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Mini Burrito 3 – The Burrito Rises

Mini Burrito 3 – The Burrito Rises

Evidently, the inspirational fairy (That’s the Holy Spirit for those of you unacquainted) decided I needed to get aggravated at something else in my newsfeed. Just one of those scanning through type things after an awesome evening….and there it was. A picture of the prayer scene that ends each episode of Duck Dynasty. I should point out first, that I love Duck Dynasty…I’m fairly sure Jase and myself have the same brain structure in whatever area makes you talk. Regardless, below the picture was a caption, that I will put below:

The POS Liberals and Atheists are given A&E alot of problems becuase of Duck Dynasty family dinner PRAYER. They want that part taken off the air. Well A&E went to PHIL and ask if they would not do that again. Phil Told them if we cant pray to God on the show, we will not do the show. Well A&E do you want the #1 show on tv or you gonna cave in to those POS Liberals and Atheists. I’m sure another channel will pick them up. GOD – FAMILY – COUNTRY – TEA PARTY – AND GUNS

…OH. MY. WORD. ARE. YOU. FREAKING. SERIOUS?!

I honestly don’t currently have the time to point out the level of hate filled anti-Gospel in all of this text, but hopefully you can. If not, then reading my writing probably routinely causes feelings of anger and hatred towards me, but that’s cool, thanks for reading. Anyways…how bout some scripture?

 

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. ~ John 13: 34-35

 

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2013 in Devotional

 

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The Responsive Burrito – Part II

The Responsive Burrito – Part II

So here we go. I have had enough pokes in my inbox, comments on my statuses, and insanity in my newsfeed to warrant that I write. Evidently that’s what it takes these days, because it has again been quite some time since I posted. We sit in the midst of yet another battle of “The Culture Wars”, and I find myself increasingly uncomfortable with the term.

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the base of my faith convictions, being Anabaptist, so I will start with my unease with that term. In the foundation of Anabaptist tradition, most denominations are known as “historic peace churches”, meaning that we are quite often at odds with folks going into battle. In fact, many members of Anabaptist churches were considered to be guilty of treason in the Revolutionary War way back at the start of our nation, simply because they didn’t want to fight. I think that it’s probably a good thing I live in today’s world where I’m not faced with that choice, because I feel confident it would be a struggle for me. That being said, this culture war, claims casualties on a daily basis on both sides of the issues, and I am convinced that quite often it’s simply because we are approaching it as an actual war, than perhaps a simple conversation.

So, in the framing of this culture war, as I scan through my newsfeed at the red, blue, and various other colors, I see provocative statements attached to many of them. In a lot of cases, I love provocative statements because they can start great conversations, but it is increasingly evident that those making these statements aren’t interested in the conversation. They just want to state their viewpoint, and have people agree with them. In the responses that follow, I see all kinds of battle; from name calling, to intimidation, to outright accusation and hatred. There are beacons of light on both sides, of course, but in the meantime, both sides are shooting themselves in the foot, rendering the valid points moot.

So to directly speak to the issue at hand, I think Tony Campolo pretty much sums it up well in an article he wrote for the Huffington Post (here) as well as addresses in many of his books. The basics are found in this quote from the article though. “I propose that the government should get out of the business of marrying people and, instead, only give legal status to civil unions. The government should do this for both gay couples and straight couples, and leave marriage in the hands of the church and other religious entities. That’s the way it works in Holland. If a couple wants to be united in the eyes of the law, whether gay or straight, the couple goes down to the city hall and legally registers, securing all the rights and privileges a couple has under Dutch law. Then, if the couple wants the relationship blessed — to be married — they goes to a church, synagogue or other house of worship. Marriage should be viewed as an institution ordained by God and should be out of the control of the state.”

It should be that simple right? Well, not so much evidently. When it comes down to it, what you see in the root of all of these things is taxes – that is money. Now, I’m all for “rendering unto Caesar…”, but it would appear some folks aren’t. So what I’m really looking for, is an honest, and caring conversation. I can respect any viewpoint I disagree with, as long as it is presented properly and caringly, but wrapping it up in a burrito for the moment, I have to ask: What happened to the conversation?

