Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Part 4

Hello everyone.  Merry Christmas!  Today, I want to post the last installment of my version of the Christmas story.  It's the part of the story I think we are most familiar with.

When we left Joseph and Mary, they were headed to the town of Bethlehem.  Now Bethlehem is basically part of Jerusalem.  You might consider it a suburb because it is about 5 miles from Jerusalem.  So David and Mary go there but apparently there are a whole bunch of folks in town for this census thing.  Because of this, they can't find a room anywhere at any of the hotels.  This is a pretty bad thing because Mary is 9 months pregnant.

In Texas, I can tell you this would have been really bad news.  See they had to stay in a barn with no central heat and air.  Today as I write this, it's 41 degrees Fahrenheit outside in Fort Worth.  Not many women could handle being 9 months pregnant and actually giving birth to a baby in a barn under those circumstances.  Now ladies, I don't mean this as a slight against you.  I was in the room for the birth of all three of my children and after seeing what their mother went through, I don't know one man who could handle giving birth to a child under any circumstances!  But there they were and that is where Jesus was born - in a barn.  They wrapped him in a blanket and used the animal's feeding trough as a baby crib.  It's pretty amazing to thing that the greatest person ever to walk the earth was born in such lowly circumstances.  Do you find yourself living below where you would like?  Well, take heart.  Jesus started in exactly the same situation.  Guess what, he came out of that situation.  It didn't happen because he was the Son of God, it happened because he had faith in God and now you and I can operate in that same type of faith.

So at the instant that Jesus was born, there were these sheppards in a field keeping watch over their flocks and an angel of the Lord appeared to them.  I wonder why God chose them instead of anyone else?  He could have chosen the religious leaders or maybe even the government but he chose these sheppards.  When the angel shows up, the glory of the Lord shone all around these guys and it freaked them out.  They must have thought this was some type of alien that appeared out of no where in the sky.  They were terrified.  The first thing the angel said was, "Don't be afraid."  He went on to say, "I bring you news that is great for everyone.  Today in Bethlehem, the Savior of the world was born.  He is Christ the Lord.  You can find him wrapped in a blanket staying in a barn."

Suddenly there was a multitude of angels in the sky praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."  Then the angels left those guys and went back to heaven.  Naturally these guys wanted to see Jesus so they hurried off to the barn to see Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.  They found them right where the angel said that He would be. 

Now it looks like after reading the bible that there was another set of dudes that showed up after some time.  These other dudes had a lot of money.  Think of people like Bill Gates, the guy who started Facebook, and Warren Buffett.  These cats were loaded.  Now they heard that Jesus was born and went looking for him to give him gifts and when they found Jesus they gave him some pretty expensive stuff.

Luke 2 and Matthew 1.

There is no good way to stop this story because the story has been going on for over 2,000 years now and it will never stop.  I have heard people say that Jesus is the reason for the season.  That's true but remember Jesus is the season.  Everything good about Christmas is a reflection of Christ on the earth.  Always remember that Jesus has a gift ready for you for Christmas this year.  As a matter of fact, it is the first of many gifts that he has planned for you but you have to accept the gift.  It's the gift of salvation.  What does that mean?  Some think it means getting your ticket punched so you can go to heaven but it is so much more than that.  Salvation is the way to get born into a family.  That family is alive all over the world today.  Are you lonely this holiday season?  Do you miss family members?  Maybe you don't have a family at all and you are reading this. 

If that's the case, you can become a member of my family by simply saying this prayer.  "Jesus, I want to be part of your family.  Please come into my heart and make me your brother or sister.  I accept you as my Lord and savior."  It's that simple.  If you prayed that prayer for the first time, would you please let me know.  If that is you, I want to be the first to tell you, welcome to the family.  You are now my brother or sister.  Our brother Jesus is constantly hanging out with our Dad planning good things for us.  If you prayed that prayer, please try to find a good church that will teach you all about our family from our history, to the way we love each other to what our family business is all about.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Minion

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Part 3

Hello Everyone,

This is part three of the story of Christmas.

Now Mary is pregnant with Jesus and Elizabeth is pregnant with John.  For those of you who don't know, John and Jesus' lives will be intertwined through out all of John's time on earth and most of Jesus.  I believe John is the one who ultimately baptizes Jesus and John gets his head cut of by the king because he tell the king that the king was doing something wrong.

