How can I live a perfect Christian life if I’m just a Teenager?

Outersparkle:

Living a ‪#‎Christian‬life from a ‪#‎Teens‬ perspective.
‪#‎CFstudents‬ ‪#‎Christianblogger‬

Originally posted on Faithfully for Jesus:

This is a question that I know at least some, if not all Christians have asked themselves, including myself,

“How can I live a perfect Christian life if I’m just a Teenager?”

First of all, we can’t live a said to be “perfect” life, whether we’re teenagers or adults.

But, we could try our best to live a more devoted life toward God, although it won’t be perfect, it will certainly make our lives easier, less stressful, more pure as well as lead us in the right path.

Here are 6 really easy ways that we can ALL try to live a better led and purposed life.

1. Be more considerate

Being fair should be for and from everyone. What we say could seem a joke to ourselves but when directing toward another person, it might be taken in a total different way that may possibly lead to some consequences…

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Outersparkle’s TOP ‘EARTHDAY’ Friendly Beauty Picks

Earthday

In celebration of Earth Day, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites natural/organic beauty products. With a myriad of products on the market, its sometimes hard to narrow our choices. So here are seven tried and true earth friendly brands I think you’ll stand behind. If you have a personal favorite you think I should give a try, leave me a comment below.

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Aveda might be the most popular natural beauty brand in the world — used in salons and spas across the country. Aveda has a “green ingredient promise,” which means they only use naturally derived ingredients, with 90% of their ingredients certified organic. They also use Post Consumer recycled packaging, as well as 100% wind power in their manufacturing. The Rosemary Mint Shampoo has been my all time favorite shampoo,since discovering it over 15 years ago. It’s peppermint will awaken your senses and rosemary to help protect from environmental damage. Its pure plant aroma naturally energizes and motivates your mind and body.
Aveda.com

Burt’s Bees

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Burt’s Bees is committed to natural materials — from their 99% natural formulas (about half of their line is 100% natural), their Post Consumer Recycled (PCR) packaging, and their commitment to preserving animal and human rights with free-trade and fair working conditions. My favorite go to item are the Lip Shimmers, available in 15 shades of luminescent color. Moisturize and nourish with vitamin E,beeswax,sunflower and coconut oils while invigorating with peppermint oil.
Burtsbees.com

Origins

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Origins is another wildly popular and fairly accessible beauty brand, which uses only natural and certified organic ingredients, with no parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, mineral oil — the list goes on. They don’t even use animal ingredients. Origins also manufactures with renewable resources like wind energy. My Favorite, before it was on Oprah’s favorite list is the Ginger Body Scrub. Dead Sea salts immersed in Ginger zest, Macadamia Oil, Soybean Oil, Kukui Nut Oil and Sweet Almond Oil will remove all traces of rough patches and leave your skin buff.
Origins.com

Tarte

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Tarte is another of my favorite beauty brands, regardless of the fact that their line features natural ingredients, is vegan friendly and cruelty free. Tarte products are always formulated Without parabens,phthalates, mineral oils,triclosans, sodium lauryl sulfate and gluten. Exotic natural ingredients like Amazonian Clay full of nutrients which balances all skin types and leaves a matte finish on skin. My pick is the Amazonian clay 12 hour blush which comes in 16 shades.

Beauty.com

100% Pure loves animals and the environment, the brand creates 100% pure body products packaged in recycled plastic, glass, soda cans, paper and printed with biodegradable non toxic vegetable ink. The Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream is on my next beauty haul list. This caffeine rich green tea and coffee eye cream acts as an anti-inflammatory and improves the appearance of puffy under-eyes, and brightens dark circles. This Earth day 100% Pure is planting 10 trees for every order! Not only do the trees create oxygen and help clean our environment, the trees also create jobs. One example is a village in Africa that plants almond trees to create an almond industry which helped to alleviate poverty.

100percentpure.com

Neutrogena® Naturals Purifying Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes

I recently received through Influenster the  Neutrogena® Naturals Purifying Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes,made from naturally-derived fibers that come from sustainable-managed forests.These wipes are a great substitute for cleansing your face with water this earth month. Neutrogena has partnered with The Nature Conservancy to save water, in the #wipeforwater movement. Did you know The average U.S. household wastes about 10,000 gallons of water every year. As a result, the amount of water wasted from U.S. homes could exceed more than 1 trillion gallons per year, equivalent to the annual water use of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami combined.

A.D.THE SERIES EP.3 RECAP “THE SPIRIT ARRIVES”

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Clair Cooper as Herodias

Air Date 04/19/15

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Peter miraculously heals a beggar – and act for which he is beaten and arrested; Pilate narrowly escapes assassination.

Gentle sea breezes blow throughout the Galilee countryside as the open horizon stretches on for miles. The true opportunity, however, waits in Jerusalem.

Sitting alongside the Sea of Galilee, Peter’s young daughter, Maya, tends to a herd of goats as her father and John watch from a distance. “How do I tell my daughter I can’t stay?” Peter questions, his words heavy with emotion. John assures Peter his daughter is safer with her grandmother here, rather than by his side. Just as the two men leave on their trek to Jerusalem to fulfill Jesus’ prophecy, Maya notices them.