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2013 in General, Ramblings

 

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The Responsive Burrito

The Responsive Burrito

It has burned in me for days now. I have been assaulted and insulted in a steady stream on my social media feed by folks whom I love. I have wept and avoided the opportunity to weep. I have prayed, meditated, and cried out for guidance, seeking His wisdom and waiting for a response. It seems that in the midst of all that continues to go on in my life, I have things laid to my heart on top of them. All I can think when reading any of it is “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!”

What I have seen in these posts to my various social media feeds, has both hurt me, and taught me. While it is hard to say that I would be shocked by anything that occurs in theis sin cursed world, I still can’t help but not understand why so many choose to politicize and polarize issues when such a heavy loss is accrued by real people. While I was holding and praying over my 7 year old daughter, others were decrying a call to defend. While I was weeping and asking questions to God others were jumping to conclusions and attacking the already-formed polar sides.

Instead of mourning, people were debating. Instead of praying, people were rallying and attaching an unnecessary cause. Where have we gotten lost from what is the most important sermon ever given, some two thousand years ago upon a hillside? How has our line of sight gone from blessing to cursing? Friends, I am a wretched sinner, and I fall short every day, and am constantly undeserving of the grace that I have been shown, but how can we not have our hearts simply break for tragedies?

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

When wronged in such a way, and reeling from tragedy, why are we crazy to believe that when Jesus taught us to pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” He truly meant we are to ensure that His will and His kingdom should be ensured and implemented now, and not only in the afterlife? When broken down to our core, how is it possible that we have such an earthly strength to see our own agendas and values to be attached to tragedy? When faced with loss due to an overwhelming evil that is ever-pervasive in this world, how do we NOT mourn?

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

There are beautiful lives that have been lost, and families that are forever changed, and forever broken from this. In the face of death, we are called to mourn. In mourning we can set our sights on things above, and be comforted. So why have we chosen to rally and fight?

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

When we are attacked and damaged, there is not an opposite effect to our resolution in immediate terms. Through damage we are weakened. Once weakened we are called to be patient and submit, so that we might we healed. So how is our cause strengthened by these things?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

When hurting and asking questions, we should seek the answers that heal, restore, and regenerate. We are called to seek after the things we are missing. When covered in evil, we are most missing righteousness. So why do we seek to be filled up on things of material and egotistical comfort?

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

In an often used quote of an author unknown, we are told that Mercy is when you do not get what you deserve. Of course, in terms of punishment, we are oh so quick to seek justice, and more often than not, our definition of “what you deserve” is askew. So often, we are guilty, and of course in James 2:10 we are told that “Whoever keeps the whole Law but fails in one point becomes guilty of it all.” Yet it does not seem that we are given what we deserve for this. So why have chosen to hold others who simply disagree with us to a standard we ourselves are not held to?

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Martin Luther King Jr. is quoted, from one of his more memorable speeches, that “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” In this quote we see that we are charged through this blessing to drive out darkness and hate, but in order to do so, we must be light and love, not different kinds of darkness and hate. So why do attack evil with evil, and hate with hate?

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

We hear so often that in order to obtain peace, you must prepare for war, yet all we have done in our lives for so long is prepare for war. All of this preparation for war, has only brought us more war. So if we are to be peacemakers, why are we attacking and targeting each other?

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

In words no plainer we are told that when people do attack us and say harsh things to us, since we are His, these things are blessings. The verse even goes onto say that we should rejoice and be glad, because we will be rewarded greatly for this persecution just as all the prophets have been that have come before us. So why do we choose to retaliate?

In Jeremiah we are told of the story of Rachel, who wept for the loss of the innocents. In the Gospel of Luke, we are told of the slaughter of the innocents. In both of these instances, God was there, and was ready to restore His people. So, I ask you to please UNITE in prayer FIRST. I know that “Faith without works is dead” but works without prayer are worthless, and in fact, given some pretty harsh descriptive terms in scripture throughout the Bible. Once we pray, we can rest assured that we can then act and know that what we are called to do WILL ensure that His kingdom will come and His will shall be done. A faith wrapped, prayer marinated, action burrito, will ALWAYS taste that much better.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Ramblings

 

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Dunkards – 60 Days Of Second Blog

Dunkards – 60 Days Of Second Blog

Day 20: Dunkards – I Am Second Blog

60-Days-of-Second: Follow along as 15 bloggers journey through 4 readings each from the new book, Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First. Together they will blog through 60-Days-of-Second. Register to follow at http://www.iamsecond.com/blog. Get the “Live Second” book in stores December 9.

