Friday, April 24, 2015

What is love?

God is love (1 John 4:8). So love is knowing God. Love is a spiritual concept we can continually move closer to but because it is spiritual, we have really limiting ideas of what it really encompasses. Being bilingual I now realize that the English language really limits the concept of love. Most languages have multiple words for love because it is so difficult to capture its true expression in one word. It's like trying to sum up God in one word. The Greeks had 6 words for love and I know at least 3 of them are used in the scriptures. You see, as you read your Bible in English, you read love, love, and love; but in the Greek it might be eros, agape, and philia with a big difference in meaning. 

The Scriptures do set examples for us of what love should look like so that we might know it. Like John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  And we know from Paul and his letter to the Corinthians, or 1 John 3, that love is a verb, love requires action, love sacrifices, and love prefers others. “How do we know what love is?

 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."

Love is primarily giving, not receiving. Love is in uniting. The opposite of love is separation and selfishness. When sin first entered us Adam defends himself by blaming Eve, a selfish act of separation. Love is the ability to overcome separation – to find “at-one-(mo)ment”. Love is no longer being separated from the Creator but experiencing that through Jesus, “God reconciled everything to himself.” (Col. 1:20)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Stop being a COWARD! (Cincinnati Invite)

Yeah bro, I’m talking to you (actually I’m talking to myself and letting you eavesdrop.) For the last 6 months, myself and about 4 other guys have been meeting every Monday at a local “watering hole” in Clifton. The purpose of the gatherings is to study some life changing books and also trying to serve the homeless in our area. We are about to start a new book on Monday Feb. 16th and I got to be honest; I’m as scared as I’m excited. I think it is going to be the hardest book yet for the group, but especially me.

The book is brand new from one of my favorite authors, Donald Miller. The title is Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy. It’s my understanding in this book, Miller has had enough of failed relationships and the painful drama that has basically come from his fear of being his TRUE SELF. Because of this fear he has found it impossible to build deep meaningful relationships. So at forty years old he made a scary decision: to be himself no matter what it cost. And now this book and the group, are going to challenge me to do the same.

In our group we have often talked about how, in our experience, there was a lack of transparency and authenticity in the traditional church. In fact, the group is predominately made up of spiritually hungry dudes that are more or less dechurched, or unchurched, or done with church. Whatever you want to call it.

If you are interested in taking a risk that involves choosing to impress fewer people and connect with more …interested in the freedom that comes when we stop acting and start loving….interested in knocking down old walls to create a healthy mind, a strong family, and a satisfying career. Interested in hanging with some dudes who are authentically interested in you becoming the best version of you possible, without any strings attached, then we’d welcome you. Shoot me a message. Click the book cover above to go directly to Amazon to pick up a copy.

I will be posting blog post along the way about my journey with this book.

Twitter: @GrapplersChurch  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Identifying with "the Others"

You have no idea how broken I really am! Seriously! No one knows. I'm really good at keeping secrets and keeping closed off. I once had a "shrink" look at me and say "My God what happened to you to make you this way?" She accused me of having built a wall around my heart. She was right.

The last few years God has started associating me with people who are inspiring me to come out of this coffin I've built. I am seeing how important community and transparency are in this Spiritual life. I'm trying not to be so introverted and trying to give myself to a community. I'm actually letting people in on secrets or even things I deem "none of their damn business". It's actually refreshing. I feel lighter and more connected. Of course, these are people who have earned that right and don't disqualify me when discovering my shortcomings. In fact, they encourage me and allow God to empower me in those areas. It feels incredible to start peeling these masks off.

Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

But maybe like you, I have some things no one will ever know. There are some things my wife will know but my best friends won't. There are some things, especially thoughts I've had, I don't believe I will ever tell another soul. No one can ever know. But He knows.

You see God knows all those things. Even when you see how well things are going for me or catch me on a really spiritually good day, he knows who I am. He knows what I've done; what I've thought. And even while I was His enemy, he displayed the most unfathomable sacrifice merely to demonstrate His love for me. It's up to me how I want to react to what He did.

