Friday, December 15, 2006

The Humor in Parody

Now why are those four video clip parodies so funny?

Is it because we see so many "Christians" act that way...or can you be serious and admit that you've acted that way too!?

Reflect on it a little, I despise the word "Christian".

Friday, December 08, 2006

I'm a Christ Follower (Mac vs. PC Parody) Part 01
I'm a Christ Follower (Mac vs. PC Parody) Part 02
I'm a Christ Follower (Mac vs. PC Parody) Part 03
I'm a Christ Follower (Mac vs. PC Parody) Part 04

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tony vs. Paul

Cool stop-motion battle between two friends who became enemies.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

How to pick locks?!

Check out this dandy search on YouTube:

How to pick locks courtesy of YouTube

Notice there are over 280 videos on YouTube showing you how to pick locks!

How many kids are watching these and trying them? Notice the first clip has been viewed almost 20,000 times. Keep in mind...most of the techniques don't show any sign of forced entry - so your insurance probably wouldn't cover you if you get robbed by a lock picker.

Complain to YouTube here.

This qualifies as pretty irresponsible use of our right to "free speech". Check out some of the comments on the clips. "I tried it on my neighbor's front door, it worked great! Thanks!".

Friday, November 17, 2006

An adventure?

God gave me a new name about seven months ago at a Wild At Heart Bootcamp (April 2006). If you haven't read Wild At Heart - the very thought of God giving you a "name" (other than the one you were given at birth) might not make much sense to you.

In a nutshell: There is a much bigger picture, a much bigger "adventure" if you will than the little one we see around us. God wants us to live towards that bigger picture, with His help, he wants us to start to see that adventure for what it is and to live it. Much of that bigger picture involves Spiritual Warfare and certainly that bigger picture is an adventure we can live. It's an adventure that God wants us to live in order to fulfill his desires for us for our life.

The name that God spoke to me seven months ago is "Defender of the Helpless, Father to the Fatherless". There is a lot of history and build up to God giving me that name...I'll detail that in another blog entry somewhere down the road. I had to blog what happened this morning, so I'll remember it clearly and hopefully capture the power of what happened.

I have been praying and listening intently to understand how God would want me to live out that name. I know it has to do with kids obviously. I really didn't know if it would be working with kids, adopting, fostering, working with discarded teens...ALL of those categories have a big place in my heart.

I'm on the way in to work this morning, my wife and I commute together every day about 50 minutes one way. We were running late and just caught the very end of the Allistair Begg radio broadcast. I start thumbing through a bunch of CD's I've got in the car looking for one on called "Fighting for the Hearts of Your Children". I couldn't find it, so I'm scrambling to find another one - meanwhile my wife is getting aggitated because I'm trying to drive and find the CD at the same time.

I relent...just as the Focus on the Family radio program starts. It is the second part of the testimony of a lady that was adopted by a missionary family in Korea. The testimony is incredible, and is just finishing up when I drop my wife off.

I head off to my office and the announcer comes on talking about the testimony and gives some stats about adoption and fostering, etc. He then moves on to talk about a resource about adoption and our heart's attitude toward it...the book is called "Fields of the Fatherless". The title hit me like a punch in the stomach, it really, really got my attention (remember part of my name is "Father to the Fatherless").

The announcer then continues a few more lines and then says something like "this is of such great need and concern because these children have no one to DEFEND them" (DEFENDER of the Helpless). is God calling me out or what? this time I'm crying and praising God for reminding me in such a powerful way. I committed again and again, yes Lord - I will do it, just show me WHAT to do.

I come in to work and share it with a few close brothers on the phone, then I pop up my IM client and share it with a brother out in California (another Keith). He's freaking out because while I'm typing, he was on the phone with another guy who was sharing HIS heart about adoption and fostering.

Wow. I just can't begin to put this all into context...

"Lord God - I desperately want to DO what you ask of me. I want to know your will for me. I will do it - make it clear and I will do it. What is the adventure you have for me? Who does it involve? Where do I go? Who shall I DEFEND, who shall I FATHER?"

Friday, November 10, 2006

Burn a US Flag Today!

Thank a Veteran tomorrow or this weekend for training, sacrificing, fighting and even dying to give you that right should you choose to!

What is Veteran's day? Ever really think about what it means or is it just another day off? And since it falls on Saturday this year - many people/students even get Friday the 10th off. What happened to our national sense of pride and unity when it comes to this day? How many people simply have a BBQ, go to a parade and simply just have another selfish day?

Do you know that the origins of "Veteran's Day" go back to WWI, it was called Armistice Day back then in rememberance of the day (November 11, 1918) that the Germans signed the "Armistice", calling a cease fire and a final end to the hostilities of WWI.

Nearly the entire WORLD celebrated the peace that day.

One year later in 1919, President Wilson issued his Armistice Day proclomation, and closing his speech:

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nation."

In 1927 that Congress moved to make the day an annual observance, but it wasn't until 1938 that a bill was passed to make it officially "Armistice Day". For YEARS, during this official holiday at 11am - all traffic would stop in most towns, a 21 gun canon salute would be followed by Taps and tears would flow!

After WWII, we had many NEW veterans of a new war that were not associated with "Armistice Day". In 1953 a great little town called Emporia Kansas held the very first "Veteran's Day" observance on "Armistice Day" act of congress the next year in 1954 the entire nation celebrated "Veteran's Day".

In October of 1954, President Eisenhower called on all citizens to observe the day by remembering the sacrifices of all those who fought so gallantly, and through rededication to the task of promoting an enduring peace. The President referred to the change of name to Veterans' Day in honor of the servicemen of all America's wars.

Who will you thank this weekend? How will YOU remember the courage, bravery and dedication of those that gave you this FREE country and the right to burn a US flag if you're so inclined?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Happy Election Day!

While walking down the street one day a US senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the man.

"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the senator.

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules."

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a lush green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other deceased politicians who had worked with him throughout his life.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had doing "such great and honorable service to their fellow human beings on earth".

They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises...

