Where are the Christians?

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Life these days seems like every thing is going down hill, just tonight one of the high schoolers I work with said that a 7th grader is now pregnant and a freshman is now engaged. To a high schooler this is a sign of the world going crazy, but the older you get the worse the world looks. Rampant corruption, wars, senseless death, and worst of all it seems like no one cares. Now I know that some people are working hard and trying to make the world a better place, but they cannot do it all. So where are the Christians in all of this? It seems as if most of them are either being hypocritical, Christian among their Christian friends and who ever they are with everyone else, or damning everyone that they believe is going to hell. Where are the true Christians?

I do not write this because I am better than anyone, to be totally honest I just might be worse. I work with high schoolers, trying to motivate and teach them to be better people. Sadly I fail, and I fall hard. I try and yet I have rarely gone out of my “comfort zone”, I am not out there preaching the news that I believe will bring someone eternal life. Have we(I) become senseless to what we see? Yes, to be honest the world has always been bad, whats happening now has all happened before, because when we become desensitized to what is happening, when something jars us out of our comfort zone we think its because we are seeing some thing new.

So how do we stop this, can we stop this? The answer is very simple, the pain is harsh, and we will fail. We will fail because we are human, but we will change because there is a God. We fail so He may pick us up, although we fail, we will slowly fix this world. Sadly the world will be the world, humans will always be human, and God will always be God. Does this mean its all pointless? Be no means! Romans 10:14-15 states How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”. So with this in mind it doesn’t matter how much we change the world in the end, what matters is who you followed and what you did with you existence. How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news.

Even though I may be a human, and I will fail, I will try. I may not always preach but I will try to be there for people, I may hurt the cause but I will try to fix MY mistake. I will all ways try, I hope that when I die, I can say I did my best to make the world a little bit better and that I saw others do the same.

And so we believe our own lie.

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This is notes I took tonight while reading Romans chapter 1. It is my own thoughts as I read, saying so, I am only human. I strongly suggest that you read the chapter for yourself.

Romans Chapter 1.

Verses (vs.) 1-7.

Like all letters written by Paul, he opens this one up with a greeting and offers up praises to God, while solidifying the qualifications of Christ. He also says that all authority over us is given to God and that our discipleship is also through Him for His glory.

 

Vs. 8-15

Paul shows a remarkable joyfulness, in that, through the brothers and sisters in Rome the gospel is being spread. He also mentions that he always prays for them and that he longs to preach and be among them. Paul sets an amazing example for how we as Christians should act towards are brothers and sisters in Christ, they should always be in our prayers, that because they are serving Christ where ever they may be and in so spreading God’s word and glory, and that we should long to strengthen and learn with our fellow Christians.

 

Vs. 16-17

Ah verse 16, the creed of a believer. Because God’s word is so powerful that it can save anyone from eternal damnation, we have no reason to be ashamed of proclaiming it! I will be honest, I have a really hard time just stepping out and saying I am a follower of Jesus, but I pray that God will take away my timidness, take away my weakness and transforms me into a Christian who is not ashamed. When Paul mentions that “to the Jews first and also to the Greek” he is showing the progression of Christianity. Christ first appeared to His people, the Hebrews, but after His death and resurrection in Acts 1:8 (Christ’s own words) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”. After the Apostles spread across the hebrew lands, soon the word of God was brought to the gentiles (the Greeks). Does this mean that the word left the Jews? By no means! They are still His chosen people, but now us gentiles are brought into God’s fold.

Its pretty cool how through faith in jesus, God’s righteousness is shown for the strengthening of not only our faith but the faith of those around us. Which makes for a never ending circle of strengthening and a growth in faith, and for a true Christian I can think of no better reward.

 

Vs. 18-23

Disclaimer. For anyone reading this who is new to the faith or not a believer in Christ, this passage and several others will probably not make a lot of sense and seem hard and cruel. The first time I truly thought about it, I struggled with it. Yes you should still read it, but you got to have complete faith in God through out reading it.

In our sin we will suppress what we know to be true, that we are sinners and that what we do is horrible and wrong, hence why there is no peace in the world and its a generally a messed up place. Because we suppress God’s truth we all deserve His wrath and eternal separation from Him. See no one can truly say that do not know there is a God and truths about Him. You can clearly see God’s divine nature, His holiness, perfection, and glory, while also seeing His power, creation of the world and everything in it and His control of of everything that, has been done, is being done, and will be done. Anyone who breathes air, feels the air and touches earth, who sees all of natures splendor, is seeing God’s work. So we have no excuse.

And thus we see our plight. Through out the ages people have know the truth but they prefer to believe that they are in control, they know whats right. And in so have sinned and fallen into foolishness. We believe that either, we, a creature, nature, or all of it is “god”, thus putting our fake “god” is a controllable box.

 

Vs. 24-25

Because of our pride and foolishness God gave us over to sin, a fate worse than a physical pain and death, but we all deserve it. We ruined our lives, our planet, our hearts and minds, all for a lie. A lie that hides the fact that we are covered in sin, a spiritual tar pit, and that standing right next to us is God waiting for us to give up the lie and accept Him. Funny how Paul sums it up, “for we served the creature, rather than the Creator”, sad.

