One of the most amazing and powerful things about Christianity is prayer. Prayer is fundamental and an essential part of a Christian’s life. It is Christianity at its core. It is so easy to do but often the most neglected part of a Christian’s life. The quicker you learn to pray about everything, the faster […]
There is a God? Why, because we have been given the essence of God. Animals, they have there lives planned out by there natural instincts and habitat. They don’t ponder why they exist, what is the meaning of life, they simply exist and do what is already part of their nature. Humans, without guidance, don’t have those same instincts. We are, even today, trying to figure out how to live, how to conduct ourselves, how to get along with each other.
So without the argument of the existence with God, there would be no God. But the fact that even the atheist, the atheist accepts the title of not believing in God, substantiates the existence of God
If your Pastor, or anyone you respect as having the knowledge and respect of the Bible said to you this Sunday, Jesus is returning this week, this month, this year, prepare yourself, pack your bags. Would you follow them, would you pack your bags, would you get on social media and tell everyone else, call everyone you know?
My question is really, how confident are you personally in the moment Jesus Christ will return? We go to Church at least every Sunday and listen to the words of our pastor, but when they present their interpretation of the Bible, do you take it as fact, that is what God meant.
What I am leading to, regardless of the information being passed around as what Jesus said, mean, what God said or meant, do you have the confidence to stand with or against what the Pastors are saying?
If you saw the signs of Jesus coming, would you be confident enough to stand before your congregation and state what you believe, would you be willing to raise your hand in church and challenge your pastor if he proclaimed Christ was coming and you did not believe they are correct.
The Pharisees and Sadducees Demand Signs
16 And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.
Matthew 24:21–28 (ESV)
21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
Matthew 24:29–31 (ESV)
The Coming of the Son of Man
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Matthew 24:36–44 (ESV)
No One Knows That Day and Hour
36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
Mark 13:20–23 (ESV)
20 And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. 21 And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23 But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.
I was not a total total newbie to the Bible, but not even close to knowing it. My opening of the Bible was pretty much that. I remember opening and reading some of the King James verses and realizing I understood almost nothing, but what I did understand hit me as the truth, and this is when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade.
Went to church a few times with a friend in High School and college. Received a Bible for my 20th birthday from my roommate, but don’t remember reading it much. So, had a familiarity with it, but I knew about it, like most people I believe today, we know about it, but don’t know it.
Regardless, let’s say you want to feel significantly less ignorant than you are now. There are a few ways to get there, and one of them of course is to read the Bible itself. The challenge I had is not in the reading of the Bible, but understanding the context of the characters, the story, and the meaning of them. There is so much more to the Bible than simply the words; how was I going to extract all of that by going to church one or two times a week? Oh, I could listen to sermons 24/7, but that did not seem realistic either, how?
I remembered the books for “Dummies”, how experts in a field were able to take all there knowledge and summarize it into a very easy, understandable read. To my great delight, there were lots of books for the Bible in the “Books for Dummies” collection. They were written by Ph.D. Theologians. They took all the knowledge that was in thousands of sermons and condensed it down into concise stories. It was fun and easy to read, I always was looking forward to what I was going to learn next.
I wanted to know three things about the Bible when I started my drink of knowledge. How it all started, how it was going to end and a testament to faith. I ended up buying four books of the Bible for Dummies collection. One was Bible for Dummies, which summarized the Bible overall. One was for the book of Genesis, One was for book of Revelation and the final one was on the book of JOB.
Why the book of JOB. Well, that is one of the stories of the Bible which brought shock and awe. A man who lived life to the fullest for God was the victim of a test between God and Satan. He had all that he had taken away, but was resilient and faithful to God’s love. To me, he is an example to follow, because in my scenario, I had lost everything and I needed to know what faith was. In comparison, my dilemma was nothing compared to JOB’s.
The books introduced me to many characters in the Bible, there stories, the meaning of the stories and how they can be reflected in my own life. Once I had read most of these, when I read the Bible, I did not feel like I was a foreigner in a strange land. I recognized the people in the Bible and the stories. What was great is if I ran into a story or a character I was not familiar with, I could go to my Bible for Dummies books and look them up.
One of the things that bothered me while in church was knowing: Firstly, where the book of the Bible the pastor was referencing was in the Bible and secondly, knowing it was a book in the Bible. So, I finally achieved my goal and memorized all the books in the Bible. I don’t know why, but I thought that this was a good step in making me even more familiar with the books. I then could reference context, characters and stories within each book. I then realized the Ten Commandments are often referenced, but I had not memorized them, so I did that too. I was surprised, they are a lot more wordy than I thought. They are most often referenced in condensed form, but that is not the way God wrote them. Oh, the first thing I memorized was the Lord’s prayer:
Matthew 6:5–15 (NIV)
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Bibles, so many people get stuck on Bible versions.
If you are new to the Bible and want something, like the Dummies books to give you a strong, but not perfect understanding of the Bible, I recommend the paraphrased Bibles. They are much quicker to read, much less interpretation by the reader, but less accurate than a word-for-word. Many folks have at least three versions today. One might be a simple to read version, another might be a thought-for-thought, such as the NIV and then there are word-for-word like the ESV. I often like to put these three right next to each other and read them. The paraphrased often gives me the background information I need, then the next two get more in word order and exact words, it helps me understand the verse, character or story even better.
