Prancing Ponies, Bible Belt Satanists, and America’s Proud Rebellion

December 12, 2013

Pride 1

Fallen humanity’s history is the ultimate in tragic, dark comedy. In our fallen state, we are the most pathetic and stone cold stupid of all one-trick ponies that has ever defiantly pranced upon the face of God’s green and previously pristine earth.

Our trick?

Rebellion.

Rebellion against God.

The God who created and sustains us.

How’s that for “stone cold stupid”?

That said, exactly how stupid are we? How oblivious? How arrogant? How doomed?

The short answer is: Completely (see: Romans 1), apart from God’s unmerited grace (see: Romans 5:8).

Our nature from birth is such that we are no more likely to notice rebellion than a fish is to notice water. We live in and breathe rebellion the same way a fish lives in and breathes water. We love sin and rebellion the way a fish loves water and wetness, which is to say automatically and by nature.

We’re born this way and we like it. A lot.

That being the case, apart from God gracing us with conviction and repentance, we aren’t the least little bit inclined to even notice our rebellion, much less label it as such. Until and unless He graces us with conviction and repentance, we perceive and therefore paint our rebellion in nothing but flattering, happy colors and terms because we honestly and sincerely believe that our rebellion is good. Cute, even. Downright awesome. Really. No joke.

As such, we are very much predisposed to refer to our rebellion as something reasonable and good, like “common sense”. Or “empowerment”. Or “being positive”. Or “being nice”. Or “loving”. Or “kindness”.. Or “good conservative (or liberal or progressive or family or libertarian) values”. Or…well…you get the picture.

The bottom line is that we love to paint our rebellion as something so sweet and so beautiful that, quite obviously, anything opposed to it must be, by definition, bad, ugly, and probably even evil.

Here is where even in the practice and defense of our favorite stupid pony trick we accidentally confirm and, in our own warped way, agree with God’s perfect perspective on such things as beauty, truth, love, justice, and every other good thing in all of His creation.

God does indeed share the perspective that there is one and only one correct standard by which to measure all things in all of His creation at all times, and that all who oppose that standard are, by definition, not only wrong, but evil. The trouble for humanity is that it is entirely born into that evil camp, and every flavor of its rebellion is evil, no matter how folksy, sweet, traditional, or intellectually appealing a label we manage to temporarily slap onto it.

Christ-dismissing liberalism?

Evil.

Christ-dismissing conservatism?

Evil.

Christ-dismissing economics?

Evil.

Christ-dismissing business practices?

Evil.

Christ-dismissing law?

Evil.

Christ-dismissing education, government, art or sexuality?

Evil, evil, evil and evil.

See the trend here? Allow me to save some time, announce the obvious, and move on: This trend never ends.

It has zero exceptions.

Never has and never will.

If we disagree with, advocate against or even cling to an apathetic view of anything that God has addressed with clarity in His perfect, unbreakable Word, we are, in that act, in open rebellion against Him.

We are evil.

We are a stone-cold stupid one-trick prancing pony.

The good news is that there is a cure: Repentance.

The bad news is that we cannot earn and will never choose this cure in and of our own free will, since that will is defined by our nature and, as we’ve already covered, our nature from birth is evil.

Only by God’s grace through supernaturally inspired conviction, repentance, and restoration can the dread condition of Stone Cold Stupid Prancing Ponyitis be cured. This blessing of conviction comes through His people faithfully sharing (at great personal cost) the Gospel command to repent, believe and be saved from the coming righteous judgment of their beloved and soon returning King – the King of all creation.

The typical American response to the biblical concept of “the blessing of conviction” alone is enough to give us a good sense as to where we’re at (and a good explanation as to why we are here). In a nation where the blessing of conviction is avoided like the Black Death in most churches through countless detours around and mutilations of the Gospel command to repent, believe, and be saved, it should come as no surprise that biblical truths like the “blessing of persecution” would be even more openly abhorred.

For generations now, even the most (apparently) rigorous portion of the professing Christian American subculture has been so successfully wooed by various Christ-dismissing philosophies and movements (aka “idols”), that it’s hard for most professing Christians – even many true believers – to even distinguish between the tenants of these idolotrous worldviews and the Christian worldview as defined by the Word of God. In this sad context, the default for folks enamored with these idols has become to exalt the former over the latter, leading to…well…precisely the cultural implosion that we are witnessing now in  the “Christian nation” of the United States.  

Here in our land, it is the professing Christians who are, far and away, most responsible for where we are as a culture and society.

In America, professing Christendom has removed itself so far from God’s Word as the authority in all realms of life that to even suggest to the typical church-going, Bible-reading, professing Christian American something like “the first goal and purpose of business is to glorify God” will almost always illicit one of three responses:

1. Stunned silence. This is the most hopeful of the most common responses, as it indicates at least the significant possibility of serious future contemplation, possibly inspired by the blessing of conviction. If conviction is not at work here, then the stunned silence is just of the typical, useless, lemming-like sort.

2. Confused/Evasive silence. This is where the hearer knows that the statement “just can’t be true”, or something like that, because it directly confronts their cherished worldview on the subject, yet they see enough to know that, at the same time, it actually must be true if Scripture is true. Their unwillingness to test their own most cherished beliefs in light of Scripture leaves them in a confused, silent stupor. These folks tend to cling to their idolatry regardless of anything Scripture has to say, but they just can’t work up the honesty or courage to openly reject Scripture in word with the same clarity that they reject it in deed.

or

3. Proud defiance. This one most often sounds something like “Oh c’mon! You gotta be kidding!” …or “Are you nuts?” …or “You are nuts!” The bottom line here is that the defiant idolater, caught red handed, so to speak, immediately goes “all in” on the personal offensive approach to the conversation as a means of defending the indefensible. Usually these folks know that Scripture completely and clearly opposes their cherished worldview on the subject, so they pivot into “kill the messenger” mode. They do everything they can to destroy the credibility of the individual who has dared to shine Scriptural light onto their closely-held and adored idolatry. They can’t deal with, much less embrace, Scripture on the subject, so they vigorously avoid, dismiss and evade every relevant passage cited in context while simultaneously doing everything possible to paint the person going to Scripture for answers as the problem.

Again, we’re not talkin’ ’bout the “soft, lefty, phony baloney pseudo-Christians” here. We’re talking about the professed (and often actually) “hard core, Bible-believing” ones who really do read their Bibles often, really do regularly attend Bible studies, and really are active members in Bible-embracing churches. These days, the purposeful application of Scripture’s vivid perfection to man’s political, legal, economic, and business considerations is most violently and vocally opposed by many of these sorts of professing Christians. Some of these Christians are true believers who are struggling against the flesh in their walk of sanctification, as we all do, and some are false converts and phony Christian-in-name-only types.

That distinction is not ours to fully grasp and is not the subject of this piece, though it should be noted that the Spirit in all true believers is such that they will embrace any credible challenge to “test their faith”, where railing against such a loving, biblical challenge is one of the tell-tale signs of false conversion and phony religiosity.

What is respectfully introduced here for your consideration is the relationship between God’s perfect Word and everything else in His creation, with “everything else” including America, Satanists, and government. It is here that we intersect with the events presently unfolding at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

As per yesterday’s ABC News report, there is a tragically comedic (or comically tragic – take your pick) hubbub brewing over a Ten Commandments monument that was recently installed at the Oklahoma State Capitol and the pending arrival of a Satanic Temple equivalent in the near future.

The story reads, in part:

The privately funded Ten Commandments monument was approved by the conservative-led Oklahoma state legislature in 2009, and erected on Capitol grounds in 2012. It has riled up opponents ever since, many calling into question the constitutionality of the monument.

But [Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the Satanic Temple] does not see a problem with the Christian monument, as long as it does not stand alone.

“I feel that the statue is only problematic when it stands alone,” Greaves said. “It would change the dynamic with our monument there. We aren’t objecting to the Ten Commandments monument, we’re objecting to the monument standing alone.”

When asked what the Satanic monument would look like, Greaves said he doesn’t want to “reveal too much about the possible design options,” but hinted that his “favorite design, at the moment, is an interactive display for children.”

Before we take the bait and throw ourselves down any of the numerous rabbit-holes that have successfully distracted and dominated the responses of most politically inclined professing Christians (a group of which I am a member), let’s make note of two very basic and very important facts that are apparent and foundational to a right and productive understanding of this story:

1. A group of people strongly desires that the Oklahoma State Capitol display a monument that screams open rebellion against the God of Scripture like nothing else in recent memory.

2.  Another group wants to follow suit with a more formal monument to Satanism.

Before we flesh this out, let’s consider some vital and painfully relevant biblical truths – all, Lord willing, in a Spirit of both personal humility (“There but by the grace of God go we”) and boldness in defense of His name and nature (testing all things in light of Scripture and holding fast to that which is true, no matter the cost).

First off, in the truest sense, God’s perfect law is never broken. It is pure, beautiful, and unbreakable (Matt 5:17-18). It is each of these things because it is a true, unblemished reflection of His very nature. It cannot be broken because He cannot be broken.

Even Satanists tend to know this at some level, as all people know God (Romans 1: 18-21).

All people from birth, by their very nature, love sin, hate holiness, and try to break His law at every turn. Yet in every proud, feeble attempt made, the only thing successfully broken at the end of the day is the delusional, self-worshipping, and ultimately self-destroying transgressor. When left to their own devices, people always choose self-rule over Christ’s lordship over their life and, as a result, break themselves upon His unbreakable law. That’s just what people do – it’s our nature from birth, until and unless He supernaturally saves us by giving us a new nature that hates the sin we were born loving and loves the holiness we were born hating.

If we are law haters and law-breakers by nature from birth (and we are), and the law is unbreakable, leaving all who would seek its transgression only able to break themselves upon its perfect beauty and power, then it’s not hard to see that, for unregenerate, unrepentant rebels against His law, things are grim.

We hate the law by nature because it convicts us of our sin (Romans 7:7), each and every manifestation of which is nothing better than proud, open rebellion against a holy God (1 John 3:4).

That last part – the bit about sin being “nothing better than proud, open rebellion against God” is well worth camping out on for a sec, if for no other reason than to ponder the fact that this truth applies to every sin in any area of life. This means that it applies even to our personal pet favorite sins.

It is on this point that the Oklahoma deal comes into much better focus again, if we’ll only go there.

Just think of the folks who fought and paid to have that Ten Commandments monument dropped into place on the State Capitol grounds. Without trying to be or sound mean here, and really I’m not – I can relate to these folks and their concerns on many levels and I feel for them in this moment (enough to share challenging and unpopular but necessary truth, even), I cannot help but wonder and feel compelled to ask: Have they even read the commandments on the monument that they so proudly placed in the figurative, if not literal, center of their state’s public square?

If so, do they believe them? Do they really, actually believe that these Ten Commandments from God are the unmatched, unbreakable “gold standard” for law on earth, as dictated from God to man?

Though time does not allow us to dive deeply into the detailed composition and majesty of the Ten Commandments here (though I would encourage the reader to do just that very thing at every opportunity), let’s take a moment to touch on two fundamental truths embraced as essential to the biblically defined Christian faith:

1. The Ten Commandments, like the rest of Scripture, is not a buffet line. One cannot pick and choose which of these Commands to obey, as to do so would make them a god over God and directly violate The Commandments. Such an approach to the Ten Commandments is self-refuting (and wildly popular in professing American Christendom these days).

2. The order of the Commandments is not accidental. As with everything else in His creation, His Ten Commandments to man are perfectly and purposefully arranged, making the First Commandment regarding God’s nature and exclusivity the necessary prerequisite to all subsequent Commandments. Put another way, one cannot coherently make the case for the Seventh, Eighth, or Ninth Commandments without first establishing and embracing the First or Second Commandments. Put another ‘nother way, not a single one of the Commandments of God to man can be coherently or credibly removed or separated from His exclusive, personal nature.

With these things in mind, let’s have a look at the first of the Ten Commandments, upon which the rest stand and from which the rest flow:

And God spoke all these words, saying,

 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

 “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20: 1-3 ESV – bold emphasis added.)

See how clear that is?

It’s really about as straightforward as it gets, isn’t it?

God has commanded man to acknowledge no other gods. He has commanded man to tolerate no other gods.

That’s it.

And what have we as “good Christian Americans” said in response to this crystal clear Command from God, upon which all other life-sustaining and peace-preserving Commands rest and from which they flow? We have said that God is wrong on this one and that anyone in our society run which will be run our way is free to join us in Christ-dismissing pride by openly, proudly worshiping any god they choose.

Your pick.

Any god, including the real One, or no god at all. Whatever. No biggie.

Go for it.

Oh, and by the way, don’t forget, we’re a “Christian nation!” “Yay God!” and all o’ that! I mean, we want His blessings, so let’s at least talk big and nice about Him, right?

We are soooooo thankful that He has blessed America with the freedom to worship any god any way we want! How cool is that?!

Are you beginning to see and smell the wildly unbiblical problem here?

Or is your idol too important and blinding to you?

This is a question that we should honestly, eagerly, ask ourselves as we first ponder our own actual relationship to the one true God of creation – the Author of the First and all subsequent Commandments, as well as our culture’s plight as it circles the drain before our very eyes.