 

Vs. 26-27

Disclaimer. This passage deals with homosexuality. First, do I believe its a sin, yes, BUT so is lying, pride, lust, and so on. Second, I will never damn any unbeliever for being a homosexual, their is no difference between me when I was not saved and them, I cannot damn them for they do not know Jesus personally yet.

In the hebrew and a lot of eastern cultures homosexuality is very looked down upon, seen as the ultimate debauchery, the lowest of the low. Paul is showing the severity of the lie we believe, and how far we have fallen.

 

Vs. 28-32

Paul goes on in these verses to list sins that we do, it sobers me to read them and see how many I struggle with on a daily basis, a relationship with Christ is not easy, it was never suppose to, but when you realize who Christ is, it is completely worth it. We all know that what we do is wrong, but we still do it, and in fact we support and gladly approve of ours and others sin.

 

 

Well this is chapter 1, seems like a kinda hopeless chapter, but its always dark before dawn rises.

Deus Volente

A personal walk through Romans 6

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Chapter 6.

 

  1. Paul distinctly points out that just because God can turn bad (sin) into something good and that our testimony is shown how God brought us out of sin, that we are not to sin so that God’s grace may abound.
  2. When we die to sin, it should remain dead. Just like a snake cannot live in its dead skin, we as Christians should cast of our old dead skin (sin) and we cannot wear it again. Point: We all sin, we are humans, but I think Paul is saying those who proclaim to be Christians but still live in their old skin are at fault. It could also be that because we are humans and are doomed to sin that Paul is showing our need for continual repentance.
  3. Because Jesus died (therefore baptized into death) to cleanse us of sin, when we are baptized into Him we not only do so into His blood (His death) but also we “die” with Him.
  4. Since we “die” with Christ, we are also buried with Him. Christ was resurrected for God’s glory, so we also walk in our new lives for His glory!
  5. Again Paul says that since we died with Him we are resurrected! And that it happens no matter what.
  6. Our old self (i.e. In-slaved to sin) dies with Christ in-order that its power would no longer have a hold in our lives.
  7. Again through death we are free.
  8. Since we have died to sin, we are free to live with Jesus, both now and forever.
  9. Since Jesus died and rose again, He will NEVER die again. Death has no hold on Him, in fact He holds complete dominion over death!
  10. Christ took every sin that was ever committed, is committed, and will be committed and died to it. Because of this His eternity is for the Father (God).
  11. So we must die with Christ, so that we may live again. And through this life in Christ we now live for God.
  12. Paul offers a warning, if you truly died, we should not let sin have control over our decisions. Paul uses the word passions, probably one of the most dangerous words in existence. Most passions are spur of the moment decisions, with little thought or time spent on why we do it, passion rarely lasts for a while. It comes and goes, like the tide. God asks more than just passion out of us.
  13. (From what I’ve read members means your body, mostly mind, heart, and soul.) We Must remember that in this new life with God, our whole life is one big sacrifice or show. (By show I mean as in a play, the actors give it their all, the obey the director with all their being. The whole play is for the pleasure of the benefactor (The trinity)and the audience (the world)). Since God gave us this life we should not let our gift be wasted in sin but used as an instrument for the vessel of His glory.
  14. In a life fully given to God, sin really has no hold over us. The law showed we were lost to sin, we could never leave it, but God’s grace delivers us from sin and the law that condemns us.
  15. Paul takes away any argument that because we were delivered from the law and that we are completely cleansed from sin through grace, that we have a excuse of free ticket to sin.
  16. Paul illustrates this with being a slave, we as slaves choose our master. And there is ONLY TWO CHOICES. You can be a slave to sin and the spiritual damnation or a slave that is obedient to God, thus saving us eternally.
  17. Not only does completely dying to sin save us, but it instills in us a longing to obey, learn and serve God. And this type of heart makes us truly want to uphold God’s perfect law and serve His glory. Point: This may be why when I (and I should hope all Christians) sin that I feel so lost from God, my heart deviated from the heart God instilled in me.
  18. This passage reinforces Paul’s message.
  19. Paul makes the point that He is giving this message as plainly as possible, because of our growing faith in God and that we are after all still human. As we once showed the world our own written play (i.e. Our sinful and lawless side) we should now let God write and direct the play and that it would show His glory.
  20. Paul shows the reason so many deny Christ, when you are slaves to sin you are not righteous and therefore have no problem living in sin, you might have guilt but they will try to lock it way.
  21. For when we are living our new life, we become ashamed of our lives in sin, seeing as it produced no fruit only death.
  22. Now that we are saved we do produce fruit and God feeds us His holy fruit (His word and plan for our lives), which in turn leads to the sanctification of our lives and brings us to eternity with Him.
  23. Paul ends this part by hitting it completely out of the park. If our play is written in sin we will be payed with eternal damnation, but all it takes is the acceptance of God’s free gift to die with His son. He will the raise us up and give us a new life in which He will write and guide His play and we will be payed with eternal life with Him.
I write this as I read my bible, it is my own thoughts while reading. I strongly recommend reading Romans 6 yourself and seeing what the Lord will say to you.
Deus volente.

