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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 Mini-Burrito II – The Burrito Strikes Back

The Mini-Burrito II –  The Burrito Strikes Back

Michael Jeffries will definitely burn in hell! Yep, I really saw that in my newsfeed today. Posted by somebody that will probably post some sort of Joel Osteen laced God wants to give you money tomorrow if you give Him money today ramble in the next few hours. It’s all a big ironic comedy. Especially since I have been preparing a sermon based around 2 Corinthians 3:18 and speaking on the Image of God. Some things people say never cease to amaze me. In the extended quote, Jeffries talks about “the companies that are struggling” and how they’re trying to appeal to everyone. Last I checked, Abercrombie & Fitch was shuttered and a cosmetics store took its place here in my hometown, so he may want to dive a little deeper there, and as far as the scripture is concerned, he may want to look in the mirror himself. Thing is though, we all should. We should realize that EVERYONE was created in the Image of God, even if you’ve had one too many burritos.

 

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. ~ 2 Conthians 3:18

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Devotional

 

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Mini Burrito Part One

Mini Burrito Part One

Have you ever sat back and marveled at the stuff He shows you? I mean, like when he supplies for a need you didn’t even know you had? Yeah, prior to tonight I never saw that happen either, but it did. I walked in to church for a monthly event, expecting the usual, you know food, hang time with my youth…which unfortunately is a singular term currently, but she’s awesome, and we’re preaching together next Sunday, so no big there, regardless – I sat down, and then it came. A check to go towards my homeless ministry that me and the Burrito Brothers have been doing. It just so happens that one of our homeless friends is taking a bus to Texas to an area where more services are available and he can have housing and better medical care, and he’s leaving in two days, and we already made sure he could afford the ticket, and got him a backpack to travel with, and now we get to get him some fresh clothes and some snacks for the long trip. How bout them apples? Or maybe a Burrito? Or like…some nabs and chips and stuff…those will probably keep on the bus better.

So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. – Matthew 6:8

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Devotional

 

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The What If Burrito

The What If Burrito

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.  If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.  For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.1 Peter 4 12 – 19

A common internet meme in the Christian world these days includes the phrase “Haters Gonna Hate” and sometimes points to a portion of this scripture as well as a few others speaking to the persecution of believers. In getting right into the fat of that, it annoys the hell out of me. It’s definitely something that I have been struggling with lately as I watch some things unfold via facebook and some other places as well as in my day to day life. My Burrito Brothers and I have been discussing the concepts of false converts, “once saved always saved”, and what exactly a true “Christian” looks like in their walk.

Now, it is indeed something I have addressed before in The Un-Fruity Burrito, but there are some other things that I really wonder about, things that have poked and prodded me quite a lot lately. I’m talking EXTREME discomfort here from it lately. Maybe that’s because it pains me to think that there is even a SLIGHT chance that somebody I know and care about would have the chance of not knowing the real love of Christ that UI have been so heavily blessed with. What would you do? What does that conversation look like?

To jump back a bit and bring the scripture above into it’s relevance here, I’m focusing on mainly on verses 15 & 16 where it’s saying “If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” How many times have you heard somebody talk about being persecuted? Believe it or not, I see a LOT of it, especially on facebook. Now, the thing that I see quite often though, and the thought that runs through my head is “Well you did just act like a TOTAL jackwagon in that last post you had before this one, so are you REALLY being persecuted for your faith?” So yeah, that whole “if you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal” piece there, I’m pretty sure jerk should be listed too, you shouldn’t suffer because you’re a jerk and claim that it is because of your faith.

