So I know this is kind of old news, but I saw an article on Facebook the other day about this and it literally made my blood boil. (Okay, not literally…)
A while back, a picture went viral on the internet. It was a picture of a receipt from a restaurant that a server posted. A pastor brought a group of people to the restaurant, racked up a $200 bill, and then, when the ticket came with the automatic 18% gratuity added onto it, Pastor Bell crossed it out and wrote beside it “I give God 10%, why do you get 18%?” This picture spread like wildfire on the popular underground website, Reddit. The waitress originally posted it not because she was upset, but because she thought it was amusing. She told one online magazine, “I originally posted the note as a light hearted joke. I thought the note was insulting, but it was also comical”.
Pastor Bell is the reason waiters hate working Sundays. I can tell you from experience. I waited tables all throughout college and I would have to work 3 times as hard on a Sunday afternoon to make less than I would on a Friday night. It was pathetic. Big groups of people all in their Sunday best, racking up big bills to impress people that really couldn’t care less and talking about the morning’s sermon. And then when the bill comes you’re lucky if it’s a 15% tip. It’s clear by their lip service they’re Christians, but they don’t act like one. They definitely aren’t showing Christ in how they treat people. As a waiter, you’re at the bottom of the totem pole and if you forget that, don’t worry, the shaking of the tea glass as it nears empty and the snapping of fingers to get you to come to the table will remind you of that dreaded fact.
This story doesn’t end here though. Pastor Bell was caught and the word was out. Did she apologize? No, she called the restaurant and demanded that everyone involved be fired. FIRED! As if the note wasn’t insult enough, the waiter, who works for $2.13 an hour called you out and now you’re lashing out because you don’t have the guts to own up to what you did?? That irks me in so many ways. According to an online magazine Gawker, Pastor Bell called this a “lapse in judgment that has been blown out of proportion”. No kidding! And why is that exactly? Because you blew it out of the water! Reddit, particularly the subreddit that it was posted in is a place where us poor, lowly servers have a chance to vent. It is anonymous, and a place to unload, not a place where we should be afraid of posting because people like that might see it and get us fired! It’s all in light humor.
Reddit has since exploded with articles and blog talks about this subject, from all sorts of viewpoints. And the responses from the atheist perspective is nothing short of heartbreaking. One user, talking about pizza deliveries to churches and people with crosses on their doors or something symbolizing that they are Christian, said this in a post; “Every time a person with a cross around their neck or a crucifix on the wall shuts the door, stiffing their delivery driver, you tell that person that you don’t care about them”. That is terrible. Is that the example that we want to show the world, that we don’t care about them as a person? Absolutely not!
There was also an AMA (ask me anything) request, asking Pastor Bell some hard hitting questions that I feel are extremely valid and should be answered. These were questions like, “How do you feel your act represented the Church?” (I would add, not just your church, but the body of Christ as a whole) and “Are you only upset because you got caught?” Pastor Bell needs to answer for these actions, and how Christ was so falsely represented.
When I was in college, I had a lot of friends that were atheists. People that I love. On many occasions I would talk to them about my faith. It was heartbreaking to hear responses from them like “I would follow Christ, but I don’t like Christians”, or “I don’t have a problem with God. It’s his follower’s I can’t stand”. That’s something that I never want to hear. It’s a heart check. Am I doing something that isn’t displaying Christ? Am I falsely representing the God that I claim to love? We all need to step back and wonder, are Christians the problem with Christianity?
2 Corinthians 5:20 ~ Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Our new project for the next year is going to be a full length feature film called Adam’s Letter. (written by John Cosper, Righteous Insanity Ministries) It is about a high school kid that is constantly getting bullied and ends up committing suicide. Before he dies however, he writes and publishes a manifesto, describing what had happened to him throughout high school, calling specific people out. This film will follow the lives of the people mentioned in the manifesto following the death of Adam Krieger, showing how the little things we do can effect someone in a tremendous way, and how lives can be drastically changed.
We are in pre-production right now and hope to have a finished product by August 2012 to enter into the San Diego film festival and the San Antonio film festival.
What can you do?
