To order a Roman Flagrum, contact Joel Donahoe: firstname.lastname@example.org
The scourging or flogging of Jesus was intense. The Romans used a weapon that would inflict maximum pain. It is incorrectly called the Cat of Nine Tails. The official proper name is the Roman Flagrum. Let's test out what it can do, and imagine what it did.
To order a Roman Flagrum, contact Joel Donahoe: email@example.com
The days are long, but the week goes by so quick. yesterday was Thursday and it's already Monday. For sure, we won't be worshipping on campus until late May. We may come back first week of June. I don't know.
But at the end of it all, what will we have to show for it? (besides the extra fat around our bellies) Hopefully, we can say that we got closer to our families, and we'll already miss them when we're back at work. Hopefully, we can say that we got our rest and we won't need another vacation for quite some time. Hopefully, some of us gained a new skill, discovered a talent in cooking, or singing, or writing witty comments on social media.
What about spiritually? Yes, I'm very encouraged that many of you are joining us in worship online, unafraid of this technology we've had at our church for years. We read the Bible a little bit more, I hope. But did you master a particular portion of it? maybe memorize a psalm? It's hard to exercise your faith when you're just sitting at home (much less exercise your body).
May I suggest a way to be active in faith? and when you get out of quarantine and look back, you'll see more than a little spiritual muscle. Prayer. Can you spend an hour each day in prayer (uninterrupted if possible)? If you really want to grow, make a prayer journal so you can keep track of which prayers get answered.
To help you with this spiritual growth process, I will be preaching on prayer for at least the next 4 weeks. But the best way to learn prayer is to do prayer.
That's what it's all about.
The reason for Easter is that Jesus died on the cross and rose again
in order to get humanity connected to God again.
Sin was in the way, pride was in the way, hate and apathy was in the way.
By connecting us to God, strangely, it also made us connected to each other.
That's how you describe a body.
The Western world has always been disconnected in the 21st century.
The technology that united us in spirit actually disconnected us from our dinner tables, our neighbors, and ironically, from our facebook friends.
Our quarantine has made that fact excruciatingly apparent.
Getting 10 "likes" on facebook isn't the same as spending time with friends.
This is a small disadvantage in work-from-home environments, but it's almost impossible to do church-from-home.
The first sermon series when we get back to our church building is "Sharing Jesus by Caring for People." sound familiar? that's our motto, our theme, our mission in this community. I believe that's more important now than ever in our country. But how do we connect in an era of social distancing? I don't know. I'm trying to figure that out too, as I try different things.
It's not easy navigating a ship through choppy waters, and I'm not talking about seamanship. Last week was especially difficult. But if it was easy, any idiot could do it. What we do requires leadership and discernment. What you do matters.
With all your help and prayers, the 1st livestream had 169 views and 2nd livestream had 77 (you can check it yourself). So if some people are watching together, it's over 246 people, which is more than we've had on a given Sunday.
The world around us has gone into selfish mode. Panic has left the store shelves empty and people hitting each other over toilet paper. It's ironic (and tragic) that the elderly, who are the most vulnerable in this situation, have been left even more vulnerable, forced into crowded lines, left standing longer than they should. assuming there's anything left for them on the shelves.
I don't blame those who panic. Actually, they should've been panicking all year if they don't know Jesus. But we who have eternal life have no need to fear or panic. Of course, you already know this so I won't belabor the point.
But how do we as Christians shine in the darkness?
A light isn't a light unless it's lighting up the dark. Really. Have you turned on a flashlight during the day? you could barely see it. and it doesn't matter. Two months ago, Costco had a sale on toilet paper. No one appreciated it. Today, someone could propose with a bouquet of it! Night has come, and it's time for us to shine.
It's too easy to stay at home, surrounded by rolls of toilet paper and fresh groceries. (Oh, the luxury!) But can we go outside and look for those who are lost in the dark? That's not so easy. Especially in America, we've become accustomed to making things easy for ourselves, from drive-thru's to cruise control. But we also know deep inside that it's doing the hard things that makes life better, makes you more money, holds on to a marriage, strengthens your faith.
The world needs us right now, even though they'll turn their back on us once the pandemic is over. We need to do the hard things and offer to shop for the elderly, talk to the lonely, babysit their annoying kids, watch their dog while they stand in line at Costco, give toilet paper, find classic NBA games on Youtube for your depressed Clippers fan friend, help someone find work after being laid off, teach the elderly how to use an iPhone (and watch our Livestream), empathize with a Chinese person who has probably endured racism this month, and I know this is super risky, but give a hug to someone who needs it?
Do hard things for others. That's how you shine in the dark.
