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The Eighth Commandment

You shall not steal.
Exodus 20:15 (ESV)
So, again this one seems like a "no-brainer," but can it be that simple? Yes, it can. This doesn't only apply to physically taking something that isn't yours, though. It also extends to dealing treacherously, committing fraud, kidnapping, and swindling. The Israelites believed theft to be a step down the path of covetous desire that ultimately leads to murder.

Making Jesus go Viral.

Gutenberg's printing press brought God's word to the common man, in the common tongue. It was in an age when people thirsted for a new book and waited with baited breath for one to be printed every six months. Today, our generation has instant access to endless volumes of the world's accumulated knowledge. In minutes, they can look up just about any fact or figure. People are more connected than ever, and yet they are less connected than ever. Many people don't know the name of people just two doors down, but have regular conversations with people halfway around the world. The local church fights to remain relevant in an age of text-messaging teens and viral videos.

The Internet is a powerful network of people. Recently, a fourteen year old girl (Rebecca Black) made 14 million dollars in just a few days with one song (Friday). She reached over 2 million iTunes downloads, and nearly 53 million YouTube views. That's at least 57 million people who heard her message. What if her message was something more important than a teen trying to decide which seat to take in a car? What if all of those people were getting excited over baptisms instead of what day of the week it is? Now, imagine if those were downloads of a sermon recording, a Bible study or even a copy of the Holy Bible. The web is the greatest communication tool we have to spread ideas. That is my goal, make Jesus go viral and help the Gospel gain the same digital global reach as cute cat photos, inappropriately dressed Wal-Mart shoppers, Old Spice commercials and whatever the next trivial internet meme happens to be.

In that vein, I created Giant Slayer Development. Spread the word, so I can spread the word, to help churches spread The Word.

Seventh Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.
Exodus 20:14(ESV)

Alright this seems easy like an easy command to keep, too, just don't go sleeping with someone you're not supposed to sleep with, and you're fine, right? right? Well, again, it's not that simple. Jesus says:

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell."
Matthew 5:27-30 (ESV)

By the high standards of the Lord, to look with lust is the same as actually doing the things you fantasize about. We go a long way in this if we remove ourselves from situations which might lead us to look with lust. Sex is everywhere in our society, and is used to sell just about everything; and our media sets few limits on where the lines are as far flashy outfits, tight clothing and how much skin makes it to the silver screen. We must be vigilant in what we chose to set before our eyes.

David, the King after God's own heart, ended up lusting over a married woman. He knew his lust was wrong and repented. That'd be a great lesson, even if it ended there; if you fail, repent and turn from the sin. Unfortunately, lust proved to be slippery slope for the favorite King, and ended up putting her (Bathsheba's) husband in a situation he wouldn't survive, so that he could then marry her. Nathan the prophet had the unpleasant task of pointing out to King his folly, and delivering the message of what punishment the Lord would send down on David. When David was finally made to face his actions, he again repented and was forgiven by God's mercy, but not without punishment. the death of a beloved son and battle over the order of succession of David's crown.

If you happen to find yourself tempted or even looking with lust, repent and turn from the sin. We also learn from Joseph to even try to avoid things that could be construed as impropriety.

On the other foot, we should all endeavorer to wear modest clothing, and teach the next generation what is and isn't appropriate attire. We must draw the lines that our children don't see in TV shows, movies and their favorite musician's wardrobes. We may not be able to control what others wear out of the house, but my daughter will not be leaving this house in mini-skirt, low cut top or with something written across her butt.

Do something about it.

Recently our pastor preached on when Elijah was by the Brook during the drought, in a sermon titled You Can't Make it Rain. He talked about how Elijah felt the drought when the ravens stopped bringing him food, and he had to wait patiently. The message being God will do things in His way and in His time. That God won't always give us what we want, in the way we want, when we want it. He will give us what we need, the way we need it, when we need it. He went on to say that if it seems our prayers are unanswered, that either what we are asking for is outside of God's will, or that we are being impatient or expecting God's blessing in the wrong form. The heart of the message was that we should trust in God, wait patiently and not lose faith.

There is another part to this, that our pastor didn't mention, and that is the fact that faith demands a response. If you pray believing in rain, then you should also prepare for rain, trusting in God to provide. There is a great part in Exodus that I read about recently in a blog post, that spoke about when Moses when fleeing Egypt, with a contingent of Egyptians on their tail. They were trapped between the Red Sea, and the coming army. Moses told the Israelites to “Be still, and cry unto God” and God rebuking Moses' command said “Go.” The point being don't sit around waiting for God, prepare for God to move. Don't “be still”, instead “act.” We sometimes mistake laziness with patience. We sometimes mistake fear with reverence. We sometimes mistake faithlessness for faith.

The Lord helps those who help themselves. So many times we pray, we complain, we belly ache about things that we have been given the ability to change. The Bible says, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.” If we can do all things through Christ, then if where we want to go is within the will of God, then why do often sit and complain about it instead of doing something about it?

