Friday, December 31, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

When God Became Flesh

When God became flesh… this is a concept too infinite for man to fathom. Why God, the Creator of heaven and earth would decide to clothe himself in human flesh, to die for his creation and save them from destroying themselves…it’s truly amazing!

But here on Christmas, we are celebrating, not just the birth of a baby, but the entrance of God himself on this earth as one of us, so he could know us, understand us, and die for us.

I am amazed that God came, but even more that he came for me!

Truly man, afflicted as we are, tempted with every temptation that we are, yet wholly God. Yet he set aside his power of creation to be crucified of it, and for it.

On this Christmas, let’s remember that it’s not the presents that make Christmas, but the presence of the one that came for us.

…cause it’s still the greatest story ever, ever told!

Merry Christmas!

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Hallelujah Chorus - Handel's "Messiah"

Went to Handel's "Messiah" with my friends, the Huussens! Here is the video of the Hallelujah Chorus!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why?

Why do we do what we do?

I know this is a rhetorical question, but think about it for just a moment. Why?

Suppose a man came home with flowers for his wife. She, in surprise, says, “Oh, how thoughtful of you! Thank you! That’s so sweet that you were thinking of me!” Suppose this man said in response, “Well, it’s my duty, I’m you’re husband.” Or, what if he said, “Well, I thought you needed it.” Or better yet, how about this response: “Oh, they were real cheap, it was no big deal.”

I don’t think this flies real well with the wife. But how come? Do you think this woman even wants the flowers now? Why not?

We tend to do a lot of things for strange reasons. I give 10% of my income, and rightfully so. I go to church. I dress a certain way. I try to live holy. But why?

God, in his word, states that we were created “for his pleasure.” Does it really please God that we do so many of these religious rituals because we’re “supposed to.”

In Matthew 23, God rebukes a group of people, religious leaders, no less, for thinking that the outward actions were what mattered, and told them that after searching the world over for converts, they make one twice the child of hell as they are! Jesus seemed to disregard deeds done based on “duty” and not on love. I can almost see Jesus telling the Pharisees, “I don’t want your flowers.”

I can do very nice things for those I love, and they accept them with true love in return, because they believe it came from a heart of love. Christ just wants the same. He doesn’t want your income “because you’re supposed to” give it. In fact, he says in Corinthians to determine in your heart what to give, and do it out of cheerfulness. Why? Because God doesn’t need your money! He needs your heart!

Why do you give to missions? Because God needs it? God tell us in Psalms 50, “If I were hungry, I would not tell thee. The world is mine, and the fullness thereof.”

Jesus was truly angry with the religious leaders who had all the rituals down, but missed the message of God in the incarnation of his Son. He ignored their rituals.

Let’s not be polished on the outside, so that we can be in the right place, at the right time, dressed the right way, to be seen by the right people. Let’s show God love out of a pure heart. And do live holy, and be in your place, and give what God says to give, and do right….because of love!

Why? Because I love Christ!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

You Were Created

The following is a speech I gave at Gulf Coast Community College on 12/2/10. The pictures were my visual aids. Enjoy!

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wolf-sketch

Look at these magnificent works of art! If I were to ask you how these works came to be, I might get a variety of answers. However, you would most likely say the first came about as a result of a master architect, a building contractor, construction workers, and the necessary tools. You would probably say that the second piece of art is a result of an artist who had spent much time and effort to develop the skill that is necessary to draw this wolf. But what if I told you that this magnificent structure was the result of an explosion at a brick factory, or that this beautiful drawing was the result of a dynamite pencil that randomly exploded and spread the lead on a page in this way? You would think I was crazy!! Yet when looking at the magnificent world around us, the complexity of human life on earth, and the interconnectedness of our entire universe, some would say that this is the result of pure accident and chance. I, for one, do not believe that order comes from chaos. First, I will state my case. Then, I will tell you the erroneous  philosophies being taught at the highest level of education.

    Before beginning, I will give a challenge to everyone in here that just wrote me off as delusional and unscientific. Open your mind to facts, and think critically about everything. That’s all you must do. If you’ve done that, I can respect whatever conclusion you come to about this topic. You need to know, though, that there is an entire body of scientists nationwide who believe in creation, and they are scientists. It’s not just radical Christians that support this worldview. 

    Let me state my case. First, I take the position that the earth was created in 6 literal 24 hour days. I believe the scientific evidence supports this view. Based on this belief, I can make a few predictions:
 

   1. The earth show signs of order and intelligent design.

    2. There will be thousands upon thousands of symbiotic   relationships.
- Every organism, in one way or another is dependent on other organisms. These are symbiotic relationships.

