Category Archives: His Stories

Stealing inspiration from others by learning what God inspired them to do. For real thouhg, these people have made the way for wannabes like me.

Video

His Story: Lee Strobel

Another Wannabe Missionary is temporarily detained by final examinations. She is very thankful that other people post stuff that is better than what she could come up with anyway. She will also quit speaking in 3rd person and face the exams, which may or may not kill her, with courage. I will be back!

(For more by Lee Strobel, check out Investigating Faith.)

This God-Guy Jesus

His Story: Jesus

This is a story which has been told millions of times. There has probably been more written on Jesus than any other historical person. Sadly, not everyone has access to knowledge of Jesus.  In many countries, to know Jesus is illegal, and can mean certain death. This reality makes celebrating Easter (the death and resurrection of Jesus) a freedom and privilege.

I could write Jesus’s story again.  As a Wannabe Missionary, that is probably what I should do.  Afterall I am 20-something, and therefore confident (aka cocky) that I could write the best, most animated rendition of the story of Jesus. But I am not going to.  Instead, I will share with you some ways the story has already been shared.

This Jesus Movie follows the Gospel of John in the Bible.  Exactly.  Word for word.  You could read along if you like. That is the good news.

The bad news is…how can I say this nicely?  The movie is old and we are stupid. The events which are depicted are from a time and place that we often do not understand very well.  However, I think it is good to watch the movie and just note questions for further explanation. Try not to be too critical, since cultural misunderstandings can really get us riled up.

The Passion of the Christ is technically a much better film.  It also uses a bit more liberal artistic license. The gore really comes alive when it is on screen instead of written in a book.

There is just this one thing about  Jesus that I would like to flesh out.

It is a little strange to see Jesus in stone...

Jesus - God, guy, and statue?

Historically, it is not difficult to understand that Jesus was a man. However, the reason why so many people have faith in Jesus is because they believe he is also God.

Why believe that Jesus is God?

 1. Jesus claimed that he is God. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” He told people that their sins were forgiven.  They knew what this meant.  No one but God could forgive sins.  They knew that Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah (Savior) who God had promised to send to them.

2. Jesus died because of who he was. But much like today, many people were not willing to let Jesus be the leader.  In fact, those who were in power were threatened by Jesus.  So they plotted to kill him.

3. Jesus came back to life. Humans are always defeated by death.  Jesus did die, but he came back to life, showing that He has power over life and death.

So because Jesus said that He was God, and backed up his words by his actions, I choose to believe him.  Since I have chosen to accept Jesus’ death and resurrection as the way to have friendship with God, I have had a full life!  But that is a another whole story…

This post was written in response to the question “When people talk about Jesus sometimes..I’ve noticed they call him “God.” Why?” which was sent in by Brandi.  If you have a question which you would like answered, feel free to email me at wannabemissionary@gmail.com.

If you want to read the whole story of Jesus life for yourself, visit biblegateway.com.

What are your thoughts?

Billy Graham meets TED (!)

I am a nerd.  I like science. I am a geek. I like technology.  I have spent ( some people say “invested,” I lean towards “squandered”) the past two years of my life on education, so I have to like TED. And you have likely figured out that I like faith a lot.

so when Technology, science and faith are all wrapped up into one TEDTalk by one of the most renowned missionaries of all time (!)…

…I get “a bit” excited. But instead of running around, jumping up and down, screaming and doing a happy dance, I have decided to share the video which caused my elation with you. You are welcome.

Let’s face it, there are not very many people who need a wannabe missionary to introduce them. But even if there were, Billy Graham would not be one of them. Billy Graham has introduced millions of people around the world to Jesus over the past 70 years. Gaining respect from people such as Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, and many presidents, Billy Graham’s reach has been wide.

We will let him speak for himself.

 What can we learn from Billy Graham?

In the beginning…

The story of Adam and Eve is one of beginnings, representing the story of all humanity.

It is found at the very beginning of the very first book in the Bible, called Genesis. I see parts of this story re-played every day in the lives of everyone who I know. Understanding this story has helped me understand so much about myself and others.

This story is one of my favourites because it has some good stuff in it: gore, romance (a bit risqué), paradise, stupidity, deception, a great plot  and some lessons to learn from.

