Posted in Christian Witness, Uncategorized

The Messianic State Will Use Any Excuse to Shut Down the Church – The American Vision

A Canadian Pastor Artur Pawlowski, the head of Calgary’s Street Church in Alberta, and his brother, Dawid Pawlowski, were arrested and charged with “organizing an illegal in-person gathering,” according to a statement by the Calgary Police Service. A video capturing the arrests showed police vehicles parked on the street as officers carried the handcuffed brothers, who appeared to refuse to walk on their own. An onlooker can be heard telling the officers, “Shame on you guys, this is not Communist China.
— Read on

Posted in Christian Witness, Uncategorized

Six Reasons Every Pastor Should Require Masks and Social Distancing at Church – Reformed Hope

I’ve said it before, navigating pastoral ministry is tricky business. But one thing that you can take to the bank is that requiring masks and social distancing at church is an outstanding pastoral decision. The nice thing is that you don’t really have to think about it. The government and health experts have already done…. (Article by: Chris Hume)
— Read on

Absolutely loved this article!! A perfect satirical rendition of the wacky world in which we live. A must read unless sarcasm is the type of humor you go to great lengths to avoid.

–Dr. Muse (aka Kristafal)

Posted in Biblical Questions, Christian Living, Christian Witness, culture, dominion, politics, war, Worldview Analysis

Buried Treasures: What Are You Willing to Stand For?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt 6.21)

This is not a post that I intended to write, but one that I want to get off my chest. And, I suppose that it does coalesce with what I have been saying over the last few posts. Christianity is at war with the surrounding culture.

That statement probably comes to a shock to some within the Christian community. The funny thing (a sense of irony; not a laughing matter) is that though many of us may be unaware of this reality those outside of our covenantal body[1]comprehend the true state of things…we are at war. There is a battle being waged between the offspring of the woman and the offspring of the serpent (cf.Gen 3.15; Matt 3.7; 12.34; John 8.37-47).

Understanding the Overarching Conflict:Kingdom Related

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other”(Matt 6.24). This is the reason I have labeled the gospel as a battle motif. Not because Christians are seeking to pick fights with the world, but because of the natural enmity between the two nations; members of the kingdom of light versus members of the kingdom of darkness.[2]I realize that we do not often refer to the saved versus unsaved as citizens of distinct nations, but that is in fact the case or texts like Col 1:9-13 are robbed of meaning:

  • “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased praying for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthen with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son….” (italics added.)

Notice the distinction between the two kingdoms. Both have opposing ultimate standards. The one is established, committed to, and in love with God. To the Lord do we owe our allegiance, for it is His will that we seek, and it is His knowledge and understanding of reality that we strive for.Those who do not share citizenship in the kingdom of Light[3],by nature are members of another kingdom and seek to do the will of the master of that domain.

An explicit point that Jesus made during his earthly ministry:

  • “Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear[4][Gr. “not able”] to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John8.43-44).[5]

This is the reason the Lord told his disciples that they would be hated by those in the world[6],and as they persecuted him they would likewise persecute them (us).[7]It is our opposition to the evil in the world that ushers in hate and persecution. We are not called to needlessly pick fights, but we are called to stand firmly upon the truth. We are commanded to oppose every ideology, every theology, every philosophy, every ethical theory or scientific inquiry, etc., that stands in stark contrast with God’s Holy and Righteous standards.

The inner Problem Determining the When and Where to Fight: The Political Battlefield

Unfortunately, all of us are affected in some measure by the culture in which we live. By nature, we dislike strongly when someone hates us.We have strong aversions to persecution or suffering in its various forms. Much easier is it to go with the flow than to act like a salmon swimming against the current of the streams of thought found in our culture. People have their sacred cows that they do not want molested or tarnished, and this is true for the Christian as well as the non. One particular sacred cow is found in the field of politics (or river, if I were to stick with the salmon metaphor).

I believe in social justice. Not social justice as defined by our society, but justice as revealed in Scripture. A more applicable term might be biblical justice if I were afraid of offending those within my Christian fold, but I’ve been more of a salmon in life than one of those school fish. Therefore, I have no qualms using the phrase “social justice” within biblically defined parameters.

