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Child Like Faith 

“Jayce, who’s God’s Son?”
 
“Jesus!”
 
“Jayce, who made the world?”
 
“Jesus!”
 
“Jayce, what’s your last name?”
 
“Jesus!”
 
“Um, no…. Jayce, where do you live?”
 
“Church!”
 
As this conversation with my four-year-old son unfolded, I began thinking, “Geez, my little man thinks Jesus is the answer to everything!”  Then I stopped my thoughts dead in their tracks. I looked at my wife and said, “Maybe he’s wiser than WE are.” What more could we ask for as parents? Our child has things figured out better than we do. Jesus really is the answer to everything that this life might throw our way, yet most of us don’t live consistently with that truth in mind.
 
This conversation helped me to understand the reality of what Jesus spoke two thousand years ago in Matthew 18: 2-5;
 
Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
 
I know, I know… but you don’t know my story…. but it’s really complicated…but my bills…but my addiction…but my marriage….but my kid…but my job…but my boss…but you don’t know what he did…but I’m not qualified…but it’s not fair…but…
 
As my son so eloquently put it….”Jesus.” It’s simple. So simple a child can get it better than we adults do. He really is the answer.
 
Shane Bowers
 
 
 
 

The Epic Battle 

The Dark Side. Light sabers. Wookies. Storm Troopers. The Jedi. For nearly 40 years The Star Wars Saga has captured our imaginations, and been the epitome of Good versus Evil. We’ve seen the inner struggle of men being guided by this invisible and mysterious force. 
  
Having been around for the original, middle, and now the new series, I’m thankful for George Lucas’ imagination (now J.J. Abrams). Yes, I’m a big fan. No, I don’t show up to the theaters in storm trooper outfits, nor walk around with a light saber, but yes, I get excited about it like the next guy who was alive in the 70’s.  And after seeing the flick last night, I give it a big “thumbs up!” (DON’T WORRY, NO SPOILERS HERE!) 
  
As both a Believer and a fan, it’s hard not to notice the obvious spiritual overtones throughout the series. Lucas’ Methodist background no doubt had great influence on much of the storyline, as well as his study of eastern religions.  Let’s remember, Mr. Lucas also created “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (yes THAT Ark…the Ark of the Covenant…you know, Moses?). Make no mistake; none of these movies are Bible studies by any stretch. They are completely fictional and at times the themes go against Biblical doctrine, but the influence of God’s Word is seen and felt quite often in world culture. Many times folks don’t even realize who or what they’ve been influenced by. I believe writers like Lucas, Abrams, and others play off the innate desire for each one of us to want to believe that something bigger than us is at work in this world. That’s what Paul meant in this passage: 
  
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1: 20) 
  
Look at a couple of the interesting lines or scenes from previous installments that likely stand out to anyone with any religious background: 
  
Obi-Wan describes the Force to Luke in this way, "The Force is what gives a Jedi his power….” 
  
Yoda elaborates, "… For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. …. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter…” 
  
Hmm. Sounds strangely familiar. 
  
In reality, good versus evil goes all the way back to the Garden. Satan manifested as a Serpent and deceived Eve. He seemed harmless, and seemingly raised a valid point to her. That’s all the enemy needs to do, is to plant a quick seed of doubt or question in our minds, in order to take us down the path of destruction (Okay, for you Star Wars buffs, think Palpatine planting the seed of doubt in Anakin, or the Emperor and Vader attempting to plant the seeds in Luke’s mind). 
  
While light sabers fly onscreen, we too have our weapon. It’s called the Word of God. And like an onscreen sword, it is powerful, and still active, and it cuts deep into the hearts of all (Hebrews 4:12). 
  
Until the next time, be blessed, encouraged, and keep pressing on in this world where evil seems to increasingly be rearing its ugly head. Always remember that the one that’s in you as a Believer, is infinitely bigger than he that’s in this world (I John 4:4) 
  
Shane Bowers

Eeek! Blood Moons! 