As night falls in Jerusalem, Caiaphas comforts a mourning widow of one of the murdered Temple guards, ensuring her there will be “no stone unturned in pursuit of their murderers.” He dismisses her, with promises of charitable food and gifts, fearing she may ask more questions and realize the Romans were behind the murders. Leah comforts her distressed husband, reminding him Pilate ordered the executions to quash any rumor of resurrection. “It dies with the soldiers and the Temple guards,” she says with confidence.

The city streets are bustling with life – dining, talking, fighting – while Drusus and his fellow off-duty Roman soldiers drink heavily in a dimly lit tavern, where Boaz works. “Drink up, we must close now,” Arik, the landlord, calls out to the drunken soldiers. As Drusus stumbles away from the table, he accidently backs into Boaz, who falls to the ground and drops his tray. Drusus offers a friendly hand to help Boaz to his feet, but Boaz stands up on his own and gives Drusus a death stare. Feeling the hostility, Drusus reaches for his sword, but Arik quickly steps in to diffuse the situation, and the Roman soldiers reluctantly leave. Still ready to fight, Boaz pulls out his knife, but Arik relaxes the antagonistic waiter. “Calm, Boaz,” Arik whispers. “Not yet.”

In the morning, palace attendants scurry about, preparing for King Herod Antipas’ visit, as Claudia makes her way to Pilate’s quarters. Just as her husband approaches her, Claudia notices a servant wiping up blood from the tile floor, but Pilate brushes it off as simple politics. “We shouldn’t have secrets from each other,” Claudia tells her husband, who confesses to killing the soldiers in the palace. Eager to leave all issues regarding the Nazarene in the past, Pilate takes his wife’s hand and offers to welcome the new day together, but Claudia pulls away, not so easily appeased. Meanwhile, guards try to combat commotion in the streets to make way for King Antipas and his wife, Herodias. The procession comes to a sudden halt when a line of Roman soldiers forms to block off the road ahead, causing the King to take a detour to the Temple. “Why does the city feel like it’s about to erupt?” Antipas asks Caiaphas when he finally arrives. Trying to placate his superior, Caiaphas assures the king it has nothing to do with the Nazarene’s crucifixion, but Antipas is not convinced. “You mishandled this whole thing,” he shames Caiaphas. “Our continued use of the Romans could be seen as collaboration by the average man in the street.” With thousands of people flooding the city for the upcoming Festival of Pentecost, Antipas warns it’s important that the Jewish leaders are not to be seen as too closely allied with Rome. “Any more mishandling and we may have to seriously reconsider your role,” he tells Caiaphas.

A.D. The Bible Continues

At the safe house, the disciples begin to feel less safe, doubting Jesus’ plan for their return to Jerusalem. “He said he’d build his church. How? With what?” Simon questions. Peter admits he doesn’t know. “He’ll build it with two things that are lacking in this room,” the ever-faithful Mother Mary fires back, “belief and patience.” A knock on the door breaks the silence. “Look what I found,” Mary Magdalene says as she enters with Maya right behind her, looking disheveled and ashamed. Peter, however, looks quite pleased to see his daughter. Later in the night, Maya eats hungrily after her long, solo journey. Peter warns it could be dangerous for her in Jerusalem, but Maya insists on staying until Peter’s work is done. “What’s so dangerous about following a rabbi?” Maya asks. Charmed by her innocence, Peter kisses his daughter’s hand, noticing that Maya wears her late mother’s bracelet. “Tell me a story from home,” he says, smiling at his little girl.

Leah walks through the city full of commoners to the mourning widow’s home. “My husband’s hands are tied as far as the Temple’s concerned,” Leah tells the widow with sympathy, “but contrary to what they suggested, we want to come to a private arrangement and give you a yearly sum.” Confused as to why the Temple will not endorse support for her family, the widow pressures Leah for answers, but Leah maintains her disposition. “You must leave Jerusalem immediately, and can never return,” she instructs the widow, who sobs in utter disbelief.

Belly dancers fill the palace courtyard, as Pilate and Claudia greet Antipas and Herodias. The tension is thick between the couples; after making small talk, Antipas requests Pilate withdraw his soldiers from the Temple during the Festival of Pentecost. Not only does Pilate deny Antipas’ demands, but decides he will double his patrols around the Temple – and attend the festival himself out of spite. Hours later, Cornelius presents a security plan to the Governor: “We’ll have 300 men on the Temple Mount, and you’ll be accompanied by 500 body guards.” Pilate, however, wants to be seen at the festival, so he insists on no more than 50 men. “I hope this is more than a case of look at me,” Claudia says to Pilate disapprovingly. He tries kissing her, wanting to take her to bed, but she pushes him away. “You need rest before tomorrow,” she says as she walks away. After Pilate goes to bed, Claudia remains awake, roaming through the dark corridors of the palace. In the hallway she meets Cornelius, who also cannot fall asleep due to worries about Pilate’s safety. “Promise me you’ll take care of him,” she says with dread in her eyes. “It’s my job,” Cornelius answers back before the two part ways.