Now since I believe that Christians ought to be concerned about justice in society, I have no problem speaking on political issues. Some Christians will not touch such things with a ten-foot pole, others can get down right nasty. I found this out first hand in my first pastorate. It was an election year, and since I believe that the Bible speaks to all areas of life—my Lord is the Lord of life, and not just mine but all aspects of it—I opened my mouth.Some may have preferred that I had shoved a shoe in it, but I didn’t…I won’t.

My position politically is to vote for that candidate that best reflects my positions in life. I realize that we have not had very many“good choices” over the past few decades, but that is to be expected when the Church remains divided and silent allowing unbelieving thought to fill in the vacuum we have created culturally. One particular issue that I pay attention to is baby-killing.

You know it is a sick bit of irony when we will protect the babies within the womb of animals (especially endangered species), but when it comes to the infants in human wombs justifications fly off the shelves like water, milk and bread before a snowstorm.

I will not vote for the murder of babies, and I will not vote for anyone who refuses to take a firm stance on that issue. Little did I know that one of my parishioners was a party-line voter. That is to say, didn’t matter what the issue was they would always vote for that party. With a Bible in one hand and a finger jabbed in my direction on the other I was yelled at as I stood behind the podium.

Heartbroken is the best word that I could use to describe my internal reaction. Disbelief was a close second. After a few moments, when the individual managed to pause to take a breath. Perhaps, this person thought they had me dead to rights, I’m not sure, but I was thankful for the opportunity to speak. I posed a question to the person, “do you not think that the Bible speaks authoritatively on political issues?” The question was side-stepped. The ad hominem attacks ensued for a few more moments, and then the individual left.Their spouse came up to me apologizing saying that they would probably not return to church services there. I told her I appreciated her kindness, let her know that I would be praying for them both, and then after all others had left I collapsed in tears.

Now I was not angry with that brother, and I prayed for them that night, pleading my case before the Lord. The next day the person who had stormed out of the church called me in tears asking forgiveness for the way that they behaved. We had a good conversation that day, and he and his wife never stopped coming to that church until I resigned.

What this has to do with Buried Treasures

Jesus in the sermon on the mount makes the obvious point,“where your treasure is, there you heart will be also.” You cannot serve “God and money.” Either God and His way of life is most precious to you…your treasure; or, the material/relational benefits of this life are what you care about…your treasure. I guess there is a meme out there about the state of New York stating that they don’t believe in the death penalty (the killing of convicted criminals), but they are for the murder of babies in the womb. That is a sad, sad reality.

So, for today I want to turn your attention to This is a ministry arm of Apologia Church in Tempe,Arizona. They are networking with churches all across this country (and in parts of the world like Australia) in providing materials and offering training for opposing the killing of our heritage. They call the sanitized taking of life what it is murder, but they also share the gospel with women who are entering those clinics that seek to victimize unborn children. They also provide for those women who decide to not go through with killing their offspring by providing the necessary materials needed to take care of the newly born children (i.e. diapers, formula, even in some cases places to stay), even offering adoption if the mother does not believe they could take care of the child.

Literally thousands of babies have been saved by this ministry as they network with other Christian church’s/ministries across this nation. Perhaps you’ve heard the slogan “put your money where your mouth is.” Well, I give as I am able to this ministry and I want to get the word out for other like minded individuals to do likewise.

If you are not able to get on the front lines, then you ought to be able to dip into your wallets. This is one fight that all professing believers ought to be involved in, in some way. God Bless.


[1] But you say, “I’m not a covenanter. I don’t believe in covenant theology, that’s a reformed theological position.” In response, I ask, “Have you made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ? Do you acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior before others? Have you been baptized? Do you participate in communion/eucharist?” If you answer “yes” to these questions, then you are a member of the covenant community. Have you not read, “And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many’”(Mark 14.22-24; ESV). By the way, participation in these sacramental rites(baptism/communion) is a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and acknowledgment before others that you have faith in the one whom you identify as Lord and Savior. Whether or not you are truly saved is the subject of another discussion, but it should be noted that being a member of the “covenant community” is not equal to being a member of the “saved community.