Could it be that we have chosen, purposefully and proudly, to remove ourselves from the authority of His Word? We ought to soberly reflect on that question while remembering that to be removed from His Word is to be removed from His nature. The only reason anyone ever runs from His Word is because they are repulsed by His Word…which means that they are repulsed by His nature.

We are so far fallen and so deep in open rebellion against the God that we claim to love with our lips that we are all too willing to focus our attention and critiques on “those bad people” on the other side, practicing their own favorite forms of rebellion rather than our favorite forms of rebellion. We’d never put it quite that way, of course, but the reality of this situation is plain to all with eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to desire Scripture and conform to its perfection.

Talking about “those people” who are “wrecking the country” is our favorite pastime. It’s our sport.  It’s our favorite soap opera; our preferred form of entertainment, standing head and shoulders above everything else. Like an idol, you might say.

“Those Satanists” and “those liberals” and “those progressives” and “that Barack Obama” are not to be the first and main problem here, folks.

We are.

We are the ones called to repent, seek His will, and submit to it in order to save our land.

In this context, let us consider another in the long line of favorite, oft-quoted, yet rarely-embraced and applied passages, consider the following:

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 – ESV – emphasis added)

This one’s so familiar ad so oft-recited that you may have seen it on a greeting card or a tee shirt and very probably in a Facebook post or Twitter feed.

But like so much else in America, the beautiful truth of this unbreakable promise has been morphed into a magic ticket to seek and gain the favor of a God before whom we will not humble ourselves. We will not repent. We will not obey.

And He better just deal with it and give us what we want!

It is here that we must be reminded of the fact that God doesn’t need America. Not one little bit.

He doesn’t need you. He doesn’t need me.

He is God. He needs nothing, including America.

Moreover, everything in all of His creation – once again, including America – will glorify Him. It will glorify Him through the validation of His nature as reflected in His Law. It will do so either by submitting to His Law and finding the true peace, joy, and prosperity that can only come through such an approach, or it will validate the unbreakable beauty, truth, and power of His Law by breaking itself upon that Law in unrepentant rebellion. Either way, God will be perfectly glorified.

So get over yourself.

And get over America.

Pride easily defines and dooms both individuals and cultures, but for the intervening grace of God inspiring conviction, repentance, and restoration.

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves…”

Well, will they? In America?

That is my hope and prayer.

The only way to save or heal the land is for His people who are in that land to personally seek and submit to His perfect nature as revealed in His perfect Word.

An America founded on the core principle of the freedom to worship any and all gods is an America that must repent or she will be justly and properly crushed under the weight of her rebellion.

An America in open embrace with explicitly unbiblical practices such as en economic matrix built upon fiat currency (which, through its abandonment of biblical standards, enslaves by design) and the “freedom to choose” not only the worship of any old god, but the murder of innocent children for convenience, is an America that must repent or be destroyed as a consequence of her freely chosen and proudly adored rebellion.

This is where we are and who we are.

We are rebels against God.

That understood, why wouldn’t we expect and tolerate a Satanic Temple monument next to our proudly placed but never read/applied monument to the Ten Commandments?

Why?

What could possibly surprise us about this?

The irony and humor factor is not hard to find here either, tragic and dark though the stage upon which it dances may be.

We claim to be a “Christian nation” yet we are all about pride in an America that centers its itolotrous (per)version of “freedom” on the “right” to worship any god one chooses…in direct and open rejection of the First Commandment to man from the God we claim to love! We even thank Him for giving us such “rights”. Really!

While He has given us no such “right”, He has certainly given us the freedom to repent or rebel, and as with any other person or culture, when left to our own devices (aka “pride”), we have and will always choose rebellion and death. At this moment in our history, our unique claim to fame is that, when it comes to sheer size and scale of blasphemy and idolatry, there has never in all of human history been a greater, more boastful spiritual whore than America. There’s not even a close second, really, though one could make the case for Old Testament Israel being the closest thing to a competitor for this particular award.

What makes America truly untouchable in this contest isn’t just the globe-spanning scope and influence of her rank prostitution. It’s the fact that she does it all while mouthing her “love for Jesus” that makes it a truly unique and bone chilling horror. This combo gives allows her to coast to the easiest of wins where the gold medal for rebellion is concerned.

But hey, if you’re gonna do something, be the best at that thing, right?

And in America, if there’s one thing we know, it’s that we’re #1!

U! S! A!

U! S! A!

U! S! A!

We actually refer to ourselves as “the shining city on the hill”. Yeah, really!

Nobody – but nobody – does rebellion quite like us.

The tragic comedy that is even now unfolding in Oklahoma gives us a clear and painful glimpse of this truth.

God uses all of His creation to demonstrate the perfection of His Law, even “Satanists”…in this instance, to call (and reveal) the bluff of ignorant (at best) “conservative Christians” who like to use things like the Ten Commandments as props while, in practice, utterly rejecting them as the basis for actual law.

You see, *both* groups are mocking God.

And He will not be mocked.

This reality is presently grinding up the “conservative Christians” in question and will get to the “Satanists” in due time. That is not in question.

That said, what is most sad to observe at this moment is not the temporary apparent victory of those crazy-bad, evil-liberal “Satanists” in America, but the clear, present, and *very* proud rebellion of those claiming to carry the banner of Christ in the culture war as it rages in the middle of America’s blasphemously mislabeled “Bible belt”.

Maybe if the self-professed “conservative Christian” folks in question would actually *read* the words – crystal clear commands (not to be confused with “suggestions”) from God to man – and actually…[gasp]…*obeyed* them when they went about the business of, oh, I dunno…*legislating* or *shaping policy*, then the Ten Commandment-bearing plaques, posters and monuments littering this rapidly decomposing shipwreck of a republic would look and smell less like the toothless, Christ-mocking props that they so clearly are today.

Maybe, just maybe, by God’s grace, these plaques, posters, and monuments would, for the first time, become cherished symbols to an obedient people who, out of love and honor for the one true God, would boldly oppose and cast down the “many gods” of pluralism. Maybe they would become a people inspired by the Lord of creation to repent of their worship of the “founding fathers” and Constitution as gold standards for lawmakers and law. Maybe through that repentance they would be graced with a restored, loving relationship with the one and only true King, who is the one and only Source of true peace- and life-preserving law. Maybe then their land would be healed, as it can only be, on His terms according to His Word.

‘Til then, score another one for God and against ‘Merica…by way of His property, the Bible Belt Satanists (both sets).

_________________________________________

© 2013 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.

For more blog posts, book excerpts, and other (hopefully) cool things, head on over to www.FireBreathingChristians.com.

Thank you!

A Mark of the Beast

August 21, 2013

Throughout church history there’s been intense curiosity and fascination with the “mark of the beast” described in the book of Revelation. While serious interest in the truth of God as revealed in His Word is a wonderful thing, in recent decades much of what is marketed as end times intrigue has been detached from its biblical foundation. Once that happened, it was bound to blossom into something quite ugly, and blossom it has.

In its “Bible lite” format, unhinged from the full context of Scripture, most “end times prophecy” has predictably gone from bad to worse to…where we are now. And people love it (which tends to be the case with any biblical passage or concept taken out of context and massaged to fit the inclinations, desires, and traditions of man). The “mark of the beast” reference made in Revelation 13:16-18 is right there with the “Judge not” partial verse snippet surgically removed from the tippy top of the rest of Matthew 7 when it comes to examples of our culture’s propensity for the convenient destruction of context.

The modern spin on end times prophecy has pegged the obsess-o-meter in our culture. Inspiring and inspired by a growing gaggle of wildly popular yet comically unbiblical movies, books, and “end times ministries”, all coming together to produce a particularly wacky, nasty, and destructive little feedback loop, this movement shows no sign of slowing. This self-perpetuating end times prophecy machine has served as a powerful force of distraction for the professing church in America, with even many true believers captivated by its never-ending parade of tantalizing speculation, gossip-as-“prophecy”, and pin-the-tail-on-the-antichrist sessions.

Ironically, the modern end times prophecy movement would itself seem to be a great indicator of a world come off its biblical rails and in need of an apocalyptic purge.

That said, each of us should resist these distractions and shun even the sheer entertainment value of Jack and Rexella Van Impe’s 2,342nd “I’m not setting a date, but…” prediction for at least long enough to prayerfully focus and seriously consider Revelation 13:16-18, which reads:

…it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666*. (*Some manuscripts record the number as 616.)

The aim here is not to discuss the subject of the mark in detail, rather it is to inspire each of us to consider whether we, in light of this passage from Revelation, could be said to be displaying, right here and now, a “mark of the beast”.

Please note the “a” part of that last sentence. The reference is to a mark of the beast, not the mark of the beast.

It has been rightly noted that to be marked in such a manner (on the forehead and on the arm) is likely an indicator of one’s thoughts and one’s actions, with the mark on the head symbolizing one’s worldview in thought, and the mark on the hand representing one’s worldview in action. What we think and what we do marks us. There need not be a physical mark in order for a person to be marked either by the world or by Christ.

If we obey Christ, we are marked for Christ, and that mark is visible to a watching world. It is visible to them through our actions, which are a reflection of our actual belief (as often opposed to the belief we profess with our mouths but contradict with our actions).

The more American culture plunges itself into Christ-less oblivion as the wrath of God is poured out upon the land and its people, the more these marks will show. And the more these marks show, the more the world will persecute those displaying the mark of Christ.

When we want to be better able to “buy and sell” (as in “make more money” and “get a good job”), what has become “the way of the ‘Christian’ American”?

Compromise, of course. If taking an actual, clear stand for Christ as commanded by Christ would cost us something like a good job (or a shot at any job), we just won’t go there. That’s not how we roll. We simply don’t do personal sacrifice on a serious, comfort-destroying level, to say nothing of embracing a willingness to actually die for the Gospel, which has been a defining mark of the true Church at its world-shaking best throughout history. No, we here in good ol’ comfortable America are not at all interested in paying those prices or making those sacrifices.

“That’s just the way the world works,” we are told and tell ourselves. And besides, there’s no need to sacrifice that much, since Jesus is just gonna fix it all in the end anyway.

That is our testimony to the world.

That is our worldview in action.

That is our mark.

It is right and good that each of us ”examine ourselves” to see whether we are really “in the faith” (2 Cor 13:5-6), and repent of any mark embraced that does not conform to the lordship of Christ. May God grant His people repentance and restoration, so that true Christ-centered, Gospel-fueled revolution might once again shake the world.
________

The above article originally ran in The Wisconsin Christian News and can be found by clicking here or at http://www.wisconsinchristiannews.com/view.php?sid=4623.

Copyright 2013 Scott Alan Buss. All rights reserved.

You can send feedback directly to Scott Alan Buss at Scott@FireBreathingChristians.com

Flu-Shot Jesus: Candy Christianity’s Magical Superpal (Sample Chapter from “Apathetic Christianity – The Zombie Religion of American Churchianity”)

April 19, 2012

© 2011, 2012 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.

The following sample comes from the third chapter of the book Apathetic Christianity – The Zombie Religion of American Churchianity. If you like it, please pass along this link to anyone else you know who might me interested and inspired by the message of this book. Thank you for your prayers, patience, and support!

For more excerpts and to address any formatting issues with this one (blog posts/emails can sometimes be thoroughly mangled in transit), please feel free to head on over to www.FireBreathingChristians.com. There is a lot of info on Apathetic Christianity posted there, along with clips and previews from other R3V Press releases.

That said, and without further delay, here’s your sneak peek at Chapter 3, “Flu-Shot Jesus: Candy Christianity’s Magical Superpal”:

FLU-SHOT JESUS: CANDY CHRISTIANITY’S MAGICAL SUPERPAL

Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

~ John 5:28-29 (bold emphasis added)

                                                                          .

“God’s not mad at you.”

~ Tyler Padgitt (nothing bold to emphasize)

                                                                         .

“…American Christianity has designed itself as self-help therapy with a little Jesus thrown in. [It] has become nothing more than another vehicle for you to feel good about yourself, and I’m telling you: You will ‘feel good about yourself’ all the way to Hell.

   This is not funny. God is the judge of all the earth and He will do right. And if you continue on this quest for [your personal] significance, He will do what is right. He will view you as a rebel…He will consider you an enemy and He will judge you.

~ S. Michael Durham (bold truth emphasized)


On March 11, 2011, in what has come to be known as “The Great East Japan Disaster”, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake – the most powerful ever known to have hit Japan – struck off the coast of Oshika Peninsula. It produced a catastrophic tsunami. Within minutes of the tragic event’s opening act, the modern age of instant access and free flowing information made its presence as plain as the quake itself. Videos streamed from cell phones and Twitter feeds relayed details in near real-time. The Japanese Apocalypse seemed to have its own Fox News theme music before the buildings had even stopped shaking.

Adding to the horror of an already catastrophic event, the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant was compromised and ultimately failed, prompting Japan to declare a state of emergency. European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger, in an address to the European Parliament on March 15, described the event as an “apocalypse”.

In the wake of all of this, Western media seemed to be conflicted as to how serious the nuclear portion of the earthquake disaster really was. Some predicted doom, proclaiming imminent meltdown at the failed Fukushima facilities, while others treated the whole nuclear part of Japan’s trouble as no big deal at all.