A.D. The Bible Continues

Hot and restless, the disciples pace around the safe house, waiting for the right moment to make their appearance. “You really think we scare the authorities?” Simon asks the rest of the group. “We’d scare them even more if they knew,” Thomas answers back. Curious, Maya’s ears perk up. “Knew what?” she questions. Reluctant at first, Peter and the others explain Jesus came back and spoke to them. Maya does not initially believe it, but once the no-nonsense Mary Magdalene confirms it, Maya is convinced. She has abundant questions, but most importantly – “If they find you, will they kill you?” She looks at her father, who answers with absolute assurance: “No.” “They killed him,” Maya points out, her eyes stinging with oncoming tears. Peter looks at his daughter, then more honestly answers, “I don’t know.” She nods, taking in the reality along with the rest of the group.

Hiding in his secret room, Boaz is sharpening one of his many knives when Arik arrives with information. “Pilate will visit the Temple on Pentecost. This desecration of our sacred place is the abomination the prophets talked about.” Boaz looks at his pointed blade, knowing his time to kill has come.

In the dead of night, Antipas goes to the Temple to inform Caiaphas of Pilate’s intentions to attend the festival. Thinking quickly, Caiaphas suggests receiving Pilate as an honored guest to prevent him from turning the celebrations into a blood bath.

A.D. The Bible Continues

Peter stands on the roof of the safe house, looking up at the night sky when Maya joins him. “Are you afraid?” she asks her father. “I am,” he responds truthfully, “but none of the Romans or the priests know what may lie ahead. I’m afraid I may not be the person Jesus thought I was.” Wise beyond her years, Maya looks up at her father and asks, “What would he do if he were here?” “He would pray,” Peter answers, and then looks at his daughter, astonished, as if she just solved all of the world’s problems. He races downstairs urgently. It’s time to pray. The disciples form a tight circle, shut their eyes and chant prayers, with Peter’s voice rising above the rest. Their prayers become louder and faster as bolts of lightening shoot down from the sky and clouds gather over their house. Wind gusts blow as people in the street crowd around the safe house, feeling the energy of the Holy Spirit. Fireballs burst in through the windows and rush around the disciples as they continue praying in many different languages. Suddenly, there’s silence. The disciples open their eyes and, upon Peter’s orders, prepare to depart. “Now, spread his word,” Peter instructs them with confidence, glowing with inspiration.

The Jewish pilgrims flood into the city gates, preparing for Pentecost, followed by masses of Roman soldiers shoving them aside. Pilate and his men make a grand entrance, riding high above everyone else on their horses. Reuben greets the Governor, with Caiaphas’ request that Pilate leave his weapons outside and enter from the South Gate. Pilate, however, denies both requests and enters the Temple as he wishes, disregarding any Jewish laws or tradition. The pilgrims chant anti-Roman slurs as Boaz snakes through the crowd, trying to find his way to Pilate. Speaking to his people in Hebrew, Caiaphas commands the angry crowd to embrace the Governor, rather than condemn, for he has come to atone for his sins. Cheers build among the people, and Pilate, appreciating the applause, approaches Caiaphas with his gifts. With resentment in his eyes, Caiaphas accepts the fruit tray and holds it up to his people as a sign of peace and respect between the Jews and the Romans. Suddenly Drusus notices Boaz’s suspicious glare, and the Romans shuffle around Pilate urgently. Pilate begins to push people aside himself, until he’s left completely vulnerable, face to face with Boaz and his blade. In sheer panic, Pilate shouts out for Cornelius, who appears just in time to fend off Boaz’s knife. Boaz quickly escapes the crowd and runs away, followed only by Drusus. Right as the Roman soldier prepares to kill Boaz, the Zealot reveals a knife concealed beneath his sleeve and slices Drusus’ throat. Drusus drops dead to the ground as Boaz darts away, knowing the rest will be after him soon.

A.D. The Bible Continues

Peter and the other disciples enter the Temple gates, where they find a crippled man on the ground begging for money. “We have no money, no silver, no gold,” Peter tells the old man as he takes his hand. “But what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” Stunned, the beggar rises first to his knees, and then to his feet, his legs shaking beneath him. All eyes turn to Peter in amazement. “God sent us his servant Jesus, the man you killed, and God raised him again from death,” he calls out to the mesmerized crowd. “We are his witnesses, and the Holy Spirit is with us and makes us strong.” John joins Peter, shouting, “Jesus is alive!” Their chants get the attention of Antipas and Caiaphas, who look back at the disciples in confusion. “Silence them now, before there is a riot,” the High Priest orders his guards. In the midst of Peter’s preaching, Reuben and his men club Peter and John brutally to the ground as Maya watches from the crowd, desperately trying to save her father. Peter and John keep shouting their message until they’re beaten to silence, then arrested and thrown into a prison cell. Despite being completely raw and bruised, Peter and John smile at one another, blood pouring out of their mouths, proud of what they’ve accomplished thus far. Mary Magdalene sneaks into the prison to share some good news. “Word has spread, like a fire, like the spirit itself,” she tells them, and the three of them can hardly contain their excitement. “Many, many people are coming to us. Perhaps thousands.” Mary hands Maya’s bracelet to Peter, whose eyes well with tears. “Mary, please take care of her,” Peter pleads. “We may never leave here…”

Cornelius charges into Pilate’s quarters, where the Governor sits in his wife’s comforting embrace. The soldier tells his leader of Drusus’ murder, and Pilate orders the execution of all the men who were found in the immediate area. As commanded, Cornelius and his men drag the innocent prisoners to the Temple steps and point a sword at each of their backs. “Deliver the assassin to us, or this will become an all-too-familiar spectacle,” Cornelius shouts out to the protesting crowd, as the soldiers plunge their swords into the three victims. Caiaphas, alarmed by the commotion, runs outside and sees the dead bodies lying on the sacred steps and Romans leaving the scene. Faced with the outrage of the crowd, he knows he must stand up for himself and the Jewish people against the ruthless Romans.