[2] Some may ask, “But why can’t we just get along? Aren’t we called to peace?” In response,I would ask, “peace with whom? To whom should we seek to be at peace with?”Obviously, as Christians we are commanded to live peaceably with all people as long as it is dependent upon us (Rom12.18). But that peace is not to be adopted at the sacrifice with what we know to be right and true (cf. Deut 4.1-8; Deut 20.11-12). I will attempt to explain the overarching manner in which this is to be done in a future post.

[3] Remember Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8.12); and in another place: “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world” (John 11.9). This is not a new teaching, but one encased in Old Testament theology: “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light” (Psa 36.9; cf. John 1.4-5, 9); “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling” (Psa 43.3; cf. John 8.31-32); “For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the lightof life” (Psa 56.13; cf. John 3.19-21); “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day(Prov4.18; cf. 1John 1.5-7).

[4] In the English the sense should still be easy enough to understand for “cannot bear” means “cannot accept or allow one to be subjected to” (Merriam-Webster) for they are hostile to what the Lord is saying (cf. Rom 8.7-8) because of where their true allegiance/parentage lies (v.44).

[5] For those that want to argue that this is limited to a Jewish context, I merely refer you to the following texts in the N.T.:

  • “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh,carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph 2.1-3; cf. Rom 1.18-32);
  • “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother”(1John 3.10);
  • “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1John 5.19).

If you want some O.T. evidence that refers to the same sort of context, I would recommend reading Psa 1.4-6; 2; Prov 1.10-33; Isa 30.1;Jer 12.3-4; Ezek 22.9-11, etc.

[6] I should probably note that the “world” (Gr. Kosmos) is not meant to convey the idea of the planet. Although the Greek can have that meaning, the references in John’s writings normally (not always) speak of two opposing systems of faith. Likewise, when Paul calls Satan the prince of the air, or the devil is referred to as the “god of this world” this does not entail his control over the planet earth, but instead speaks of his blinding influence over fallen human beings. The world (planet earth) is the Lord’s. He sits as sovereign above it, for it is His footstool (cf. Isa. 40.22; Isa 66.1).

[7] See John 15.18-20; Phil 1.29; 1Pet 4.13.

Posted in Christian Living, Christian Perspective, Christian Witness, culture, dominion, war, Worldview Analysis

We are called to War

Now these are the nations that the LORD left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before. (Judges 3.1-2)

What sort of wars were these? Were these wars primarily physical battles or spiritual encounters? Why would we even care today? Sure, they are important historical truths encapsulated in that precious book we call the Holy Bible, but really what do those fights have to do with us?

We are not Israel, it is said. We are not living in Canaan, it is thought. Would it surprise you to realize that the fights that we witness in the past through these biblical accounts were not physical battles fought over the promise land. Nor were these skirmishes limited to the spiritual conquest of one people’s God over all others gods and goddesses. The fact remains that the fighting we witness in Canaan was both a physical and spiritual war.

An unfortunate reality has settled on the hearts/minds of the modern Church today. There is presented to members of the faith a false dichotomy of the spiritual versus physical realms. Tell me, how did the Lord God create us? Are we not both at the same time spiritual and physical beings. Persons that have flesh and bone, and yet at the same time a spiritual nature living within us.

Of course, such thinking has become taboo to some extent in what many like to identify as a scientific age. Cut us open and what do you see? To the psychologist or sociologist all that we are as human beings is seated in that three-pound mass within our skulls called a brain. No evidence of a spirit, therefore a spirit we do not have. Then again a spirit by its very nature lacks physical properties (cf. John 4.24; 2Cor 3.17). Our consciences, our rational thoughts, our emotions, etc. are not material things. We see and feel the actions of such things, but no one has ever looked at them or dissected them in the lab. Human beings for all that we are, we are not limited to matter in motion.

In the beginning God created us as both creatures of the physical realm with a spiritual essence, and He did so in order that we might represent His glory throughout the world. Therefore, every act, every thought, every word is intended to reflect the invisible Creator God; all of life is both physical and spiritual. “Okay,” you ask, “why the text above?” I’m glad you asked.