    3. There will be limits to the variations life forms are able to produce.

- The Bible says that organisms will reproduce “after their kind” (Genesis 1:25). You may get a big dog, a little dog, or a wolf, but you get the same “kind” of animal (Bible, Genesis 1:25). There are limits to the variations. There are lots of dogs in the world. They may have a common ancestor--a dog. Just because there are variations of dogs does not prove that the dog came from a rock 4.6 billion years ago.
  

4. There will be a purpose to life. You have a purpose; I have a purpose; we all have a purpose in life.
   

5. There will be non-material things that cannot be explained by natural means or science such as love, justice, mercy, innate knowledge of right and wrong, and absolute
truth.
   

6. There will be a way to find the purpose of this Creator figure, maybe through a messenger. He might even write a book telling us how he created us and why.
   

7. I predict there will be an afterlife where you face the Creator to give an accounting for everything you’ve ever said or thought or done.

I further believe there was a literal, worldwide flood where a canopy of water which was protecting life on earth from harmful sun rays fell down and destroyed everything that creeps on earth besides one man and his family. Before the flood, the average life of man, according to the Bible, is 912 years old (“Bible” Genesis 1-5). What predictions can we make based on this teaching?
   

1. There will be legends of a creation and a “golden age” in every ancient civilization that reflects this time before the flood.

- And there are!
   

2. There will be skeletons found that show signs of people who were very aged compared to us, like larger brow ridges, and bigger jaws.
   

3. There will be biological problems for people today, such as wisdom teeth for 50% of the population, that suggest we don’t grow as old or big as we once did.
   

4. There will be a general “longing” for things to be restored  to peace as it was in the garden of Eden.

- Just about every culture on earth has stories about a heaven or place of rest, where you can go after this life.

What difference does it make if evolution is true? Well, if evolution as we know it is true:    

1. How do we tell right from wrong?
2. Death is the hero. Death brought man into this world. In order for evolution to work, something has to evolve into something better, and the rest have to die.
   

I believe that the flood happened and the entire earth was covered by water about 4400 years ago (King James Version). From this belief, I can make a few predictions.
   

1. There will be hundreds of layers of strata.
   

2. There will be billions of fossils located in those layers including oil and coal.
   

3. There will be deltas and canyons showing evidence of rapid erosion.
   

4. There will be legends of this world-wide flood in cultures all over the world.    

- And there are!
   

5. There will be vertical trees in the upright position, running through many of these strata layers at once. And sure enough, we have thousands of them.

Anyone that tells you that those layers are millions of years apart are either ignorant or they are lying to you, because if you can show me a tree that stands upright for millions of years while the layers form around it, I’d like to see it.
   

Now we need to define some terms. Let me point out something you hear all the time, and show you how it is misleading. “Evolution is a fact” –this is a mantra! You hear this all the time! Well, micro-evolution is a fact. Microevolution means variations within species, kind of like my dog example that I talked about earlier. But evolutionists today take micro-evolution and use it to prove macro-evolution. Macro-evolution, however, which is one plant or animal changing into another, is NOT a fact! Dogs do not produce non-dogs. If you want to believe they do, that’s fine; believe what you want, but don’t call it science, and don’t charge tax dollars to pay professors to teach it to helpless kids. We’ve never seen any organism produce organisms not of it’s own kind. Macro-evolution is not science.

Pease do not confuse evolution with science. The evolution being taught in the Natural Science building across the yard is religious, not scientific. When I refer to evolution, I am not talking about variations within a species. I’m talking about the macro-evolution that is being widely taught as scientific fact. Evolution is mixed in with science, true. But that does not make it scientific. Beer is advertised at football games. This does not make beer athletic by association. Evolution is not science. It’s a religion.
   

Evolution teaches that 20 billion years ago nothing exploded; 6 billion years ago the earth cooled down, and then it rained on the rocks for millions of years and turned it into soup, and then the soup came alive 3 billion years ago. This is what the books teach. I read one book when I was in school that said, “progress from a chemical soup to a living organism is very slow.” Sure is; it’s never happened! This is one of the most unscientific ideas in history of  the world! Inorganic matter never has become organic matter. Evolutionist are 200 years behind science! We knew 200 years ago that inorganic matter doesn’t create or become organic matter! But evolutionary scientists believe it did! Are there variations of dogs? Sure are. Does this mean that it all started with soup 4.6 billion years ago? Absolutely not! This process of chemical soup turning into organic life is ridiculous. Something is only science if it has been reproduced in a laboratory or observed in nature—neither have ever been done. There have been rumor of some claims that it has been “very close” to being done in a lab. I have never seen evidence of this, but even if the report is true, it still admits that it’s not being done. And even if it is done, what do you suppose has been proved by a bunch of intelligent scientists getting together to make soup turn into organic proteins? That it takes intelligence to make life, that’s what it proves! The Bible says, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (“Bible” Romans 1:22). If you think your great, great, great, great, grand-daddy was a rock, I think you’re a fool. But at least stupidity is curable! We’re here to help.

