Following Christ Out Of A Perfectly Good Plane

What does skydiving have to do with Christianity and The Church? Surprisingly, quite a bit. Recently I have taken up skydiving and during my second solo training jump I began to recognize a lot of parallels between skydiver training and what discipleship should really look like.

skydivingA few months ago a friend invited me to go skydiving with him. He wasn’t inviting me to go with him to sit in a hangar and listen to a trained skydiver tell me about skydiving. No, he was inviting me to go experience skydiving for myself along with him. Now was there a hangar and a trained skydiver? Yes, but his function was not to simply tell me about skydiving, instead he was there to equip and prepare me for this exhilarating, life transforming experience. After giving me instructions and equipping me with everything I needed we hopped into a plane, went up 14,000 feet, he strapped me to himself and out we jumped together. This was truly a leap of faith. I had to trust the instructor and the equipment I had been equipped with. As a result of that trust, I faithfully committed to jumping out of my safety zone, a flying box typically filled with those conformed to it’s comfy seats by the fear of what lies outside of the confines of it’s metal hull. Skydivers, on the other hand, calculate the risk and face their fears and discomfort in order to embrace the absolute freedom that is “free” fall. However, I did not have to make this leap alone. I had my friend and also an experienced skydiver there to guide me, encourage me, equip me and even be present right there with me.

My first two skydives were tandem, in which I was strapped to an experienced, trained and certified skydiver. On my first jump I was allowed to deploy the chute at the proper altitude, fly around once the chute was open and land us. The instructor was right there with me the whole time though, guiding me if I started taking us astray and giving me the proper instructions to make a safe, soft landing. On my second tandem jump I was also allowed to turn us left and right and do some tracking during free fall. I was already starting to learn and grow, and the experiences were getting more and more exciting. After the second tandem jump it was time to spread my wings a little, but before I could do that I was required to take a four hour class. Once again, this was not simply about sitting in a room listening to a trained professional preach out of the Skydiver Training Manual for four hours. Immediately after the class I was taken out, suited up and equipped to put into practice everything I had just learned in those four hours. I wasn’t just sent home that Sunday afternoon with some teaching and instruction about skydiving, with a few personal stories to elicit excitement. With the help and guidance of an instructor I was not a hearer of the words I received in that classroom only, but a doer of those words. Except this time I jumped out with an instructor holding onto me, instead of being strapped to him any longer. The instructor was there with me during free fall, but once the parachute was deployed he dove away from me and guided me from the ground via walkie talkie. He was distant from me, but still maintained contact for my safety and security. By training jump three the instructor will let go of you in free fall. After that they will release you more and more until eventually all you get is a pat on the back and a “good luck.” Even then though, the instructor will exit the plane after you and has their eye on you from a distance the whole way down. The goal of the skydiving instructor here is not to get you to pay them to teach you about skydiving from a manual or tell you stories about their personal experiences skydiving. The goal is to train and equip you to become a skydiver just like they are and eventually you may train someone else to become a skydiver too.

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11 & 12) You see, it’s not about inviting your friends to go sit in a building listening to some preacher tell them about his experiences with Christ, nor is it about ministers simply preaching and teaching others from the Bible as a Christian Instruction Manual. It’s about inviting people to experience Christ and his kingdom for themselves along with you and then walking this crazy leap of faith out with them. Discipling others as disciples of Christ. Being present with others, preparing and equipping them to be disciples of Christ too. The purpose of apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers is not to build personal ministry organizations, it’s to build up the body of Christ. It’s not to make congregations of followers, but rather to make disciples, preparing and equipping them to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers just like you are, in order that they too may make more of the same.

All of this started coming to me on my second solo training jump as we were sitting in the plane ascending to the heavens. I was looking around at the students and our instructors fixing to exit the plane two by two as Christ sent out the 70 (Luke 10:1). In addition, there was a team of four highly trained skydivers on board. They no longer needed an instructor to skydive, but here they were, jumping out and flying in perfect formation together in unity. That’s when it dawned on me, I really wish church was a lot more like skydiving.

The Golden Telephone


A man in Topeka, Kansas, decided to write a book about churches around the country. He started by flying to San Francisco and started working east from there. Going to a very large church he began taking photographs and making notes. He spotted a golden telephone on the vestibule wall and was intrigued with a sign that read, “$10,000 per minute.” Seeking out the pastor, he asked about the phone and the sign. The pastor answered that the golden phone is, in fact, a direct line to Heaven, and if he pays the price, he can talk directly to God. The man thanked the pastor and continued on his way. He continued his quest and visited churches in Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, Milwaukee, and around the United States, he found more such phones with the same sign and the same explanation from each pastor.

Finally, the man arrived in Texas. Upon entering a church, behold, he saw the usual golden telephone. But THIS time, the sign read: “Calls: 25 cents”!? Fascinated, the man sought out the pastor and asked, “Reverend, I have been in cities all across the country and in each church I have found this golden telephone, and have been told it is a direct line to Heaven, and that I could use it to talk to God…. But in 20 other churches, the cost was $10,000 per minute. Your sign says 25 cents per call. ….Why is that?

