Tag Archives: christianity

Modern Day Sanhedrin

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Have you ever heard of Passion Play Ministries International? It is an organization that tells the message of the death and resurrection of Jesus to thousands of people in many nations and cities in the US and around the world through a live-action drama. The play is a large production with hundreds of people in the cast and part of the crew. The headquarters for this ministry is in Farmington, NM of all places. Yet, with such a humble headquarters location they are doing great ministry in spreading the gospel of Jesus around the world.

I was privileged to get involved with the Passion Play of the Four Corners last year for the first time. My wife saw an ad somewhere stating that they needed singers, and that is something I love to do, so I decided to join. I was part of the choir last year and sang in the opening song as a trio with a couple other ladies. I was also the host pastor for a night where I got to lead the opening prayer and then invite people to respond to the gospel message at the end.

It was an amazing experience, and I can truly say they are changing lives – not only lives in the audience, but even lives within the cast and crew itself.

This year I went back to audition, and I was told that the choir was going to be practicing on Tuesday evenings. Well, I am solidly booked on Tuesdays with my position as den leader for the local cub scout pack, so I decided to do some reading and see if God wanted to use me for a speaking part this year. Apparently He does. I was told that night I was to report to the Sanhedrin block when rehearsals began.

The Sanhedrin? I was to be one of the bad guys who connived to have Jesus crucified. These were the legalists that had missed the heart of the message of the Messiah and therefore missed Him when He came to them.

Oh well, if that was where God wanted me to be then so be it. I began to read, and after a few nights the director of the Sanhedrin block of the cast informed me that he wanted me to play the part of Caiaphas. Really? Not only was I going to be a bad guy, but I was to be the worst one – the High Priest!!

As I have been learning my lines and preparing for my role it has really weighed on my heart the severity of the role I must play. I have to be angry at Him. I have to accuse Him. I have to reject Him. I have to be all the things I preach against each week as I minister. Sure, this is only a play, but the weight of the things, I must sa,y hang no less heavily on my heart.

The one idea that keeps coming back to me, though, is this: The religious leaders of the day – the Sanhedrin – rejected Jesus and everything He stood for because they didn’t understand Him, and they were threatened by His doctrine as they saw it required a change in their way of life and livelihood.

Don’t we do the same thing?

Don’t we reject Jesus as we decide day after day to give in to our selfishness instead of allowing Jesus to reign in our lives and call the shots? Don’t we ignore Jesus as we get caught up in our lives or even worse, our religion? Don’t we reject Him as we feel that following Him would require a change of lifestyle that will threaten our comfort on every level, even fincially? Are we not just as guilty as the Sanhedrin?

When Peter preached the first sermon about Jesus in Acts 2, he finished by saying, “You, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross…God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:23,36)

That verse is for us too. We crucify Jesus when we put our selfish desires above His. What does Jesus require in response? Repentance and Baptism (Acts 2:38). When you understand what you’ve done and keep on doing to Jesus it should bring about remorse that leads to repentance. When you see what He has done for you by willingly dying for you in spite of your rejection it should inspire a desire for allegiance to Him that leads you to baptism.

Don’t stay like the Sanhedrin. News is that even Caiapha, after the resurrection, became a follower of Jesus. It’s not too late for you to follow Him either.

If you would like to know more about Passion Play Ministries International you can find them on the web at www.passion-play.org.

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The Chaos of Influence

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My kids have been introduced this year to basketball. We signed them up at a church in the next town for Upward Sports.

Having never done basketball before, there is a pretty sharp learning curve when someone is thrown in with other kids who have played for the last two years. Each practice and game is filled with input from both coaches as the kids try to learn the skills needed to win.

Game times are extremely chaotic. There are usually two basketball games going on simultaneously with only a double-row of chairs separating the two games. Kids on one court hesitate when the referee on at the other game blows a whistle. Parents are stacked on top of one another to watch their kids. There is yelling from parents and coaches alike as they all try to encourage their kids to take this shot or pass the ball or block that person.

In the midst of the chaos it is difficult for the kids to hear the voices that are speaking to them and trying to help them excel at what they are doing.