Thoughts on Easter (well, Good Friday)

Easter is coming all too soon. In between ordering the ham, the music rehearsals for the Easter program, trying to remember when to change the clocks and which way you're suppose to change them (spring ahead, fall back) we forget that the big deal isn't what happened on the third day. Easter is the celebration of the proof, but Good Friday is the remembrance of when we were forgiven.

This always reminds me of the story about when Jesus returned to town in Galilee, and all people crammed themselves into a tiny house to see if the little boy they saw some years ago really is the Messiah. There were scribes and Pharisee in the front row, and the rest of the village crammed in so tight that there were people spilling out of the little house. Three brothers were bringing their lame sibling to Jesus to be cured, but couldn't get inside because of the crowd. So, they did what any sensible person would do, and cut a hole in the roof and lowered their brother in. Jesus, instead of being mad about the hole in his parents roof, saw the need. He said, “You are forgiven.” Meaning more than, “it is alright you cut a hole in the roof and barged in this way” but actually freeing him from all of the sin he carried. The Pharisees where ticked, the whole forgiveness thing was their racket – moreover, they can't catch this little miracle worker as a scam artist unless he tries to do more than forgive someone. Jesus then added something to the effect of, “You'll believe what I have just done, when you see what I'm about to do.” He then told the lame man to get up and walk. Jesus had performed a large looking miracle, and the crowd was in awe. I wonder how many there down played the larger miracle because of the glitz of the second miracle? (Mark 2)

That is what I see happen most Easters, Christians make a big deal out of the resurrection, and death being overcome; but, they often only give passing mention to the amazing miracle that happened the Friday before. Jesus gave his life for a world of sinners, Jesus purchased us from the wages of sin (death) with his own life. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, and with his death saved not just His chosen people, but all who accept Christ as their savior. In his death, also, he tore the veil between the holiest of holies and the common man. Making God accessible to all, not just the head priest. Yeah, the resurrection thing is pretty cool, but it is just the proof of the larger miracle that came before.

This reminds me of of how we tend to reward the finish line and celebrate completion of things, and don't spend a lot of time thinking about the journey we took to get there. We rave over the final product, but often forget to reflect on the hard work that goes into things. I think about all the times I've heard people complain about a feature (or missing feature) in a piece of technology or program (I'm guilty of it too) and forget the amount of effort that went into it to make it as good as it is. I think the same shortsightedness applies to our lives, we get caught up in the end results of choices, the trials in our lives or the things we wish for and forget to take stock of what we've been through, what God has delivered us from and what we've learned along the way. I plan to post tomorrow about those complaints we have, and some ideas about dealing with them.

In the mean time, are there any other times you emphasis placed on the more glamorous proof of something rather than the event?

Long Time no Post...

I'm sorry for the hiatus, but my life, in the words of Will Smith, was “flipped, turned upside down.” My wife and I had wanted a child since we were married. We prayed about it constantly. We were prayed over by our church and a visiting pastor in May of 2009. We were also looking into home ownership, and in June we found a house we liked and learned our prayers were answered. We closed on the house in July. With my wife pregnant, and the new financial commitments of a house and a baby on the way, we began to pray for help with being a good stewards over what God had provided. Our church began advertising it was going to hold a financial class by some radio personality. The timing fit well into everything, but I didn't want to pay $99 to attend a course without knowing a little more about this Dave Ramsey fellow. I read his book would be an understatement, I devoured it. I became a huge fan of Dave's, and we attended Financial Peace University (my wife reluctant at first, but soon came around).

My wife gave birth to our beautiful daughter in January 2010. We decided that my wife would be staying home with our new daughter, as her pay would have basically just paid for childcare. The state began a 2% furlough which affected me being an employee of the University. I began to think maybe making a change made sense if I could find a company that I liked. I was listening to Dave's show online while I worked, and happened to hear a call that caught my ear. Dave mentioned that he was hiring web developers who write in the same programming language I write in for the University. So, I jumped at the chance to apply, thinking I wouldn't even get a friendly denial letter. Turns out, I was wrong. I went through 8 or 9 phone and Skype interviews, talked salary, and was scheduling the trip to do in person interviews – when I did the unthinkable. I withdrew my application for my dream job. That, by the way, was also when I stopped updating this blog.

So, why would one walk away from what promised to be their dream job? My family and church are here, and moving away from that support network was too hard for us. When we were earlier in the interviews, we thought it would be worth it. But, when the time came, we realized that our roots here are deeper than we thought. I was tears when I made the call, but I didn't want waste LAMPO Group's (Dave's) money or time after we decided to stay. So, I canceled the in person interview. But, there was something missing in my work. I had seen what it was like to do something that really mattered, and I couldn't resign myself to just doing a J-O-B anymore. This is when the hiatus began.

So, what has kept me sane with this new found drive for “work that matters”? What has been keeping me from posting on this blog? What has been keeping me up at night?

Working on Living Word's site and starting Giant Slayer Development. Taking first steps in using digital means to make the Gospel go viral.

I will be picking up the ten commandments series again as I start blogging again.