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    People are welcome, in our great land of freedom, to believe whatever they choose, but it should be illegal to use tax-dollars to infuse this religion in public schools, and evolution is nothing but a religion.

    Furthermore, I’m not against you believing a stupid theory, but don’t support it with lies. It’s not illegal to have a dumb theory, but it should be illegal to lie about the evidence to support the theory, and it’s even worse to accept tax dollars while I lie supporting this theory; and that happens on this College campus.
   

Darwin said in his book, “It is a truly wonderful fact that…all animals and all plants throughout all time and space should be related to each other…” (Darwin 170).

Darwin observed 14 kinds of finches on the Galapagos Islands, and he correctly concluded that they had a common ancestor--a bird. But then he incorrectly concluded that it was enough evidence to conclude that birds are related to bananas, which he says in his book, Origin of the Species, and what some of your Gulf Coast Community College professors believe. Now if you want to believe that birds are related to bananas that’s fine, but don’t call it science.

    There are numerous other examples of faulty evidence. For example the mutations of biological codes. Mutations do not add new information; they just scramble what’s already there. And you cannot find one positive mutation, cause nobody has ever seen one. One professor told me that a beneficial mutation example was that if you have sickle cell anemia, you can’t get malaria. That’s brilliant! That’s like saying if you cut off your leg you can’t get athletes foot. Sickle cell and Malaria are both negative! You think that process turns a rock into a human in 4.6 billion years? I admire your faith. I don’t admire your intelligence, but I do admire your faith. In order for evolution to occur, biological mutations would have to occur in which the gene code was made more and more complex, and this has never happened. In every case, the mutation always loses or scrambles the gene code, and never adds to it. You would have to believe that the gene code of a rock led to the creation of every gene code on earth today. You want to see a genetic bottleneck? Look at the gene code of a rock sometime.

     Then you have the vestigial structures argument. They say a whale has vestigial structures where his legs used to be, and that these are no longer useful to him because he cannot walk. For one thing, these vestigial “leg” bones are barely a few inches long, and if they didn’t have these bones, whales couldn’t reproduce. You see, it has nothing to do with walking. It has to do with making baby whales. They say your tail bone is vestigial and serves no purpose. If anyone present is willing, I will pay to have yours removed. I will not go into the grotesque detail, but there are some important functions that you could no longer perform without your tailbone.

Now, most of the professors that I have talked to tell me that I am resorting a “God-of-the-gaps” theory. In essence, this theory states that since I don’t know how it happened, God had to have done it. Well, I do believe that God created everything we know. But is believing that God miraculously spoke the world into existence any different than thinking organic matter came from inorganic matter, which is no less a miracle. Until evolution bridges this important gap, they believe in miracles. They say that they only accept what can be proven with physical evidence. But there is NO physical evidence to support that we came from a rock 4.6 billion years ago. That, my friend, is a miracle! And if you believe that, then you believe in miracle-of-the-gaps.
   

In conclusion, I would like you to ask yourself this question: are you going to allow the variations of species and that we observe, which is true science, to be extended and extrapolated to prove that all species came from one single cell. If you are, than I encourage you to observe the Critical Academic Literacy that this College has been trying to teach us, and think critically about what you’re being told. Thank you.

Works Cited
The Bible. King James Version. 1611. Genesis 1:25, Romans 1:22. Print.

Darwin, Charles. Origin Of The Species. XI. New York: P.F. Collier and Son, 1909-14.     170. Print.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Kids Define Love

We live in a day where many words such as loyalty, gratitude, love, friendship, etc. are being redefined. In reality, what has happened is people really are mistaken on what words mean. Love is a very important word, and understanding this crucial word and what it truly means is important before you can make the statement "I love you," or use the word in any other context for that matter. I recently read the following on how kids define love, and thought it was very interesting. You’ll see my commentary on the quotes in parentheses as well. Enjoy.

 

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?" The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

 

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore.

So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."

- Rebecca - age 8

 

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.

You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."

- Billy - age 4

 

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."