Peter and John stand in their dark cell, praying quietly. Caiaphas and Reuben enter the prison and stand directly in front of the prisoners, but John and Peter do not flinch. They continue their prayers, looking directly into Caiaphas’ eyes, challenging the High Priest. They may be bloody, but they are far from beaten.

Preview of Ep.4 ” THE WRATH” Airs Sunday April 26,2015 

Here are a few added resources from A.D

Beyond A.D. A digital talk show Hosted by “E” Jason Kennedy 

Praying for Treasures,  My loss is ultimately His Gain

  

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (#Philippians 4:6 NIV)

I’ve spent the last 24 hours sulking, I had taken off my wedding ring and had misplaced it. This had been the first time in 18 years of wearing my ring that this had happened. I searched garbage cans, under beds, in every crumpled napkin to no avail. I truly had thought I’d lost it for good.


 I pray daily and often throughout the day, but rarely are the prayers for me personally but for others. I prayed to God that I would find my ring. Last night I was sad that I could not place where I could have possibly left my ring. My husband says, “Don’t be so upset it’s just a ring”. But I wasn’t upset about the ring itself per se nor the value, but the sentiment, and what it represents to me and our marriage. A circle that represents eternity, made of platinum, a precious metal that is rare and desirable and diamonds, which are formed under great pressure. That’s what marriage is eternal, precious, rare and grows stronger under pressure. Yet both can be costly and extravagant. But than I think about how costly it was to obtain Gods Grace, losing His life to save me and you, His love everlasting and eternal. My lost ring, can’t compare! 

With your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Rev 5:9)

I awoke this morning not stressed but still sad nonetheless, I was ok with it. God placed this verse in my heart, 

 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (#Matthew 6:19-21 NIV)

  


Treasure, that’s what my ring is, a treasure. He reminded me that this ring that I had prayed to find was just a treasure that would not last, but to hold on to the true treasure that He has awaiting me in Heaven. My mind and heart was put at ease, I was ok! I was ready to count the ring as a loss. We as Christians are Gods jewels, His treasure. We are treasure to Christ, he paid for us with his blood, the ultimate sacrifice, setting us Christians apart for himself.


In my sons bed tonight, I found my ring under covers and pillows, not because I was looking for it. But it just appeared while fixing the bed (we had done this the day before too and nothing). You can say I was elated to find it. But I reminded myself that’s it’s just a treasure in this world that can be gone in a second, and that no gold,silver,platinum or diamonds can ever compare to the true treasure that awaits me above. And through prayers and petitions, God listens and answers those who are true and faithful! He taught me how my loss is ultimately His Gain! #thankyouJesus


How often do we place so much value on trinkets and objects in this world?  Do you value your treasures more than you value your salvation or the death of Jesus.  How will you use this to help you reevaluate what’s important and of worth in your life? I’d love for you to share with me and leave your comments below.

“OUTCRY TOUR” JUST ANNOUNCED AND COMING TO MIAMI!

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Just Released today, news that the “OUTCRY TOUR” will be making a stop this summer in Miami, among other US cities. I’m uber excited!! Miami is in need if some REVIVAL! Some of my favorite Christian music artist will be performing, such as HILLSONG UNITED,Kari Jobe, Bethel Music, CrowderLauren Daigle,Trip Lee to name a few. The concert will take place at Bayfront Park on August 2, with tickets going on sale May 1st. Note Artist will vary by city, so check out who will be coming to a city near you here.

REBLOGGED:”THE REAL CHRIST FELLOWSHIP”

I am sharing this post that was written by a fellow christian blogger Christinaxarteaga in response to the ridiculous Huffington Post article that was released yesterday “Marco Rubio’s Miami Church: Exorcisms, Creationism, Anti-Gay Policies”.

THE REAL CHRIST FELLOWSHIP

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I am not here to endorse Marco Rubio. I am not here to drag Huffington Post or journalist Bruce Wilson through the mud. I won’t be getting into Wilson’s previous articles. Personally, it’s irrelevant what his personal beliefs are because I’m not here to talk about him, nor am I here to talk about Rubio.

I’m here to talk about Jesus Christ. I’m here to talk about Christ Fellowship.

For those who don’t know, Huffington Post writer Bruce Wilson recently published an article titled “Marco Rubio’s Miami Church: Exorcisms, Creationism, Anti-Gay Policies“. While it’s expected for those opposing Rubio to start digging into his past to uncover what they can, I couldn’t quite let this article go without a response.

