His shaking fists balled up,
Influenza and pneumonia,
Begging God to take his cup.
So different from his pictures,
Breathing air through yellowed tubes,
Jesus Christ, dying of AIDS,
Can look right through you.

And all have hated,
Crucified and walked away,
The Savior of the prostitutes,
Drunkards, rapists, and the gays.

Under bridges,
With hands raised,
From the ghettos they praise his name.
Broke and crippled in the dark of night,
Raise your voices to Jesus Christ,
Hallelujah.

Written by Reese Roper for the band Brave Saint Saturn. (c) 2000.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty91zlSPYXk&feature=related

The Greatest Commandment

When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: "Teacher, which command in God's Law is the most important?"

Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."


- Matthew 22:34-40. Eugene Peterson's The Message.

Jesus himself there says the greatest commandment is to love God and love others. I feel some Christians (including myself) don't really live this out. And this is the most important aspect of our very faith. Christianity is meant to be more of a way of life and less of a religion. Donald Miller talks about religion in his book Searching For God Knows What. While talking about morality, he says that we must have a motive behind our morality, and that reason should be as to lovingly obey God. Yes, the 10 Commandments suck but God created them for a reason. So there were standards set for his fallen creation. Since I love God with all I am (or can, we're not perfect) I want to TRY... TRY.. to live a moral life. Yes we all fall, every second of every minute of every hour of every day of our entire lives. There is a sinful nature battling it out inside of us against the God nature. This makes Christ followers sound bi polar but it's like the proverbial cartoony devil and angel on our shoulders. Who to listen to.

Back to the great commandment. I encourage you to love EVERYBODY even when it's hard. Even when you get attitude, stink eye or beat up. Love them. Try and show it.
I often fail in this area.

Songs that remind me of such love is Fahrenheit by Five Iron Frenzy. When Reese Roper was a child, he idolized Freddy Mercury, despite his homosexuality. At first he said he had it coming and realized later after Freddie died that he should love the sinner and hate the sin. I've said sins are not categorized by God, why do we do it? Theres no love involved in it for sure! When love becomes judging, we lose sight of why we love.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What exactly is "Being Christ Like?"

Upon years of reading scripture and sitting through sermons what I hear Christ likeness is, is something like "being a good little boy". That idea has been crammed into my skull for years. Al tough I believe it is good for the mind, soul and person to be a morally decent person, Christ was about more than "being good"... sounds more like Santa Claus. At least Jesus wont leave lumps of coal or turds in your stocking.

Christ was all about love and less about structure on how and why he loves. It was simply flowing through his very being like a reflex. Jesus healed people on the Sabbath, which was a big no no. Much to the chagrin of the Pharisees, Jesus also liked to hang out with tax collectors and whores. All about love. It is almost tragic that the love and even the miracles of Jesus have been left out of Scripture in church and replaced with a 5 point sermon on how to be perfect. I don't go to church for structure (I haven't been to church in 3 months believe it or not). But I go simply to love and worship the God who created me and Jesus who redeemed me. Some followers decide to go and tell others how to live and hand out friendly tracks with fire on the front. That's a better way to make a friend than Facebook!_! First, love and then lovingly come alongside a struggling person (maybe unsaved people, or as my old youth prof calls "normal people") and ask they consider Jesus.. not the breakdown of religion but the love of Christ. It's there for all to accept.

Reconsider Christ-likeness. Love like him! Accept all like him! Hang out with what is considered the bottom rung of the societal ladder. (why it's broken down like that sickens me).

Lately I've been reading Shane Clairborne's the Irresistible Revolution. I read about this guy in Relevant Magazine a few years back and always been intrigued by what he does.
check this out
This guy has the true love of Jesus. Live out your faith and get out of the comfort zone.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Old School Still Rules!

For a change, I will take my blogs mind away from issues in the world. I am a big fan of old school video games. Although I no longer collect them, I still like to play emulators for SNES, NES ans Sega games. All of which I played when I was young. I was especially fond of the Nintendo.

My favorite games in NES include:

Super Mario 3
P.O.W.
Mike Tyson's Punchout
The Mega Man Series
The Ninja Gaiden Series
Clash At Demonhead

and more... I discovered Mario Bros when I was only 3, and died at the first goomba.. lol!

Although I love playing my 360, Old School still rules! Pick up a NES someday, pull out the Zapper and play some Duck Hunt

Thursday, May 28, 2009

quotes. Thinkers..

The grace of God is dangerous. It’s lavish, excessive, outrageous, and scandalous. God’s grace is ridiculously inclusive. Apparently God doesn’t care who He loves. He is not very careful about the people He calls His friends or the people He calls His church.

The tragedy of modern faith is that we no longer are capable of being terrified. We aren’t afraid of God, we aren’t afraid of Jesus, we aren’t afraid of the Holy Spirit. As a result, we have ended up with a need-centered gospel that attracts thousands…but transforms no one.

