Jesus


I normally don’t write about what I see in movies, but after watching “Food Inc.” at Cine Theatre in downtown Athens, GA, I have to write about this one.  As a follower of Jesus I am convicted about how relatively little thought I have given to the subject of food, particularly where it comes from and who is part of the process.  It’s not that I haven’t thought about it at all, my wife and I had started buying organic milk and vegetables in recent months.  But I had not put all the pieces together, and this movie was a big step toward seeing the bigger picture.

If you don’t know me, it is important that you know that I am a carnivore extraordinaire!  When the film said that the average American eats over 200 pounds of meat a year, I said, “YES!”.   I generally make it a point to eat meat at least once a day and rarely go without.  I love to grill!  Some of you are right with me and others of you are probably revolted at my carnivorous appetite.  But those are the facts about me…and now on with the issues at hand.

After watching “Food Inc.” I am convinced that this issue is not a preference issue, but rather it is an ethical issue.  And for those who are followers of Jesus our Christian ethics must examine this important area of life.  Why?  Because we all eat – and many of us do so multiple times a day.  And all of this eating means that many people and animals are directly affected by the choices we and businesses make.

Of course the main issue is on the people side of things.  My conclusion is that people are heavily exploited when it comes to food.  Not just a few people, but masses of people.  Migrant workers are particularly exploited by the system.  I’m left just being angry about this part of the equation.  The source of the anger is compassion.  Remember how Jesus looked out at the masses with compassion.  Before going into other elements let me just say that if you don’t have compassion for humanity then you aren’t very much like Jesus.  If you are not burdened for the people and nations of the world, then you aren’t very much like Jesus.  You need to ask him for a new heart, new eyes, and new ears, so that you may see as He sees, and be compassionate as He is!

Here are the issues:

How does my food consumption affect the lives of other humans?  Can I change my eating habits in a way that helps people?

Should there be standards for how animals are raised and killed for food?  Does the Bible have anything to say about this?

How can I make those I feed safer based on how I buy food?

What should my perspective be on laws concerning immigration, the patenting of life, farm bills, and safety as related to the food industry?

Are there certain companies I should avoid buying from or owning stock in?

What other difficult issues come into play?

I’ll do my best to give some direction or at least point us to those who have a good direction on these issues.

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I could have used a solid hit from the “evangelism linebacker” today. I had a great opportunity, but I did not take it because I was blinded my selfishness and pride.

Tonight in our small group we had a great talk about evangelism, and I am stoked for the next opportunity the Lord gives.  Here are some highlights from our discussion:

Unless otherwise noted the Biblical text for the following points comes from Colossians 4:2-6.

1.  Pray for opportunity

2.  Go!  It may be right next door or moving a conversation to the next level or it might mean moving halfway around the world. (Matthew 28:18)

3.  Be ready to share about Jesus

4.  Be gracious in your conversation

4b.  This means to listen to what the other person has to say.

5.  Redeem the time – because I don’t know how long I will be here or anyone else for that matter – we need to proactively seek opportunity to speak for and about Jesus.

Colossians 4:2-6, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (NIV).

On Monday, I was driving out of my neighborhood to go to a meeting when I saw a small dog running past me going the opposite direction. Dogs in my neighborhood do not generally run around – they are walked – and I could tell this was definitely an inside dog.  I stopped and tried to get the dog, but the little one just kept on running.  I knew that I wouldn’t like myself very much if I went ahead to the meeting and came back to find the dog laying dead on the road.  So I turned around and with the help of a couple neighborhood kids and another man caught the little guy – actually a girl – named Sweetie!

Sweetie’s dog tag had an address from the other side of town and a phone number.  “How in the world did you get way over here?”  I called the number, but I just go an answering machine.  So I grabbed a dog crate from my house and headed to my meeting with Sweetie in tow.  No return call before, during, or after my meeting.  When I got home it was dark, and I’m thinking that I will just have to figure this out tomorrow.  Before taking Sweetie in for the night I grabbed a leash in hopes that the dog would use the bathroom outside and not in my house.  As I’m walking back toward the house with the dog behind me, I suddenly realize that there is no longer any tension!  I turn around, and I all I have is the leash with the entire dog collar including the identification tag!  “Oh no!”  I look around the other side of the truck and yard – no dog – I look up the road and there is Sweetie – booking it.  So I take off after her IN FLIP-FLOPS…I had already played basketball and mowed a lawn so I don’t have much in the tank and this little dog is fast.  So the rest of this is like something out of a movie – I’m yelling at a car to stop that is about to run her over.  I lose track of the dog at one point and don’t see which way it went, the dog ends up running across 5 lanes of traffic, several motorist point me in the right direction, and people are looking at me like I’m crazy because I’m at a full sprint in flip-flops.  A 1/2 mile later from when we started running, I finally catch up to Sweetie in the Wendy’s drive-thru.  She is now safe once again.  After some detective work the next day, I was able to track down the person who was in charge of watching Sweetie while the owner was on a cruise.  The son-in-law who is a local police officer called to thank me and told me that Sweetie was a “rescue dog” and that she is an escape artist…with a history of running away.  In his opinion, this cute, little, dog is very fortunate to still be alive.