OK, back to the story.  Mary decides that since she and Elizabeth are cousins that she's going to pay Elizabeth a visit and she does.  Here's something that strikes me as interesting.  It seems like several people must have known about what was going on with Mary and more than one believed her because when she rolls into Zach's house, Elizabeth says, "Your are most blessed of all women and the child you bear will be very blessed.  I know you are Jesus mother, why did you come to visit me.  As soon as you said hello, John started moving around.  You are very blessed because you believed that God will accomplish what he said he would."  We can learn something from this and I may have already pointed it out.  Mary was very blessed because she trusted God.  God is a gentlemen.  I believe that if Mary had told God she didn't want to be Jesus' mom, he would have passed her by and found someone else.  Now we don't have any record of this in the bible, but it's possible that Mary was not the first person God approached about this.  I can't prove that one way or the other.

But what we do know is that Mary had faith in God.  We also know that Joseph had faith in God.  So the Lord was putting Jesus in a house where his parents both had faith.  It is truly an amazing thing when people come together in agreement and stand in faith together.

So after Elizabeth talks to Mary, the anointing comes in Mary and she sings this song:

My soul glorifies God and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
For he is mindful of how humble I am (side note, this is the second place in the bible where someone called themselves humble.  Moses wrote that he was the most humble man ever to walk the earth.)
From now on all the nations will call me blessed
For the Lord Almighty has done great things for me
His mercy extends to those that fear him from generation to generation

He has performed mighty deeds
He has scattered the proud
He has brought down kings
But has lifted up the humble

He has filled the hungry with good things
But sent the rich away empty
He has helped Israel, remembering to be merciful
To Abraham and his descendants for ever

After this, Mary hung out with Elizabeth for three months and then she went back to Joseph's place.  You have to feel for Joseph a little.  Not only did he not get to go on a honeymoon with Mary but pretty quick after they get married, she takes a three month vacation to Elizabeth's house.  I bet Joseph had to stay home because he was a carpenter and had a business to run and her his new wife takes off and leaves for three months.

So let me close out what happened to Elizabeth and Zach.  Elizabeth finally gives birth to John and her neighbors and relatives all come over to celebrate and throw a big party.  That seems a little strange to me.  I can remember when we brought each of our kids home from the hospital.  I don't remember my ex-wife or I ever wanting to have a party.  As a matter of fact, we both wanted the opposite.  We both wanted to sleep.  If someone woke the baby up, it sort of made us mad but anyway, that's what happened.  We know that Zach didn't wake John up because he still couldn't speak.  Remember, God had shut his mouth.

So eight days after his birth, when Zach and Elizabeth had not named the baby yet, the friends and family decided they were going to name the baby Zach after his father.  That's pretty pushy if you ask me.  First they come over and party like it's New Year's Eve then they get impatient about naming the kid and try to do it themselves.

Well, Elizabeth is having no part of it because she knows that the baby's name is John and she tells them this.  Unfortunately, no one in the crowd likes the idea and they tell her it is a stupid idea.  Have you ever had family trying to tell you what to do or trying to live their lives through you?  Well this is a bible record of it happening.  Anyway, they don't like her answer so they ask Zach.  This sort of reminds me of when a child asks one parent for something and gets told no so the child goes and asks the other parent.  Zach takes a writing tablet and with a written note, tells everyone that the boy's name is John.  As soon as he did that, God allowed him to talk and Zach started praising God.  Now the crowd was really in awe and they all started talking about it.  Word spread through the grapevine about the story and everyone wondered what John would amount to.

Luke 1:39 to Luke 2:5

To be continued....

The Minion

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Part 2

OK so now we have Elisabeth and Zach expecting a son named John.

Now let's fast forward six months.  There was this guy named Joseph who was a one of King David's great...great grand kids.  He was engaged to marry this girl named Mary.  Now Mary had never had sex with anyone so she wasn't pregnant.  How do we know this?  Well that's what the bible says so I guess I just believe it.  One day while Mary was hanging out and I assume she is working on wedding plans or something, this angel appears to her.  I know this didn't happen this way but I imaging Mary getting wedding invitations ready, talking to the florist, lining out the church, getting her dress ready and working on the wedding cake.  All of the sudden out of thin air, an angel appears to her and says, "Greetings Mary, you are highly regarded by God and as a matter of fact He is with you."

So of course Mary does what we all would probably do, she instantly freaks out.  She is really afraid of this dude and has no clue what he is talking about.  The angel goes on to say, "Don't worry Mary.  This is really great news.  Out of all the women in the world through out all of time, God has chosen you to be the mother of a Son.  You will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Lord.  The Lord will give him a kingdom that will one day include all the earth and he will rule over it.  He's going to save the world."

