A Year Later…What I Have Learned….

2016-07-29 13.47.59About Book Publishing, that is.

I am sitting in the Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) airport watching people go by, knowing each has a story. Not too far from here, some of our nation’s greatest moments in history are immortalized; I.e. Fort McHenry where Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner. I hear in my head the words from Ben Franklin: Write something worth reading or live a life worth writing about and I wonder if I will ever accomplish either. In a recent exchange with my publisher I have finally retained the rights to my first book. Part of the issue was the non-marketing of my book as promised. This was just about where I was this time last year when I began my book publishing journey. In the process of the last year I have learned the following things:

  • My mom will always read my writing and brag on it, no matter how good or bad it is. Thanks, Mom.
  • Not everyone will want it. Not everyone will read it. It is not for everyone.
  • The whole process is harder than you think, but it is worth it.
  • Some people want your book, but won’t read it. I wonder if they are just being polite.
  • Some people want your book if they don’t have to pay for it.
  • You can write a book, but it doesn’t mean others will read it.
  • Be thankful for those who do read the book and are honest with you.
  • If you have to pay anything for the publishing of your book, it is self-publishing.
  • Be thick skinned.
  • My publisher is really not as interested in my success as much as I am.
  • Find a good editor.
  • Get a marketing plan.
  • Stick to one project at a time, if you can and finish them.
  • Never stop learning.
  • The follow up can be daunting.
  • Those who really liked your book will ask when the next one is coming out. That said, I think I have one true fan. Thanks, Mike. Hopefully, the sequel will be released next year.
  • Don’t give up, no matter how you feel. It’s not about feelings.
  • I published two books. That is more than most of the population can say. That in itself is a success.
  • I am responsible for the production, content, and marketing of my work.
  • My dream is worthy of the process.

I also realized that I need to write because I love doing it. Because I have a million ideas and stories in my head and it drives me nuts if I just keep them there. I hope to live a life worth writing about as well as writing something worth reading. With that, thanks for reading this.

Why America is Christian in Name Only

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The title sounds a little pretentious, maybe even a little bold. A friend sent me a link to a Fox News report called “Where Have All the Christians Gone?” You can do an internet search and find it dated for 2009. (http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2009/09/25/bruce-feiler-christians-americans-gone.html)

The report states the number of people claiming to be Christians is dropping. Along those same lines, not too long ago our current president stated America is not a Christian nation. Could he be right? Honestly, I think so. Here’s why:

The Situation

The current generation of Americans wants to be entertained more than anything else – at work, at school, and at church. This is not unlike most every other civilization that has been decimated from the inside out. Part of this “wanting to be entertained” is due to apathetic and self-centered attitudes that revolve around an “it’s my right” mentality. Most Americans focus on what is rightfully theirs. We don’t have a problem telling someone what we think of them or what they have done. We don’t mind telling others what our opinions are and we don’t mind making it known when something belongs to us. However, “don’t tell me what you think of me or what I have done and certainly don’t tell me what your opinion is. How dare you!!”

The Problem

Adrian Rogers, well know evangelist and orator, once said that he believed the basic problem with America is the lack of civility. Americans, he explained, don’t even perform the basic acts of kindness or consideration for others. Is he right? Look at the models of society that is held up before us on a regular basis as the brightest, most talented, and best looking people in the world. Surely these people are the cream of the crop. It begs the question: “Does Hollywood and Washington reflect society as it is or does it influence it?” What civility or kindness do most of them espouse?

When selfish and apathetic attitudes are my primary focus, then being a Christian and all that it entails is not. Jesus is just too demanding today, one might say. No, not true. He is no more demanding today then he was when he walked the earth. He was too demanding for the selfish and apathetic then as well. Christ is not too demanding for a particular time, but for the selfish and apathetic, which is indicative of our time and our country. Just because someone calls themselves a Christian does not mean they are Christian in the truest sense. Jesus said, “Not everyone who calls me Lord shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

What’s in a Name?

We have bigger problems in America than naming ourselves a Christian in some survey. No, if America is a Christian nation it is name only. The attitudes, actions, and beliefs of her citizenry, which is shown in such surveys and studies, shows that America on the whole does not operate on Christian ideals. Our governments do not operate based on Christian principles. One look at Hollywood and/or Washington and/or most of our newspapers, large and small is proof enough. After all, who funds Hollywood by supporting these actors/ directors, and who is it that elects these officials to office and who is it that appears on the front page of the papers? We the people.

