Faith, Love, and Pride

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

In the fifth century, a monk by the name of Telemachus believed he had heard a voice that had told him to leave his home in Asia and to travel to Rome. Spurred by this calling, Telemachus left. While visiting the crown of the Roman Empire, he followed a crowd into the Colosseum. There, he witnessed two gladiators who were fighting in the ring, and Telemachus was horrified by what he saw. He jumped over the wall that separated the crowd from the fight and tried to get between the two men to stop them, shouting three times, “In the name of Christ, stop!” But despite his words, the man was run through with a sword, and was then stoned to death by the angry crowd who didn’t want their entertainment to be interrupted.

But Telemachus’ death did not go unnoticed, for it touched the heart of the watching emperor. Impacted by the saint’s death, Emperor Honorius then issued a ban that ceased all gladiator fights within Rome.

The story of St. Telemachus is aspiring. And though there are differing details in the stories of his legend, which make it difficult to know exactly what happened, one thing remains constant: Telemachus was a man who was struck to the heart by the violence of the gladiators, and he was willing to sacrifice his own life to make a difference. Telemachus was willing to follow the example of his Savior, who had sacrificed himself upon a cross to save the world, and to give up what he could not get back, in order to show love and compassion.

Even today, the stories of Jesus and Telemachus are amazing, and should be stories we keep in the back of our own minds as we make our own statements. For too often, we let our pride get in our way and worry more about being right than being love. Continue reading

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Our Amazing Creator: Part II

Our God, is an amazing Creator.

He created the octopus:

Octopuses (or octopi) are interesting invertebrates with three hearts, blue blood, and nine brains! (One located within in their head, and one in each tentacle, so that each arm literally has a mind of its own and can function independently.) Some, like the coconut octopus, can even use tools to help them hunt. They are also very intelligent, and have learned in labs how to count, distinguish colors, navigate mazes, and even how to open a childproof pill bottle. Octopi can squeeze their bodies through very tight spaces, such as under a door, and can change the color and texture of their skin to camouflage. Additionally, the mimic octopus can not only change its color, but can even contort its body and transform its behavior to impersonate other sea creatures: Continue reading

Samson: Identity Crisis

If I asked you right now who your favorite judge is from the Bible, who would you answer with? Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Samuel? Though some of you may answer with some of these names or others, I bet the majority of you would answer with Samson. But why?

Samson seems to be the most popular judge of the Bible, being the current star on stage for Branson’s Sight & Sound Theatre and having his own movie which came out earlier this year. Though Samson did some pretty awesome and miraculous deeds, such as slaying 1,000 Philistines with only a jawbone of a donkey (Judges 15), Samson really wasn’t a great role model, which is often overlooked or downplayed. Pureflix‘s portrayal of the judge in their recent film, Samson, is an example of this. The movie having Samson tricked to drink wine at his wedding by a Philistine, and being tricked by an innkeeper to enter her brothel, with the misconception that it’s a place of rest and prayer. The movie portrays Samson to be a much more spiritual man than who the Bible describes him to be, as the YouTuber Kevin points out in his review of the film on his channel, Say Goodnight Kevin. Yes, Samson was a judge of Israel and he was used by God, but that doesn’t mean that Samson was morally sound. Continue reading

Three Reasons Why Protestants Need to Study the Old Testament

downloadWhy study the Old Testament?

I mean, it even has the word “old” in it. Why would should we study something that’s old when we have the New Testament? True, the New itself is around 2,000 years old, but it’s newer than the Old Testament; therefore, isn’t it better? So why then should we study the Old one?

The New Testament is better, for it contains within it the story of Jesus–his life, death, and resurrection. However, there’s a reason why the Old Testament makes up 60% of the Protestant canon. Actually, there’s many reasons, which I’d like to bring to your attention to consider, for I believe there are many Protestants who give too little attention to these 39 books, and believe they are of less importance than what they truly are. (Perhaps, because our Catholic brethren put too much emphasis upon the Old Testament; therefore, we swung too far on the pendulum to create our Protestant identity, while the truth rests in the middle–balance.) After all, Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (And if the New Testament wasn’t fully written yet, what books of Scripture do you think he was referring to?) Continue reading

Traditions

I had the privilege last night, to see the opening performance of our community theatre’s presentation, of “Fiddler on the Roof.” The performance was tremendous! filled with the amazing talents of many skilled Rolla actors and singers. It was also cool getting to see one of the teens in our youth group dance while balancing a bottle on his head, and another had some mad skills with a spotlight.

The play also stirred up fond memories as I watched and sung to it, for “Fiddler” was the first play I had participated in while I was in high school. . . . The story centers around the Jewish father Tevye, who struggles to keep his traditions in 1905 Russia, as his three oldest daughters pursue marriages for love. Each marriage bending Tevye further and further from his customs. The play ending with an edict forcing Tevye, his family, and the other Jews to leave their village of Anatevka. Continue reading

Jesus: The Original Youth Minister

5124omQ9aVL“If you have a group of twelve kids who don’t understand your illustrations and one of them wants to kill you, you have a youth group like Jesus.” –Mark Yaconelli

If you just think of this quote on the surface level, for it quickly gets dark if you dive deeper, it’s a funny analogy. I came upon this quote while reading Sustainable Youth Ministry: Why Most Youth Ministry Doesn’t Last and What Your Church Can Do About It by Mark DeVries. At first, it made me chuckle, for I have one teen who jokes about using nukes against me whenever I challenge him to a wrestling match . . . and win. And another who has watched way too many crime shows and claims to know how to get away with hiding a dead body. . . .

But after my chuckling, I began to think about Jesus and his disciples, how he may have been the first youth minister and what his youth group would have been like. Continue reading