Now Mary is confused and she says, "How can I be pregnant since I haven't had sex with anyone?"

The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will make you pregnant without having sex."  Then the angel tells her again, "You will give birth to the Son of God.  Just like your cousin Elizabeth got pregnant when she was real old, you will be too.  Nothing is impossible with God."

Here Mary says something real smart.  She says to the angel that she is God's servant and if it's God's will to do this, than she wants it to happen."  Then the angel left her.

(Luke 1:26-38)

So there's one huge problem at this point.  Mary has to go tell Joseph, her fiancee, that she is pregnant but that she hasn't had sex.  God made her pregnant without it.  I can tell you that I wouldn't have believed a story like that.  Sometimes my kids come in and tell me really unbelievable stories but something like this would take the cake.  If I was Joseph, I would have thought she just wanted to marry me and she was trying to make excuses for cheating on me.  We know that Joseph thought something like this because the bible says that he was planning on breaking up with her.

I wrote about Joseph in a separate blog so I will try to be brief with retelling the story.  Now Mary could have gotten in a lot of trouble for having sex before marriage and Joe was a real merciful guy who didn't want to get her in a lot of trouble so he decided to break up with her without telling anyone why.  While he was thinking about this, he fell asleep and the angel of the Lord appeared to him.  So this angel says, "Joseph, don't get all freaked out about this.  You know that crazy story Mary told you about the Lord putting a baby in her womb, well it's 100% true.  She didn't make it up.  Take her to be your wife but don't have sex until after Jesus is born.  This child will be the savior of the world."  Guess what, he obeyed instantly.  He married her that very day.

If it were me, I would not have been up for that kind of deal.  If I was one of Joseph's buddies listening to this story, I would have thought he was absolutely crazy.  The whole deal doesn't make any sense.  God puts a baby in your fiancee who is going to be the savior of the world and you have to marry her anyway.  On top of that, there is no honeymoon for a year!  Forget that, Joe you need to do something else.  But Joseph was a man of God who trusted God and obeyed what the Lord told him to do.  Joseph also made sure he was named Jesus when he was born.

(Matthew 1:18-24)

To be continued.....  The Minion

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Story Part 1

Hello everyone.  Because it is the Christmas season, I will try to tell the Christmas story in my own words.

Now we all know that Jesus was born on Christmas day and that there were some wise men involved plus a barn with a bunch of animals and a star, etc.  But the Christmas story actually starts about 9 months before that.  The interesting thing is that there are two kids involved not just Jesus.  The first one's name is John.

OK, John's parents were Zacharias and Elisabeth.  Now both of them were too old to have kids.  I don't mean that they felt too old, I mean that their bodies were too old to have kids and they didn't have any kids because Elisabeth was barren.  Now Zach was a pretty important guy.  He was a real big wig in his church.    His job that year was to go into the holiest part of the temple and burn incense to the Lord.  We really don't do this today but it was a real important job.  It was so important that a whole bunch of people were outside the temple praying while Zach went in to do it.

So this angel of the Lord appears right next to him and it freaks him out.  He was really afraid.  Think of something that really scares you and that will give you a hint about what Zach was feeling.  Now something I just noticed was that Zach was a man of faith.  See he had been praying that God would give he and Elisabeth a child even though they were past the age of child bearing.  I guess he knew that if God could do it for Abraham, God could do it for him.  So this angel tells him that he will get Elisabeth pregnant and they will have a child named John and that he will be really happy and so will everyone else when John gets here.  The angel goes on to say that John will not ever drink alcohol and that the Holy Spirit will be upon him before he is even born.  Also, he will turn many of the Israelites to God and lastly that he will prepare the way for Jesus.

OK so we should all stop hear and rejoice that Zach got his prayer answered and this mighty miracle took place right?  Well we would if that was what Zach actually did.  But here is something else interesting that happens.  Now understand that Zach has been praying for a kid for a long time and here an angel appears out of thin air right in front of him inside a place where only he could go.  The angel tells him that his prayer has been answered and immediately Zach goes from talking faith to talking doubt and unbelief.

Now I don't know if I would question the angel after his entrance, etc., but Zach wants to know how it will happen and says he is way too old for something like this and that his wife is too.  Why was he praying for it then?  He obviously had some measure of faith but that faith was shaken when the angel showed up.  I think it was shaken by fear.  Now the Lord already had a plan so he decided to make Zach unable to speak until John was born because Zach didn't believe him.