1. Pray! This project is going to be nothing without the direction and provision of the holy spirit. We are nothing without him!
2. Consider sponsoring the project – while this is a low budget movie, there will be some costs to it including entry fees for the festivals as well as costumes, props, food for the team, etc.
3. Consider joining the team – if you are in the Texoma area, consider joining us either on the production staff or auditioning for a role! (more information to follow)
Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future”.
There is a lot packed into this verse. Yes, I know Jeremiah 29:11 is probably one of the most overused verses in the Bible. You’ll see it on cards, graduations (Proud to say it, Liberty Christian High School, class of 2007 theme verse). But that doesn’t mean its a less valuable verse just because it has been used a lot. There are some amazing truths packed into this verse.
“For I know the plans”: in these few words, there are some amazing truths about the character of God and where his heart is. It says “I know”, meaning the sovereign Lord knows us and cares about us. Its not Joe down the block or your BFF, or even your parents. Its the God of the universe. By using the first person “I” it is a personal statement. He is claiming ownership.
He also says “I know“. Now, being a college student I have to know a lot of things. I have to know when my classes are so I can show up and attend the lectures. I have to know whats being said in the lectures because its going to be on the test. I know what is going on in the lives of my friends because I care about them and have a personal interest. My point in all this is we remember or retain information because we have a personal stake in the issue, because it matters to us. So by saying this, God is saying he has personal stake in our life and our future. Also, he knows our future. He isn’t guessing, or experimenting something on us. No, from the beginning of time, he knew what our life would look like; what our future would hold, our strengths and weaknesses, our fears and failures. He knew all of that because he loves us so much!
“declares the Lord” – I’m a bit of a word freak and I often think too much about why certain words are used. “Declares” is a powerful word. It means more than just saying something without rhyme or reason. Webster defines the word as “to make evident or clear”. It doesn’t leave any room for confusion or unknowns. It is evident. It is a strong word to make a powerful statement.
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you”: The world’s view of Christianity is that once you become a Christian, you must sell everything you have and you can’t have any fun. But that isn’t the way it is at all. God doesn’t want us to go through life bored, depressed or not enjoying anything. Its just that when you surrender your life to God, your definition of “fun” changes. Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourselves in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”. When we delight ourselves in God, He changes our desires to his will. (of course, not without some pain and refining ). But the point is our Christian walk is not supposed to be dreary. And he also won’t hurt us or put us through trials without a purpose. God doesn’t sit up in heaven wondering “what can we do to make her life miserable today”. Quite the opposite actually. God desires to bless us and he wants us to live a full life. And he always has a reason for doing what he does in our lives. There will be days when it feels like nothing is going right in your life; like the walls are colsing in around you. But there is a reason for the trials you are going through. Whether it is to refine you and make you his masterpiece or to make you realize that you need to draw nearer to him, there is a good reason. And as long as we trust that God has everything under control, things will work out. God knows what he is doing and we have to believe that in order to get through every day.
In this verse, God says “For I know the plans I have for you”. We must be careful not to read into this. It does not say “For I will let you know the plans I have for you”. So many times I have caught myself asking God what he is doing, or why I am going through a trial or a test. But its not my job to know what is going on in my life. Its not my job to know what is the next step or what’s going to happen down the road. Its only my job to follow God. If I completely trust that God knows what he is doing, then I don’t need to worry about my life, because no matter what is happening, I believe that it is because God is working in my life and he is making me and molding me to be more and more like him.
1 Timothy 6:6-8 ~ Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth. After all, we didn’t bring anything with us when we came into the world and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.