I guess really, bottom line here, the question I’m asking is what do you see as the real signs of BEING a Christian? What defines that for you, and what about the people that hit that definition for about a week, and then turn into raging butt-munchers the next? Is that a “once saved always saved” situation or are they false converts? I have a feeling this is going to be a pretty spicy burrito, and it’s definitely already a big one, so join the conversation, and invite your friends along.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2013 in Ramblings

 

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The Written Burrito

The Written Burrito

I have never been a writer. Nope, never. I remember knowing in first grade that my handwriting was terrible. SO terrible that when I was doing my homework, where I had to write my spelling words three times each, that I had to slow down so immensely that I could hear a clicktrack in my brain in order to write legibly enough for my teacher to read what I was writing. That concept didn’t change until I was in 6th grade. That previous summer my grandaddy had given us his old computer when he had upgraded. It was a Headstart LX 8088. The operating system was DOS, and we installed GeoWorks. For those of you who are computer nerds, this was the first CD-ROM system, and the CDs were loaded in special cases, Windows 3.1 was too advanced for it. Yeah, it was awesome….to me…at the time.

That year we read the book Secret of NIMH, and were assigned our first MLA formatted paper. I chose to write from the viewpoint of the cat, Dragon. I sat down in front of that awesome computer, booted GeoWorks from the 3.5” floppy and started the word processor. I stared at my cat, Jazz, for a solid half hour and tried to put myself into his personality, and thought about the framework of the book. I wrote a one page paper, printed it, and even made a cover page with a cat clipart, put it in one of those clear report covers with the hard plastic spine that slides on and turned it in. My teacher thought it was awesome and gave me an A. It was awesome. Handwriting was for suckers.

I wrote exactly 1 more creative writing pieces throughout the rest of my school career. It was in 8th grade, and it was my riff on the Declaration of Independence for my civics class. Being the kid that came to school in camos and band shirts with a chain attached to my wallet, and played Magic: The Gathering everyday at lunch, I got bullied and picked on quite a bit at school by the popular kids and told how much of a satanist I was by the fairly large population of kids from one particular youth group from the area. So, my independence was declared from “religious extremists”. Yep, at 13 I wrote a manifesto about how much of a jackwagon Christians were. I quoted scripture and song lyrics. My teacher posted it on the wall of the classroom.

Then came High School. 9th grade of course was a blur of stupidity and class skipping, but that summer I started my first real band. We played Metallica, Creed, Nirvana, KoRn, and Limp Bizkit covers and played a show at a chinese buffet restaurant. Then we started writing original tunes. I was writing lyrics as the singer. Yep, writing, and no, I didnt do it on the computer, so yeah, it was handwritten. Then came my student politics career. All of a sudden I was writing speeches. I was speaking in front of the whole school, then hundreds of people as a state officer, followed by thousands of thousands as a national officer. These speeches had to have substance, and I was writing them pretty much weekly.

I wasn’t a writer though. Nope, not in my head. I was a singer, and a speaker, but not a writer. Fast forward about 6 years and I find myself in Youth Ministry, preaching from the pulpit a handful of times a year, where I had to write full sermons on scripture themes and weekly sunday school lessons. Now I was in ministry, but still not a writer. Then it came, I had made some friends on facebook that started a local faith based magazine, and they were gearing up their online content and asked me to write a blog for them. I agreed and started turning out weekly pieces about this thing I called the Holy Burrito. I was writing…on deadline…for a real publication…but still didn’t call myself a writer. Nope, I was a blogger maybe, but a writer? Nah, my writing style was how I talked, and I was steeped in sarcasm, and probably somebody that made grammar police twitch with anger. I started putting all my writing on my personal blog site. Then the guy that was writing the latest book for I Am Second read my blog, and liked it. He asked me to write for the launch campaign of the book.