In the coming weeks, I will be discussing the Flood recorded in the book of Genesis. This will be in response to a few skeptical remarks I have heard by professing believers and skeptics alike. One such individual made the offhanded remark that God must have failed in His purpose for sending it, for it was not too long after Noah and his wife, and his sons and their wives got off the boat that they began sinning again. The assumption is that God was starting over to rid the world of evil, but He evidently failed in His goal.

God didn’t fail. That’s a fact, but we do fail in seeing the big picture. There are several deep truths revealed in the deluge of that period in human history. The one that I want to fix your attention on today is inheritance. The Lord gave a very clear example of what He expects of His creatures, and the dire consequences of sin. He also demonstrated who He intends to inherit this earth…His people. “The meek shall inherit the earth” (Matt 5.5).

Think about this for a moment, who did God create this world for? His people.

This is first demonstrated in the garden with our foreparents, and it is lastly promised in Revelation where we are told “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Rev 21.3). Throughout Scripture God demonstrates time and time again that He is longsuffering with sin and evil for His people (cf. 2Pet 3.9). He also explains that our purpose for being is to exercise dominion over the earth (Gen 1.26, 28), for this is how we glorify Him in word, thought and deed.[1]

The Purpose of the Canaanite Conquest

When Israel entered into Canaan they were exercising godly dominion. Pagan’s were in the land, they had been there for generations but their time was up. Just as the Flood came in judgment against sinful people, so too was judgment coming against those who purposefully and willfully rebelled against the God who had given them life.[2] This promise delivered to Abram (Abraham)[3] was fulfilled in the generation of Joshua:

  • Thus the LORD gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the LORD gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the LORD had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. (Josh 21.43-45; italics added).

And yet, we read the passage at the head of this post that God left pagans in the land to test His people who were not trained in war. They were to physically drive out that which was considered abominations before the Lord. Things that we rightly identify as spiritual issues, but the physical actions are which are known as sins. The Israelites as God’s representatives were sent in as cultural marauders; minus the negative connotation we often associate with that word.

Failure to Follow Through

One of the glaring sins present in the book of Judges however was that rather than humbly submitting to the Lord as King they lived as if they had no king over them: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg 17.6; 21.25). Rather than confront the sinful culture before them, they married themselves to it. Thus, they were rightfully seen as adulterers before the Lord; unfaithful servants of the One True King.

The reward for their unfaithfulness to God was enslavement to a pagan culture. Eventually, overtime they began to cry out for aid. A generation would rise up that would identify their sin and beg for mercy from their God. In response, God would deliver them by raising up a judge (equivalent of a civil magistrate) who would lead them in the fight against the enslaving culture and God’s people would once again inherit the land for a season. Of course, if you’ve read the book of judges you will know that this cycle repeated itself over and over again until the time of Samuel who helped usher in the age of kings in Israel. Even then, if we read our biblical history we see that physical/spiritual battle ensued over and over again.

Our Current Dilemma: Whats this have to do with Us?

“Yes, Kris…that is all well and good, and probably true, but what does that have to do with us?” Uhm…EVERYTHING!

  • Question: Do we have a King? As Christians do we have a King over us? Or are we justified in doing what is right in our own eyes? (Yes, yes, I realize that is more than one question).
  • Answer: Yes, absolutely! Do we not say “Jesus is my Lord and Savior?” Do we not call Jesus, the Christ? Are you unaware that the name Christ (Messiah, the Hebrew equivalent) means the “anointed one of God…the King?”

“Yes, but Kris we are not called to exercise godly dominion, the dominion mandate was done away with at the fall.” Really? Can you turn me to the text(s) that state this is so, or is this merely an opinion that you possess either from tradition or desire? If the Bible has not nullified this command given at our beginning, then why would we be so foolish to assume that it no longer applies to us.

“Yes, but we are not Israel.” Oh…so God expected them to act one way, but He expects us to act another. Where is that taught to us in God’s Word? If the Bible has not taught us this, then why would we be so foolish to adopt this mindset.

