WBFJ Radio Interview with Rosie the Boa

Last week I had the awesome opportunity to go on our local Christian radio station, WBFJ and share some of my passions with the listeners.  I brought Rosie my red tailed boa constrictor into the studio for an illustration about the weight of sin as well as a conservation message about how awesome snakes were.  Here's the full interview: [embed]https://youtu.be/8bacqY39k0s[/embed]

I also decided to break it up into a few smaller clips so if you can't listen to the full 16:14 minute interview feel free to check out these shorter snippets from the program.

BIG SNAKE ON WBFJ MORNING SHOW

https://youtu.be/CSEmO3mE5m4

THERE ARE NO BAD SNAKES

https://youtu.be/geF0efaahuE

WHY ARE SHARKS SO AWESOME?

https://youtu.be/-9uQ5fUXITI

 

What’s Your Excuse?

What’s Your Excuse?

butterfly I often wonder why it took me so long to come to faith in Jesus Christ when His creation speaks so loudly of His existence. If you have ever walked through the woods alone and were awestruck by the beauty therein or if you have ever seen a breathtaking sunset or ocean view, you must at least realize that these things didn’t happen by chance.

Romans 1 says “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.Often it seems we can find any and every excuse to discount God’s handiwork, even in our own lives, but the truth is that God is the Creator of our universe and even our own lives.spider

 

When we take the time to swallow our pride and give credit where credit is due we can humbly see that God does truly love us, even simply by just the things around us He created just for us to enjoy. Next time you are out in creation or even just stuck in traffic, give God thanks for all that He has made and be thankful you were on the list of His created things! What’s your excuse?

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Homing Pigeons Can Get Back Home, Can You

Homing Pigeons Can Get Back Home, Can You?

pigeonHave you ever heard of a bird called a homing pigeon? They are a type of pigeon descended from a rock pigeon that has an innate ability to find its way home. Some have been observed coming home after flying hundreds if not thousands of miles. The same is true for Christians that may lose their way. A homing pigeon is similar to the prodigal son in that once it has gone far away from home, it realizes it needs to return to the place that it’s from.

Luke 15:24 says For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” Before we found and accepted Jesus we were all dead in our sins. Some of us even after we accept Jesus find ourselves far from home just as the prodigal son found himself. The sooner we come back to our senses and find our way back home to Jesus the better.

He is there ready and waiting to forgive us with open arms just as the father in the story of the prodigal son. Just like the homing pigeon knows exactly how to get home, we as believers know exactly how to get back to Jesus and that’s humbly through our prayers and petitions for forgiveness. Homing pigeons can get back home, can you?

 

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Do You Love Your Brother Like A Golden Eagle?

Do You Love Your Brother Like A Golden Eagle?

goldeneagle1When I was a kid I got a rather large book on eagles and other birds of prey from my grandmother one year for Christmas. I studied that book, drew pictures of the different birds, and daydreamed about one day seeing them in the wild. I was pretty shocked to learn that when a golden eagle (and numerous other eagle species) lay more than one egg in a nest, often the first one to hatch will kill the weaker second born. In terms of survival this is advantageous to the firstborn eaglet but horrific for the second. Although this deals with real aspects of life and death, how often do we do the exact same thing to our brothers and sisters in Christ?

Isn’t it easy to steal spiritual food from our Christian brothers and sisters in hopes of selfishly growing faster than those around us? We can unknowingly be causing fratricide in the body of Christ by not appropriately loving those around us that God has placed in the family of believers. 1 John 4:20 says, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” In our pursuit of holiness we can often leave in our wake any number of people that we have held unforgiveness for or simply not given an adequate amount of genuine love. Christ, through the Apostle John, challenges us to truly love one another so that we can really love God. Do you love your brother like a golden eagle?

goldeneagle

 

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Do You Live Like A Feral Cat?

Do You Live Like A Feral Cat?