Let's stop for a second.  There is a lesson to be learned.  Sometimes we start praying for God to do something and then when we get a word from Him that He will, we instantly question it.  Have you ever needed to hear from God and when you got a scripture or someone told you something, you didn't believe it?  I think I have which doesn't make sense.  Also, notice that God showed up to tell Zach what he was going to do before he did it.  When Zach walked out of the temple that day, Elisabeth was not pregnant yet.   All Zach had to go on was the word of God.  But also notice that when God tells you he is going to do something, He will do exactly what He said.  Once you have a word from God on something, just keep standing on that word until He brings to pass what He said He would.

So there was a whole prayer group that marveled at how long he spent in the temple.  It was normally an in and out job but the angel changed the plans.  Now when he came out to them he couldn't talk so everyone figured that he must have seen a vision.  Then he finished out his term as the head preacher and went home to his wife and Elisabeth got pregnant.......More to come.

That's part one of Christmas by the Minion.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Joseph - Jesus' Dad

I want us to take a look today at the story of Joseph.  Now when I was a kid, the story of Joseph was about a guy who had a coat that was a bunch of different colors and I will get to that story at some point but today I want to talk about Joseph, Jesus' dad.

We all know that Joseph was Jesus dad but not really.  He was Jesus' step dad.  So why is he important?  Why is he even mentioned?  We only hear about him a couple of times so for years I didn't think he was very important but I was wrong.  This story is a little short but important anyway.

See Mary was the mother of Jesus.  While it is a very miraculous story, I will leave it for another time.  Basically, the Lord came to Mary and he started her pregnancy without them having sex.  Mary was a virgin at the time she gave birth to Jesus.  See Luke Chapter 1.

But what about Joseph.  Did you know that the Lord chose Joseph out of millions of people on the earth.  Why did the Lord choose Joseph?  We know that God doesn't just do things without thinking about them and He certainly wouldn't choose someone to be the step father to His son without thinking about it.  So why?  The answer was because Joseph was a man of integrity who knew the Lord's voice when he heard it and knew how to obey God when God told him to do something.  Let's look a little closer at this story.

So here's what happens.  Joseph and Mary are engaged to be married.  Before they actually get to the marriage part and the honeymoon, Joseph finds out that Mary is pregnant.  Now put yourself in Joseph's place for a minute.  You are engaged to this girl and she comes up to you and says, "Joe, I know we are engaged but I want you to know that I am pregnant."  My first thought would be that she cheated on me and I would be really mad.  On top of that, how would you handle it if she said, "Joe, there's one more thing.  I didn't have sex.  The Lord just made me pregnant."  Now I don't mind people who lie to me when they tell me a story but don't insult my intelligence.  At least make the story a believable one.  That would make me even madder and I would definitely dump that chick.

This is exactly what Joseph had in mind.  He was going to dump her.  But here is where we get our first good look at Joseph's character.  The bible says he was a real good guy.  Now back then, Joseph could have gotten Mary in a lot of trouble for what he thought she did.  And after all, no one had ever heard of such a completely made up story like the Lord made her pregnant.  But because he was a good guy, Joseph had mercy on her and decided that he would just dump her very quietly not wanting to make a big deal out of this whole thing.  I would say that man knew something about giving mercy.  I don't know if I could have done it.

So as he was sitting around thinking about this stuff he fell asleep.  Now I can just see this.  He is sitting in his favorite chair thinking this whole thing over.  Have you ever been through a situation where someone made you really mad.  Maybe a boyfriend or girlfriend dumped you.  Were you able to go to sleep?  I can tell you I would have been up all night thinking about this stuff over and over again.  But not Joseph, he fell asleep.  That is another thing God needed in Jesus' step dad.  He needed someone who could stay at peace even in a really tough situation.  Because later, Joseph would face some much tougher ones.  People would want to kill his step son Jesus.

Well while he is sleeping, the Lord appears to him in a dream.  Basically God appears and says don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife because that crazy story she told you about the Holy Spirit making her pregnant is true.  She didn't cheat on you.  Oh by the way, you are going to call this boy Jesus and he will be save his people from their sins.

OK, so what would you have done if you were Joseph's friend and he told you this story?  First of all, I would tell him that dream was just wishful thinking.  That there was no way this girl got pregnant without cheating on him and that he needed to wake up.  I would have told him that I knew he was a great guy because he didn't make a public example of her.  I would have said that she didn't deserve such a great guy like him and that I though his dream was just what he wanted to believe, that he didn't hear from God.  That was crazy.  The bible doesn't say this but I bet some of his friends told him that very thing.

