Relevant Christian Celebrates 6 Years!

Relevant Christian posted it’s first post on February 26th, 2007 entitled Rebel, or Progressive Thinker?, and at today’s count, have had over 316 posts, well over 261,000 visitors, and 1,890 published comments.

The purpose behind Relevant Christian was born out of a growing uneasiness about the state of Christianity, and a desire to start people thinking, or maybe even start a conversation. While it was not our purposeful intention to be controversial, we have at times, definitely succeeded in being so.

Our most popular post to date, “What Does the Bible Say About Tattoos?”, has been viewed 115,910 times, and was written by a very good friend and pastor Timmy Gibson.

We have had the pleasure of having some great contributors to Relevant Christian, and I would like to say thank you to those who have contributed (no pun intended) to the success of Relevant Christian.

Timmy Gibson
Joe Martino
Bill Reichart
Dave Anderson
Chris Elrod
Justin Heibert
Joel Johnson
Tracey Eldridge
Heather
Shane Anderson
Stephen McDonald

…oh yeah….Me and one or two others that I may have neglected to mention…and of course those that have written guest posts from time to time….Thank You!

It has been an exciting journey…so far!

One Lost Lamb

good shepherdHave been thinking about the parable of the shepherd who left the 99 to search for the ONE lost lamb. I think there are beautiful truths still left uncovered in this passage. What did the lamb do to be saved? Did he repent? If so, what led him to repentance?

Here’s what I am seeing….First he did NOTHING except run away, put himself in danger, risk starvation and loneliness. In this story, the only action I see in on the part of the Savior (Shepherd). The Shepherd left the 99 and searched for the one. The Shepherd picked him up. The Shepherd lay him across His shoulders. The Shepherd rejoiced at finding him. Sooo, again…what exactly did the lamb do??? The lamb did nothing except surrender to being carried. Nothing but submit to the strong but gentle grip of the Shepherd. Nothing but let go of the restlessness that had driven him to wander in the first place. The lamb did nothing except perhaps nuzzle in close enough to smell the familiar sweet scent of his Savior and hear His heartbeat racing with the flutter of excitement at finding His precious lamb!

And I ask you, is it not THAT very love so freely given, without merit or good works, that leads all of us to repentance?? Is it not in the sweet moment of relishing in the safety and warmth of the gentle grip of our Savior that leads us to regret our actions? Is it not in that moment when His love for us is realized that we want to make changes and start anew??
Roman 2:4

God Made Flesh

    The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

So thankful for the ultimate gift. The gift of a savior who would pay the ultimate price for our salvation.

Christ left the heavenly realm to live life as a man, still fully God, wrapping himself in human frailty to not only be an example to us, but to give that same life for us.

Merry Christmas!

Lost Birds

The Parable Of The Birds

Once there was a man who looked upon Christmas as a lot of humbug. He wasn’t a Scrooge. He was a very kind and decent person, generous to his family, upright in all his dealings with other men.

But he didn’t believe all that stuff about God becoming man, which churches proclaim at Christmas. Why would God want to do anything like that?

So when his family left to attend midnight services on Christmas Eve, he stayed home.

Shortly after the family drove away snow began to fall. He went to the window and watched the flurries getting heavier and heavier. Sometime later, as he was reading his newspaper by the fire, he was startled by a thudding sound that was quickly followed by another. Then another.

When he went to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They had been caught in the storm, and in a desperate search for shelter had tried to fly through the window.

“I can’t let these poor creatures lie there and freeze,” he thought. “But how can I help them?”

Then he remembered the barn. It would provide a warm shelter. He quickly put on his coat and boots and tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on the light.<

But the birds didn’t come in.

“Food will bring them in,” he thought. So he hurried back to the house for bread crumbs, which he sprinkled on the snow to make a trail into the barn.

To his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow. He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around and waving his arms. They scattered in every direction — except into the warm, lighted barn.

“They find me a strange and terrifying creature,” he said to himself, “and I can’t seem to think of any way to let them know they can trust me.”

“If only I could be a bird myself for a few minutes, perhaps I could lead them to safety.”

Just at that moment the church bells began to ring. He stood silently for awhile, listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas.

Then he sank to his knees in the snow. “Now I understand,” he whispered. “Now I see why You had to do it.”

The Parable of the Birds ~ Louis Cassels 1959

What is the Bible?

Open a Gideon bible and you will find this statement:

This Book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers.
Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions immutable.
This Book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers.
Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions immutable.
Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy.
It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.
It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter.
Christ is its subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end.
It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet.
Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully.
It is given to you in life, will be open in the judgement, and be remembered forever.
It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and condemns all who trifle with its holy contents!

The most important aspect of the bible is that it is inerrant and true in its original language. If it claims to be true, but isn’t, it cannot be the inspired word of God. If it isn’t true, it isn’t timeless and subject to contemporary opinion.

But, If it is true, knowing what it says and acting accordingly is essential. It will strengthen my faith and get me to heaven. My (and your) unbiblical opinions won’t.