My support letter for the Jericho trip

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To my dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

I am writing this letter to you in the glory, love, and grace of God our father. I pray that you are doing well these days and that God’s glory is being shown to the world through you. God has been merciful to me these last few years, in that He has been allowing me to serve Him among the students of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) and to the local communities, while giving me the grace to grow spiritually in His word.

This July 28th through August 9th, I will undertake a mission trip with Belle Aire Baptist Church of Murfreesboro, TN in partnership with the International Mission Board (IMB). I cannot disclose the location of this trip, but it will be in South Asia in an area code named Jericho. Because Christianity is forbidden and persecuted in this area, we will not be able to evangelize openly. However we will be able to strengthen and disciple the local Christians, as well as work with the people in the area.

I ask that you would consider partnering with me financially. I have a set goal of $1,600, which I am working toward, I humbly ask for your help in making this goal possible. I also ask for your prayers and blessings this summer as God leads me to these areas. Please pray that I may effectively show God’s perfect glory and love to these peoples, in hopes of furthering His kingdom. Also please keep in mind the many summer college missionaries going on their trips as well, that they may also show God’s love, glory, and mercy!

May the Lord bless you,

Hakon Pankratz

 

P.S. All donations can be considered tax deductible, just make a check out to Belle Aire  Baptist Church, with the memo space blank.

I’m Back!

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July 7th, 2011

 

Dear friends,

On June 4th, at 4:00 pm I arrived in Nashville TN from a week long mission trip to Reynosa Mexico. However in order to have a ending, every story must have a beginning, and this story started at 8:00 am on May 30th. That morning the Mexico mission team left the Nashville airport bound for Fort Worth, TX airport, the team consisted of; Glenn Wallace the team leader and director of the MTSU BCM, Casey Clift, Kelsey Potts, Brittany Jones, Elizabeth Wittmore, Haley Parks, and myself.  From Fort Worth we headed by plane to McAllen airport, located in McAllen TX, we were then met by the director of UTRI (Upon This Rock International, its pronounced u-tree) where we were then taken to the UTRI compound in Alamo TX.

The next day we crossed the border into Reynosa, Mexico and proceeded to an orphanage. At the orphanage Glenn and I were put to work filling in ditches dug for a septic system, while the rest of the team painted the orphanage.  After spending the rest of the day playing with the kids and helping around the orphanage, we sadly said good bye to the kids and headed to a house church within Reynosa. That Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night the team presented a VBS/back yard bible club to the kids in the community. We taught bible stories to about 50 or so kids, many songs were sung in Spanish, crafts and games were done with the little niños. Interestingly the favorite game was “Americano futball” or American football, keeping up with them was tough but amazingly fun. On the last night of the bible club it was hard to leave their smiling faces, they cried and chased our bus as we left, and I remember each of them fondly.

During the day on Wednesday and Thursday, we had the opportunity to paint a church in Mexico. Over the 2 days, we painted every room except for the sanctuary, but we did do some touch ups and other needed repairs to the building. We were informed by the Pastor that one of the rooms we painted was the youth room and that they had wanted to paint the room for years, through us they now had a brightly painted room! On the last day in Mexico we were given the opportunity to visit Nuevo Progreso, which is a tourist town with many shops. Here I found that many Mexicans believe that tourists always need bootleg movies (mostly in spanish), dentists, and pharmaceutical drugs, I make this assumption because I counted around 15 dentistry’s, 10 pharmaceuticals, and 7 movie stands on a street about 3 blocks long!

This trip made me think a lot, I got to see the parallels and differences between our culture and theirs. Community and family are very important in Mexico and their warmth towards us as fellow Christians is very heart warming. God and me had a lot of time to talk, and by talk I mean that I had time to listen to His words, in doing so spiritual growth was insured, I realized that time is extremely important and that time needs to be made for God and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Also it was pointed out that due to media hype, many Churches have stopped mission activities into Mexico. Fellow Christians, yes parts of Mexico are dangerous but they still need our love and fellowship, please let us not neglect our brothers and sisters who are serving there and the Christians in Mexico. I hope to return to Mexico during the spring break ’12 trip and serve our spiritual family there. Also I am still a few hundred dollars short of the South Asia trip, however I thank you VERY much for your support that has been already given, you have been a tremendous blessing!

Sincerely yours,

Hakon Pankratz

The Reason

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Hi!

First of all my name is Hakon Pankratz, but you can call me Hawk. Now I’m not your run of the mill bloggers, I don’t write because I’m angry or misunderstood, neither am I concerned about politics or other useless things happening in the world today. The reason I write is to inform my supporters, churches, and friends about things that happened or will happen on any local and foreign mission trips. In making this blog I have several goals.

1- To give all the glory, for mission trips and anything else I may post, to God. If I start to deviate from this goal please remind me of my purpose.

2- To grow in maturity in Christ and my knowledge of Him.

3- To inform people undertaken missions.

4- To inspire others to serve God and to grow in Him.

Other goals will probably appear over time but these are the main ones. Thank you to all who might read this or continue to read my posts.

May the Lord bless you and keep you!

Hawk

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