Christians, What Are They Good For?

25 Feb

LoveThyNeighborAsThyself
It has been over a year since I last wrote a personal blog. There are a few topics I want to touch on, but in general it is just Christians.

I have been a true Christian for 6 years now. I have devoted my life to God and I am letting him guide me. I work for a Christian artist and am heavily involved in everything that he does. I never would have imagined 2 years ago that I would be doing this job and I could not be happier. It is the most fun I have ever done in my life, yet the busiest job I have ever had. Fun jobs = awesome!

Anyway, working in the Christian music industry has led me to understand one thing. A lot of Christians are very selfish, judgmental hypocrites. Yikes, that was harsh, but true.

For the past 5 years the Christian radio market has played the same drivel over and over every day. Music fans have taken notice and actually make fun of the radio stations and rarely listen to them. The problem is that the radio stations do nothing to change this. Why? They only play the same bands and the same songs 24 times a day. I live in Nashville and there are 3 big Christian radio stations. Guess what? All three stations play the same songs 24 times a day. There isn’t one station that is rock, one that is contemporary and one that is urban. Nope, they all play Chris Tomlin, Hillsong and Casting Crowns non-stop. Now, there is nothing wrong with these bands at all. They are great and have great messages and are truly great people, but most people don’t want to listen to this every hour on the hour and only that (maybe the soccer moms between 30 and 50).

My point is, there are a lot of awesome Christian Rock bands. Icon For Hire, Thousand Foot Krutch and Nine Lashes to name a few. This leads me to my other issue. Christian music fans. I would say the majority of fans are awesome and one of the best parts of my job is interacting with fans. I truly love it and love listening to their stories and even pray with and for those asking for prayer. Just really the best part of the job. However, there are some fans that are so pharisaical (is that a word) that they are very open about their belief that EVERY Christian song on an album must contain the word Jesus and must express praise for Jesus. So if an artist writes a love song for his wife or maybe just a great rock song about battles that are common today, but doesn’t mention the word “Jesus” then they are not truly a Christian band. It becomes more and more evident to me why some “Christian” bands refuse to get pigeon holed into the Christian music market (AKA U2 or even Switchfoot).

Can musicians just make great music? Shouldn’t every album sound different? Shouldn’t an artist focus on their talent that God has given them? Shouldn’t musicians praise God and sing about what God has done in their life and be thankful for without making every song sound the same?

This blog post is not just about music, so my next issue is what are we called to do as Christians?

Jesus taught us that the two greatest commandments:

Matthew 22:37-40
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The disciples learned first hand about these laws and it was hard for even them to understand how to do this, because it is in our nature to judge and have self righteous feelings. Man created the various religions of the world and various denominations and have fully skewed the original plan Christ has made. However, I don’t think it is right to judge the various denominations as none is the greatest no matter what you might think. Every one of them has flaws. Just like the Pharisees and Sadducees, man warps religion into their own agenda and then finds like minded people to back them up.

Jesus states that we should be pure of mind and pure of heart (Matthew 5:46–48). What man has done has warped this into a selfish act that if you are not perfect you are condemned to hell. The problem? There is not one perfect human being. The people who judge someone for something they are doing, are usually doing something just as bad. Christians gather around one sin, yet ignoring the other sins that are equal to that one sin. The reason they ignore the other sins is because they are more than likely involved in those other sins, but lets focus on the one we are not doing. HYPOCRITES, BROOD OF VIPERS as Jesus would call you out with. These so called “Christians” (which sadly is the majority) judge their neighbor so harshly that the act of loving them cannot even be fathomed. JUDGEMENT, CONDEMNATION, EVIL AND ANGER spread throughout their bowels. What happens? SATAN LAUGHS and rubs his hands together in great victory. He might not win in the end, but he is hell bent and determined to take as many of you with him.

When you are face to face with God, he will look into your life and NOT say “you looked at porn a lot, for that you are sentenced to hell”, but rather “What have you done with your life that helped others? Did you teach your kids about the love of Christ? Did you love me with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind? Did you show your neighbors the true love that I asked of you?” Your sin (by Jesus dying on the cross) was wiped clean, and with repentance this could happen for others. However, if your neighbors only view of a Christian and the true love of Christ is watching you and all they see is evil hatred for them because they might be gay, muslim, drunks or whatever, then you have failed in your purpose for the Kingdom. God loves his people. God simply asks that you do to.