Here are the facts as I see them, and I welcome any arguments to the contrary.

  1. Jesus is rightfully called the Christian’s Lord and Savior, and as such He is our King. To Him we do owe our fealty.
  2. The world is God’s creation and He intends to give it to His people who are faithful to Him and reflect His glory throughout. Like Israel we are faced with living in a culture that is naturally hostile to our Lord, our God.
  3. And, like Israel we are faced with the same choice: Live for God and confront the culture with the truth, or embrace what we know to be false and therefore in opposition against our Lord.

Either way a difficult way is before us. We may not have chosen our current situation, nonetheless it is upon us whether we will it or not. We continue to live like Lot with our heads in the sand, hoping someone rescues us all the while experience the judgment of our refusal to enter the fray. Or we can stand for the Lord and be hated by the world. Our generation may not see the full fruit of faithful labor, but perhaps our children or their children will.[4] Either way we are left with this charge:

  • “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” (Matt 28.18-20; italics added).

Those are our Christian marching orders, but here is how they are played out practically in confronting the culture:

  • “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” (2Cor 10.3-5; emphasis added).

Notice that he does not say we do not wage war, but that our weapons of warfare are not physical.[5] Yet, we fight every argument, every lofty opinion of men according to their traditions/philosophies, attacking their strongholds in order to bring them to obedience to Jesus Christ. Though our warfare is not fought with physical weapons it does have physical ramifications. Just as our failure to obey our King has physical ramifications today (e.g. unjust taxes, improperly defined marital unions and gender confusion, an influx of false religions, insurmountable debt, educational tyranny, etc.).

Closing Remarks…

In short, if you understand the analogy we have Canaanites in the land that because of our refusal to fight as faithful soldiers for Christ (as a holy priesthood should) who have a cultural stranglehold on us. Not only do we defame Christ’s Name by refusing to enter the public sphere, but we enslave our children to tyranny.

For this reason I am thankful for faithful men and women of God who risk all (carrying their cross) for Jesus Christ; such as Justin Hoke  from Weed, California who as a faithful minister of the gospel has endured great persecution from the very flock that he was trying to faithfully lead.

Praise God that He still has such servants in this nation; in this world. May we likewise continue the good fight, contending for the faith which has been entrusted to us (Jude 1.3; cf. Tit 1.9). May the Lord grant His children the courage and boldness to speak on every issue and to be silent on none (cf. Josh 1.6-9; Acts 4.29).


[1] This type of dominion is to be expressed in the three covenantal branches that God has established: family, Church and state. The representative heads (father, elder and magistrate) in all three institutions are intended to exercise godly dominion in all that they do.

[2] In case someone would like to claim that this was unfair to the inhabitants of the land that Israel somehow stole it from them, know this all the earth is the Triune Creator God’s and He has the sovereign right to give it to whom He pleases. Those that rebel against the Lord do so on borrowed time because He allows it, but at the same time He promises that such individuals will not inherit the good that God has promised. This is true temporally and eternally. Turn to Leviticus 18, 20 and Deuteronomy 18:9-14 to see many of the sins that were condemned by God, and were justifications for Him vomiting them out of the land giving the inheritance of the land (earth) to those who were zealous for God’s holiness.

[3] And they [your seed] shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.’” (Gen 15.16-21)

[4] I realize that if you have a different eschatological bent than I do, you may think that this is the terminal generation, but I’m not convinced. Either way, we are called to live for the Lord which means to be a faithful spur in the side of a culture that promotes hateful rhetoric and sanctions against our God and His people.

[5] Or to use another analogy from Scripture: our swords have been beaten into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks (cf. Isa 2.4). No longer does God send His people out into the world to fight physical battles, for we have become seed sowers—spiritual farmers if you will (cf. Mark 4.3-20)—and yet our onward progress of cultural destruction towards cultural enlightenment is consistent with one who breaks up fallow ground removing the debris in order to get to the good soil of life (cf. Jer 4.3; Hos 10.12)

Posted in Christian Witness, Communication, Personal Testimony, Theology

Offering A Brief Glimpse into My Life and the Formation of My Thought

Who am I? Why am I here? What am I supposed to do with mylife? These were the questions that plagued my mind when I was in my youth. Thereason for this was because I was repeatedly told that I needed to figure outwhat I wanted to do after graduation. Was I going to college? Then I needed toknow where, and what I was going to major in. Was I going to start working?Then I needed to know where, and what trade I was willing to learn.

