Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

When I heard about this group that was coming to YC last fall (2014), I was skeptical. They’re such a girly-girl group, I expected music full of fluff and no substance. But I kept an open mind, and snagged a spot right front-and-center by the stage – because if nothing else, their set promised to be entertaining. Boy was I surprised. They were entertaining, yes, and utterly covered in glitter, but they are a really good, wholesome group if you like girls singing upbeat pop. They only have one album, ten songs, all on their Vevo channel, but every song is insanely catchy and they’ve all got a great message.

Sure, they’ve got some fluffy, typical girly songs – like Count Your Rainbows. But they also have tearjerkers like Daddy’s Girl – gets me every time! There’s songs that are great when you’re feeling down and out, like In The Eyes. Or, if you prefer songs you can sing to God, instead of about Him, you can listen to one of my personal favourites Live For You. The one that really struck me, though, was 1 Girl Nation which is SO Christian, and so positive even from a secular mindset. It’s all about girls sticking together even though they’re different, rather than being catty and petty to one another. Like, wow, am I right?

So… I bought the CD. I even got it signed. One of the band members recognized me from being front and centre. Or maybe it was my TARDIS hat she recognized. Either way it was cool. I played their songs on my radio show as often as I could, though not as often as I like because of CRTC rules and stuff. (But let me tell you, it’s odd announcing “And next up is 1 Girl Nation, by 1 Girl Nation, from their CD 1 Girl Nation.”) And, I think you all should go have a listen to some of them songs up there and have a look through the others.

Edit: After I made this post, it came to light that Josh Duggar had not, in fact, changed his heart and gotten free from his sinful past. I am extremely disappointed in him. However, it is still no reason to be anything but sympathetic to his wife, parents, siblings, children, etc. Everything else in this post still stands, however, insofar as it applies to people and Christianity in general.

Original Post: I don’t watch 19 Kids and Counting for various reasons, but as a Christian I’m gonna put my two cents worth out there. A man did something awful when he was 14. Twelve years later, people – mainly non-Christians, but definitely some believers too – are using that as a reason to tear him and his parents down.

First of all, how many perfect fourteen-year-olds do you know? For that matter, how many perfect adults? Sure, he in particular messed up REALLY BAD, but from what I can tell his behaviour was properly dealt with and punished. No parent can entirely prevent their children from sinning, but they CAN treat the aftermath appropriately. Lots and lots of people are really, really stupid when they’re 14. Then they learn from their mistakes and they grow up! It’s life, that’s how it works!

Secondly, anyone who thinks everyone who is a Christian must have always lived a spotless life is dead wrong. I’ve had no less than two pastors who used drugs as a teenager, and turned their life around. People change, especially when they have God in their hearts. If we as believers are portraying the image that we’re absolutely spotless in our own power, then we’re doing a terrible job of sharing the Gospel. No wonder people call us hypocrites! They think our message is “to follow God, you must never have sinned”. And with that, we alienate 100% of the population.

Which brings me to my final point. Forgiveness. It’s at the very core of Christianity. We don’t have to offer lambs and bulls and turtledoves as sacrifices – payments – for our sins anymore, because Jesus’ death has covered all that. We can accept the blood of the new covenant, the promise between God and humankind, and we can be forgiven. If God can forgive Suzy-from-the-suburbs’ gossip and lies, then He can forgive Josh Duggar’s sins too, because His blood is enough for all of humanity’s sins, forever.

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” (Matthew 18:21-22)

Thanks for reading!
~Another Jesus Freak

Justice & Mercy

Posted: March 25, 2015 in Christianity, Non-fiction
Tags: , , ,

It’s been a long time since I wrote a post on this blog. Years. But it’s only been because I haven’t had much to say. For the last few months, I’ve been using my radio show, Joyful Noise, as a public platform for the kinds of things I used to say on here. But, the topic on my mind today has too many words and not enough songs to make a good radio show.

A long time ago in a Facebook discussion, I mentioned why I’m a Christian. There’s two main reasons: I was raised to believe, and I want to believe. It occurred to me last night that I want to follow God because of two things: His justice and His mercy. They’re almost like opposites: justice is giving to each person exactly what they deserve, while mercy is being kind to someone who deserves punishment.