Why? Because I attend Christ Fellowship. I’ve attended since 2011 and I can say, with 100% certainty, that this article is a result of a gross misunderstanding of both the church and Christianity as a whole.

Allow me to explain.

Wilson has four main points he makes throughout the article. They can be best summed up as the following:

  1. Marco Rubio is a flip-flop Christian who has switched ideologies and doesn’t know what he believes in.
  2. Christ Fellowship is anti-homosexual.
  3. Christ Fellowship promotes demonology & exorcism.
  4. Christ Fellowship believes in Young Earth creationism and in the denial of evolution.

Let me state this first: I am NOT a representative of Christ Fellowship, nor do I attempt to speak as one. Rather, I speak as a Christian who attends Christ Fellowship every weekend. I attend small group (bible study) there. I was baptized there in 2012.

That said, let’s get into why I must fervently disagree with the article written about Rubio.

1- Marco Rubio is a flip-flop Christian who has switched ideologies and doesn’t know what he believes in.

Again, I will state that I am not, in any way, endorsing Marco Rubio. I don’t know him or his family, so there is little I can say about him to begin with (on a personal level). However, I must clear up a misconception that was demonstrated in the article written by Wilson.

Nobody starts their walk with God knowing everything there is to know about God.

It doesn’t matter if you were raised in the church or outside of it. My own personal story has me experimenting with a wide variety of religions throughout my entire life. I called myself “Christian”, but I wasn’t really changed by the Gospel of Jesus until 2010 (where I have remained ever since). And even so, I’ve changed a lot since 2010. God has matured me in areas that were immature, strengthened me in areas that were weak, and revealed to me theological terms and concepts I hadnever heard of my entire life prior to really being changed by Christ. Even being raised in a “religious home”, I had collected a string of misconceptions about God that, upon further review, I found to be false.

People grow. People learn. People change.

It’s not a bad thing that Rubio was looking for God. I applaud it, actually. I’m glad he was seeking information, even if I don’t agree with the Church of Latter Day Saints or even with tenants of Catholicism. Any Christian that claims to be perfect, and claims to know it all, isn’t just lying to others but also lying to themselves. It’s impossible to know everything there is to know about God. We have God’s word (the Bible). That is how we can know about God.

Now, let me get into the more in-depth points: more specifically, the ones about Christ Fellowship.

2- Christ Fellowship is anti-homosexual.

I feel a big chunk of information is missing here that is vital to the point Wilson tries to make in his article. We’re not so much “anti-homosexual” as we are “anti-sin”…and it’s certainly not what Wilson makes it seem like.

While a Biblical understanding of the Bible is that homosexuality is, indeed, a sin, we must realize that common place things like divorce (absent of sexual immorality or abandonment), getting drunk,lying, gossiping, and stealing are also sins. Things we wouldn’t consider  to be a big deal (like a little white lie) are still sins (and are a big deal to God). I’ve never been employed by Christ Fellowship, so I can’t really speak on behalf of the wording of the employment contract, but as a whole, I would imagine (and rightfully so) that they don’t wish their employees to be habitually engaged in ANY type of sin, no matter what form it is. I mean really, would ANY company want their employees addicted to anything? I would imagine the answer is “no”.

Keeping that in mind, Christ Fellowship welcomes any and all to their campuses. It holds back Christ’s love from NO ONE, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, height, weight, race, ethnicity, etc. Why? Because there is a general understanding that NO ONE was born “perfect”. We have no right to act like we are better than any one else because, before Christ, we were just as guilty of our sins as a homosexual, a liar, a drunkard, a cheater, a thief, etc. And if a Christian does act “holier than thou”, I personally would question their very salvation.

Jesus can deliver someone from homosexual desires (just like He delivers people from any other type of sin), but the point of  Christianity isn’t just to “correct all the gays”. That’s a huge misunderstanding and couldn’t be further from the truth. Those Westboro Baptist people (the ones that picket soldier funerals) don’t know my Jesus (the Jesus of the Bible, that is). The goal isn’t to “keep America Christian”, despite popular belief. At the end of the day, the goal is to introduce others to Jesus Christ. To spread the Gospel, which is the message that we are dead in our sins, but that Jesus died a horrific death to pay the price and, if we believe in Him, we can have eternal life. It is also to love like Christ did (which is part of spreading the Gospel). The words CHRISTIAN and LOVE should, ideally, go together. If that hasn’t been your experience, reader, then I’m sorry to say the Christians you know haven’t quite met Jesus Christ yet.

So while Christ Fellowship may preach that homosexuality is a sin, it also preaches that it is no greater sin than any other sin in the Bible and those who practice is deserve the same love we would give to anyone else, Christian or not. It is NOT “anti-homosexual”.

3- Christ Fellowship promotes demonology & exorcism.