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.

"Now it's time to visit heaven."

So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls walking the streets of gold, singing and praising God and learning the wonders of God's creation. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

"Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity."

The senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell."

"Are you sure" asks St. Peter? "Yes" says the senator.

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

Now the doors of the elevator open and the senator is blasted by intense heat and the acrid burning smell of sulfur assaults his nose and lungs. He's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends battered, bloody and bruised, dressed in rags, up to their waste in filth and excrement, screams of tortured agony rip through the air as demons fly around taunting and beating on them.

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.

"I, I don't understand," stammers the senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a gorgeous golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's...there's this?"

The devil looks at him, smiles and says...

"Yesterday we were campaigning. This morning you voted."

Friday, November 03, 2006

Pastor Ted...shock and awe wake up call.

What happened here?

I can't imagine the pain and guilt Ted is going through right now. That's one heck of a fall...and why is that fall coming from such a height? That is a core problem with many, many church go-ers - the pastor becomes so far removed from the attendees, he's done SO much for his public and the congregation, his speaking is "so good", he's so "perfect" in the eyes of the congregation - that the church body itself builds him onto this giant golden pedestel (the larger the church the greater the effect in this regard). Dare I even say they almost seem to worship and adore the pastor, looking to the pastor often times before looking to Jesus?

Were 14,000 church members duped by a swindling, lying, cheating shepherd?

Not at all. When are "christians" going to get their mind and hearts around the FACT that Pastors are no less fallible and no less flawed than the people they lead?! The do have a higher calling, they'll ultimately be held to a higher standard at judgement - but THEY'RE HUMAN beings just like you and me.

This should be a wake up and smell the coffee call. Everyone out there that calls him/herself a "christian" (I hate that term)...your pastor and leadership are no less fallible, no less human and no less a sinner than you are. Get it through your heads. Stop building them up into something they're not. Don't "gladhand" them, pumping their hands in humble thanks for their awesome service and words all the time. Come alongside them in strength, have the boldness to remind them that they're human, remind them in words and action.

Meet with your pastor for lunch, have him over for dinner, call him on the phone...but don't butter him up, don't suck up, don't do it to rub shoulders with him! He needs real friends, he needs ACCOUNTABILITY, he needs real people, treating him like a real person waging the same battles that he's fighting all the time! Look him dead in the eye, right through to his heart and ask him "So, honestly, how's your walk"?

Of course...the flip side of that - you've got to be dead on real and honest to him, earn his trust by being real and honest.

Did Pastor Ted have a rock solid "Band of Brothers" type of accountability/warrior brotherhood around him? I don't know, I do know that it's VITALLY important that we don't go it alone, that it's vitally important that we be crystal clear transparent to a small cadre of guys that we'd trust our lives with - for it is virtually identical to slugging it out in the trenches at Normandy.

Pastor Ted - I'm drawing my sword to go to battle with you and for you right now.

Get REAL with your pastors. If they can't or won't be real with you...there might already be something wrong...

Big Beef of the Day: I still have a big problem with KUSA and the TIMING of their release! The accuser notified the press of the wrong-doings TWO MONTHS ago, yet you wait until 5 days before the election to SQUEEZE the most possible damage out of an already damaging situation? Come on "main stream media"...where's the honesty and integrity and your desire to get the story to the public when the story breaks?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pastor Ted Haggard - GAY?

I'll bet that got your attention.

The allegations hit the headlines last night/yesterday. A guy in Denver (Mike Jones) is claiming to have had a three year homosexual "sex for hire" relationship with Pastor Ted - even to have seen Pastor Ted use meth in his presence.

Pastor Ted Haggard is the founder and pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs (around 14,000 attendees). New Life is one of the larger mega-churches in the world, Pastor Ted is also a very powerful force in the world of global evangelism. He is also rightly vocal and steadfast about political issues from the believer's standpoint.

I am NOT a member or attendee of New Life Church - I prefer smaller churches. I'm not necessarily even a Ted Haggard "fan". There are however a few things bugging me about this set of allegations...

Red Flag Number One: Mike Jones supposedly reported this to KUSA in Denver over two months ago...and the media machine decides to blow the whistle just five days before the elections? Oh how I do love the media and their so called "honest motives". What do the elections have to do with this? Ammendment 43 proposes to define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, Referendum I is for Domestic Partnership

Green Flag Number One: Pastor Ted gave a very, very open and honest interview to KUSA concerning the allegations. Kudos to Pastor Ted for handling this very quickly, directly and with such a calm and loving response. The interview runs over twelve minutes long and can be seen here:
Pastor Ted's KUSA Interview (12 minutes 29 seconds)

Green Flag Number Two: New Life Church has already contacted an independant investigative board to do a full review of the matter. I don't pretend to know all the details about the independant board. From what I gather so far, it is indeed independant and it will conduct a full investigation including a full interview of the accuser...and it also has the authority to discipline, even fire Pastor Ted based on it's findings. Let's hope and pray in all honesty they find the allegations completely false and baseless and are able to quickly exxonerate Pastor Ted.

When you stick your neck out in the name of the Kingdom of God - there will be plenty of people swinging axes to tear you down. Sure, the allegations could be true. Let's leave the judgment to the independant board.

Don't sweat this kinda crap...for didn't Jesus say we'd be persecuted in his name and to REJOICE IN IT when it happens?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Holy Violence

Holy Violence

This is not an easy read. Take 20 minutes and soak this in. I guarantee you'll either be totally consumed and convicted by it...or you'll start reading, get convicted and put it down because it hit you too hard.

Matthew 11:12 (King James Translation) "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."
Clarke's Commentary on Matthew 11:12:
"He that will get possession of the kingdom of righteousness, peace, and spiritual joy, must be in earnest: all hell will oppose him in every step he takes; and if a man be not absolutely determined to give up his sins and evil companions, and have his soul saved at all hazards, and at every expense, he will surely perish everlastingly. This requires a violent earnestness."
What does it mean then to be "violent"? Interestingly, one of the only translations that does not use "violence/violent" is the NIV translation. If you take the time to look up the Hebrew root words (see below!) used in that very will find that "violence/violent" is a much closer and more honest match to the original intent of the writer.