Isn’t this so true in each of our lives as well?

We have voices coming at us from all sides daily. There are voices on the television and radio. There are voices from our bosses and coworkers. There are voices from our friends and neighbors. There are voices from our families. There are voices from the books we read and the internet. There are even voices within our own heads.

Each voice is trying to earn the right to influence your actions.

Once, Jesus was talking about his followers, and he called them his sheep. He referred to himself as the shepherd. He said that others would come and try to lead the sheep away, but the sheep would not follow because they didn’t recognize the voice of the shepherd. Then he said this about his sheep:

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

if you consider Jesus your shepherd, then his voice should be the one that rings out through the chaos of noise in your life. You will come to recognize that voice more easily as you spend time with she shepherd in his word, through prayer, and as you spend time with others who are listening to and following the shepherd. It will also be easier to recognize the shepherd when we whittle away the other voices in our lives that stand in stark opposition to our shepherd’s voice. We may not be able to get away from the voices, but we don’t have to give those voices any rights within our lives to dictate feelings, choices or actions.

We each have a choice as to which voices we allow to have authority in our lives. Jesus wants us to make his voice the priority, and his voice is saying “Come, follow me. I love you.”


Ignoring science in the name of science.

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This week there was a lot of buzz about the debate between Bill Nye (the science guy) and Ken Ham (founder of Answers in Genesis and the Creation museum in Kentucky). I watched the debate, and I learned a few things.

The most important thing I took away from this debate is that if you aren’t answering the questions you’ve been given with straightforward answers then you seem like you don’t know what you are talking about.

One other thought I left with is that science and the bible are not mutually exclusive of one another. They go together. The bible is not a science textbook. In fact, the first few chapters of Genesis are written in poetry form – not as a scientific treatise on the creation of all things. But that doesn’t negate the fact that there are many ideas that have been discovered by science that the bible mentioned thousands of years before their discovery.

Let me give you some examples of things mentioned in the bible hundreds and thousands of years before they became known facts proven by science. These predictions are the very thing that Ken, in my opinion, should have been using to answer Bill during the debate.

1. The earth is round. Isaiah 40:22 This wasn’t proven or even accepted as anything other than heresy until the 1500s.
2. The earth isn’t held up by some mythological creature. Rather it is suspended in space by seemingly nothing. Job 26:7 Job is the oldest book in the bible.
3. The universe is expanding. Isaiah 45:12. Edwin Hubble discovered this in 1929.
4. There are deep canyons in the ocean floors. 2 Samuel 22:16. This was discovered in the 1900s.
5. There are springs on the ocean floor. Job 38:16. This was discovered in 1977 (the year I was born) yet written about in the earliest book of the bible.
6. There are currents in the oceans. Psalm 8:8. This was discovered in the 1800s.
7. Water evaporates from bodies of water and turns to clouds then condenses to form rain and eventually goes back to its sources. This is known as the hydrologic cycle. Job 36:27-28. Bernard Palissy is credited with this discovery after he wrote his explanation of it in the 1500s.
8. The law of entropy. This is part of the second law of thermodynamics. Psalm 102:22-26. This was explained in the 1800s.
9. Some constellations are held together by gravity and move as a unit. Others wander in the sky with a unique “pattern” unlike other constellations. Job 38:31-32. Scientists now say that the stars in Orion’s Belt are all moving in different directions – thus the loosing. The Pleiades contain 250 stars that travel together in grouping held together by gravity. Arcturus is in a class of stars unique in the universe. They don’t travel like other stars. The sun travels at about 12.5 miles per second. Arcturus travels at a whopping speed of 257 miles per second. Who will guide him? Can you even catch him?
10. We are made up of atoms and molecules which can’t be seen with the naked eye. Hebrews 11:3. The light microscope which allows us to see at the cellular level wasn’t invented until 1590.
11. The sun isn’t stationary. Rather it moves at a high rate of speed. Psalm 19:4-6. People used to think this was talking about the sun revolving around the earth when in fact it was talking about the sun warming all things it is near as it moves through the galaxy. This movement of the sun was discovered around 1800. It is interesting to note that many people still didn’t consider the sun a star at this point in history.
12. The earth once had a main land mass that we call Pangea. Genesis 1:9; 10:25. It is thought that the continents began to drift during the flood, but continental drift wasn’t seriously suggested until the 1800s.