Nothing to see here…and, heck, the radiation might even be good for you. (It worked wonders for Godzilla, after all.)

Environmental activist groups suffered little of the “conflicted” affliction that had beset the media, however. They rocketed into action, protesting the evils of nuclear power almost as quickly as Fox News had the Japanese Apocalypse theme music up and rolling.

In the midst of all of this, I was living in Seattle, wondering, among other things, who was right on the nuclear analysis. Was the cloud of leaked radioactivity that was heading across the Pacific really the black hand of death that some were painting it to be, or was it the practical equivalent of a mass of airborne vitamin C as some extremely pro-nuke types seemed to imply?

   While I had never really been a vitamin supplement kind of guy, after reading up on the situation I decided that it might be a good idea to start down that path, what with the black cloud of nuclear powered death heading Seattle way and all. So off to several downtown health-food-ish stores I went, picking out what was my first official collection of daily vitamins not to be found in a cheeseburger, pizza, or some similarly bachelor-friendly bit of culinary wonder.

It was a few days later – well into establishing my new daily vitamin routine as a habit – that I noticed something peculiar while perusing the aisles at the local Safeway. Something very peculiar…

I was happily be-bopping along, pushing my cart along ahead of me, when I noticed something green. A whole lot of green, actually. There was lettuce, celery, cucumbers, apples. There was a jar of pickles. And around the green were splashes of strawberry red and banana yellow. Very festive, I thought, but also very…weird.

What made all of this more than a little odd was that these natural shades of green, red and yellow were all in my shopping cart. Apparently, I had just happened to go about the process of shopping in auto-pilot mode and, for the first time in my life, I had only fruits and vegetables in there. I was stunned.

I even stopped in the middle of the realization to snap a picture of the cart with my iPhone.

This was a big deal.

Before any Greenpeaceniks or McDonald’s Haters out there who happen to be reading this get too awful excited, rest assured (or disappointed) in the fact that, before I left Safeway on that day, I had added Cheetos, Twinkies, and a handful of other “normal” items to my haul. Still, the whole thing represented quite a shift.

   I finished that weekend on a true, first-time-for-me surge into healthhood. It felt good…at least in my mind…at least for that weekend.

Three days into this vitamin and vegetable fueled approach to life (combined with my already established routine of walking 10+ miles each day), I felt invincible, or at least on the verge of it.

Then, on Day Four, my magic carpet ride to healthiness crashed, and hard, with me coming down with the most annoying conflagration of respiratory and digestive disorders that I can remember facing at any one time. It was ridiculous.

Of course, I instantly blamed the vegetables. And if it wasn’t the vegetables, it had to be some weird sort of chemical reaction that occurred when vegetables were combined with vitamins. Yeah, it had to be one of those two things.

Having been blessed with good health (if I take Tylenol more than twice a year, it’s an “off year” for me), I was so certain that the switch from health-light to health-heavy intake would bump me up to the next level that I couldn’t even imagine the opposite outcome as a likely outcome for anyone taking this route, much less the one that I would experience.

Yet there it was – my vitamin and veggie packed body was as bad off as it’d been in years – decades, even. The Greens had lied. The Health Nuts were just plain nuts. The more I type, the sillier I feel for having ever even entertained the notion that they were on to something – anything – good.

I should have known better.

And why fiddle with a smoothly operating machine like my largely taco- and Dunkin’ Donuts-fueled self, anyway? My lifelong strategy of creating a personal biological environment so overtly hostile to potential invaders that no germ or virus with even the slightest sense of self-preservation would dare even consider trespassing on – or in – my turf, had clearly worked. And well. For years and years and years.

   Then I bought the lie; the veggie and vitamin lie.

Apparently, I had to learn the hard way.

In all seriousness, while health food and vitamins are actually wonderful things, and maintaining our bodies is an important aspect of our fidelity to and glorification of God, there is no doubt that fallen men and women are very susceptible to deception; particularly deception that has already proven popular with others. Promises of an easy path to a wonderful destination are quite naturally a great temptation to us, and all the more so when we see friends and family stampeding in that direction.

Cheap + Easy = Red Flag

  

“The greatest heresy in the American Evangelical and Protestant church is that if you pray and ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart, He will definitely come in.”

~ Paul Washer

                                                             .

“The sinner’s prayer has sent more people to Hell than all the taverns in America.”

~ Leonard Ravenhill

                                                             .

We love beautiful things, and that tends to be good.

We also love easy things, and that tends to be bad.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the enemy would aim to craft a counterfeit of the most beautiful thing (Christ) by attaching a perverted version of it (or Him) to our inherent love of ease.

   What could be more appealing than a Jesus who has only your happiness in mind? What could be more attractive than a Jesus who lives only to serve your desires right where they are? What could be more wonderful than a Jesus who conforms his will to yours and uses all of his power accordingly?

How about one who will give you all of these things – fulfill all of your desires – without expecting anything of you or even slightly nudging you to change anything at all? In other words: A Jesus who doesn’t judge, or, as Tyler Padgitt likes to say, a Jesus who “isn’t mad at anyone.”

What self-centered rebel wouldn’t want a “savior” who saves them from Hell and from any pressure to change or conform to any standard outside of their own?

Sound too good to be true, non-believer?

Not so!

This “savior” is very real…at least in the minds of men. He feels good. Very good. Sinfully so, some might say. And you can find him headlining every Sunday in the auditoriums of American Churchianity. He loves those big stages, and he knows how to play a crowd. He’s been perfecting his game for thousands of years.

Enter: Flu Shot Jesus.


The Problem with Imaginary Friends

“When people say, ‘I believe in Jesus’, look them straight in the eye and ask, ‘Which one?’”

~ Walter Martin

                                              .

…he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”

~ Mark 8:27-29

                                              .

In America, practically everybody knows Jesus. And most claim to like the guy or even love him. And how could they not? After all, this Jesus that the typical everyman in America seems to regard highly sure has all the right positions on all the right issues, including:

  1. Jesus knows that men and women are basically good. Sure, they mess up sometimes, but nobody’s perfect, Jesus understands this, and he just wants to help people do better by guiding them from mediocre to good, good to better, and better to best.
  1. Jesus is love – with love meaning whatever you want it to mean, so long as it requires of Jesus that…:
  • …he’ll never personally punish/discipline you.
  • …he’ll never be angry with you personally.
  • …he’ll never “force himself” anywhere that you don’t want him to be.
  1. Jesus just wants you to let him help you. He respects your authority over your own life and would never even think of transgressing on your autonomy, but he would really like it if you’d choose to let him in the door, so to speak, so he can make your life better.
  1. Jesus, if you’ll just let him “into your heart” (whatever that means) and say one time a few key words, will stamp both your Get Out of Hell Free and Free Pass to Heaven cards…simultaneously! These stamps never expire. They seal you entirely and allow you to go about your business as before without worrying at all about where you’re going when you die.
  1. Jesus will demand nothing of you after you vote him in as savior. He’s just happy to have you and has no serious expectations beyond that. That’s just the kind of Jesus that he is.

If there’s one thing that comes through with crystal clarity where the nature of this Jesus is concerned, it’s that he is all about you.

He submits to your will. He is there to help (and never punish or criticize). His only real aim is to gently encourage you toward your best possible life, both here and hereafter.

How cool is that!

Whatta deal!

Now this is a Jesus that sells! This Jesus has real appeal in a culture like ours. He is imminently marketable; just seems to “sell himself”, so to speak. He seems to have it all – everything attractive and good to offer with none of the drawbacks.

Kinda like Coke Zero.

But this Jesus does have one little problem – a single lingering issue that does tend to paint all of this theoretical wonder in a different light. You see, unlike Coke Zero, this Jesus doesn’t actually exist.

(Chapter continues in Apathetic Christianity: The Zombie Religion of American Churchianity, available at FireBreathingChristians.com.)

© 2011, 2012 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.

For more excerpts and other cool things, head on over to www.FireBreathingChristians.com.

Thank you!


Pastor Feelgood and His All-American Salvation Machine (Sample Chapter from “Apathetic Christianity – The Zombie Religion of American Churchianity”)

April 18, 2012

The following sample is from the first chapter of the book Apathetic Christianity – The Zombie Religion of American Churchianity. If you like it, please pass along this link to anyone else you know who might me interested and inspired by the message of this book. Thank you for your prayers, patience, and support!

For more excerpts and to address any formatting issues with this one (blog posts/emails can sometimes be thoroughly mangled in transit), please feel free to head on over to www.FireBreathingChristians.com. There is a lot of info on Apathetic Christianity posted there, along with clips and previews from other R3V Press releases.

That said, and without further delay, here’s your sneak peek at Chapter 1, “Pastor Feelgood and His All-American Salvation Machine”:

PASTOR FEELGOOD AND HIS ALL-AMERICAN SALVATION MACHINE

HE WILL FEEL YOUR NEEDS AND FEED YOUR FLESH

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

~ 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (bold emphasis added)

                                                                               .

“If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.”

~ Leonard Ravenhill

                                                                               .

“My God…” the man let slip as he took in the image before him.

He and a fellow military intelligence operative sat at the table, looking down at a sketch in the old book as they sat there in the university library. Two professors stood looking on from across the

room, where the four had come seeking seclusion for a conversation of significant importance.

And secrecy.

   “Yes, that’s just what the Hebrews thought.” Dr. Brody answered matter-of-factly as he walked slowly toward the table where the increasingly intrigued agents were sitting.

“What’s that supposed to be coming out of there?” the second intelligence officer asked.

“Lightning. Fire. The power of God or something.” Dr. Jones responded from behind Brody, standing just in front of a large rolling blackboard.

The first officer spoke again, this time in a more deliberate, concerned tone: “I’m beginning to understand Hitler’s interest in this.”

“Oh yes. The Bible speaks of the ark leveling mountains, laying waste to entire regions.” Brody explained, “An army which carries the ark before it is invincible.”

So begins Indiana Jones’ fabled quest in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the runaway hit and pop-culture staple that first graced the silver screen in 1981. Steven Spielberg’s and George Lucas’ star-powered cinematic collaboration struck many chords with many people on its way to its current iconic status.

For all of the considerable success resulting from those well played chords, one truth that the film simultaneously confirmed and relied upon, perhaps unintentionally, was its exposition of the nature of man’s regard for God – when he regards God at all, that is.

The idea is basically this: God is a tool.

Man’s tool, to be precise.

This was the Raiders’ plot lynch-pin delivered via Indiana Jones’ friend Dr. Marcus Brody:

Hitler could manipulate the supernatural power of God if only he could find and control the ark. God’s power would then become

the ultimate point-and-shoot weapon in the hands of a presumably invincible Nazi army. Thus it is clear that any man – Nazi or

otherwise – can tap into the unstoppable, unmatchable, supernatural power of God and manipulate it to his ends…if only he has the right tool or mechanism by which to do so.

In effect, through this realization you become god-like, or, for all practical purposes, God Himself. You realize that the tool is attainable by you, you seize the tool, and you use it as you please. In this, you ascend to the throne, take your seat, and direct His power – now your own – by your will, according to your desires, and for your ends.

Pretty neat, huh?

But hey, this is just the movies, right? I mean, should we be bothering reading so much into a Hollywood production when it comes to the nature of man, God, supernatural power, and the like? Raiders of the Lost Ark was a good flick and all, but does its little pitch and perspective on these subjects really matter?

Yes.

Really.

You see, sadly enough, the “Any man can claim, own, and control the power of God through tools” philosophy so central to Raiders is essentially the same view of God that is embraced and exalted by most of those leading the zombie religion movement in America.

In a very real sense Raiders is, at its heart, just another zombie flick.

Just as the Nazis fell under the spell of the charismatic Adolf Hitler, so too do the undead hordes of American Churchianity have their need-feeling, flesh-loving leaders. And, like Hitler, these leaders have an almost magical ability to captivate an audience and build a movement – a ministry, if you will – by appealing to the “itching ears” of the living dead.

And what do those ears most want to hear?

   What do zombies assume to be true, yet yearn to have confirmed? Why, that they are actually alive, of course.

Zombies want to be saved, or so they will often say. And many think that they are. Yet they are, and they most certainly wish to remain, zombies.

They love the flesh.

They live for it.

They feed it and feed on it; they can imagine nothing else. And it is in turn that the leaders of American Churchianity feed on them, by feeling their needs, feeding their flesh, and leading them straight to Hell and judgment, most often with a big smile, a kind word, and a warm, friendly pat on the back. If nothing else, the leaders of the Church of the Living Dead are masters of two things:

Deception and encouragement.

I’m Okay, You’re Okay, and Nobody Goes to Hell

 

“For from the least to the greatest of them,

everyone is greedy for unjust gain;

and from prophet to priest,

everyone deals falsely.

They have healed the wound of my people lightly,

saying, ‘Peace, peace,’

when there is no peace.

Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?

No, they were not at all ashamed;

they did not know how to blush.

Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;

at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the LORD.

~ Jeremiah 6:13-15

                                                .

“A popular evangelist reaches your emotions. A true prophet reaches your conscience.”

~ Leonard Ravenhill

                                               .

“God isn’t mad at anyone.”

~ Tyler Padgitt

                                               .