See, you have no idea the mercy and grace that was shown to me cause I've never told anyone all of it. The drugs, the violence, the perversion, the bad decisions, the selfishness and the thoughts... my Lord, where did some of those thoughts come from? My debt was monstrous, and yet he paid it. Maybe you were a decent person. I wasn't. So maybe you can't understand why I feel I owe my life to Him. Maybe you don't understand my radicalism because you don't understand the amount of mercy given to me. There was a lot of sin and now there is even more grace.
God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant.
You ever went to correct a child or discipline them and then remembered how "bad" you were as a kid or something you had done worse? Puts the brakes on your wrath a little, huh? Well it should. (Matthew 18:22-35). So maybe it's my fault so many in the church can't understand why I go where I go and hang with who I hang. Maybe it's cause I've kept a secret of how much grace was really bestowed upon me. Maybe every time I feel like coming down on one of these "sinners" I remember the debt I carried and was paid for me.

Then again, maybe one day, you will know all I've done. I've had ministers in the past describe a judgement day to me where everything I've done will be projected on the universes biggest film screen for all to see, and then I will answer to God in front of everyone. But then...just before the film rolls...

... I will wait for all of those who can't understand me to use their theology, their Scriptures, their worldview to jump to their feet and scream, "He loved "the others" to much! He showed too much compassion! He was too merciful! Those people he served were the enemies of God."

And with the final credits, maybe you will see, I was just as broken as all of them.

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Place to Find FREE Christian Kindle Books!

Click the picture below and find the Christian books you should be reading in 2015. Get them for your tablet, computer, or smartphone! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Free Book this Weekend on Amazon Kindle

Download Born to Raze Hell: Finding Your Purpose Through Love & Destruction [Kindle Edition] free this weekend! Click the image below. Download it, review it, and share it on social media!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New Book Release!

For those of you who haven't made it over to the site yet, thought I'd swing by here and remind you that I have a new book out. It was released on Sept 26th and went to #1 in the Fatherhood subcategory which made me very proud because my son was my target audience when writing it. Only 99 cents. Go over and check it out!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

5 Non-Traditional Podcast Traditional Christians Need

Copyright 2014 Scott Blair
Most believers I know are listening to podcast by Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, TD Jakes, and Joel Osteen again. Those podcast are great but if you are looking to venture into some new territory let me point the way. I am an avid consumer of podcast, possibly even an addict. I really like tuning into podcast that challenge me to consider new ways of doing things; whether it be getting in shape, making money, or walking with Jesus.

I consider myself a bit of a podcast expert as well. I am currently a freelancer that produces/hosts two podcast and writes copy for a 3rd. I also have my own podcast that was #1 in its category for New & Noteworthy as well as it has continued in the "What's Hot" section of Christian Podcast on iTunes for over a year. Between the 3 shows I am heard on (excluding the one I write copy for) we have a combined total of over 1.5 million downloads. (Yes, I'm still for hire too. But only if you are one of the first 3 ministers mentioned above).

I am always on the look out for new podcast to learn from, be inspired by, and enjoy. Churches that just take their Sunday sermons and have the tech guy upload them to iTunes were not considered in this list. Also, if you had a bow-tie on in your podcast photo in iTunes it was an automatic disqualification ;-)

Here is a list of 5 Podcast that you probably aren't listening to and I think you should. All of them can be found on iTunes (and probably Stitcher on your Android phone).

1. Christ is All   - by Frank Viola - I was first turned on to Frank when a friend of mine bought me his book "Pagan Christianity?" That book was a game changer for me. His blog, sermons, and books drive home Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! I am always challenged by Frankie V!

From his blog; "If you are someone whose heart cry is: “There’s got to be more to the Lord, to the Christian faith, and to church than this,” then this blog is for you. Let me explain . . .

Most Christians know that something is wrong with contemporary Christianity. They want to break free from the tyranny of the status quo. The two alternatives that dominate Christian culture today is spiritual complacency on the one hand or performance-based religiosity on the other.