I will tell the story to you.

Once upon a time, God, who is pretty creative, decided to make humans in his image, male and female. He “formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” So, basically, the story is saying the only difference between men and dirt is the breath of God. I can agree with that!  I desire that life-giving breath too.

Gore

This is where I think the story gets good!(: God then said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” That sounds nice. However, it turns into the first blood-and-guts scene of the Bible.  God performed the first surgery, removed a rib from Adam (he was put asleep first), and used it to create the woman, who was called Eve. I think that this justifiably means that women are, in fact, God’s gift to men!

Romance

This story then takes on a genre I am a fan of: Romance!  When the man awoke, he liked the woman so much that he broke out some poetry.

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”i

So the woman was literally a part of Adam, and Adam held fast to his wife so that they were one. *Sigh*

Risque

 “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”  Enough said.

Paradise

Adam and Eve had it all.  They did not have to worry about what they would eat, because God planted them a garden.  And, when I say garden, I mean GARDEN. Picture this: “the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.” It also had a river flowing through it.  Talk about beautiful. They had pets galore because God entrusted all of creation, the entire earth and animals and plants living on it, to the care of the humans. So they basically lived in paradise, and had no crowds or crime to worry about. Even God was impressed by everything, saying it was very good.

Can you imagine living here?

The best part is that they had full access to God.  They could ask him questions. Sort of like the internet, except with a whole lot less lies. And God also  loved Adam and Eve.  He created them.  He spent time with them. He talked with them, and God always spoke the truth to them.

So God told Adam and Eve that there were a couple of special trees in the middle of the garden: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told them that they had full access to eat fruit from every tree in the garden, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because eating from that tree would cause death.

Stupidity

This is the point of the story where human stupidity makes its entrance.  God, who knows everything, who provided Adam and Eve with everything that they needed, and who showed nothing but love towards them, let Adam and Eve do whatever they want, except this one thing.  He asked them not to eat from one tree in the entire garden.  And yet, what do you think they did?

Deception

To be fair, they had a bit of help making the stupid decision.  Enter, the snake.

The snake represents Satan, or the devil, a former angel who decided that he wanted to have a power struggle with God.  Instead of letting God be God, Satan wanted to be treated like god instead.  So he spends his time convincing humans to believe in him instead of The Original God.  God is good. Satan gets people to follow him by convincing them to choose what is not good.

Satan (disguised as the snake) said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You[a] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” This is the first lie that Satan tried to confuse Eve with.  The lie that God will not provide, that He is withholding good from the human.

But the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” This is the second lie that Satan spoke.  The lie that God is not trustworthy.  The lie that God would withhold what is best from Adam and Eve.  The lie of pride that man and woman should be like God. Satan was teaching what he selfishly believed.

Now, this is the point when I wish that Eve would have taken a step back and had a good look at the situation.  Had she contemplated whether what Satan was saying about God made sense with what she had already experienced with the God that she knew, perhaps she would not have been so stupid.  Had she asked God about what Satan said before she made an impulsive decision, then maybe things could have been different.  But she did not.  “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate”. Eve only looked at her physical circumstances, and chose to place her trust in a snake instead of the God she knew.

It wasn’t just Eve who fell for Satan’s scheme. “And she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” Peer pressure at its best.

The Fall

Eve was tempted to act like God. Instead of choosing to let God make the decisions, she and Adam disregarded what God said. Choosing to do what God told them not to do changed Adam and Eve.  They became ashamed of their nakedness, so they found leaves to sew together. “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool[c] of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Their choice to disobey resulted in separating themselves from God.

The Bigger “Man”

‘But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”

Let us remember that God knows everything.  He knew where they were. He knew what they had done.  But He chose to call out to them who were hiding.

True Confessions… and then shifting blame…

“And Adam said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Nothing like owning up, guys.

Actions have Consequences

And beliefs lead to actions.  Eve believed that God did not know what was best for her, so she chose to separate herself from Him. And like usual, God was the one who fixed the human’s  problem.

God condemned the serpant first. He told the woman that she would have pain when she birthed babies and would desire a husband who would rule over her. He removed them from the garden and told Adam that he would have to work for his food, and that he would return to dust (aka die).