Blood moons. The Sabbath Year (Shemittah), The UN meetings, ISIS, Radical Islam, The Supreme Court, Putin, the Iran Nuclear deal, etc. What’s going on? What does it mean for me? How do we as Christ followers respond to it all?
 
No doubt if you’re online much at all, you’ve probably read or heard a lot about these topics in the month of September. Some of you roll your eyes and keep scrolling. Others read erroneous teachings, panic, and get consumed with fear. There needs to be a balance here. Don’t ignore what’s going on by sticking your heads in the sand, but don’t go overboard by retreating from the world into your underground compound either.
 
So what’s the deal with this Blood Moon idea? Some say its complete nonsense and is a conjured up idea by a couple of prominent authors. Others have read a great deal more into what the actual teaching is.  Unfortunately the mainstream reports it as “Christians say that the end of the world is coming on September 28th!” That’s not what the teaching is, so please don’t be misinformed.  Is it yet another one of the many converging signs that we are living in a unique time in history? Sure, I believe it is.
 
The fact is, God said that the sun, moon, and stars would be used for signs (Gen. 1:14). Think about it. The sun stood still as a sign to Joshua in battle. The sun moved backwards as a sign that King Hezekiah would heal from his sickness. A star led the wise men to Jesus.  So why could God not use cosmic signs again to signal something else?  He can, and perhaps he has.
 
September 28th is the last blood moon in the current Tetrad. A tetrad is simply 4 blood moons in a row, separated by roughly 6 months. Blood moons by themselves as we know are not that rare. However, a tetrad is rare. Here’s the thing that makes the current tetrad we’re in unique; all 4 blood moons landed on Jewish Feast days. That is very rare. It’s happened 3 times over the past 500 years. Each time it occurred, something significant happened with the Jewish people (persecution in Spain 1492, reborn as a nation 1948, and took control of Jerusalem 1967). Those were major events for the Jewish people and the tetrad began within a year of those events. So, if these are signs for us to take notice of, they concern Israel and the Jewish people as a whole. It does not, however, suggest that the “catching away” will occur that day, nor that Christ will return that day.
 
There are more than blood moons or Sabbath years to consider; much more. Culture is changing. The line between right and wrong is fading. The line between Christ-centered and world-centered is getting blurry. Even grounded Christians continue to navigate the waters, trying to figure out, “How would Jesus handle this or that?” The answers are not always easy to conclude either. Therein lie several questions for the Church today. What do we do in our shaking world? Do we go sit on the mountainside and hope our interpretive viewpoints prove to be true? Do we go take hope to the hopeless? Do we continue to “make disciples of ALL nations?” Do we love the loveless? Do we welcome the weary? Do we let our light shine on the darkening of our world, like the early disciples and apostles did? Where does the line between compassion and compromise fall? Some of these questions have easy answers. Others do not. We need the council of the Holy Spirit as never before.
 
Of course Jesus took His message of love, hope, peace and salvation, to the weary, the hopeless, the outcast, and the sinner. He most often left them with a challenge. Some took His challenge (the woman at the well). Others did not (the rich ruler). The question is, will we as a Church take His challenge?
 
Shane Bowers
 
 
 

The Flag of Freedom 

Many came to this New World in order to freely worship without the strong hand of European influence dictating how they might worship, or interpret the Holy Scriptures. Others, like the Jews, came to escape constant persecution. Still others came for the potential wealth this New World had to offer. Over time these multicultural colonies banded together for one common cause; freedom from British rule and influence. On July 4, 1776, history was made when America declared its independence. God’s hand was clearly upon our early Patriots; not necessarily because they were all Christians. Surely they were not. America was not even what many would call a “Christian nation.” In other words, our forefathers founded a democracy, not a theocracy. Many of our founding fathers were not necessarily even Christians, but deists.
 
With that said, was Christian influence at the very center of our great nation’s founding and the many years to follow? Of course it was! You can see that within the fabric of each document written and signed by our founding fathers. While we are not a theocratic Christian nation, I firmly believe that God ordained and divinely allowed the creation of our country as a refuge for both Christians and Jews. He has blessed this nation in large part because we openly welcomed the Jewish immigrants throughout the years (see Genesis 12:3).
 
