God & His Church

“All Religions Are (Not) the Same”

Have you ever heard of the Indian Elephant Analogy/Parable? It goes something like this:

An elephant was brought to a town one day filled with people who had never even heard of an elephant. Among the residents was a group of blind men. These blind men inspected the creature via touch.

The first person who touched the trunk said, “It is like a thick snake!”

The second person who touched the ear said, “No, it is like a large fan.”

The third person who clung to its leg said, “Not so, it is more of a tree!”

The fourth person who placed his hands on its side said, “Surely, it is like a wall.”

The fifth person who touched the tail said, “It is like a rope.”

The sixth and last person who rubbed its tusks said, “It is hard and smooth like a spear.”

This story was originally used to teach perspective but later it became known for explaining away various religions. Many people use this analogy to show that every different religion is like a different blind person. They only have a part of the story that is informed by their biases and they are all correct and incorrect to some degree.

However, this interpretation ignores the presence of the narrator who knows without a doubt that the creature is not a snake, or a fan, or a tree, or a wall, or a rope, or a spear. The narrator sees the entire picture and knows an elephant when he sees one.

All Religions Are The Same

The above phrase was intended to show tolerance to all religions. After all, we currently live in a world where everyone is right all of the time. We do not want to offend or hurt anyone’s feelings. However, this phrase “All religions are the same” is actually extremely offensive. In stating that all religions are the same, you take away the complexity, the authenticity, and the detailed nature of each religion and you offend those who practice it. Buddhism is not Hinduism, Hinduism is not Islam, Islam is not Christianity.

Every Religion Has a Different View of God & a Different View of Salvation.

I believe that there is in elephant in the room and that elephant is religion. All of the religions of the world attempt to understand that elephant. However, I stand by the idea that we have a narrator who depicts what true faith is and that narrator is Jesus.

John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

One of the major differences between Christianity and every other religion is that in other religion’s man is the hero. In Christianity, man is weak and God is the hero. Perhaps we do not like admitting our own weaknesses, but I can admit to mine.

It’s a large concept to grasp, I know. If you are interested in hearing a more in-depth discussion of this concept, I really encourage you to watch the video by Claude Hickman. He has traveled all over the world and studied all different kinds of religions:

I do believe that faith in Jesus is the only road to salvation.

However, please know that this does not mean that I do not love or respect others any less due to their religious beliefs. I share my faith because I believe that it brings about salvation and because I want everyone to have the opportunity to hear or read about the love of God at least once in their lives.

I am more than open to discussing my faith or your questions in the comments, but please remember I will never approve any hateful or derogatory comments.

 

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God & His Church

Easter – Behold the Empty Grave!

On the third day after the death of Jesus Christ, a group of followers made up of women went to the tomb to honor his body with spices and oils. However, they were met with an opened tomb and an empty grave. Then, suddenly, an angel appeared to them, and said,

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”

We celebrate Easter to remember and celebrate that death could not beat Jesus! Jesus rose again from the grave and just as he did, we will also. For those who believe in Jesus Christ, we will not be defeated by Death. Christ will raise us up also after our deaths and we will spend eternity in Heaven with Him.

Happy Easter Everyone!

I hope your enjoy your day with loved ones!

Wanna watch a service online? Check out Sandal’s Easter service!

Watch at 8:15am, 10am, or 11:45am PST!

OR, Watch on their Facebook page! 

God & His Church

Good Friday – A Horrible Day, a Good Man

Thousands of years ago, a man went into a garden to pray with his disciples. This man was Jesus, who was both a man and God’s son. He went to the garden to pray that God would change his fate, that he would not have to go through agonizing pain and a gruesome death. He prayed so hard and so fervently that he began to sweat droplets of blood.

Image result for the garden of gethsemane jesus prays

However, because of God’s love for us and because of our own sin nature, Jesus willingly accepted his Father’s will and when the Pharisees came to take him away, he went with them without a fight. When his disciples fled, Jesus was left alone. He was taken before several courts and tried unfairly for crimes he did not commit.

In fact, one of the judge’s, a man named Pilate, knew that Jesus was innocent. However, swayed by the crowd’s demands, he condemned Jesus to death by Crucifixion.

Image result for jesus crucifixion

Although innocent, Jesus was whipped, beaten, spat on, mocked, ridiculed, had nails driven into his hands and feet, was forced to wear a crown of thorns, and was vaulted naked upon a cross to die slowly via asphyxiation.

Today, we celebrate Good Friday. We call it “Good,” even though it is a day that memorializes a horrible, gruesome, violent day in history because it is the day that the Son of God willingly died for each and every one of us.

We are all sinners, including myself, but I am grateful to the one called Jesus. Who loved us then and loves us still.

 

 

In case you would like to read the story for yourself:

Luke 23 New International Version (NIV)

23 Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”

So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”

On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod,who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. 12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people,14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16 Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.” [17] [a]

18 But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” 19 (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

20 Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”

23 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand.25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then

“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
    and to the hills, “Cover us!”’[b]

31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[c] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[d]

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The Death of Jesus

44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[e] When he had said this, he breathed his last.

47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

The Burial of Jesus

50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. 54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

Blogs / Life, God & His Church

What is your purpose?

I fully believe that each and every one of us were intentionally placed on this earth with a specific purpose and, as a Christian, I believe that purpose centers on Christ.

From time to time, I intend to post on the message that I heard in church, especially if it resonates strongly with me. This week we talked all about purpose. What is your purpose? What is mine?

As a writer, some might think that I consider writing to be my purpose.

It is my goal to become a successful author, yes, but that is not my purpose. I love writing with every fiber of my being, but as a Christian my status as “Author” must come second to my position as “Follower.”

When I discover who Jesus is, I discover what my purpose is. – Pastor Matt Brown

“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” – Mark 8:35

My Purpose is to join Jesus in building his church. – Pastor Matt Brown

Within the church, every member is a single pebble. However, each pebble is able to come together to form a foundation and then a structure and then the church of God. I want to be involved in building that church.

But don’t get me wrong or turn away in disgust. I am NOT saying that as a Christian I cannot be a writer, a poet, or an artist. I truly believe that God has given us gifts and talents and He intends for us to use them. God does not mind if I write, as long as that does not come before him.

What is your purpose? Do you have one? Do you believe that you do?

“Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone…” – Galatians 6:10

It is not my intention in this post to make you feel uncomfortable, but I hope that it might open up a dialogue. I am always willing to discuss my faith.

Happy Writing & Reading Everyone!

 

*Also, in case anyone is interested in watching online where I watch:
http://www.sandalschurch.tv/