Once I began to feel strong with regards to my understanding of the Bible, I began to challenge myself. There are website dedicated to trying to degrade the Bible, including a well know Professor at a well know Theology College.
Being able to defend against those things, proclaimed conflicts in the Bible, things that don’t make sense, and anything else is known as Apologetic. I have found that you have to do most of the apologetic learning on your own, you won’t find your pastor having a series on them.
If you have a resource which you have found to be awesome, share it in the comments, we are all looking to be stronger in our knowledge, faith, love and service to our Lord.
Let me ask you a question: Who goes to Church? Let me ask you another question: Do you watch thinks you don’t understand?
If you don’t understand the rules, the game, the process, it’s hard to enjoy it, to learn and get anything out of it. So my questions are to this point. You, me, we go to Church and we for the most part understand what the Pastor is talking about. We have an idea of where in the Bible the story or verse is coming from, there is some sort of reference we can make with what the Pastor is telling us.
So, let’s say you are a newbie, you’ve heard about God, Jesus and being saved and you go to a Church and walk in. You have no idea of what the Pastor is talking about, it is all for insiders. Let me ask you another question. If you were asked to give a fifteen minute speech on how to turn your life over to Christ, how comfortable would you be in doing it. One more question, what if a group of people were chatting, say 4, 6 or 8, they suddenly see you and say hey, this person wants to turn their life over to Christ, but has some questions? Or they say, this person wants to turn their life over to Christ, what does one say? How comfortable are you?
For me, I would not be comfortable with any of these, although I should be and I believe I have the knowledge to be good in any of them, but I don’t feel comfortable, I don’t feel qualified.
So, this is what I am eluding too. If you are a seasoned church goer, a reader of the Bible, God and Jesus imprinted on your heart, if you are not talking and walking the Gospel, 24/7, like the Disciples of Christ, why are we not?
So, this gets me to a little on the Churches we are going to. Should not these Churches be preparing us to be disciples, to help us gain the confidence, not in our faith, but in telling it to others as Paul, Peter, James, John and the rest did? Should these churches be also for the newbie, the beginner, to be able to understand what is going on in the Church, how to gain as much knowledge as quickly as possible?
Did not Jesus prepare his disciples well?
I am guessing of course he did, that’s why we have the Bible today. So, let me ask you this, if your Pastor or church is not doing this, should we not be doing this together, strengthening ourselves, preparing ourselves? Especially as it seems we are moving closer and closer to the end-of-times. As Christians are being and going to be more and more persecuted?
So, why did Whataburger decide in general to get out of the Restaurant business? Here is my uneducated, uninformed guess.
When Whataburger initially started, I don’t think it was designed to be a fast-food restaurant, it was designed to come, order, sit down and get a great burger what would make you exclaim “Whataburger” when you were done. However, to keep up with the times, Whataburger has tried and done reasonably well at speeding up their service to suit their customers. Yet, many of their stores, I am guessing, are not designed with fast, quick expedient making of a hamburger or whatever was on the menu. Nor was it initially designed to have as many varieties or as much customization as it has now.
After 50 years, I believe the Whataburger family had a sit-down chat and talked about the new future of Whataburger and how it differed so dramatically from the vision the founders had.
What are the challenges:
- I think updating their stores so they are more efficient:
- Not in just food making, but in technology too.
- This might mean too, a deep and heavy investment into
- Moving stores from their current location
- Rebuilding the ones in their current location
- How to roll out their stores across the nation. So far, it’s been a very slow rollout compared to chains like In-N-Out, KFC, or McDonald’s.
- To make many changes as well, there style will have to change, which I think they may reflect negatively on the family, this, them now are the front if things go a little sour, they will get the blame.
- Expanding like they want to, will take as above, updating the stores, but a huge capital cost as well. If they fail, the cost comes back on them, a risky adventure from a sure thing.
- They don’t have the know how, expertise or maybe don’t want to take this on.
- If the company fails in it’s national rollout, the risk is on the back of the new owners, the Whataburger family already has retirement money in the bank.
- Additionally, the family would have to be tighter on the controls of how their stores function and work. So, those in Texas who go to a Whataburger in California get the same taste. I believe there will be a cleaning house of some of the older managers, who cannot keep up with the new pace of the new Mission of Whataburger.
- Finally, only about 1/8 of Whataburger stores are franchised, they may go to Franchising. Not a bad idea in this good economy. But, even to Franchise, there will be huge upgrades and changes to makes sure the consistency of the stores are the same from coast to coast.
- But the first things will be to remove overhead issues, smooth out operations, improve consistency across all the stores, train, train, train, then maybe franchise. Or, they may sell it at this point to another investor
Well, that’s what I expect. Overall an improvement, especially to those who work at Whataburger. I work at a Whataburger and the amount of work one has to do because they were not designed for the type of business they are now in, is amazing. I applaud them, they are hard, excellent workers.