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In God I Trust…

17 Dec

There will always be debate on whether God exists.  The “Naysayers” will always be around and as the Bible teaches, this will come to a final head in the future.

I wrote my testimony out in September 2010 a couple of weeks before my dad died.  You can read that here:

https://jerrybeckham.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/where-it-all-started-my-testimony/

It amazes me just how much things have changed in that 2 year time frame.  As I get older death is just becoming more and more a part of life and it sucks, but it is what it is.  We all die.  Working with Global Media Outreach as an online missionary truly is an eye-opening experience.  I work cases primarily in India, Pakistan and Indonesia.   The amount of people turning to Christ in those countries along with Asia and Africa is astounding.  The one country where growth seems to be at a stand still is the US.  I cannot tell you exactly why that is, but I can think of a few reasons.

1) Americans are probably the most selfish people on the planet

2) Americans rely on science more than any other people on the planet

3) Oprah

Ok, just kidding about Oprah, but still Americans have had “religion” pushed on them constantly for the entire 200+ years of our country’s existence.  The problem is “pushed”.  Media is a big culprit of this.  Sensationalism is all the rage and Americans would rather know what is up with the Khardasians or Jersey Shore, then listen to a message about the Apostle Paul or even Jesus.

With the shootings in CT this past week, someone mentioned how these suicidal killers are wanting the attention of killing themselves and going out big by killing others and making their name famous.  This is pure evil at its best.  The Media sensationalize these killers and makes them want to do even bigger badder things next time.  In retrospect, the same thing goes for certain “religious groups”.  The media sensationalize horrible institutions like Westboro Baptist who protest everything “In the Name Of God”.  Westboro Baptist is breeding more evil than any other institution I can think of.  Not just within their church, but because this is what the “world” sees as “Christians” they push God away and latch on to evil.  You have good and evil in reality and if you think Westboro is what God wants and how Christians are, then you are pushing all things God away.  The people who follow that pastor are NOT Christians.  There is NOTHING they do that is of Christian nature.

One True Fact:  God Loves You.  God loves Adam Lanza.  God Loves Charles Manson.  God loves each one of you that is reading this whether you believe in him or love him back.  Just because you are loved and cared for, doesn’t mean you have to love someone back or follow their rules (most teenagers understand this).  I cannot state this enough.  God Loves You.  He might not like some of the things you do or how you act or how you treat others, but the truth is, it doesn’t matter if you are a devout Christian who loves God more than anything or the Atheist who just doesn’t care, we are all sinners.  We all do things that are not perfect in God’s eyes and we were all born this way.  The difference in being a Christian and Non-Christian is that when you give your life to God, he will show you the sin, make it evident and guide you to be better.  God will also bless you and take care of you in ways you cannot imagine.

John 14:6
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Matthew 10:32-33
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

I have documented most of the miracles and things God has done in my life in another writing outlet.  I look back on it from time to time and really cannot understand why God loves me so much.  I am just an average Joe and nobody.  However, I try to live each day by following Jesus’ two commandments.

Matthew 22:37-40
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

If you can just follow these two commandments, then everything else will work itself out.  Just as God loves each of you, so do I.  As those close to me know, if you ever need anything, I am there for you and if I cannot do it or am unable to physically help, I can get people who can.  God has done way too much in my life to ever doubt his existence and I wish I could have you live in my body for even just one week and you too will see.

Peter Furler Adventure

11 Aug

When I first started listening to Christian music in 1990, my favorite bands were DC Talk and Newsboys. The Newsboys were the first band I ever met. This was in 1990 at Atlanta Fest.

Peter Furler was the lead singer of the Newsboys and left the band in 2009. He then wrote his first CD “On Fire” in 2011.

I had been working with Dustbrand Films and were going to Nashville to shoot Peter’s first music video. I was not going to go, but my wife insisted. So I went and it was awesome.

At the shoot, not only did I get to hang out with Peter, but the editor of CCM magazine was there and I felt compelled to ask her if they were hiring photographers. She said they were, but did not have the budget to pay anyone. I told her I would be interested and started the following week.

A month later, there was a convention in Atlanta and the editor and I went. Peter was performing and I got to hang out with him a little. Also that month one of the photos I took of Peter at the Reach shoot was used on the cover of Christian Musician Magazine.

In November, Dustbrand did a video in Florida for Peter. We had a great time and got to hang out at Peter’s condo with him and his wife.

Since that time Peter and I have talked on the phone a few times and over various emails.

In January he got back stage passes for Katrina and I for Winterjam and we got to hang out with him and the band.