- Karl - age 5

(I know some people that think that Karl) =D

 

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."

- Chrissy - age 6

(That IS love!)

 

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."

- Terri - age 4

 

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."

- Danny - age 7

(My kind of love, Danny!)

 

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more.
My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss"

- Emily - age 8

 

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."

- Bobby - age 7

(Wow!)

 

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate."

- Nikka - age 6

(we need a few million more Nikkas on this planet)

 

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."

- Noelle - age 7

 

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."

- Tommy - age 6

 

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.

He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."

- Cindy - age 8

 

"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."

- Clare - age 6

(She knows better than most teens who loves her the most!)

 

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken."

- Elaine-age 5

 

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."

- Mary Ann - age 4

 

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."

- Lauren - age 4

 

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." 

- Karen - age 7

(What an image)

 

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross."

- Mark - age 6

(I bet mommy knows you’re telling people that) =D

 

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."

- Jessica - age 8

(Very true!)

 

Till next time,

Clay

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Casual Christianity

Lately, I have become quite a blog-reader. In fact, I have become a pretty regular reader on certain blogs that update relatively frequently (unlike mine). I was reading a blog yesterday when a thought hit me that I feel is very important in the Laodicean church age in which we live. The article pointed out that churches today value style over substance. Church advertisements on the radio, etc. point out that you can "come as you are," and "wear your jeans," and enjoy the "live band," and "fun activities for the kids." The various features of a particular church aren't necessarily wrong, but we are sending the wrong message. In our 30 seconds or 60 seconds of radio time or interaction with the grocer or paying for gas, we should focus on the substance of our faith, not the style of our Christianity.

You and I, they say, should make our moments count by communicating the most important message. While this is generally accepted in Christianity as true, I am of the opinion that this philosophy of "substance over style" can miss the point. When the substance of our faith does not effect the style of our Christianity, what does it effect? Don't misunderstand. I agree with the principle that we should focus on Christ and the eternal destination of the lost soul over a particular singing group, etc., but to say that style does not matter is naive. Let me explain. I am not saying that we should focus on style over substance. But doesn't the style betray the substance? For instance, if I should hear a radio ad promoting a live band, youth activities, and a dynamic atmosphere, I am hearing about their substance! The correct substance portrays the correct message.

During Speech class at the College yesterday, I was hearing an Informative Speech on a particular church in our town. This young lady (yes, true ladies are rare down at the college) described her church as fun, exciting, and a host of other adjectives I can not recall. This church is called Northstar Church, and is your typical non-denominational church that is really no more than a continual Christian rock concert. During Q & A after the speech, I asked her what about her church stood out as the reason she loves it. Her answer? "The dynamic environment." I responded with, "Oh, I thought you were going to say it drew you closer to the Lord, or something like that."

I don't know for sure, but maybe the reason they choose style over substance is because style is their substance. If that's all a church has to offer this dying world, and for most churches it is, then let them advertise it, because the last thing we want them advertising is a perverted gospel that gives false assurance. Rather, those of us who do have true substance should focus on spreading the truth of our faith, and living that substantial faith so that the style of our Christianity is immediately associated with the substance that we speak of.

And the lesson to learn is this: our style betrays our substance. Do you have real substance to your faith? If so, does it show in your style? Does our style resemble our substance? Let us live the substance our faith commands.

Quote of the Week

"A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan."

- Martin Luther King Jr.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Week in Cleveland, Ohio

Today was my first day of school. I am exited to be back at the grind, because there is only one way to a law degree, and that is through college. But on the other hand, there is nothing more aggravating than college work. That said, it looks like I should have a little more fun this semester as part of the Honors program at Gulf Coast.

Before school started, I took a week trip to my Uncle Tim and Aunt Sandy’s house in Ohio for a visit with the family. Here are a few pics of the trip.

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They were trying to get me to hang around a little longer—or a lot longer. =D

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This is Lark, or Larky-boy, with a typical face he makes.

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This is Jewel, one of my cute cousins. Here I was giving Jewel some tips on taking good pictures with her camera. Rule #1: don’t take pictures of ugly people. Fortunately for her, she was sitting in a room full of Maynards, where that was not an issue. =D

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And this is Holly, inevitably cute, with a smile that’s contagious.

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On our way to church! That’s Angel on my lap, and Jewel to my side.

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The gardens are a Maynard trait…and a good one at that. Their garden is doing great, and we worked in it some.

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Levi—my man!

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Sleeping beauty.

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The kids wore me out, although I can’t complain about the massage therapy…even if it was done with Levi’s feet.

