Monday, March 23, 2015

A New Book on Religion and Politics

Today Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz was the first of a likely crowed field of Presidential Contenders to formally announce his candidacy for the White House.  As the Presidential Primary Season officially kicking off, it is only fitting that I announce the upcoming completion and release of my second book, "Who Would Jesus Vote For?".

As we can see from the setting in which Senator Cruz announced his candidacy, in front of a jam packed audience at Liberty University, an Evangelical Christian University, faith and especially the Christian faith will play a huge part of this election cycle.  No doubt Senator Cruz craftily orchestrated this move in order to appeal to Social Conservatives and the Christian right early on in this race.  Religion and Christianity has always played a major role in our Political System, in fact many argue that it is indeed the basis of American democracy and ideals.  However this raises a lot of serious questions.

  • Is America a Christian Nation?  
  • Are we to vote Democrat or Republican?  
  • How do we choose a candidate?  
  • Is it biblical to vote in a Democracy? 
  • And most importantly, Who Would Jesus Vote For?
In the new book, "Who Would Jesus Vote For?" we challenge the status quo and conventional thinking of Christians, Democrats and Republicans alike.  The book examines these and many more questions from a Biblical perspective and points to God's Kingdom as the key to this World's broken and divided Political System.

Often time we ask ourselves "What Would Jesus Do?" or WWJD, but today and through this Political Election cycle I want all Bible believing Christians to begin to ask themselves instead "Who Would Jesus Vote For?" or WWJVF.  My prayer is that this would not be just another book but rather that it would be a movement of God's people in this broken World.

You can look forward to the release of this book in the Summer of 2015.  In order to release this book we will need your support and prayers. In the coming months we will need to raise the appropriate funds in order to get this book to the masses.  Stay tuned for more information on "Who Would Jesus Vote For?" in the coming weeks and months.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Climate Change is Real – Why Christians ought to care.

Climate Change is Real – Why Christians ought to care.

A 2013 Poll conducted by Stanford University indicated that 81% of Americans believe that climate change presented a serious problem. For decades though, extreme right-wingers and “Christian Fundamentalist” have denied that the World is getting warmer and that our Ice caps in the Northern and Southern Poles are melting.  Others grant the fact that the Earth is getting warmer yet deny that humans have any part in it.

Now I am a conservative Bible believing and preaching Christian; I believe that Climate Change is real and that Christians have a divine command to do something about it. 

For some reason many in the Evangelical circle have shrugged off climate change because of their bedfellow alliance with the Republican Party who are bought and paid for by the energy industries which pay for their elections.  They have bought into the lie that nothing is wrong with polluting our air and destroying our forests.  Now believe me, I am no tree hugger, but for a long time I was one of those deniers.  I bought into the conspiracy theory that “global warming” was the imaginary invention of the evil Liberal Al Gore who simply wanted to destroy energy and coal jobs that are the prevalent industries in the Southern States.  I thought it was a Liberal agenda to kill jobs and tax corporations.  I, like many, believed that science on the matter was inconclusive and that we could not afford to sacrifice our gas and oil based economy on the premise of a tree hugging agenda.

But then I grew up and did the research.   

The Science
First of all the science is not inconclusive, 97% of Scientist agrees that Climate change is real and that mankind has a role in it.  What about the 3% who don’t?  Many of them work for major corporations like BP and Shell who have an invested interest in maintaining the status quo for their industry and regulations.  In 2010, the National Research Council concluded that "Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems".  Conservative politicians keep shrugging off the reality of climate change and when asked about it the usual response is “Well Scientist are not too sure yet” or “the Science is just too inconclusive”.  They are lying or they have been misled.  Like I have mentioned many politicians from both sides of the aisle are bought and paid for by energy companies who spend millions of dollars in lobbying at the local, State and Federal level.  Championing for the pillaging and the rap of Earth’s natural resources and spewing them into the atmosphere is neither right nor conservative.  So why then do so many who identify as “conservative” and even Christian advocate for such things?  Have Christians aligned themselves with billion dollar corporations who could care less about people or the environment as long as there stock is record high?  Christians should be better.