Day 17 by Zach Emerson

“Jesus didn’t bring an entourage. He didn’t dress in glowing robes or a halo. Instead, he lived the simple life of a carpenter, and when the time was right, he stepped into the Jordan River and inaugurated his ministry.” -Live Second, 24.

I remember the day I was baptized extremely well. It was June 8, 2008. The date stays in my mind, not because they gave us towels with the date monogrammed in them, but because that was the day that I felt my calling to what some would consider more traditional ministry. It was the strangest thing. I had known all my life that I was put on this earth to make music, and of course after I came to a solid faith, I figured that I was probably going to end up in a music based ministry. It didn’t work that way.

I had a band that had gone through all of the motions of preparation for signing to a label, recording an album, and touring. We had a following, we had the equipment, and for the most part we had the drive to do pretty much whatever it took to make it to the next level. Then it was over. Poof – No more band. The drummer and myself moved on to another group and recorded another album and played some more shows, but just as quick as that one came it was gone. No more bands. I was pretty confused.

Now interweaved with the whole band timeline is me finding a girl, having a kid, moving in together, getting married (yes, really in that order, we did it backwards, I know) and finally finding a church that we wanted to raise our daughter in. After doing the Sunday syndrome thing for a while we decided it was time to commit to the church and we were baptized. We went through a class teaching about history of the denomination and different belief points, as well as the typical “why baptism matters” stuff and a few more points along the way, but one of the big points made in the class is that in our church denomination we dunk you 3 times. Yep, when Jesus said “…and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” our denomination took that to mean once for each.

Over the years many have coined the nicknamed “Dunkards” for the church, since we dunk ya 3 times. To me, I had heard the term, but didn’t make the connection because I didn’t know any “dunkards”, and growing up in different denominations, all I had ever seen was one dunk heading backwards. When I waded into the baptismal that morning I got on my knees and was dunked three times forward, face first. I can remember between each dunk taking a breath and feeling the air seem different to me. Once I got up, got out, and walked down the steps to receive my aforementioned monogrammed towel, things were just different.

Now, I have no solid comparison on what exactly I felt. Maybe if you’ve been baptized you know what I’m talking about, and maybe you don’t, but either way I went home knowing I was about to start something new. In the scripture for today’s devotional Jesus shows up to have John baptize Him, and as He came out of the water, we see a solid picture of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit co-existing in the same place at the same time. I wish I could say that it was that awesome when I came out of the water, but alas, no doves or shining light, well, short of the super bright light that shines on the baptismal because of the white walls surrounding me. Regardless, what happened next for Jesus, and what happened next for me sorta parallel. Of course, he had that whole 40 days of tempting in the desert by Satan thing, I just had to deal with working a call center job, but if you’ve ever worked a call center job, you may feel that Satan is behind every ziptone.

After my baptism, some time went by where I immersed myself in biblical history, different schools of thought on Christian theology, and all out Bible study, and then one morning after filling in for teaching the youth I was asked by our pastor and told by my wife to be the new youth director. It was a new experience to be sure, but as it all started to unfold, everything came together. I had youth that were interested in learning more about Jesus, and out of nowhere some old friends that were interested in talking God in a new and fresh way. There it was, the start of my ministry, and the birth of the Holy Burrito Crew. I had arrived at the start of my new journey, and I was excited about it.

My name is Zach Emerson. I am a Holy Burrito brother, a sinner saved by grace, a baptized believer, and I am Second.

Check out Zach Emerson’s regular blog at zacherock.wordpress.com

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Devotional, I Am Second

 

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War and Peace – 60 Days Of Second Blog

War and Peace – 60 Days Of Second Blog
60-Days-of-Second: Follow along as 15 bloggers journey through 4 readings each from the new book, Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First. Together they will blog through 60-Days-of-Second. Register to follow at http://www.iamsecond.com/blog. Get the “Live Second” book in stores December 9.