Have you ever driven behind a restaurant only to see massive quantities of feline scavengers? When a cat looses its desire to be captive and domesticated it will revert to a wild, or feral state. In many cases they retain some semblance of their former life in the first generation, but their offspring are often so wild they are untamable. This can lead to all sorts of trouble for both cats and people. Feral cats are a destructive, disease carrying menace that often preys on native wildlife and destroys the ecology of native species.

feralcatThe people of Israel began to act as if they were feral in the land promised to their forefathers after Joshua and the elders of his generation died out. They were the second generation so to speak and began to take on the wild tendencies of a feral animal. Judges 2:10-14 says, “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the Lord to anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 In his anger against Israel the Lord handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist.”

The fate of feral cats often includes capture and detainment in shelters, euthanasia, disease, and harmful interactions with traffic. If they would stay close to the hand that feeds them they would enjoy the safety and provision of a loving home, but when they decide to go wild and do things their own way the outcome is much more destructive to them. The same is true of the people of God. When we are in relationship with the Lord we can enjoy the comforts of our loving Father, but if we are not in covenant as believers with Jesus then we can only expect destruction. Do you live like a feral cat?

 

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Do You Create A Suitable Environment For Others?

Do You Create A Suitable Environment For Others?

Have you ever had the opportunity to witness beavers creating their dams in a wetland habitat? It is quite an amazing phenomenon to experience. A beaver can create an entirely new habitat in a very short time. They are very hard working animals and by their diligence and boldness they are able to gnaw through trees and divert the flow of water in fresh water ecosystems. They have the ability to literally change the course of streams and creeks and to use their dams to create ponds and swamps. They change the entire topography and by doing so they create a new ecosystem that can support a variety of animals that previously couldn’t have lived in the area. In many cases their habitat transformation can be a blessing to other wildlife by providing new homes and places to forage for food.

beaver

1 Thessalonians 5:12-15 says, “Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.  Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.  And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” If we think about the parallel with beavers creating a habitat, we can see that pastors and church planters could fall into this category of hard workers that the Lord has placed over us. The desire of the Holy Spirit is for Christians to operate in unity with one another as the body of Christ. We are to be kind to one another and help each other in our areas of weakness. As believers in Christ our mission is to create suitable habitats in the spirit and to build one another up in our faith. We should be creating some new ecosystems of grace and encouragement for other believers. Do you create a suitable habitat for others?

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Can You Tame Your Tongue?

Can You Tame Your Tongue?

Have you ever had the experience of taming an animal? It could be as simple as training a puppy to do simple commands or habituating a reptile that you have caught in the wild to be accustomed to handling. As someone who works with animals on a regular basis I know that taming animals is all about consistency. You have to do the same things at the same times so that the animal gets used to you and understands that you don’t mean it any harm. It can often be a frustrating process and even be cause for the occasional bite or scratch but the end result is far more rewarding.

teguJames, the half brother of Jesus, talks about the taming of the tongue in the 3rd chapter of his epistle. James 3:7-8 says, “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” This doesn’t mean that we have free license to say anything we want but that in our own power we are incapable of taming our tongues. When we become believers in Christ we are made into a new creation and Jesus becomes Lord over our lives.

Jesus is able to tame even the vilest of tongues and use it for his glory. The unrepentant tongue can produce words that are like poison to the hearer. As believers we are called to bring life, not death. Scripture also says that we will be judged for every careless word we speak. We must remember that and be more cognizant of the words we speak. Let us speak life to those around us! Can you tame your tongue?

 

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Can You Defend Your Faith Against A Sasquatch?

Can You Defend Your Faith Against A Sasquatch?

