Hey Christian! Read Your Bible!

Hey Christian! Read Your Bible!

        Hey Christian! Read your Bible! You cannot possibly know anything if you have not read your Bible, and I mean the entire thing! So get to it! It is 2011 so finish it!

Now read it! Don’t be pathetic and claim you believe in Jesus Christ if you don’t want to read His entire Word. If you have not read the entire Bible you do not know the full faith Christianity teaches.

Dying Old Filipino Man An Inconvenience For A Missionary To Witness

Dying Old Filipino Man An Inconvenient For A Missionary To Witness

        I remember when I was in the Philippines and I had 3 more days until I had to get on the plane back to Los Angeles. I was currently staying with a White missionary who lived in the hills of Antipolo by Valley Golf. This was near where the famous Evangelical school called Faith Academy was built. That is a school where mostly missionary kids go (sons and daughters of missionaries, called MK’s). I noticed that in this area most of the missionaries were American and living very wealthy according to Filipino standards. They concentrated themselves in a nice area that seemed “safe” away from the locals. On the other hand, the majority of the locals were extremely poor and lived within ridges, down hills, off the sides of the roads, and any area where there was some empty space; there were squatter communities of local Filipinos who were dirt poor living in shacks and boarded up buildings with bamboo poles to support them. Some were open air type buildings with tarps.

        To me this is odd and looks kind of ironic. Here the rich Americans live in gigantic houses that in no way could they afford to live in if they were in the United States because houses that big and nice, in a decent area would be thousands of dollars a month to rent, or to pay off for many years. Well, people can get a nice house in the Philippines and pay about the equivalent of 600 U.S. dollars a month instead. It’s cheaper than the small apartment my parents live in right now in Alabama. This also leaves the American missionaries enough money to hire maids and servants to wash their clothes, clean their house, and do anything they need done. American missionaries live like kings in the Philippines in many cases! What kind of message does this send the local Filipinos who are lost? Think about it…

Just down this path a man was dying

       On my 3rd to last day in the Philippines I was with my friend who was a local Filipino pastor for a baptist church. Him and I were hanging out for our last day and doing ministry together. We did some house visits and at one house was a man they knew was dying of heart failure. This man had smoked and drank his whole life and was suffering the consequences of his unhealthy lifestyle. He was about to die. When we showed up to their house, which was off the side of the road and down a steep hill, —and kind of hanging there with bamboo poles in the open air with a wood floor nailed together— the man was lying motionless on a bamboo bed and very skinny. He looked like he was almost a corpse. It was very heart breaking to see a man in his last breath. This man was unsaved and only knew the physical world. His wife was there to help but she was not saved either. It was heart breaking to see such hopelessness. The pastor prayed for him and talked to him about Jesus. I was able to read from Romans 8 about how if we believe in Jesus we are not condemned and we will be given a new body. Romans 8:18-25 speaks about our heavenly bodies, from groans to glory. I read out loud as the pastor translated the words into Tagalog for the dying man. I witnessed the gospel message to the man which was also translated. We both tried to explain to the man about Jesus and how he can be forgiven of his sins, because it was the man’s sins that got him in such bad shape. The man was thankful we were being there and caring for him, but all he wanted was some fruit mashed up to eat because he could not chew regular food since his teeth were decayed. He just was concerned with physical and material things.

        The pastor and I went to a local market and bought a bunch of fruit for him. While we were at one fruit stand a small little girl came up with her hands held out wanting money. Instead, I bought her an orange and she was excited and walked off. About 10 seconds later about 10 more children ran around the corner and all were begging for money and fruit. I had no more pesos to spend on oranges so I had to buy lesser kinds of fruit and the kids were disappointed because the girl got a whole orange and they did not. I felt sad at the poverty but had to go because a man was dying. We showed up with fruit but had no blender to smash it up so he was concerned, and we told his wife to mash it with a spoon.