We’re attempting to convince the world how good Jesus is by how great we are. This is precisely how Madison Avenue sells toothpaste, automobiles, and underwear. People don’t need any more images of success, wealth, and power; they’re surrounded already. What they need are their sins forgiven. What they need is healing. What they need is love.

- All quotes by the late Mike Yanonelli. Former Youth Pastor and founder of Youth Specialties.

Most of these were found in his great book Messy Spirituality Which really made me think. I encourage all to watch this video to see his great speeches. A friend told me about him and been hooked ever since. Tragic I never got to meet him, but will someday in heaven.
Watch and enjoy. He'll make you think!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

God of Justice

Lately, I have shared kind of a passion for Social Justice. Here is a song by Tim Huges. I was convicted about many things when I first heard this song. I want to encourage you (and myself) to go out to the world and show love to the lost like this. Take a homeless guy out for coffee, donate some old clothes or serve at a soup kitchen.

God of Justice, Saviour to all
Came to rescue the weak and the poor
Chose to serve and not be served

Jesus, You have called us
Freely we've received
Now freely we will give

We must go live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken
We must go
Stepping forward keep us from just singing
Move us into action
We must go

To act justly everyday
Loving mercy in everyway
Walking humbly before You God

You have shown us, what You require
Freely we've received
Now freely we will give


Fill us up and send us out
Fill us up and send us out
Fill us up and send us out Lord

Take Everything

Another melody
Another empty song
I tell myself that
I have praised you
And try and make believe
This is all you want
But once again
I know I’ve missed it
Praising you is not just the songs I sing
Jesus here I am
Take everything


Take the pain inside
Take the brokenness
Don’t stop til there’s nothing left
My arrogance
My pride
The loss of innocence
Jesus, take everything


There’s nothing left I need
That’s when I feel alive
Holy Spirit fall
Fresh upon me
You can have it all

Written by Joseph Rojas

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cottage

In May 2002, my parents bought a cottage sitting on 3 acres of beautiful West Guilford, ON, 5 minutes from Haliburton. Where the REAL cottage country is. I have no idea why a massive city like Barrie is considered part of "cottage country". My cottage is a one room cabin, the table, stoves and bed are all in the same room. But that's cool cuz I got a trailer there which is my home. It's tiny, but with a tv and a n64 (for rainy days) I've made it a little bachelor pad.

Haliburton is a small town, much smaller than Cannington where I live. Surrounded by nice fishing lakes and nice little shops Haliburton is a great place to cottage. Heck, I'd live there!

My father was diagnosed with cancer in 2001, almost a year before we got the cottage. And he claims (and I agree) that there is something about the cottage that is very special. He would be feeling like crap, and after a 95 minute drive (not including stops at Mennonite bakeries) being at the cottage would instantly, super naturally heal him briefly. I often went to the cottage to fish, spend time with family and friends and have a few beers while I am there. I love to BBQ and fish, which is a common activity for me there.

Although I don't catch a fish every time, being on the lake with mom & dad means more than a bite from a trout here and there. Like my dad says "if you get a fish every time you go fishing it would not be called fishing, it would be called catching".

Last year, I worked at Camp White Pine, which is 15 minutes away from my cottage. For those who know me well were well aware of the fact that I was often stressed out. Luckily, I had every Friday off and so did my mom. I spent every day off there, getting picked up Thursday night and my stress went away, just for the 24 hours I spent there. That meant so much to me.

Now my cottage means even more because I do not get to go to it as often. This past weekend is my only one for the whole summer. It sucks, but since I'll be working at a camp ( Christian Horizons ) I am still around kind of a runner up for cottage country. Paisley is also a nice small town.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Grace

I have not updated this in eons.

So, I have been thinking about God's grace lately. This past school year has went by and I cannot count the awesome blessings I have received. The fall saw some challenges in my health and finances and out of nowhere, God comes in. At Christmas someone left me $100 in my mailbox at school. How and Who? It's all God. I got a job in the kitchen, and one for the summer, had ministry opportunities.... how awesome is God?

When we're stressed out about something: like getting a paper done, looking for a job or struggling with certain sins, God's grace covers it all. Rely on His amazing grace.

Infinite grace, marvelous grace.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

From the Inside Out.


A thousand times I've failed
Still your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
Still I'm caught in your grace

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
my heart and my soul, Lord I give you control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

Your will above all else, my purpose remains
The art of losing myself in bringing you praise

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
In my heart, in my soul, Lord I give you control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart is to bring You praise
From the inside out Lord, my soul cries out.

Credit: Hillsong United "From the Inside Out" from the album United We Stand

I want to encourage my fellow friends that God loves everyone of you. I thought of this song when I talked with a friend who needed prayer. I wanted to share it's lyrics.
He desires a relationship with you though Jesus Christ. I have the burning desire to say this to you all. Everyone has struggles, everyone needs compassion. I know I do, there are many issues I face and struggle with to no end. But remember, there is always Forgiveness from God, no matter what we do His arms are open. Grace is infinite, forgiveness is as well. I am not saying we should sin more so we get more grace but that when your struggling, Christ died for it all. Leave it at the cross

I pray for you all to experience God's grace.

