Yesterday I purchased “The Brick Bible” by Brendan Powell Smith. Below is an image of “The Brick Bible” I didn’t add any photos of the author Brendan Powell Smith but you can research him on the web. Typical Google searches of his name list him as an Atheist however I do not know much about him myself. It does appear however that he may intend to offer a new telling of the story of Jesus judging by The Brick Bible’s tagline “A new spin on the story of Jesus”
While the illustrations are visually appealing, the book is deceptive as it uses Legos to illustrate bible stories making it appear kid friendly. There are many images in “The Brick Bible” that parents definitely should view before approving “The Brick Bible” for their children. I could go on and on about The Brick Bible’s controversies but one that really got my attention was the depiction of David and Jonathan. In one image The Brick Bible depicts David and Jonathan kissing (1 Samuel 20:41). There could have been any depiction of them kissing but Brendan Powell Smith’s interpretation shows two legos kissing each others lips. I highly advise parents to screen “The Brick Bible” before offering it to your children.
Unfortunately, war is not the only time when careless talk is destructive. When we speak carelessly and without thought about our brothers and sisters in Christ we play into the enemies plan to destroy the character of the saints. The bible speaks of hasty words (words without thought) and harsh words (words without compassion). These are the types of words that routinely kill the character of others and cause emotional damage that often takes years to repair. James chapter 3 describes the tongue as a fire that cannot be tamed. Let us be sure that the flames of our tongue are used to destroy the kingdom of darkness and not the very ones that are called alongside us in life to glorify and to make the Lord known in the Earth.
“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18 ESV
“There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.” Proverbs 29:20
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness…my brothers this should not be” James 3:9-11 paraphrased.
We often wonder what life would be like if we were taller, or richer, or prettier…
Or maybe we just wish that…
“that one thing that happened would not have happened”
…then maybe we would like ourselves more.
The truth is we are who we are and every detail of our life gives us a uniqueness that makes us beautiful.
Our experiences, some wonderful, some painful, are all full of meaning. They create our beautiful uniqueness. And instead of hiding in a corner of insecurity we should boldly embrace who we are and be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Tim 2:1).
Wishing to be someone else is a road that will always lead to nowhere. Instead of viewing ourselves as something less than desirable we should understand that EVERYONE has shortcomings and ours are no greater than anyone else’s.
In reality the way we look, the amount of money we have in the bank etc… are all things of this earth. And the scriptures teach us that we should set our minds on things above, not on things of the earth. (Col 3:2) I can’t tell you that the next time you look in the mirror you will never feel insecure another day in your life, but I can tell you that even with all of your insecurities and shortcomings God is still able to use you…even more, he is WAITING to use you.
Now I know that a search for identity or a need to overcome an insecurity cannot be solved in one night by reading a blog post. I do however know that prayer has helped me overcome many difficult things and I believe it is a great way to start this series. So I’ll leave you with this request – After you finish reading this find a quiet place and talk to God about whatever it is that makes you feel inadequate. Make prayer a daily practice and put all of your cares in God’s hands. You will not be disappointed
Whenever I hear of a free offer from a business or company I am often leery. In our world today almost every free offer is a cheap product given away in hopes to lure you into buying a much higher quality, and more expensive product later. “Free pens” with company logo’s etc…
But there is a beautiful difference in how God gives and the world gives. God’s free offers are his best offers. He freely gives away forgiveness, salvation, healing, grace and many other beautiful things that carry no price. His free gifts are the low hanging fruit available to all. If you or I never speak with the tongues of angels, or understand all of the mysteries of the scriptures, or move mountains with our faith we are still blessed because we have been given the best God has to offer. Salvation, grace favor…these things are eternal. Anything else that can be obtained is only temporary.