These are only a sampling of scientific facts mentioned in the bible. It’s more than just a moral folk tale. It is the Word of the Creator who systematically patterned everything. That’s why it says in Romans 1,
“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.”

Don’t ignore science in the name of “science”.


a-Moral Dilemma

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I have been a part of churches all my life. I have worshipped all over this country with various denominations and even experienced worship times with various faiths. In the Christian realms, however, there is a trend that isn’t catching on…it’s running full steam ahead through our church cultures.

This trend is to claim belief in God but live any way we want to live. It is a claim of faith but coupled with a self-indulgent lifestyle devoid of church attendance.

As a minister I cannot sit idly by and not say anything about this disease. If this is what we expect Christianity to be then Satan has won! We cannot claim belief in God and ignore what His word says. If you believe that God doesn’t care about how you live, then you believe in a God that you created. It is NOT the God of the bible. It is a human-invented creation. It will NOT save you.

I continually have conversations with people who profess deep belief in God yet are not a part of His church in any way. I meet people who are “Christians” yet live with their significant others in a very NOT-marriage relationship. I know Christians all over who publicly, through Facebook and Twitter and other social network sites, profess to have no issue with and even support those living lifestyles that are blatantly against the moral standard that God has set in His word. God’s word, the bible, clearly speaks against each of these things.

Friends, if you are a Christian but don’t even attempt to conform to God’s expectations for your life, then you are not a Christian.

A Christian is a Christ-Follower. A Christian values the words of God and seeks to live them the way Jesus lived them. Christians aren’t proud drunkards. Christians aren’t openly living with their boyfriend or girlfriend. Christians don’t actively encourage others to continue in their ungodly lifestyles. Christians aren’t disconnected from the church.

Christians are sinners who are trying to sin less. Sin is something they want to be rid of, not brag about. Sin is a very real thing in the life of a sinner. Sin is the reason they need Jesus. Sin is the reason I need Jesus. I cannot be a Christian apart from the church any more than a finger can live severed from the rest of a body.

I am not perfect, and I am sure you aren’t either. I receive the forgiveness of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus as the Holy Spirit guides my life, but if I’m continuing to openly, unashamedly live a sinful lifestyle then I’m not following after the Holy Spirit. I’m following after my flesh, and that is easily influenced by the evil one. It’s even easier for the evil one to be in control when I’m not strengthened by the encouragement of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

If you’ve been living this kind of lifestyle then the good news is that Jesus offers new life today! Repent! Turn away from your sin and turn to God. Get involved in church. You won’t be perfect, but your heart turned toward Him is reflected by your actions. You’ll see change in your life, and others will too. And God honors that.

Jesus didn’t die so that we could continue to sin. He died so that He could show us the way out of this sin-led life, and He gave us his church to help us live the life He called us to through encouragement and fellowship. If you’d like to come back to Jesus in a real way, then I’d love to visit with you. You are invited and welcome to be a part of His family – it is not full of shame regarding the way you used to live – it is full of celebration that you left that life to live the life He intended for you to live all along.


Doing church

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When you’re lying around thinking about things, what do you think about? What captures those valuable moments of meditation as you allow your mind to wander? When you get up, what do you do? What things are necessary that dictate your actions? As you do those things what is your attitude? Do you enjoy the life you are living, the things you think about and what you do?

Many of us have hobbies. Those are usually things that we love to do, and when we aren’t doing those things we are thinking about those things. When we are given the opportunity to be immersed into our hobby for a while we jump at the chance.

Many of us love sports. We have our favorite teams. We don’t miss a game. We wear the paraphernalia. If we get a chance to actually go to the game we jump at the chance and tell just about everyone we can because we are so excited.