Holy crap! Was I a writer now? I don’t know. I kept writing after the magazine and book campaign were over though. I just kept going, admittedly less and less as I didn’t have anything concrete to submit to. Here I sit, writing though. So, where’s the tortilla to wrap all of this up? Maybe, it was all rambling and I have no idea what I’m talking about, but I think the point is that through all of this I ignored something that God had placed in my life to excel at as a true gift from Him, and saw it as one big happy coincidence. What an arrogant thought right? I think maybe. So whether I’m a writer or not, I’ writing, and thankful for doing so.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2013 in Ramblings

 

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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 Downtown Burrito

The Downtown Burrito

Recently, my good friend Lenny and I that started the Holy Burrito Brotherhood, had found ourselves as the only ones showing up to our Thursday get together. Most have had commitments with their ministries or their family, but others have just stopped coming altogether. We wondered if we had lost the relevancy to our goal of reaching out and having the honest and open conversations we had set out for, or perhaps our season was just over and it was simply time to move on. After thinking a moment, I just blurted out that maybe we should take it downtown. Instead of having people come to the Burrito, we would just bring the burrito to them. Lenny bit, and sure enough this past Thursday, we were heading downtown.

That night when I arrived, we printed out some of the questions that we’ve wrestled with onto strips of paper, mixed them up, threw them into a plastic takeout container and jumped in the car to head downtown. We jumped out and sat down right on market street where produce and artisinal vendors set up every weekend. It’s typically a high traffic area, so we figured we would have plenty of opportunities for discussions. Sure enough just a couple minutes after getting there, we had our first passerby. An older gentleman decides to take us up on our offer to draw a slip of paper. It was the question. THE burrito question. Of course, he just jumped right in and said “He could handle it!” as he handed the slip of paper back and went on his way. Not much of a conversation there.

We waited a few minutes, and it seemed as though suddenly the whole place had become a ghost town. Of course, the night we decide to show up there is absolutely nobody walking down what’s normally one of the most heavily trafficked areas in all of Roanoke. Finally, an older couple, very well dressed, who had quite obviously been out to eat at a fancy restaurant (Did I mention it was valentines day?) walked by and took us up on our offer. I don’t remember the question, but I think the word “God” was in the first couple words and as he read it, he threw it back at us and said “you know what buddy, I don’t care!”. Yep, there was the first rejection. Less dramatic then I had imagined it I guess, but hey don’t we all have that fantasy of getting just short of flogged because we’re spreading the Gospel? No? Well maybe I’m weird.

Next up came a pair of guys, one decked out in juggalo tattoos, the other looking visibly angered. They jumped in and grabbed a slip of paper and both picked the same question  “Do you believe in miracles? Have you ever experienced a miracle?” The first guy sat down and said yes, but his friend quickly said no and wanted another question, he picked the same one again though. Quickly Lenny told him that if he drew the same question again I’d give him ten dollars…he didn’t. Good thing because I carry cash long enough to get from the bank to pay my rent once a month. We’ll call our friends Tom and Chris. Tom proceeds to tell us that he believes in miracles, because the fact that he is alive alone is a miracle. He tells us a good bit of his life story, and based on what he tells us, he’s not kidding when he says the fact that he is alive is a miracle.

Chris is slightly agitated though, and begins to pace back and forth and then plugs a cell phone into charge in one of the electrical outlets there on the stall. He tells us that he doesn’t mean to be rude, but they’re not in the best situation because they’re homeless and they had just left probably the only place they’d be able to sleep in a bed that evening. They had been to our local rescue mission, and walked out when the current resident pastor preaching their evening sermon at chapel had told them, in no uncertain terms, that he was sure that not only were the two of them not “saved”, but that they were definitely going to hell. As the evening went on they stuck around to talk about faith with us, and just how they’ve been treated by “church folk,” as well as what they typically do and where they manage to find food each day.They told us that on nights where the Rescue Mission wasn’t a viable option they slept at the bus station. There was a place there where they could hide their bags so they wouldn’t get stolen, and there was a decent amount of space for them to stretch out and be comfortable, albeit on a sidewalk.

As we stood there, a girl, with a badly shaved head, and obviously pregnant came over and asked them where her boyfriend was. They knew this girl, and asked her why she wasn’t back at the mission. She told them she was trying to find her boyfriend, he had her coat. Without so much as a passing thought, Tom took off his zip up hoodie and gave it to her for her to stay warm. We never caught her name, but it seemed she wouldn’t have told us regardless.

