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Friday, January 27, 2012

urbanchristianmaggot

People wonder why I use the tag “urbanchristianmaggot” and I felt that I should share why this has meaning and direction for my life. First, and foremost, I am someone who strives to follow and obey the teaching of Jesus Christ. He died for me because I could not live up to the ten commandments. I have broken everyone one of those laws. Ten simple “do’s”, NOT “don’ts.” Who can argue that it is ok to steal, lie, murder, be jealous, commit adultery, live for yourself?
God is not telling us to “not lie,” He is telling us to be truthful! He not telling us to “not commit adultery,” He is telling us to fulfill our vows to honor our marriage commitment. He actually gave us the commandments to help us understand why we fall short of His expectations for our lives. When we fall short we sever our relationship with Him. What parent doesn’t understand this outlook? When our children fail to live up to our rules and world view do we not get angry, have sorrow, and even remorse when that behavior becomes habit? If you believe we are created in His image (and I do!) then it makes complete sense that God feels that same way.
God “decided” to provide the final solution so we would not miss out on being with Him. And not just for today, but for all eternity. Christ came to fulfill the law. He did that perfectly and He did that on our behalf. God created Hell for Satan and the demons, not for us. But when we reject Christ we align ourselves (even when we don’t know that is what we have done) to Satan and deserve the same eternal punishment. God’s love is poured out to us through the actions of Christ. Christ took our place and died so our sins (falling short of commandments) would be eternally forgiven. No amount of “good” works or intentions can overcome this shortfall. Only trusting in Jesus being the one who should be charge (that is the meaning of LORD) and believing in our hearts that Jesus was raised from the dead after three days according to the Scriptures (this put the forgiveness in place and fulfills centuries old prophecy support the authority of God Word, the Bible) we are not only “saved” from Hell we are “saved” to live out the purpose for which God created us!
Very seriously, I will talk with you about this or message back and forth if you would like. “Friend” me on Facebook with a message or you can call me at 559-978-1370. Leave a message since I won’t know the caller. I promise to return the call within 24 hours.
The reason for the “maggot” portion of the tag line is pretty simple. This is what I was before Christ. I decided to follow Him at the age of 30. I had been divorced twice (mostly due to me), became a drug addict as an adult, was violent, completely unethical, and even stole $5,000 from a very good person who followed Christ and happened to be my sister. “Maggot” represents what I was without Christ. It also represents EVERYONE who does not have Christ. Nothing “counts” for good without Christ. That sounds pretty condemning and judgmental I know. But as Penn Jilliet (an avowed atheist) said, “How much must I hate someone to NOT (bold is mine) tell people about Hell.” I simply am proclaiming my love for you and desire for you to not exist in eternity in Hell. A terrible, tortuous, painful, constant state of understanding of rejecting the God who loved you completely! I do not condemn you. I do not judge you. In fact, the Bible forbids me for doing so!!!! I care for you at a level which often surprises me. My nature without Christ would be to say, “screw you!” Yet Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord, commands me to “love my enemies,” “do good to them,” and to allow them borrow from me without expectation of being paid back! If you don’t know Christ and Christians haven’t treated you this way, please know they have failed miserably in their faith. BUT, Jesus Christ hasn’t, you will have no excuse before Him on Judgment Day because a “Christian” failed you. Christ did not fail you.
Lastly, I use the word “urban” in my tag to communicate the area of life I love and believe I have been called to serve. I won’t give a sociological lesson here but the bottom line is this, most people live in an urban environment. Even our suburban and rural communities are becoming urbanized through technology. It is in the urban environment we will find the most people. I am continually surprised at how much I care for people I will never have contact with. Yet, through my faith in Christ, through my desire for Christ to work through my life, through my desire that Christ is SEEN in my life, I focus on the urban community. In Fresno CA, where I live, this means a special emphasis on an area called “Highway City.” This area’s epicenter is Shaw and 99. Draw a half mile circle around this geographical point and that, for all intent and purposes, is Highway City. I was allowed, by the grace of God, to start a church (Central Community Church) in this economically, educationally, and vocationally challenged area and also lead a faith-based non-profit (community benefit organization [ CBO]) named Highway City Community Development. I also teach at a local Christian university and pastor at a suburban church (New Harvest, in Clovis CA) with the desire and calling to lead others toward this vital area of ministry in the world. I also serve, at this point in time, a bilingual church in Paso Robles, CA named Harvest Bible Church.
If you have read this far I want you to understand three things. (1) I want you to know Christ. Not just because I don’t want you to go to Hell due to falling short of God’s commands, but to live out the life that God has designed for you to live through Jesus Christ. (2) I desire that you understand that your life is to be lived on behalf of others! First, live for the purpose of honoring God and, just as important, you live your life for others. (3) Finally, your life may just plain SUCK right now! I say, “So what!” So did mine and I have the privilege and responsibility to lead a life that helps people get past those very really issues. Do you want to “stay STUCK on SUCK” or move to helping others (which means helping yourself) toward a life which has purpose, dignity, and brings honor to our Creator?
I reiterate what I wrote earlier, contact me through Facebook messaging or call me. I unashamedly declare that I am an “urbanchristianmaggot” and grateful for the incredible privilege to live with Christ and proclaim the hope and salvation found in the only name in which people can be saved JESUS CHRIST!!

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