Many of us have families. We cater to our children’s needs. We serve them to the point of fatigue and then some. We spend time together playing and working. We teach them. We are engaged in our families. When we aren’t with them we are thinking about them. When we are away we can’t wait to be back with our family.

What if we treated our hobbies, favorite teams, or families like we treat our commitment to the Kingdom of God?

What if we only saw our family on Sunday mornings for two hours? What if the family needed our help, but we were always too busy to help or figured someone else would come to their aid? What if when we were with our family we were constantly thinking about all the other things we would rather do away from our family?

How much of a fan would you be if you didn’t spend time getting to know your team? How skilled would you be at your hobby if you only went to lectures and heard about how to do your hobby but never actually got busy doing your hobby?

This is how many people “do church”. We come on Sunday mornings. Many people don’t even come for class even though it’s only an hour sooner. We sing a few songs we don’t even realize the words to. Then we listen to a sermon while thinking about what is for lunch. When we are done we shake the mandatory hands and say “hi” to others, but we are really glad to be done with this portion of our week.

We are called to so much more in our walk with Jesus.

Romans 12:1
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.

In many churches there is a core group that understand the need to work together as a family to help spread the message of the good news of Jesus. The majority of the church is only engaged on Sunday mornings.

If we are really honest, the majority of our Christianity consists of what we do and who we are Monday through Saturday.

If your church needs you, don’t wait for someone else to get involved. We are all called to be active in working to he’ll the kingdom of God grow. Your church does need you.

You have been given the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. Jesus needs you to. Offer everything to Him all the time. Let Him give you rest, but you only need rest after you’ve exhausted yourself by working. Let’s get to work.


Fixing a Flat the Wrong Way

I was angry today.  Very angry.

I went to the tire center at Walmart.

That sentence kind of explains it all, right? I got there around one in the afternoon and didn’t leave until after four.  I went in to get my tire fixed.  The attendant there came back after an hour and told me that my tire had dry rot, and he was not willing to risk airing it back up again for fear it would explode on him.  My only option was to get a new tire.

I never only buy one tire, so I asked him the prices of the tires, and he assured me that there was enough tread on the tire to get a pro-rated charge on the new tires.  I finally agreed to two new tires and began my waiting process again.

At 3:15 my car was finally outside, but they hadn’t called me.  I went up to the counter and asked if it was ready, and they showed me the sheet of what had been done.  The charges were almost one hundred dollars more than I was told to expect.  I was not prepared to pay that kind of money today.  I went in expecting to get a free flat repair and ended up with an over two-hundred dollar bill.

I was not happy.  They had not pro-rated the tires, and this whole idea of my tires being dry rotted did not set well with me.  My wife had gotten the tires checked just last week by the dealership, and they said the tires were fine.  Tires don’t get dry rot in five days.

They decided to call the manager.  At about four o’clock she finally showed up, and I explained my dilemma.  Fifteen minutes later she finally decided what to do.

I want to stop there for a minute.

Did I have reason to be angry?  I had been there three hours for what was supposed to be a flat repair. My expectations were shattered.  I had been given false information and over-charged for services rendered.  I felt like I had every reason to be angry.

In the process of this, though, there are so many things to consider.  First, what was my conduct like?  Did I keep my head or lose it?  Am I showing them love even when I’m angry?  Is it possible to show love when angry?  What would Jesus do (the old cliche fallback)? Why was this all happening to me?

I don’t like being angry.  It doesn’t make me feel good, and it doesn’t help those around me either.  Nevertheless, I find myself at various times caught in the trap of selfishness where I am consumed with myself and become angry.

The bible doesn’t say that anger is a sin.  It is what we do with that anger that is the sin – or not.  If I had started throwing a temper tantrum, then that would definitely be in the sin range.  Fortunately, I didn’t go there today. Had I become hateful or rude beyond normal explanation of my side of the argument that would have been over the top.  If, however, I can control my tongue (and the rest of my body) when I’m angry then I can be angry and not sin.

This is what we are called to do.  Jesus never asked us to not become angry.  He asks us to not sin when we become angry.  Let me tell you, it’s not always easy to do.

