Month: August 2012

Programmed

If you’re not familiar with me or my ministry then you don’t know that I once worked at a church with an abusive pastor. In fact I spent my last two years of high school slowly becoming more and more legalistic, more and more hateful and more and more like the man who was spiritually abusing me. With that abuse it also became ingrained in my head that no one cared about me, that no one wanted to spend any time with me and that I was exactly what I’d been told my entire life that I was a loser.

Growing up with a disability I was also fairly empathetic. I saw people who were down and wanted to help them, to bear all their burdens with them and to love them. The whole while hoping that I could feel love back, to believe for only a little while that I’m worth something to someone. Back then I didn’t believe that God loved me or that anyone else did for that matter.

This is a sort of classical conditioning, when we are taught to believe something. It happens all the time, we’re conditioned to believe the government’s going to run day to day even if it doesn’t. We’re conditioned to wear a shirt and shoes at McDonalds. These are okay conditionings, I personally am thankful that people wear shirts at McDonalds or in public in general.

Before the church I worked at turned abusive I had sat through several months’ worth of bible studies based on Cult Education. It was extremely informative and it defiantly has become an interest in my studies. To see how groups condition people fascinates me, the type of things they believe do too. Yes I know you’re thinking “oh no he’s going to try to control us.” Don’t worry, it also terrifies me, beyond all measure. After being in a controlling group you very rarely want to control others, unless you take over that group or find the control you gain to be exhilarating. Then destroying others might become a hobby for you and destructive to your friends.

The worst part about being conditioned to believe something is the difficulty in trying to forget what you’ve believed and believe what is true. The idea that I’m worthless and no one cares is so engrained in my memory that it becomes an extremely stressful activity trying to reach out to other people for help. So much so that most of the time I just shut down and don’t come out of my room for several days (except to go to class) this is destructive and it’s also hurtful to your friends.

But how do we get over this type of conditioning? How do we believe the opposite of what we’ve been taught?

One of my professors, a former cult deprogrammer gave this advice. Find a scripture to meditate on and remember Philippians 4:8 which says; “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (ESV).

This is where community comes in handy because as you come out of the programming you won’t be able to do things on your own. You’ll need God and you’ll need the people that God has put in your life. Find someone who cares, they are out there, even if you’re conditioned to believe that no one does.

So go this week and focus on what is good and right and seek God to see if you’ve been programmed to believe this. Then go and be with your community of friends.

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries
Director/Founder

On Athletes and Olympians & Faith

“All the glory for this goes to God” Gabriel “Gabby” Douglas, or The FlIying Squirrel said as she awaited to head over to claim her gold medal in the All Around. Then as her countries national anthem was played a huge grin spread across her face, at 17 years old she had won Gold, something her friend and training partner Shaun Johnson had done four years earlier. The following morning on Facebook the attacks started, The Liberal media went after Douglas for sharing her faith on an international stage.

It got so bad at one point that I turned off my computer and put it away, forgetting that twitter even existed almost deleting my facebook account. While that’s an exaggeration it’s not an exaggeration to say in big bold letters “LEAVE THE ATHLETES AND OLYMPIANS ALONE.” There I said, just let them be, and while you’re at it leave the Christian CEO’s and the bible based corporations, leave them all alone. Conservatives, Liberals and Liberation Theologians alike, leave them alone.

Why do I say this? I heard an analyst once say that Tim Tebow was only drawing negative attention to himself because of his outspokenness. Ask anyone in the Denver Locker room and they’ll tell you otherwise, Tebow was loved by his teammates in Devner, and will hopefully have an impact on a failing Jets team. You ask the hundreds or thousands of young Christian men who weren’t sure they could couple their faith with their favorite sport how negative Tebow’s been on them, they may laugh at you, and they should.

What about Trevor Bayne (At right)? Jamie MacMurry? Dale Jarret? Nascar drivers who have all proclaimed their faith on national television.  In fact I seem to recall Jamie Mac saying this after winning at Charolette two years ago; “People ask me why I cried at Daytona, when you’re struggling it really makes you think and pray and you learn a lot about faith and I couldn’t have done this without God.” How about Trevor Bayne after his surprise win at Daytona, the first words out of his mouth were “I want to thank God, I couldn’t do this without him.” Never heard anyone in the Liberal Media complain about that, or Darrell and Michael Waltrip’s multiple biblical references during the Daytona 500 rainout in February, no one ever complains about NASCAR. Is it because they think we’re crazy, or is it because Christianity is so rooted in the fan base we have the audacity to pray before ever race, for the race.

These Christians are showing their faith, they haven’t told you what to think or how to act, they have said publically that they are Christians. They never asked you to join them, they are clever though, now those who thinking are probably thinking “Maybe there’s something to this Christian thing?” It’s a gentle and quiet form of Evangelism that we seem to have forgotten.

In 1 Thes. 4:11-12 Paul encourages the church at Thesolonica to; “to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one” (ESV). These Olympians and Athletes are doing what they are good at, working with their hands and they just so happen to do it for the glory of God. Who’s business is it of yours who they do it for the glory of, should we work for the glory of ourselves? No We should do it all for the glory of God (see 1 Cor. 10:31).

Truth is I love watching these Athletes perform, you can see it in their eyes that they are there for something more, they are there for a bigger purpose just to win Gold. They have acknowledged what Jonathan Edwards calls “The Chief End of Man” that being “To being glory to God and find our happiness in Him.” They enjoy what they are doing, even when they are not doing well.