Can you pick out which of the above three quotes is “not like the others”, as the Sesame Street song used to ask? Any wild guesses as to which one of the above speakers is the odd man out?

(Chapter continues in Apathetic Christianity: The Zombie Religion of American Churchianity, available at FireBreathingChristians.com.)

© 2011, 2012 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.

For more excerpts and other cool things, head on over to www.FireBreathingChristians.com.

Thank you!

Light and Grace in the Land of the Dead (Sample Chapter from “Apathetic Christianity – The Zombie Religion of American Churchianity”)

April 17, 2012

© 2011, 2012 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.

The following sample is the complete Intro to the book Apathetic Christianity – The Zombie Religion of American Churchianity. If you like it, please pass along this link to anyone else you know who might me interested and inspired by the message of this book. Thank you for your prayers, patience, and support!

For more excerpts and to address any formatting issues with this one (blog posts/emails can sometimes be thoroughly mangled in transit), please feel free to head on over to www.FireBreathingChristians.com. There is a lot of info on Apathetic Christianity posted there, along with clips and previews from other R3V Press releases.

That said, and without further delay, here’s your sneak peek at the Intro to Apathetic Christianity: “Light and Grace in the Land of the Dead”:

LIGHT AND GRACE IN THE LAND OF THE DEAD

OUR SUPERNATURAL WAR ON ZOMBIE RELIGION

“I don’t read the Bible very much, and I really don’t want to.”

She spoke calmly and clearly, sitting there as we talked over the kitchen table the way we had a hundred times before. Then, between sips from a favorite black coffee cup, she almost casually elaborated, “And I don’t feel bad about it at all. I really don’t.”

I say “almost casually” because she was clearly charting a course methodically and with purpose, yet there was also a certain nonchalant, matter-of-fact coolness to her delivery that either was cover for a deeper struggle that she wished to avoid, or an honest representation of the position to which she had resigned herself on the matter. I couldn’t tell which.

Her contentedness seemed to grow with every passing syllable. This was accompanied by a quickening of pace, as though there was something important waiting on the other side of her presentation.

“I know I’m supposed to [feel bad], but I don’t. I know that [the Bible] says to do certain things that I don’t do, but I don’t want to do those things and I don’t plan to do them, to be honest. I’m fine with that, really.”

By now she was beyond calm and well into a silky smooth autopilot mode. She had the confidence of the fit, self-aware, forty-something career-minded woman that she was.

“I don’t care if I just barely make it in; I’m just glad to be going to Heaven.”

And there it was: The Point.

“That’s all I want. I just want to go to Heaven.”

   I can remember those few sentences as if they were spoken to me only yesterday, though now many years have passed since that particular moment with that particular woman in that particular kitchen. Then, as now, I was struck by her ever-so-freely offered words, though time has brought increased clarity – and increased alarm – over their meaning.

She was not doing and had no interest in doing what she already knew the Bible had to say about this, that, or the other thing, and she certainly didn’t have any desire to learn more about what it might say about the other other things she hadn’t already accidentally discovered, but she was happy, confident and oh-so- comfortable in the embrace of the soothing notion that she was, in fact, at the end of the day – or at the end of her days, Heaven bound.

If there was one thing that she knew about eternity – her eternity, it was that she was securely saved and going to that beautiful place.

Her pastor told her so.

Her church told her so.

Her friends told her so.

Practically everyone in her Bible Belt American culture told her so.

And they all go on telling her so. Seven days a week and twice on Sundays.

This is the primary mission and consequence of the dominant religion of post-Christian America, which also just happens to be the religion that spearheaded the inauguration of America’s post-Christian era.

Its god isn’t angry at anyone. He’s far too nice for that; a whole lot more like Santa Claus than Yahweh, to be sure.

Its gospel isn’t a command to repent and turn from sin so that one might avoid the coming righteous judgment of a holy, distinctly un-Santa-like God. It’s more of a pleading request

from a weak, undemanding wannabe messiah/therapist who is just begging you to get out of the line going to hell (if there really even is such a place) and get into the line going to heaven, so that you might instantly and permanently qualify for his no-strings-attached, super-sized plan for your best life now.

With that god and that gospel, this religion’s members are just what you’d naturally expect: Millions upon millions of content and confident, flesh-obsessed walking dead who think like the world, act like the world, love what the world loves and hate what the world hates…all in Jesus’ name.

It’s that last bit – the “in Jesus’ name” part – that really does make all of the difference here. It’s the spark that has ignited the engine. It is through His name that credibility has been attained, ministries have been founded, and empires have been built, and it is through the abuse of His name, nature, Word, and Gospel, that this credibility, these ministries, and these empires have been empowered to twist and hold those who profess Him as Savior into a position of direct opposition to Him as Lord.

In His name, we have been called to abandon good and righteous judgment.

In His name, we’ve been called to make man’s happiness the center of all things, including religion.

In His name, we’ve been called to tolerate and even love the things that He hates.

In His name, we have been called to “be nicer” than…Him.

In His name, we have witnessed the construction of the very machinery now used to most effectively malign His holy name, openly mock His perfect truth, and wage war on His chosen people.

Welcome to American Churchianity.

THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING DEAD

 

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

~ Colossians 2:8

                                                 .

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

~ 2 Timothy 4:3-4

While George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is widely credited with the inauguration of the modern zombie concept, a strong case can be made for none other than God the Spirit through His perfect written Word as the original author of zombie mythos. After all, it is His hand that wrote of the true nature of fallen man in such startlingly vivid, much-better-than-Technicolor detail, that many who read it simply cannot endure prolonged exposure to the picture that it paints. They recoil and they resist. They object and they protest. Such is the horror of fallen man’s reality.

Scripture paints a picture of fallen men and women in this real world that is far bleaker than the shambling hordes of “living

dead” that dot the landscapes imagined by the likes of George Romero. It’s not even close, really.

Consider for yourself the following truths concerning fallen men and women as revealed in Scripture:

  • Fallen men and women are spiritually dead. Not spiritually “wounded” or spiritually “hobbled” or spiritually “critical”, but spiritually dead.
  • Fallen men and women, though spiritually dead, are physically animated for a time. Thus, they walk and wander the countryside, so to speak, doing whatever appeals to their spiritually dead, flesh-obsessed nature.
  • Fallen men and women love the flesh. It is what inspires them and what they constantly strive to feed and feed upon.
  • Fallen men and women have a burning passion to gnaw, maul, and generally obliterate all that is truly holy and good – particularly the spiritually living.
  • Fallen men and women, while they shamble about and seek to fulfill their (fallen) natural desires, have absolutely no awareness of a higher world or calling of any sort. They only see what their dead nature allows them to see. They are bound and their wills are defined by this dead nature, and they act accordingly.
  • Fallen men and women can do nothing to save themselves from this state. They…are…dead.

Where the biblical account of zombie nature deviates from the more contemporary Romero spin on the concept is that one of the greatest longings and habits of actual zombies is for the formation and promotion of religion.

Zombie religion.

And it is here where one of the brightest, boldest, and most important battle lines is drawn.

On one side are zombies. They are completely dead spiritually, self-obsessed slaves to sin, lovers of the flesh, and haters of holiness and its Author.

On the other side are supernaturally regenerated “new creatures” in Christ. They are slaves to Christ, Gospel-fueled, lovers of the Lord and His truth. They are called and empowered to wage war against all that would stand in opposition to Him.

It is important to note that everyone is a member of one group or the other, and that every member of Group B was once a member of Group A. In other words, every single member of “Team New Creature” was once an obliviously content, spiritually dead and doomed member of “Team Zombie”…until the hand of God intervened, moving them out from one camp and into the other.

The one and only determining difference between the zombie and the new creature is the grace of God. This truth, when held closely, will be of great assistance as we consider the subject of zombie evangelism.

ON GRACE AND ZOMBIES

For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

1 Corinthians 4:7 (NASB)

One goal of this book is to inspire righteous anger.

The anger part of that “righteous anger” formula is all too easy to find and foment. It comes quite quickly and easily to us by nature. It’s the righteous part of the equation that’s often a profound challenge in light of that very same nature, but this is a challenge that we, as new creatures in Christ, are commanded and equipped to overcome. With that in mind, this seems like a perfect time to remind ourselves that, as even the zombies so often like to say: “There, but by the grace of God, go I.”

This is true. Totally true. Even when a zombie says it.

And this truth means that, among other things, you and I both were once flesh-loving, God-hating zombies, right up until the very moment that He chose to save us. Let that soak some, even if you already have a solid understanding of this truth.

You and I once hated God by our spiritually dead nature, and we loved sin by the same. We once sat squarely positioned under the soon-coming righteous judgment of that same holy God and were incapable of moving – or even desiring to move – off that mark by even a single solitary millimeter. We loved it there because we hated Him. We loved what He hates and hated what He loves. We were that dead, or what we call ‘round these parts: “a zombie”. I was a zombie. You were a zombie.

   And it was in this putrid, sin-loving, truth-despising, God-hating state that He found and saved you, bringing you from death to life and infusing you with a new nature that inspired you to love the things you once hated and hate the things you once loved. He did this for you while you hated Him.

How’s that hit your sense of personal superiority…or even your sense of an autonomous ability to do anything good at all?

Pretty hard, I hope.

Only with our self-esteem properly obliterated are we able to even enter the arena of battle known as “evangelism” with any real sense of coherence and credibility – precisely because we must realize that all of the credibility is of Him and none of it is of us – even when it comes to the subject of our own supernatural conversion. Everything that we have or know – every thought, impulse, desire, hope, dream, accomplishment or bit of progress in any area of life – is all a gift from Him to us. We have no claim to personal glory here. And only in embracing this truth are we properly equipped to “wage the good warfare” and “fight the good fight” where this modern day American Churchianity-fueled zombie apocalypse is concerned.

This total, perfect grace permeates and defines the only supernatural message with the power to bring true life to the walking dead. And we are called to bring that message – and that life – to those zombies.

Their Slavery, Our Slavery, and the Nothing In-Between

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

~ Romans 6:17-18 (Bold emphasis added)

As we progress through the subjects covered here and in future volumes, the fact that all are slaves – either slaves to sin or slaves to Christ – should remain in the forefront of our consciousness, etched prayerfully into a position of prominence so that we might better accomplish the very challenging goal of balancing three vital – and challenging – aspects of the Christian walk:

     1.      Personal Humility – We were zombies when He bought us. All glory is His. Put another way: Get over yourself, already!

     2.      Boldness in Christ – He has bought and equipped us for His purpose and mission. He has done these things perfectly; we are without excuse.

     3.      Fidelity to the Gospel – We have a duty to honor our King by proclaiming and defending His brutal, hated-by-the-world Gospel in its full, undiluted form.

   We must remember that we were once just as dead in rebellion as any false convert, false prophet, or apostate teacher has ever been. And while this should make us gracious, kind, and even loving to His enemies (and ours), it in no way gives us license to adopt worldly definitions of grace, kindness or love as a way of avoiding or deflecting His definitions of those terms and applying them to the defense of His truth as He has commanded. We have been supernaturally saved for His purpose, and He has made plain that this purpose includes our proclamation and defense of His truth.

We are to do this with boldness and clarity, and we will suffer for our obedience to Him in this calling. We will be hated for it. We will lose family and friend relationships over it. And He will be glorified through all of this…which is the whole point.

Only with these truths embraced can we fully understand and obey His call to an action fueled by righteous anger regarding the false religion of American Churchianity.

In Apathetic Christianity, we will explore several biblical reasons for this righteous anger of God’s people against the zombie religion of American Churchianity, including:

Its adoption of secular principles and plans aimed squarely at deposing the family as the God-ordained center stage for worship and primary staging ground for worldwide evangelism, replacing it with…you guessed it…“church”.

Its deep desire to be loved by the world. You know, the world that hates God, holiness, truth, and those who love and stand for the same. That world.

Its obsessive drive to make the dead in sin comfortable on their way to Hell (and doubly so if they “tithe” reliably on their way down).

Hell’s Escort Service

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

~ Jesus (The Real One) in Matthew 7:21-23

                                                  .

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him”

~ 1 John 2:3-4

                                                 .

Few systems of religion throughout recorded human history have been more effectively crafted to churn out the “workers of lawlessness” described by Jesus in the seventh chapter of Matthew than that of contemporary American Churchianity. It really does seem to have the whole black art of false assurance mastered; its capacity to comfortably escort millions to hell is without limit (or conscience).

When we use terms like “millions of workers of lawlessness”, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that these doomed groups are composed of precious, loved individuals

who are each made in the image of our holy God. Some are religious and some are secular. Some are our family members and some are strangers. Some are our friends and some are our enemies (whom we are to love). They are men, women, boys, and girls who, without the supernatural cure with which we have been entrusted and which we have been called to bring to them, are destined to face the eternal condemnation that we all once deserved.

They are teachers and preachers and pilots and homemakers. They are athletes and artists and leaders and soldiers. They are in your circle of friends and they are in your local congregation.

They even sometimes share a cup of coffee with you while telling you how doomed they are and how comfortable they feel about it. They won’t quite put it that way, of course, but, more often than not, you need neither pry hard nor peer intensely into their soul in order to see the truth that they tend to parade about quite effortlessly:

They are lost.

They are going to Hell.

And they are quite content.