I love God because He is just. He knows a person’s heart, so He knows their intent, and He knows exactly what they did. There’s no he-said-she-said, subjective jury, or benefit of the doubt with God. He can choose exactly the right punishment for every crime. I love that because it means there are eternal repercussions for earthly wrongdoing. Earthly consequences are great and all, but there’s all kinds of people who do terrible things their whole lives, and because it’s technically legal they feel no remorse, and they die rich and happy. But God knows everything you’ve done and everything you will choose do, and He makes sure that in the end every villain will get their comeuppance.

Unfortunately, though, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23). Seriously, when was the last time you met a perfect person? Never, that’s when. You’ve done bad things too, and if you tell me you haven’t, you’re lying and there’s a bad thing right there! So does that mean God is going to punish you and there’s no escaping it?

Nope.

God is merciful, because we are His creation and He loves all of us. Mercy means He isn’t going to punish someone who is truly sorry. He forgives you when you ask. This is available to anyone, at any time, since Jesus died on the cross to take our punishment for us. I mean, it’s not going to take away those earthly consequences, because that’s between you and other humans. But, you don’t have to feel guilty in God’s eyes, or afraid of Him. If you say to God, “I’ve done something wrong, I wish I hadn’t, and I’m not going to do it again,” you can accept the forgiveness He offers, and your spiritual record is wiped clean.

Justice for the guilty, mercy for the repentant, and love for all humankind. That’s the God I want to serve, and that’s the God in the Bible.

Thanks for reading,
~Another Jesus Freak

P.S. See also the song Justice And Mercy by Flyleaf.

I just spent a month at a program called Shad Valley (which I hope to tell you about in another post soon), and I had some… interesting… conversations with a guy named Mohammad from Saudi Arabia. As you might be able to tell from the name, he’s a Muslim. If you know me or have read any of my posts before, you probably know I’m a Christian. So of course Mo and I discussed what it is we believe. He pointed out how odd it is that God only forgives someone after their sin has been paid for by blood. It’s even weirder that, since Jesus and God are the same guy, God had to harm himself to forgive us. And you know what, when explained like that, it is really weird. But you know what, Mo? This one’s for you.

Let’s take a look at human judicial systems, shall we? First of all, while we’re on the topic, I want to answer a question that many others have posed to me: if it’s a sin for humans to judge, why is it ok for God to judge? Well, in our justice system, the public does not issue fines to each other or sentence each other to jail. That’s for an authority figure, like a judge, to do in a courtroom. So, when it come to much bigger matters like where the soul is going to end up, it’s not a job for another human, but for the supreme authority, God.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, justice. Well,  in human justice systems, if you do something wrong, there’s some sort of punishment  or retribution that the offender has to suffer because of what they’ve done. It only makes sense, right? If there was no consequences, what’s there to stop a person from doing wrong? Now imagine that somebody was allowed to voluntarily take the punishment for a criminal. Actually, I think that’s legal in some places (not that it’s often done). The “price” of the crime, if you will, would still be paid, but the offender himself or herself would be let off scott free.

Let’s translate this into a spiritual sense. According to the Bible, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” (Romans 6:23) So instead of a fine or jail time, the Supreme Judge says that all criminals – that is, sinners – deserve the death penalty. Harsh, I know, since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) But, luckily, there’s that thing that allows someone else to die instead. A couple thousand years ago, before the death and resurrection of Christ, people would sacrifice animals in their place. However, since animal lives are not equal to human lives, each animal that died only covered a couple of sins, and people had to kill a lot of lambs and goats and bulls and doves and stuff.

Then, along come these religious leaders called Pharisees. They took the God’s Law, which listed what was a sin and what wasn’t, as well as the proper punishment for each, and added their own ideas to it, so that people were being oppressed to the point of not seeing what God wanted through all the Pharisees’ traditions and opinions they sold as just as important as the Law. So, the Supreme Judge decided to fulfill the Law once and for all, by sending His own Son, Jesus, to be a final sacrifice, worth enough to cover the infinite sins of humanity throughout the ages.

