Wal-Mart Brand Emunah

My wife and I were in Wal-Mart late this evening with my oldest son getting a few things for his upcoming trip to summer camp. While we were waiting to check out we noticed a few guys in their early to mid twenties were standing nearby. One of them had one of his arms entirely covered in tattoos. I couldn’t see the other one well, because there was a display between us. However, my son noticed that he had a single tattoo on his right arm and it was in Hebrew. He told me it said אמונה, emunah, the Hebrew word for “faith.”

So, I approached the young man and struck up a conversation. I asked him, “So, how’s your emunah?” He looked at me confused for a split second, so I pointed to his arm. “Oh!” he said with his face lighting up, “Oh, it’s pretty good. I’m not into religion, but I still have faith.” So, I asked him what caused him to get that particular tattoo. Continuing to smile, he responded by telling me that he was raised in a “strict Christian home,” and used to be religious. He had a friend who knew a little Hebrew and he had him help him find the Hebrew word for faith. He said, “I used to be religious, but I’m not so much anymore. I accept people’s religious perspectives and don’t pass judgment, but I’m not into that anymore.”

We exchanged a few more words, I told him a story about another Hebrew tattoo gone bad, and then I offered him my contact info in case he would ever like to dialogue about religion and his personal journey. He happily put my phone number in his phone and said he might like that. I asked him his name, and he said it was Dillon. We shook hands, I told him I would keep him in my prayers, and we parted ways.

As I reflect back on this experience it makes me think of the multitude of “Dillon’s” there are in the world: young adults who were inspired in their childhood or teenage years and then disillusioned as an adult. Young adults who are searching for something ancient and something real. He went out of his way to find out the Hebrew word for “faith” so that he could permanently imprint it onto his body. The irony of it all is that Dillon says he still has faith. But faith in what? He may have a positive outlook, but does he really have faith? Who and what does he believe in? Emunah requires both faith IN something and faithfulness TO something. I think Dillon holds onto his tatt as an anchor to a time in his life when he did have faith, a time when life was much simpler and the more difficult questions of life weren’t beating on his front door. Maybe it reflects a hope that one day he might regain some type of faith, a hope that there really is a good and loving God that personally cares for him. Whatever the case, Dillon is still holding out hope.

How can we reach the Dillon’s of our generation? I think the most effective means is by living authentic, holy lives. Anything less than authentic, a Dillon can see right through it. That’s what has produced the Dillons of our generation. Anything less than holy, a Dillon knows is disingenuous also. Many in the church claim to be living an authentic life. But living an authentic life devoid of holiness is simply being a Dillon. Holy and authentic lives are what Dillons are looking for. Are you producing Dillons or inspiring them to a closer walk with the God of the universe?

Israel Antiquities Authority Tries to Keep Ossuary Return a Secret

James OssuaryCan you believe it’s been ten years since the IAA (Israel Antiquities Authority) seized the James Ossuary from  Oded Golan, claiming it to be a forgery? Well, if you haven’t heard (and you probably haven’t), the artifact has finally returned to its owner and all charges of forgery dropped. However, this was under the radar, so-to-speak, because the IAA had made an agreement with Golan to keep their major (and extremely expensive) blunder out of the press. However, Hershel Shanks of the Biblical Archaeology has released some notes about the recent “hush-hush” on the whole affair. You can read all about it here.

Children of Abraham

Children of Abraham

“I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” — Genesis 22:17,18

The Father of Faith

Who is this man upon whom the three monotheistic religions of the world are based? Who is this man called “friend of God” (James 2:23), the one whom we call “Abraham Avinu” (“Our Father Abraham”)? Who is this mere mortal by which the King of the Universe defines Himself?

The One, True, Living God — the God of the Bible — is known as the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” He initially reveals Himself to this man Abraham as אל שדי (“El Shaddai“) — “God Almighty” or the “All Sufficient God.” However, His first self-designation, to anyone other than Abraham is that of “God of Abraham” (Genesis 26:24) He identifies Himself in relationship to this one man whom He called out from among his brethren to become the singular person through whom all humanity will be blessed. The Holy One is also known as the “Shield of Abraham,” from His promise to Abraham which states, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield” (Genesis 15:1). In any case, God has inseparably wrapped Himself up in this man named Abraham.

Abraham is probably best known as the “Father of Faith,” a title which has been bestowed upon him because of how he exemplifies one who is trustworthy in all things. Both Paul and the author of Hebrews refer to him in similar terms. In one instance, Paul refers to him as “Abraham, the man of faith” (Galatians 3:9). In both his epistle to the Romans and to the Galatians, Paul makes the argument that besides the physical descendants of Abraham, all those who trust in Yeshua (Jesus) are considered spiritual children of Abraham because they model Abraham by responding to their calling through faith. Thus Abraham is “the father of all who believe” (Romans 4:11). Continue reading “Children of Abraham”

Responsibilities of a Disciple Audio Message (@ Mt. Vernon Baptist Church)

A week ago this past Sunday I spoke at a couple of services at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church here in central Arkansas. My family and I were warmly received and had a very positive experience. I had met the pastor around ten years ago when my design company developed some branding, CD artwork and a website for his evangelistic ministry. Since that time he took on the pastorate where he has been serving for the last four years.

Over the last few months he and I have had an opportunity to catch up, because a good friend of mine has been helping serve at his church. I also found out that he was friends with both the pastor and youth pastor of our church as well. Our discussions lead to us discussing the basic need for the church to have a greater commitment and to be educated in the ways of the Lord. In one word, “discipleship.” They have two morning services to which I was invited to speak. I laid forth my Four Primary Responsibilities of A Disciple of Yeshua (Jesus):

  1. Devotion
  2. Memorization
  3. Imitation
  4. Replication

Here is about three-quarters of my message. Unfortunately, the audio is not the greatest quality (it was pulled from a video from the back of the sanctuary) and it is incomplete. However, it will give you an idea of the things I shared and may raise some questions worth pondering and discussing. It is available both as streaming audio or as an mp3 download. I would welcome any feedback you might have.

http://www.mountvernonbaptist.net/sermonmanager.php?sermonID=38599&