We the People

Psalms 33:12 says “Blessed is the nation whose god is the Lord.” We have been a blessed nation for over 240 years. Yet, we the people have let our Christian heritage erode and no longer hold accountable those in authority over us. The same reason for the decay is the same solution for the decay: we the people. When we get back to the basics of Christianity and run our daily affairs in a Christian manner with Christian principles, then our governments, local, state, and federal will operate on those principles and it can be said again of our nation that we are truly a Christian nation.

WIRED 2016 – Construction 36 – A Personal Experience

WIRED 2016 Worship

With all the chaos, violence, and uncertainty in our world and country, there was a life changing event this past summer that deserves mentioning – WIRED 2016. It was designed to “occupy” the Southeast Alabama area as a force for good during the last full week of June. A stark contrast to the forces in the world to move to destroy, WIRED 2016 moved in a positive, life-changing direction.

What Is WIRED?

The brainchild of Mark Anderson and friends in 2008, WIRED is an organized effort to “wire” together the churches and Christians in unity and mission. That mission is to reach out, touch, and affect the lives of others in a positive way. One of the mantras of Christianity is “to be the hands and feet of Jesus.” WIRED exemplifies this mantra through setting up and conducting “mission sites.” These sites were construction, evangelistic, child outreach, and non-profit agency support, in nature. This year forty-six churches sent youth and chaperones to man over ninety-five (95) such sites.

Construction Sites

This was my second year as a chaperone at WIRED. Both years I was involved in a construction site. Even though it was construction in focus, this site was consisted of the same make up of every other site. That is, youth who came from different churches, at least two adults from different churches, a track leader adult (usually a college student) and the mission contact. On the construction sites, the mission contact is a site foreman and sometimes an assistant. Unlike most youth camps, mission and otherwise, the work is not done by church groups. Rather, the work is done by members from different churches. The goal here is to do missions as the Body of Christ rather than just as a local church group. This not only broadens the horizons of the youth involved, it exposes them to missions with brothers and sisters they never knew before. Sometimes lifetime friendships are created as they work side-by-side with fellow believers to minister to those who may be less fortunate.

Praise and Worship

Every morning the group assembled in the Dothan Civic Center for a brief moment of worship, a word of encouragement and inspiration, and marching orders for the day. Each night is filled with a time of praise and worship through songs and exploring the Word of God. Everyone heard the teachings of Jesus and then put them into practice the next day. Part of the worship and praise was a recount of the day’s events through a video and announcements. Sunday through Thursday consisted of the WIRED group. On Friday an invitation was extended to anyone who wished to join the WIRED group for a night of worship. Friday night, the Dothan Civic Center was packed to overflowing. It was an awesome sound to hear over 5000 voices singing songs like “Good, Good Father.”

The last night of the week, Mark spoke to the WIRED and extended group. He told us if we counted up all the volunteers who were ministering at each site, both youth and adult, the count was close to 1600 volunteers. Add up the hours of each volunteer for the week and you would have over 45,000 volunteer hours in the community. It would take one full time volunteer over 20 years to accomplish what this group had done in one week. Impressive.

Construction 36

There were thirty-nine construction mission sites this year. I, along with the 15 passenger bus from our church, were assigned to Construction 36. Our mission: scrub down, prime and paint the home of an elderly couple in the community. Additionally, we were to remove and replace all soffit and fascia from the home, build a walking ramp, paint the front door, and shore up a sagging cabinet in the home. Our team consisted of ten youth, our track leader (Hayden Bush), and three adult chaperones (Meda, Kevin, and I). Unfortunately, when we arrived the first day we did not have a foreman. He had a family emergency and would not be there that week. The duties of leading and directing the work fell to the adults, who did a superb job.

The Workday

The youth were phenomenal in their participation. The cleaning, priming, and painting stayed right on schedule. They tore off the soffit and fascia in no time. Replacing it in time was questionable and fortunately for us we had back up through Tom and Steve to install it while Kevin, Meda, and Hayden helped the youth paint. The front door had to be rebuilt and painted. The walking ramp was a simple build and was done in half a day. We did not get to the cabinets. At lunch Hayden led the group in a bible study of the principles they were living out that week and hopefully for the rest of their lives.