But Joseph knew he had heard the voice of God.  Joseph must have had some practice to know when it was really God and he was convinced enough that this was God to do what he was told.  How many times have we heard the Lord tell us to do something?  Maybe the Lord told us to do something nice for a friend or say something nice to a family member and we didn't.  Now here the Lord tells Joseph to take this woman as his wife but not to have sex.  He tells him what to name the kid and Joseph just trusts the Lord and does exactly what the Lord tells him to do.


That's another Bible story by the Minion.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

David and Bathsheba

OK.  For all you teenagers who are used to sex and violence on TV, this is a story of sex and violence right out of the bible.  Here are some facts about David.  The bible says that David was a man after God's own heart.  He is one of the greatest kings in all the bible and he was Jesus' great great ... great grandfather.  As a matter of fact, God chose David to replace King Saul and God knew David was going to screw up pretty big time before it even happened.

Now it was the time of the year when armies went out to war.  So King David sent his army out to destroy some dudes called the Ammonites but David didn't go with them.  He stayed at the capital, Jerusalem.  Now David was a warrior and had been all his life.  I suspect, David was a little bored because he didn't get to go out with the rest of his army like normal.  So David was up walking around the roof of his house and he spots this hot chick.  She is naked and taking a bath.  Her name was Bathsheba.  Well naturally, this got David all hot and bothered.  The thing was, David had a whole bunch of wives and even more mistresses.  Back in those days it was cool and so that's what he did.  So in the bible at that time, David had more than one wife and God was cool with this (see 2 Samuel 12:8).

The problem was this lady was already the wife of a guy named Uriah.  Now I am not really sure whether or not David raped her or not.  But it seems kind of close.  He sent messengers who took her to David and they got it on.  Unfortunately for David, it wasn't safe sex.  They didn't have condoms or the pill in those days so he knocked Bathsheba up (she got pregnant with David's kid).  This was really bad.  So far, David is a pervert for watching her take a bath, he's an adulterer for having sex with her while she was still married and I think according to today's standard's he's a rapist.  This is a long way from the boy who killed Goliath but the worst was yet to come.

David knew he would be in trouble for knocking Bathsheba up so he tried to cover up his sin.  Bathsheba's husband was in the army and was out killing the Ammonites with David's army.  So David sent for him to come home.  When Uriah got home he went to see the king and the king pretty much told him to go home and have sex with his wife.  David thought that this would fix things.  They didn't have paternity tests in those days so if Uriah had sex with Bathsheba after David did, everyone could claim the baby was Uriah's and the situation would be fixed right?  Well Uriah was a good guy and he wouldn't go home to his wife.  He didn't know she was pregnant and he told the king that he couldn't go home to her and have sex knowing that all his buddies were out there fighting.  He slept over at the palace and headed back to the front.  Now David was really in a tough spot.  He couldn't lie about the pregnancy thing and he was about to get in a lot of trouble.  So he devised the worst plan yet.

His commanding general was a dude named Joab.  So he sent orders to Joab telling him that he wanted Uriah placed on the front lines of the fight.  Now the Israeli army was surrounding this town that was protected by walls.  They were working on taking the town.  But this could be tricky business.  So David told Joab to attack the city with Uriah on the very front line.  Then David told Joab to retreat so that the Ammonites could whack Uriah.  Problem solved.  Uriah gets killed during the battle and David marries Bathsheba.  That's exactly what happened.  After Uriah got killed in the fight, David married Bathsheba but there was a little problem of the Lord.  See the Lord saw the whole thing and he didn't let David get away with any of it.  David got punished.  But David did something that many people didn't do.  He asked the Lord to forgive him and the Lord did.  David went on to be a great king and lived to a very old age.  What's more, he had another kid with Bathsheba named Solomon.  Solomon went on to be the smartest dude in the whole world.

So what bad things have you done today?  David was an adulterer, a pervert who watched women bathe (that was pornography from 3000 years ago), a rapist, an attempted liar and a murderer all rolled into one dude.  Even after all that, God still forgave him and used him to do big things.  So I want you to understand that sometimes we make mistakes but even when we make really bad ones, God doesn't leave us or abandon us.  Even when we make colossal mistakes, God still has a really good plan for our lives.  No matter what you have done, God has great plans in store for you.  Don't ever give up on you.  God never does.

This story came from 2 Samuel 11 and 12.