Day 17 by Zach Emerson

“Jesus succeeds where we all fail” –Live Second, 20.

Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. ~ Isaiah 9:5.

Yep, it’s pretty awesome that I get to start my journey into this awesome opportunity of blogging through the latest book from I Am Second, “Live Second: 365 Ways To Make Jesus First” with the subject being “Prince Of Peace”. The whole scripture for today comes from Isaiah 9: 1 – 7, and is one of the most widely quoted prophetic scriptures about the coming of Jesus that you hear leading up to Christmas time.

So often I’m drawn to the prophetic visions of Christ. Most of what I believe and try to practice is what most refer to as Red Letter Christianity, essentially basing my core doctrine solely on the words that Jesus himself spoke, primarily in the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), but these Old Testament verses just ring so true and bring so much peace to me that I have no issue in going back to them to add foundation to what I try to live everyday. The verse I picked out above is one that gets looked over a bit in most circles, but as a practicing member of one of the historic peace church denominations, it just sings to me.

Up to this point in the Bible, all we have seen really is failure on behalf of humanity. We ate the forbidden fruit, we worshipped idols, we lusted for things, and we were HUGE fans of war. I think that a big chunk of non-believers have a big turnoff because of how much bloodshed is involved in the Old Testament, and really, so do a lot of devout folks too, but I think it’s because not enough of the sentiment conveyed in this scripture is conveyed wholly throughout a lot of evangelism efforts these days. We’re getting better about communicating the whole “I’m just as screwed up as you, but Jesus loves us both anyways…” idea, but I think a lot of people still see the Old Testament and New Testament depictions of God as being either two different guys, or some sort of early day angry guy that mellowed out the more time went on. It’s scriptures like this verse, and this whole passage that show the two being one.

I think it is probably safe to say that you have been failed by other people on occasion in your life, and even more so safe to say that you even feel like you have failed others a time or two at least, but the awesome reassurance we get here is that Jesus never failed, he was never “plan B”, and that the full message shows that he didn’t come only to forgive our sins, but to bring a true and long lasting peace. God doesn’t like war, He doesn’t like bloodshed, and any pain or loss we encounter from sin grieves Him to His core, but He sent Jesus to wipe all that away. He sent Jesus to clean us AND restore us. He sent Jesus to show us that even though we had made pretty much every wrong choice ever for ourselves, it was NEVER His plan to let us throw it all away with no chance of ever getting it back.

No person that ever lived could follow every piece of the 10 commandments to their fullest all day every day, but that was the law. So in walked Jesus who did just that and fulfilled every piece of the rules in place to their maximum where we couldn’t, it says it right in the book in this passage, “Jesus succeeds where we all fail.” and then He not only fulfilled them perfectly, but He took all of the punishment we deserved for not fulfilling them perfectly…total atonement. He was guilty of nothing, yet he paid the price for everything. His goal to bring us peace from the wars around us, to burn the tools and spoils of war, to show us to beat our swords into plowshares, and to show us that peace came from Perfect Love, not victory in human battle.

…And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~ Isaiah 9:6

#princeofpeace

My name is Zach Emerson, I’m a Holy Burrito Brother, and I Am Second.

Check out Zach Emerson’s regular blog at zacherock.wordpress.com

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Devotional, I Am Second

 

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Boycott The Burrito

Boycott The Burrito

http://www.karismag.com/boycott-the-burrito.html

Ladies and gentlemen, how about a little controversy? Maybe you’re used to me by now, and maybe this isn’t as provocative of a position as I think it is, but based on my newsfeed from the past month or so, a whole lot of people are screaming about boycotting or supporting businesses based on positions they’ve taken on particular hot button issues. Now, I don’t have the desire to talk about the issues themselves for this post, so I’m not going to. The question today is a little more broad. Are we responding correctly?

Here’s what I’m seeing from both sides of the recent arguments. What we are doing is responding to what we are perceiving as an incorrect view with the same hate and vitriol that we are perceiving from the other side. Friends you are killing your cause by using the same tactics you are opposing. So, I have said before that we are called to be “Holy” which literally translates to “set apart”, I have even likened the position to being downright strange, but are we any different if we respond to hatred with hatred, or if we respond to immorality with immorality?