What does a healthy church look like? And can an unhealthy church get healthy in just 100 days? I’ve read lots of books on “healthy church.” This is not one of those books. I know publishers let me read a lot of books before they’re published so that I could promote it. (I know they check how many people actually click on the link and pre-order the book). I also know they get mad when I tell people the book is whatever and to save their money. But I recommend this book for any pastor. This book is not for someone not in ministry. It will be useless to you. But for the pastor or elder, it’s the most practical book I’ve seen, and you could implement it in your church right away. And if you're in ministry, you know Karl Vaters is an expert on this topic. Book comes out March 3rd!
What’s the best way to summarize this book? It’s like a 100-day devotional book. Except, it’s not for personal use; it’s for the Church Leadership Team. And it’s more like a manual than like a quiet time devotional. That’s the format.
The purpose of this manual is to outline practically and specifically all the things that the church must be doing to be healthy. Some things the church may be doing fine, while other practices may have been ignored. This is not a theology book of thoughts and purposes, nor is it like a business book of strategies or church growth. It is a rigorous undertaking by some key leaders of the church to make sure the church has healthy purposes and practices by the end of 100 days. Each day and important leadership meeting is carefully thought out with purpose and ideas. For example, Day 93 is Launch Day (of project) and Day 94 is Assessment. Each day includes “Today’s Big Idea” “Key Verse” “Passage of the Day” and “Thoughts to Consider.” Every single day. There are also about 8 major meetings that are also detailed. Within the 100 days, important issues are tackled, like mission, church culture, culture shift, intentional projects, evangelism, discipleship, spiritual gifts, leadership training, etc.
The last 20 pages of the book covers how to assess after these 100 days have been completed. There are also forms, takeaways, and conversation starter worksheets for the big all-day meetings. Yeah, this is more of a practical handbook, not just an ideas book.
I haven’t taken my own church on this 100-day ride, so I can’t say how well this works. That’s the only way to properly evaluate this book, because it shouldn’t be judged merely on its ideas. There are no new ideas in this book, just like many books out there on physical health are not new ideas. However, does this book work well in the real church world? This book/manual looks well thought out, and practically detailed. Apparently, it has also been used in the real world several times, so it does work in some contexts. Will it work in mine? Will it work in yours? It’s still a good book to pick up. So check it out.
I would like to thank Moody Publishers for an advance copy of this book.
R.C. Sproul’s latest book comes out tomorrow (Jan 21st)! I know what you’re thinking – “Didn’t he pass away recently?” Yes, but Growing in Holiness comes out of his previous lectures. The publisher sent me the book over a month ago, but it’s been crazy busy at church! So I finally got around to finish reading it 2 days before my review is due and the book gets published.
I wish he had “written” this book earlier, because it’s one of his most practical books, and probably the best book on the topic of Sanctification. That’s the real topic of this book, not “holiness,” although that topic is covered in depth as well. I wouldn’t call this a sequel to his bestseller Holiness of God because you don’t have to read it to dive into this book. But I do recommend you pick that up soon as well (link on the bottom). Anyway, that book covers holiness, while this new book covers the practical question, “How do I get to holiness?”
But this is not some ridiculous Things to Do manual. He doesn’t spell out in minute detail how to pray or study the Bible or embark on some spiritual endeavor. That’s not what I mean by practical. Before there can be actual “running towards the goal,” this book shows the overarching theological understanding of relevant Scripture. Then Sproul shows how to apply that in your personal race. He talks about the typical obstacles to our Christian walk, like worldliness, conforming to culture, our fleshly desires, Satan (spiritual warfare), and feelings of inadequacy.
Not every page is great. Chapter 3 was boring and Chapter 4 was unnecessary. Although I agree with everything he wrote, I think it helps only minimally for sanctification. The rest of the book is awesome in his usual clarity. It's a little ironic that he's writing about sanctification when his own process has been completed.
It’s a very good book. Highly recommended.
I would like to thank Baker Books for an advance copy of this book.
We all believe that the 10 Commandments still apply, even today, in the age of the New Covenant. Of course, not for salvation, since we are saved by faith. But “Thou shalt not commit murder,” “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” even “Thou shalt not covet” is relevant today (while the eating of lobsters or wearing of polyester is not). And yet, we consider the Fourth Commandment as unimportant. Oh, we don’t disagree with it, and we’ll even defend it against the pagans. But just as we don’t send someone to jail for lying, we’ll quickly look the other way when anyone breaks the Fourth Commandment: “Thou shalt keep the Sabbath Day holy.”
Robert Morris’ new book (which comes out today), Take the Day Off argues quite effectively the importance of obeying this command. This is not another typical book on how we all need rest or how to find rest in an increasingly busy world. He does touch upon those two topics, but this book is about the theological implications and how obeying or disobeying affects us personally. Morris is also such a prolific writer that it feels like you’re having a conversation with him at the pulpit instead of listening in on a theological seminar.
Morris is not a strict Sabbatarian (like the Seventh Day Adventists), but he believes in taking out a literal one day out of the week to rest and fellowship with God, and it doesn’t have to be on a Sunday, either. This is by far the best book I’ve read on the Sabbath. It is highly Biblical (unlike many self-help type books on Christian resting) and highly practical (unlike many theological books on the 10 Commandments covering the Sabbath). In addition, Max Lucado's foreward is also awesome!