Having received an academic scholarship from the Universityof Charleston, in Charleston, W.V. my path seemed chosen for me. Who would passup free money to go to school? Obviously, I wasn’t a lout when it came tostudies. I’ve always been a bit of a book nerd, with a tendency to analyze(some would say “over analyze) everything. I left home a little more than twomonths after graduation (August 21st, 1997) moved into the dormitoryand began attending classes a few days later. A couple of weeks before this Ihad applied for a waiter position at a Pizza Hut about two miles down the road,so extra income was not going to be a problem.

My chosen field of study was psychology with a minor insociology. Classes were not hard, although if you were to look at my grades youmight think otherwise. In fact, before my second semester I was warned by myacademic advisor that my scholarship was about to be put on probation. Thelimitations placed on the scholarship were pretty simple, maintain a B average(I wanted to say 3.4, but I could be wrong; its been a few years). I believe Iwas around a 2.6.

There were several mitigating problems that led to thisstate.

First, I did not manage my new-found freedom very well. 

Personal Cutscene now Ensuing: For the better part of my life I had been raised in church (since about the age of 3 or 4). My dad had served in preaching ministry as a pastor in the Church of the Nazarene since the turn of the decade (early 90’s, I wanted to say 1991, but I can’t be sure). Looking back there was never a time that I doubted what I had been taught or read from the Bible.

It was at the age of 7 when Ireally became aware of the fact that I was a sinner who needed saving (I canstill remember the revival service in New Lexington, OH where I went to thealtar of my own volition—no coercion was present, my own conscience inconfliction motivated me). As a little child I cried out to Jesus to save me,acknowledging myself a sinner. However, as children are prone to do I strayedfar afield.

Theologically, we could argue whether or not I was truly saved, but that would have to be another discussion. My point right now, is that my freedom and my lack of personal motivation to serve the Lord with all my heart proved disastrous. Now, I did not walk away unscathed. My heart was continually tormented and my conscience would intermittently feel the prick of sin. Even when I seemed to grow very calloused to the things I once held dear, it seemed the Holy Spirit would put people in my path to give me a proverbial gut punch; to remind me He was still there.

My grades slipped as a result of my freedom. I spent toomuch time…well, I’ll let your imagination fill the void there…and skippingclass became the norm.

Secondly, I found that my choice of major/minor were notcompatible with my current worldview. Now I didn’t know what a worldview was atthe time, but I did know that what I was being taught in psychology andsociology did not coalesce with my thoughts on human nature and how people inthe world ought to live. There was a great divide in regards to thepresuppositions that the heads of those departments held with my own (again Ididn’t know what presuppositions were at the time either). Our differingassumptions, biases and traditions led to conflict.

Uhm…Another Brief Cutscene Ensues: The head of the psychology department was a redhead and so when his anger rose so did the color of his face. I experienced this first hand in a class he was teaching with about 30 of my peers when I challenged something he said during a lecture. I don’t believe I was confrontational, but we sometimes have a fine way of justifying the way we speak to others…so I may have been. In any event, before long he was yelling at me and finger pointing. The end of the matter being, I went to his office and told him that I would be changing my major/minor. He responded, and this is paraphrased, “Good, we don’t need people like you in this field!”

So, in the end, though I had changed my major to Education(don’t remember what I changed my minor to; political science maybe?), after mysecond semester I transferred to another school in another state and startedworking for my grandfather’s construction company in Crooksville, OH.

What happened that made this transition in my life seemnecessary? Well, during the month of May, towards the end of April, when schooldismissed I found myself alone. All of my friends had ventured back to theirperspective states. Earlier in the year, at the turn of the second semester myroommate and I had decided to get an apartment off campus. Although, the schoolattempted to dissuade us from this, citing that first-year students (i.e.freshman) needed to remain on campus, we were just as adamant that as adults wewould make our own living decisions…thank you very much!