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Levi called me “Ah-bo.”

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She is so easy to make smile…

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Lily is 9, and along with Calandra, is becoming a fine pianist. With some hard work, she’ll leave academics like me in the dust.

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I bet you can’t guess what I’m doing here…

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Calandra is ten years old.

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Angel, the heart-breaker.

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Jewel, the avid artist at work!

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They like to help around the kitchen counter….sometimes it’s a good thing. (ahem) =)

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“Peek-a-boo!”

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Heading to dinner and a visit with Aunt Connie and Uncle Butch.

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Larky giving me a face at the Hometown Buffet.

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Well, all good thing must come to an end. In fact, Delta Airlines does not have a good relationship with me. All my interactions with them happen to be when they fly me away from those I love. Just think, maybe the next time I see clouds from this angle, I’ll be flying right on past them, meeting my Lord in the air!

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I got a text message with this picture during my layover in Atlanta with the caption, “Where’s Claybo?” I can’t help but notice the red eyes. No worries…I should be back for a visit before long.

Ugh, it’s late. Goodnight, all!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

In It To Win It!

Winning is not an event, a time and place, and an action. It is not the sudden celebration of being on top of your goals, your dreams, or your fights. Winning is much more than the comparatively brief moment of excitement when all is said and done, at the end of the day when you receive the reward of your labors.

Winning is an attitude. It is a way of life.

Winning is every second of all four quarters of a game. It is every burn and muscle ache of a marathon; it is every minute and hour of study, every moment of initiative and extra hard work, every decision to put away the weights and hinderances from you, regardless of how petty they may seem, or how long the temptation persists.

In everything a real winner does, he wins. The final score may not show it, the last blow may be the one that knocks him out of the rink, and the last shot that falls may be the nail in the coffin that sinks his every effort to come out on top. But he wins. He wins because no matter what he does, he leaves everything, his heart and his soul, on the floor and leaves that fight knowing he did his best. In victory, he cherishes it. In defeat, he learns from it, making it not a defeat for him, but a lesson.

Winning is an attitude.

"Yeah, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,..." Phillipans 3:8

I have won many things, and in this world, there is much allurement out there to win and to succeed in various things. As with any winning, it comes with much sacrifice. But this is the part of winning that makes most people losers. It is hard, sometimes painful, to sacrifice in order to win. Consider a fighter, who gives up all foods that would hinder his physical shape or bodily systems, keeps a sleep log, trains for hours a day. etc. He gives his life, literally, to be the best fighter he can be. Or an athlete, who does similar routines in health and dieting, physical exercise and training. Or an elite soldier, who once again demostrates unquestioned determination in giving up his home and family to be the soldier he needs to be.

Winning takes sacrifice.

But to win Christ? As I stare in amazement at the phrase itself, it seems an impossibility. For one thing, he had to win me, sacrificing himself on Calvary! How could I win him?

This is ultimate sacrifice. It is not sacrificing family, food, fellowship, or life itself. It is being willing to sacrifice any and all of those things, including any honor you would receive for those sacrifices! At least with a fighter, you may enjoy the benefits of a healthy life and good self defense. At least as an athlete, you enjoy health and millions of dollars due to the idolizing of American sports today. As a soldier, should you truly give up life or limb, you will have much honor in this country, whether you died or were injured in an act of courage and bravery for this country and for your comrades. These are no small things to speak of.

But when you become a pursuant of winning Christ, it is of no benefit to you. It is all a benefit and glory to Christ! In the pursuit of winning Christ, you will have nothing of which to boast, nothing to claim, and should you sacrifice all, and "count them but dung," you will, in the end, hope against hope that you may get closer to understanding what Paul meant when he said, "Let this mind be in you..." You will chase that presence of God that demands ultimate sacrifice of self and pride. YOU gain nothing.....except the likeness of Christ!!! And even this serves only to glorify his name and further his cause, leaving you the with only the blessed priveledge of knowing you gave to him somewhat similar of what he gave to you. Self sacrifice is a pursuit in a Christians life that desires to make him more like Christ, so that you can aim to live in his steps, spending and being spent for others.

I can only hope that I can come close to pleasing my Saviour as much as he pleases me.

I don't suppose I will ever fully understand the concept of winning Christ. I can only pray and work, so that when I stand before him, he will say, "Well done!" If I could hear those words one day from my heavenly Father, I'd say that would be winning enough for me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Good Statesman

This is a good video of what many feel is a politician debate. But, Mr. Keyes is not enough of a politician to win an election. He is what our forefathers were, and that is not politicians, but statements. You will, as a Christian, enjoy this video. I only fear for those Christians who contributed to this mess by voting for Obama in the Illinois Senate race against Mr. Keyes.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Praying As We Ought

It has been said that prayer is ignorance that trusts in God. As Christians, we are so ignorant, we have no choice but to trust in God as we lean on Him in prayer.