While we have raced towards a culture and society that’s consumed with being politically correct, thankfully, our flag still represents the freedom to hang on to the Truth and not let it slip into antiquity. Yes, it’s getting harder and harder to wade through all the muck and watered down half-truths in our “everybody’s right” society, but the Truth remains unchanged and unfettered. Sadly some will burn flags today to make some sort of statement (although I don’t know what that is). Fortunately for them, the very thing they burn is the representation of their freedom to freely do so.
 
This past week I read an article where the president of the UFC told one his fighters to quit praising Jesus after a fight. He went on to tell his fighters to “leave Jesus at home.” In other words, he’s telling Christians to be politically correct and keep your religion to yourself. Many in our great nation echo his sentiment when it comes to Christians. However, this goes against the very fabric of what Jesus said to do in the Great Commission. He said to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28: 19-20).
 
Our flag still represents the freedom to openly praise Him in all things, so I thank God for our flag and for America. We have been blessed beyond measure here within our borders, and it did not come free. Those who He has given the privilege of living here in our Great Nation, we have a great responsibility.
 
“…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
Luke 12: 48
 
God bless you and God bless the USA.
 
Shane

Meet Taylor 

Hello folks. It’s been a while since we last caught up. We were in the middle of a blog series but we wanted to pause for a moment and introduce Taylor Benson to you. She is a recent addition to our family. Some of you have already had the pleasure of meeting her live, on stage with us. She brings a lot of passion and heart to JD. Our ministry continues to be a platform for talented young (well most of us!) musicians who love our Lord Jesus. Here’s an excerpt from a recent blog where she describes herself!

 
“My name is Taylor Benson and I’m 17 years old.  I love Jesus, music, coffee and sloths.  For those who don’t know, I’m a music fanatic.  I have been blessed with the opportunity to lead worship at my church, but I also have my own music that I write and play, and I am part of an awesome band called Julian Drive.  I love acting, singing, dancing, writing and directing films.  As you can imagine, my life is pretty crazy.  Every morning I wake up I never know what the day will hold, its always an adventure. While all of this is great I would not be who I am today without my faith.  Jesus is my everything.  He’s the one who has given me the talent and opened all these doors for me to do what I love and that’s why all my music glorifies him, because he is the only one worthy of my praise.
 
So that’s just a little background information on me.  Like I said before this blog is here to share my everyday thoughts and life with you all, as well as hopefully encourage you and put a smile on your face.  I can’t wait to see whats to come!  Until next time!”
 
-Taylor Benson
 
We continue to write and work on new music. We look forward to getting out to your area soon. If you’ve not seen Julian Drive in a while and want to see us in your area, just shoot us an email and we’ll do all we can to make that happen. In the meantime, keep up with us at www.juliandrive.com!
 
Blessings to all!
 
Shane Bowers
Julian Drive – lead vocalist

 

Netanyahu and The Hook in the Jaw 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed our Congress this past week in a last ditch effort to stammer the negotiations our president and his administration are in with Iran. He spoke directly and boldly on the clear and present danger both Israel and the US faces if Iran obtains nuclear capabilities. The point was made that there should be no negotiations being made with an apocalyptic regime like Iran. They have repeatedly said that they will “wipe Israel off of the map.” They also address Israel as the “Little Satan” and the US as the “Great Satan.”
 
Remember, Israel is the same country that was reborn after the murderous crimes of World War II. Because of being pushed to the cusp of extinction, their motto now is “Never again.” In other words, Israel will never again sit by while satanically induced world leaders bark out murderous threats. In Israel’s mind, they must do all they can to prevent another Holocaust. When a regime that consistently and openly announces to the world that they will annihilate the Jews if given a chance, they certainly should not be allowed to obtain nuclear arms. With today’s advanced weaponry and nuclear capabilities, the devastation of the Holocaust could easily be obtained by pressing one button. That’s why Mr. Netanyahu is not content with “negotiations.” You cannot negotiate with terrorists and trust their intent. Iran has lied to the UN regarding their uranium enrichment program for years. They simply must be stopped in their tracks.
 