Of course, our heartstrings had been tugged, and we brought them some things, but that’s irrelevant. What they showed us, after leaving somewhere because religion was being pushed on them, only to hang out and talk Jesus with us for two hours, is that it’s in the conversation where the Gospel is truly given. Where’s the next conversation for you? I know this isn’t the typical burrito blog, but that’s the question I want you to answer. That’s the next discussion to be had.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2013 in General

 

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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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Season’s Meaning – 60 Days Of Second Blog

Season’s Meaning – 60 Days Of Second Blog

Day 19 – Season’s Meaning – 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 www.iamsecond.com/blog. Get the “Live Second” book in stores December 9.

Day 19 by Zach Emerson

“Love is his name, kindness is his reputation” -Live Second, 22.

Read Luke 1:46-55.

Today we come to a piece of scripture from the first chapter of Luke that is known as The Magnificat, or Mary’s Song. In what would be an extremely scary and unsure time for most folks in life, Mary goes to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who has also been blessed with a pregnancy of importance. She will give birth to John the Baptizer, and as Mary enters the house and begins to speak to Elizabeth, John leaps from within the womb. The spiritual presence is palpable between them and Elizabeth tells Mary how blessed she is.

As they talk, Mary begins to speak of the awesomeness of God. The comparisons and allusions she makes are absolutely profound, and you can tell that at this point in her life she is extremely humbled by the fact that she has been chosen by God himself to have this baby. She is praising God and speaking of her thankfulness while pointing to His awesome power. This piece of scripture is absolutely awe inspiring.

When you sit down and truly think about the power that God has, in most cases, you wonder why he has truly chosen to allow us all to continue to share in His creation. He can take it all away in less than the move of a finger. He has brought down empires, and He has created the vast and awesome beauty of this entire world, yet He continues to love us in spite of the fact that we have continued to mar it with our selfish choices and single-minded endeavors. He continues to show us His grace time and time again.

So often we place our selves and our personal wants above Him. We exalt ourselves, and forsake Him. We forget Him, and remember only ourselves. Regardless, He provides. He feeds the hungry, and clothes the naked. He holds down the proud, and lifts up the humble. His might is unmatched, yet His mercy is unfathomable.

So many times I get caught up in what it is I am doing at the moment. Even when I am planning things for His church, I forget Him. When I am planning on glorifying Him, I am focusing on myself. We do it so often. It’s one of the things I love about the I Am Second ministry. It reminds me that someone comes before me. I know that He has done so much for me, and He deserves to be first. I’ve heard it described by using the acronym JOY: Jesus, Others, Yourself. I think it’s brilliant to look at it that way. I know that it’s easy to experience a temporal state of happiness when I focus on myself, but more often than not, when I have truly focused on Him, and given myself to others in His name, my happiness and state of mind just falls into place.

Today, my wife and I helped her mom and step dad rake leaves at their house, and then I cooked lunch for us all. I woke up annoyed that plans for the day had changed, but once I got into the swing of moving and by the time I was cooking lunch, I just felt good. I wanted to keep going. Of course, reality sank in and before I could re-ground myself the everyday hectic pace set in. Place to place and person to person, back and forth. It was right back to being the me that it’s so easy to be.

I’ve got to say that having to sit down and read these devotionals has been a great experience. Quite often I will read the Bible, but I don’t immerse myself in what He is saying to me. Having to add my thoughts to what have been absolutely divinely placed and delivered scriptures for my life right now has brought me to a place where truly wish I could live. Knowing that it’s ever so close to Christmas where we are supposed to celebrate the coming of our Savior, this has helped that much more. After working big box retail management for four years, I’ve got to say that just over five years later, Christmas time is still something I struggle with, but this time with these I Am Second devotionals has helped me further fix my gaze towards Him.

My name is Zach Emerson, I am a Holy Burrito Brother, an ungrateful sinner saved by grace, and I am Second.

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

Next for the 60-Days-of-Second: Day 20- “Dunkards” by Zach Emerson

 

 
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Posted by on December 4, 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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