And then God did something which I think shows His love.  He accepted the reality that Adam and Eve chose, and provided for them then too. “The Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” It was not God’s idea for humans to have to wear clothes. But he took their choices, and still provided for them.

Adam and Eve went on with their lives.  Genesis says that Adam knew Eve.  This is one of the Bible’s ways of saying that they had sex.  I am pretty sure that it was during the births of Cain, Abel, and Seth, their three sons, that Eve really regretted choosing to make her own way instead of taking God’s way. Nevertheless, those sons all have stories of their own which can be explored at a later date.

If you want to read the whole story for yourself, visit biblegateway.com.

This post is in response to a question submitted by Brandi! “So who the heck are Adam and Eve? All I know is that the story includes an apple and snake. Besides that, I am CLUELESS.” I want to thank Brandi for being so honest and candid! To see more questions which we will explore, click here.  To add a question yourself, just comment on any post.

Your turn!

Why do you think Adam and Eve chose to ignore God? In what ways do you see this story connecting with your life?

Top 15 Things You Should Remember: St. Patrick’s Day Pt. 2

Most people are likely learning (or re-learning) the effects of drinking too much green beer. That is not quite the lesson that St. Patrick had in mind when he wrote The Confession. If you do not already know the real story of St. Patrick, you can check out my telling of it  here.

Top 15 Lessons We Can Learn from St. Patrick:

15. Quit playing the blame game and take responsibility

Patrick could have whimpered and wallowed in what happened to him, but instead, he manned up and owned up, writing, “the Lord brought down on us the fury of his being and scattered us among many nations, even to the ends of the earth, where I, in my smallness, am now to be found among foreigners.” He confessed how he deserved all of the turmoil he had experienced. Later, he complains that God has given him too much good, writing, “I was not worthy that he should grant me this, while I know most certainly that poverty and failure suit me better than wealth and delight (but Christ the Lord was poor for our sakes; I certainly am wretched and unfortunate; even if I wanted wealth I have no resources, nor is it my own estimation of myself, for daily I expect to be murdered or betrayed or reduced to slavery if the occasion arises. But I fear nothing, because of the promises of Heaven; for I have cast myself into the hands of Almighty God, who reigns everywhere. As the prophet says: Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you.'”

14. Stop wasting time, start understanding the Bible now.

Patrick ashamedly writes, “now I am presuming to try to grasp in my old age what I did not gain in my youth because my sins prevented me from making what I had read my own.”

13. Give credit to God for what he has done in our lives

“And there the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance. And he watched over me before I knew him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and he protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son.”

12. Fear not, be bold, invest in the future

“One should proceed without holding back from danger to make known the gift of God and everlasting consolation, to spread God’s name everywhere with confidence and without fear, in order to leave behind, after my death, foundations for my brethren and sons whom I baptized in the Lord in so many thousands.”

11. Let God change hearts (including our own)

“And I was not worthy, nor was I such that the Lord should grant his humble servant this, that after hardships and such great trials, after captivity, after many years, he should give me so much favour in these people, a thing which in the time of my youth I neither hoped for nor imagined.”

10. Pray, fast, and listen

“But after I reached Ireland I used to pasture the flock each day and I used to pray many times a day. More and more did the love of God, and my fear of him and faith increase, and my spirit was moved so that in a day [I said] from one up to a hundred prayers, and in the night a like number; besides I used to stay out in the forests and on the mountain and I would wake up before daylight to pray in the snow, in icy coldness, in rain, and I used to feel neither ill nor any slothfulness, because, as I now see, the Spirit was burning in me at that time. And it was there of course that one night in my sleep I heard a voice saying to me: You do well to fast: soon you will depart for your home country.’ And again, a very short time later, there was a voice prophesying: Behold, your ship is ready.’ And it was not close by, but, as it happened, two hundred miles away, where I had never been nor knew any person. And shortly thereafter I turned about and fled from the man with whom I had been for six years, and I came, by the power of God who directed my route to advantage (and I was afraid of nothing), until I reached that ship.”