That's the Minion's version of David and Bathsheba

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Fiery Furnace

OK.  I have heard this story before and I thought I remember hearing the story of Daniel and the fiery furnace but Daniel wasn't involved.  Here's what happened.

There was this dude named King Nebuchadnezzar and this guy was really full of himself.  He was so vain that he had a statue made of himself that was 90 feet tall and made of gold.  You think professional athletes and politicians get a little conceited.  None of them could have done this.  Can you imagine the amount of money, this guy spent setting up an image made of gold that was 90 feet tall.  I bet that thing was something.  That would be the equivalent of a nine story building tall!  That thing must have been worth billions.

Now, this king was the ruler of a massive kingdom.  It was one of, if not the, largest kingdoms in the world at that time.  This guy was pretty important and if you didn't know it, just ask him and he would tell you all about how important he thought he was.  Now I think we should all have a good image of our self but this was ridiculous.  He thought so highly of himself that he ordered everyone in the whole kingdom to bow down and worship his image like they would a god.  Now here is something interesting, the Lord didn't interfere with it.  He let it go until, the king tried to kill three teenagers that worshiped the true God.  But I'm a little ahead of myself.

So anyway, the king issues this order that anyone who doesn't bow down and worship this statute, will be thrown into a big oven that was turned on.  He was going to burn them to a crisp if they didn't worship him.  Can you imagine the height of vanity.  I'm gonna make a statue 90 feet tall and you have to worship it (me).  If you don't, I'm gonna throw you into an oven and burn you to death.  Well that's exactly what the king said.

Now there were these three young men who were kind of like governors for the king.  They were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  These three guys knew all about the kings orders but they had made up their minds to serve and worship the living God, Jehovah (That's Jesus' daddy.  If you ask Jesus into your heart, he will adopt you too).  So the king hears that these three lowly governors won't do what he said and he got really mad.  He liked those three but he had to make an example of them.  God had given them the ability to govern and they did it really well.  Now the king didn't really understand this but because God gave them the ability to govern, he liked them so he decided to give them a second chance.  He brought them to the place where the oven was and told them that when they heard music, the had to bow down and worship it or die.

Have you ever been in a place were you had to make a decision.  You know, one of those decisions where you know the right thing to do.  But if you do the right thing it looks like it will hurt.  Like when all your friends want to watch a movie that your parents told you not to watch or how about something worse.  How about when your friends want you to do drugs or drink?  You know that it is wrong to do those things but you don't want to lose your friends.  What should you do?

Well here is what those three guys did.  They told the king, "Don't bother with the music.  We aren't gonna worship that gold image or you.  We worship the one true God.  God will save us from harm or we will die but we we're gonna do the right thing."  Now that sounds crazy.  Obviously they are going to die for doing the right thing.  Right?  In our lives, most of us don't want to do right because of the pain involved.

So the king gets seriously mad.  Who are these three dumb kids to defy him?  So he has them tied up with ropes and then he has the dudes working the oven heat it up to seven times as hot as it normally runs.  He is gonna fry these dudes to a crisp and make an example of them.  Who has ever heard of a God that can protect people from fire?  The king is going to prove who the real god is and it's him.  Or so he thinks.  So after the three dudes get all tied up, they throw them into the fire.  The fire is so hot that it kills the guards who throw them into it.  So we know that it will kill someone because the fire killed the guards.

And that's the end of the story.  The three kids get burned up.

Well, not so fast.  See, when those three kids put so much trust in God that they would rather die than do something against God, by Father (God), who is a real good dad, was having none of that burn them up stuff.  He sent an angel to the inside of the oven.  The king looked in the oven and the three boys were walking around in the furnace.  But that wasn't all.  There was a fourth man standing with them.  It was an angel and God was making a point to the king - There is only one King and it's me not you.  Your gold statue doesn't impress me at all.  Welcome to My world.  Those three guys weren't even hurt at all.  As a matter of fact, the fire burned the ropes off and they were just walking around inside the oven.  So the king called them to come out and they did.  They put their trust in God and he delivered them.

That's one thing I want you to take away from this story.  When we put our complete trust in God, he can deliver us from any circumstance.  But there is something else you should take away.

See, the king realized that God was bigger than him and he made another order.  He said that anyone who said anything bad about God would be put to death.  God didn't kill him, he used the king to protect his people.  It's amazing to me that God didn't just blow this king apart but he didn't.  Also, there is one other thing.  When the king realized that these three dudes were smart enough to trust the real God over him, he gave them a promotion.