Twelve years ago in 2000 God called me to a local college campus to hold a small bible study. Over time our Bible study grew from a few students to a large crowd that faithfully showed up every Wednesday afternoon. Unfortunately there was always a few students who wanted desperately to come but could not due to class schedules etc. To fix this problem we decided to begin recording our Bible studies and placing them online so that those who could not make it could view them later. Surprisingly around 2006-2007 when Myspace exploded some of our videos that we were placing online were getting attention from college students around the world. Suddenly I was responding to hundreds of emails from students that were watching the videos and needed guidance. It was an exhilarating time for a guy that lived to help others. Unfortunately, there was not enough time in the day for me to respond to every email to help everyone as much as they needed to be helped. I knew I needed to find a way to make the information that I learned readily accessible to everyone that needed it. So I got to work writing all the things I learned from all of the students I interacted with over the years into a book so that even if I am not available the information needed to stay pure on campus would be. Unfortunately a lack of resources stopped me from publishing the book ( It costs a lot of money!!) So I put the manuscript away in a closet where it collected dust and would never be read by anyone. God continued to nudge me but I continued to procrastinate. I was waiting for the right moment to release the book…the right time…the right phone call from a publisher…a time when all the resources would be available…
But that’s not what God expects of us.
Day after Day God was challenging me to step out on faith and publish the book. He was trying to teach me that the benefits of helping others far outweighs the resources I would spend releasing it.
So I stepped out on faith and ePublished the book and I couldn’t be more excited hearing the stories that people are sharing about how the book has helped them. I encourage you to check it out “Staying Pure on Campus” is available in the iBookstore, Kindle and nook. Check it out I know you’ll love it. And please learn from my lesson. If there is something God is calling you to do don’t wait for a magical day in the future where everything will “Fall together” Sometimes God is just waiting for us to trust him.
Available in the Kindle Store, Barnes and Noble’s Nook store and iBooks.
Staying Pure on Campus is a book written for students who are trying to maintain their purity on campus. Michael Johnson has been in College campus ministry for over ten years and has helped thousands of students maintain their faith in this difficult time. The principles in “Staying Pure on Campus” will help you or your students overcome the many pitfalls and trials that occur on college campuses.
Search for it in the Kindle store, Barnes and noble nook store or ibooks
Many readers of this blog know that William Johnson is one of the teachers of Cross Campus Ministry. What many do not know is that he is a passionate musician. Every song he plays he does so unto God. Recently he released a wonderful music video that I thought I’d share.
It’s a very relaxing song that really gets me into a mood of reflection whenever I listen to it. I think the video is done excellently and the beautiful videography compliments the acoustic instruments and the rainforest sounds in the background. William’s idea to use the rainforest sounds stems from a idea he shared that:
The rainforest, though one of the most dangerous places also produces some of the most beautiful sights and sounds. It is the idea that God can create beauty even in the midst of danger and uncertainty. -William Johnson
The song contains Will’s excellent percussion and acoustic guitar from Martin Lucas and Kyle Johnson with rainforest sounds in the background. Take a listen, I know you’ll love it.
The Cross is everywhere. You see it on almost every church steeple, it’s a common decoration at cemeteries and even makes several appearances in rap videos. The Cross has become a cultural icon that is cherished by people across the globe. But what does it really mean? Or more appropriately-What does it mean to you?
That can be a difficult question to answer if you’ve never really thought about it. I don’t know what the Cross means to you but here is what it means to me:
The Cross is what gives me the ability to be free from the fear of temporal things. The Cross doesn’t mean everything is going to be ok every time nor does it mean that God will always move in the way that I want him to. The cross eliminates the need to fear temporary things such as death or persecution. Can you tell a mother in Africa whose children have been murdered by zealots that God is going to bless her? None of the sweetened American versions of the Gospel work for the truly broken people across the globe. The Cross is what truly gives the gospel power.
The Cross is the only thing that offers hope to a generation that has lost it. It is the hope that I cling to. I can’t give my wife or children a guarantee that we will always be safe and comfortable, but the Cross gives me the joy that even if tragedy strikes we will all see each other one day in eternity and God will wipe away our tears.
A few days ago I can’t say that I could have answered this question with clarity. But if you asked me today what the Cross means to me I’ll tell you that:
For me the Cross…is everything…
I’d like to hear your input. What does the Cross mean to you?