Jesus answered: everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed the water I give will become a spring of eternal life. - John 4:13-14.

love and peace
Fretz

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Random thoughts from a green tea crash

If the church wants to have some kind of hierarchy, they need not follow after a workplace type of thing. Sure, a pastor could be "the boss" and have the leadership teams under him/her but that should not be. Unification should be the forefront of any church. Full agreement, full unification under God.

Since when is a church supposed to be a country club? New people must be embraced with open arms. I do not see forcing them to join right away to be a wise decision. Pressure is a terrible thing to use when "recruiting Christians" to do others dirty work. Because most churches require membership to participate in certain ministries. Especially in smaller churches.

I also think that forcing "religion" down another's throat is blatantly wrong. Many people are skeptic today and the last thing they want to hear is a sermon. Yes, God is great. We all hear it. I admit I love and follow God. But limiting God to a box just feels terrible to me. The church limits God to a box and seems to think that favor is found in followers. Not true, God loves all of us no matter what. We do have a way of relationship thanks to Jesus, who was pretty much God putting on skin and hair to be among us. To look at the world who disobeyed him/it. (God has no gender, so why is it always "him/he" it's a weird habit dude.)

I cannot stand that God is in a box, God is so much bigger than we can imagine. This endless universe, God is omnipresent! How is that possible! and Omnicient?! what? How crazy and cool is that?

One more thing, I am reading a book by Duffy Robins called Ministry of Nurture for a youth class. And there is interesting ideas in it about discipling youth. To quote him: "One of the first tasks in the Christian nurture of teenagers is to help them come to the point where they possess their own faith”

As a possible future youth worker, it's vital that teens/kids/youth find their own faith. Everyone's life story is their own identity, I have seen many Christians with different stories of their "salvation" and it's so interesting and intriguing. Let people find God on their own and stop forcing a "life change or else" kind of thing. I rant way too much, but I need a place to vent Love y'all

Friday, January 23, 2009

Greed of Consumerism is swallowing us.

Although I have been guilty of this, consumerism as of late has really been making me sick. I'll take Christmas for example. To the Christian, it is a time of celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ (despite the fact he might not of been born in December, originally derived from a pagan holiday. But going on. I used to love Christmas, everything about it. But now marketing has ruined it. Now December 25th seems to be an excuse to buy gifts. It's taken away my love for the day. Yes, I like presents and I like giving but it just bothers me seeing where the world has taken this once important feeling day. Now, I like gifts and giving but it has gotten ridiculous. The line-ups, the crowds. So unnecessary. Like, those self-checkouts: so convenient but do you cut a person off with a large cart with at least $500 in it? When someone has like a $30 purchase to get in and out. Seems unjust.

Black Friday, in the USA is right after their Thanksgiving and is the biggest shopping day of the year. People stupidly line up for days and hours to "get the best deals" which in my mind is pathetic. Even more pathetic that people get so worked up when stores open that a few people end up getting trampled to death every year. I assume the people stomping on the victim have no care and a one track mind: to buy the best deal.
Here in Canada malls are open late, people line up for hours to see a fat man in a red suit and I see none of this "Christmas Cheer" I hear so much about, but instead pushing and shoving to get to the cheapest copy of Tickle Me Elmo Remix 2008 Edition. When/If I have kids, I will try not to spoil them.
Such greed is consuming God's world, there's never enough.

I guess I am just ranting, or I'm a contstant complainer.

Over and Out

keep your stick on the ice

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blog#1

So, I have caught on the trend to write a blog. Here I go.

When I was young, I was introduced to the gospel of Christ. Although I got "saved" at age 11, nothing sank in until almost a decade later. Went to Awana, Youth the whole deal. I just was not living a life God calls me to.
See, I had bouts with alcohol, depression and suicidal thoughts. Not a severe as some cases, but I did have my suicide note almost memorized. At one point, I stared at a massive butcher knife from my dad's collection (duh he's a butcher). Something prevented me from doing it. Lets start before that.

Many people dream of the day they turn 19 (well, in Canada at least) and right after school I hit the bar and it was a blur til 2 days after. Quite a bender indeed. In the small town I live, everyone knew I was old enough to drink, so I paid nothing for my booze. Being the first of my friends to turn 19, I was indeed the one to buy it. Got wasted every weekend, but here's the kicker. Almost every Sunday I was in church, listening to the gospel message. Hungover. A year passes and I feel super depressed, and wanted to die which I explained earlier. A good friend discipled me, rededicated my life to Christ, became more involved in church and came to bible college.
That's my story in a nut shell.

Over and Out

Trust God and do not lean on your own understanding. He will guide your paths and make them straight.