Archives For Jesus

Hit Between The Eyes

Zach —  February 16, 2013 — 2 Comments

Hello again!

I just had a nice conversation with a gentleman yesterday who explained to me that his worldview has changed three times in his life.  I was at Starbucks having my favorite brew when he approached me – due to the title of a book I had lying on the table next to my laptop.

“I just noticed that your book over there is on humanism,” he offered as he reached out his hand.  I felt a little uncomfortable thinking that he might be thinking that I am either a humanist or something.

“Actually, I am doing some research for a book that I am writing,” I responded back.  The cashier called out my total so I paid with my Starbuck’s card then turned again to my acquaintance that was still standing there.

“Mind if I sit with you for awhile,” he asked, as he waited for an answer.

“No, I would love the company,” I answered, still wondering what he was thinking.

I sat down and closed my laptop as the gentleman sat down opposite me and leaned his elbows on the table. He placed his chin in his hands and asked me another question.

“Are you a humanist?”  He asked with the second question since I first met him a few minutes before.

“No, actually I am a pastor,” I stated.  “I am researching for a book that I am writing and secular humanism is only one worldview that I will be presenting.  I plan to cover every major worldview with a thorough overview.  I’ll provide excellent references to my readers, at the end of each chapter, giving them ample opportunity to investigate each worldview more thoroughly if they so desire.” I opined which seemed to satisfy his curiosity.

He then launched into a dialog that was quite informative and interesting to me so I sat back and listened.

“In my teens and through college, I considered myself an agnostic,” he began with a look of reflection on his face.  “I came from a Christian family and never quite fit in with the rest of my family of origin in that regard.”  He looked away, sighed, and returned his gaze on me and began again.  “As the years passed, I became an atheist or, at least, I thought I was for some years,” he continued as I listened closely to what he had to say.

“I remember when I had my first real encounter with Jesus Christ,” he continued.  “In my prideful, human knowledge of how the world works and how everything came to be, I had overlooked one, very important thing, my friend,” he stated in a very matter-of-fact manner — then he reached for his cup, raising it to his lips, and drank deeply from it.  I was waiting for him to continue when a friend of his dropped by the table and exchanged greetings with him.  He introduced me and told his friend he would be right over as soon as he finished telling his story.

“Man, that hit me, hit me right between the eyes…”

“That is one of my very best friends,” he offered as he settled back in his chair.  “I introduced him to my Lord Jesus Christ about 5 years ago this month as a matter-of-fact,” he stated with satisfaction in his eyes.  “I never miss a Friday morning discussing Jesus with him, haven’t missed a Friday in over 5 years,” he continued, obviously thinking back over those years—then he turned his eyes on me again and continued.

“Back to my story,” he resumed, “I was on a camping trip alone up in Montana, guess it was about 22 years ago.  No wait, it was 23 years ago because I remember it was on my 35th birthday.”

“Wait,” I interjected—putting my own cup down and leaning over the table.  I whispered, “You were an atheist right up until the time of that camping trip?”

“Yep, I suppose I was, or perhaps I wasn’t,” he said in a soft voice, obviously revisiting that day in his mind.  “It was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon,” he announced.  “I was lying on top of my sleeping bag, the sky overhead was overcast—I, my friend, was reading the Bible for the first time in many, many years. When I first felt the need to turn to 2nd Corinthians 6:20-21, I almost ignored the feeling.  When I had read that particular Scripture, I looked down to chapter 2,” he mused, taking another sip from his cup.

Putting the cup down again, he read from his Bible,  “Working together with Him, we also appeal to you, ‘Don’t receive God’s grace in vain.” For He says: I heard you in an acceptable time, and I helped you in the day of salvation.  Look, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation.”  When he finished, he looked up at me and in a voice with more conviction than I have heard in quite some time from anyone, he whispered, “I don’t know why I never heard those Scriptures quite like that before.”  He was silent for about a minute, then he looked back up at me and continued.

“Man that hit me — hit me right between the eyes and settled deeply into my heart.  I called out to Jesus right then and there.  I went down on my knees. I confessed all of my sins, repented from the depths of my humbled soul, and asked forgiveness and for Him to come into my life.”  He was quite for a little while, and then continued, “I’ve never looked back, no sir, not once have I ever looked back,’ he mused.  “No sir, I spend my life now talking to people about Jesus and the good news of the gospel”

After about another minute had passed, I reached over and shook his hand.  He looked me in the eyes, finished his coffee, and stood up while gathering his things.