Now I am not a Scientist, but I do listen to them when they present facts.  Christians in America in recent decades have come off as anti-science and the credibility and respectability of the Church has fallen because of the ignorant positions many Evangelicals take on science.  The Biblical worldview doesn’t have to be Science vs. Faith, but rather as History has shown, faith can be the very instrument that drives science to discover God’s created order and majesty.  Climate Change is scientific fact and the more we deny it the more we risk coming off as ignorant and deceitful.  Many climate change deniers will point to record cold temperatures in historically warmer climates like in the Southern States (just so happens to be the place with the highest concentration of climate change deniers) and say “So much for global warming”.  With smug ignorance many wrongfully interpret the times and seasons to fit their narrow and small worldview.  While pointing at a snow flake they ignore the avalanche of evidence for climate change.  The World as a whole is warmer than it has been in thousands of years.  The fact that some parts of the World that have had historically mild or warmer climates are now getting colder while places that are normally milder are seeing huge increases of heat waves and violent storms vindicate the reality of climate change. 
But if you believe in the Bible, I’ll give you an even better reason to care about Earth and climate change then the science.

The Bible and Climate Change
When God made man and women he gave them the charge and responsibility to care and subdue the Earth. (Genesis 2:15)  Yahweh God gave man the privilege to be stewards of the Earth and to watch over it.  When God put us in the Garden he did so with the intention for us to care for it and expand that paradise to the ends of the Earth, but then sin happened.  Man is inherently sinful and because of our nature we have exploited the created order and paradise has been lost. (Genesis 2:17-19)  Despite of our fallen nature our responsibility to be caretakers of the Earth has not been dissolved. 
Christians ought to ask themselves, “Is promoting and partaking in the destruction of our natural resources something God would approve of?”  Also, “Is allowing a corporation unlimited power to dump waste and pollutants into our waters and oceans moral?”  How about the destruction of animal populations and forests?  Did you know that because of mans disregard for the Earth around half of the Earths original forests are gone?  We have done a horrible job at being caretakers of God’s creation.  That alone ought to incite social conservatives to start caring about our Earth and its precious resources. 

The Lord Jesus Christ himself pointed toward global climate change in the end times when he said “Then there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and there will be anguish on the earth among nations bewildered by the roaring sea and waves.  People will faint from fear and expectation of the things that are coming on the world”. (Luke 21:25-26)  The Bible also warns us of a coming time when God will declare “the time has come to destroy those who destroy the earth”. (Revelation 11:18)  God cares deeply about the Earth and its environment.  Christians ought to be on the forefront of standing up for true conservative values which include conserving our dear Planet.  We will all stand before the throne of Jehovah Almighty and will have to give an account for how we steward the things given to us. 

Please do not take this issue lightly, do not be deceived by politicians and corporations that profit on the back on this lie and the future of our Planet.  Stand up for life not just inside the womb but outside the womb, because after our birth, Earth becomes our home.  Let us be good stewards of God’s creation and forsake the ignorance and evil that is polluting and destroying our World.  


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Apocity- The Sin of not evangelizing

"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you". (Matthew 28:19,20)

With those words the Lord Jesus Christ gave his people the Great Commission to preach and make disciples in the name of the Triune God.  How are we doing with the Masters commission nearly 2000 years later?  Unfortunately, it feels like the North American Church has forgotten the greatest command given to men, to teach and preach the Saviors gospel.  The Church in America has deviated from the call, today we hire men (and sometimes women) to preach God's Word to the layman.  We have prestigious Universities where we send our Pastors and clergy to be "qualified" to teach the Bible and understand its message.  We have assigned the duty of "preaching" and evangelism to hired-men instead of obeying the Masters commission. 