Their religious leaders are paving this path to darkness and nurturing that contentedness, patting them supportively on the back as they take each successive step toward eternal damnation. Without divine intervention, these escorts to Hell will succeed. Fortunately, our Lord has just that sort of intervention in mind…through His chosen and obedient people.

His people and their love first for Him and then for the lost that He has called them to reach with His truth will be all that is needed here. This supernatural love and the action it inspires really is enough.

But wait, it gets better…and more challenging.

Not only does this supernatural weapon of liberation from slavery to sin and death known as the Gospel of Jesus Christ

have the power to free the slaves of American Churchianity, it even has the power to save those who are at the helm – holding the wheel and guiding the ship, so to speak – of this God-forsaken system of man-obsessed religion. Yes, even the very escorts to Hell themselves can be freed from bondage and brought from death unto life, if only we will honor our King and proclaim His Gospel command to Hell’s escorts along with their (temporary) captives.

The challenge here again is to remember that the worst of this zombie religion’s gatekeepers is no closer to spiritual life than you or I were before He brought us from death to that life.

Really.

And we must act accordingly.

So when a guy like Rob Bell says something stupid and dangerous – and he will – remember: There but by the grace of God go I.

Same goes for Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, and the rest of the “top-tier” – or any tier, for that matter – cast of characters in the American Churchianity line-up.

They are our targets, along with their followers.

They are all targets for conversion.

APATHY IS FOR LOSERS

This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

~ 1 Timothy 1:18-20

Vince Lombardi, the legendary head coach of the Green Bay Packers, once said, “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.” In this, he seems to prophetically identify the heart of a problem that has left actual Christians either foundering or floating aimlessly in a sea that has come to be dominated and defined by American Churchianity.

We will not confront error.

We will not take stands.

We will not name names.

We will not obey our King’s command to fight the good fight, wage the good warfare, and tear down enemy strongholds, bringing all things into submission under Christ.

And why won’t we do these things?

‘Cause they’re “not nice”.

They’re hard.

And we have become, as Lombardi described, losers.

We’re good at losing.

   We like it. A lot. You might even say that, in many instances, we’ve come to love losing.

We definitely love it when we think it makes us look more humble or gracious or kind in the eyes of the world. And we really love to lose when fighting to win as He has commanded would actually cost us something we treasure – something we idolize – like status or peace or friendship or opportunity.

In this we have become that which we are called to destroy. We’ve become apathetic. In becoming apathetic we’ve become “good losers” from the world’s perspective, which makes us just plain losers from a Christ-centered perspective.

So now it is time to get with the program.

His program – a program for warfare.

Total warfare.

Warfare with a purpose.

His purpose. And His ultimate victory.

WAGING THE GOOD (AND SUPERNATURAL) WARFARE

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ

~ 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

We will not settle.

We will not compromise.

And we will not imagine for a moment that there is or was ever anything inherent within us that made us more worthy of salvation than any other zombie that there ever was.

We are here to win His promised victory by His grace and for His glory, and we will prevail against the very gates of Hell in the process. We will tear down every enemy stronghold between this place and that, grinding its ruins under our heels as we go on marching and bringing the walking dead to life in our wake. Our war against the zombie religion of Apathetic Christianity will be unlimited in its Christ-defined scope and unrelenting in securing its Christ-centered goals, because this is the only warfare that we can truly know as supernatural soldiers of the Sovereign King.

As we contemplate in these volumes the many battles that have come and gone, the battles that are upon us now, and the battles yet to come, we will examine several critical attributes and consequences of the religion of the enemy, including:

  • Apathetic Leadership – Pastors, preachers, teachers, and leaders who scratch the “itching ears” of those who seek comfort apart from the Gospel of Christ and, in doing so, serve as willful escorts to Hell.
  • Apathetic Family Life – Zombie religion’s abandonment of (and hostility toward) the family as the centerpiece for worship and development of true sons and daughters of Christ.
  • Apathetic Education – Zombie religion’s embrace of

nearly every secular standard and principle of anti-Christian indoctrination in the name of “education”.

  • Apathetic Theology and Doctrine – Zombie religion’s growing disdain for sound doctrine and theology…and her growing adoration of all things “relevant” and hip.
  • Apathetic Discipline – Zombie religion’s abandonment of biblical discipline and the unrestrained, immature-at-best hordes that naturally result.
  • Apathetic Politics – Zombie religion’s embrace of such “progressive” notions as the obliteration of the God-ordained/defined institution of marriage and the “right” to intentionally target an innocent child for murder.

Ultimately, as we are about the business of securing the promised victory of our King, we will culminate this work by examining, exalting and celebrating the unstoppable, supernatural weapon with which we have been equipped to secure the sure and never-ending conquest to come: The perfect, whole, undiluted Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So pray hard, stay frosty, and saddle up.

Today we ride…

…it’s time to go zombie hunting…by His grace and for His glory…

(This has been the complete Intro to Apathetic Christianity: The Zombie Religion of American Churchianity, available at FireBreathingChristians.com.)

© 2011, 2012 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.

For more excerpts and other cool things, head on over to www.FireBreathingChristians.com.

Thank you!

Confessions of a Stupid Elephant (Sample Chapter from “Stupid Elephant Tricks – The Other Progressive Party’s War on Christianity”)

April 16, 2012

© 2011, 2012 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.

The following sample is the complete introduction from the just-released book, Stupid Elephant Tricks – The Other Progressive Party’s War on Christianity. If you like it, please pass along this link to anyone else you know who might me interested and inspired by the message of this book. Thank you for your prayers, patience, and support!

For more excerpts and to address any formatting issues with this one (blog posts/emails can sometimes be thoroughly mangled in transit), please feel free to head on over to www.FireBreathingChristians.com. There is a lot of info on Stupid Elephant Tricks posted there, along with clips and previews from this month’s other R3V Press release, Satan’s Jackass – The Progressive Party’s War on Christianity.

That said, and without further delay, here’s your sneak peek at Chapter 10, “The Would Be God Who Would Be President”:

CONFESSIONS OF A STUPID ELEPHANT

THE REPENTANCE AND REFORMATION OF A CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE

…what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God…

2 Corinthians 6:14-16

                                                                                 .

“Of two evils, choose neither.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

                                                                                  .

Is my vote honoring to my God? This is the question that, by His grace alone, I’ve aimed to sincerely ask and honestly contemplate, and the serious consideration of this question is what I hope and pray to inspire in all other American Christians through this book.

As a thankful child of the ’80s, I have a soft spot and deep admiration for Ronald Reagan and what God chose to do through him for America in what was truly a desperate, dark time in the nation’s history. As a politically inclined young man in the ’90s, I also have something of a soft spot for Rush Limbaugh and the radio revolution he began “back in the day” of George H.W. Bush’s “kinder, gentler nation”. (I even refused to purchase the text bookfor a college sociology class taught by a gay (“homosexual”, not “happy”) Marxist, instead opting to carry a copy of Rush’s The Way Things Ought to Be with me to class every day.) And as a vocal supporter of the younger Bush’s campaigns in the decade that followed his father’s presidency, I have a very warm affection for good ol’ red state, Tea Party patriotism and sensibility.

   None of these things have changed.

I love America. I love her Constitution. I love her history. I love her unique wonder and witness to the providential hand and power of God. I love her role and influence in a dark world insofar as she has been able to attain and sustain that biblical “shining city on a hill” position mentioned so frequently and so fondly by President Reagan.

I love conservative books, I love talk radio, and I love the fact that God has given American Christians all of these things along with the power and opportunity to use them to shape our own government – something that is breathtakingly rare in human history. I love that we have no Caesar in America (at least not yet). I love that We the People are Caesar (at least for now).

But each of these loves have been, for me, cast in a new light. By the grace of God alone, I’ve only recently been granted enough light and the desire to face it so that I might come to see and contemplate that question differently. More seriously. More urgently. More faithfully.

Is my vote honoring to my God?

Considering what I have been graced to learn and live through His perfect Word, is my vote honoring to my God? Knowing what I have been blessed to see and understand about His nature and necessity as the center of all hopeful human endeavor, is my vote honoring to my God? Having embraced the truth that He has given me through His written revelations regarding the need to exalt and submit to Him in all things at all times, even (and especially) when doing so is decidedly unpopular and non-pragmatic by every self-serving standard and worldly impulse, is my vote honoring to my God?

   As I first began to seriously contemplate this question a few short years ago, I immediately realized that repentance was required. And in that same moment I also realized what it was that had played such a large part in my having previously avoided the true weight of the question altogether: Pride.

It was anything but comfortable to realize that  I  had been so far off the mark. And it was hardly a warm and fuzzy feeling that washed over me at the realization that I had been that far off the mark when I had, all along, had my God’s perfect truth plainly preserved and presented before me the whole time.

It wasn’t as though Scripture was vague, cloudy, or ambiguous regarding such vital truths as the centrality and lordship of Christ in all things at all times. It wasn’t exactly wishy-washy as to the price of submitting to Christ in each and every one of those things, either. And it sure wasn’t the least little bit wobbly or wiggle-room-friendly as to how counter-intuitive and downright peculiar the Christian life in action would appear from a worldly perspective. God’s Word couldn’t have been more clear on any of these things. It was as though it was perfect or something….and that perfection was cutting through a lot of pet positions, perspectives, and traditions that I’d proudly held close and dear for a very long time.

I realized that I had been very secularly pragmatic in my political thoughts and actions. I had been very self-focused, self-referential, and self-centered in my political thoughts and actions. And I had been all of these things in spite of my having known better all along.

Now here I am, in the year of our Lord 2012, and I see an America that is circling the drain in every significant, measurable way. Realizing that it is doing so in no small part due to the choices that  I  have made, the causes that  I  have supported, and the candidates for whom  I  have voted has not exactly proven to be my idea of a good time. It really was much more fun when I could just blame those evil and/or stupid Democrats for everything.

But the course that’s been charted for America isn’t an exclusively Democrat construct. Far from it. It isn’t a Republican creation, either. It is the product of a progressivism that has captivated both parties, and the “progress” at the heart of both its right wing and left wing variants is a progress toward a man-centered worldview and away from a God-centered one. If this path is followed for just a little while longer, we really will see the doom that has been waiting for us since we started down this trail.

   I love America. I love God more than America. Infinitely more.

So it is that I love America enough to root for her when she seeks and submits to His will, I love her enough to root against her when she goes the other way, and I love her enough to fight for her shifting to the former path when she is presently choosing the latter. My fidelity is, happily and adoringly, to God above all else, and that is the prism through which, by His grace, I aim to test all things – including all political things – and then ask the question: Is my vote honoring to my God?

My prayer is that the hard truths and bold statements made in the pages of Stupid Elephant Tricks will be understood with four keys kept on hand and in mind:

  1. This book is written primarily to Christians. There is a roughly zero percent chance that much of what’s written in these pages will even begin to make sense to anyone else. That said, it is hoped that the Gospel presentation contained in these pages might be used by the Lord to add to His church as He sees fit. He is trusted completely in this regard.
  1. All that any of us have – including any bit of knowledge or wisdom or insight – is a gift from God. None of us have any room to boast in ourselves, though we can and should boast in the Lord who has given us all of these things. I certainly do not imagine for a moment that I am inherently any better than any of those whom I may criticize herein. I am not. Of all the people I’ve ever met or heard of or even read about in a history book, the one of whom I am most aware as a sinful, selfish person is: Me. By God’s grace, He has saved me, and by His grace He is sanctifying me, but based on what I know about my own heart and my own mind, I do not for a single solitary second seriously present myself as inherently better than anyone.
  1. This book does not pretend to represent or aspire to become a benchmark or standard setter for Christian political thought. The Bible is that book. This one is just an imperfect set of observations written by an imperfect man who hopes and prays that God will choose to graciously use these clumsy words and expressions to draw His people toward Him as the source of every meaningful bit of knowledge. I am not proposing or implying or even close to implying that those who arrive at different conclusions than I express on the subjects covered herein are in any way, as a result of such a difference, demonstrating that they are not “real” Christians or that they are in any way less of a Christian. The Bible is their proving ground for such things; this book is not.
  1. We must seek biblical answers to every question – including the political. The whole thrust of this book is aimed at simply inspiring Christians to cast every political question in the perfect light of Scripture and then submit to what is revealed in that light – no matter the cost in this fleeting, temporal world.

So have grace towards others – including me and every target of criticism noted in these pages. Love as you have been loved. And then stand for the truth as the Lover of your soul has commanded, with all boldness and confidence in Him.

I trust that He will guide us all along the way as we take this journey together. He has placed us purposefully in such a time and place and situation as this. That reality is both a matchless comfort and a magnificently daunting challenge. And we shouldn’t want it any other way.

We have a nation to save, but we have a God to honor first. May He never again allow us to forget this.   Thank you for your patience, grace, and desire to pursue His truth in all things.

Soli Deo Gloria…and let’s roll!

SAB

March 25, 2012

© 2011, 2012 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.

For more excerpts and other cool things, head on over to www.FireBreathingChristians.com.

Thank you!

The Would Be God Who Would Be President (Sample Chapter from “Stupid Elephant Tricks – The Other Progressive Party’s War on Christianity”)

April 14, 2012

Edit

© 2011, 2012 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.