The funny thing about the sermon Wilson references is that I was in the audience when Pastor Rick Blackwood preached it. I  have always remembered it for the anecdote Blackwood mentions towards the end, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

The Bible mentions the existence of demons. Period. I’m not an expert on demonology, but suffice it to say that they do, indeed, exist, if we are to assume that the Word of God is true. They did during Biblical times and they still do, though it’s not quite like the movies and TV shows portray it. Ironically, while Wilson tries to make it seem like Blackwood is encouraging exorcisms, in that very same sermon, Pastor Rick specifically says the following:

Folks, do not miss what I am about to say. The answer to demons is not some spooky exorcism. The answer to demons is not some weird, bizarre ritual like throwing holy water or whatever. The answer to demons is not that kind of thing. You should never try to talk to demons. You talk to God. The power that drives demons out of people is the presence of Jesus. In other words, demon-controlled people do not need an exorcist. They don’t need you and me to go around shouting at demons to come out of people. The power that drives out demons is the presence of Christ. All we need to do is put Jesus into that person and the demons go away. In other words, people just need to open their heart and let Jesus inside, because when Christ comes inside, His presence drives out the demons.

He specifically says he’s not encouraging exorcism or anything of that sort. The anecdote about the man  he crossed paths with involved no such exorcism. Rather, Blackwood is saying something similar to what I mentioned in point number two (that our goal as Christians is to introduce people to Jesus Christ). Wilson must have misjudged Christ Fellowship because it, clearly, does NOT promote exorcism. On the subject of demonology, simply put, any Bible believing church will believe angels and demons exist: that’s just taking God’s word as truth (which I do).

4- Christ Fellowship believes in Young Earth creationism and in the denial of evolution.

I’m not a science buff, nor am I very articulate when it comes to such things, so I will let experts explain these more so, but believing in Creationism and the “Young Earth” theory really aren’t all that scandalous. In fact, many Bible believing churches believe in the same. Scientists with no religious affiliation also believe the same.

If you’d like more information, please see the links below. While these websites are not, in any way, affiliated with Christ Fellowship, they can provide a better explanation than I can as to why a Christian (or anyone, for that matter), would believe in the aforementioned theories. I encourage you to read the following articles, no matter what your personal beliefs are, but for the record, Christians don’t hate science. If anything, science backs up God more than it disproves Him.

I would also encourage you to watch this video where Pastor Louie Giglio, of Passion City Church in Atlanta, talks about Laminin and demonstrates just how close God and science really are.

Or if you’d like to hear Pastor Rick’s actual words on the subject, you can check out this sermonand any sermon in the “I Wish I Knew What To Believe” series.

CONCLUSION:

Mahatma Gandi is famous quoted as saying “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”.

If this has been your experience with Christianity, then I’d like to apologize. Many people walk around today claiming to know Christ when they have no business doing so. They know lies told about Him. They know cult-like versions of Him (insert Westboro Baptist here). They’ve heard of watered down versions that lack any kind of life-changing power. Many of heard OF Him, but few actually KNOW Him.

I know Him.

I don’t know all there is to know about Jesus (that’s impossible to know), but I know Him. I went 19 years of my life thinking I was “saved from hell” because I intellectually acknowledged that a guy named Jesus died on a cross. I wasn’t. The point isn’t “avoiding hell”. That’s not why I tell people about Jesus.

I tell people about Jesus because when He impacts your life, when He truly comes into it, you feel REAL love for the first time. You feel COMPLETE. And because you’ve met a God who’s very nature is love, you spread love to others. You were made to worship Him. And you were made to love Him and be loved by Him.

I’ve heard pastors use this illustration before: Imagine eating a delicious meal at a restaurant. It’s not life changing, but you certainly took notice. You’re quick to recommend it, aren’t you? I mean, you want others to experience what you have, don’t you?

THAT is why I preach Christ. He changed MY life. I can not speak for anyone else (because I am not them), but I can certainly speak for myself. I was dead and lost without Jesus. In Him, I am alive and loved. It is a love you can not compare to anything else. It is a love that will change your life.

Christ Fellowship believes in that love. It is why it emphasizes “connecting to the world”, that is, community involvement within the city of Miami as well as outside of it. It’s why we are constantly sending missionaries to other countries, building homes for those rescued from sexual slavery, partnering with other churches and organizations to reach people in need, and more. It is why we even have a week called “Love Miami” week where groups from all campuses serve the city of Miami in any which way we are allowed to. Rick Blackwood doesn’t want the glory. Please, don’t praise Rick Blackwood. Christ Fellowship doesn’t want the glory either. Don’t sit here and say how wonderful Christ Fellowship is for all it’s doing.

Rick Blackwood is nobody without Christ. Christ Fellowship is nobody without Christ. I, Christina Arteaga, am nobody with Christ.

Christ Fellowship is not an anti-homosexual, demon exorcising and scientifically naive church. It’s a church that wants to impact the city of Miami with the Gospel of Jesus Christ because it brings life to all those who believe in it…and you’d be hard pressed to argue against that fact.

Disclaimer: This article is not a political endorsement.

A.D. THE SERIES EP.2 RECAP “THE BODY IS GONE”

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Air Date 4/12/15

The Romans and the Sanhedrin retaliate when Jesus’ body disappears from the tomb. On the third day after Jesus’ death, the early-morning sun rises over Jerusalem. A new dawn has arrived.

Mary Magdalene sneaks away from the safe house and hurries through the marketplace, eager to make it to Joseph’s tomb. Once she arrives, she stops dead in her tracks. The tomb is open, with nothing inside but the shroud Jesus wore on the cross, left perfectly folded. She must go back and tell the others. Out of breath, she returns to the safe house to wake Peter and John. “It’s happening,” she whispers, wide eyed.