So why is this important to this present blog series; “The End of the World as We Know It?” Actually, all the chaos happening in the Middle East is one of the most significant prophetic signs unfolding today. Certainly Jesus said there would be “wars and rumors of wars(Matthew 24:6). Luke’s version also used the phrasing “wars and insurrections.” That word “insurrections” can be translated as uprising, revolutions, and even terrorism. Certainly as we look at all that’s happing with ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and other terror organizations, and Jesus was spot on in His description. Perhaps an ancient scripture in Isaiah 17:1 describes the destruction and war going on in Syria today.
 
The most detailed war of the Latter Days is outlined in a scripture of the prophet Ezekiel, and it was written about 2500 years ago. I believe this goes along with Jesus’ prediction of wars that would occur in the latter days, prior to His return. For the first time in human history, the international alignment of nations is rapidly coming into place, exactly as the prophecy of Ezekiel foretold. Here’s how the passage begins:
 
Ezekiel 38: 1-6
1 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops—many people are with you.
 
With a little investigative work, it’s not too hard to pinpoint the nations involved in this prophecy. A close look reveals that the leader of Russia will lead a coalition of Iran, Turkey, Ethiopia, Sudan, Libya, and possibly others, in an invasion of Israel. Given all of the geopolitical occurrences today, it’s quite easy to see these alignments forming.  
 
Something will serve as a “hook in the jaw” in order to entice Russia and others to make it seem as if it’s justified to invade. Later in this passage in verse 12, it says that they will come in to “take plunder” because of Israel’s great resources. Israel has discovered immeasurable reserves of natural gas and oil in the past several years. Certainly they have valuable commodities there that all of these Muslim based enemies would love to have.
 
Unfortunately, the West will sit idly by during this invasion and do nothing (verse 13). Israel has been the strongest US ally up until recent years. Under the current US administration, that relationship has been greatly strained. This circles us back to the top of this article, and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s plea to our Congress. President Obama has taken a hard stand that we will continue to wait and negotiate, giving Iran more and more time to create usable atomic weapons. Why? No one can know for sure, but the fact remains that our ally, Israel, will be on its own during this coming war.
 
Mr. Netanyahu has threatened preemptive strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities numerous times. Recent articles I’ve read have pointed out that our president threatened to shoot down Israeli planes if that plan of attack was carried out, thus halting that plan last year. What if Mr. Netanyahu feels that his country can no longer wait on the US to intervene and assist? What if He preemptively strikes Iran, as he’s said he would do if necessary? Might this be the “hook in the jaw” that Ezekiel spoke of? Russia has said recently that if anyone attacks Iran, it’s as if they are attacking Russia as well, and they would respond with force. Or, what if Israel has to strike Syria, fulfilling Isaiah 17:1? Might Russia then respond to that? There are many scenarios that unfold daily whereby Israel is in a position to defend itself from terror. Time may soon tell what this “hook” is.
 
On our next blog we’ll look at the results of this impending war. Until next time be encouraged in the blessed hope of Jesus, and His Glorious Appearing (Titus 2:13).
 
 
 
 

End of the World as We Know It - Part 2 

As we continue to observe the state of our world today, we will first tackle the question of “Why even study prophecies of the Bible? What does it really have to do with me today?” That’s probably the most common question that goes unaddressed or insufficiently answered at times. However as we’ll see, the Bible is clear in its instruction on this matter. Here are a few pointed reasons not to ignore God’s Word in trying to understand our world today.
 
One, prophecy comprises nearly 1/3 of the Bible. Clearly God deems our understanding of the future as important. The vast majority of prophecies have already been fulfilled with 100 percent accuracy, therefore placing a major stamp of validity on the remaining prophecies to come.
Two, the prophetic book of Revelation is the only book of the Bible with the promise of a blessing to study its contents (Rev. 1:3).
Three, previously validated prophecies are what separates Christianity from all other religions. Studying and understanding these scriptures in conjunction with world history can be used as a great apologetic tool for the skeptic. Many, including me, need to weigh the evidence in order to truly believe and follow.
Four, Jesus commanded it (Mark 13:29, Mat 24: 33, Luke 21:36).
Five, Peter, Paul, John, commanded it (numerous passages).
Six, it provides us our “blessed hope” for understanding the chaos in our world today.
 