The following sample is the first part of Chapter 10 from the just-released book, Stupid Elephant Tricks – The Other Progressive Party’s War on Christianity. If you like it, please pass along this link to anyone else you know who might me interested and inspired by the message of this book. Thank you for your prayers, patience, and support!

For more excerpts and to address any formatting issues with this one (blog posts/emails can sometimes be thoroughly mangled in transit), please feel free to head on over to www.FireBreathingChristians.com. There is a lot of info on Stupid Elephant Tricks posted there, along with clips and previews from this month’s other R3V Press release, Satan’s Jackass – The Progressive Party’s War on Christianity.

That said, and without further delay, here’s your sneak peek at Chapter 10, “The Would Be God Who Would Be President”:

Chapter 10

THE WOULD BE GOD WHO WOULD BE PRESIDENT

THE BEAUTY (GREAT HAIR) AND HORROR (WRONG GOD) OF EXPLICITLY UNBIBLICAL LEADERSHIP

…what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God…

~ 2 Corinthians 6:14-16

                                                                 .

“Of two evils, choose neither.”

~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon

                                                                 .

“Oh yeah, I know all about it. It’s incredible! Truly an amazing thing! If you work hard enough and you are a good enough guy here and now in the eyes of the god of this world – who, by the way, was once just a fallen man like you – he will then, in turn, make you the god of your own little planet. Wow! What’s not to like about that?”

The nicely dressed young man’s eyes widened a bit at this unusual response to his question.

“And after he green lights you for that supercool promotion, you get these amazing perks, including all the eternal sex you can handle with your multiple(!) totally-devoted-to-your-needs spirit wives. Quite naturally, the offspring from those never-ending celestial happy times will then go on to become the souls of the people populating the little planet over which you are god.”

By the time the subject of eternal celestial polygamous sex came along, the increasingly concerned young questioner-turned-listener had completely lost track of the warm smile that had accompanied his asking of the initial question in the first place.

“Then, of course, those people born under your godship, if they are wise enough, work hard enough, and are good enough in your eyes, can themselves earn a shot onto the same supercool track to god-ness; an eternity long path with no beginning and no end – just an unbroken, unending line of men becoming gods and women becoming eternal soul/baby-makers stretching as far into the past and future as anyone can see or imagine. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.”

By now passers-by at the Battlefield Mall were starting to slow down and pay attention. It didn’t help that the response, however kindly it was being made, was also being spoken with a precision and at a volume that sure seemed aimed, at least in part, at those increasingly interested bystanders.

“No true beginning. No end in sight. Just innumerable men-made-gods living out the most polytheistic religion imaginable, each going about their eternities enjoying a whole lotta power and, of course, a whole lotta sex with a whooooooole lotta women. Neato! Whatta deal, huh!? Well, maybe not so much if you’re a woman, but that’s obviously beside the point. This has to be a pretty easy sell for guys at least, right? I mean, guys who like sex and power, anyway. And since you apparently would like all of the power, all of the sex, and all of the sex partners that come as a part of that rather amazing sounding godhood package, you are here at the mall talking with me today. That’s pretty much it, right?”

This was not how or where the conversation was supposed to go. This was not the answer that the young man was looking for when he so politely and kindly escorted his simple, sincere question to its target with the warmest of smiles and a friendly, firm hand shake. And before the young man could respond, it got worse.

“I do appreciate that the name ‘Jesus’ was included in your question, since the single most important question that any of us can ask or consider is, ‘Who is Jesus?’”

Aha! Jesus! Now there was a term – a name, the name – that would surely unite all parties involved in the conversation…or maybe not…

“Of course, the name ‘Jesus’ is only as good or bad as the person to whom it is attached, so we can probably both agree that it’s always important to be sure that we’re talking about the same person when we use the same name. I mean, a lot of very different people can go by the same name.”

   (Chapter 10 continues in Stupid Elephant Tricks – The Other Progressive Party’s War on Christianity)


© 2011, 2012 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.

For more excerpts and other cool things, head on over to www.FireBreathingChristians.com.

Thank you!

Why Settle for the Lesser Evil? (Sample Chapter from “Stupid Elephant Tricks – The Other Progressive Party’s War on Christianity”)

April 13, 2012

© 2011, 2012 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.

The following sample chapter – all of Chapter 1 – is taken from the just-released book, Stupid Elephant Tricks – The Other Progressive Party’s War on Christianity. If you like it, please pass along this link to anyone else you know who might me interested and inspired by the message of this book. Thank you for your prayers, patience, and support!

For more excerpts and to address any formatting issues with this one (blog posts/emails can sometimes be thoroughly mangled in transit), please feel free to head on over to www.FireBreathingChristians.com. There is a lot of info on Stupid Elephant Tricks posted there, along with clips and previews from this month’s other R3V Press release, Satan’s Jackass – The Progressive Party’s War on Christianity.

That said, and without further delay, here’s your sneak peek at Chapter 1, “Why Settle for the Lesser Evil?”:

WHY SETTLE FOR THE LESSER EVIL?

THE SLAVERY AND STUPIDITY OF SECULAR STANDARDS

“No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith, for if he becomes President, he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths. [Loud applause] I believe that every faith that I’ve encountered draws its adherents closer to god.”[1]

Mitt Romney

(bold emphasis added)

                                                                                                                 .

“Evil will always triumph, because good is dumb.”

Dark Helmet, Spaceballs

                                                                                                                  .

“Why Settle for the Lesser Evil?”

Now there’s a campaign slogan you don’t see every day, at least not yet. But there it was, all decked out in red, white, and blue; proudly planted on the bobbing back bumper of the little Nissan pickup in front of me. “Cthulhu for President” was the headlining banner above the peculiarly provocative tagline.

   Cthulhu (pronounced: kuh-THOO-loo…I think), for those of you (no doubt happily) unaware of the name, is the moniker given to a dark, malevolent force of supernatural terror in a series of horror stories first penned by H.P. Lovecraft back in the late ’20s. Often described along the lines of “…an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature…. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque scaly body with rudimentary wings”[2], Mr. Cthulhu certainly had the look to go with the bad attitude and mission.

Somewhere between his intro in 1928 and the 2000 presidential campaign, enthusiastic Lovecraft and/or Cthulhu fans took (what can only be hoped to be) a tongue-in-cheek approach to the “pulpy, tentacle headed” doom-bringer in question and did what Americans do so well so naturally: They happily (and profitably) took on the mission of marketing their favorite force of darkness in every way imaginable and then some.

There were “funny” Cthulhu t-shirts. There were tasty Cthulhu candies. There were even adorable(?) little Cthulhu Beanie Baby style plushies. And then there was the ongoing “presidential campaign”, with shirts, slogans, and…bumper stickers. Bumper stickers like the one rolling along ahead of me a few cycles back.

While I’ve not bothered to check on the latest incarnation of Cthulhu for President in the present election cycle, one can only assume that he and his handlers are at it again, and happily so. Whatever terrible thing that may or may not say about our culture’s condition, now, more than ever, the “Why Settle for the Lesser Evil?” line seems worthy of serious consideration, even if its tentacle-headed advocate does not.

Incredibly, sadly, and incredibly sadly, professing Christians in America have not only managed to validate at least a substantial portion of something as idiotic as the Cthulhu campaign for high office, they have also managed to confirm the strategic observations of another pop-culture bad guy wannabe. When the Dark Helmet character (a Darth Vader knock-off) in Mel Brook’s Spaceballs flick (a Star Wars knock-off) announced confidently that, “Evil will always triumph, because good is dumb.”, he hit the nail on the head…so long as “good” is described by secular standards…which is exactly how most politically active professing Christians define it in practice these days. It is this shift toward secular pragmatism and secular standards of goodness in American Christendom that has made the question “Why settle for the lesser evil?” so sadly relevant today.

   In agreeing to measure the goodness or rightness of anything, much less the political leadership of our nation, by any standard other than God’s, we have made a compelling case for “choosing the lesser evil” and have, in doing so, proven that our “good” is, in fact, dumb. Frighteningly dumb. As Christians, we are supposed to know and advocate explicitly God-centered goodness as the only true sort of goodness to be found, but, in practice – particularly political practice – we simply do not believe this to be true.

We. Are. Dumb.

And unlike the kind of dumb that you might be able to laugh at in Spaceballs or a Cthulhu presidential campaign (not that I necessarily recommend either, mind you), ours is a form of willful stupidity that is far more dangerous and far more destructive, in part  because it is God’s own people who are often perpetuating this decidedly ungodly approach to life in His name.

We’ve become “politically savvy” Christians who know how to play the game to win! And just look at all of the “winning” we’ve experienced with this approach: We murder roughly a million innocent children each year, mostly for convenience; we tax young workers to support the Ponzi scheme of all Ponzi schemes in the form of ever expanding and long-known-to-be-unsustainable entitlement programs; we are on the cusp of formally exalting homosexuality – which God hates – as a legitimate and honorable “lifestyle”, and we are witnessing at this very moment  our comically unbiblical and unconstitutional statist system make its final, lumbering lunge toward much more formally tyrannical approaches in every realm given up to its dominion.

   And many of these progressive wonders have been won by us in His name as we have done everything we can see (and have been told) to do by the forces of secularly defined progress within conservative, libertarian, and Republican political circles. Where once we would at least pretend to seek God enough to insist that our candidates profess to be actual, orthodox Christians, we now find that to be more than negotiable.

After all, we have to win, right? We must beat Obama! That is our supreme goal…our ultimate challenge…our clear and present idol.

It is this idol, in various incarnations, that has been used very effectively and for a very long time by the enemy. In our embrace of this idol, we have abandoned our duty to truth and its Author and we have surrendered our one and only supernatural hope of actually winning “the culture war” or any other conflict of consequence. In agreeing with a godless culture that God is not the necessary explicit center for all good things, we have joined, in a very real sense, something even worse the “Cthulhu for President” campaign.

American Christians now fiercely believe and vigorously campaign for the “lesser” evil, and, in doing so, we do exactly that for which the greatest evil hopes. After all, if it’s not hard to imagine how pleased a Cthulhu or a Dark Helmet type might be at the prospect of directing his enemy’s future by simply presenting multiple evils from which that supposed “good guy” preemptively agrees to choose, then how much more so should we understand the very real delight of Satan at the prospect of manipulating America’s professing Christians in precisely the same manner?

Apparently, all the devil need do is hold out an Obama or a Clinton or a Carter in his left hand whenever he desires for American Christians to select whatever and whomever he chooses to offer up in his right. And professing Christians in America have, for quite some time now, been all too happy to play along. We just seem to love dancing to the “less evil” tune, no matter how obviously unbiblical it is or how much wreckage accumulates in its ever-lengthening, ever-widening, and ever-deepening wake.

   The Christian response to the political question, “Why choose the lesser evil?” should not be an explanation as to why said lesser evil should be chosen. The Christian response to this biblically ridiculous question should be something along the lines of:

Why choose any evil?

Or, as Charles Spurgeon famously and wisely recommended: “Of two evils, choose neither.”

Those of us who are Christians have been bought with a price. We are His slaves where once we were slaves to sin. Our breaths, our heartbeats, our actions and our votes are His property. We will answer to Him for how we spend every one of them.

This is the blessed reality that should inform our every thought and action, and this is the only hope that we have as we consider our calling and placement in a culture so vividly aligned with that described in the book of Romans:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

   Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served thecreature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

   For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

   And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. [3]

In response to such clear and present realities, we will often see and hear our brothers and sisters in Christ cite promises and verses from elsewhere in the Word, including, quite frequently, the matchlessly comforting and inspiring words of 2 Chronicles 7:14:

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

But what if the God who has made this perfect promise has also clearly defined the humility mentioned in the passage? What if He has made plain that we are to be humble by submitting to His will completely? What if He has also made plain that anything less than complete submission to Him in such a manner is not humility at all, no matter how much we might like to imagine or spin or pretend otherwise. What if He has lovingly warned His children that failure to submit to His clearly revealed will is always the precise opposite of God-glorifying personal humility. It is always God-hating, self-centered pride.

Pride is the fuel of all man-centered pragmatism, and man-centered pragmatism has most certainly come to define, in many ways and on every front, the prevailing political attitudes of the vast majority of professing Christians in America.

But take heart!

There is hope.

Perfect hope.

Supernatural hope.

But do we want that hope? Will we humble ourselves as He defines humility and requires it of His people?

Or will we continue to pragmatically play the game  and dance to the tune that His enemy (and ours) has so happily arranged and offered up to us? Will we work and fight and pray for the sock puppet on the right simply because he is soooooo much “less evil” than the one on the left?  Or will we finally come to the place of agreement with Scripture and Spurgeon, who both exhort, “Of two evils, choose neither.”

While Cthulhu is a fiction, the perils of this age are anything but. In the hills of modern progressive America, there be dragons…real dragons…home grown, pragmatically nurtured, and ultimately lethal creatures bent on the pursuit of anything and everything but the explicit will of God…all in the name of progress, of course.

Our only real hope to slay these dragons lies on the other side of our proper understanding and application of what He describes as “the Sword of Truth” – His perfect Word.