Exhausted and distressed, Caiaphas sits in his office with Reuben and the other Temple guards, who try to explain what happened in the night – the warrior Angel broke the seal and moved the massive stone by itself. Caiaphas doesn’t believe a word they say – the Nazarene’s followers must have raided the tomb in an attempt to fake a resurrection – but he cannot allow the guard’s account to form a dangerous rumor within the city. He gives them strict orders to say they fell asleep on duty if asked, and hurls a pouch of coins at them. “I never want to see you again,” he says with fire in his eyes. Caiaphas instructs Reuben to find Jesus’ body immediately, and once the corpse is found, he will hang it outside the city walls so everyone knows once and for all, Jesus is dead.

Anxious to rid themselves of the recent chaos in Jerusalem, Pilate and Claudia pack their finest garments in preparation for their trip to the coast. Pilate is certain a journey to the Mediterranean is exactly what his wife needs to wipe her mind free of her nightmares and apparitions, but Claudia is adamant about her dreams. “The man you crucified was favored by the gods, and we shall all suffer for his execution,” she says with certainty. Pilate brushes off her nonsense and walks outside, where Caiaphas is waiting for him. The leader of the Sanhedrin thanks Pilate once again for his help with the Nazarene, and leads him to believe Jesus remains dead in the tomb. Pilate is pleased to hear the news, although he never believed there would be any other outcome. “When faced with a choice of being either firm or fair, I’ve learned that firm generally pays the greater dividend,” the Roman Governor says, satisfied with his work. With Pilate’s dismissal, Caiaphas leaves the palace; now that he is certain Pilate knows nothing of the raided tomb, he must work quickly to resolve the issue. Just as Caiaphas exits, a Roman guard from the tomb arrives with news for Pilate. The guard trembles with fear, for what he has to say may not go over well with his firm leader.

A.D. The Bible Continues

Caiaphas sits peacefully in his sacred ritual bath, praying. Suddenly, Pilate hovers over a naked Caiaphas. “What have I done to deserve such disrespect?” Pilate asks the Jewish leader who lied to him about the Nazarene’s tomb. Terrified, Caiaphas explains he planned to take care of the matter without disrupting Pilate’s travel plans, but Pilate remains infuriated. “This Jesus cult grows stronger by the hour,” he barks, towering above Caiaphas. “Soon it will draw every crackpot and revolutionary into Jerusalem – with the sole aim of challenging us all.” Caiaphas assures him guards are already searching for the Galileans’ hiding spot, but Pilate no longer has any faith in Caiaphas. “Get me that information immediately and I will deal with this matter once and for all,” Pilate orders.

Peter, John and Mary Magdalene trek through the desert to return to the tomb. Just as Mary before, Peter and John cannot believe their eyes – it’s empty. “I don’t understand,” John says, bewildered, looking at the vacant stone he laid Jesus on himself. “How is this possible?” Heavy with guilt and horror, Peter concludes the authorities must have removed Jesus’ body to wipe out all trace, but John is not convinced. “It is the third day,” he says to Peter with intensity in his eyes. “Do you dare to believe?” Peter asks his fellow disciple, and they both flee. Mary crouches beside the stone, silently sobbing into the bloody shroud. A gentle voice calls out her name, and Mary slowly raises her head to see Jesus, without bruises or bloodstains, standing right before her. “Rabbi,” she gasps, her eyes brimming with tears.

At the safe house, the disciples try to piece the puzzle together. John speaks of the prophecy once again: “The messiah would be led like a lamb to slaughter, pierced for our transgressions, die beside the wicked, and be laid to rest with the rich.” All of these things have happened in the last three days, John points out, so it is believable Jesus has risen, as promised. Simon is certain the Romans will soon be after them, and presses Peter for a decision; do they stay or leave the city? Mary Magdalene bursts through the door, gasping for air. “I saw him,” she tells the disciples. “He spoke to me as clearly as I’m speaking to you.” As Mary races upstairs to tell Mother Mary the news, the disciples discuss Mary’s claims. Can it be true? Again, they look to their new leader, Peter, for answers. “I think I feel pain at his absence and great guilt because I wasn’t with him at the end,” Peter says with tears in his eyes. “I so want to tell him I’m sorry.”

Suddenly a flame ignites inexplicably, and Peter feels a hand on his shoulder. “Peace be with you,” a voice tells Peter, who looks up and sees Jesus standing in an immaculate robe. In complete disbelief, Peter touches Jesus – he’s real. Each disciple embraces Jesus and examines his pristine condition. “Everything written about me in the Laws of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled,” Jesus instructs his followers. An abrupt knock breaks the mystified silence, causing everyone to freeze in fear it could be the Romans. Simon peeks out the window – it’s Thomas, the 12th disciple! They let him in with excitement, eager for everyone to be together once again. But just as quickly as he appeared, Jesus vanishes. The other disciples explain to Thomas he was just here, but Thomas is doubtful. “Are you playing a sick joke on me because I’m the last to get back?” he asks, feeling betrayed. The others assure him it is no joke, and urge him to go to the tomb to see for himself.