I have been fascinated with the allure of Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch, Yeti, Skunk Ape, etc.) since I was a kid. I mean who hasn’t watched that iconic Patterson film from the 1960’s and wondered if it was in fact not a hoax but a potentially undiscovered large primate. I am the eternal skeptic though and often read stories about Bigfoot only to later see that they have been debunked as a fallacy or just someone’s attempt at their 15 minutes of fame. I do, however, commend the Bigfoot community in their efforts to authenticate their findings and their tireless searching and research on the subject matter.sasquatch

I wish I could say the same thing for the average Christian. Can you defend, or even explain your faith to an unbeliever? This is something Jude, the half-brother of Jesus felt very strongly about in the beginning of his epistle. Jude 1:3 says “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”

Jude addresses fellow believers and it seems almost mid-thought he changes course from encouraging them about their shared salvation and begins pleading with them to contend for their faith. The mental imagery he was painting about defending the faith was something very physical, something reminiscent of a Roman gladiator fighting for his life. We are called to preach the word of God and proclaim His truth so we must know the word in order to defend it. I encourage you to pick up your sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, and start defending your faith. Can you defend your faith against a Sasquatch?

 

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Are You Putting Your Head In The Sand?

Are You Putting Your Head In The Sand?

There is a common misconception that ostriches hide their heads in the sand when threatened. This is simply a myth and it can be traced back as far as Pliny the Elder from the 1st century AD, around the same time that Jesus was on the Earth. In keeping with the mental image though, how many times does it appear that the Church seems to be merely putting her head in the sand and not truly engaging the threats or issues that arise? Do you feel that it’s easier to hide out in the Church rather than engaging culture in Jesus name? As a group of Christians are we known more for our love and compassion for our fellow man or are we possibly viewed in the same light as the ostrich with his head in the sand? How can we change that perception?

Ostrich,_mouth_openSince we as believers in Jesus are the physical representation on the Earth of our heavenly Father we could perhaps start following his teachings. In a true reflection of the glory of Christ we could begin with loving our neighbor as ourselves or treating others with love and compassion and gracefully sharing our faith. John 13:35 says By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” We have to begin by loving one another in the body of Christ and from that love and unity share our love with the world. We’ve got some work to do but I believe in Jesus name we can accomplish it together. Are you putting your head in the sand?

 

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Are You Obedient Like A Dog?

Are You Obedient Like A Dog?

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 12.16.05 PMIf you have ever spent time with a well-trained and good-natured dog you can understand the joy they bring to us in their obedience. The situation seems to be quite the opposite when you encounter a dog that is lacking in proper training. The same is true for human beings. When we make a profession of faith but lack obedience to Christ it creates an atmosphere similar to the wild dog. People tend to remember the crazy behavior and abrasive experience and it takes quite a while to repair the damage of disobedience.

2 John 1:6 says, “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” When we walk in obedience to Christ and follow His commands we are truly showing the love that He demands of us. When we truly understand the teachings of Jesus and are obedient to them, we can genuinely walk in truth with the love of Christ. Are you obedient like a dog?

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Do You Sleep Like A Bear?

Do You Sleep Like A Bear? Do you live in a place where bears can be frequently seen on spring and summer days? That must be terrifying! Lock your doors immediately! With all joking aside if you have ever noticed the behavior of bears you notice that their activity starts to slow down once the weather gets cold and pretty soon their sightings stop altogether for several months. During the cold winter month’s bears will often hibernate because of a lack of available food. This process is quite interesting to me as their bodies simply slow down their metabolic processes and this allows them to essentially “sleep” through the harsher months.

How many times as Christians does it seem that when times get tough we will simply shut down and go to sleep? It is quite the easy route to take when we forget the power of Christ that resides in us. Our natural inclination is to just slow down our rate of activity in order to enter into false rest. When scripture talks of sleeping it usually is a metaphor for death, as in the case with Lazarus in the Gospel of John as well as in Ephesians.

Ephesians 5:13-14 says, But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’” So even when times are hard and we just want to ball up and go to sleep both physically and spiritually we must remember that the light of Christ has illuminated us. Jesus calls us back to life and requires us to carry our cross even when it gets heavy. Do you sleep like a bear?