What if the whole key to the nightmare situation in which we have placed ourselves really is simple, complete submission to God, as He has defined it so lovingly and so clearly in His Word? The belief that this is indeed the case will be a guiding principle of this book, and the encouragement of fellow believers to pursue that calling will be a central goal.

When we are led, by His grace, to submit to Him completely as He has commanded us to do  – and only when we do so – all truly good things really do become possible. Only through the supernaturally inspired and inspiring submission that He has provided can we actually claim otherwise unimaginable and impossible victories throughout the American cultural landscape…one slain dragon and one saved person at a time.

So man up, grab your Sword, seek and submit to His will in all things, and prep for a real fight! No evil is to be spared; lesser, greater, or any in-between. The hunt is on.


[2] H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu

[3] Romans 1:18-32

© 2011, 2012 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.

For more excerpts and other cool things, head on over to www.FireBreathingChristians.com.

Thank you!

The Diarrhetic “gospel” of Tyler Padgitt (“Truth” Community Church – Springfield, Missouri)

May 3, 2011

Ever wondered what an Easter Sunday “sermon” including a more vivid description of diarrhea than the purpose of the crucifixion of Christ might sound like?

Nah, me neither…

Yet that’s just what the folks at “Truth” Community Church in Springfield, Missouri, were treated to this past Resurrection Day (when they weren’t distracted by the big “Easter Egg” hunt, anyway).

For every big-timey Joel Osteen type out there doing their best to spin Christianity into something much more appealing/comforting to unrepentant men and women on a global level, there are a gajillion less-known/talented Scripture-shredding wannabes out there doing the same sort of damage on the local scene.

While the Osteens, Warrens, and Hinns of the world will get their due mention (and full “credit”) in the upcoming release of “Apathetic Christianity”, light will also be brought to bear on  these lower level local “transformers of the faith”.

In order to get at least a taste of sort of local “church leadership” that will be addressed in “Apathetic Christianity”, here’s a transcript of “Pastor” Tyler Padgitt’s Easter Sunday sermon, entitled “God is not Mad at You”:

“My name is Tyler and I want to preach to you and I’m thankful that you’ve given me the chance to preach to you on this Easter Sunday morning. My sermon title will be “God is Not Mad at You”, and, uh, many people have that view of God – a view of God that I was taught about when I was a kid was that God was a fire-breathing menace who was looking for any excuse possible to punish you, and He would do so with much happiness and joy. And, uh, that’s not the idea of God that I find from the Scriptures. I find a gracious, loving God.

And so, uh, I think that a lotta people would struggle with the concept of a faithful, loving God in the face of all the losses that we’ve experienced as Americans. As a pastor, I know of many people that are working with less than they had three or four years ago. People whose hours have been cut. People whose contracts for work they depended on have been diminished greatly. People who’ve lost their jobs. People who are working jobs they never thought they’d work just because times have been so difficult for them. And so undoubtedly there may be many people, maybe a few – who knows? – that have experienced something like that, and I want to try to help you today from the Word of God…

You see, all of us have dreams, all of us have wishes, all of us have goals. All of us have things that we aspire to. I mean, nobody starts their life without an idealistic view of what can be, and that’s not a bad thing. But life sometimes deals us instances and situations that are way less than what we envision for ourselves.

Some of you had the dream of finishing your life with the person that you married as a starry-eyed twenty-two year old, and you found that as time went on you changed and now you’re facing life single and you never thought that would be your case. Some of you have wrestled with the fact that you want children. You’ve even gone so far as to decorate a nursery. You’ve thought about names. But you’ve found out recently that you can’t have children, and that’s less than what your dream was. Some of you are single and you desperately wanted to be married and it’s not happened yet and you’re frustrated with this. And to make matters worse, it seems like everybody else is experiencing the things that you wanted to be experiencing. Those end up being broken dreams; shattered dreams, and you find yourself living out a life that’s a different path than you intended.

As a pastor and somebody dealing with people I realize that no matter how much money you have or how little money you have or what your background is or how educated you are, everybody needs a healer. Everybody needs the help that comes from a savior.

Now, when you experience shattered dreams, when you experience less than what you envisioned, many people have various questions. One of them is “ Is there even a God?” because if there was a God, why is so much bad coming my way? Or, other people have the thought, “if there is a God, why is He mad at me? Why is He working against me?” And that’s uh, I’ve had Monday mornings like that where I’ll come to the office and I’ll be like – I’ll try to pray – and I’ll be like, “God, why do you hate me?” You know? And I’m joking of course, but I think if we’re all honest we’ve all had moments like that.

So the greater struggle, rather than “does God exist for me” is: If there is a God, and we know that there is, then why does so much hurt happen? Why is there so much pain and struggling? And we have to reconcile those two components: There is a God who loves us and yet there is pain and struggling in the world.

So what are you doing with shattered dreams?

What do you do when your life lived out now is less than the best that you envisioned for yourself?

The Scripture has all kinds of examples of those kinds of situations, and today I’m gonna tell you about David from 1 Samuel, chapter 21.

Now David was a unique guy. The Bible says he was a red head. Any red heads in the house? See? They’re always angry; you can hear them. No, I’m joking. The Bible says that he was a ruddy complected redhead. And some commentators even say that David was the illegitimate child of Jesse somehow; that he was not looked to like the others – that he was somehow less than the rest.

And so one day this prophet-priest Samuel came to their house and said,  “The Lord has called me to anoint a king for Israel out of your house.” And so Jesse starts bringing out all his sons, and his sons are just incredible studs.

I mean, they’ve got like, they’re manicured, you know, they’ve got a lot of manscaping[?] done on their face.  Some of them have blonde tips that have been dyed wonderfully and they come in with all of the spray tan on. They’re like, “Hey, what’s up?” and he’s like, “No, not you.”

The next guy comes along – he’s hot [hawt?], he’s handsome, he’s good lookin’, he’s smart, he can play three different instruments at the same time. He’s trying out for the priest, and he’s like, “No, not you.”

And so they go down this line of all these sons and none of them are chosen. And so Samuel goes to Jesse and is like, “Hey, is there anybody else?”  And he’s like, “Pfffft! Yeah, there’s David, but pfffft, this kid, you don’t want him. He’s out in the back forty tending my sheep, and he’s singing with his harp love songs to this God of his, blowing kisses at Him. You don’t want him; he’s a weirdo.”

He’s like, “No. Bring him in.”

And so here’s David, the illegitimate child, unwanted, on the back forty, and he comes in, and the next thing ya know, the oil of the anointing is being poured on him, and he is destined by God to be the next king of Israel. This is [not sure what was said here].  That was ‘Nacho Libre’ in case you didn’t know, the greatest film ever made.

“I’m concerned about you. You’ve not been baptized. You need to be baptized.”  If you don’t know ‘Nacho Libre’ that wouldn’t work for you, but if you do, that’s very powerful. Yes, I know.

So here’s David. He’s got this oil on him, ya know, and he goes back to the fields and he’s tending sheep.

Nothing changes.

He’s anointed for a purpose, but nothing changes. And that’s where frustration can happen in our lives.

We hear God leading us. We feel God calling us. Our heart becomes alive with a vision and a purpose and then nothing happens.

He’s back to the sheep.

So one day his brothers are out fighting, and dad calls him and says, “hey, take these cheese and crackers over to my sons over there.” And so he gets there and they start making fun of him immediately. They start, ya know, tearing him down, ya know. The brothers are pretty harsh on the younger brother David.

He gets there and he sees that these guys are terrified. They’re in their tents, ya know, terrified, painting their toenails, reading Vogue magazine, like a bunch of sissies. I said “sissies”, yes I did.

They’re not fighting this giant ‘cause they’re terrified.

There’s this giant named Goliath. You’ve heard of him maybe if you’ve read the Bible, but he’s a nine foot tall dude who’s massive, and he’d come out every day, and he’d say, “Fee fi fo fum”…he would just curse the children of Israel.

And so here’s David, this runt of a kid, unwanted by his own family. The only person that really wants him is God at this point. And he stands out there and he’s like, “You guys are in your tents painting each others’ toenails and reading Vogue magazine like a bunch of sissies, and this giant is out here” – he calls him an “uncircumcised Philistine”, which is like the worst way you could cut somebody in that day, ya know. He said, “He’s an uncircumcised Philistine, and you’re letting him – this dude over here – mock us?”

And so he like starts getting all anointed.

I mean he’s like, “I want you to know-ahhhh. I’m gonna go out there and fight tha devil-ah.” And he, this young, wet behind the ears, barely known kid, puts these rocks in his bag, then as the story goes, he goes up to Goliath. He takes his sling out. He throws a stone. He hits Goliath between the eyes, and the dude dies right there. And David runs up for good measure and grabs Goliath’s massive sword and cuts off his head and hits it like a golf ball after…

Oh, he didn’t do that, but that would make the story better if he did [lotta laughs from the crowd].

So here’s this, uh, this kid now, he’s like exalted immediately. The paparazzi are following him. He is now on the lips of every person in the kingdom of Israel.

Saul is impressed.

Saul is so impressed, he’s like, “Hey David, I’d like you to marry my daughter. And, uh, you’re not gonna pay taxes, and you’ll be eating at my table.”

David is like, ”Oh, [singing] I looooove you Lord! And I liiiift my voiiice!” He’s singing praise songs in the shower because everything’s coming together for him:

God anointed me.

It was all falling apart.

And now, here I am, finally God’s doing something with my life!

This must be the will of God-uh, ya know?

And so one day, the Bible says Saul would have these bouts with dark, dark places. And the Bible calls it an evil spirit would come on him. So an evil spirit would come on Saul, and to get that evil spirit to leave he would call David.

So David would come in with his harp, you know, the one that he sang out in the back forty with and he’d be there, and he’d be like, [begins to lay down a Lynyrd Skynyrd beat]  “Sweet Home Jeeer-us-alem! Where the skies are so blue! Sweet Home Saul’s Jerusalem! [crowd cheers] ..I’m coming home to you!”

And Saul’d be like, “Yeah!”

So that would work great for Saul and he began to depend on David. But then one day Saul just all of a sudden goes, “AaahhhhhhHHHHH, FREAK OUT!” [crowd laughs] and he takes this javelin, while David’s in the corner singing “Sweet Home Jerusalem”, and just [inserts sound effect] hurls it at poor little David.

So David’s like, “What is going on here? I killed Goliath. I was anointed on the back forty. Uh, my family doesn’t want me but God has chosen me. And now you, Saul, are trying to kill me?! What is going on here?”

I mean, what in the world…

And so now David has to run. He has to get outta there because Saul is going to kill him. So this is where we pick up in 1 Samuel chapter 21, and verse one.

He comes to this place and he’s got to figure out what to do. How many of you have had moments like that where everything’s lining up, ya know?

I finally met the right person. They’re awesome. They make my liver quiver. They make my toe jam. They make my heart burn. I can see my whole life out before me.

You got the promotion. They brought you in and gave you a raise.

You got the pregnancy test back. It’s positive.

Everything’s working out, and then things…start…to change. And that’s what happened to David. Things started to change.

David doesn’t feel like God’s with him anymore. It was easy for David to feel like God was with him when everything was going right. And then when Saul freaks out, he’s like, “Ya know what? I’m not so sure that I can count on God anymore.”

This is the same kid who had nothing going for him and God pulled him out of obscurity and said, “You will be anointed. You will be used.” And now that he’s got a little bit of notoriety, and now that a few things have gone right in his life, he, as we’ll see here, is starting to get unwilling to trust in God.

You see, most of us treat our lives like we’re the puppet master, ya know?

Where ya got your little puppet on the string and you’re makin’ it dance and you’re controlling everything and I am the worst – I am a control freak.

I will not go on roller coasters, like [?] got me on Thunderation one time – you know, that death trap at Silver Dollar City. I hate roller coasters. And she’s like, “You can get on this roller coaster. They put car seats on this roller coaster. You’re gonna be okay.”

And so I’m feeling this immense sense of shame. And so I get on this roller coaster, and I literally start freaking out. My face is white. If you’ve been raised in the church, I go into deep intercessory prayer, calling out to God with fervency and tears. People who are behind us are looking like I’m a freak. I don’t like that. I don’t like to be out of control.

When we’re driving somewhere, we have been known, she’ll pull over and we’ll switch seats because I’m critiquing everything she’s doing when we drive.

Oh I’m the only one, okay…I guess I’m in a room full of single people, never been married in the house.

You ever try to canoe with your spouse?

We did that one time. That was a nightmare.

We had to invest in thousands of dollars in marriage counseling after that.

Never canoe with your spouse.

I like to be in control.

And David wanted to be in control, because he had this assurance that good things were coming his way, and so he wanted to make sure that good things kept coming his way.

And so here’s what happened, verse one of 1 Samuel 21:

David came to Nob to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David trembling and said to him, “Why are you alone? Why is there nobody with you?”

This is strange.

David’s the anointed-to-be-king guy. Can you imagine Obama showing up, ya know, if you worked at a gas station and was like, “Can I have a Slurpee?”

Like, “Dude, where’s the Secret Service? Where are your people?” Ya know?

Where’s the dude with the football and the nuclear codes?

That’s what David was like there. He shows up and Ahimelech’s afraid, and so here’s what happened…verse two:

[reading] David said to Ahimalech the priest, “The king has charged me with a  matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” [end reading]

David is scared. David has the king who has an army coming after him. David has the most powerful dude he knows ready to kill him, and he starts taking control back over of his life.