God could have saved Jesus from death on the cross, but in doing so would have abandoned humanity to the Law, which was becoming more corrupt all the time, and it would have become nearly impossible for a person to remain righteous in the eyes of the Law. He still did save Jesus, though. When Jesus had been dead for three days, He came back to life! The implications of the resurrection are many, and a good topic for a post on another day, perhaps. But the point is, because of His death and then victory over death, all a person has to do now is believe, repent, and  accept forgiveness, and their sins are wiped clean off the record. Repentance doesn’t just mean saying sorry (although that’s a part of it), it has more to do with actually, truly, deep down, being sorry, which only God and you can know for sure. In that way, forgiveness is free, but it doesn’t excuse sin.

See Mo? Does it make a bit more sense now?
To Mo and everyone else, thanks for reading!
~Another Jesus Freak

Lion’s Den

Posted: April 28, 2012 in Christianity, Poetry
Tags: ,

Deep down in the den,
All the light is eaten
By the hungry monsters
Playing in his head.

Feline features found,
Yellow-green and glowing,
Thirsting for the blood
Of God’s holy one.

Waiting,
Waiting for a saviour
To take me from the night.
Can you hear me, God?
Are you there?

Rumble, rumble, roar.
The lions feast tonight.
Closing in on him,
He’s praying for death.

An angel appears above
To shut the lions’ mouths
Death has lost all power
Over God’s beloved.

~AnotherJesusFreak

  1. Purpose – God created the universe, people, and me with a purpose: to please him. I tend to think of a major reason why parents like having children around: because seeing the child happy makes the parent happy.
  2. Justice – People who do bad things get punished. This should keep the world out of chaos. This also means there’s an absolute set of right and wrong. I like it when things are all black and white with very little grey area.
  3. Mercy – You don’t have to look far to see that everybody does bad things. God offers mercy, grace, and the chance to do good, through Jesus Christ, to all who want it.
  4. Friendship – God’s Holy Spirit lives within me, and I can go to God with anything, anytime, and He always listens. I am never alone. He helps me to be truly good, something I can’t do on my own.
  5. Love – God loves everybody unconditionally, whether or not they love Him back.
  6. Free will – God doesn’t force us to do anything. We can choose what we do every single moment.
  7. All-powerful God – He is always in control. There is absolutely nothing he can’t do, nothing He doesn’t know. Add that to “He loves me,” and “He listens to me,” and it’s pretty awesome.

After all, what have I got to lose?

Thanks for reading!
~Another Jesus Freak

Here’s another piece from my Facebook notes from a while back:

Well, there’s been some turbulence these past couple weeks, and it’s been busy as anything. But among all that, God is my peace, my rock and my redeemer. I somehow manage to find time to sit and just chill in his presence, and a few nights ago I came up with this little piece of imagery.

Ok, picture a diamond as big as your head. An extremely beautiful, clear diamond. Everybody’s got one of these gorgeous hunks of rock inside of them. It’s your soul! Now pour a bucket of black paint over it. Ok, well, perhaps not everyone’s soul is completely black, but most people’s diamonds are mostly covered. Think about it, is it actually possible to be perfect? Goodness, no.

This is the part that totally confuses me: some people will hold up this completely black goop-covered diamond and say, “Look at what a beautiful black soul I have.” Uh, ok…

There is also the other kind of person that will paint over their black goo with white paint. Often, it will all mix up and end up all grey and icky. Other times, they’ll end up with a white-painted diamond. It’s not black on the outside, but it’s nowhere near as pretty as the original, clean, clear diamond, and it’s still got the black goop all over it under the white paint.

Now picture a little floating white light. It’s reeeeeally bright. This is Jesus. If the owner of the soul-diamond asks, this little white light will go into the middle of the gooey diamond and start chipping away the black from the inside. But only if you let Him. Everywhere a little piece of black paint falls off, a ray of light shines through. Sooner or later, while the last little bit of paint is getting chipped away, the light glows out and covers it.

The soul I just described

Just picture it, a diamond as big as your head floating there in the middle of the dark world, glowing like a star. Rainbows glint off the surface here and there, it’s a beautiful sight!

Thanks for reading!
~Another Jesus Freak