WIRED 2017

I am very proud to have served with the group known as Construction 36 and with over 40 youth and adults from Balkum Baptist Church. Provided below is a catalog of pictures of these wonderful people who I will always remember and cherish. Next year’s date is already set: June 26-30th. If you want a challenge as well as a blessing serving for at least one week as the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need visit the website for WIRED at www.wiredministries.com.  You can also go to my Facebook page and look at the album I have shared there.

 

 

 

Out of the Fog: Ode to the C.S.S. Alabama

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On June 19, 1864,  commerce raider, the Confederate States Ship (CSS) Alabama was sunk off the coast of Cherbourg, France. She had an illustrious career of effectively badgering and frustrating the Union navy for several years. Her short history mirrors the fight of the Confederate States’ quest for independence.

**Don’t have time to read? Click on the audio above to listen to the author read this poem.**

 

Out of the fog, thick as night

Guns are readied for a fight

Prey caught in helpless flight

Crossing sea foam capped with white

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
On her prey she does bear down

Seeking silver, gold and crown

Across the vessel a warning sound

Onward comes the Southern hound

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Do they run or do they stay?

Do they die or bounties pay?

Perchance to live another day?

Quickly! Death cometh wearing gray

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Pockets are lighter, but lives are saved

Death and burning have been staved

Only loot and pillage craved

Bounty counted while Dixie’s waved

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Ah, Confederate prize yet again

Paid to Semmes and his men

Will terror of the sea ever end?

Sweet victory sails into the wind

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Why this commerce raider? Tell, what for?

She’s a Mavor pirate, no less no more.

Feeding rebellious chests of war

A lustrous guardian of hell’s double door.

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
She was like the South, fast and furious,

The cause she hailed a little spurious.

Many a merchant Yankee left furious.

Less drawn to battle, more to luxurious.

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Too little in skill, too much in fame,

Preying on unarmed and the lame,

Yankee cursing at sound of her name,

Men un-battle tested when it came.

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
One day off the coast of Cherbourg, France,

Accepting the invitation to the dance.

With a little skill, lots of hope in chance.

She came with great pomp and circumstance.

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
From Kerrsage broadsides cannon roared

Hot lead through Rebel mainsail soared

Sweet Union victory at last was scored

Damage final, complete, they’ll not board

The C.S.S. Alabama.

 
Mourn the end of this marauder,

This profitable Southern daughter,

The Gray Ghost, now lying underwater.

Should we sing her praises, shall we laud her?

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Eight gongs were sounded on the bell,

The South’s great tide also, losing swell.

A yet oncoming quiet of Rebel yell.

A great symbol of cause remember well.

The C.S.S. Alabama.

Why I Like Salt

Salt
Click on our Blogcast player below for an audio version of this blog.

 

Saltaholic or supertaster?

I like salt. Those who truly know me know this fact about me. I have liked salt since I could remember. People have stopped chastising me about the use of too much salt. I simply raise my right hand and say, “Hi, my name is T.J. Allen and I am a saltaholic” though I might really be a supertaster.  I used to have salt cravings to the point I would pour salt in my hand and lick it. I would occasionally put the little salt packets from fast food places in my mouth and let them dissolve. It was a little different take on just a little pinch between the cheek and gums. My wife has accused me of salting everything. She has suspected me of salting my coffee (my second favorite thing). I haven’t, though I hear it will make it less bitter. My older brother, Bill is a salt lover too, but I feel not to the level I am. Still I think maybe he is to blame for my addiction.

Where it all began.

When we were younger, Bill and I would break off chunks of salt from the salt block our parents put out in the pasture for the horses and the cattle. The animals would lick it and it would create pointed corners which we cheerfully broke off and consumed. I did not do this deed on my own. My earliest recollections of salt recons started with following Bill’s lead. One time mom caught us breaking off the salt and demanded to know what we were doing. When we explained, she scolded us and explained that the animals licked the blocks and it was unhealthy and nasty. It hadn’t hurt us so far, but mom knows best. So we decided to be more sanitary and wash our new chunks of salt; where else but in the horse watering trough. It didn’t occur to our boyish brains that the horse trough with its green algae growing on the sides and backwash may have been just a little less sanitary than the salt licks. Hey, we survived.

I tried to quit, I really did.