Photo Credit:  Jim Bauer

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Are You Watering Grass That’s Just Going To Wither?

Are You Watering Grass That’s Just Going To Wither?

Are You Watering Grass That’s Just Going To Wither?Have you ever thought about how much time you spend on trivial things like making sure the lawn is perfectly manicured or the flower garden is adequately planted with the prettiest blooms? Isn’t it easy to get carried away in the pursuit of perfection or attainment of “yard of the month” and neglect the things that truly need our attention? 1 Peter 1:24-25 says For, ‘All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.’ And this is the word that was preached to you.”

This scripture is comparing out lives to withering grass and falling flowers. The good news is that God’s word stands the test of time and we can rest assured that the time we spend studying the word of God is time well spent. The word that is preached to us, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is timeless, everlasting and has the utmost importance and staying power. Our mortality is just as real as that of a flower fading and grass withering in the context of eternity. When we root ourselves in God’s word we will not wither and we will not fade because the result is an eternity with Jesus where there is no more death. That’s an amazing thought! Are you watering grass that’s just going to wither?

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Have You Been Restored?

Have You Been Restored?

For the last few months I have been helping a friend remodel his 1890's era farmhouse to get it ready for sale.  It's been an exhausting and rewarding process restoring the house and updating things as we go to make it more attractive for potential home buyers. The process has reminded me of the work of discipleship in our lives.  Christ uses this process to refine us, discipline us, and make us more attractive to the father.  Sometimes old things have to be ripped out so the newer, better, updated versions can be installed.  Hebrews 12:11 says "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."  
Have You Been Restored
What are some areas in your life that may need remodeling?  Are there areas in our live's that can be surrendered to the master carpenter, Jesus?  Although it's not a comfortable prayer, I encourage you to ask the Lord to reveal any areas in your life that may need some rough edges sanded off of and then allow Jesus to refine you so that you can produce that harvest of righteousness.  I know that's been my prayer lately, Jesus refine me, restore me, renew my heart and allow me to serve you better than ever before.  Our world is changing and we need to be as prepared as possible to meet it with the love of Christ!  

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Are You Like The Tree Planted By Water?

Are You Like The Tree Planted By Water?

One of my favorite trees in the forest happens to be a small obscure tree called the ironwood, sometimes called the blue beech.  This tree lives out its life very close to streams and in areas where the soil stays moist continually.  The ironwood is known for its strength and when you touch its trunk it feels twisted like someone flexing their muscles.  This tree is a very real reminder of what the Psalmist is saying in the first Psalm.

Psalm 1:3 says, He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”  When we are walking in the righteousness of God we are in an environment that is nurturing to our soul and allows us to put down deep roots that are sustained by God.  We will bear fruit in the proper season and are able to reap the rewards of our faith because our God is faithful.  Are you like the tree planted by water?

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Are You LIke The Tree Planted By Water?

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A Lizard Can Be Regenerated, Can You?

A Lizard Can Be Regenerated, Can You?

I had the privilege of growing up in the country and spending most of my time outside catching snakes, frogs, lizards and just about anything else that crawls.  One thing I learned from a very early age was that if you grabbed a lizard by the tail in an attempt to catch it, you would be left with a bloody wiggling appendage.  Lizards have fracture planes in their tails that help them to drop their tails in an effort to entice and distract a predator so it can make a quick escape.  The coolest part of the whole process is that not only does the lizard drop its tail but also the tail regenerates eventually and grows back.

Ezekiel 36:26 says I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”  The Lord allows our hearts to be regenerated by accepting Jesus, and the coolest part is that the heart he gives us as we accept him is one that will function much better than the one before.  Ezekiel says that before the Lord gives us a new heart and spirit, it is like we have a heart of stone.  When Jesus enters and regenerates our heart he makes us into a new creation and changes our nature from one that is more like a cold stone to that of a warm heart ready to love.  Next time you see a lizard with a stub tail remember that just as his tail will eventually grow back and regenerate, Jesus is doing that same work in your heart as we learn to follow and obey His commands.  A lizard can be regenerated, can you?

lizardgecko

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Burrrr It's Cold In Here!