“See ya around,” he said through a small grin.  I watched as he ambled over to his friend’s table.  I sat there thinking,  as I watched him walk away, that I had just heard the message of a spiritually solid testimony.  I had just witnessed his testimony that had granted this man hope and purpose in this life with the reward of eternal life in the future.

I continued my research all the while remembering the look in his eyes when he revealed how those verses had affected him.  I thought about his saying, “Man, that hit me, hit me right between the eyes…”  I finished my morning’s research and left Starbucks.  I left with the feeling that I had just received something more than a wonderful cup of coffee and good company.

I left there with a song in my heart and a strut in my step.  That gentleman had been much, much more than just a new acquaintance.  He had provided some salt and light right there at that little table in the middle of Starbucks.  I left there after an encounter with Jesus.

I hope this story blessed you as much as it did me.  I will be back with the next installment on secular humanism next post.  I just felt that this encounter with my new acquaintance might just touch your heart in a way that my words could never do.  There is just something very tangible in the air when God works.

Until next time!

~Zach

 

Question:  Regardless of your personal worldview at this time, have you ever looked up at a starry night and thought – creation makes sense?

It starts with a pain, not a definitive one—just this nagging ache running down your left arm.  You’ve heard that this is one of the signs of a heart attack but you’re too young for such things.  You begin to feel a tightness spreading through your chest and the pain in your arm begins to increase.

“Man, I feel weird,” you think as you ease yourself down on the couch, rubbing your left arm and clenching and unclenching your fist.  You think, “Maybe I should call someone,” but you reason that it would be so embarrassing when it goes away and you have to explain you were scared.

Then, it hits.

 “The end of your life is staring you back in the eyes, up close—eyeball to eyeball.”

Your jaw begins to feel a pain like your teeth are hurting.  The pain increases.

“This can’t be real!” you think as the pain overwhelms you and a descending darkness, like the fade at the end of a movie, blurs and coats your vision like a pull down shade.  You can’t move now and the pain is unbearable.  You know.  You just know.

“ It’s impossible.  This can’t happen to me!”

But, there it is.  It’s fact.  You are dying.

In that moment, during the time after you sit down on the couch, the realization that you may be dying hits you right in the reality.

“What’s going to happen to me if I die?”  Your mind screams as the terror mounts and you begin fading into yourself and a numbing coldness starts moving from your extremities towards your middle, toward your heart.  Then—you’re gone.

Where did you go?

Where will you wake up?

What are you now?

These and other questions are answered by the worldview that you hold.  What is the last thought that runs through your mind as death slowly—but inescapably— claims you?

 Let’s run the clock back.

 Like an old VCR tape, you see yourself speeding back second by second into the past to where you were just before the first realization that something drastically wrong was about to play out.  Every thought of the past 15 minutes is as clear and as vivid as anything you have ever experienced in your life.

The past 15 minutes are all that you can think about as you realize what is about to happen.  What are your thoughts now?  Are you thinking about it as you read these words?  You remember laughing with others about,

“Oh well, might as well enjoy life to the max!  We’re not goin’ to ever get out of this world alive!”  Or perhaps you remember thinking,

“Everyone dies, but I don’t want to dwell on such things.  Just live each day to the fullest!”

 Maybe the following invades your memory as you await that first pain of the heart attack you know is coming and that is going to end your life in the next 15 minutes.

“Hey Bill,” your friend asks as you down another beer and slap down another grain-fed steak at the neighborhood, Sunday night cookout.

You love these outings that are held each weekend in the Spring and Summer months.  In fact, you started them 8 years after that Spring when you moved into the neighborhood.

“Let’s run down and get another case after this steak and watch the game!”  He laughs uproariously.  “ Only the good die young and we be bad to da bone!”

“Ok,” you belch—scarf down the last bite—and drain one beer and reach for another, “Let’s go!”

 

  • What is your worldview about death?
  •  Are you afraid of dying?
  •  Do you think about it?
  •  Do your hide from the realities of it? 
  • Are you comfortable with it?
  • Are you aware of what others think about it? 
  • How about your friends?
  • Your fellow employees where you work?
  • Then there’s your spouse and kids?
  • What are you teaching your kids about death?

