So You Think God Exists? How Do You Really Know?!

Well I must admit, this post is my attempt at self-promotion. I have brought up news regarding my book for a while, but now I have some really exciting news. I found out the book has been given a release date and is now available for pre-order from the publisher’s website. Also, feel free to visit my author website! On a side note, the book has sold out of the first batch of copies sent by the publisher 🙂  (official release date is May 6, 2008).

Here is the cover:

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The Forgotten Art

Tolerance seems to override modern evangelism in today’s society. Many people wonder what it means to “evangelize” to a person or crowd. No, evangelism does not mean threatening others with a horrible afterlife. Let’s face it; this is hardly the “good news” that Paul and the first ‘Christians’ emphasized during their ministry. Unfortunately, many fundamentalist Christian sects will preach fire and brimstone as oppose to the true Good News. But what is the true good news?

The true Good News is that Jesus has risen from the dead and saved everyone from the pain and guilt of sin and death!

We can’t forget the roots of which we Christians have come. Consider the wise words of Paul:

“For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.” (Romans 5:12-20, NIV)

The Good News goes beyond the silly tracts and saying contemporary Christians have developed over the years. The Good News is Freedom. We need to start evangelizing Freedom instead of guilt. What good does a guilty conscience do for humanity? God does not want “fearful” converts. God wants a sincere heart that is eager to seek His love. Evangelism entails freeing the heart and soul of the individual – this is what the early Christians in antiquity preached. There was no “hell” talk, only rhetoric regarding the grace, truth, love, and freedom of Christ our Lord. There was only preaching about His eternal sacrifice (out of Love) for humanity. It is time we look beyond the man-made institutions of “worthiness”, and focus instead on Godlike forgiveness.

Baptism: The Soul of Christianity

The baby is in hand, the water is set, and loving family members dab tears of joy. Yes, it’s time for another Christian Baptism! This has become a common scene on Sunday morning for all Christians. Baptisms give us the opportunity to share in the love of Christ through His Heavenly ritual. However, there is a baptism that we as Christians often forget about, one that the early Church preached with great zeal and compassion. Today we baptize by water (and of course there is nothing wrong with this), but first century advocates of Christianity also taught baptism by death.

As Christians, we are all baptized in the death and resurrection of Christ. Paul makes this abundantly clear in his letter to the Romans:

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. (Romans 6:3-9, NIV)

Paul’s description of baptism unmistakably demonstrates the immense importance of baptism in death to the Christian community. Our baptism in death releases our burden of sin and frees our spirit – calling this “Good News” appears to be quite the understatement! It is because of our baptism in Christ’s death (dying with Him) that we become purified (like Him) and thus become conquerors of Hades (like Him). No more should Christians overlook the immense importance of baptism; it is far more than a Sunday morning ritual. True Christian baptism reaches beyond the water from the preacher’s hand, it permeates the very soul of Christianity.

Why Are Humans the only ones who can Sin?

I was thinking…why are human beings the only species who can sin?! Animals can’t ever sin. Or can they? I guess I don’t know, but honestly, why is human kind blessed with the curse (the curse of sin that is)? Is it because we are made in God’s image? (which is love). So if we’re made in God’s image of love, does that make us liable to sin? The animals of this planet also live in the fallen nature the Bible describes…so does that mean that they sin, but just unknowingly?

It’s kind of frustrating really. How come the animals are free of sin but human kind is not? Man, the animals have it EASY! What’s worse, according to contemporary Christian theology, people who sin will suffer forever. Kind of makes you want to be an animal doesn’t it? Sure, you won’t have a glorified heaven, but you won’t have a (pagan) hell either. Not to mention you’d have some pretty awesome abilities (like running 50mph when chasing a gazelle!).

This post is meant to be light hearted, but it some of the questions I raise are very real. For now, I can only try to be as least bad as I can (that’s what Christians are trying to do anyway…they don’t try to be good, but rather they try to not be bad).

Ahmadinejad’s Opening Statement…YIKES!

The Iranian President spoke at Cambridge University the other day. Many of the transcripts are available online where you can get an idea for this man’s views and the American reaction. In opening the first part of the transcript, you will read the following:

the president recites verses from the holy Koran in Arabic. “Oh, God, hasten the arrival of Imam al-Mahdi and grant him good health and victory and make us his followers and those to attest to his rightfulness.”

This is how Ahmadinejad opened his speech…no big deal right? Well, it immediately worried me. You see, the return of Imam al-Mahdi can only come with destruction never seen before on this planet (he comes in, resolves everything and creates ‘peace’…of course, if you don’t submit to Islam, you are beheaded).  I should note that this is similar to the Christian ministries who can’t wait for Jesus’ return (which is said to be after massive world-wide destruction).

There are a great deal of Muslims who believe in Imam al-Mahdi’s eventual return. The problem is, Ahmadinejad can effectively “hasten the arrival” of the Imam by creating carnage himself…through nuclear war perhaps?

The Greatest Sin

It is not uncommon to hear Christians talking about sins, and if one is worse than another. Naturally, it says that all sins are equally detestable to God, but is there a sin that rises above them all?

In short, I would say no (although there is mention of the “unforgivable” sin, which is speaking against the holy spirit). Nonetheless, I heard someone say something very interesting the other day that I want to share. During one of my classes at business school, the professor said something along the lines of:

One of the greatest sins that the Bible harps on is underutilization of potential

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Spirit or Soul (which one is it?)

Today I want to pose a question to anyone who visits this blog. I would like to get your honest thoughts on this concept. Often times we hear of religious leaders and people from every walk of life talk about the “soul”. People will claim to be in contact/be one with their soul. Some even claim that Jesus has spoken to their soul.

On the other hand, we have Paul and Jesus speaking about the spirit. The spirit is a very Jewish concept, derived from the Old Testament – the concept of the soul has been labeled a Greek invention.

So which is it? A Soul or a Spirit? Are they the same thing? Are they different? Why or why not?  I want to hear your beliefs.

Soul? Spirit? Both? Lay it on me.