Brethen, we have a sacred honor and duty.  Many Christians today feel that it is not their "calling" or "gifting" to evangelize to people and non-believers, many have deluded themselves to believe they are not called or qualified to preach.  This is error, the error and sin of omission.  A dear brother in the Lord, George Alvarado, has written a book where he has coined a word to describe the sin of not sharing your faith, "Apocity".  In his book, "Apocity the Greatest Omission", George makes a biblical case for evangelism in the Christian Church by the actual members of the Church.  In this book we are confronted with the Masters call, and one of my favorite themes in this book is that we are a commissioned people.  We as a people have orders; Jesus gave us the commission to “go”, so why aren’t we going?

Maybe one of the things that are holding you back is that you may not know how to effectively share your faith.  Maybe you are too shy or nervous.  Maybe you may not know where to even begin!  Many of these questions are answered and addressed in this book.  I fully endorse and support George and his book “Apocity”, it is a message that the Church is in dire need of hearing.  It is a call to resurgence and awakening for the body of Christ.  We have a duty brothers and sisters; let us take seriously our Lord’s commission.  We have all been called to this work, let us equip one another to do the work we have been called to do.

To read and support our brother in this endeavor to equip fellow believers, follow the link below.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Saddest Sight: My Memorial 2014 Experience

On a Sunday afternoon I received a few knocks on my door. Since my family and I are new in Edmonton, the last thing we expect is a knock on the door. As I opened, there were two older Jehovah's Witness men. I invited them in, had a wonderful conversation on the Bible, Jesus, and how to attain eternal life. They then proceeded to hand me an invitation to the Memorial of Christ death. This year the date landed on April 14th, 2014.

It has been 5 years since I have attended the yearly Memorial celebration of Jehovah's Witnesses. For those who do not know, the Memorial or "Lord's evening meal" is the only sanctioned celebration JW's across the World observe, it is the one part of the year where they remember the death of Jesus and pass around the emblems of the bread and wine. It is essentially their yearly sacrament meeting, and it is very important to the Witnesses. An estimated 17 million people Worldwide attend this meeting.

I decided that I would go. My wife never grew up as a Witness and has never been to any of their meetings. The only experience she has is through me and interactions shes had with my JW family members. I thought it would be good for her to see and get a feel for the religion I grew up in. So we went. As I walked into the rented Hall they had for the occasion, I could not help my mind from going to an earlier time in my life, going to the Memorial felt familiar and almost routine. I was told that the event had 3 congregations in one, yet there couldn't have been more than 200 people in attendance. As I looked around my family and I looked like we we're the only ones "out of place", we had our own Bibles, no song books. Not to mention I wore no tie and walked in with a full set of hair on my face. We sat in the last row and observed everyone coming in. Out of everyone there I am convinced we were the only ones who were not either studying with JW's or were JW's. The reason this is interesting to me is that I am sure that the Witnesses in my area have spent thousands of hours inviting people to this event for the past month and it seems like we were the only ones who responded to the invite. How ironic. 

The meeting started with a usual "Kingdom song", but as soon as the recorded tune started I noticed maybe half of those in attendance were actually singing along. This depressed me, I mean this is the most important night of the year for these Witnesses, you would imagine that they would be eager and excited to praise Jehovah for the sacrifice of his Son. Yet the music reflected the dead spiritual state of their worship. It's no wonder why they call it the "Memorial", it feels more like a funeral then a celebration of life and triumph. The talk given was no different from years before, they talked about the provision of the ransom, the significance of the occasion, who could and could not partake and then the future blessings on Paradise. Looking from the outside in, its incredibly alarming how the speaker brings together isolated Scriptures and quotes one end of the Bible to the other to prove his doctrine without any context of the surrounding verses. I use to do the same thing as a JW but I was never conscious that I myself was doing it. Then came the moment to pass the emblems of the bread and wine. I had contemplated partaking of the Memorial to make a statement, but I decided against because I did not want to bring unwanted attention to myself or offend anyone. So when the emblems started coming our way my wife and I got up and walked away to the back of the meeting. 

Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe that they can partake of the emblems of the Sacraments unless they are part of the 144,000. They believe that the Great Crowd members are not born again, that they are not apart of the New Covenant, and that they are not sons and daughter of God. It was as they were passing the emblems that we saw the saddest sight- Every Jehovah's Witness in the room passing and rejecting the body and blood of Jesus. This was the first time that my wife had been to the Memorial and as she saw what was happening a tear came down her eyes as she saw an entire room of people reject the sacrifice of Jesus. As we were standing in the back another gentlemen was back there attending his child and was trying to explain to us what was happening and why no one was partaking, I turned to him and asked, "Doesn't it seem like they are rejecting and passing away the ransom sacrifice of Christ?". He stood stunned by the question, he had never seen it that way and he was taken back by the question. After the meeting I stood in the back for a while as a few JW's approached us and greeted us. As we were getting ready to leave three JW men approached us and I took the opportunity to ask them a few questions regarding some of the stuff that was mentioned during the Memorial. The conversation lasted about 10 minutes and at the end of the conversation all three Witnesses were stunned by some of the verses I had shared with them. They all promised to look into it and research it. 

Going to this years Memorial was a reminder of what I once was, a person outside of the Kingdom and Covenant of God. It was sad to see people who genuinely want to serve God reject the very sacrifice that can set them free. I'll end this post with a quick overview of what the Bible really says regarding the Memorial of Jesus.

How often are we to observe the Memorial? The Bible makes clear that every time believers in the 1st Century came together, they observed the sacraments or "Memorial" of Jesus. It was NOT a once a year occasion. READ 1 Corinthians 11:20-34 & Acts 2:46

Who can partake of the emblems? According to the New Testament, every believer has the privilege of taking communion, it is one of the two commands instituted for believers in the Church alongside baptism. Jesus said regarding the cup, "Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." What are we to do to remember Him? Is it to pass the cup and bread? No, to remember is to partake according to Jesus. There are no verses in all of Scripture that says that a certain class of Christians CANNOT partake of the emblems. The belief that only a 144,000 can partake is an unscriptural assumption.

Are only the 144,000 Born again members of the New Covenant? This is a concept that is totally foreign to Scripture. Jesus said,"Most truly I say to you, unless anyone is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God." (John 3:3, NWT) He did not say only 144,000 would be born again, instead he said "What has been born from the flesh is flesh, and what has been born from the spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed because I told you: You people must be born again." (John 3:6-7, NWT) If you are not born again, which is a spiritual rebirth, according to Jesus you are still in the flesh. It is written regarding the New Covenant, "That is why he(Jesus) is a mediator of a new covenant, in order that because a death has occurred for their release by ransom from the transgressions under the former covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the everlasting inheritance." (Hebrews 9:15, NWT) If you are outside of the New Covenant arrangement you are outside of life and salvation. If you are not in the New Covenant relationship with Jehovah than you have no guarantee of the promises of everlasting life. The 144,000 are very likely Jews who are the promised remnant of the nation of Israel who will believe in the Messiah during the end times. READ Romans 11:1-2, 25-26 & Revelation 7:4-8

Are there "two hopes" for Christians, a Heavenly and Earthly one? Ephesians 4:4-5 in the NWT confirms that "One body there is, and one spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism". There is only one hope for Christians, that is to be with Christ. READ 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 & Philippians 3:20-21

So everyone will go to Heaven? What about Paradise Earth? The Bible teaches that when a believer dies, he will go straight into the presence of the Lord. (Philippians 1:20-21) But that is not the final reward of the believer, for the Bible teaches that there will be a new heaven and a new earth, we believe that in the new creation Heaven in the form of New Jerusalem will come down to the Earth and God will dwell and reign with man for all eternity. It will be a true Paradise, literally a Heaven on Earth! READ Revelation 21:1-27

Place your faith and trust in the Savior, Jesus said "Most truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselvesWhoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life, and I will resurrect him on the last day." (John 6:53-54, NWT) Will you obey Jesus who leads to life, or will you place your eternal salvation in the hands of an organization of men? Choose this day whom you shall serve!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Serving Hope in Canada

Back in January of this year, my family and I prayerfully decided to pursue a new job opportunity and adventure in ministry in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada as a part of Hope Mission.  In February we headed out from our home in Connecticut, leaving behind precious friends and family in order to pursue a calling we felt God had clearly opened up. I have been in Canada and in my new position for about a month now and my goodness has it been a ride! At first when we heard of this opportunity to move to Edmonton we hesitated. We were firmly convinced that CT was our home, and that despite our difficult circumstances we would stay the course in Hartford. But as we took this matter to the Lord, it began to be very apparent that God did indeed have different plans for us. 