Without question, the greatest teacher of all time was Jesus himself. He spoke in great detail about the future. Jesus alluded to His return many times, and even the parables He told often had Last Days undertones. However, He was direct, to the point, and blunt when He addressed the disciples’ questions about the future in the Olivet Discourse. This account is found in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. Matthew’s account was directed to a Jewish audience; therefore the focus is more on Jewish history, the Temple, and the future of the Jews. Mark and Luke’s account was written to a non-Jewish audience, therefore focuses less on Jewish traditions and the Temple. The focus on those depictions of the story, especially Luke’s, focused on the persecution that Christ-followers would face from the first century on; up until the more specific signs of the End begin. We will come back to these passages over and over throughout the course of our study.
 
In order to properly understand the significance of some things we read in our daily headlines, we must understand the importance of the nation of Israel, biblically speaking. Israel was a nation divinely created by God through Abraham. God promised to bless any nation that blesses Abraham and his offspring, and that ultimately, all nations would be blessed through him (Gen. 12: 3). Jacob (later, Israel) was the grandson of Abraham, and therefore inherited this promise.  We also need to understand that this covenant with Israel is everlasting, and not a thing of yesteryear as some have tried to suppose (Gen. 12:7). Since God cannot lie (Num. 23:19, Tit. 1:2, Heb. 6:18), we know that the covenant with the Jews still stands. 
 
After the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in AD 70, which Jesus predicted (Mat. 24:2), the nation of Israel ceased to exist for the next 1900 years. They were scattered among the nations and thought to be a thing of the past. But God revived them on May 14, 1948 as was prophesied in numerous Old Testament scriptures (Ez. 36-37, Is. 66: 7-8, and others). Jesus also predicted that the Jews would retake control of Jerusalem at some point (Luke 21: 24). This happened in June of 1967.
 
The return of the Jews to their homeland in 1948 and taking back the control of Jerusalem in 1967 are two of the most awe-inspiring prophecies to have ever unfolded. Many believe that Jesus was referring specifically to the nation of Israel in the Parable of the Fig tree in Matthew 24: 32-34.  
 
32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.”
 
Various Old Testament texts symbolically refer to Israel as being a fig tree (Jer. 24:5-7, Hosea 9:10), therefore, when Israel became a nation again, many took that to mean that the sign of all signs had appeared and that Christ’s kingdom would soon arrive.
 
This is where many have failed in reading and presenting God’s Word in its totality. We’ve had many that tried to set dates and make predictions, only to fail every time. This is absolutely, 100%, against the teaching of Jesus. Those guilty of doing this have only turned many skeptics further from the Truth, when this type of study should turn people towards the Truth. Sadly, this is why this subject has gone largely ignored. We have absolutely been given a roadmap and command to “Watch!” (Mat 24:42). We clearly will know when His Kingdom is near, even at the door (Mat 24: 33). However, we will never know the day nor the hour (Mat 24: 36). That’s why Jesus gave us the imperative command to watch for Him so that we’re always ready when He returns.
 
On our next blog post we’ll turn to more specific signs that Jesus spoke of as we attempt to understand the every growing tension, war, and bloodshed in the Middle East. We will look at an old prophecy in the book of Ezekiel that might be unfolding before our eyes. This will tie in with what Jesus referred to as “wars and rumors of wars.
 
Stay tuned….
 
 

End of the World as We Know It - Part 1 

School shootings. Unfathomable cruelty on every corner of the earth. The senseless slaughter of defenseless men, women, and children by the thousands.  Moral bankruptcy. The most powerful nation on the planet has debt exceeding $17 trillion. The daily threat of the annihilation of the nation of Israel (and the US). The awakening of the Russian Bear. The ever-growing influence and pressure of political correctness upon the Church. 
What does it all mean? Does the Bible talk about these issues?
 