If you find yourself too busy to read a book, stop what you’re doing and order it right now and read this book. It will be your first step to obeying the Forgotten Commandment.
I would like to thank FaithWords Publishers for an advance copy of this book.
Alright, this one might get me in trouble, because I could see a lot of people getting triggered about this. My channel gets about 800 views per day and about 10 comments, and usually 1 comment is someone mad that I share the gospel on Uber. So that's about 7 angry people per week.
Yes, I get their permission to record, and half the time, they actually see their own faces on the screen. No one goes home angry or upset. In all of my videos and interactions, I am polite and respectful. I keep an open mind. Many times they thank me for the conversation. A few bloggers have commented that I don't preach or teach enough. I admit that's true, but if I came off all preachy in the beginning, I know they wouldn't listen. So I listen instead. I wait for them to ask questions. Sometimes they do, and I share the gospel. Sometimes they don't, and they leave the car without the gospel, and some people comment that I've failed. That's possibly true.
But one thing that's not true is that I'm forcing a religious conversation or rudely invading their personal space. I have high ratings in Lyft and Uber, and I only drive 5 hours per week. The Mormons I had a debate with actually tipped me $8. because even that was a friendly debate.
I think what really bothers people (the commenters, the viewers, not the passengers) is that Uber Evangelism actually works, and others are starting to do it too. I reach people from behind the pulpit but I think I'm reaching more from behind the wheel. People are coming to Christ. People are hearing the gospel. and it's a lot more effective than preaching from a street corner or holding up a sign.
and that really pisses people off. It pisses off Satan. It pisses off the many atheists who watch my videos (I was even featured on an atheist website) (and why do they watch my videos?!!) I don't think they would mind if they saw me get pummeled into fear by an atheist. I don't think they would mind if they actually saw a video of a heated argument and the passenger flicks me off. They would laugh and say "that's what you get!"
But instead, they see that my reasons are logical, my points are sensible, and I respect people who disagree, not like the caricatures of zealous Christians they see in the media. People are responding and turning to Christ...and it pisses people off. So they report to Uber, but Uber doesn't care if you're not the passenger. And passengers love it when they see me rolling up. There's only like 5 of us with really fancy cars doing Uber.
One of these days, a passenger might get angry. The gospel has a way of offending people in just the right way. And when he reports, I'll have the video to prove that I didn't cross any lines.
If and when they kick me out, don't worry. I'll show people a hundred other ways to evangelize. and that's a fact.
I met an actor for one of my favorite shows, Supernatural. Gabriel Tigerman. He was on for 2 episodes. He got really interested when I told him I was an exorcist for 2 years. We don't really use that term. It's actually called "Deliverance Ministry" which is basically casting out demons (exorcism). We had a good conversation, but I didn't get the conversation deep enough about faith. I should've done better with that. But I don't think you can rush everything. I probably should've gotten his contact info so we could continue our discourse some other time. I have to work on that. I'm also planning on puttings tracts and contact info in my car that I could pass out.I still think it's a good video to learn from, even though I had to drop him off before I got to the Gospel part.
I first learned to do "random EV" in college. I joined a Christian ministry called KCM at UC Berkeley, and they taught us to pair up and just go talk to people. It was the most nerve-wracking thing I had ever done up to that point. The idea of just walking up to strangers and start a conversation is the stuff of nightmares. It's worse today in the multimedia digital era where people text each other messages while sitting at the same table, liking each other's food-stagrams before eating the very food they took pictures of.
We're afraid of being judged. We're afraid of looking or feeling awkward. We're afraid of putting ourselves in situations that are not managed or formatted or Instagrammable.
That's one of the main reasons I started driving for Uber. For the first 2 months, I didn't even evangelize. I was just getting used to talking to random strangers about random things. As an introvert, that's a huge leap. I know I know - I'm a pastor who speaks in public at least twice a week. I have to meet new people and get outside my comfort zone. I've done that for years. and I've gotten better at it. But I'm not comfortable. That's what being an introvert means.
Talking to people, and eventually, talking to people about Jesus, is a skill that needs to be developed and practiced like almost everything we do that we want to get good at. It's taken this introvert some time and lots of practice, but now I regularly talk to people at bus stops, supermarket checkout lines, malls, parks, Costco, etc. Now, I almost never have a camera with me to record those interactions out there, but I have several cameras in my car when I Uber / Lyft. So I made this video montage of uber scenes so people can get some tips on How to Turn Regular Conversations into Spiritual Conversations about Faith.
Enjoy! and don't forget to Share on Facebook and Like.
About this Blog:
Adventures of Uber Pastor as he talks to random people about religion and Jesus, including apologetics videos, pre-release book reviews, and thoughts on Christianity.
How to Be Christian w/o Jesus