        While we were there for the last few minutes he and his wife were asking me for a doctor’s visit. If this man could have just seen a doctor on a regular basis he could have lived. He just needed to get to check ups and figure out how to help his heart get healthy but he was poor. It would cost about 10 U.S. dollars a visit. THAT IS CHEAP! I had no way to drive the man to a hospital without a car. So I went to the American missionary I was staying with for the last week and tried to bring up the issue. But the missionary seemed to distance himself away from the topic and not acknowledge what I said as if he was inconvenienced by such a request to get a dying man to a hospital. He ignored me and would talk to other people as if he didn’t hear me. The missionary just did not want to deal with it. The missionary was safe in his house while just down the road off the side, down a hill is a dying man in the missionary’s own barangay. Finally the missionary told me to just tell other Filipinos I knew to drive over and take him to a government hospital. But the pastors did not own cars and lived far away. They could not transport a dying old man on a motorcycle. This really aggravated me and I had to call up the local Filipino pastor and tell him I could not help because the American missionary did not want to do anything.

        I found out later what happened to the man after I left when I came back to Los Angeles and flew back to Alabama . It was over a year later before I was able to find out what happened to him. Finally, I was able to contact the local Filipino pastor and he told me that the man died 3 days after I had left on the plane. How sad…all I know is I did my best to show God’s love for a dying man and share the gospel. I have to leave it up to God’s sovereignty whether the man repented or rejected God. But more than likely the man went to hell for his sins. The point is that it sickens me that so many missionaries go to countries living like kings in wealth away from the local people and pay servants to do everything while the local people in their own area are dying; not just dying physically but already dead spiritually and no one is doing anything about it. These specific types of  missionaries just go to teach in a safe, clean, air-conditioned megachurch, or do some safe social work program set up with others. Yes, they might help some poor people here and there, but it is always far away from their home so no one will bother them. Whatever happened to just going into a neighborhood or some city and preaching the gospel of God’s grace to save people from their sins? Whatever happened to going to houses and sharing the Bible and teaching the common people? They are too concerned with easy church supported jobs so they can act spiritual and holy and claim they are missionaries, while only being concerned with other wealthy pastors in the country who are privileged enough to have an education. (I am not saying that teaching local pastors in a safe church setting has no value, because it is very important, but there is way more work to be done and it’s hardly even a sacrifice in some cases. Also, not every missionary today acts this way so do not be confused, but the majority today does behave in such negative ways).

        Listen up future missionaries! Learn from this story and think about it. We can see the true example of missionary service in the Bible and it isn’t a social program and setting up mega churches. It is hardcore work to go where Satan dwells in darkness and to preach the light of the Word while risking all to do it! Before you go, think seriously if you are willing to die for preaching the gospel. Do not just sign up on some silly youth church “missions” trip which is nothing more than a “christian vacation” for sunday school tourists.

        Before you go think about whether or not you are inconvenienced with caring for filthy, desperate, lost people. Are you willing to get your hands dirty and bearing the smell of poor lost souls in your nostrils? The modern missions trip idea is NOT MISSIONARY WORK! It is false and self righteous liberal nonsense that does nothing more than let dying people live just a little longer only to eternally die anyway. And many church sent missionaries ignore the local people around them and let them die or remain spiritually dead without the knowledge of the gospel because it is inconvenient to get that close. Preach the gospel! Sacrifice in order to preach it! Do not isolate yourselves from the native people of the country. Sharing the gospel is never safe. So get used to it.

Mark 16:26
What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Evangelize! Not socialize! Help people’s souls and stop being inconvenienced!

Filipinos Mourning For The Dead

        Filipinos Mourning For The Dead

        One afternoon in a squatter area in the woods of Antipolo the owner of a squatter houseI was visiting informed me that his neighbor had died. The man was working a job that dealt with a lot of chemicals. He inhaled them every day at work because the chemical substances were in the air; so over time the man died. It was very sad. Apparently there are many unsafe work practices in the Philippines that cause all kinds of deaths each year.

        The squatter house I was in was on higher ground than the other house next to it so I looked outside the door and saw some children down next to the house outside and one woman. They evidently were visiting the body of the dead man who died from the chemicles. In Catholic and Pagan, syncretistic Filipino culture the dead are brought to their house and dressed in the nicest clothes the dead owned when they were alive and placed in their bed. The relatives leave the body in the house for at least a week, and sometimes two weeks. In this case it was two weeks. The time allotment depends on how far away the dead’s family members live from the house.