What then is the meaning of "violent/violence" in this context? The compact Oxford dictionary breaks it down simply and directly as "very intense, forceful, or powerful". NOTE: Holy Violence has absolutely NOTHING to do with physical violence or force. What Jesus was speaking of was a very intense, forceful, powerful and intentional personal Holiness required to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Does that spark an interest? Read on......

More contemporary definitions of "Violence":
* 1 marked by bursts of force or intense activity
* 2 extreme in degree, power, or effect
* 3 marked by great and often stressful excitement or activity
* Synonyms: explosive, ferocious, fierce, furious, hot, rabid, rough, stormy, tempestuous, turbulent, volcanic
* Related Words: brutal, savage, vicious; antagonistic, hostile; aggressive, assertive, bellicose, belligerent, combative, contentious, gladiatorial, quarrelsome; frantic, frenzied, mad; destructive, ruinous
* Near Antonyms: calm, pacific, serene, tranquil; nonbelligerent, unaggressive, unassertive
* Antonyms: nonviolent, peaceable, peaceful.
Therefore, think about a walk of faith or "Holiness" that is intense, ferocious, explosive, powerful, extreme, assertive and even gladiatorial. Now to break down the original Greek forms of "violent" in the verse:

Mat 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence,971 and the violent973 take it by force.
* G971, From G970; to force, that is, (reflexively) to crowd oneself (into), or (passively) to be seized: - press, suffer violence.
* G973, From G971; a forcer, that is, (figuratively) energetic: - violent. Here are more related verses concerning the action of being, intense, forceful, powerful and passionate about our faith:
Luk 13:24 Strive75 to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
* G75, From G73; to struggle, literally (to compete for a prize), figuratively (to contend with an adversary), or generally (to endeavor to accomplish something): - fight, labor fervently, strive.
Luk 16:15-16 15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. 16 The law and the prophets were until John since that time the kingdom932 of God is preached, and every man presseth971 into it.
* G971, From G970; to force, that is, (reflexively) to crowd oneself (into), or (passively) to be seized: - press, suffer violence.
Various Commentaries on Matthew 11:12
Mat 11:12 And from the days of John - That is, from the time that John had fulfilled his ministry, men rush into my kingdom with a violence like that of those who are taking a city by storm.
An importunate (troublesomely urgent or persistent in requesting) multitude. This violence denotes a strength, and vigour, and earnestness of desire and endeavour, in those who followed John's ministry, else they would not have come so far to attend upon it. It shows us also, what fervency and zeal are required of all those who design to make heaven of their religion. Note, They who would enter into the kingdom of heaven must strive to enter; that kingdom suffers a holy violence; self must be denied, the bent and bias, the frame and temper, of the mind must be altered; there are hard sufferings to be undergone, a force to be put upon the corrupt nature; we must run, and wrestle, and fight, and be in an agony, and all little enough to win such a prize, and to get over such opposition from without and from within. The violent take it by force. They who will have an interest in the great salvation are carried out towards it with a strong desire, will have it upon any terms, and not think them hard, nor quit their hold without a blessing, Gen_32:26.

Genesis 32:26 (New International Version) 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."

They who will make their calling and election sure must give diligence. The kingdom of heaven was never intended to indulge the ease of triflers, but to be the rest of them that labour. It is a blessed sight; Oh that we could see a greater number, not with an angry contention thrusting others out of the kingdom of heaven, but with a holy contention thrusting themselves into it!
Matthew Henry Concise:
Multitudes were wrought upon by the ministry of John, and became his disciples. And those strove for a place in this kingdom, that one would think had no right nor title to it, and so seemed to be intruders. It shows us what fervency and zeal are required of all. Self must be denied; the bent, the frame and temper of the mind must be altered. Those who will have an interest in the great salvation, will have it upon any terms, and not think them hard, nor quit their hold without a blessing. The things of God are of great and common concern. God requires no more from us than the right use of the faculties he has given us. People are ignorant, because they will not learn.

And now the Sermon that was written/spoken nearly 150 years ago on this very subject. A sermon that speaks volumes into eradicating complacency and apathy from the pathetically weak contemporary church that lives to grow in numbers, but not in strength of heart, truth and passion toward God.

Holy Violence
May 15th, 1859
"From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force,"—Matthew 11:12.

When John the Baptist preached in the wilderness of Judea, the throng of people who pressed around him became extremely violent to get near enough to hear his voice. Often when our Saviour preached did the like scene occur. We find that the multitudes were immense beyond all precedent. He seemed to drain every city, every town, and every village, as he went along preaching the word of the gospel. These people, moreover, not like our common church-and-chapel-goers,—content to hear, if they could, and yet more content to keep without hearing, if it were possible,—were extremely earnest to get near enough to hear anyhow. So intense was their desire to hear the Saviour that they pressed upon him, insomuch that they trod one upon another. The crowd became so violent to approach his person, that some of the weaker ones were cast down and trodden upon. Now, our Saviour, when he witnessed all this struggling round about to get near him, said, "This is just a picture of what is done spiritually by those who will be saved. As you press and throng about me," said Christ, "and thrust one another, with arm and elbow, to get within reach of my voice, even so must it be if ye would be saved, 'For the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.'" He pictured to himself a crowd of souls desiring to get to the living Saviour. He saw them press, and crowd, and throng, and thrust, and tread on one another, in their anxious desire to get at him. He warned his hearers, that unless they had this earnestness in their souls, they would never reach him savingly; but if they had it, they should certainly be saved. "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."