Yeah, yeah…Here’s another one of those cutscenes: The end of the semester led to some unsettling realities. I’m a bit of a movie buff, so I went to the movies alone (remember everybody was gone). A new sci-fi thriller had come out the week before. As I sat in the theater I kept waiting for people to come in and take their seats; none did. Towards the end of the movie, the feeling of emptiness really pressed in on me. I kept thinking, I am as empty inside as this theater is.

About a week later (I think), I had one of the older guys from work buy me a case of Budweiser. I had put it on ice before my shift at Pizza Hut the day before. When my workday was done, I sat down facing the big bay window in my apartment and watched the sunset over the mountains. A truly beautiful sight to be sure, but my heart was sad. The constant refrain kept running through my mind, “Kristafal…what are you doing with your life? How long will you attempt to live without me?” Now, I’m not saying that the Lord was truly speaking in my mind here, nor am I saying that God does not speak or cannot speak in such a fashion to His creatures, but I believe a more appropriate retelling is to state that what I knew about God and myself as a created being, the Holy Spirit was bringing to the forefront of my mind.

We read the Bible to learn about God and man. We read the Bible to hear the voice of God—that is why He went to such great care in preserving it and why so much blood has been spilled that we may have access to it. We read the Bible, for that is how the Holy Spirit conditions (renews) our minds, and it is through the Bible that we hear the voice of God (cf. 1John 4.1).

At the age of 19, I was struggling with who I was, why I wasborn, and what I was supposed to be doing with my life. Those answers did notcome to fruition until late in the winter of 2004. In the month of February, I foundmyself in a movie theater once again (do you remember me mentioning that I’m abit of a movie buff?). This night I didn’t want to go, but I was invited bysome family to see Mel Gibson’s new movie The Passion of the Christ. Barringall the errors in the film theologically, and all the criticisms that you mightwant to levy at it, that movie caused a great quake to rupture through myheart.

I’m not even going to say it this time: The language of Hebrew and Aramaic broke through the darkness and weighty silence of the theater’s crowd. Every slash of the Roman whip across the back of who was supposed to be Jesus of Nazareth made my heart ache. The mockery of the Romans and the Jews, the long walk to Golgotha—the place of the Skull—the driving of the nails (spikes) into the hands and feet of Jesus, the agony displayed as he was hung upon the cross. All of these things and many more brought to life in a different way the various passages I had been taught and read over the years. My breath escaped me, each attempt to draw air into my lungs harder than the last. All I kept thinking through the snot and tears was that He bore my iniquities through the punishment He endured (cf. Isa 53). His blood (“the life is in the blood” Lev 17.11) was offered in substitution for my own—Life for life.

I could not leave that theaterwithout begging for mercy and forgiveness. “Jesus died for me! How could Ipossibly continue living my life as if this were not true?” These were thethoughts that plagued my mind and I praise the Lord for that even to this day.

Before attending this showing, I had already been attendinga small Nazarene church in Roseville, OH. My work at my grandfather’sconstruction company had ended. I was now working in Columbus, OH for acommercial HVAC company. After the showing my life experienced a dramaticchange of course.

You could not shut me up about Jesus and how He hadtransformed my life. Reading the Bible was pleasurable again, as it was when Iwas a child. I couldn’t put down God’s Word. My heart burned in similar fashionas those disciples on the road to Emmaus must have (Luke 24.13-32). When helpwas needed in the local church I was there volunteering. Before too long, I wasteaching the Teen Sunday school class. Later, I began singing in the choir andeventually performed solos. By April of 2006 I testified that I was feeling ledinto Christian ministry. The local church affirmed this, and later so did theDistrict on which our church served. I began Bible college in the fall(Nazarene Bible College, Colorado Springs, CO), eventually graduating in 2011.