        I was told that when family members show up to pay their respects to the dead body they mourn. There is a lot of whaling and crying very loud. The man who owned the house I was visiting told me that you could hear the family members screaming really loud. So people will stop by when they can to cry loudly for the dead body before it is buried.

        After this mourning is over there is a funeral service. I was informed, that it is much like a typical western funeral where people hold a service in a church, mainly a Catholic church, and the body is in a casket. They leave the casket open and people can pay their respects before the body is buried.

        This custom is something that is done by Catholic Filipinos and syncristic pagan Filipinos. Most Filipinos believe in some sort of Catholicism, even if they are pagans. If they are not religious the Catholic culture is heavily ingrained in their customs. Non-Catholics, especially protestants have different styles of funerals. Evangelical Filipinos do not keep the body inside the house, but quickly bury the body in the same manner as what usually occurs in the United States.

The pastor I was with in the squatter area I visited in Antipolo

       I had visited the man who owned the squatter house with a local youth pastor of a Baptist church. The pastor I was with in a polite way mocked how they mourned for the dead body and asked me if I would come visit him in his house if he died and would cry loudly. I said “Sure,” jokingly. And he replied with: “And you will see that my body has risen from the dead and is no longer around!” He was implying that since he is a Believer that he will be raised from the dead and go to heaven so mourning has absolutely no point.

        It was interesting to be able to hear about Filipino funerals and how the Filipinos mourn for their dead. I did not get a chance to attend the actual service or see the dead body in the house. It would not have been appropriate for me to ask to go or to see the body since I did not know the man. So I had to observe the visitors from the outside. Apparently their mourning time was over because I heard no one crying or screaming. Just sad faces on people, but the children were playing. It was interesting.

        This makes me think about the hope the Christian has at death and the celebration his friends would give knowing their fellow brother in Christ has gone to see God in Heaven and have Eternal peace and freedom. The paganis, including Catholics, do not have such a hope as they view the world in what is going on now. People who do not worship the true God, or do not put God first in their lives will always suffer devastation at the loss of a loved one. The Christian may shed a few tears, but there is no fear or despair or hopelesness that the pagan worshipers suffer. Our hope is being united in Heaven through Jesus Christ. Hopefully when I die, everyone I know will throw a party and laugh with joy at the thought of me getting to Heaven before them. When I am there I will wait for my brothers and sisters to meet me later and we will have many stories to share. I cannot wait to be in God’s loving presence! It is going to be a truly great family reunion!

Escape Death Only To Die Anyway

Escape Death Only To Die Anyway

        You have probably heard many stories about near death experiences, or people who almost died in some freak accident, but lived to tell about it. Stories like these: a cancer patient is told they will die in 6 months, but somehow they live because the cancer goes away. Or a man might have been kidnapped and about to get his head cut off by some criminal/terrorist organization, but just in the nick of time the U.S. Special Forces snipe the bad guys and the prisoner is freed. Or maybe a man was given a death sentence in a foriegn country, but was freed for some political reason right before he was to be executed. A couple might have lived through an airplane crash and were the only survivors, or possibly a person had a near death experience where their heart stopped beating for 5 minutes, and the doctors jump started the person’s heart and brought them back to life…Stories like this are numerous, what does this all mean?

        The late 90’s Christian, doomy, hardcore punk band World Against World has a song called “The Hope of the Wicked Has Become Despair” with the lyrics,        

Slaves to sin wonder why, “Are we really born but to die? Can life be the fulfillment of itself? Must the earth answer to the sky?” Life has become an order of events, month by month paying the rent and it’s all in vain because Christ is not accepted to break the mold of discontent. “There is no God” says the fool, and he drinks to forget he hates himself. The business man used to believe, but he gave it up to gain power and wealth. The college student does his best, but without the Lord there is no success and they all die just like the priest who thanked God that he was better than the rest.

Everyone will die eventually no matter what. No matter how they lived their lives. You the reader, reading this right now, YOU WILL DIE! Yes, the words of Sho Khan in Mortal Kombat II are correct: “YOU WILL DIE MORTAL!” Ecclesiastes 9:3 says,

[T]here is one fate for everyone. In addition, the hearts of people are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live— after that they go to the dead.” Further in verse 5 it says, “[F]or the living will know that they will die, but the dead don’t know anything. There is no longer a reward for them because the memory of them is forgotten.”  