"But," says one, "do you wish us to understand, that if a man is to be saved he must use violence and vehement earnestness in order to obtain salvation?" I do, most assuredly; that is the doctrine of the text. "But," says one, "I thought it was all the work of God." So it is, from first to last. But when God has begun the work in the soul, the constant effect of God's work in us is to set us working; and where God's Spirit is really striving with us, we shall begin to strive too. This is just a test whereby we may distinguish the men who have received the Spirit of God, from those who have not received it. Those who have received the Spirit in verity and truth are violent men. They have a violent anxiety to be saved, and they violently strive that they may enter in at the strait gate. Well they know that seeking to enter in is not enough, for many shall seek to enter in but shall not be able, and therefore do they strive with might and main.

I shall this morning, first, direct your attention to these violent men. Look at them. Secondly, we shall show their conduct. What makes them so violent? Are they justified in this impetuous vehemence? We shall next rejoice in the fact, that they are sure to be successful in their violence. And then, I shall endeavour to arouse in your hearts, by the help of God's Holy Spirit, that holy violence, without which the gates of heaven will be shut in your teeth, and you will never be able to enter the pearly portals of Paradise.

I. First then, LET US LOOK AT THESE VIOLENT MEN. Understand that what they are, they have been made by divine grace. They are not so naturally of themselves. But there has been a secret work of grace in them, and then they have become violent men. Look at these violent men, who are violently in earnest to be saved. You will observe them when they come up to the house of God; there is no yawning with them, no listlessness or inattention, no imagination that if they do but sit in the place the hour-and-a-half which is regularly allotted to divine worship, they will have done enough. No; they hear with both their ears, and they look with both their eyes, and all through the service they have an intense desire that they may find Christ. Meet them as they go up to the house of prayer, and ask them why they are going there. They know right well what they are going after. "I am going there to find mercy, and to find peace and rest to my soul; for I am in anguish about sin, and I want to find the Saviour; I am in hopes that being in the way the Lord will meet with me, so I am about to lay myself down by the side of the pool of Bethesda, in the hope that the Holy Spirit will stir the pool and enable me to step in." You do not find these people like the most of modern hearers, critical, or else careless. No; they are all awake to see whether there is not something to be had which may be a balm to their wearied spirits, and a cordial to their troubled breasts. Mark these violent people after they have gone home. They go to their chambers and they begin to pray; not that prayer between sleeping and waking that some of you are used to attend to, not that drowsy supplication which never gets beyond the ceiling of your bedroom; but they fall on their knees and with a holy anxiety they begin to cry, "Lord, save or I perish; O Lord save me; I am ready to perish, Lord; I beseech thee, stretch out thine hand and rescue my poor soul from that destruction which now haunts my spirit." And see them after they have prayed, how they turn over the Word of God. They do not read its chapters as if the mere looking at the letters was enough, but they read just as Watts says in his hymn,
"Yet save a trembling sinner, Lord,
Whose hope, still hovering round thy word
Would light on some sweet promise there,
Some sure support against despair."

And down they are on their knees again. "O Lord speak to my soul through thy word! Lord help me to lay hold on the promise, enable me to grasp it! Oh, let not my soul perish for lack of thy help and thy grace."And then see these violent men whom God has really made in earnest about being saved. You will not find them leaving their devotions in their closets, or in their house of prayer. Wherever they go there is a solemn earnestness upon them, which the world cannot understand. They are seeking after Jesus, and rest they neither will nor can until they find him. Their nights are disturbed with dreams, and their days are made sad with their pantings after the blessing—without which they cannot live, and without which they dare not die.

My hearer, have you ever been one of these violent men, or are you so now? Blessed be God if this holy violence is in your spirit: you shall take heaven by force yet; you shall take it by storm, and carry the gates of heaven by the battery of your prayers. Only persevere with importunity; still plead, still wrestle, still continue to strive, and you must at length prevail. But ah! my hearer, if thou hast never had a strong unconquerable anxiety about thy soul, thou art as yet a stranger to the things of God. Thou dost not understand that violence victorious without which the gates of heaven never can be stormed. Some of us can look back to the time when we were seeking Christ. I could myself awake of a morning easily then. The first ray of light that came into my chamber would awaken me to take up Baxter's Call to the Unconverted that lay under my pillow. I believed I had not repented enough, and I began to read that. Oh! how I hoped that would break my heart. And then I would get Doddridge's Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul, and Allen's Alarm, and read them. But, still, I think I might have read them to this day, and not been a whit the better, if I had not something better than alarm, in remembering that Christ came into the world to save every sinner who was willing to cast himself upon his blood and righteousness, and take him at his word, and trust God. Have ye not seen many—and are there not many among us—men who have said, "I must have mercy, I must have it: it is not a thing which I may have, or may not have; but I am a lost soul if I have it not?" And when they have gone to pray they have seemed like Samsons; they have got hold of the two posts of heaven's gate of mercy, and they have pulled as if they would pull them up by their eternal roots sooner than not get the blessing. They have hammered at the gates of heaven until it seemed as if they would split the golden bolts rather than be turned away. No man ever gets peace until he gets into such a passion of earnestness to be saved, that he cannot find peace until Christ speaks pardon to his soul, and brings him into life and liberty. "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."