I challenge you to read it and apply it to yourself, your thoughts, beliefs, and actions. When you realize you don’t meet God’s standard (as we all must), confess it to God in prayer and ask God to forgive and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. He promises to do this very thing.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ESV)

Jesus saves sinners. We like to think that it happens in a moment and is pain free. Well, it’s a walk, not just a moment. The moment we accept God’s judgment on sin, and trust his promises to forgive and cleanse us, we may be saved. Everyday brings awareness to new sins to confess. Eventually, only you (and God) can see your sinfulness, but you confess it just the same. Through this lifelong process, you look and act more like Christ, and glorify God in the process. Like a sheep belonging to the Great Shepherd, you know His voice and follow Him alone.

The world and the Evil one will rebel against God and His standard, inciting you to question It. But, those who are truly saved, like the seed that fell on good soil (in the parable of the sower), will grow in faith and obedience to God. God will come and save you where you are, deep in sin. But, He will not leave you there.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6 ESV)

God’s blessings to you!
John
Az4christ.wordpress.com

Looking for Contributors

Relevant Christian is looking for new contributors.

The Relevant Christian blog has been around since 2007 and have had several great contributors during that time.

If you are interested or know of someone who may be, please let us know by emailing us at relevantchristianblog@gmail.com

Peace!

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.

Click Below to Read Relevant Christian News!

How Much Does He Love Us?

Psalm 136:1-9 (NIV)

    1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
    His love endures forever.
    2 Give thanks to the God of gods.
    His love endures forever.
    3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
    His love endures forever.
    4 to him who alone does great wonders,
    His love endures forever.
    5 who by his understanding made the heavens,
    His love endures forever.
    6 who spread out the earth upon the waters,
    His love endures forever.
    7 who made the great lights—
    His love endures forever.
    8 the sun to govern the day,
    His love endures forever.
    9 the moon and stars to govern the night;
    His love endures forever.

John 15:9-17 (NIV)

    9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

    38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There is a Peace!

For all of my life as a Christian I have heard others talk about the peace beyond all understanding. I have searched for it, longed for it, waited for it, prayed for it, but felt that I never quite found it. Oh I caught fleeting glimpses of it, but never experienced the kind of peace that they must have been speaking of.

How often do we hear or read something and only scratch the surface…never really seeing or thinking of the deeper meaning? For me…quite often, but as I was reading Philippians Chapter 4 the other day, it was as though the scripture just jumped off the page at me as if to say, ‘here I am, experience me’!

Here it was finally…I understood….I saw it….the answer!

    Philippians 4:4-6
    “4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

When life comes at you like a tornado, take a moment to realize that you are not alone. There is no need for panic or fear. Jesus is right there with you. Let him know what you need. Let him know you are afraid or unsure.

    Philippians 4:7
    “7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Ah….there it is. Could it really be that simple? Yes!

When we live in the realization that He loves us so passionately and wants nothing but the best for us, we will then begin to see that He is waiting to take our hand and lead us safely through our turmoil. We will then see his ‘Peace beyond all understanding’ encompass our lives.

    Philippians 4:8-9
    “8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

If we can discipline our minds to think on the good things, the Godly things, we can live in constant peace. No matter what is happening around us. No matter what situations may be arising, or what turmoils my be brewing, we can dwell in His perfect peace.

Can I tell you that after this realization, I am there. I am experiencing the peace of Christ as I have never experienced before.

Now don’t misunderstand me….I still have troubles…bills that need paying….too much month at the end of the money…but I am at peace knowing that my God will supply all of my needs according to the riches of His Glory in Christ Jesus.

It’s Simple

I have been accused of being an over simplifier!

I have always believed that there are ONLY 2 choices in every situation…the right one, and the wrong one…it is your choice which one you choose.

Simple solution, make the right choice.

I believe that when something goes wrong with my computer, I look back at the last thing I downloaded or upgraded and think that it had to have had an affect or caused the problem.

Simple solution, delete last program or upgrade added and go from there.

I believe that if there is a problem with my cars that needs to be fixed…I should take them to a mechanic because cars make me feel stupid. Ask my wife and she will tell you the same.

Simple solution, take it to a mechanic.

I believe that salvation is simple.

John 3:5-7 “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.”
John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
John 3:31-36 “31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God[k] gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
Romans 10:9-11 “11If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

I believe that faith is simple.

John 14:12-14 ”Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
Luke 18:15 “15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Luke 18:40 “40Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41“What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.
42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God.
Simple!

I believe that following Christ is simple.

John 14:15 “15If you love me, keep my commands.”
John 14:21 “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
Luke 9:23-25 “23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”
Matthew 22:37-39 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Proverbs 22:1-8 “1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.”
Luke 18:9-14 “9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

I believe that the Gospel is simple.

1 Corinthians 1 “10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[a]“; still another, “I follow Christ.”
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into[b] the name of Paul? 14 I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

It takes SIMPLE faith…God said it in His word…I believe it!

Is it really that easy?

Ah….herein lies the paradox….NO!

I never said it was easy. I said it was simple.

Living a life worthy of being called “Christian” is not easy. It is filled with turmoil, turbulence, options, choices, voices and too many other numerous things to mention.

It is a life filled with, ‘not my will but yours God’.

It is a life filled with hours on our knees asking for God’s direction, wisdom, help, peace, and strength.
It can be a life filled, a life full…and should be.

It’s a Simple life….not an easy one!