        “To escape death” are the words people use a lot. A similar phrase used is “to cheat death,” but in reality is this true? Do people really escape or cheat death? Nope. No one can actually escape death, because death will never go away; it is always behind a person waiting to snatch them out of this world. God has a time for every person and no one can escape the time God has set for that person to die. So what is the point in people coming so close to death and ending up surviving through an ordeal? They survive only to prolong their existence until death captures them eventually anyway.

        The messages people proclaim after surviving through an ordeal where they almost died are usually positive messages, or a relay of their amazing story. They always talk about how they went against all odds and made it! They try to inspire people to survive. But in reality many of these people are without God. They have no true basis to understand life. Without Christ there is no meaning. God allows people to live and then allows others to die for His sovereign purposes. The only stories that matter about surviving against odds and temporarily avoiding death are when a Christian speaks about it because they have a true understanding and true worth in Christ to keep working for God’s will. God’s divine purpose for their life is to work hard and live for Him whereas the secular person lives for themselves and their own ideas without God. God tolerates them and has His reasons for their temporary survival; maybe in order to give a chance for people to acknowledge Him since He allowed them to live. Yet, when they do not acknowledge Him they are given up to divine judgment at death and hellfire for eternity. This will show God’s justice and give Him glory. So what is the point in escaping death only to end up dying later and going to hell? Think about it! Ecclesiastes 11:9 mentions that, “God will bring you to judgment.” In 12:5 in the same book it says, for man is headed to his eternal home” and verse 7 says, “the spirit returns to God who gave it.” This can be summed up by what it says in the New Testament:

“For it is appointed for man to die once, and after this, judgment.” Hebrews 9:27 

Every man has an eternal soul with an eternal destiny. God will judge him and his spirit will either go on to Heaven or on to Hell.

        Only the Christian (the elect) can actualy have a good purpose in surviving death because it gives us more time on earth to do God’s will. We should not rejoice in escaping death because of the fact we get to live on earth longer and enjoy its pleasures. Instead we should rejoice in the fact we survive and get to bring more glory to the kingdom of God while on earth. We have more missions to do! Even with life on earth and the many blessings it brings from God, death is the ultimate goal the Christian has in order to enter Heaven and be free in God’s presence. As Paul said in Philippians 1:21, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” So we should rejoice that God finds us useful still, so that we can have a longer chance to spread the gospel message more to the lost. We will ultimately die anyway so we should live well.

My temporary escape from death

        Besides getting jumped by a gang of about 15 wannabe gangsters who beat me up pretty bad in Oregon (you can read about this in my other article: “Prevelent Violence, Punk Rock Skateboarding, Gangster Attack!”), I had a near death experience when I was 16 and got hit by a car. I was skateboarding and a Dominos Pizza car hit me. Remember that 30 minutes or less, or it’s free promo? The bumper crushed into my knees, and I flew up and crashed into the windshield and bounced off the car, flew through the air, slammed onto the pavement at a fast speed, and slid across the street about 10 feet. The shoe on one of my feet flew down the block about 30 feet and my skateboard ended up in the ditch. I skidded on my flesh and shredded the side of my clothes and ended up in a puddle and laid there alive. The friend who was with me claimed he saw me crash head first into the windshield. But only my collar bone was broken and I had 2 knee surgeries to repair damages. I have the scars to prove I survived, and I am somewhat crippled in my knees to this day with re-occuring problems that let me know I survived. I now know that God found more use for me to suffer longer on earth for His soveriegn purposes. I will live for the proclamation of the gospel. If I died then who knows what would have happened, would I have gone to hell? It was during a time in life where I was going through major depression and doubts about God. At one point I even rejected God and told Him off. About 1 or 2 weeks later I was set straight by that Dominos Pizza car. I am one of the few who can truly claim that I was godsmacked. All I know is God saved me, not only my physical life, but my eternal soul. What did I do to deserve a second chance? Nothing. God in His sovereign will protected me and kept me alive. So, I will live for Christ and when I die I will gain Him…I thank God often for His will in choosing me for salvation and protecting me from death temporarily; so that I could learn more about Him and be used more to proclaim His eternal kingdom while here on earth. I live to die a Christian death…

The hand of death is always behind you waiting...