The Roman guard who snitched leads the Governor and his men to the hideout of the other guards. With Pilate’s signal, Roman soldiers brutally and mercilessly club the deserting guards. “One thing I cannot abide above all else – disloyalty,” Pilate sneers as he looks down on the guards who disappointed him.

A.D. The Bible Continues

Reuben guides Caiaphas down a dark, rancid corridor, both men cloaked for disguise. Reuben shows Caiaphas a corpse that does not belong to Jesus, but does have similar wounds on the body. “People will take him for the Nazarene if you tell them it’s him,” Reuben says, but Caiaphas is not willing to lie any longer – “I can’t risk of being accused of orchestrating a fraud to deceive our nation.”

After examining the tomb himself, Thomas returns to the safe house to tell the others the Temple guards are re-sealing the tomb to pretend Jesus’ body remains inside. Thomas, however, remains doubtful that Jesus has risen. Suddenly a voice calls out Thomas’ name from behind him, and he turns to see Jesus with his palms upward, showing his crucifixion wounds. In shock, Thomas drops to his knees and lowers his head in shame of doubting his Lord. “Blessed are they who have not seen me, and still believe,” Jesus tells him, and disappears once again. As Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene are downstairs, the door is kicked down and Roman soldiers flood the room. In an instant, the disciples depart the safe house with the Romans right on their heels. The Romans chase the disciples through the city, and they are forced to split up. Peter orders Thomas to hurry to the city gate, where he will meet him and the others. Suddenly Boaz grabs Peter and darts down a dark, narrow alley, offering some temporary safety. Peter explains his plan to escape to Galilee, and Boaz volunteers his help. They make their way to the closed-off city gate, where the others are waiting for Peter. Boaz and his freedom fighters hurl stones and firebombs at the Roman soldiers, who are forced to disperse. The disciples sneak out of the gate unnoticed in the midst of the mayhem. Cornelius reports back to Pilate, telling him the Nazarene’s men did not escape with the corpse, but it’s not at the hideout either. Pilate has had enough. “We are Rome,” he says with conviction. “It’s time we shut this story down.”

Standing in the Temple courtyard, Annas scolds Caiaphas about his recent alliance with Pilate. “The High Priest maintains a delicate balance between influencing the Governor and joining forces with him against our people,” Annas lectures. Joseph storms in, furious. “First you instigate the execution of a harmless preacher and then desecrate my tomb to interfere with the corpse,” he shouts at Caiaphas. Caiaphas combats Joseph’s claims, but Joseph remains angry. “You extinguished a small Jewish flame by smothering it with Roman oil,” he tells Caiaphas before leaving. Feeling disapproving eyes from all around, Caiaphas finds a quiet place in the Temple to work. Leah, feeling invisible to her husband, joins him. She tries to console Caiaphas, who feels belittled by Annas. “He forgets that I’m High Priest,” Caiaphas tells his wife. “I think perhaps his daughter forgets sometimes, too,” he says, looking at Leah with saddened eyes. She assures Caiaphas he has both her support and her father’s, pulling him into a warm embrace. The moment is quickly interrupted when Reuben enters with alarming news. Two Temple guards from the tomb have been murdered, and the others are missing.

Peter and the other disciples make it to the Sea of Galilee, where they lie exhausted on a fishing boat. Despite being an expert fisherman, Peter has trouble collecting any fish at all. A man from the shore calls out to them to cast the nets on the right-hand side, but Peter is certain it won’t make a difference. The man insists; they throw the net over the right side of the boat, and suddenly it is full of fish. They look more closely at the man on shore – It’s Jesus! Peter jumps into the water and swims quickly to shore, ecstatic to see his Lord. “Peter, do you love me?” Jesus asks, and Peter confirms he does. “Then follow me,” Jesus says as he places his hand on the heart of his devoted disciple. Jesus and Peter join the other disciples, where Jesus inspires them to keep the faith. “Go back to Jerusalem and wait,” he instructs his followers. “Only then will you be ready to spread the word.” Peter is nervous he will not be able to rise to the challenge, but Jesus urges him to be strong: “Do this for me, Peter, and one day you will die for me.” Peter, no longer a coward, is ready. With one final message to preach the gospel to all creation, Jesus walks up a mountain as clouds begin to tumble into one another and wind blows fiercely. A flash of bright light explodes, and suddenly, Jesus is gone.

A.D. The Bible Continues

Pilate stands alone in his quarters when Caiaphas enters, angry about his murdered men. Pilate cuts him off quickly. “The Roman Empire prospers, Caiaphas, not because it consumes lesser civilizations but because it embraces and forms partnerships with them,” he says. “At the highest level that can only happen in a spirit of mutual trust.” Pilate brings in the Roman guards who abandoned their post at the tomb, and has each of them strangled to death for Caiaphas to witness. “Consider this a lesson in civic administration,” the Governor tells the shaken High Priest. After all, Pilate is firm, not fair.

WATCH FULL Episode 2 “The Body Is Gone” >>HERE

Episode 3 “The Spirit Arrives” airs Sunday April 19th on NBC

 Here are a few added resources from A.D
Beyond A.D. A digital talk show Hosted by “E” Jason Kennedy 

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matt 5:16

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