What is the reason why most people are stressed? We’re not content. We don’t like our job, we don’t make enough money, we want a bigger house or live in a better neighborhood. We want a newer car. We want to be more popular or we want to go to a better school. The list goes on and on. We spends hundreds of dollars on psychologists that tell us when we get to the top of the corporate ladder we will be happy, when we find the love of our life we will be satisfied. We spend countless hours at the golf course trying to “de-stress” our life, yet at the end of the day, we go to bed, still wanting more. The Bible however has a different idea for satisfaction, and it doesn’t include more stuff, a title before our name, a higher degree or a better paying job. Paul tells Timothy that we came here with nothing and we will leave with nothing. So why is it then that we stress to have the best and biggest thing? We are looking at this at the wrong perspective. Jesus’s famous words should be our goal, what we strive to do. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” ~ Matthew 6:19-20
Jesus knew the answer (go figure right?) The only true satisfaction comes from serving God. Nothing else will fill us up. We weren’t put on this earth to earn the most money or have the greatest job. We were created to serve God. And guess what? We don’t need a degree or a new car or a big house to serve God. All we need is a willing heart and a love for the people.
Beyond that, Jesus told his disciples that where our treasure is our heart will be there also. If we treausre our possessions, our job our (fill in the blank) more than we treasure our relationship with God, our heart will start ot lie with those things. our constant thought will be how we climb higher on the corporate ladder, how we can afford that newer house, etc. rather than how can we further the kingdom of God.
God has bestowed upon us countless blessings and once we realize what we do have, we tend to focus less on what we don’t have.
Things and people here on earth will disappoint us. They weren’t created to fulfill us. in fact their design was to let us down. If we could find satisfaction on earth what would be the purpose of our relationship with God? But when we can become truely content right where God has placed us, then we will find true satisfaction and joy. Godliness with contentment is great gain.
So, I absolutely love it when I’m going through a situation and there’s a lesson attached to it (there usually is) and God really speaks to me. Its an awesome feeling finally realizing what the lesson is.🙂 So… my lesson for my current situation. Walls. Fun topic right? haha.
What happens when somebody hurts us? What do we do when something happens that crushs us? We might get angry for a while, we might go hide under a rock, but more than likely we vow that we will never get into that situation again. We build a wall around our heart. Whether it be a relationship, family, friends, whatever, we build walls. now I’m not saying that all walls are bad, in fact quite the opposite. The problem comes when you build walls for the wrong reasons and when you build wall upon wall upon wall so that no one can ever break through and you never experience life because you’re holding yourself captive.
Walls aren’t inherently bad. Actually they can be quite helpful. Jerusalem was always protected by a wall that God commanded them to build. This wasn’t because God wanted his people to live as hermits and be held captive. No, the wall made it so the gatekeepers could be selective about who came in. They could keep out the outright attacks from the enemy but they could also keep out the distractions that tried to enter. However the wall was nto meant to keep the whole world out.
In the same way , God wants us to guard our heart. Without some type of a wall our heart would be defenseless, open to attack from anything the world throws at us. However, we don’t need multiple walls with no way in. We just need the Holy Spirit standing as our gatekeeper being selective about who is allowed to enter. The quanity of walls, or the height or thickness of the wall is not what’s important. Its the quality of the wall. Its what exactly you are using to protect yourself. are you putting on a mask, giving a false impression that everything is fine while really you are hiding behind all these walls and barriers or are you really depending on the Lord? You may feel safer with tons of walls hiding yourself from the world, but really, what is more safe than leaning on your heavenly father who loves you so much and doesn’t want harm to come to you
In today’s society the idea of being attractive in the world’s eyes is becoming almost impossible to obtain. We are supposed to look to Hollywood for the definition of the word. We have hundreds of “celebrity diets” out there and fashion styles are only “in” if movie stars are seen in them. However I find it interesting that the biblical idea of the word is very different, in fact its the otherside of the spectrum. The Bible acutally never mentions outward appeance when speaking about attractiveness. King Solomon had quite a bit to say about this subject:
Proverbs 19:22 ~ Loyalty makes a person attractive and it is better to be poor than dishonest.
Solomon seems to say that attractiveness is a matter of the heart rather than appearance. And Solomon isn’t the only one!
1 Timothy 2:10 ~ For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.
So you see, the Bible doesn’t care about what people loook like on the outside. Its not about your outside appearance. Your beauty should be from your heart.
1 Peter 3:3-4 ~ Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is so precious to God.
Not only are we supposed to focus on the beauty of our heart, we are told not to concern ourselves with our outward beauty. So in a society where people are obsessed with being a “size 2″ the Bible has a different idea.