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A couple thoughts on “50 shades” for Christians as the movie gets ready to premiere….

– Yahoo news reports that 1/5 of the film is sex

– An article from the UK news, talks about pornography not being the issue but sexual education. The pornography that use as their example is the 50 Shades of Gray movie.

– A secular post I read from someone praising “50 Shades” for bringing female sexuality to the fore font, called it porn or pornography at least 4 times. Again, not a blog complaining about it but a female, secular professional praising it.

– Some Christians who are trying to justify liking it and seeing it are deflecting by saying why is wrong for women to have sexual movies but men can and no one says anything. The truth is sexual movies are not ok for either gender.

– Some Christians who are trying to justify liking it and seeing it are deflecting by saying the Bible does not say the type of sex in the movie is wrong in a happy, marriage relationship. First, i take a tad bit of issue on that but that’s for another day. Even if you were correct in the statement, the characters in the movie are not married. Even if they were, that still doesn’t make watching it ok.

If any married couple put out a sex tape, it doesn’t make it any less wrong that you watch it just because they were married. There is no upside to this line of thinking.

– Some call it a love story because in the end she saves him from himself and being off track. If you are a Christian, you know the love of Christ that reflects in our lives and this simply is not it.

So, does that mean if you are a Christian and go see this, I will look down on you as a pastor? Not at all. It does mean as a brother, I pray for better for you and your intimacy understanding and I love you either way.

Again, random thoughts to consider….

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

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When we explored the overview of Pastor Tom’s trip at The Shepherd’s Fellowship, one thing that touched the heart of many was seeing people lost in idol worship. We saw images of those we came across who devoted their lives to sacrificing to and pleading with gold statues to no avail while looking for a substitute of man’s need for a Savior.

This study, we dive further into the core reasons to lead to idol worship and what it means to us in our daily lives now. We are not so far away from those laying flowers at the feet of idols ourselves in ways we sometimes do not see. Worse yet, we unexpectedly lead our children down the same path but it doesn’t need to be like this. There is a better way!

Join us as we break the chains of idols that would put us in bondage.

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Many of you have heard me say “I don’t talk a lot about politics” and then it appears I actually do. So, let me be a little clearer, I don’t get involved in a lot of the angry, political bashing and what not but I do address attitudes and side issues. That said, there is one side note that I have been exploring but just now am I at a point of really exploring it out here after hearing from different people and their views.

As Christians, I believe and encourage we vote from our Christian beliefs. I love the dedication to protecting “Christian values”. I love that people are passionate about our beliefs and political system. If you are voting for any candidate because you feel they support your Christian values, that is great.

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First, an apology…. I received this book from Thomas Nelson for free in exchange for a legit review. The only thing they asked is that the review go out on Memorial Day. Sadly, I missed that date and apologize for being tardy.

 Now, to the review….

In an effort for full disclosure, I did not think I was going to be real fond of this book due to my past experience of reading “Pagan” by Frank Viola and some of the things I had heard on Leonard Sweet. Then I read the “Introduction” and thought “Wow!” My expectations went up as I highly agreed with the authors that the modern church is struggling when it comes to Christ. That in the past, the church had a problem with understanding the human side of Chris but that it now embraces the human side while losing touch with the Divine. That’s been a dynamic switch in just the last 10-15 years. We need a healthy understanding of both as Christ was 100% both.

Then, I got into the book and it became what I thought it would be and I was disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many wonderful points, concepts and truths about Christ in the writings but you have to bring a balanced outlook to it. They have a position that everything is about Christ, everything is to be seen through Christ,  and drive that point home over, over, and over. It comes off like a college professor telling you any other way of looking at things is ignorant and a lessor understanding. I had the same problem with “Pagan” (which was a book I was excited to get until I read). It’s very much, “this is my take on things and everyone else is off base”.

So what is wrong with everything being about Jesus? There was no balance of the importance of the Trinity. Through the book, it kept referring that they would talk more about the Trinity in chapter 10. Chapter 10 was seriously lacking. Even Jesus said he does nothing of His own accord but only does what His Father is doing. It’s cool if they were saying, “Here’s an interesting way of reading the Bible. Read it from the beginning to end through the lens of Jesus and you’ll be amazed.” I say the same thing to others about reading the Bible from beginning to end through the lens of seeing God’s redemptive plan of bringing people back to Him. But to say it’s the only way and all else is wrong….. it’s pretty unbalanced.