Modern-day Christianity is 10 miles wide and one inch deep."

2. Church Planter Podcast - by Peyton Jones and Pete Mitchell. By far the best Christian podcast out right now for me. It has everything; intelligence, humor, authenticity, great topics, 80's pop culture references, great guest, and I could go on and on. I have been on their show and Peyton has been on mine.......these guys are starting to feel like family. They also do "Church Planter Magazine". Get that on your iPad as well.

From the Website: If you are a church planter, soon to be church planter, or leader of an established church, that is looking for more insight and direction on what God is doing through church planting to reach the lost, then this is the podcast for you! Every week, the creators behind Church Planter Magazine, Pete Mitchell and Peyton Jones, deliver a powerful, funny, raw and relevant hour on church planting issues, solutions, and stories.

Peyton Jones is founding coach of New Breed Church Planting UK/USA (and author of Church Zero). He has worked as a tentmaker, a firefighter, factory worker, and psychiatric nurse, bringing all these experiences to the table in ministry.

Jones received his MA Theology: Pastoral Studies from Wales Evangelical School of Theology and served as the evangelist for Lloyd-Jones’s legendary Sandfields church, Aberavon.

Pete Mitchell, in addition to being quite the handsome dude, is a leading authority in Instant Results Marketing for brick and mortar businesses (for everyone born after 1992, brick and mortar refers to the big buildings you use to meet up with friends at that have “stuff” inside that you get your parents to buy for you). He is the Chief Marketing Mercenary at Big Guns Marketing. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows including CNN and KABC (by the same token, he despises Internet radio and has turned down every “opportunity” to appear on these shows).

He also runs a financial services firm that focuses on late stage college planning and retirement planning.

Lastly, besides being a husband and a father, he also sits on the board of directors for

3. The Bad Christian Podcast - by Matt, Toby, and Joey. So this podcast is pretty new to me but I'm getting sucked in. I'm a hip hop head but I guess these guys are part of a pretty big band that I should know about .......but I don't. I have a love/hate relationship with them already and I'm only about 4 episodes in. I hate them because they ramble too much. I keep screaming at my smartphone, "Get to the guest already! No one cares!" But at the same time, they keep making me laugh because it's like I'm hanging with my buddies listening to them rip on one another. So the same reason I want them to shut up is the same reason I am starting to feel connected to them. Maybe they secretly know what they are doing.

They have great guest on and are without a doubt, the most authentic podcast out there. Be forewarned, there is foul language, all the way to the "F" bomb, but I am jealous that they are so transparent. Even if you don't agree, it's good to be stretched like this. Plus, the southern accents make it hard to stay mad at them.

4. Rethinking Hell - by Chris Date. Chris is, to me, a true renaissance man. He is a huge powerlifter that can win a debate against well prepared theologians. It's just not fair one man has so much. Chris and the Rethinking Hell group have given me the most challenging doctrine shift that I've had in 20 plus years of Christianity.

From the website: Rethinking Hell is a central resource for a view on hell variously called conditionalism, conditional immortality, or annihilationism. As Evangelical Christians, we commend the view only in a form compatible with that scope. On the Rethinking Hell podcast we interview notable conditionalists, respond to the challenges of critics, present the stories of people who once held to the traditional view but are now rethinking hell, and much more.

5. Wrestling with God - by Scott Blair. The first shall be last and the last shall be first suckas! See, by listing my own podcast last, God will make it first. You guys still haven't learned how to use Scripture to your advantage. Plus, I can teach you sumptin about being humble. I possess a lot of humility. Just ask me.

From iTunes: The podcast features Scott Blair interviewing front line and sometimes controversial authors/ministers on topics like demons, tithing, breaking tradition, hip hop, gays, and more. Authors like Peyton Jones, Tim Kurek, and Tony "The Beat Poet" Kriz will have you wrestling with the questions the traditional church won't let you ask. Like Jacob, we encourage you to "Grab a hold of God, and don't let go until He changes you."