The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:26 that “we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” That comes from the mouth of a man who was saved more than 25 years when he spoke it. You would think that after a good amount of time and experience, we would get to the point where we at least know for what to ask our heavenly Father in accordance with His will. But the truth is, we are helpless and ignorant children when it comes to the mind of God in many areas. How often have prayer requests been heard regarding unpaid bills, sick children, lost jobs, and countless other serious circumstances that put us on our knees before
Him, only to be at a loss for words? We are absolutely sure for what to ask as far as our will is concerned, but what about what His wishes are? What about what He sees? We are unable to see around today’s corner and, therefore, have no idea what results would come from a “Yes” answer to these requests.

In Numbers 21, the children of Israel are out in their wilderness journey, doing what they do best--complaining about the Lord’s lack of provision and Moses’ lack of leadership. The Lord sends fiery serpents among the people, and they begin to die as they are bitten. The natural request is: “pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us” (Num. 21:7). If answered, it would have doomed every bitten Israelite to certain death. In His mercy, the Lord ignores their request and provides something much better: a cure. Moses is told to make a serpent and hold it high on a pole for the smitten to see and live. That is “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).

Just removing the serpents was not the right request. Maybe just removing the cancer, just healing that sick child, just paying that insurmountable bill, etc., isn’t what the Lord has in mind. I realize how hard this is to swallow, but the Lord has a lot more in mind than just our desires. He is dealing with a myriad of consequences that come with each request, about which we know nothing.

So we approach Him in ignorant faith. Oftentimes unable to fathom what He has in mind, we must kneel before Him and just wait; wait for the right things to say and wait for the Holy Spirit to help with our infirmities (Rom. 8:26). Waiting for something more than just what we want.

Any Christian who has been saved for a number of years can look back on some requests that they are glad the Lord did not answer with a “yes,” though that is what they wished for at the time. In hindsight, it is easy to clearly see that He who is “rich in mercy” (Eph. 2:4), sometimes says “No,” not in anger, but in love.


James and John once came to Jesus Christ and asked to sit at His right and left hands in His glory (Mark 10:35-37). Jesus answered that they did not even know what they were asking. Of course they didn’t. Like ourselves, they only had in mind what surely was an admirable request. What they could not know was that they were actually begging to be put into a position to have themselves beheaded by the Antichrist in the Tribulation. The right and left hand spots were already reserved for the “two olive trees” of Zechariah 4:3, the two witnesses who must be killed after preaching before the Antichrist (Rev. 11:3-9). James and John only saw a pretty good position in the kingdom, and what could possibly be wrong with that?

Thank God for ignorant faith. In our weak and sinful condition, we can come boldly before Him on His throne and wait for help from the Holy Spirit of God with all these infirmities (Heb. 4:16); especially the infirmity of selfishness that cannot see more than an inch in front of our faces and no further, an infirmity that hinders us from seeing clearly. Yet ignorant faith can help us to see, though “through a glass darkly” (1 Cor. 13:12). A sympathetic Holy Spirit helps us to see beyond ourselves. He reminds us of examples of those He has helped in their infirmities before us: like Esther, with both parents dead, living in an idolatrous foreign land, yet able to see past her own life and say, “If I perish, I perish” (Esth. 4:16); and like Ruth, a widow, outside of the promises of God and without hope in this world (Eph. 2:12), yet able to see past her Moabite gods and say, “Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God” (Ruth 1:16).

The Apostle Paul, after being saved many years and seeing the hand of God in his life, realized that “we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” But that does not mean that we do not pray. That does not mean we grovel in our infirmities and fear to make a single move. Instead, in ignorant faith, we kneel and ask the Lord to remember “that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). In spite of the sins and infirmities, we look to lean on Him as we make our “requests . . . known unto God” (Phil. 4:6).

Prayer is ignorance that trusts in God. We pray for more faith and He gives darkness. We pray for peace and we get more struggles. We pray for a chance to serve, and He gives a corner in which to wait. We pray for fire to burn in our hearts, and we get more coldness. So in ignorant faith, with examples who have gone before us, we continue to believe that “He hath done all things well” (Mark 7:37), even when the answer is “No.”