On November of 2008, I accepted my first pastoral positionin Chesterhill, OH. I continued to grow in the Lord, even though I will be thefirst one to tell you and confess that I am a sinner saved by grace. I want tostress that fact that Christians are sinners. Doesn’t matter if we serve in ministryor not, there will always be a struggle with our sinful nature inherited by ourforeparents.[1]You may want to disagree with that position, but I will let you argue with theLord and His Word on that one (cf. Gal 5.16-17). Some would say, and I havebeen told, that pastors shouldn’t say that they are sinners. I disagree.

I am no different than any other person on this planet (now,past or present). What makes me different is that I have been made alive inChrist Jesus (Eph 2.5-6). Realizing that the standard is to be perfect as my heavenlyfather is perfect (Matt 5.48; cf. Lev 19.2; 20.26), that this is the true intentbehind loving the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and myneighbor as myself (how horribly short we all fall HERE!), how could I dare sayother than I am a sinner saved by grace?

Now, I was raised Wesleyan-Arminian, but I no longer hold tothose tenents. I cannot in good conscience. This was why I resigned as a pastorfrom the Church of the Nazarene, even though I was due to be ordained.[2]I am firmly resolute in my conviction in Reformed thought. I am unashamed as aCalvinist, although I would argue that John Calvin would probably roll over inhis grave if he knew that his name was being used as an identifier rather thanjust a Christian.

Why the change? Well, to be perfectly honest for far toolong I had believed things according to tradition and I had never challengedthose traditions with what the Bible taught historically, grammatically, andcontextually. Over the course of a couple years, as I served as pastor in asmall rural church, I began investigating orthodox Christian thought from thepast and comparing what they said with what I held to be true, under the lightof Scripture. The key issue for me was if I am going to be a Christian minister[3]who preaches and teaches the Word of God, where should my ultimate commitmentlie? Tradition or Scripture? Philosophy or Scripture? Science or Scripture? UnaidedReason or Scripture?

I was once told in a liberal chat session by a minister whostood well outside of what has been historically known as Christian thought,that he wished he had the conviction and passion that I did. I asked, “Why can’tyou? You have access to the same Scripture that I do.” He refused to shift histheological underpinnings, though he appreciated my own.

If it is true that in Jesus Christ are found “all thetreasures of wisdom and knowledge,” (Col 2.3; cf. 1.9-10) and if it is true thatwe as Christians are to bring “every thought captive to obey Christ” (2Cor10.5), then why would I want to understand any of the subjects mentioned abovewithout the introspective lens of Scripture guiding and correcting my understandingof them? The fact is I don’t, and I can’t see how any Christian consistently could.

Okay, but why the life story? Why the glimpse into my life?Because I want the reader to know, whoever they may be that I say the things Ido out of love. First for the Lord, and second for you. Recently I was toldabout a confrontation a person had with their doctor (psychiatrist) who is ofIndian descent (not Native American). The doctor was of the assumption thatthere may be one god, but many paths led to him which is why we see theexpression of so many religious beliefs. The individual answered, “No, there isonly one God, one truth, one way, one life. If one religion is true, then theothers are false.” That upset the doctor to no end. The person told me that whatthe doc was saying didn’t make sense anyway. He said, “there is no ‘s’ on theend of way, truth and life (ref. to John 14.6).” I praise the Lord that this memberof my church was able to speak the truth in love in a circumstance where manyothers would balk.

I confess that I may speak very passionately and strongly attimes, but my hope is that you all understand…whoever you may be…that the loveof Christ compels me. We may disagree on a multitude of subjects, and that isfine, but I want to speak the truth of the Lord in love in the hope that somemight hear and be moved to respond. The truth of the matter is this, our livesare very short, and it is not a question of “if” but of “when” we will meet ourMaker….In what state, do you want to meet Him? Apart from Jesus Christ, youwill be irrevocably lost. My prayer is that is not the case.


[1] I do believe that thisstruggle lessens somewhat as we become conformed to God’s way of thinkingrather than our own, but this battle will be present to some extent throughout our whole life.

[2] Myordination did come a couple of years later within the SBC; April 2014.

[3] Beinga Christian minister is not necessary to use this application. It should applyto all Christian thought, regardless of their position.