When I was in basic training in the Army I decided to start eating right, whatever that meant. I had been told numerous times of the dangers of salt consumption, so I started there. I swore off salt once and for all. This was a fresh start and I reasoned I would gain enough salt from the master chefs in the mess hall. After all, it cost one million dollars to build this wonderful eating facility and surely only the best would be in the kitchen. That’s what our Drill Sergeants had told us over and over, so it must be true. To a new recruit the Drill Sergeant’s words are gospel.

The problem to this no-salt approach appeared two days later when I woke up with feet so swollen I couldn’t put my boots on. It was off to sick call for the day. I was interrogated by the physician’s assistant concerning my walking, exercise routine, and had I done anything different lately. I responded that other than joining the Army, I had stopped using salt. The PA scratched his head.

“You stopped using salt?” he asked.

“Yessir. I wanted to start eating healthy and I was told all my life that too much salt was bad for me.” I said.

“Hmm. That’s all you have been doing different?”

“Yessir. That’s all.”

“Hmm. Go back to using salt and let’s see how that goes.”

“The same amount as I used to use?” I asked.

“Yes. Go back to the same amount.” He said. I must have had that “are you sure” look about me since he repeated the command. With a “yessir”, I was out of there and on light duty until I could put my boots back on. Several days and salt fixes later my feet stopped swelling and I was back in action; boots on the feet and on the ground.

Salt, it’s not for everyone.

A few years ago my wife discovered from her research (Woman’s World and such) that there are minerals in ocean water you can only get from there. (See this article from Virginia Hopkins Health Watch). These minerals, plus the amount of natural salts in the water are good for rinsing of the sinuses, it was said. Sounded good to me. I have constant sinus issues and I was up for anything to keep my battle won. As a dutiful husband I accompanied my wife out into the Gulf of Mexico to retrieve this mineral laden miracle of sinus healing. I suspect it was just a ploy to make an extra trip to the beach, yet we went. We made sure we were far enough out into the gulf to capture the best; as if we knew what the best was. It had to be where no one was swimming or sand was stirring. Forget the idea that fish and other sea creatures live and die and void in the water. Hey, can’t be much different than a horse trough, right?

That night we tried our natural sea salt rinse. The next morning, I could hardly breathe at all, much less through my nose. The condition worsened into an all-out sinus infection that drove me to see my now familiar ENT. I explained everything to him about the sea salt and how it seemed to help my wife, but me, not so much.

“T.J.” he said, “There is a small population of people that have a reversed reaction to salt sinus rinses. Though this remedy works for the vast majority, it doesn’t work at all for some, and a small percentage has an adverse reaction. You are part of that small percentage where salt rinses affect you negatively.”

“Are you saying I am not normal?” I asked.

“Salt or no salt, I would never say you are normal.” He said with a smile.

“Thanks, Doc. You’re so reassuring.” I said. “Don’t quit your day job.”

“Oh, I won’t. It pays too well. You can check out at the receptionist desk.”

You are the salt of the earth.

My name is T.J. Allen and I like salt. In Matthew 5:13 Jesus says we are the salt of the earth. I think He especially had people like me in mind. Well, maybe not. It is still one of my favorite scripture verses. I just like salt; iodized, seasoned, rock, Himalayan, or block. I like salt. I especially like being the salt of the earth. Salt makes food zesty and flavorful. We too are to add the zest and flavor of God to the lives of others as we allow Him to make us such. Salt also helps by promoting healing. We are to live in such a way that our actions and our words heal. Go salt your world today. Someone out there will like you more.

Forgive Me – A Memorial Poem

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Forgive Me – A Memorial Poem

by T.J. Allen

In honor of those who sacrificed to defend our country and the ideals of freedom. On this Memorial Day; remember the fallen.

Forgive me if I do not stand up,
When they pray in somber dress and suits.
When I show no emotion at playing of taps,
Or any kind of gun salutes.

Forgive me of little move to comfort
As loved ones grieve at their loss.
Excuse the absence of tears unshed,
Though, I, all too well have felt the cost.

I understand the principled honor.
I understand the stubborn pride.
I understand the pushing forward,
When fear pushes hard inside.

I understand the courage shown
To help one’s comrades in need.
I understand the sacrifice given
I have watched our heroes bleed.