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bravery

Bra'very, n: Courage; heroism; undaunted spirit; intrepidity; gallantry; fearlessness of danger; often united with generosity or dignity of mind which despises meanness and cruelty, and disdains to take advantage of a vanquished enemy.

"Be brave!" I was 7...maybe 8 when I recall hearing this phrase. My father was hosting a Maynard house boxing show, with half the neighborhood in our livingroom. Friday night fights had nothing on this! Punches flying, faces and heads getting hit, and everyone, including the ones boxing, having a blast! 

But I had some growing up to do. You see, boxing is not very fair...especially when you get hit a lot. That was me. I got hit more than a lot! If someone was bleeding, it was me. If anyone got injured, it was going to be me. If anyone was ready to quit, count on it--it was me. 

I sometimes felt like quitting. The punches hurt, and the fatigue can wear you down. "Be brave!" That was my dad's phrase...and it was like pumping me with an energy boost! I was ready to go when I heard those words.

I didn't realize how much boxing was like life...

"Be brave!"

It was that easy...as a kid, that's all I needed to hear. But in boxing, and in life, it's easier said than done. I wonder how many children are told that they need to be brave?! I know they do not know the importance of the concept.

But there are only three things that keep you going, whether you are in the ring, or in life. And they are real simple.

1. Be able to take a punch.

Throwing punches is great, but if you can't take one, you're sunk! You have to be able to bite a few punches real good, and still keep fighting! Life punches you! If you've lived life for any length, you'll see that. Everybody wants to throw punches at the enemy, because it's fun, and we like throwing punches, but it's when the punches hit us square in the face that we begin to rethink our dedication to the fight. "Be brave!" Take a punch, and keep fighting. If you can't, you won't last long.

2. Want to fight

You will flame out REAL fast if you don't want to fight. I can't tell you how many kids I've seen with a ton of potential that never get out of the starting bell 10 seconds because they don't want anything to do with the fight. When living for God, you have to want it! If you don't desire this fight, it will spew you out before you ever throw one punch! If you don't want it, then you definitely won't take a punch well. In fact, the first punch will send you to the floor, KO'd, because if you don't want to fight, you just won't. (Didn't I say this was simple?)

3. Have the right people in your corner

This is the most important concept, whether boxing or living for God. I would've fallen long ago, in the boxing ring and in my life, had it not been for having the right people in my corner. God is in my corner. My parents are in my corner. If I only ever had God, that would be enough to last the fight, but I have more. In addition to my parents, I have other friends...notice I didn't say buddies...in my corner. You can't have your buddies in your corner. All they will do is distract you. You need God, your family, and good solid people who have your best interest at heart and have proven that they will stick with you. Otherwise, clean your corner out. Get God in there, first of all, and then get your corner full of people that can truly help you stay in the fight. Buddies will say, "Have fun!" while the right people will say, "Be brave!"

I have a good corner, and thanks to them, I love this fight, and I've learned to take some hits. Loving the fight helps you take some hits. And when you start to really hurt, your corner comes through to encourage you to "Be brave!" 

We need some brave individuals. We need some people who aren't looking for a reason to bail out of the fight. We need some people to realize who should really be in their corner! 

And when you have those three things...jump in the ring, and "BE BRAVE!"



Monday, May 17, 2010

What has happened...

There is no easy way to write this post, as a lot of things that I simply do not have the time to tell about have occurred. First, my brother, Russell, got married to Hannah a month ago today. You can check out some pics at:


www.lovestorieswritteninheaven.blogspot.com


Then, I finished my freshman year 2 weeks ago. I have much to do this summer, as I plan on making some extra cash as well as stay busy around here at the academy. I am looking forward to a much needed break, though. I need to breathe deep for a while...

So, I've been doing the things that I love for the last two weeks...spending time with family, working at the academy, working out (HOOYAH!), and best of all, spending more time with the Lord, and THAT has been truly amazing! Isn't our Lord wonderful? He is truly altogether lovely!

I sat in church last night as my dad preached about thanksgiving and that we should think more on what we have to be thankful for, and I realized how much I have to be thankful for...and then after the preaching, during the invitation, members of our church just went to one another and told their brethren and sisters how much they appreciated them. You know, we all have people in our lives that we would simply not be the same without, and it is good for us to let those people know every once in a while how much we appreciate and love them. Last night, our entire church broke into a semi-frenzy of people wandering about, expressing their love and thankfulness to people who mean a lot to them. And it was good. Good for our church. Good for our hearts.

You see, sin can rip through a place, the devil can use people to divide, and false brethren can hurt...but true love still prevails!