9.Be an out-of-the-closet Christian: Have faith for others to be saved

After landing in unknown territory, they were starving, when the steersman asked, “‘Why is it, Christian? You say your God is great and all-powerful; then why can you not pray for us? For we may perish of hunger; it is unlikely indeed that we shall ever see another human being.’ In fact, I said to them, confidently: Be converted by faith with all your heart to my Lord God, because nothing is impossible for him, so that today he will send food for you on your road, until you be sated, because everywhere he abounds.’ And with God’s help this came to pass; and behold, a herd of swine appeared on the road before our eyes, and they slew many of them, and remained there for two nights, and the men were full of their meat and well restored.”

8.Expect to be attacked and trust that Jesus always wins over evil

” The very same night while I was sleeping Satan attacked me violently, as I will remember as long as I shall be in this body; and there fell on top of me as it were, a huge rock, and not one of my members had any force. I saw the sun rising in the sky, and while I was crying out …with all my might, lo, the brilliance of that sun fell upon me and immediately shook me free of all the weight; and I believe that I was aided by Christ my Lord, and that his Spirit then was crying out for me.”

7.Remember: You have to be good It is not about how good we are!

After some elders brought to light faults of Patrick’s youth from before he believed in Jesus, Patrick decided to return to Ireland. He writes, “I did not proceed to Ireland of my own accord until I was almost giving up, but through this I was corrected by the Lord, and he prepared me so that today I should be what was once far from me, in order that I should have the care of–or rather, I should be concerned for–the salvation of others, when at that time, still, I was only concerned for myself. Therefore, on that day when I was rebuked, as I have just mentioned, I saw in a vision of the night…and I heard a divine prophecy, saying to me: We have seen with displeasure the face of the chosen one divested of [his good] name.’ And he did not say You have seen with displeasure’, but We have seen with displeasure’ (as if He included Himself) . He said then: He who touches you, touches the apple of my eye.'”

6.Be a thankful sacrifice

“Thus I give untiring thanks to God who kept me faithful in the day of my temptation, so that today I may confidently offer my soul as a living sacrifice for Christ my Lord; who am I, Lord? or, rather, what is my calling? that you appeared to me in so great a divine quality, so that … I might constantly exalt and magnify your name in whatever place I should be, and not only in good fortune, but even in affliction? So that whatever befalls me, be it good or bad, I should accept it equally, and give thanks always to God who revealed to me that I might trust in him, implicitly and forever, and who will encourage me so that, ignorant, and in the last days, I may dare to undertake so devout and so wonderful a work; so that I might imitate one of those whom, once, long ago, the Lord already pre-ordained to be heralds of his Gospel to witness to all peoples to the ends of the earth. So are we seeing, and so it is fulfilled; behold, we are witnesses because the Gospel has been preached as far as the places beyond which no man lives.”

5. Confess and keep the Faith, baby

“And I know in part why I did not lead a perfect life like other believers, but I confess to my Lord and do not blush in his sight, because I am not lying; from the time when I came to know him in my youth, the love of God and fear of him increased in me, and right up until now, by God’s favour, I have kept the faith.”

4. Be Persecuted

“What is more, let anyone laugh and taunt if he so wishes. I am not keeping silent, nor am I hiding the signs and wonders that were shown to me by the Lord many years before they happened, [he] who knew everything, even before the beginning of time.”

3. Do it ALL for Christ

“Behold, I call on God as my witness upon my soul that I am not lying; nor would I write to you for it to be an occasion for flattery or selfishness, nor hoping for honour from any one of you. Sufficient is the honour which is not yet seen, but in which the heart has confidence. He who made the promise is faithful; he never lies.”

2. Desire to be Martyred: To Die and Live

“And if at any time I managed anything of good for the sake of my God whom I love, I beg of him that he grant it to me to shed my blood for his name with proselytes and captives, even should I be left unburied, or even were my wretched body to be torn limb from limb by dogs or savage beasts, or were it to be devoured by the birds of the air, I think, most surely, were this to have happened to me, I had saved both my soul and my body. For beyond any doubt on that day we shall rise again in the brightness of the sun, that is, in the glory of Christ Jesus our Redeemer, as children of the living God and co-heirs of Christ, made in his image; for we shall reign through him and for him and in him.”