So, forgive me if I do not stand up,
When men of God shall pray.
I lie still in homage to the warrior
On whose casket I now lay.

With white gloves, I am folded,
A triangled memorial to a fallen one.
In a case or on a mantel sitting still,
Remember my daughter or my son.

Who loved honor more than life,
To protect, guard, and defend.
Forever in our hearts now cherished;
May their memory never end.

So when you see me flying high,
Over schools, banks, or capitol steps;
Remember the brave ones departed,
And the tears of the broken hearted wept.

Remember the brave living ones yet,
Whose lives are on the line for you.
Brave in the field and those at home.
Embodied, in the red, white, and blue.

Why Couscous Is Good For You – A Recipe

couscous
Israeli couscous

Just for Fun

This blog is kind of just for fun. I like to cook and it is part of my eclectic and creative life. I hope you enjoy this recipe.

A Brief History

A pearl type, grain food, couscous first appeared in culinary history in the 13th century. There are many touted benefits including cancer prevention and boosting the immune system. This food stuff consists mainly of fats more than carbs which is more desirable. (See Health Benefits of Couscous and 10 Benefits of Couscous).  It is also very tasty. It is very sticky and can be used for various recipes. My wife likes to mix the cooked couscous with chicken and spinach. If you don’t fluff up the little pearls they will stick together like rice.

A Moment of Inspiration

On a side note, I like quiche (yeah, I know, real men don’t eat quiche…uh, whatever) but, the main part of the quiche that poses a problem if you are trying to eat healthy is the crust. In a moment of wonder, I noticed the couscous becoming sticky as it cooled. I had heard the benefits of this grain and thought it might work as a crust substitute for quiche. Below is that recipe for a spinach quiche, but the couscous can be used in any quiche application. I hope you like it. Let me know what you think or what success you have with other variations at tj@thesaltyeclectic.com.

Spinach Couscous Quiche

1             Cup of uncooked couscous
5             Eggs, lightly beaten (salt and peppered to your liking)
1             Medium onion, diced
1             Bell pepper, diced (or pepper of your choice, about ½ cup)
3             Cups of cheese (More flavorful if you mix these, say, cheddar and pepper jack)*
1.5         Cups of half and half*
8             Ounces of cooked meat (ham or bacon)
1             Cup of spinach

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare couscous according to the package. (How to Cook Couscous) This should yield about 1.5 cups of cooked couscous. As it cools line a 2 quart casserole dish with couscous. You will need to pat it flat and smooth it out to make a consistent layer of “crust.” Feel free to remove some of the couscous if you feel it is too thick. I like it thick. Let cool in the refrigerator.

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2 Quart Casserole Dish lined with cooled couscous.

In a separate bowl beat eggs and half and half. Mix in onions, peppers, and cheese. In cooled couscous pan layer meat and spinach. Pour egg mixture on top of meat and spinach.

Bake in preheated oven for sixty to seventy minutes or until set. Let stand about ten minutes before serving.

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Completed Couscous Quiche

*Light or fat free cheeses and half and half can be used for a lighter quiche.

Why I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost

Ghost Busters
Logo from the movie Ghostbusters.

Who ya gonna call?

Yes, I know the word “ain’t” isn’t proper English grammar and there is a double negative. It is just when hauntings and ghost sightings are mentioned I hear the theme from Ghostbusters start off in my head. Personally, I don’t believe in ghosts per se. Okay, one Ghost, and I am not afraid of Him, but I will get to that in a minute. Let’s explore the possibility that there are or are not ghosts. As with any subject supernatural, I use the Bible as my premise and foundation.

Ghosts Defined

A ghost, as defined by Encarta Dictionary: English (North America) is “the supposed spirit of somebody who has died, believed to appear as a shadowy form or to cause sounds, the movement of objects, or a frightening atmosphere in a place.” As defined, I do not believe ghosts exist. You could probably bring to this argument, hundreds, if not thousands of arguments to the contrary. These would include haunted houses with unexplained phenomena ranging from thumping noises to furniture moving, to a cold presence, and sick owners. I could not dispute what these people have encountered. My question would be: was it ghosts? I think not.

I believe in angels, fallen angels, demons, and/or evil spirits. Nothing more. I think that all the hauntings, evil and cold presences, sicknesses, and thumping noises are demonic in nature.

Why?

