Posted by: Rick Harris, Jr. | May 21, 2008

Don’t Waste Your Life…

It hurts me deeply to see my peers wasting their most valuable asset… their lives.

My teammates, neighbors, classmates and family members who are close to my age all suffer from a disease… the disease of triviality. It is a very common mistake to think the most important reason to do something is because it’s fun. Amusement and entertainment run our lives and Facebook, while useful, is a good example of this. “Fun” is the only adjective we care about. And a soul that gets its pleasure from trivial things, like television, doesn’t even miss the satisfaction it could get from activities that carry adjectives like “God-glorifying” or “character-building” in the same way a fish doesn’t miss air (no one should argue that most of the things on tv are completely unimportant). You get used to it and you start to enjoy water. Sadly, the result is a mind, body, and soul that are all well adjusted to triteness, which only leads to mediocrity. But don’t get confused here, watching less television doesn’t imply that your life will instantly be filled with a profound purpose and meaning. It’s just a start. But I’ve noticed that I became a man when I stopped wasting my time, energy, and effort on things that were inconsequential and starting using my livelihood on things that ACTUALLY MATTERED!!! In other words, the line that divides the insignificant from the purposeful is the same line that divides adolescence from manhood. That’s is why you will never catch me in an argument over a video game or whether Lil’ Wayne is better than Kanye West. Who cares? But I’ve seen people literally fight over that.
But that’s the catch. They want you to focus on the irrelevant so you won’t reach your potential. They invite you to do the petty, not the profound. They desire you to do the superficial, not the significant. But you can refuse. So I’m challenging everyone, especially young men, including myself. Don’t waste your life. Find purpose in everything you do. One of the worst things I can imagine is being 80 years old and, having looked back on my life, say, “I wasted it.”
This is Paul’s definition of an un-wasted life. “According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:20-21 NKJV)

Furquan Nafis Shamsud-Din

Posted by: Rick Harris, Jr. | April 7, 2008

The Cross of Christ

Jesus is the Son of God, earthly son of Joseph and Mary. He is the Savior of many. The word Savior means: a person who saves someone or something, a redeemer of sin and saver of souls. There is no need for a savior if no one needs liberation. Who needs to be liberated is a question we have to ask ourselves before a decision is made to deny or accept Christ Jesus. Liberation imposes the thought that someone is restricted, imprisoned or in slavery, but from what is the question? What is the force that limits us? It is sin. Sin takes us back to the first garden, the garden of Eden. Where man fell prey to autonomy. “Every man and woman and child wants to do what’s right on his or her terms. These are the steps to imprisoning the heart. First the desire, then the deception, and finally, the decision.” (Sense and Sensuality: Jesus Talks to Oscar Wilde on the Pursuit of Pleasure (Great Conversations): Ravi Zacharias). These devastating steps took place at Eden in the third chapter of Genesis in the Bible. The force of sin separates us from God.

Many questions can be asked about the statement above: Who is God? Why should I care about having a relationship with God? What proves that the God of the Bible is true? Many of us have heard or know that God is Holy, meaning He is morally and spiritually excellent, unlike any other known entity. Therefore he is good. Better than good. He is perfect. Anything opposite of him is evil, imperfect, faulty, flawed, defective, inferior, damaged, torn, second rate, below standard or just plain human. Ask yourself these questions: have you ever put anything before God? Have you ever worshiped anything other than God (note: worship is the complete submission of your nature to something or someone, not just singing or waving your hands in praise.) Have you ever misused the name of God? Have you ever forgot the Sabbath day, which is Sunday in Christians? Have you ever dishonored your father or mother? Have you ever killed anyone or want to hurt or hated someone? Have you ever committed adultery, or lusted for another person? Have you ever stolen something or told a lie, even an itty bitty white lie to get out of a tough situation? Have you ever yearned, craved, or coveted for something? I know that I have broken at least five of these commandments within my 26 years of life. I know for a fact that you my friend have at least broken one of these commandments, I know this because you and I are both flawed, imperfect, faulty, and human.  When we break these commandments given by God it is called sinning, therefore it classifies us as sinners. Yes, a sinner. A sinner is a person separate from God because of their sinful actions.

This is where the Genius of God is observed. God being all Holy with morally and spiritual excellence has love for his creation, who are the opposite of him in so many ways. We know if you love someone you want to meet with that person, hold that person, talk to that person, help that person, support that person, and cherish that person. The relationship you have with someone you love is similar to the relationship God wants to have with you. He created a way for this relationship to happen and last forever. God gave us His Son and forgiveness only through His Son. God the Son is Jesus Christ and he is the way the truth and the life, no one comes to God the Father except through him. The wages of sin is death. The only way to receive freedom from sin is life. The only way to find life is in Jesus Christ. He was sacrifice and offered and received in our place of our sin. Jesus Christ died for you and me, God sacrificed himself for you and me, He sacrificed Himself for His creation. With that sacrifice repentance, forgiveness, and acceptance became central in life. Repentance brings forth a sincere regret or remorse of our sin. Forgiveness helps us to stop feeling angry or resentful towards one another, and brings us together in God. Acceptance gives us the approval and favorable regard of being adequate or suitable to God and others.

Only through the Holy Spirit of Christ can any of this take place. Our relationship with Christ Jesus is the only key that allows us to enter through the narrow gate of heaven. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, God, heaven’s eternity, and joy. Only a few find it. Which category are you in? If you were like me and have questions concerning this so called big bang of random evolving life, or the power of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Atheism, Agnosticism or any world view. I have an answer for you.

Search! But when you search, be honest with yourself. Let’s say you live your entire life and die in old age, and when you die there is nothing, no God, no heaven, no hell, nothing “that which rocks dream of” (Aristotle) you and I will have no worries, no regrets, just nothingness.  But what if God does exist and when we die and meet Him, and He judges us like the Bible states will happen. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned and received judgment, how can we talk our way out of our judgment? We don’t have to talk. Christ Jesus spoke to our heavenly Father for us through the sacrifice of his life and by blessing us with God’s Holy Spirit. Jesus was willing to lay down his life for those he loved. Those who Deny Christ Jesus will also be denied. Love cannot be coerced. “He who does not understand the Cross does not understand the Gospel, it will be foolishness to some and a stumbling block to others. He who misses the cross will always misread pleasure.” (Jesus Christ)

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