1. Remain humble

Even after all that Patrick had done, he writes ” I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many.” He admonishes, “Therefore be amazed, you great and small who fear God, and you men of God, eloquent speakers, listen and contemplate. Who was it summoned me, a fool, from the midst of those who appear wise and learned in the law and powerful in rhetoric and in all things?” Finally, he writes, “But I entreat those who believe in and fear God, whoever deigns to examine or receive this document composed by the obviously unlearned sinner Patrick in Ireland, that nobody shall ever ascribe to my ignorance any trivial thing that I achieved or may have expounded that was pleasing to God, but accept and truly believe that it would have been the gift of God. And this is my confession before I die. ”

Your turn…

What will you remember from St. Patrick’s Day?

(Please leave comments below!)

St. Patrick and the “Luck” of the Irish Pt. 1

Luck. Who really has it?

Me?  Is it lucky to blog on March 17th?  We could call it luck. Or we could call it final exams next week and a long-term commitment to procrastination.

Lucky St. Patrick? I am not sure he thought so.

How do I know, you may ask? Well, it is an educated guess based on St. Patrick’s autobiography, The Confession. I will provide you with a quick and…uh…”clean” version.

Once upon a time, Patrick (this is before he was sainted, or whatever)  was a rebellious grandson of a priest. At the age of 16, Patrick was taken (forcibly) from his home in Britain and travelled abroad to Ireland, where he pursued a career as a slave (again, involuntarily).

There, he discovered God.

After six years of tending flocks for his master and praying A LOT, he heard a voice in his sleep saying:

“Behold, your ship is ready.”

Patrick had no mode of transportation, no map, and no idea where he was heading, which meant depending upon that voice to guide his walking for two hundred miles. He did all of this only to find out that the boat which he DID find, and which was leaving that very day, would not allow him to board.

If it was me, I probably would have started crying. But Patrick decided to pray and the steersman of the ship changed its mind.

The boat landed on an uninhabited island.  Everyone was starving, and  the steersman and his crew decided to pick on Patrick about his faith. “So Patrick, why can’t your God get us food?”  Patrick told them that they should have faith and then food would be provided. Talk about having guts, and trusting God to put His money where your mouth is! The thing is, they did put their faith in God, and God brought home the bacon.  Literally, pigs came running at them.

Then came the first instance for which Patrick could say,

“I have God as witness who knew all things even before they happened, that, though I was a poor, ignorant waif, still he gave me abundant warnings through divine prophecy.”

Patrick was taken captive AGAIN (!), and was told in a dream that he would be in captivity for two months.  On the 60th day, he was delivered.

Patrick  returned home to his family, only to have a couple of dreams point him back towards Ireland.  This was apparently not enough to convince him to go. Then a close friend decided to dig up some old skeletons and condemn Patrick for what he did before he knew God. That is when Patrick actually decided to pack up and go back to Ireland.

Not everyone was in favour of this decision. In fact, some were downright against it. (I cannot imagine Patrick’s mother was too pleased!) Patrick chose to have God as a guide rather than the elders, expressing his desire to return to

 “the Irish people to preach the Gospel and endure insults from unbelievers; that I might hear scandal of my travels, and endure many persecutions to the extent of prison; and so that I might give up my free birthright for the advantage of others, and if I should be worthy, I am ready [to give] even my life without hesitation; and most willingly for His name. And I choose to devote it to him even unto death, if God grant it to me.”

Now Patrick was persecuted. He was plundered, imprisoned, and victim of attempted assassinations. He wrote:

“I testify in truthfulness and gladness of heart before God and his holy angels that I never had any reason, except the Gospel and his promises, ever to have returned to that nation from which I had previously escaped with difficulty.”

You think that even the quick and clean version of this story is rather long?

Well, Patrick believed:

“I ought not to conceal God’s gift which he lavished on us in the land of my captivity, for then I sought him resolutely, and I found him there, and he preserved me from all evils (as I believe) through the in-dwelling of his Spirit, which works in me to this day. “

Wow! You actually read this post until the bitter end. That takes perseverance.  I bet you are hoping for a super great conclusion.

You are out of luck.

Perhaps now you understand why I am a skeptic.

Patrick was not a lucky duck. Learn from his lessons here.

Read Patrick’s Confession for yourself here.  

Comments are welcome, as always!

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Does the history of St. Patrick effect you?