The pastor, smiling kindly, replied:

“Son, you’re in Texas now and it’s a local call.”

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Spoken Word Poet Jeff Bethke on Christians and Tattoos!

Spoken Word Poet Jeff Bethke, posted a You Tube video on Christians and Tattoos and seems to have stirred up quite a controversy on his You Tube and Facebook accounts. A controversy that RelevantChristian.org is very familiar with.

Click here to watch the video!

Props to our friends at Christ.Culture.News for bringing this to our attention.

Should Christians Get Tattoos? What Does The Bible Say?

From the “Cruciformity Stations on Skin” at Xnihilo Gallery in Houston, Texas

There is a lot of conversation now days in regards to tattoos. A lot of people are asking questions as to whether or not they should get a tattoo.

You can find arguments on both sides of the issue, and both can be very convincing.

The problem I have with the whole argument against is how they are basing their reasoning.

How can you base your arguments on ONE scripture in Leviticus 19, but completely ignore this one, or this one?

When it clearly says in Leviticus 19:37, “Keep all my decrees and all my laws and follow them. I am the Lord.”

The last time I checked, we are no longer offering physical sacrifices because Jesus Christ Himself became THE sacrifice for us.

So….What does it all mean?

It comes down to this…the Bible is unclear about whether or not one should get tattoos, and any one touting the whole ‘the Bible is very clear about tattoos’ argument, are merely spouting their opinion.

I would encourage any Christian who is considering getting tattooed to do the research for yourself, earnestly pray about it, then determine whether or not it is for you.

NEVER take someones word for it, whether it leans toward your beliefs or not. Research it for yourself. Know what you believe and why.

Here are a couple of links to read on the subject.

What Does The Bible Say About Tattoos? RelevantChristian.org

To Tattoo or Not to Tattoo / RELEVANT Magazine

**UPDATE**
Another Great article on Tattoos!

Feel free to let us know what you think.

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We the Silent, Invisible!

So many of us live our Christian lives in obscurity. We are silent…hidden…opaque…virtually invisible to the world around us. We all too often hide ourselves within the safe confines of our churches…rarely venturing out in fear of being discovered.

What is the paralyzing fear that keeps us in this state? Is it fear of persecution? Is it fear of our faults or weaknesses discovered? Is it fear of the skeletons of our past being revealed? Is it fear of leaving the safety of the crowd?

Why do we not have the power in our lives as the Disciples in Acts 1? Where is the urgency to go out into the world and “compel” people to know the Christ of the scriptures?

There are some who stand out from the crowd. There are those that don’t blend in. But sadly, a majority of these appear more concerned with drawing people to themselves in order to maintain that which they have created.

Our job, or mission, is to show people all that Christ is. To live our lives in such a way that when they look at us, they see a shining example or reflection of Him. To love so deeply, with such compassion, that they find themselves drawn to know more about Him.

I heard a pastor once say that the local church is the hope of the world. While I understand what he was trying to say…the focus in that statement is all wrong.

Jesus, and He alone, is the hope of the world!

Jesus was driven by a mission. He was completely surrendered to a specific purpose in His life. Jesus did not live His life in obscurity…neither should we!

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32 NIV

To Be Known So Well

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To be known so well by God, is a comforting and terrifying thing.

To think that He knows me so well…sees even the deepest recesses of my soul, all of my inconsistencies and failings…yet loves me so passionately deep, limitless, and boundless, is unfathomable.

To know that His mercy and Grace is equally the same as His love…brings such joy to the heart of this sinner.

Knowing that it is by such love, that His Grace is my hearts salvation, brings me peace.

Though my finite mind cannot concieve the thought of His infinite love, I will forever be thankful for His love for me!

Going to Church is NOT the Answer!

Having a relationship with Jesus Christ is!

You can attend all of the church services you like, from here till Jesus comes back and it won’t do you a bit of good UNTIL you have a relationship with Him!

You don’t need better lighting, bigger buildings, or cooler graphics….you need to know Jesus intimately.

I know some who will claim they have a relationship with Jesus, but what would happen to them if they were unable to attend their church? How would their relationship with Jesus be? Almost non-existent? Maybe so.

So many equate their relationship with Jesus by the church they attend or how often they attend. Not only that….their perception of Jesus depends on what their particular church teaches or believes…NOT on what they themselves have sought out in God’s word and know to be truth. That is scary! This is also why we have a weak kneed Christiandom today.

I for one have grown weary of trying to be Christian Politically Correct and not offend anyone for standing up for what I believe…especially when what I believe is based on sound biblical foundation.

And if i am wrong…I am not ashamed to admit it.

We don’t need more programs, better lighting, cooler graphics, bigger buildings, or hipper/younger leadership.

We need to be reflectant….so that when people look at us they see a true representation of Jesus Christ. We should reflect His mercy. His grace. His love. His truth.

We need to live this Christian life with wreck-less abandon. Abandoning ourselves for His will and purpose.

We don’t need more church…we need more God!

Going to church is NOT the answer….BEING the church of Jesus Christ is!