“I gotta keep the dream. I gotta keep my ideal vision together. And so, because of that, I’ve gotta control it.”

Listen, I want to tell you something: If you’re blessed. If you’re a Christian I guess I’ll say this to you – if you’re blessed, and you know God did it, and hard things come your way, do not compromise your God-given values in the pursuit of your God-given dreams. You cannot compromise yourself into God’s blessings. And that goes true for anything.

If you’re here today and like, “I don’t even know if I’m a Christian”, fine, let me tell you something: Don’t sell out. Don’t say, “I’ll tellya what, well I’ll just live with him for a little while – I will live with him for a little while and I will let him see how good I cook and how nice I clean and what a good woman I am – you know what I mean. And then he’ll be so awestruck that he will marry me.”

[makes buzzer sound] That’s not how it works.  He’ll be like, “Whoah, this is great! No commitment, too! Yeaaahhhh!”

Don’t sacrifice your values for your dreams!

You’re not gonna compromise your way into goodness. All right, we’re gonna calm down right now…

Verse eight:

Then David said to Ahimalech, “Then don’t you have a spear or a sword at hand?”

This is David after he’s lied here. He needs a weapon. He said, “I didn’t bring my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.”

He’s lying. He’s saying, “What I was doing was so important that I didn’t stop to get weapons.” And really, the king’s business that required haste was to kill David. That’s why he had to run. He’s lying.

[reading] And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.” [end reading]

I mean, look what God is trying to get David to wake up to? Here he is, running from Saul, he is weaponless, he comes to this place, he’s hungry, he’s destitute, he’s alone, and the only weapon that they have to give him is the weapon that was symbolic of his greatest victory that was won by the hand of God.

How many times in our lives, when we take control back over our lives, and try to say, “I got this”, and we try to work things on our own, that God doesn’t put things like that in our pathway to remind us that I am still Lord, I am still in charge, and you can still trust me.

Some of you want ministry so bad that you’re willing to do whatever you have to do to get to it, and you’re causing yourself to be compromised along the way. And if you’d open your eyes and see that God has some symbolic things He’s put in your path to remind you of his faithfulness, you wouldn’t feel like you had to control everything.

That was free.

Alright; no charge for that…

Now, if God was faithful enough to give David the victory over Goliath when the odds were completely stacked against him, and the only answer to how it happened was that the supernatural, invisible God of the Israelites won that battle for him – if God was faithful then, then why in the world is David lying and taking matters into his own hands now?

You and I can sum up – it’s getting preachy in here – can sum up the Christian life like this, one word: Trust.

That’s the Christian life. The essence of faith is trusting in God. If we trust Him, He’s Lord.

Over the last three years, our church, and I’m the lead pastor, has gone through a major theological and cultural transition.

I became the pastor of this church at twenty-six years of age; didn’t know anything. I was, uh, pretty naïve. And I think that was God’s plan. I think that God had a work to do that superseded the box of religion that we were dwelling in, and He kept me blind long enough to place me here at this church to change it to a Gospel-centered church, not a religion-centered church – not a man’s-religion-centered church.

So during that time we lost over half our membership and, uh, more thousands of dollars than I want to admit to, but God sustained us. During that time, we’d have people come up to us and say, Pastor, I just wanted to give you this Applebee’s gift card. Use it whenever you want.” I’d be like, “I’m using it right now, ‘cause I’m hungry and the babies are hungry.” We’d go two or three months without getting paid.

Food would show up. Checks would come in the mail. God provided.

Now, the problem was, is that the system that we were a part of dwelt and focused more on the fear of man than the fear of God. And I remember as I began to study the Word of God and see the grave disconnect between the practices of our church and the Word of God, I saw that gap – and, my God, I don’t know how to get us from here to there. I don’t have a clue. I know that it’s not pleasing you, but I don’t know how to fix this. And so I just began to seek God and pray. For like three years before we started moving, I began to pray and ask God, “Help me. Help me.”

So we began to progress and we began to change. And we began to teach the Word of God. Imagine that. For the Word of God, and one of the things that I began to do was to teach the book of Romans, the book of Galatians, line by line, verse by verse, and not even really preach it, just read it and explain it, you know. And people’s minds that were with us started to change and the other ones started hitting the door; people were leaving so fast, I would say it was like rats going off a sinking ship, but that’s a bad analogy.

And a lot of good people left us.

So, uh, while we were still fighting the battle – there’s a purpose to this story – while we were still fighting the battle, we had a business meeting. Every year the church has a business meeting if you abide by IRS guidelines. We were having a business meeting, and you should abide by IRS guidelines no matter who you are, thank you.

We had a business meeting and I had heard through the grapevine that they were gonna – that they had organized the people that didn’t like me – they were gonna come and they were gonna create a public scene. They were going to – they were going to lynch me. They were gonna call me out. They were gonna call for a vote of confidence. They were gonna do something – I don’t know what they were gonna do.

So I heard this and then, you know, I started having violent diarrhea.

I’m talking violent diarrhea.

Like Dumb and Dumber when he kicks his legs out straight…that violent!

Sickness…pain…struggle…

I’ll try to keep it PG-13 from here on out.

And so I just said, you know, “Lord, I was raised in the church, and if we have to have a good old fashioned church fight, I know how to do it. But I don’t think that’s what you want from me.”

And so in prayer, I said, “God, if you want to rescue this church, then you’re gonna have to rescue it, because I can’t rescue it.”

Here I am, 29, maybe 31, I don’t know – 29, 31, something like that – ya know, not, I don’t have the knowledge ability , depending on God here.

So that night, I was very dehydrated. Drinking [not sure what it was he said here]. And, uh, at four o’clock PM, on that day, the news castor came on, brother Brandon Beck, KY-3, said, “There’s an ice storm scheduled for this evening. This didn’t show up on our future cast, but there’s an ice storm coming this evening. We’ll see how bad it is.”

That night, I kid you not, an un-forecasted ice storm blew in and we had a very peaceful and calm business meeting, because everyone that hated me stayed home.

Now, that’s one of the few times in my life I got it right. I’m not saying that because, ‘Hey, look at me! I’m a supernatural Christian!’ No.

God help[ed?] me! If He calls you to do something, keep on trusting Him to do it! If He gave you a dream, and said, “I’m going to do this through you”, quit trying to be the puppet master and control it! Let God work it out! Because when He works it out, it’s absolutely better than when you get your fingerprints all over it.

Woo!

I don’t do that ‘cause I’m angry; I do that ‘cause I’m fired up.

So what’s the pattern you fall into when things start going out of hand for you? What do you do when it seems like your dreams aren’t gonna come true? What happens on the inside of you when that – when you have that fear of, “Oh no! God’s not gonna show up!” and you start popping pills…you start hittin’ the bottle…

What do you do?

Do you start lying?

Do you start stealing?

You start manipulating?

How do you respond when it seems like your dreams are being crushed in front of you?

Listen: This is the mistake David made – he thought he knew what God should be doing. Look at your neighbor and say, “You’re not God!” Look at the neighbor and say, “You ain’t Jesus! You ain’t the Prince of Peace!”

“You ain’t Messiah!”

And we all try to be our own functional savior and we get ourselves in all kinds of trouble when we assume that God must think and feel just like I’m feelin’ right now! And that’s not the case at all. God is God and I’m not Him and you’re not Him.

So here’s what happened, because David manipulated and lied and got Ahimelech to give him that sword, in 1 Samuel chapter 22, one of Ahimelech’s kids comes to David and tells him that Saul found out – a guy named Doeg told Saul, and Saul went back to that little town and he killed Ahimelech, his family, and 85 priests all because you lied, David.

And David’s like, “Oh no.”

And this is a turning point for David. Because, in that moment of time, when he realized his manipulation was not fixing the issue, he understood, “my way isn’t working.” My way isn’t working.

I love Dr. Phil.

He gets somebody up there, and he’s like, he just listens, ya know…draws it out of ‘em…

“So, how do you feel about this? What is your opinion about that?”

And then he gets them in this impossible situation, where they just look like a total fool, and he looks at ‘em and he drops his eyes and he says, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

I just wanna like, “I’ll tell you how it’s workin’ for me right now: I may not have a psychology degree, but I fists…”

When it becomes apparent that our dreams aren’t coming true, that’s not the time to take things into your own hands. That’s when you need to lean on God.

When things aren’t going like you want them to go, it doesn’t mean that your life is spinning out of control, it just means that you’re not the one in control.

God’s not mad at you. He may be working something out that you have no concept of.

And you’re not really a Christian if you don’t say, “I trust You.”

Think about Abraham, the father of faith. God came to Abraham and said, “Abraham, I’ve got a land I wanna show you. I’m not gonna tell you where it’s at. I’m not gonna tell you how we’re gonna get there. Will you trust me?” And Abraham’s like, “Yes.”

That’s the essence of the Christian walk.

I don’t know where we’re going. I don’t know how we’re gonna get there. But I trust You.

For some of you, you’ve taken your faith in Jesus Christ and you’ve wrapped it around this dream of what He’ll do with your life. And now your faith and your dream are so intertwined that if your dream doesn’t come true, you’ll deny your faith. And you now have an idol.

You can take good things and make them God things and then they become bad things.

He is Lord. We are Christians.

Ya know?

We are not Trumpians, as in Donald Trump, ya know, he’s our founder. We’re gonna be all billionaires and everything’s gonna be wonderful. No. Jesus was a homeless man who died a suffering death. ..and sometimes suffering will come to the lives of believers, but the Scripture says the trying of your faith works maturity in your life. You gotta trust in God with the details.

And here’s the deal: David forgot. He forgot about the victories when he saw that sword, he shoulda remembered that God was able. And then he, there’s something in that text that should awaken all of us, and that is this, and I’m almost done…

Five loaves. There were five loaves. The Scripture says “five loaves” in that moment, and now we are New Testament Christians going back and reading this story and we see the word “five loaves” – if you remember something about five loaves, it is this: Jesus took five loaves and three fishes and multiplied them supernaturally and fed a multitude. What does this mean?

It means that you don’t have to manipulate anything. If you trust in God, He has the ability not to manipulate but to multiply and to bring about blessings.  Put your confidence in God today.

I remember as we were changing this church to be a place that would be hospitable for people to find Jesus, I remember standing over there, and I’m telling you, there were times on the early service when there’d be like thirteen people in here. I wouldn’t even open – people thought I was caught up in the spirit – no, I just didn’t want to look around…didn’t wanna know…literally thinking, “God, I hope – I hope you’re gonna rescue me. I hope you’re gonna rescue this church.”

And I’d say that out loud. A lot. We’d be worshipping and I’d be like, “Help us, God. Help us!” And Rene would say, “Stop it! Stop it! Pull yourself together! If God be for us, who can be against us?”

“I know, honey, I know…”

What God is doing here in this church – there is an expressing of the church that He’s raising up here. It’s not because of me. I’m just a slob doing my job.

Look at me. I sweat profusely.

It’s gotta be Jesus.

When I was dating, ya know, in high school and stuff, the girls would look at me and say, “That Tyler is hot…and sweaty.” And that was me.

Why are you here today?

Why are you here?

I know, yeah I know it’s not ‘cause of the postcard ‘cause my picture wasn’t on the postcard.

I mean, you’re here because God has a plan for your life. You may have not discovered it yet. You may not even know what it is, but I assure you that God has a plan for your life. And you may understand what that is or you may not even have a clue, but wherever you’re at in the journey, the Lord sent me here to tell you that, if the very same power that conquered the grave dwells in you, you have got to trust.

Jesus, in the suffering of His passion, prayed this prayer: “Not my will, but thine be done. If it’s possible, let this cup of suffering pass from me. But nevertheless, let your will be done.”

Because God’s plan with all of our lives is better than our manipulation of that plan.

God’s not mad at you.

You just need to trust Him.

God’s not mad at you.

You just need to trust him.

God’s not mad at you.

You just need to trust Him…and make Him Lord, and not just one of many things you’re serving.

Would you stand with me this morning.

Every head bowed, every eye closed, please…”

[More stories related to the coming release of Apathetic Christianity: The Zombie Religion of American Churchianity will be posted soon. Also feel free to check http://www.R3VOLUTIONPRESS.com for further details.]

New FBC Book Page and Interview Tomorrow on The Matt Friedeman Show

October 24, 2010

Howdy Y’all,

(see my southern roots there?)

There is much to report but only a moment to spare, so, here we go…

The new book site is up at FireBreathingChristians.com.

Also, as a reminder, tomorrow morning from 8-8:30 Central Time, I will be interviewed on American Family Radio’s Matt Friedeman Show.

Here’s a link to the AFR network home page:

http://www.afa.net/radio/

Please pray over both of these things. Once the dust settles and I am able to tell the many amazing stories that have unfolded before my eyes and along my path over recent months, I will do so. I very much look forward to sharing them with you.

In the meantime, have a great day and live for the Kingdom!

Soli Deo Gloria…and let’s roll!

SAB

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Copyright 2010 S.A. Buss – Feel free to re-post this piece, but only with the copyright included and a link to Fire Breathing Christian whenever possible. Thank you!

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