But this violence does not end when a man finds Christ; it then begins to exercise itself in another way. The man who is pardoned, and who knows it, then becomes violently in love with Christ. He does not love him just a little, but he loves him with all his soul and all his might. He feels as if he could wish to die for Christ, and his heart pants to be able to live alone with his Redeemer, and serve him without interruption. Mark such a man who is a true Christian, mark his prayers, and you will see there is violence in all his supplications when he pleads for the souls of men. Mark his outward actions, and they are violently sincere, violently earnest. Mark him when he preaches: there is no dull droning out of a monotonous discourse, he speaks like a man who means what he says, and who must speak it, or else woe would be unto him if he preached not the gospel. As I look around on many of the churches, yea, on many members of my own church, I am apt to fear that they are not God's children at all, because they have nothing of this holy violence. Have ye ever read Coleridge's Ancient Mariner? I dare say you have thought it one of the strongest imaginations ever put together, especially that part where the old mariner represents the corpses of all the dead men rising up,—all of them dead, yet rising up to manage the ship; dead men pulling the ropes, dead men steering, dead men spreading the sails. I thought what a strange idea that was. But do you know I have lived to see that true: I have seen it done. I have gone into churches and I have seen a dead man in the pulpit, and a dead man as a deacon, and a dead man holding the plate at the door, and dead men sitting to hear. You say "Strange!" but I have. I have gone into societies, and I have seen it all going on so regularly. These dead men, you know, never overstep the bounds of prudence,—not they: they have not life enough to do that. They always pull the rope orderly, "as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen." And the dead man in the pulpit, is he not most regular and precise? He systematically draws his handkerchief from his pocket, and uses it just at the regular period, in the middle of the sermon. He would not think of violating a single rubric that has been laid down by his old-fashioned church. Well, I have seen these churches—I know where to point them out—and have seen dead men doing everything. "No," says one, "you can't mean it?" Yes, I do, the men were spiritually dead. I have seen the minister preaching, without a particle of life, a sermon, which is only fresh in the sense in which a fish is fresh when it has been packed in ice. I have seen the people sit, and they have listened as if they had been a group of statues—the chiseled marble would have been as much affected by the sermon as they I have seen the deacons go about their business just as orderly, and with as much precision as if they had been mere automatons, and not men with hearts and souls at all. Do you think God will ever bless a church that is like that? Are we ever to take the kingdom of heaven with a troop of dead men? Never! We want living ministers, living hearers, living deacons, living elders, and until we have such men who have got the very fire of life burnings in their souls, who have got tongues of life, and eyes of life, and souls of life, we shall never see the kingdom of heaven taken by storm. "For the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."

Frequently complaints are made and surprise expressed by individuals who have never found a blessing rest upon anything they have attempted to do in the service of God. "I have been a Sunday-school teacher for years," says one, "and I have never seen any of my girls or boys converted." No, and the reason most likely is, you have never been violent about it; you have never been compelled by the Divine Spirit to make up your mind that converted they should be, and no stone should be left unturned until they were. You have never been brought by the Spirit to such a passion, that you have said, "I cannot live unless God bless me; I cannot exist unless I see some of these children saved." Then, falling on your knees in agony of prayer, and putting forth afterwards your trust with the same intensity towards heaven, you would never have been disappointed, "for the violent take it by force." And you too, my brother in the gospel, you have marveled and wondered why you have not seen souls regenerated. Did you ever expect it? Why, you preach like one who does not believe what he is saying. Those who believe in Christ, may say of you with kind partiality, "Our minister is a dear good man;" but the careless young men that attend your ministry, say, "Does that man expect to make me believe that which he only utters as a dry story, and to convince me when I see him go through the service with all the dullness and monotony of dead routine?" Oh, my brethren, what we want today in the churches is violence, not violence against each other, but violence against death, and hell, against the hardness of other men's hearts, and against the sleepiness of our own. In Martin Luther's time, truly the kingdom of heaven suffered violence. The whole religious world was wide awake. Now, I fear for the most part it is sound asleep. Go where you may, our churches have come to be old-established businesses. They do not care to extend themselves. We must have new blood, nay, we must have new fire from heaven to fall upon the sacrifice, or else, like Baal's priests, we may cut and hack our bodies, and distract our minds in vain; there will be "no voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regardeth." The sacrifice shall lay unburnt upon the altar, and the world will say our God is not the living God, or surely we are not his people, "And thou shalt grope at noon-day, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee." Violent men, then, are those that take the kingdom of heaven by force.

II. NOW, BRING THESE VIOLENT MEN FORWARD, AND LET US ASK THEM WHAT THEY ARE ABOUT. When a man is very earnest, he ought to be ready to give a reason for his earnestness. "How now, sirs, what is all this strife about? why all this earnestness? You seem to be boiling over with enthusiasm. What is up? Is there anything that is worth making such a stir about?" Hear them, and they will soon convince you that all their enthusiasm and striving to enter the kingdom of heaven by force, is not a whit more strong than reasonable.

The first reason why poor sinners take the kingdom of heaven by force is, because they feel they have no natural right to it; and, therefore, they must need take it by force it they would get it at all. When a man belongs to the House of Lords, and knows that he has got a seat there by prescriptive right and title, he does not trouble himself at the time of the elections. But there is another man, who says, "Well, I should like a seat in the House of Commons, but I have no absolute right to it. If I get it, it will be by a desperate struggle." Do you not see how busy he is on the day! how the carriages fly about everywhere; and how earnest are his supporters that he may stand at the head of the poll and win the day! He says, "I have no absolute right to it; if I had, then I would just take it easy and walk into my seat at the proper time." But now he labors, and strives, and wrestles, because without so doing he does not expect to succeed. Now, look at those who are saved; they have no right to the inheritance they are seeking. What are they? Sinners, the chief of sinners; in their own esteem the vilest of the vile. Now, if they would get heaven they must take it by force, for they have no right to it by birth or lineal entail. And what are they else? They are the poor ones of this earth. There stands the rabbi at the gate, and he says, "You can't come in here; this is no place for the poor to enter." "But," says he. "I will;" and pushing the rabbi aside, he takes it by force. Then, again, they were Gentiles too; and Jews stood at the gate, and said, "Stand back, you Gentile dogs, you cannot come in." Now, if such would be saved, they must take the kingdom of heaven by storm, for they have no rights to assert. Ah, my fellow men, if ye sit down and fold your arms, and say, "I am so good I have a right to heaven,"—how deceived you will be. But if God has convinced you of your lost, ruined, and undone condition, and if he has put his quickening Spirit within you, you will use a bold and desperate violence to force your way into the kingdom of heaven. The Spirit of God will not lead you to be obsequious (Full of or exhibiting servile compliance; fawning.) in the presence of foes, or faint-hearted in the overwhelming crisis; he will drive you to desperate labour that you may be saved.