Sometimes when we do the right thing, other people will notice and change.  Like I have said before, you are an example to the world.  People do watch you everyday.  Even though it looks like things could turn out bad, do the right thing and let God promote you.  You might even take someone to Heaven with you when you do.

That's another bible story Minion style.

Monday, October 10, 2011

David and Goliath

Many of you know this story.  I am going to tell it my way and then share somethings you might not have gotten from it.

So here's what happens.  There are these two armies - the Israelites and the Philistines.  They are both camped out waiting to fight each other.  I have always wondered why they just didn't square off and go at it but that wasn't the way it happened.

There was this dude named Goliath from the Philistine army.  This dude was huge.  He made Shaq look like a small child.  He was over 9 feet tall (two feet taller than Shaq) and he could touch the top of the backboard standing flat footed on the court.  This was before mid evil times but he still had a helmet of bronze and coat of armor that weighed over 125 pounds.  He had a spear almost as big around as a telephone pole and the tip of the spear weighed 15 pounds.

Now Goliath had this plan.  Everyday, he would walk out to a place between the two camps and talk a bunch of mad trash about the Israelites and their God.  He wanted to have one of the best Israelite fighters come out and fight with him one on one.  The loser of the fighter's army would then be slaves to the winner.  So every day for several days, he shows up running his mouth about how tough he was, blah, blah, blah.

Then one day, David rolls into the Israelite camp.  He is supposed to take some food to his brothers and their commanding officer.  He is also supposed to report back to his dad on how things are going.  He is just a teenage kid.  He isn't some big shot soldier and he doesn't look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.  He looks more like Justin Bieber.  Now imagine what is going to happen if someone bigger than Shaq decides he is going to fight with someone like Justin Bieber.  It ain't gonna be a pretty fight.

Anyway, David hears Goliath talking trash one day and immediately he gets hacked off.  He wants to know why no one from the Israelite army has gone down and shut this guy up.  After all, Goliath is defying the living God and David wants a piece of him.  Everyone is afraid of Goliath and David's brother's make fun of him because he is just a little kid who should be home tending a small flock of sheep, not out there watching the war.  His brothers immediately dismiss David's ability.  But word of what David says makes it to Saul the king of the Israelites and since no one else in the whole army has volunteered to fight Goliath, Saul sends for David.  Now David wants to tear Goliath up just because he is talking trash about God.  He finds out that he gets to marry one of the king's daughters if he wins.

Saul immediately looks at David (think Justin Bieber) and knows that there is no way in the world that he could fight with Goliath and win.  He says this to David.  To Saul's surprise, David starts talking about God.  He says that God helped him kill a lion and a bear with his hands and that God will help him kill this Philistine too.  Can you see Justin Bieber tearing a bear apart with his hands?  Anyway, Saul figures that he might as well give it a shot so he has David put on his armor.  David must have looked like a clown in that stuff because the Bible says Saul was pretty big himself.  So David decides that he can't use it and takes it off.  He runs down to a small river and picks up 5 rocks for his sling shot and heads off to shut Goliath's mouth.

So picture it.  Here stands a guy two feet taller than Shaq with a massive spear.  His body armour probably weighs more than David.  A guy who looks like Justin Bieber walks out with no armour, no sword and no spear to fight him.  This had to look ridiculous and Goliath is insulted.  He tells David that he is going to tear him apart with his own hands and feed him to the animals.  What David should have done if he was like most of us is turned tail and ran for the hills to try to save his own hide.

What David did was run right at Goliath.  David talked right back to Goliath and said, "You come out here talking trash about God and carrying massive weapons but I ain't impressed.  All I got is five rocks for my slingshot but that's all I need because you have opened your mouth against the Lord.  Today, the Lord will deliver you into my hands and I'm gonna cut your head off with your own sword.  When I get finished with you, everyone is gonna know that there is a living God in Israel and that he will save me from you.  Bubba, you done picked a fight with the wrong God and (as we Texans would say) I'm gonna stomp a mud hole in you."  David didn't think he was capable of killing Goliath but he knew that God could and that God would.  And that's exactly what happened.  David hit Goliath in the head with a rock and then cut his head off with his own sword.

So here is what I want you to think about from this story.

1.  Look at all those people who told David he was stupid and couldn't do it.  His family and the king of the country told him that he was nothing but David trusted God.  David believed God over what his family or the government said.  Look at the places in your life where God put dreams into your heart.  If God tells you to do something, don't let anyone talk you out of it, even if it seems impossible.