Shortly after I started talks with him about a festival and we spent many phone calls discussing how it works and I truly got to understand Peter’s nature. A genuine Godly man.

Him and I continued to talk about cameras and such and on one conversation, we talked about social media. He hired me on as his social media manager. In the two weeks I have been doing this, I have taken his reach from 20k to over 100k.

Peter invited me to photograph and video his rehearsal last week and to go on tour with him tonight through Monday. In praying about this trip, I feel like God has something special in store for him and will use me to help him.

I will be excited to see where God is taking me and my family.

It’s Personal

21 Mar

I have a desire to help people.  I have mentioned this before.  I am currently working on a huge project with an organization called Least Of These.  They are putting on a rather large benefit concert in Florida in November 2012.  I am I charge of booking the artists for the show.  This is somewhat of a dream for me, because I get to pick who I want to play at the concert and then get approval from the board.

I truly believe that God is behind this concert and that makes me even more excited about it.  I cannot go into specific details, but perhaps I will once this is over.

I am really excited that once this concert takes place, my son will be the opening act.  It really is a dream for me not only to see my son play in front of thousands of people, but to open up for one of my favorite bands.

Speaking of my son (who is actually the main topic for this blog), I cannot believe he is a senior in high school at the same high school I graduated from.   Blows my mind.  In the fall he is going to Ft. Lauderdale to college.  I really cannot believe this either.  His journey to this college is truly something put in front of us by God and we are following his path.  I know somehow God will make this all work out.

I am so proud of the man my son is becoming and cannot wait to see all that he learns at this school.  He will be spiritually taught by one of my all time favorite pastors, Bob Coy and that excites me just as much as him going to the school at CCFL.

He had such a promising future and I feel it is my job as his father to help guide him there.  He is such a good kid (not perfect by any means) and it makes me happy to call him son.

Over the past two years he has struggled with a lot of personal stuff and he has gone from a C/D student to A/B and to someone who all the teachers love having around and every where I go I meet kids from Shiloh who like him and all have nice things to say about him.  He puts God first and I fully believe that he now understands the power of God and is seeing it first hand, which is amazing at his age.

I am also super excited that he has some fabulous mentors around him from his choir teacher,  Pastor Tim, David Giles, and good ole’ Marvin Mumford.   I am so thankful for all four of these men.

God has answered a major prayer with my son and I cannot wait to see what his future holds.

Where is the wisdom?

28 Feb

I have had a personal struggle for the past few years. I want to be wise like Solomon. In my mind, wisdom was not speaking out, not being loud, girding what you say, so being quiet was the key. The problem for me is, I cannot be quiet. I sometimes feel like Peter and have the insert foot into mouth disease. However, no matter how hard I try, I cannot keep my mouth quiet. I have, however, learned to tame my mouth and gird what I say.

In thinking on this idea of wisdom, it has led me to believe and understand people.

Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words. – Proverbs 23:9

In me being loud and a little unethical, I have opened myself to the public eye and allowed everyone into my life. Honestly, not much is private. This is not a new thing for me. Ever since I started “blogging” in 2000, my life has been an open book. I am 180 degrees different now than I was back then, but I have always had a voice, an opinion. However, one thing that has remained true most of my life, I have loved and cared for my friends and family.

As a 20 something divorced dad, I was unique amongst my friends. Most of my 20 something friends at that time had never been married, much less having any kids. Our singles minister was like a spiritual father to a lot of us and a lot of us loved him and his family deeply. My fall from religion was strictly the product of man’s religion and not the leadership of the church I was at. I know that now. However, I also remember the love that Bob gave to us single people. I am not sure how it worked out this way, but I have a strong love for these young people as well. It might be because I am wiser now than I was then, it might be because I screwed up and understand why. It might be because I know and truly understand what was lacking in my life at that point at that age and I want to teach this to others.

The issue now is, does God want me to do this or does he have other plans for me? I know my love for people is not normal from what I have seen in most Christians. I might not agree with your lifestyle, I might not agree with your attitude, but I have this desire to love you and be there for you through the tough times and the good times. Where does this come from? I do know my dad was similar in that he was always nice to everyone. Perhaps this is genetic. Maybe God had given this gift to both him and I or perhaps he gave it to my dad and he taught this to me. I don’t know, but it is a really hzzzzZz-rooted feeling I have.