Ask one such man, again, why is he so violent in prayer; he replies, "Ah, I know the value of the mercy I receive. Why, I am asking for pardon, for heaven, for eternal life, and am I to get these with a few yawns and sleepy prayers? I am asking that I may wear the white robe, and sing the never-ending song of praise; and do you think that a few poor supplications are to be enough? No, my God; if thou wouldst make me tarry a hundred years, and sigh, and groan, and cry through that long century;—yes, if I might but have heaven at last, all my prayers would have been well-spent; nay, had they been a thousand times as many, they were well rewarded if thou wouldst hear me at last. But," says he again, "if you want to know why I am so earnest, let me tell you it is because I cannot bear to he lost for ever." Hear the earnest sinner when he speaks. You say to him "Why so earnest?" The tear is in his eye, the flush is on his cheek, there is emotion in every feature, while he says, "Would to God I could be far more earnest; do you know I am a lost soul, perhaps before another hour is over I may be shut up in the hopeless fires of hell! Oh, God, have mercy on me, for if thou dost not, how terrible is my fate. I shall be lost—lost for ever!

Once let a man know that hell is beneath his feet, and if that does not make him earnest, what would? No wonder that his prayers are importunate (troublesomely urgent or persistent in requesting), that his endeavours are intensely earnest, when he knows that he must escape, or else the devouring fire will lay hold on him. Suppose now, you had been a Jew in the olden time, and one day while taking a walk in the fields you had seen a man running with all his might. "Stop!" you say, "stop! my dear friend, you will exhaust yourself." He goes on, and on, with all his might. You run after him. "Pause awhile," you say, "and rest; the grass is soft, sit down here, and take your ease. See, here I have some food and a bottle; stop and refresh yourself." But without saluting you, he says, "No, I must away, away, away." "Why? wherefore?" you say. He is gone so far ahead, you run after him with all your might; and scarcely able to turn his head, he exclaims, "The city of refuge! the city of refuge! the manslayer is behind me." Now, it is all accounted for; you do not wonder that he runs with all his might now. When the manslayer is after him, you can well understand that he would never pause for rest until he has found the city of refuge. So let a man know that the devil is behind him, that the avenging law of God is pursuing him, and who can make him stop? Who shall endeavor to make him stay his race until he enters Christ, the city of refuge, and finds himself secure? This will make a man earnest indeed—to dread "the wrath to come," and to be labouring to escape therefrom.

Another reason why every man who would be safe must be in earnest, and be violent, is this, there are so many adversaries to oppose us, that if we are not violent we shall never be able to overcome them. Do you remember that beautiful parable in John Bunyan's Pilgrim? "I saw also, that the Interpreter took him by the hand, and led him into a pleasant place, where was built a stately palace, beautiful to behold; at the sight of which Christian was greatly delighted. He saw also upon the top thereof certain persons walking, who were clothed all in gold. Then said Christian, 'May we go in thither?' Then the Interpreter took him and led him up toward the door of the palace; and behold, at the door stood a great company of men, as desirous to go in, but durst not. There also sat a man at a little distance from the door, at a table-side, with a book and his ink-horn before him, to take the name of him that should enter therein; he saw also that in the doorway stood many men in armor to keep it, being resolved to do to the men that would enter what hurt and mischief they could. Now was Christian somewhat in amaze. At last, when every man started back for fear of the armed men, Christian saw a man of a very stout countenance come up to the man that sat there to write, saying, Set down my name, sir;' the which when he had done, he saw the man draw his sword, and put a helmet upon his head, and rush toward the door upon the armed men, who laid upon him with deadly force; but the man, not at all discouraged, fell to cutting and hacking most fiercely. So after he had received and given many wounds to those that attempted to keep him out, (Matt. xi. 12. Acts xiv. 22.)

Acts 14:22 (New International Version)
22strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said.

he cut his way through them all, and pressed forward into the palace; at which there was a pleasant voice heard from those that were within, even of those that walked upon the top of the palace, saying,
'Come in, come in,
Eternal glory thou shalt win.'

So he went in, and was clothed with such garments as they." And surely the dreamer saw the truth in his dream. It is even so. If we would win eternal glory we must fight.

"Sure we must fight, if we would reign;
Increase our courage, Lord!"

Ye have enemies within you, enemies without, enemies beneath, enemies on every side—the world, the flesh, and the devil; and if the Spirit of God has quickened you, he has made a soldier of you, and you can never sheathe your sword till you gain the victory. The man who would be saved must be violent, because of the opposition he has to encounter.

But do you still condemn this man, and say that he is an enthusiast and a fanatic? Then God himself comes forth to vindicate his despised servant. Know that this is the sign, the mark of distinction between the true child of God and the bastard-professor. The men who are not God's children are a careless, stumbling, coldhearted race. But the men that are God's in sincerity and truth, are burning as well as shining lights. They are as brilliant constellations in the firmament of heaven, burning stars of God. Of all things in the world, God hates most the man that is neither hot nor cold. Better have no religion than have a little: better to be altogether without it, enemies to it, than to have just enough to make you respectable, but not enough to make you earnest. What does God say concerning the religion of this day? "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spue thee out of my mouth." Lukewarmness of all things God abhors, and yet of all things it is the predominant mark of the present day (and this was written almost 150 years ago!!!). The time of the Methodists, of Whitfield and Wesley, was a time indeed of fire and of divine violence and vigour. But we have gradually cooled down, now, into a delightful consistency, and though here and there there is a little breaking out of the old desperado spirit of the Christian religion, yet for the most part the world has so mesmerized the church, that she is as nearly asleep as she can be; and much of her teaching, and much of the doings of her religious societies, is sheer somnambulism (sleepwalking). It is not the wide-awake earnestness of them that walk with their eyes open. They walk in their sleep; very nimbly they walk, too and very nicely they "trim their way," but very little is there of the life of God in aught they do, and very little of divine success attending their agencies, because they are not violent with regard to the matters of the kingdom of God.