I’ve been reflecting some this week about Sweetie, and how I have observed that many people are the same as Sweetie – running away from the Person or people who are trying to help.  Ever since I was old enough and spiritually mature enough to understand it I have seen people run away from Jesus.  They think they are wise and are doing what is best for them – but they run from Jesus and into the Enemy’s trap.  It is only by the grace of God that more are not utterly crushed.  I’ve also noticed over the last 15 years the tendency of people to run from the truth tellers and spiritual helpers in their lives.  In western culture it is in large part due to the drastic individuality we are taught to embrace. “Whatever makes you feel good is right for you,” and “You don’t have to listen to anyone but yourself,” are the mantras of our culture.  The extreme emphasis on the individual is a great hindrance toward healthy churches in the west today.  So, if you are being like Sweetie, STOP, and let Jesus grab you with His gentle and scarred hands and let Him embrace you deep into His love.

Please take a few minutes to read and meditate on the following verses:

Judges 17:6, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Praise Jesus for His sacrifice for us!)

I Timothy 1:1-2, “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…”

Hebrews 13:17, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Thank you for taking the time to read and reflect, and may God use this for His glory and honor.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Seeds of Blood, Christianity in China…“, posted with vodpod
Here is the video I referred to in the previous post.  Very powerful!


If you only have about 8 minutes, I would recommend that you let the video load (buffer) and then fast forward to where the time counter says (-01:24:45).  You will then be able to hear the amazing testimonies of husband Allen Yuan and his wife Liang Huizhen.  Whenever you are not sure of God’s ability or willingness to provide for the faithful you can remember this true story.  May God help our faith to increase to this measure!

Are you willing to go to prison for Jesus?  Are you willing to be separated from your family for years for Jesus?  Are you willing to die for Jesus?

If you are a follower of Jesus, you really need to watch “The Cross – Jesus in China”.  It was made in 2003, and it gives the history of the church in China.  Let me tell you that unless you are really hard of heart you will be moved.  The testimonies of these beautiful and dedicated people will cause you to reconsider what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  I believe you will also be convinced that no cost is too great to pay to follow Jesus in obedience!  It is rare that I recommend movies or books on this site (perhaps I should more often).  I put this on the HIGHLY recommended list.  I literally wept with joy and thankfulness during parts of it the first time I saw it.

http://www.chinasoul.org/e/e-va.htm from this link you can watch it online (it does take a while to load…worth the wait) or you can buy the DVD.  It is a 2 disc 4 hour set for $15, and yet timeless and priceless.  If you are myopic and self-centered and want to stay that way, well then this video is not for you!  Watch at your own risk.

Are you willing to live for Jesus?  Luke 9:23-26, “Then He (Jesus) said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.'”

I was driving on Wednesday when I heard two back to back radio ads.  The first reminded me that I only had a short time to buy flowers for Easter.  The second wanted to let me know that I needed to buy some new clothes so I could look my best on Easter morning.  As if Jesus cares whether I bought flowers or new clothes.  Many of His followers in the world can afford neither.  Do we really think that Jesus is more pleased with the man who has new clothes than He is with the the man who has ragged clothes? Of course not!  Jesus is primarily concerned with the heart, while the hearts of men and women are often concerned about what those around them will think.

The only things in the New Testament I read about clothes are that we should be modest (I Timothy 2) and that we should not play favorites based on attire (James 2).  On a related note, if we really wanted to be symobolic in our attire for Sunday then perhaps we should wear work clothes to remind us of the cost of following Jesus.  His road was a hard road of suffering.  Are we greater than He?  In fact Jesus instructs us to take up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9).

Jesus, please help us to keep everything in perspective of Your life, Your death, Your resurrection!  You are the glorious Lamb of God that was slain!  Help us to complain less and act in love more!

chet-and-erika1If one day I have a little girl, I hope she is a lot like Erika!

Erika and I have become friends over my last few trips to Mexico.  She is now 11 years old.  Let me tell you that this girl has so much boldness in the faith.  She tells her classmates, kids she has just met, and even mothers about the love of God and their need for a Savior.  I have heard her share with great love for the people and passion for her God!

Often times I find that we make the excuse for not talking about God in our own culture and find it not so hard to share in a different culture where we don’t know the people.  Erika does not have this luxury…these are her people…and these are the only people she has the ability to tell.  I find strength in her story and example…even as I go out today and know that I will have opportunities to share the love of God with people.  I don’t want to let her down.  If she ever asked, I would want to be able to tell her that her tall friend from Georgia is just as bold in his own town as he is in her mountains.  May God help me because I am often silent when I should speak.  Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ…”
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As I share thoughts from our most recent trip to Mexico I need to let you know that I am not going to attempt a chronological order.  Also, if you are wondering what has happened to the study of Romans, don’t worry.  I’ll be picking back up this Sunday finishing chapter 3 and starting chapter 4.  Notes will be available early next week.

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