Have you ever noticed that when everything in your home is working correctly you really don’t think about the little things like say, the heat pump, but when they’re broken you REALLY think about them.  Recently our heat pump decided it no longer wanted to do its job for my house and just quit, can you believe that?  The audacity of that instrument of my comfort, to just quit like that, and it didn’t even give us a 2-week notice!  Times got tough, temps got low and it just quit at the worst possible time. Have you ever felt like quitting on God, or the ministry He has called you to?  If you’re like me you probably have had seasons of doubt, distress and had the overwhelming urge to throw your hands up and just quit, but let me ask you something, who else would be affected if you gave up?

Our heat pump’s decision to stop working and providing the heat that it was designed to provide has not only effect it but everyone that enters this house.  There is a void now that its service has been taken away and the same is true for you.  YOU are the only one God created to be who you are and do what you do.  If you quit it will be felt by many.

Paul says in Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  This verse is a good reminder. If you feel like giving up and want to just stop doing what you were designed to do take a moment to pray, remember the hope Christ has given you, recalibrate and stay patient in the affliction because this too shall pass.

Romans 12:4-5 says For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”  We are all one body and each of us has a specific thing to do for the kingdom of God.  My ministry may be drastically different than yours but neither of our specific callings is more important than the other.  We are called to function as a living organism and if you give up your absence will be felt.  Just like the looming cold in my house that is felt stronger now that our heat pump has quit working, your absence will be felt.  So take heart, have hope and let the warmth of your faith heat up a cold world!

spaceheater

Do You Grumble In The Wilderness?

Do You Grumble In The Wilderness?

Have you ever been lost in the woods before?  I mean really lost.  I have to say that I have been lost in the wilderness more times than I would like to admit, especially since I spend most of my waking hours in or near the woods.  One time that is specifically seared into my brain happened on a family outing when I was in elementary school.  My family and I somehow got off the well-marked trail at a well known hiking place near my home and as the sun started to set we stumbled further and further away from the orange blazes that marked our trail.  I distinctly remember vocalizing my complaints, my fears, and my dread that we may die in the woods on this autumn night.  I had a good deal of fear and frustration running through my brain and lips.  What if we never made it home?  We became grumpier and grumpier the longer we were lost, until my brother leaned up against a sign signaling the direction to the parking lot.

Moses seemed to have a similar situation with the people of Israel when the Lord liberated them from the nation of Egypt.  Exodus 16:1-3 says. The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”  The Lord showed the people of Israel patience time and time again by sparing them despite their grumbling and complaining, but not without punishment.  Had the people been obedient to the man of God placed before them and had faith, their 40 year journey could have been completed in less than a year and they could have enjoyed the promise land much sooner.

 How many times do we grumble against God when we should really be praising Him for the provision we do have?  With our limited vision our situation always seems much worse than it is and we could literally be leaning against the sign that signals our deliverance, if only we would stop grumbling long enough to look.  Do you grumble in the wilderness?

IMG_0145

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Do You Have Wisdom Like An Owl?

Do You Have Wisdom Like An Owl?

Have you ever heard the saying “wise like an owl?”  The personification of the owl seems to suggest that they have an inherent wisdom that we humans may or may not possess.  The truth is, an owl is no wiser than a crow or hawk or any other large predatory bird and surely not wiser than a human being.  This idiom probably has to do with the way an owl looks very serious and almost seems to be contemplatively listening as it sits silently in the trees.

The good news is that our Lord gives wisdom generously to those who ask.  James 1:5 says If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”  Proverbs 2:6 says, “For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”  If you truly want to be wise, look not to the owl but to the God who created owls!  Do you have wisdom like an owl?

owl

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