III. Having thus endeavored to screen the violent men from harsh criticism, I shall now invite you for a moment to reflect, that THE VIOLENT MAN IS ALWAYS SUCCESSFUL. Do you think you are going to be carried to heaven on a feather bed? Have you got a notion in your heads that the road to paradise is all a lawn, the grass smoothly mown, still waters and green pastures ever and anon to cheer you? You have just got to clear your heads of that deceitful fancy. The way to heaven is up hill and down hill; up hill with difficulty, down hill with trials. It is through fire and through water, through flood and through flame, by the lions and by the leopards. Through the very mouths of dragons is the path to paradise. But the man who finds it so, and who desperately resolves in the strength of God to tread that path—nay, who does not resolve as if he could do nothing else but resolve, but who feels driven, as if with a hurricane behind him, to go into the right road, this man is never unsuccessful, never. Where God has given a violent anxiety for salvation he never disappoints it. No soul that has ever cried for it with a violent cry has been disappointed. From the beginning of creation until now there has never been raised to the throne of God a violent and earnest prayer which missed its answer. Go, soul, in the strong confidence that if thou goest earnestly thou goest successfully. God may sooner deny himself than deny the request of an earnest man. Our God may sooner cease to be "the Lord God, gracious and merciful," than cease to bless the men who seek the gates of heaven, with the violence of faith and prayer. Oh, reflect, that all the saints above have been led by divine grace to wrestle hard as we do now with sins, and doubts, and fears. They had no smooth path to glory. They had to dispute every inch of the way at the sword's point. So must you: and as surely as you are enabled to do so, so surely will you conquer. Only the violent are saved, and all the violent are saved. When God makes a man violent after salvation, that man cannot perish. The gates of heaven may sooner be unhinged than that man be robbed of the prize for which he has fought.

IV. And, now I have to close, for I find my voice fails me this morning, when most I need it. I have to close abruptly by endeavouring earnestly TO EXCITE EACH OF YOU TO A VIOLENCE AFTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. In this great crowd there are surely some of the class I am about to describe. There is one man here who says, "I don't know that I have done much amiss in my life: I am about as regular a man as there is living. Don't I attend a place of worship regularly? I believe that l shall most certainly be saved. But I don't take much trouble about it, it never disquiets me particularly. I don't like"—says this man "—that intrusive kind of religion that always seems to be thrusting itself in everybody's way. I think it is quite right that people should go to their place of worship, but why take any further trouble? I just believe that I shall fare as other people fare: I am a steady unpretending sort of man, and I have no reason to doubt that I shall be saved." Ah, friend, you have never seen the gate of heaven? It is obvious that you have never seen it, or else you would know better; for at the gate of heaven multitudes are struggling, the gates of heaven are thronged, and he that would enter there must press, and elbow, and push, or he may go away certain that he can never enter. No! your easy religion will just bring you in too late. It may carry you nine miles out of ten; but what is the good of that to a man who must perish unless he is carried the whole way? It will go a good way with you when you follow the counsels of a gospel ministry with outward propriety; but at the bar of God it will utterly fail you, when you lack the inward witness of strong crying and supplications. No! an easy religion is the way to hell, for it is not the way to heaven. Let your soul alone, and you need not expect much good fruit to come of it, any more than a farmer who leaves his fields alone, need expect to reap a harvest. Your religion is vain and futile if that is all. "Ah" cries another "but I am in quite a different case. I am a sinner so vile, sir, that I know I never can be saved, therefore, what is the use? I never think about it now, except with blank despair. Have I not long rebelled against God; will he ever pardon me? No, no; don't exhort me to try. I may as well take my full swing of pleasure while I am here, for I feel I never shall enjoy the pleasures of heaven hereafter." Stop friend, "The violent take it by force." If the Lord has taught thee thy utter sinfulness, go and try—say,
"I can but perish if I go,
I am resolved to try;
For if I stay away, I know
I must for ever die."

Go home, go to your closet, fall on your knees, put your trust alone in Christ and, my friend, if the Lord does not have mercy upon you, then he is not the God we have preached to you, and he has not substantiated his faithful promise: you cannot, you shall not seek in vain. But mark, you must not think that your once seeking is enough; continue in it. If God has given you his Spirit you will continue—you will never leave off praying until you get the answer. Oh! my friend, if God hath given thee this day a longing after his love; if he has caused thee to say, "I will never give it up, I will perish at the foot of the cross if I perish at all;" thou canst no more perish than the angels in Paradise. Be of good cheer; use violence again and again, and thou shalt take it by force.

And then, let each one of us as we retire, and if we have tasted that the Lord is precious, determine to love him more earnestly than before. I never leave my pulpit washout feeling ashamed of myself. I do not remember a time when I have been able to go home without being suffused with humiliation and cast down with self-reproach, because I had not been more earnest. I very seldom flog myself for using an ugly word, or anything of that sort; it is for not having been earnest enough about the salvation of men. When I sit down, I begin to think of this vast stream of people being swept along towards the gulf of eternity—bound for heaven or hell; and I wonder how it is that I do not weep all the time I am here—why it is that I do not find red-hot burning words with which to address you. I find fault with others sometimes, but far more with myself in this matter. Oh! how is it that a man can be God's ambassador, and yet have so callous, so insensitive a heart, as many of us have in this work? Oh! how is it that we tell the tale of death and life, of heaven and hell, of Christ crucified and his gospel despised, so quietly as we do? Condemn not the minister for excitement or fanaticism; condemn him because he is not half in earnest, as he ought to be. Oh my God! impress me, I beseech thee, more with the value of souls, and then impress my hearers, also, with the value of their own souls. Are you not going to-day, many of you, post-haste to perdition? Is it not the fact, that your conscience tells you that many of you are enemies to God? You are without Christ, you have never been washed in his blood; never been forgiven. Oh! my hearers, if ye continue as ye are, a few more rising suns, and then your sun must set for ever. Only a few more Sundays have you to waste, a few more sermons have you to hear, and the pit of hell must open wide its jaws, and then where are you? But a few more days, and the heavens shall be rent, and Christ shall come to judge the earth, and sinner where are you? Oh! I beseech you now by the living God, and by his Son Jesus Christ, think of your state; repent of your sins; turn you to God. Oh Spirit of God, turn, I pray thee, turn the hearts of sinners now. Remember, if you now repent, if you now confess your sins, Christ is preached to you. He came into the world to save sinners. Oh! believe on him; throw yourselves before his cross; trust in his blood; rely on his righteousness,—
"But if your ears refuse
The language of his grace,
And hearts grow hard like stubborn Jews,
That unbelieving race;
The Lord, in vengeance dress'd,
Will lift his hand and swear,
'You that despise my promised rest,
Shall have no portion there.'"