When I started my blog in 2000, I met so many great people all across the world. i would have never met them any other way. It truly was great. Today, we have Facebook and I am able to not only keep up with family and friends from high school, but kids I grew up with in my neighborhood in the 70’s and elementary school. I pray for them, I love them and I love seeing pictures of them with their families. Some of them I just watch and think “weren’t we just playing on the swing sets at 8 years old?”

I just watched a video from a pastor named Hugh Halter. Truly inspiring words from this man.

“God doesn’t categorize people as atheists, agnostics, good Christians or bad Christians, pagans or saints. He simply sees people where they are and understands the disorientation or spiritual vertigo people fight through, especially the vertigo caused by religion and religious people.

We over spiritualize or theologize why God came to earth through his son, but the real reason is that he knew that men and women were unable to understand, see, or perceive His true glory unless he came and lived among us as the least religious person they would have ever met” – Hugh Halter

We need to take the legalism out of the church, and put the love back in. The love for one another and especially for the love of those in our community. I truly believe our time here on this Earth is dwindling and I cannot just sit back and wait. I was not built that way and I will do whatever I can to help whoever I can.

You can to. I ask that you start by helping someone this week. Whether it is taking out their trash, helping them with something around the house, or paying for someone’s meal or groceries. Show the world, what a true Christian is. God loves everyone one of you, so this love to everyone else.

Science and God – How the world reacts.

24 Jan

(this is not being proofed and is strictly my raw feelings on this matter)

I love watching the History Channel.  I love the scientific travels through our history.  As a Christian, most ignore these shows because they are obviously not Biblically based.  I, on the other hand, look at the science that God has given to man and try to match it up with the Bible and what God teaches us.  There are obvious things that won’t match up. Like Carbon Dating and other things that show the true birth of objects.  This has been proven to be false with fossilized items like rubber tires (clearly not 1 million years old).  Regardless, there are things that match up that most would overlook.

I watched a show that was scientifically explaining the plagues that God had cast down on the Egyptians through Moses.   They explained based on the timeline that is believed to be when the volcano activity on Santorini occurred in Greece.  This volcanic activity resulted in the darkness over taking Egypt, the Nile being polluted and causing the Frogs and insects to come from the river to the land.  Each plague could be naturally set into motion from this once global activity.  The 10th plague (death of firstborn) could be due to food polluted during the time of darkness, either by locusts or by the black mold Cladosporium.  When people emerged after the darkness, the firstborn would be given priority, as was usual, and would consequently be more likely to be affected by any toxin or disease carried by the food. Meanwhile, the Israelites ate food prepared and eaten very quickly which would have made it less likely to be infected.

Since God is omniscience, he would know this was going to happen in the exact sequence it did and would inform Moses of the coming plagues.  Moses would explain to Pharoah and thus it would happen as stated, because God already knew this was going to happen.

If we look thousands of years later to today, do you think God doesn’t already know what the plan is?  The Bible is filled with prophecy of things to come.  Some things have happened and the more disastrous stuff is only yet to come.  I will not go through every single judgement, but just want to pinpoint a few to get you to understand my thoughts on this.

Revelation 16:8 –  The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire

It is not a mystery that the Ozone layer is thinning and the sun is causing more and more damage to people.  With the increase in the Sun’s solar flares over the past 10 years, it is only a matter of time when the sun will scorch people.

Revelation 16:17-21 – The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. 19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20 Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. 21 From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds,[a] fell on people. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.

Just like during Noah’s time, God can hurl a meteor or asteroid at the Earth when the time is ready.  Perhaps the time is already in place and this 7th bowl judgement is timed exactly when this large global killer is projected to hit the Earth.  Scientist watch the skies every minute of the day looking for that particular killer object.  I personally believe they will not see it until the other judgements have started to happen.

Unlike most people, I am not a Pre-Trib person.  I am Mid-Trib.  There is a reason God has given these prophecies to his people and there is a reason he has been really specific on most of them.  It is our job as Christians to spread the Gospel and make sure people understand the time is near.  Maybe during my lifetime, maybe during my kids, but it is sooner than later.

Just a quick Bible lesson on why I am a Mid_Tribber.  When God is using metaphor or symbols in the Bible he is pretty clear that this is a symbol and will explain what it means soon after.   One of my favorite parts of the Bible is when the Pharisees ask Jesus when the end will come.  In Luke 17 he answers:

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’[d] For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
22 Then He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 And they will say to you, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’[e] Do not go after them or follow them. 24 For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day. 25 But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

Just as when a woman is pregnant, You know that in that 9th month and close to a particular day she will have the baby, but you don’t know the exact day or hour it will happen.  We are given this analogy just like when Lot was told to leave Sodom, he was not told to leave and something bad will happen in a year or two.  No, Lot of walking away from the city when God destroyed it.  Noah did not sit in his arc for a year or two waiting on this storm to come, Noah got into the ark and the flood came and destroyed everything immediately. 