Back to my story.  The manager showed up and found out both sides of the story.  It turned out that the guy that gave me all the quotes is the newest member of their team.  He gave me bogus information.  The tire wasn’t dry rotted, but it was in need of replacement.  The manager overrode the price, and she gave me a hefty discount to ease my mind.

As I look back at the events of today, I can’t help but see how God worked in this situation to make all things work out for my good.  I got two new tires (which I needed) for much less than even had originally been quoted to me because of the fiasco surrounding this situation.  I didn’t really need to be spending that money today, and God helped me out financially.  I just had to persevere through the rough time to see the benefit.

I still don’t like going to the tire shop at Walmart, but I am grateful for that manager.  I am grateful that God helped me keep my cool today.  I am grateful that He worked this out for my good (Romans 8:28).

If you’re going through a rough time where you constantly feel angry about your situation, pray to God for new perspective.  May He show you the good that is being done all around you FOR you.  And may you not sin in your anger but be a shining example of Christ to those around you.  We aren’t perfect, but thank God that through Jesus we’re forgiven.

If there’s anything I can do for you or pray with you about, feel free to contact me at 245-1611 or via email at jddobbs@verizon.net.  God bless you!


Standing at the Crossroads. Which way do I go?

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Are you or have you ever been standing at the crossroads of a life decision wondering what God’s will for you in this choice happened to be? Does God want you to go left or right or keep going in the same direction? Sometimes the will of God in our lives is clear, but more often than not it is not nearly as obvious.

Consider Abram. He was a man of God who loved Him and trusted Him with his life and all his heart. One day the Lord told Abram to go to the land the Lord had promised him. Where was this land? Abram didn’t really know. God had not sent a map; He only said “Go!”, and Abram went.

I wonder which direction Abram went when he left his house. Did He turn right or left? When he came to another crossroad down the way, what was his method for determining his course? How was he supposed to find a place he had never seen nor had he even been told where it is?

The one thing we know about Abram is that he is the father of faith in God. The three largest religions in the world today consider Abram (later known as Abraham) as one of their patriarchs. The thing about Abram is that he really did trust God.

He didn’t just say he trusted God. He didn’t just go through the motions and give lip service to his faith. He lived out his faith every day so that when God told him to leave his family and his land, he left.

Again, I wonder which direction he went when he left his house.

It didn’t matter which direction Abram went. It was the right direction because He was trusting in God.

God promises us something special when we come to the crossroads of our lives. What he requires of us is faith in Him. Then, when that faith is in place, He promises us that whichever road we take He will bless. Romans 8:28 assures us that any of the decisions we make will turn out for the good when our faith is in the Almighty God.

When I get to that point in my life, then the decisions become much less stressful. The “what ifs” go away because I can now trust that God will take care of me as He promised he would. It may be that you are at a crossroads because the blessings coming your way are many. You aren’t choosing what blessings will be the greatest for you down that road. What you are deciding is where can I go and serve God and glorify Him? With that attitude, He’s going to bless you whatever you choose.

That’s one of the most magnificent aspects to Jehovah, God. He gives us free-will choice. He doesn’t force us down a path or decision. He loves us and helps us down whatever road we choose.

In the light of this we have a great freedom in Christ. That freedom allows us to make any decision we choose because our lives are focused on glorifying God regardless of the outcome. We are focused on trusting no matter the decision.

What if my whole world falls apart when I make this decision? It doesn’t matter. Everything in this world is temporary. God has promised to never leave or forsake you. He has promised to help you through. He has promised to grow you as you face those things. Was it easy for Abram to leave? No. Was Abram scared? Yes. But he persevered and God blessed him.

May you have the mind that trusts God in your decisions. May you be constantly in prayer about the plans God has for you, and may you rejoice that your God loves you enough to bless you regardless of your choices. What a great God we have!

This year make a commitment to not hesitate in making the tough choices. Trust God, and allow Him to guide you even in the confusing times. As always, if there is anything I can do for you or pray with you about feel free to contact me at http://www.mrdobbs.org or at jddobbs@verizon.net. God bless you!


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