Oh! if I had the tongue of Whitfield, or the mouth of an archangel, if I could speak like the cherubim, I would pour out my heart before you, and pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. I must face you soon before God's great bar, and shall your blood be laid to my door? Shall you perish, and must I perish with you for unfaithfulness? May God forbid it! Now may he
"Let you see your lost estate,
And save you ere it be too late,
Wake you to righteousness."

Lord have mercy upon you all for Jesus' sake!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Yes! GodMen!!!

GodMen Article on MSNBC

What is one of the single most powerfully WRONG things in the contemporary church?
What is one of the most powerful lies that Satan has managed to sew into the very fabric of Christian living in the church and in "christian families" of the day?

"That Jesus is simply a gentle, nice, meek and mild" and that we as Christian men should always be kind, nice, gentle, meek and mild.

Men...we've been CASTRATED by feminism in the culture AND in the church (yes - within the walls of the CHURCH)! There is a growing movement among Christian men to take back the mantle of leadership in the church and their families by stepping up in a new and bold revealing to men the TRUTH about who Jesus was on earth, who he is now and who he'll be when he returns.

Do you have a picture of Jesus in your head? Think about your mental picture of Jesus. About how he looks, how he walks how he talks. Imagine Jesus walking around in the modern day culture, visiting your church, your house, your friends - watching TV with you, etc.

Now - STOP and think about it for at least 60 seconds.

Wrap your brain around this guys...don't think from the place you've been lulled to sleep so far in your life to believe who Jesus is. Hang with me as we bring the TRUTH to light (as scripture will prove very clearly before we're through here).

Is that picture more like Mother Theresa or more like William Wallace? Yes, Jesus does have the capacity to be gentle, meek and mild when the situation calls for it - and we are to be gentle, meek and mild ONLY when the situation calls for it.

Jesus is no "nice" guy.

A biblical situation that many quickly turn to in order to prove this is where Jesus enters the temple and in a fit of righteous anger turns over the money changer's tables and chases them out with a whip. OK...that's fine and dandy and is indeed a good illustration of taking charge, taking action and being willfully intentional about making things right in a wrong situation.

How many other situations can we look at to prove the intentional strength, the boldness of character and the readiness and willingness of Jesus to be confrontational?

Read Revelation 19:11-21
"...13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations..."

Read Matthew 24
"...50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth..."

Read 2 Cor 10:3-5
"3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ"

Back up the "nice" truck! Weapons? Waging war? Cut to pieces? Demolishing strongholds? A robe dipped in blood? Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with wich to strike down the nations?

Search the scriptures, open your heart to God's desire for you to see the TRUE character of Jesus, the warrior mentality of being a Man of God. This is NOT a license to kill, steal and destroy things of the earth - to hurt people, to dominate over women. We are still to serve, but to serve others from a warriors heart. A heart of protection...a FIERCE heart of strength and powerful wielding of weapons against the "against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms".

You can't do that by being a "nice christian" guy...content to sit straight, and do careful duty to your church and to your family.

Wake up men! It's GOOD to be dangerous and manly for GOOD things, for Godly things!

Monday, October 30, 2006

twentyfourseven: Thoughts from a parent (a Team Kairos dad).

I very, very breifly met only a few of you during orientation - and only a few more at the Threshold Ceremony last night. I saw character changes that spoke volumes about what you can only try to tell us parents about what you've been through in the first few months of the program.

Congratulations! Press on, run the race well!

Keep leaning HARD on God and each other, allow this program to keep squeezing every ounce of selfishness out of your hearts and minds!

What Is Chazaq

It's an old Hebrew word that's used over 300 times in the bible. It is a uniquely strong and powerful descriptor of "courage" that comes from God.

It is pronounced with a throaty, guttural and hearty "h" from way back in the throat, the "c" is technically silent.

Click Here to here it for yourself.

According to Strongs Hebrew and Greek Dictionary:

It is a primitive root that means: to fasten upon; hence to seize, be strong (figuratively courageous, causatively strengthen, cure, help, repair, fortify), obstinate; to bind, restrain, conquer: - aid, amend, catch, cleave, confirm, be constant, constrain, continue, be of good (take) courage (-ous, -ly), encourage (self), be established, fasten, force, fortify, make hard, harden, help, (lay) hold (fast), lean, maintain, play the man, mend, become (wax) mighty, prevail, be recovered, repair, retain, seize, be (wax) sore, strengten (self), be stout, be (make, shew, wax) strong (-er), be sure, take (hold), be urgent, behave self valiantly, withstand.

A few examples of "chazaq" in scripture:
1 Chronicles 19:13 Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in his sight.

Psalms 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Ps 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

God is our source of chazaq. Chazaq is not passive, it requires taking hold of and being courageously strong in your faith. In Psalm 27:14 it is being used as a verb, encouraging the one praying to be strong and confident while waiting alertly for God.

Chazaq is a bold word describing the believer's confident courage that is only perfected while waiting for God. In the mighty power of God, be brave. Be strong. Take courage. Do not give up. God is in the chaos and storms of life, generously giving each seeker the courage, strength, stamina, endurance, perseverance, and fortitude needed for every situation.

Study the word for yourself, in the context of the Old Testament where it is found 290 times using this Crosswalk Study page.

Pray for me that I might grow to more fully understand this concept and apply it to my life, toward the struggles of life, to Spiritual Warfare and the prayer and protection of those that rely on me. And to rely on chazaq to overcome my fear of man and to focus on my love for God when He brings me people to witness to!