So if you’re a Christian and you join my the quarterback of my favorite NFL team and say “You should tone down your faith” then in the immortal words of Brad Stine “Put a Helmet on” because it is the outspoken ones who are not afraid to share their faith that will stand out, not the camouflaged Christians being blown with the preverbal societal tides

So leave the Athletes and CEO’s alone, go out and live your faith out, don’t worry about what your brothers or sisters in Christ are doing with their faith. Unless they are falling into Heresy and causing division you have no right to criticize them. Remember it’s not about what we do with our money, our time or the faith we are given, it’s about how we represent Christ. So to the Liberal media I say “Leave us alone” to those that might agree with them I say the same thing, to the Christians who agree and refuse to talk about your faith I refer you to the Ministry Blimey Cow and Jordan Taylor who would undoubtedly tell you “You’re doing it wrong.”

God Bless you
Jonathan David Faulkner
Director / Founder 10:31 Life Ministries

Summer Reflections: Going Home

Reflection #10 – Going Home

 

                As Angel wrote in her first Summer Journal back in June I too hadn’t been home for several years, nearly four, for more than a 2 or 2 ½ week visit since I graduated from High School. I spent my first summer out in Michigan working and State Choir, my second summer I devoted completely to working and my third summer was spent in Denver where this blog originated. So I had no idea what to expect when I got here on May 12th. I knew I was going to miss terribly the friends that God had brought me so close too over the last nine months. I thought I was going to get a job and I had planned on taking a class. All of that got shot down and I ended up working specifically on our new 10:31 website and securing writers for next fall.

With coming home though came something else, a reminder of everything that I was before I my intervention by God on the side of that mountain last summer. The pain of the spiritual abuse that I had suffered at the hands of a pastor that had been released from that particular church and a sister who spent most of her time putting me down.

I was fine at the beginning of the summer, a great deal of prayer and time in scripture helped me to cope with everything that was going on around me. The constant insults from my sister continued but for the most part I was able to bite my tongue. That is until halfway through the summer when I started to slowly fall apart. I lapsed back into the depression and anger that had plagued me for so long before Denver. Instead of biting my tongue I would find back, thankfully I would catch myself before I did or said anything I regretted.

God used this to show me the strength of the friendships He had put into my life. Used it to constantly remind me through prayer and through loved ones that He was with me and I wasn’t the things that she was telling me I was.

As far as the church was considered, I met with the Youth Pastor twice and have visited on three different occasions. Through that God has allowed healing, reconciliation and restoration to come between me and the church leadership team and staff. As well as with several members of the congregation who had stopped talking to me probably at the request of the former senior pastor.

God also allowed a lot of good things to come from this, like getting to reconnect with an old High School friend, get my learners permit (Which is a long awaited answer to prayer), got to go on the radio to talk about the state choir and am now packing up for a trip to Boston. Through all of this though the setbacks continued God showed to me His faithfulness, promising that He would bring me through.

I think, dear friends that so often we forget, that when we are going through trials that God is right there with us. Read any of Angel’s articles for the summer and you’ll hear an amazing story of God’s ability to bring healing and restoration into our lives. When we are confronted by our past we want to run from it, but if God has brought us to it, then why would He not bring us through it.

In final reflection I think this summer God has reaffirmed and tested me in this fire to see if I believe what He told me in the Labyrinth. “I am here, I will be there.” The words repeating in my heart and in my head as I continue to walk this journey and reflect on the amazing God that I have the honor of serving, the same God who loves us enough to send His only son to die for us. The Same God who brought us to the trial, is the same God who walks with us on the journey, is the same God who abides in us and the same God who transforms our hearts along the way.

I pray you will continue in this journey with me as I continue to learn and grow and discover God’s Heart for Those.

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries
Director/Founder

Standing With My Brothers

Some might see this as trying to take advantage of a situation, and they would be right. My life, as a Christian is to bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ, so if I have a chance to stand with my brothers in Christ I will. If I have a chance to spread the gospel well I’m doing that then I will take the time.

So to start I want to say that I believe in the traditional definition of marriage. Volatile words I know, and some of you will probably never read this blog again. But I stand with with the owners of Chick Fill-A. I know that everyone’s said it, I know that thousands of people have agreed with him and posted it on facebook, but I too want to come out and say it.

But before you boycott me consider this, while I do believe in the traditional view of marriage between a man and a woman. I do not believe in the gospel of hate that is preached by groups like Westboro Baptist Church and the Fred Phelps camp. In fact some of my closest friends have chosen alternative lifestyles. I may not agree with them but I do still love them and will continue to be friends with them.

As for those who think I’m simply blowing smoke I want you to consider the true gospel of Christ. This isn’t a gospel of hate as Phelps thinks it is, instead it’s a gospel of Love. Yes it’s true that the bible states that God calls Homosexuality an abomination that is in reference to the specific sin. You’ve all heard the expression love the sinner hate the sin. While I do believe that homosexuality is a sin I will not openly attack my friends who practice alternative lifestyles

Honestly, I don’t think the owner of Chick Fill-A does either, heck I bet his stores have employees of alternative lifestyles. Like Mike Huckabee and others have pointed out the hiring process doesn’t ask you for your orientation, I’ve never seen one who does.

The bottom line is that I’m standing with my brother in Christ. As the rest of the Fast Food Chains have decided to do, as the rest of the Christian body should do. Not in hate, not to demonize or tear down a group of people. We stand with Him in Christ and in love.

So today let’s go and support Chick Fill-A tomorrow because they aren’t discriminating, they aren’t being vicious like Westboro, the owner is simply stating his beliefs. If you can’t tolerate those beliefs just ignore them, if you don’t agree with my beliefs then ignore them, if you can’t ignore me boycott me.

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner