Thoughts and Rant From My Personal Study of the Early Church

I’ve been going through a study of the early church, and I have been thinking a lot about the rapid expansion of Christianity.

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There are a lot of reasons why the early church multiplied. At the time the Roman Empire was at peace (Pax Romana) the borders were safe, and people were able to travel freely without concern. The people of the empire shared a similar language (Koine Greek) so people would be able to speak a common language no matter where they traveled throughout the vast empire. And, because of the dispersing of the Jews throughout Asia and Europe, there were synagogues all over the place. Everywhere the early believers went there would be a place to go and share the gospel message.

Those are some of the reasons why the early church was growing, but there are some others as well.

The early church acted differently compared to the rest of the culture.

For example, Christians had compassion for the poor. We know in Acts that the early believers would sell their excess possessions for the poor believers leading to a sense of equality. Even hundreds of years later, Emperor Julian would comment on how not only did Christians take care of their own poor but also nonbelievers as well?! The leader of the government, (who wasn’t a fan of Christians), was dumbfounded by how they treated all people.

We see another example of how they were different; Christians went out of their way to help the babies who were left to die in the garbage. The Roman Empire was known for its lack of affection for babies and its willingness to accept practices of infanticide for a variety of reasons. The early church was known to save the babies from the trash and raise them as their own or give them proper burials if they passed away.

The early church benefited from the stability of the government, but they also benefited for their convictions for the helpless.

Today’s church in the United States is vastly different than the early church. For example, if you go to any Christian leadership conference, you probably won’t find a class about helping the helpless. Yes, you might hear a guest speaker talk about it, or it might come up in passing. But what you will hear is this word “excellence.” You will listen to how your ministry needs to be excellent, and it needs to be a stellar experience for people who are visiting. If you want the right customers, you need to make sure they get a clean building, with friendly people and possibly some sort of gift on the way out.

This is a style of attracting the right people so they can become good givers so that the church to pay for the extras like air conditioning. People need Jesus, but they won’t stay unless they are comfortable

John Crist had a great skit about pastors on easter, you can check it below.

We are far from the early church in many ways, and we have traded what made us different from the pharisaical attitude that Jesus taught against in the gospels. We gave up helping the helpless for catering to the wealthy.

Side note: Living in the Seattle area, I know the homeless situation is very complicated, and our church has had many issues with abusers of the system. But we haven’t given up on helping either. Instead of walking away, we are evaluating how we can help solve the problems not just prolong bad choices.

As Christians, we need to start being different in the way that makes people think “Why are they acting like this?” And I am not talking about being different in wearing denim skirts and homeschooling our kids (those things aren’t bad, but I don’t know how that helps the kingdom). We need to be different in the ways that matter, in a radical love so different than our society, that it touches everyone around us.

My Good Friday Reflection

It’s been a couple of centuries since the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior. And the more I learn about early the church, the more I am grateful for the courage and sacrifices of those early adopters.

Jesus death was supposed to be the end, but it was only the beginning. Jesus had as many as a few thousand people who followed during his life and when he died just a few hundred remained around.

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But then it started growing, in a few years, it would go back into the low thousands, to almost 10 thousand by the end of the century than in just a few hundred years the growth of the church was a significant part of the Roman Empire.

Against all the odds, in the beginning, it survived and eventually thrived on the hard work of the early believers. So on this Good Friday, as I remember the grace and mercy that comes from Jesus’ death, I will also be grateful for the named and unnamed saints that risked everything for this little movement to become what it is today.

Podcoin Pays You For Listening To Your Favorite Podcasts

I have been trying a new app this past week that rewards you from listening to podcasts. The app is called Podcoin.

Here are some pros and cons so far…..

Pro: It’s super easy to earn, for every 10 minutes you get one podcoin, which are redeemed for gift cards and gifts.

Con: It takes a lot of coins to get anything worthwhile. 1200 gets you a 2 dollar gift card from Amazon and 20,000 for a 50 dollar gift card. I listen to about 6 to 8 hours of podcasts during a work day, so even though it will take awhile, why not earn something for something I do anyway.

Pro: You can get bonuses for streaks and some podcasts. So after a few days, you start earning two coins for every 10 minutes, and if you listen to a bonus podcast, it’s 2.5 coins per 10 minutes. I have discovered some new podcasts that way.

Con: There is a limit to how many hours you can earn. At some point of the day, I reached my limit, but it doesn’t give you a heads up. I hope they implement something like Sweatcoin where you can spend some of your points to extend the daily limit. I like to sleep with some podcasts running (yea I have a problem) but eventually, it stops because it notices you are dominant, so people can’t just play podcasts all day without activity.

Pro: Easy interface and clean look.

Con: Very basic. There is no speed up like other podcasts player. I listen at a 1.5 to 1.75 speed so going back to regular speed is annoying. It also doesn’t keep up when podcasts become available. It takes awhile for the podcasts to pop up and when they do, it’s also not organized by new episodes but by when you subscribed.

I’ve enjoyed the app for the most part, and like the bonuses, it offers for podcasts that I wouldn’t discover on my own. Especially right before bed, I try to find the dullest subject I can find, and it makes a great night sleep.

Give it a try and use my code Briannpk to get 150 points for signing up.

Disappointment With Religious Podcasts

One of my favorite things to do is to listen to podcasts. I grew up listening to talk radio while doing puzzles in the garage and gradually moving away from partisan conversations to ones that will challenge me in every element of my life.

I listen to podcasts about manliness, etiquette, politics, debates, religious and hobbies.

One of the reasons I find podcasts beautiful is the extended conversation usually on a specific topic. There are no quick jabs into a commercial break like talk radio instead it’s a well thought out idea that makes you consider other opinions.

But the one thing that I notice is my religious podcasts (especially evangelical podcasts) every so often to expand on statements that have a generalization of the culture.

For example, they might talk about the current culture and then instead of giving a statistic, they give their opinion with the statement “It is true.”

Well, how is it true? Where does this truth come from? Is the true relevant to today or just a mindless thought that you feel truth?

It reminds me of the t-shirt from Philip DeFranco.

This is just lazy and shouldn’t happen on a medium that has no time limit. And it makes me mad that religion podcasts are the ones that do this the most.

All this does is create blind ignorance and those who don’t and won’t research the statements will spread possible falsehoods to their peers.

If you are a religious person, you need to be better with your knowledge. You are already discredited by many because of their view of “faith” and how they feel a crutch in life. So if you want to be a credible resource, you need to make sure you are spreading real truths with real stats not just a general observation with no evidence.

Love This Clip from Timbits Hockey

Sometimes you need take a moment and enjoy the awesomeness of children. I love this clip and thanks Coach Jeremy for allowing the world enjoy a little piece of pure awesome. Take a minute of your day to sit down and smile.

Loving This Press

One of the best things that I bought in 2019 so far is a Silver Tea Press from DavidsTea.

I’ve been trying to limit the amount of caffeine that I consume in the afternoon so that I can get a good night sleep, and this press has done a great job of giving a warm drink that lasts hours in the afternoon.

I usually make their Cool Eucalyptus loose leaf green tea that has a nice smooth taste. And it’s super easy to use. You put around one or two perfect spoons into the bottom of the tumbler then add hot water to about 3/4 of the way up. Let it steep for about 4 to 5 minutes, then you press it down. The press makes the taste of the tea consistent for as long as you drink. There is a small amount of water at the bottom with the tea which is easy to dispose of when done.

It’s a little pricey around $35 but every so often they have a decent sale.

If you enjoy loose leaf tea, this is a great accessory to have in your collection

Noticing God In Good Times

I have been going through the book of Job during my morning coffee time which is always a surreal experience.

For those who haven’t read the book of Job, it’s a story that explores themes of suffering and what it means to righteous. It’s part of the poetry books in the Bible, so it’s more of a parable then a narrative story as part of the book has God having a conversation with the devil.

Job is a blessed man that has all of his blessings stripped away as almost an experiment of whether a righteous man would be able to believe even when he has nothing left. And Job wrestles with that concept throughout the book.

As I said, it’s a surreal experience and an excellent book to read as a person who was randomly born in a country filled with enormous blessings.

One particular section that I have been chewing on comes in chapter 35 where one of his friends is trying to give Job council.

When times get bad, people cry out for help. They cry for relief from being kicked around,
But never give God a thought when things go well, when God puts spontaneous songs in their hearts, When God sets out the entire creation as a science classroom, using birds and beasts to teach wisdom. People are arrogantly indifferent to God— until, of course, they’re in trouble,

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.

The friend then says that God is indifferent to those who are indifferent to Him, but that part I know isn’t biblically true as John 3:16 (a corner belief in Christianity) that God loves us all so much that He would become a sacrifice so that we no longer will perish in the next life.

But this piece of his friend’s argument makes me consider my faith in the good moments and in the bad ones.

When everything is okay in my life, sometimes I dredge up something in the past that is more trivial, so I have something for a prayer request.

Why don’t I share my thankfulness of an okay life? Why don’t I share the song that is in my heart and share it with others?

I need to better at taking every day seeking God in the things around me whether it be the birds who chirp in the air to the days of when I have good health. Because God is there and I shouldn’t be indifferent toward Him.