To put it extremely simply, If I didn’t shop, eat, listen to, read, play, or visit things/places that I don’t agree with, I’d be sitting naked, in an empty room, reading my Bible 24/7…I’m pretty sure that’s not what God has called us to do regardless of your side of the argument. To further this, if you call the other side wrong, or hateful, or anything to that effect, you’re not a part of the solution to all of this, you are a part of the problem. To put it in internet talk…YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. Do you remember those posts and emails flooding you a few years ago telling you to boycott gas for a certain day? How well did that work?

To wrap it all up in a burrito here folks, we are to go tell the world about Jesus, and along the way we are going to encounter things we don’t agree with, it happened to Jesus, it’s going to happen to us too. If our first reaction is fear and attack, pack it up now friends, because that “tolerance” you’re looking for, and that “love” you espouse with lip service and status updates, is about as far from your mind as it is from theirs, and if you’re both that far away from love, chances are you’re probably a lot closer to each other than you realize.

Zach is a father, husband, and social media addict that describes his approach to faith as being a “Charismatic, Evangelical, Anabaptist that loves Orthodox tradition, or just a plain old ‘lover of Jesus’ for short. He is the Youth director at Poages Mill Church of the Brethren and hangs out with an odd group he calls the “Holy Burrito Crew”.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Karis

 

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Questioning The Holy Burrito
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Questioning The Holy Burrito

I have a group of friends that gets together every Thursday night that is pretty unique. We’re a motley crue of friends, most of us worked together at the local big box electronics store, most of us in leadership positions, but with exception of a couple, we have now completely gotten out of retail. We’re a pretty mixed group because some of us are charismatics, some are traditional evangelicals, some are atheists or agnostics, and I sit as the lonely Anabaptist. We originally got together on a whim to hang out and reminisce about old times of insanity in the retail world and share some food, but one day, one of our “seekers”, as we call them, asked a question that sparked those of us in ministry. “Could God make a burrito so big, and so spicy, that He Himself could not eat it?”

“Could God make a burrito so big, and so spicy, that He Himself could not eat it?”

Admittedly, we racked our brains on the question for a few minutes before we realized the fallacy of the question. It’s a completely flawed question. It’s one meant to be a catch 22. Kinda like if someone were to ask you “Hey, does your mom know you’re an idiot?” You can’t answer it properly. If you say yes, you’re an idiot. If you say no, you’re an idiot. Upon our realization of the flaw, of course, it was easy for us to explain the flaw to the person who asked it, and then point to different scripture points and evidence in our individual lives of the awesome power of our God. The experience though, was enough to make the group of us realize that there are a lot of questions, both flawed and otherwise out there that believers and non-believers alike have asked, and that this group was a great vehicle for that. We’ve met virtually every Thursday since.

So in light of that, I began looking at some of these questions people have and some of the responses out there today. It has become a world littered with questions and possible answers, but some people don’t think that asking questions is OK. They point to scriptures like Deuteronomy 6:16 or Luke 4:12 that say “Do not test the Lord your God” or they say that it isn’t our place to question God. So that’s my question for today, are we really “testing God” when we ask these questions or are we simply trying to find the inherent truth provided to us by a God so powerful and sovereign so we can grow closer to Him?

Of course it’s a human attribute to question things, because we of course lack that whole omniscience thing that the “Big Guy” has, but is that a bad thing? Maybe you have your own “Holy burrito” type questions, flawed or not, should we ask them? I wanna know what these questions are. In Matthew 7:7 Jesus says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” So, let’s starting seeking, knocking, and asking, so we can start a conversation…for Christ’s sake.

Zach is a father, husband, and social media addict that describes his approach to faith as being a “Charismatic, Evangelical, Anabaptist that loves Catholic traditon, or just a plain old ‘lover of Jesus’ for short. He is the Youth director at Poages Mill Church of the Brethren and hangs out with an odd group he calls the “Holy Burrito Crew”.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Karis

 

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