I encourage you to do the same...find someone who mean alot to you and tell them so. You will be glad you did, and it will be healthy for you both!

Well, a pointless post is better than no post, so there you have it! LOL

I did want to let you all know what's been going on with me. Later, I plan on writing some posts about ideas that have been around for a long time and I haven't got to. But, thanks to summer, I'll have a little more time. Till next time.

Clay

Thursday, March 25, 2010

“Christian Rock?”

What is "Christian?" Simply, it is Christlike, as they were called Christians first at Antioch (Acts 11:26). But what is meant by "Christian Rock?"

First, you need to understand "rock and roll." I took a course on understanding music history last semester, and I learned a few things. "Rock and Roll" is a term that was first used by disc jockey Alan Freed in 1951 in Cleveland, Ohio.

He began using this term in 1951 to describe fornication in the backseat of a car while pop music was being played, because he thought the action was “exciting and inciting.” The term caught on, and the music mixture of country, jazz, blues, and rhythm that Freed aired became known as “Rock and Roll” music, or “Rock” music. This music has the natural overtone of sensuality and fornication, and is filled with rebellion and indecency. The music teaches all manner of immorality and is described in the vilest of terms.

To explain further why this music is from the pit of hell is to explain why Mt. Everest is tall.

As I sat in class last Tuesday, my teacher, who grew up in a Southern Baptist Church, left God and is an atheist and evolutionist, made the following statement:

“Back when I was a kid in the Baptist church, rock music was evil. It would damn your soul, because it was the devils music. Now, we have churches that embrace ‘Christian’ rock, having evolved their standards to fit in with the modern trends. I asked some kids the other day who went to this type of church why they went. They told me the reason they go to church is for the music! I was sure that they would tell me that they wanted to get closer to God, but no, they went for the music. Doesn’t that seem counter-productive? To compromise to the point that you lose what you started out trying to achieve?”

This comes from an evolutionary atheist, and yet there are claiming “Christians” who defend Christian Rock music!

If Christian means Christlike, and Rock and Roll means backseat fornication, does “Christian Rock” mean Christlike fornication? Do you see the hypocrisy of any saved person who listens to this trash?

Christian Rock and the CCM movement attempts to converge the meaning of the gospel songs with the music styles of the world. This is not possible, because the music that perpetuates betrays the words that are being sung, and the carnal overrides the spiritual.

To be honest, I don’t have a lot of time for people that like to slur the lines between Christian Rock and CCM and pure gospel music using subtlety and borderline music.

Who needs Jars of Clay or Jars of Mud, or whatever they’re called? And why would groups like the Gaither Vocal Band, Steve Green, and others in the southern gospel world slant their music to try to take a middle ground, to jump back and forth over the fence of right and wrong in their music? Whether we believe it or not, these musicians are about money for the most part, and the money is in the modern music, so there you have it! The problem is, the worlds music does not accentuate a Godly spirit, but a carnal one.

What all Christians need to realize is that when the music betrays the message, the sanctity of Godly music is lost, and the flesh will dominate the environment, every time!!

I say we produce a music that lives up to the holiness of the book we preach, the righteousness of the God we serve, and the true worship that our Lord deserves and desires. Then, and only then, will music accomplish its purpose: lifting up and glorifying our God!

More Ben Everson

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Good Songs!

Here is some good music to listen to. He adds some visual effects as well, but his music is top notch.





Till next time,

Clay

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Is this my blog?

I just ran across a link in my favorites, and I realized it was a blog link. No sooner had I clicked on it than it asked me to sign in. After putting in my usual username and password, it took me to a blog dashboard, and I wondered to myself if this was my blog. Indeed, it was! It had my picture, my information, even some interesting information about myself on the profile. Yes, this was surely mine!

You probably know that the first paragraph I was being sarcastic. But yes, it has been so long, that I almost forgot I had one--or two for that matter! So here I am, offering my deepest apologies for being so absent. I have been incredibly busy for a while. Life speeds up so fast as you get older. Indeed, much has happened.

I have started my second semester of college, and boy has it already been a ride. I preached at Bro. Charlie Andrews' youth rally in January, and this last week, our family went to the funeral of Dr. Homer Smith. So, like I said, much has happened. If you would like to hear the messages from the youth rally, click here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?SpeakerOnly=true&currSection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Clay^Maynard

Again, I've been busy in many things, but I look forward to getting back to the blog(s) as much as I can. If you'd like to know how I am, this is the blog to watch for. My other blog is strictly political, and you can find it on the sidebar. I will be posting there from time to time as well, Lord willing.

In Christ Alone,
Clay