2.  Saul tried to put his armor on David and David looked like a clown in it.  Now Saul wasn't trying to make David look bad.  He was actually trying to protect David.  He was doing what everyone else around him would have done in those circumstances.  But God had a different plan on how to accomplish David's goal.  Sometimes in life, we will have to do things a little different that what everyone else around us does to accomplish our goals.  So if God tells you to do something, don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and do it his way.  You just might accomplish something no one thought you could.

3.  Don't look at your circumstances.  Look at your God.  David knew Goliath was a real warrior.  He was the baddest of the baddest on the planet.  He was like a whole platoon of tough guys rolled into one and he had the best equipment money could buy.  He was a trained, seasoned killer and David had never killed another human.  But David was focused on God and what God could.  He was so focused on God that he didn't pay attention to anything or anyone else.  Look what he accomplished.

I am sure we could go on for a long time getting good stuff out of this story but I will stop here.

That's the Minion's version of David and Goliath

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Good Samaritan

Hello everyone.  As many of you know I write a blog called the Opinion of the Minion.  Recently through Facebook, a young man asked Jesus to live in his heart.  After that he asked me where he could find stories about the bible and how he could learn more about Jesus.  I thought I would take a few minutes and put a bible story in modern terms so kids could read and learn about Jesus.  When I was seeking the Lord about what my first story should be, this one came to mind.  So here's my interpretation of the story of the Good Samaritan.

OK, this guy walks up to Jesus and he wants to know how he can get in the family of God.  He wants to know how to get to heaven and Jesus asks him what the bible says he must do.  This dude has studies a little so he answers Jesus and says, the bible tells me to love the Lord with all my heart, mind, body and strength and that I need to love my neighbor as myself.  Jesus says, "You got it right.  That's what the bible says.  If you do this, you will make it to Heaven."  Since this dude is feeling pretty good because he got the right answer, he decides to take it a step further and says, "Who counts as my neighbor?"  And Jesus tells him this story.

Once upon a time there was a real poor guy walking through a pretty rough part of town.  He was minding his own business strolling down the street listening to an iPod he just won in a contest.  It was the only thing about him that seemed worth much.  His clothes were ragged and had holes in them.  He was wearing old worn out Nike shoes and it looked like he hadn't taken a bath in a week.  This guy was only a teenager.  When all of the sudden, out of no where these guys come up to him and jump him.  He doesn't know any MMA (mixed martial arts) so he gets his butt whipped.  These attackers beat him to a pulp and leave him for dead in the street.  They take his iPod and his Nikes and run off.  Pretty mean dudes right?

Well, the story gets a little stranger.  About five miles from where this happens, there is a big church.  Now the pastor of this church is really into growing his church.  He is trying to get everyone to come to his church and it's getting pretty big.  He really begins to think he is something special.  At that same time, he decides to walk through the same neighborhood trying to get a lot more people to come to his church.  As he is walking up the street, he sees the guy who got beat up lying in his own blood on the other side of the street but decides that he has more important things to do than help the guy so he keeps walking.

Then another guy who is running for mayor of the town is walking the same neighborhood talking to people about what a good guy he is and asking for their votes.  As he is walking the other side of the street and shaking hands with people who can help him get elected, he sees this same dude over there crying out for help but since it doesn't look like the guy can help him, he keeps walking and ignores him.

Then this other guy comes walking up.  No one really thinks he is important and because he doesn't have an important job, drive an expensive car or live in a big house, nobody pays him too much attention.  The preacher and the politician don't notice this guy either because he doesn't really fit the picture of what they are looking for.  He is just an ordinary guy that has worked hard all his life.  His clothes are clean but average but since he is from the wrong side of the tracks, everyone looks down at him.  This guy sees the hurt dude and walks over to help him.  He gets the first aid pack from his car and patches the guy up pretty good.  Then he gives him something to drink and puts this dirty, beat up, bleeding, smelly kid in his car and takes him to a hotel.  He pays for the guys room and tells the hotel staff to take care of him while he goes to take care of some personal business.  As he is leaving, he leaves a credit card with the front desk to take care of anything that the beat up guy needs.

Then Jesus asked the guy in front of him which of the three dudes in the story acted like a good neighbor.  This bible expert says that it is the third guy and Jesus tells him that he is right.  Jesus then tells him to do the same thing.

So the point of this story is that we can show the Lord how much we love him by loving our neighbors.  Our neighbors are anyone who is in need regardless of whether they can ever return the favor we do for them.