The short answer to these rhetorical questions is YES! As this world appears to be unraveling at the seams, people have real questions. Even non-Believers have questions. There are many news shows, documentaries, and even countless references on every day television that illustrates the world’s questions with what’s going on these days. Christians certainly have questions as well. It’s easy to look at the evil influences on this world and feel hopeless. However, God’s Word is chocked full of scriptures that will encourage you.
 
I’ve been leading a Bible study at my home church for the past few months about how God’s Word perfectly lines up with the things going on right before our eyes. I thought that perhaps some of you who are friends on this page or go to our website occasionally might enjoy venturing through the study with us. We’ve recently started the study over because many new members have shown a great interest in this topic of study. Perhaps you have friends or family members that might benefit form the study as well.
 
Even as I write this blog, the continued murder of thousands take place in the Middle East. I often ponder the question of how one could cut another’s head off, or burn them alive, and not even be bothered by it. Not only that, but there’s often rejoicing over these gruesome acts from within each radical sect. I’m reminded of this prophetic word of Paul (as inspired by the Holy Spirit).
          
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron
 
I Timothy 4: 1-2
 
When one’s conscience is seared with a hot iron, it’s as if they no longer feel anything. They cannot empathize with the pain of a torturous death, so it’s done without regard. That would be the only way to explain such despicable acts that we’re seeing over and over.  Christianity is on the verge of extinction in some North African and Middle Eastern countries because of the slaughter. The absolutely heartbreaking part is the fact that those responsible feel that they are doing what their God wants. Look at the words of Jesus from about 2000 years ago:
 
“….the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God a service.”
 
John 16: 2
 
It’s amazing how accurate God’s Word is, and I’ve only scratched the surface in this brief overview. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is the only God who has declared the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).  You will be amazed at the enormity of the scriptures that have spoken with 100% accuracy of future of events that are now passé (or is history as of today). If you are a skeptic of Christianity, I encourage you to stay tuned to this blog space. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit might use this study of our world and how it connects to scripture, to lift the veil off of blinded eyes.
 
Shane Bowers
 
 

Radical Christianity 

We recently sat in our church staff meeting discussing some of the disturbing news that’s a constant on our daily media outlets; ISIS, Ebola, The Middle East ticking time bomb, Russia in Ukraine, etc. Instead of zeroing in on the fear factor of it all, we talked about the many heroes of the faith on the front lines of much of this turmoil.  We noted the sharp contrast between faith in America verses faith in other, not-so-free, countries like Syria. You see, residents of Syria are caught in the middle of a civil war that’s taken the lives of close to two hundred thousand people so far. It’s truly a case of “brother against brother,” as there are three different sects of Islam all fighting each other. Syrian Christians caught in the crossfire of it all are routinely put in a position to either renounce their faith in Christ or be willing to lay down their life for Him. This same tension and struggle is a reality in many nations in that part of the world.
 
These heroes that routinely stand up for the Cross of Christ are simply living out Godly principals. First John 3:16 says, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”  Jesus also said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down ones life for his friends.” These are principals that many of us have perhaps heard at some point, but have never been faced with the reality of it all. It’s one thing to read scripture and say to yourself, “Yes I would do that,” but quite another if ever faced with the situation. We don’t completely understand the magnitude here in our great nation because our faith in Christ has yet to meet that severity of opposition. Sure, we are increasingly being told to “keep our beliefs to ourselves” in our politically correct culture. Biblically speaking however, as Christ followers we can’t keep it to ourselves.  Instead, we are to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). The two thoughts of “Be silent” and “Go preach” very much oppose one another.
 
The term radical has been used a lot in recent days, months, and years. It’s been used to describe the groups that have spearheaded uprisings, bombings, wars, and terrorism. It’s also been used negatively to describe some Christians, thus, putting evangelical Christians on the terror watch list of our very own government. Radical simply means to be extreme, or drastic.
 