We knew that if we were going to take this plunge to leave behind our loved ones and our way of life, God would have to make it possible for us to get over there. My car at the time had broken down beyond repair, my job in CT was quickly coming to a close and our apartment had gotten broken into. We were in need of transportation to get there and enough money to start over; both of which we were lacking. But trusting in the Lord we moved forward and accepted the job offer to work as an Intake ministry worker for Hope Mission. God blessed obedience and he provided us a vehicle by the graciousness of our incredible Christian family back home. God also blessed us with more than enough money to be able to travel and get started in Canada. The Lord also granted us our passports and visas without any hindrance! But leaving behind all that we had come to know and love was anything but easy. We also had to leave behind most of our possessions, we packed what we could in our Station Wagon and away we went. We made a stop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where we said more goodbyes to family and friends. The car ride from Hartford to Milwaukee, and Milwaukee to Edmonton was not something I'd enjoy doing again. The traveling combined with the goodbyes and the anxiety of a new life away from home took an unexpected toil on us all, not to mention we have been traveling with our 1 year old son. 

When God calls you to relocate to a completely foreign place where you know essentially no one and have nothing, faith in God's leading is chief. When we arrived in Edmonton, a wonderful Christian couple housed us and took us in until we could get on our feet. I immediately started working and learning the ropes at Hope Mission. Let me explain my new job to you guys. Hope Mission is a Christian non-profit that serves the underprivileged people of Edmonton by serving over 1000 hot meals a day(Breakfast, Lunch, & Supper) and offers a warm place to sleep to over 500 people a night. Hope Mission has specific ministries that reach out to teens, women, men and people who are struggling with addictions. I have the responsibility to work as an intake worker at one of the men shelters and also lead our Turning Point Program which serves men who recognize their addiction problems and are looking to something bigger than themselves to help heal them. During our sessions I teach Bible principles that will lead them to recognize their need for recovery and a Savior, with the hope that they join our 1 year Breakout program which is an enhanced Bible recovery program. It's been a real joy to teach men the Bible and helping them on their road to recovery, and even more, their road to Jesus and eternal life. I have already begun to see the fruit of God's faithfulness and calling to serve Hope to the people of Edmonton. 

This has been a time of testing, trials and transition. We miss our friends, family and dear House Church and spiritual family back home. We look forward to meeting and making new friends, and serving people in spiritual need. I also rejoice in the trials that we have endured and the ones we will encounter, for as the Scripture says, "Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing." (James 1:2-4, HCSB)

Pray for us during this exciting time of transition. May the Lord bless you all.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Celebrating the Holidays- The reflections of an ex-Jehovah's Witness.

Celebrating the Holidays is usually a joyous occasion when families come together and celebrate the birth of Christ and usher in together a new year. When I was growing up as a Jehovah's Witness I dreaded the holidays. I could always hear the children bragging about the expectation and anticipation of Christmas and spending family time and just hearing about their family tradition. I was always excluded from such conversations since the majority of my peers already knew- I was one of Jehovah's Witnesses and I did not celebrate Christmas. 

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years were just regular days for me, nothing special at all. In fact since I was likely off of school on those days we usually used the opportunity to go out to field service and condemn the people at the door who were spending time with their family and telling them how pagan their celebrations were. I hated the Holidays, not because I saw them as pagan or worldly, but because I envied the family centered nature of it. In my household we didn't have a Holiday replacement, there weren't specific times of the year where we would just have a big family centered celebration or gift exchanging. I've heard of some JW families who had such events throughout the year so that the kids did not feel left out, but it was never something I experienced or even saw in Witness families that I knew. 