To answer this, we have to go back to the beginning of the creation of man and the world to the first account of fallen angels. The king of fallen angels has been called by many names throughout the years: the Devil, Lucifer, Satan, Father of Lies, the Accuser, etc. Not exactly human-friendly terms. Most religions of the world have this evil being as the leader of all this evil. He not only hates God but all that is good and created by God, especially humans.

Also in creation, we can find why he hates humans so much. After God created all and saw that it was good, He created man in his image (See Being Fully Human for more discussion). The man was the crown of God’s creation and above all the world of created beings. Satan would and does attack the closest thing to God and to God’s heart: man. One of the most effective ways to injure a man is not to attack him, instead to attack his family.

How?

Several of the demonic tactics in luring humans away from God is to seed doubt in our minds, especially in times of sorrow or stress. This accounts for the seeing of loved ones or even animals shortly after their death. Humans seek stability through reasoning and answers. We do not like change and pain. We prefer pleasure and simplicity. Demons appear as our loved ones in an attempt to question what we know and lead us away from God. Many times God is silent to the passing of our loved ones. He has His reasons, even if we don’t agree with them. We long to see them again. If demonic activity allows for our greatest longing during our most enormous pain, to see our loved ones again, then we tend to relieve the pain through acceptance.

Summary

The Bible clearly states concerning Christians for us to be separate from the body is to be present with the Lord. Though some religions mention the body lingering for up to three days before departing, the Bible does not teach this. There is no mention of people hanging around or visiting loved ones once departing this life. Rather, there is a void that exists. Then something else is impersonating our loved ones. Satan and evil forces exist and will do almost anything to keep you from the one true Holy Ghost. This Ghost or Spirit is not to be feared but loved since He is the Spirit of Love. So now, who ya gonna call?

4 Philosophical Ways to Know Jesus

The Thinker.png
The Thinker. Sculpture by Auguste Rodin.

The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer stated there are four basic rules of philosophical argument or debate. These rules help govern debates through logical steps and conclusions. Here are the basic principles in simplified form:

  1. Everything that is, exists.
  2. Nothing can simultaneously be and not be.
  3. Each and every thing either is or is not.
  4. Of everything that is, it can be found why it is.

So, how do these rules of philosophical debate stack up when discussing who Jesus was and is? When conducting any investigation one must use facts as stated by reliable witnesses if the investigator is not an eyewitness to the events. So it is also with any debate or argument.

Everything that is, exists.

Over the years there have been attempts to prove Jesus of Nazareth never existed. These investigators come up, not surprisingly, short of concrete proof for the His non-existence. On the contrary, history is replete with factual evidence of Jesus’ existence so vast that it cannot be listed here. From the Bible to Josephus to early church fathers, the references are there. It begs the question: does He still exist like Christianity claims?

Nothing can simultaneously be and not be.

Many have said through the ages that Jesus was a good man or a good, moral teacher. He claimed of Himself to be the Son of God and the Savior of the World. C.S. Lewis and Josh McDowell stated Jesus was: a lunatic, a liar, or the Son of God. A lunatic could not, and would not have had the mental capacity to establish the ways, beliefs, or truths of Christianity. No liar could be a good man or moral. This leaves Him to be who He said he was: the Son of God and Savior of the World. He cannot be a lunatic, liar, and the Son of God simultaneously. He has to be one and not be the others.

Each and every thing either is or is not.

Jesus claimed to be the Son of God and in fact, God Himself. This same claim was, and is made of Him by Christians since His death and proclaimed resurrection from the dead. He either is what He says He is or He is not. He cannot be the Son of God and not be the Son of God. When speaking to the religious leaders of the day he stated the proofs of His deity: His miracles, His words, and the testimony of others to include: God the Father, John the Baptist, the Holy Scriptures, and those He had healed. These witnesses being reliable as they are, also provides evidence that He still exists today.

Of everything that is, it can be found why it is.

What of Jesus’ existence on earth? If He was, and is truly God, as He and His followers have stated, why was He here on earth? His mission is stated in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (ESV) There is a thief who steals everything from man that can be stolen. This includes our joy, our purpose, our souls, and our lives. Just look around the world today and throughout history. Jesus came to stop the thief and give man back all he was designed by God to have. That starts with his life eternal. This is the difference between Christianity and all the world’s religions and belief systems. Man’s spirit is dead within him. Jesus creates that spirit to come to new life; a new creation. He offers and requires a spiritual renewal. The world religions and belief systems neither require, nor offer such renewal.

