Saturday, February 28, 2009

Are you bold enough?

Pirates are bold and fearless.

The image we have of pirates is of daring fighters, forcing their way onto ships heedless of the danger. They sail
shark-infested waters, raid fortresses, and swing on ropes from one ship to another. Pirates risk life and limb sailing the oceans and plying their trade. Weak and cowardly people are never successful pirates.

We should be equally as bold in the profession of our faith. Many Christians face persecution if they read their Bible, attend church, or tell people about Jesus. The really do risk their lives, and many people would understand if they were quieter about it. But when someone asks us about God we shouldn't be shy. We shouldn't have any fear about sharing our faith and testimony. Ridicule, embarrassment, ostracization, or even physical danger shouldn't deter us. When being proud of our relationship with Jesus, be as bold as a pira

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants
to speak your word with great boldness. (Acts 4:29)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hoist the Flag

Pirates have a very distinctive flag and language.

The skull and crossbones. White bones on a black flag. Just about everyone around the world knows what these signs mean. If you see it, you know that pirates are nearby. And when you think of pirates, there is an immediate sense of danger, as you know what you are about to face. The reputation was so strong and the flag so distinctive, that when a pirate vessel raised their flag, ships would often surrender immediately because they knew what would happen if they didn't.

Many readers will know the significance of September 19th. This has become recognized internationally as "Talk Like A Pirate" Day. It's a bit of a silly holiday, but everyone is supposed to talk in their best pirate lingo. Because of the distinctiveness of the stereotypical piratical language ("arr", "ahoy", "matey", "shiver me timbers" and so on), everyone knows what they need to do to "talk like a pirate". If you walked up to anyone in America and said "Arrh, me hearties, where be the wenches?", people would likely immediately recognize you as trying to speak pirate.

As Christians, we should be just as obvious. The Bible even talks about it, saying that we can be told by our love and spirit. There is a certain attitude that we should have that will tell people "Hey, there's a Christian!" If we saw a flag with Big Bird's face on a pink background, we might be surprised to find it flying on a pirate ship. In a similar way, we need to be careful what kind of flag we're flying. Are we showing a distinctive flag that will let people know who we are and who we stand for? There should be no mistaking us for others in the world, regardless of how we're dressed.

Our speech and language should also mark us as followers of Jesus Christ just as surely as a pirate's odd meter and verbiage makes them identifiable. If we use foul language and tell off-color jokes, what will people think that we are? Will they be able to tell that we love and worship Jesus? How do the things you say in your day let people know that you are a Christian. The Bible talks about a tree producing good or bad fruit. Well, we're going to produce some kind of fruit whether we want to or not. Can someone look at our fruit and tell that we love God and follow Jesus?

If not, then maybe we're flying the wrong flag.

Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.
(Matthew 12:33)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Imperfect Pirates

Pirates have hooks for hands and pegs for legs.

You know the traditional image of pirates from the 17th and 18th centuries...eyepatches, peglegs
, and hooks where hands should be. Part of this is due to the historical dangers of the life of a sailor "on account", but part of it is a stylized and stereotypical picture of these seafarers. Maybe the eye was lost taking a Spanish treasure galleon. Maybe a hand was severed in a deadly swordfight. Whatever the reason, these pirates are imperfect, missing something of themselves. Though they can function and live, they are obviously not whole, and that missing piece is very noticable.

In a similar way we are broken and incomplete. Before we find God, there is
something in our lives that cries out to be filled and made whole. We have missing pieces, just like a pirate, and suffer from the loss. Our imperfections stand out to Him, but He can heal the broken pieces. In fact, those weaknesses can be our strength. For we must then rely on God to overcome the problems, and He is far stronger than we are.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is ma
de perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What The Heck Is A Ninjate?

So here I go again, entering into the blogosphere on another adventure. My other blog is about my life as a veterinarian, with pet tips, anecdotes, and so on. This blog is going to be more about my Christianity and related issues. I hope that something here inspires or at least interests people.

The idea for doing this stemmed from a recent sermon/message I gave. Being regular sci-fi/fantasy convention attendees, my family and I were at ConNooga in Chattanooga last weekend. I am part of a Christian fan/geek group called Fans For Christ, and we attend the cons as a group, sharing our love of God to other attendees and fans. For the last few years, we have held church services at ConNooga and Dragon*Con, with me giving the message. The sermons I give have a Biblical basis, but are couched in terms that relate to the people at the cons. I do this to emulate Jesus and the Apostles. When they told parables and gave analogies, they did so using examples and themes that the people of that day (their audience) would understand. I use the same philosophy to mold my messages to themes and ideas that these fans can relate to.

So what does this have to do with "ninjate"? The theme of my latest message was "Pirates vs. Ninjas". This is a common argument and discussion with which any geek will be familiar. As my first several posts, I'll talk about the characteristics of pirates and ninjas, and how we can use those traits to guide our walks as Christians. So stay tuned and hold on for the ride!