I can remember the first time I actually celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas as a new creation in Christ Jesus. It was 2008, I had given my life to Christ September of that Year and was pretty much keeping it a secret from my family and congregation. By the end of October I began fellow-shipping with believers at a Church a town over and told them about my journey. They were overwhelmed and took me in as their own. Not even a few weeks later my family had discovered that I was attending a Christian Church and that I had begun to "apostatize". The pressure was on, I had stopped attending the Kingdom Hall meetings and my elders were trying to contact me to question me. In the midst of all the chaos I was invited by my then Youth Pastor to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family at his house. My first Thanksgiving, an event I would never forget! Years before I mocked the notion that you take one day out of the year and reflect on the many blessings of life, but here I was, counting each of my amazing blessings and reflecting on the goodness of God despite my personal trials. I discovered the meaning of Thanksgiving. 

Fast forward to December of that year, I had sent in my letter of disassociation to my congregation elders. I was officially no longer associated with the false organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. The very next day I was kicked out of my relatives home who I had been living with, I was homeless and in desperate need. This all occurred 10 days before Christmas. When my new spiritual family found out about what had happened they quickly came to meet my need and took me in. It was one of the most trialing experiences of my life, my whole world had been turned upside down! In one brief announcement everyone who I had ever known and loved in the Witness religion cut me off and the mere mention of my name was anathema. When I was broken, God used another Holiday; this time Christmas, to demonstrate his love for me. My Church Youth group had a Christmas party at our Church just days before Christmas, and at the very end we all exchanged gifts. I was poor, homeless and abandoned- I had no gifts to give and I felt once again embarrassed. Everyone had a gift in their hand and I had nothing to give or to receive. Little did I know, the gifts in everyone's hand was for me. My Church and youth group that I had only known for barely even two months came together to bless me in my greatest hour of need. I then understood what Christmas was all about, it wasn't about worshiping a false pagan deity or about Santa Claus or even about getting gifts! It was about the compassion and self-less love of Jesus Christ. Jesus gave up Heaven to humble himself by becoming a helpless baby born in a manger to poor and lowly parents, all so that he can grow up and save a fallen race. Although I was poor and broken, Jesus took on my brokenness and poorness and exchanged it for his richness. As it is written in Scripture, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: Though He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9, HCSB)

This was the first year that my wife and I celebrated the Holidays since the birth of our beautiful son. As I reflect on my past and my journey to Jesus and my discovery of the true meaning of the season, I rejoice that my son will grow up with the joy of celebrating the goodness of God and the birth of Christ Jesus. It is exciting to see our own family traditions form and using the Holidays as an opportunity to bless others. I will teach my son the lessons I have learned and remind him of the reason we celebrate and come together as a family- Jesus. Celebrating during this time of the year always reminds me of my past and current struggles with my JW family, but it also gives me strength and remembrance of the cost of following Jesus. 

My Family- Christmas 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Can I Get a Witness? Documentary

On October 4-6, 2013 we attended the annual "Witnesses Now for Jesus Convention" in New Ringgold, Pennsylvania and we revealed the documentary, "Can I Get a Witness?". "Can I Get a Witness?" is a short-film documentary based on the need for meaningful dialogue between Christians and Jehovah's Witnesses. The documentary is based on the newly released book, "Can I Get a Witness? How to understand and set free Jehovah's Witnesses" which I wrote. The book and documentary focus on the need for more witnesses of Jesus to give JW's everywhere a witness of the real Jesus. It is my hope that this short film will explain and help Christians see the need to learn and engage Jehovah's Witness, the ministry that comes to our doorstep.

I am proud to reveal that exciting new documentary for everyone to share and enjoy. We bless God for his faithfulness is allowing us to film and produce this project. God has been faithful and provided mightly in creating and bringing together this short film and we are excited to share it with the world. You can view this documentary in the following link on Youtube.

It is vital that you help us reach as many people as possible and share this with your Christian friends, ministers, and Pastors.