As we continued our conversation, we pondered this thought. What if all Christians became radical; from a Biblical standpoint? What if we were equally as passionate about what our God has taught us, as these other radical groups are to what they see as truth? How different might this world be?  We are not told to kill our enemies or those who don’t believe as we do. Instead, Jesus said we are to love, bless, and do good for our enemies (Mat 5:44).  Radical Christianity declares love even in the face of persecution, whether it’s a war on terror or a war on faith in our schools and public arenas. However, our natural mindset is to retaliate or get defensive. That was not the original design, but when sin entered the world we all inherited this inner struggle (James 1:14). This tension within each of us is what we have to continually be conscientious of. Our continued recognition leads us to repentance, and thus more towards truly being radical Christ followers.
 
Unfortunately the rise of evil is at hand. There’s no question. There is a shaking of the nations taking place, in order to wake us up out of our spiritual apathy. Yet in some ways, the light of Jesus shines bright in these dark places of the earth, as testimonies of more heroes of the faith come out. Tyrants are being converted simply by witnessing the testimony of radical Christians, as they willingly living out I John 3:16. That’s radical Christianity. I’m not sure I’m a radical Christ follower, but I want to be.
 
As we hear and see some of the disheartening reports over the airwaves, we can be encouraged in that Christ is not silent. His voice is being heard through the many heroes, standing their ground in the face of darkness. Further, there are more “Apostle Paul” type of conversions taking place than we hear advertised on our liberal-politically correct media outlets. What does that mean? Paul genuinely believed he was being devout in his religious teachings by silencing Christ followers. Yet, on the road to Damascus, Christ was supernaturally revealed to him and he was changed forever. Today, there are countless testimonies of God revealing Himself through dreams and visions to those who have pledged destruction to all Christians and Jews. Many in these nations that forbid Bibles or the utterance of the name of Jesus are being supernaturally changed. God promised He would do it, and He is (Joel 2: 28, Acts 2:17)!
 
While the world seems to reach it’s tipping point at times, remember these famous words of Jesus, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).  
 
 
 
 
 

The Year of Christian Movies? 

What’s happening in Hollywood? There are a slew of so called, Christian based films either out, or coming out in 2014. Many of these films are big budget, high tech productions.  A few of the more prominent titles are Son of God, Noah, God’s Not Dead, Heaven is For Real, and Left Behind. 

I get a chuckle over the number of facebook and twitter posts from Christians over how the producers have SO messed up the story. The most notable movie that’s received the most criticism is Noah. I heard much of the criticism before I ultimately watched it. Why did they call God the Creator? (Maybe because the names Yahweh, YHWH, I Am, Jehovah, etc. did not come into play until hundreds of years later?) Who were these fallen rock angels? (Perhaps a VERY loose interpretation of the Nephilim in Genesis 6?)  What about the wives of Ham and Japheth; where were they? What about the weird stowaway on the Ark? On and on we could go.
 
Please don’t see any of these movies if you are looking for a Sunday school lesson. The producers of these movies are not teaching Christian Theology 101. As a matter of fact, the producer of Noah is an outspoken atheist. He recently bragged in an interview with the Washington Times that Noah is the “least biblical biblical film ever made” (The Washington Times, 3/24/14, Cheryl K. Chumley).  He is a producer that put his own spin on a well-known story in order to cash in. I went to see the movie because I like action movies, not because I wanted an atheist to explain part of the book of Genesis to me.  (By the way, I did not really like the movie. It was just too dark and drab for my taste.)
 
Having said all of this, I do not discount the amount of good that can come from the onslaught of movies inspired by the Bible, even though blatant inaccuracies abound, and even though it might be told from the perspective of non-Christians in some cases. It’s got people discussing the Bible! That in itself is great. The sad truth is that our generation is largely illiterate when it comes to knowing God’s Word; even the Christians. Too often we only listen to what our pastor’s, small group leaders, Sunday school teachers, or what so called “Christian movies” (gulp!) have to say, instead of reading the Bible for ourselves. My prayer is that the conversations happening will simply peak the curiosity of both Believers and non-Believers to open their Bibles and see what all the commotion is about.
 
Until the next blog post, be blessed!
 
Shane Bowers