We are given the signs of things to come, from Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Revelation and even Jesus’s own words.  We have to be ready.  We know there will be a 7 year tribulation and we know the really bad stuff happen after about 3.5 years.  However, the confusing part seems to be when does this whole process start. 

My thoughts (this is strictly my opinion backed by what the Bible says) is that the first day of the tribulation period will be marked when the Antichrist signs a peace agreement with Israel (and many, likely the Arab League) for seven years. He will later break it midway through the tribulation period. Something dramatic has to happen for this to take place.  We need to look at this major prophecy before we can think about the Tribulation starting.

Isaiah 17 talked about the destruction of Damascus.  It will be a ruinous heap.  Please note that Damascus is one of the largest, oldest productive cities in the world.  This prophecy has not happened.  Once Damascus is destroyed, this could be part of the reason for the peace treaty.  I believe that Iran, Russia and Syria will go to war with Israel and possibly the US.  There will be a three-day nuclear war with millions dead and some world leader will put up his hands and declare that there must be peace.   This will be the start of the Peace Treaty and the start of the tribulation.

If you pay attention to world news, this war might be closer than we want it to be.  I do not believe any information of this will show on the front pages of any US News agency, but all the world news agencies are talking about what is going on with Syria, Iran, Russia and the US and Israel.  The US wants to sever all ties between Iran and Syria and Israel is threatening to destroy the Nuclear facilities in Iran.  Russia is threatening Israel and the US that if this does happen it would be a “disaster”.

Israel is ready to attack Iran.  Iran reported this week that it has missiles that can hold nuclear weapons and that could not be detected by radar.  In addition, they announced they have been able to produce nuclear bomb grade fuel rods for these missiles.  This is all real and happening right now.  The US has two carrier fleets surrounding Iran at this moment, they have over 15,000 troops in Israel and have moved over 30,000 troops from European countries to areas surrounding Iran.  In addition, the US and Israel have covertly been killing nuclear scientists in Iran over the past year.  Iran has announced that they know the US and Israel are behind this. 

I pray for the people in the Middle East, but I also pray for everyone who does not know our God and that they soon find peace in knowing Jesus Christ.  The future has already been mapped out and written down.  There is not a way to stop it, but there is a way to be ready. 

If you have questions about Jesus, please read the following Website.

http://www.godlife.com/look-to-jesus

God Bless!

1 Week of the Daniel Fast – God Speaks

8 Jan

I am just about to finish my first week of the Daniel Fast.  It has been tough and I have 2 more weeks of it, but this is a lot more than my hunger, this is about my spirit communicating with God in a way it never has before.

In the past, when I have studied the Bible and asked for prayer for something specific, God has answered it one way or another.  What has happened now is God is telling me something and I am to prepare for it.

Here is what I do know.  During my quiet time yesterday, I was studying Ezekiel 2-4.  As I was studying Chuck Smith’s notes on this, the following verse kept playing over and over and I kept going back to it.

Ezekiel 3:20 “Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 21 But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.

Pastor Chuck stated “I don’t care what profession you’ve made. If you’re living and walking after the flesh, if you are living in the practice of sin, opposed to God, I don’t care what righteous things you may have done. Your very life is denying Jesus Christ and faith in Jesus Christ, through which faith God imputes righteousness to us. But your very life denies Him, and you’re going to perish in your sin.”

This stuck with me all day yesterday.

Today during our service Pastor Sandy talked about God’s grace and how Jesus was the Splint and Flint.  Basically through Jesus Christ, if you have been bruised or damaged, then he can heal you.  Some people think they are too damaged to be a Christian, but in truth, it doesn’t matter what you have done, if you reach out and ask Jesus to live in you, he will forgive everything you have ever done and you will be a new creation.  I am an example of this.

Even though this is particularly important for all people to understand, it seems that God is teaching me this to teach others specifically teenagers.

After some prayer today I understand the correlation between the Ezekiel passage and what Sandy was teaching in Matthew today.  You might think they contradict each other, but actually they flow perfectly together.

Jesus is the way the truth and the light.