You Can Know

Those who would debate against the existence, mission, and validity of Jesus have not examined all the evidence. Rather they have taken the stance of “My mind is made up don’t confuse me with the facts.” Two great books filled with the evidences of Jesus and His mission is The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel and New Evidence That Demands a Verdict
by Josh McDowell. Examine the evidence and know Jesus existed. He was more than a moral teacher. He is who He says He is and He wants a deeper relationship with you. I invite you to start your relationship with Him today. Click on the link below to learn more.

Begin a Relationship With Jesus

Being Fully Human: Claim Your Birthright
       

Finding Something Better Than a Golden Dome

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Golden Dome of the Georgia State Capitol

 

On the street corner in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, a friend and I were standing, chatting, and waiting for the little pedestrian icon to turn from orange to white so we could cross the street. An older woman came up to us and looked passed us up to the top of a building beyond.

“I am not concerned about Jesus Saves,” she said. “I am looking for the golden dome. Do you know where it is?”

It took us a minute to realize what she was asking. I think our hesitations cast some doubt in her mind as to whether we could give her a trustworthy and satisfactory answer. My friend’s name being Jesus (Hey-Zues) added to my confusion. We guessed she was talking about the golden dome that sits atop of the state capitol government building along Washington and Trinity streets in downtown Atlanta (More about the Georgia State Capitol) . We pointed in the general direction of where we believed it to be. With apparent no trust in our judgment, the lady headed in another direction. The dome was indeed in the direction in which we had pointed.

Jesus Saves

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Steeple with “Jesus Saves” on both sides.

 

Jesus and I continued towards a building where we were to conduct an inspection, discussing the strange encounter. We were not sure what she had meant by her not being “concerned about Jesus Saves.” Part of our inspection included the roof top. We decided to go there first. Once upon the flat roof I surveyed the Atlanta skyline. I saw a steeple with the words “Jesus Saves” on the side of it. I looked down and saw the street corner where the lady had spoken to us. Other buildings had blocked our view of the steeple where the brief discussion had taken place. I realized what her statement meant. She wasn’t looking for this building, but for the building with the golden dome.

This woman echoed the sentiments of so many people. They don’t care too much about “Jesus Saves.” They just want to know the direction to the golden dome. Jesus addressed this very concern of the world’s obsession with things that are limited and false. People prefer the shiny things in life to what Jesus has to offer. The golden dome this lady sought has twenty ounces of gold leaf covering it. It is estimated to be worth $30,000. As impressive as it sounds, it is still temporal.

The golden dome represents man made government and society. In Isaiah 6:9a, the government and kingdom of God is spoken of. The scripture says “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder.” (ESV, italics are mine for emphasis). The government of man shall pass away in all its imperfections, but the government and kingdom of God will not.  Jesus saves from the temporal and faulty government of man and replaces it with His kingdom. It starts now in our hearts and will be in full force when Jesus sets up His kingdom at the end of time.

We pointed the lady in the right direction, but, again like the world she didn’t trust us with our directions any more than she trusted Jesus to save her. I wonder if she even knew what she was asking. I know she meant it one way, but it could be taken another. I wonder if she thought, “What is it that Jesus saves from?” Based on her statement and then her interaction with us, I would hazard a guess that she never gave the statement a second thought, much less a deeper meaning. She, after all was “not too concerned with Jesus Saves.”

I, on the other hand am very glad Jesus Saves and Jesus saved me. As Ravi Zacharias has said, “Jesus did not come to earth to make bad people good. No, He came to earth to make dead people alive.” Jesus saved me from death. He saved me from a life of aimlessness and worthlessness. He saved me from the slavery of sin and deceit. He saved me from eternal separation from God and he saved me from unrighteousness. He saved me from me. He came to give me life and that more abundantly. He did all that by the renewing of my spirit. This is what it means to be born again; to be born to new life and to become a new creature. This is how Jesus Saves. This is the good news we must tell to others, even those who are not so concerned that Jesus saves and prefer the gold and golden domes.

Getting to Know Jesus

Find out more about the abundant life with Jesus at the links below.

Are You a Watchman?

Christianity Coexist? It Cannot Happen.