 

What do you fear, what you think about, what do you hide from, how how can you become comfortable with death, what do you discuss with others, teach your kids?  It all depends upon how you view the world around you. Please be thinking on the above questions.

 In the next post, we will begin to consider the major world views mentioned in the post, How To See Out Of The Window.

The first worldview we will investigate is that of human secularism.  I look forward to coming alongside you as we investigate this prevalent, 21st century worldview.

Until then!

Zach

 

Question:  What is your greatest fear and how does it look from your worldview?

How To Ruin God’s Work

Zach —  January 9, 2013 — Leave a comment

Thank you for stopping by to read my humble blog.  I have been working hard to get everything ready for this blog to offer something more than just more words on the internet.  I have a confession to make.  This morning, amid all of the hoopla of wrangling schedules, preparing sermon notes, etc…I had one of those moments of clarity that hits home…

I noticed something this morning. It was barely noticeable at first but as I began to let my mind decelerate and relax – it became more noticeable.

At first, it was akin to that feeling that something is just not quite right. It was something slightly familiar but just out of conscious reach, you know? Like the name of someone from your childhood.

Then it hit. It hit hard. It hit with that heart stopping bolt of adrenaline – flooding through the vascular system – shocking mind, body, and spirit into total focus and anguish. I was lonely!

In my quest to serve my savior, in my desire to reach out to others with His glorious message of truth, I had focused my attention upon the work – losing my focus on He that I was working for!

My first love was being replaced by the duty of my calling. I was focusing my complete attention and effort upon the advertisement rather than the product! I was relishing the sizzle at the expense of savoring the taste of the steak!

This has been a morning of awakening, confession, repentance, and introspection. My re-focus today is upon my priorities with Christ Himself, my personal relationship with Him, with Him being moved back to His rightful position at the top of my spiritual pyramid!

Before I progress any further on this blog, before I write one more post in relation to the planned book that God has called me to write, I first must concentrate upon my relationship Jesus, my savior.  He can’t be second in my desire to perpetuate His good news of the kingdom.  I lost the forest because of so many trees!

I back away for now to seek God’s face.

I humbly ask for your prayers today as I work on my most important of relationships…my Lord and my God!

Bless you.

Question:  Have you ever found yourself wandering through the forest of your faith and duty only to discover that you left your compass behind?

Blog: Take a Look!

Zach —  December 17, 2012 — Leave a comment

Hello and welcome to the first blog post for 21 century confusion.    My name is Zach Malott  and I have started blogging my new book, 21st Century Confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose.  You, the reader, can have a critical part in its final structure by commenting on the various topics that I will blog about and will become the body of this book.

I decided to write this book to answer a current need.  That need is to gather together – in one volume – information and understanding of the various worldviews prevalent in the beginning of the 21st century in a non-academic format.  Worldview determines future.  Your future.  My future.

The finished book will be a handbook for 21st century evangelism – a book that will lead the lost through the different worldviews, help them identify their current worldview, and systematically lead them to the point where they can have the information that they need (the full gospel of Christ) so that the Holy Spirit can convict them of God’s truth, Jesus, the only way back to God!

Important information, don’t you agree?

The persons whose comments substantially influences the finished draft will be mentioned on a specially dedicated honor page in the book’s front matter with bio and photo. Those chosen will be at my sole discretion.

This book blog will drill down into the center of the confusion of 21st century worldviews in an attempt to discover order in the midst of chaos.

  • What is a worldview?
  • Could unreality be couched in your current worldview premise?
  • Can every worldview be true?
  • Is truth whatever we deem it to be?
  • What is your worldview?
  • Does it answer your questions about reality to your satisfaction?
  • What questions do you have about your worldview?

These and many other questions will be considered on this blog.  I invite you to join me in taking a look at the worldviews of the 21st century.  See how your worldview fits into the mix.  I invite you to join me in discovering the pros and cons of these worldviews.

This site is ready to begin delving into these concepts and the first post will appear in January, 2013. Please ask to be included above for notification of when the first blog post for 21st century confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose is ready for your review.

You can register to receive an email when new posts are available and an occasional newsletter update about the book.  Just give me your email above in the upper right-hand corner.  This is all your email will be used for and your privacy is safe with me.

Thank you in advance for joining with me.  I need your help in making this book become a reality!  Please consider the question below:

Question:  “What would you consider important to discover in a book about finding a path to hope and purpose for you and your family in the 21st century?”