I also struggle when things are twisted a tad to make the point the author wants to make. For instance, chapter 6 is started by quoting a tweet that said “There is no greater cause that you can give your life to than the cause of Jesus Christ.” The author then puts “Hmmm….so now Jesus Christ is a cause”. They start saying that this mentality reduces Jesus to nothing more than any other cause page on Facebook. Now, do you see what they did? The person who sent the tweet never said Jesus was a cause. They twisted it to the point they wanted to make and that drives me crazy! The cause of Jesus Christ seems to be the Great Commission. That doesn’t just sound like a great cause, it seems like the only one that encompasses all else!

At another point, they list names of Christian Living books that make it all about the individual and they want to turn those points that focus to you and correct them by turning them back to Jesus. Come on, guys. There is a place for all of these books (even the ones I don’t like personally) and we don’t need to tear other resources down by name to make a point. It’s one thing if they were heretical but it’s another if it’s just another point of view or talking about another area of Christian living you are not passionate about.

Another thing that bugs me is when people “count” how many times they hear a word and make big deductions about it. Let me explain. At one point, they say they have each gotten into the habit of counting how often they hear preachers say the name “Jesus Christ” and since they don’t hear the name as often as they like, it’s a sign of the bigger problem. Can we judge content on content please? I remember in the late 80’s (yes I remember the late 80’s) when a local pastor wrote a critical review of a Michael W. Smith CD saying Smith was of Satan because none of the songs on the CD said “Jesus” in them. I wrote back the list of songs I could put on a classic hymns CD (then cassette) that don’t mention Jesus in them as well but are very God centered. Stop using small observations to make big points.

That said, there is a great section on “Bethany” that I am going to use as a catalyst to study more. But for the most part, you can go to your local Christian bookstore (the only place you should buy your books as you support local ministry unless if you don’t have one), pick up the book, turn to page 22. read the full paragraph under the title “The Person-Driven Life” (which I assume is a twist on “Purpose Driven Life” that ironically starts with the phrase “It’s not about you!”), and then put the book down. You will get from that paragraph what the rest of the book is trying to say.

Again, can be an interesting read for many but don’t get as militant as the authors on it. Please.

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Today’s review is a book I was very much looking forward to called “Plan B” by Pete Wilson. He is a Nashville pastor who I follow on Twitter. Over the last year I have appreciated his outlook as well as his personal touch in responding to a few direct texts for myself. So, when I found out he was coming out with his first book, I was excited.

When I first got the book, I quickly skimmed the summary and thumbed through the contents and feared I was going to be disappointed. It seemed very basic, common sense, and not as deep as I hoped. I am thrilled to report that as I dug in and read more, my first impression was way wrong! I loved this book!

With the perfect balance of true life stories, honest and open sharing from his own life, and fresh perspectives on the life application of several Biblical stories… this book cuts to the chase for any who are experiencing life in  a different way than they expected. Going through tough days? Did your dream fall apart and you’re left with the pieces? Wondering why all your intentions fell short but it still seems like God is calling you? Angry at God because life isn’t what you thought it was going to be? Snag this book! Again, I say snag this book! Simply wonderful…..

I received this book from Thomas Nelson publishing for an honest review…..

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Astrology has been around a long time. A lot longer than seeing them in newspapers, in little books by the cash register, or it had its own web-site. However, the recent trend of seeing it more and more on Facebook got me to thinking about it again and wanted to work it through some on a blog. It won’t be my smoothest writing, just some ramblings.

I know for many, astrology is no more than a little fun. No more threatening than reading your fortune cookie. I get that. For those, they are probably turned off they hear some preacher type trashing on it and getting bent out of shape about every little thing.

At the same time, to many others, astrology is a belief system. In the same way that gambling or drinking can go from casual to a serious addiction that effects your life, astrology can over take someone as they look to a false god for answers about their future. It is not a harmless as what some think.

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