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A Different Kind of Zombie

Posted on November 8, 2012 by Pastor Derick in Blogroll, Pop Culture, Spiritual

THIS POST was taken, with permission, from the Foursquare Gateway Nextgen Blog, our Foursquare District NextGen site.  Written by: Shawn Shoup This is part 5 in the “Don’t Buy the Lie” series of posts on the supernatural… view the series introduction here. Read part two, “Lies from the Dark Side” here. Part three, “Psychics and Our Emotions” here, and part four, “Ghosts, Spirits and […]

THIS POST was taken, with permission, from the Foursquare Gateway Nextgen Blog, our Foursquare District NextGen site. 

Written by: Shawn Shoup

This is part 5 in the “Don’t Buy the Lie” series of posts on the supernatural… view the series introduction here. Read part two, “Lies from the Dark Side” here. Part three, “Psychics and Our Emotions” here, and part four, “Ghosts, Spirits and Reincarnation” here.

Since the Garden of Eden, there has been a problem. Sin separates us from God. And disconnected from our Source, our spirits wither away and die—unless something very powerful happens.

In George Romero’s classic — much imitated and often spoofed — 1968 horror film, Night of the Living Dead, people rise up out of their graves and walk like, well, zombies as they slowly, haltingly stagger around in search of human flesh. By today’s standards, the movie is kind of low-tech and goofy. But the image of those decaying zombies walking through the streets with their arms stretched out in front of them is one that’s hard to shake.

I wonder if Romero ever read this passage from Ephesians about the spiritual nature of human beings without Christ:

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 2:1-2, NASB)

Dead people walking. That’s what Paul said we were. The “prince of the power of the air” is Satan, who rules our planet to the extent that God lets him. The picture here, then, is that people without Christ are the walking dead, ruled by the fallen angel Satan and his demons. What a spooky image! And we’ve all been there:

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. (2:3)

Like those zombies, walking mindlessly in search of human flesh, people without Christ are controlled by their “cravings.” Before Christ, we longed for sinful things. We were driven to satisfy our way, to get what we wanted in every area of life.

And like those zombies, we were doomed. By the end of the horror movie that is life on earth without God, we were sure to be tossed into the supernatural fires of hell—not to cease to exist, but for our empty souls to live forever in torment.

But then a hero came to save us. To wake us up. To bring us to spiritual life.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (2:4-7)

God didn’t send this hero after the zombies all got together and decided they’d really rather be alive than dead. There’s was no zombie petition drive to get God to rescue us from continually chasing our sinful desires right into the gates of hell. As zombies, we would never have asked for such a thing. We were dead.

So God sent the hero before we knew we needed one. And this hero was different. He was like us—a human with a soul and emotions and thoughts—but he wasn’t born a zombie. He was spiritually alive, because he didn’t inherit the zombie disease, sin. He never sinned, so he never died spiritually.

That’s why he could pay the price for the sin that all of us zombies—the walking dead—had earned. He became the object of God’s wrath in our place. That’s why the only way to be freed from this zombie existence is to trust in Jesus:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (2:8-9)

We can’t earn our way to being alive. As zombies, there’s no way for us to try really hard to be less evil than the other zombies. “I ate half as much human flesh as all the other zombies; surely God will be impressed and make me alive!”

No matter what you’ve heard from other religions about the supernatural world, it doesn’t work that way. Good workscan’t save us. We have to be made alive by God through trusting in Jesus. He has to do it for us, because we could never do it for ourselves. Zombies just don’t spring to life by themselves.

But the moment a believer trusts in Jesus, everything changes. He or she suddenly becomes alive in Christ. We’re not dead anymore. Our zombie days are behind us. Like Jesus when he was on earth, we’re alive. Alive!


Featuring an excerpt from… [Matlock, Mark (2010-09-21). Don’t Buy the Lie (invert). Zondervan.]
There’s so much more good content inside. We’ve only scratched the surface with these five posts.
Purchase the book and read the rest (in digital or hard copy) here.

Lies From the Dark Side

Posted on October 30, 2012 by Pastor Derick in Blogroll, Spiritual

THIS POST was taken, with permission, from the Foursquare Gateway Nextgen Blog, our Foursquare District NextGen site.  Written by: Shawn Shoup This is part 2 in the “Don’t Buy the Lie” series of posts on the supernatural… view the series introduction here. It’s interesting in our hyper-spiritualized culture, how many of our students are willing to accept the idea of God […]

THIS POST was taken, with permission, from the Foursquare Gateway Nextgen Blog, our Foursquare District NextGen site. 

Written by: Shawn Shoup

This is part 2 in the “Don’t Buy the Lie” series of posts on the supernatural… view the series introduction here.

It’s interesting in our hyper-spiritualized culture, how many of our students are willing to accept the idea of God and angels but can’t quite bring themselves to believe in Satan or demons.

Barna’s survey of American teenagers found that somewhere between 40 and 60 percent believe Satan is a real spiritual entity. That same study reveals that almost three of every four teenagers can’t say for sure that evil supernatural beings are at work in the world. And that’s exactly the way Satan wants it. Because the biblical Satan has a much better chance of accomplishing his mission if most people think he and his army of demons are a myth.

For all our scary ideas about the “prince of darkness,” the Bible teaches that Satan’s greatest weapon is deception. Jesus called him the “father of lies” (John 8:44). As spiritually powerful as he is, he’d much rather confuse you about the truth than make your skin crawl in the darkness.

The Bible says these things about Satan…

• He was wise and beautiful, and he wasn’t always evil (Ezekiel 28)

• His history is revealed in Scripture – he was a serpent in Genesis, looking to “steal and kill and destroy” in John 10:10, and is found roaming the earth, looking to destroy people’s lives in 1 Peter 5:8. He tries to prove God wrong by destroying Job’s life in the book of Job. In the New Testament, he tempts Jesus and possesses Judah. It is also made clear that Satan is still at work in the lives of human.

• He is against Non-Christians (2 Corinthians 4:4)

• And he is against Christians – he loves to tempt believers to lie, give in to sexual immorality, and use anger as a foothold in our lives (Acts 5:31 Corinthians 7:5, andEphesians 4:27), he makes accusations against us (Revelation 12:10), and seeks to frustrate our attempts to do good things (1 Thessalonians 2:18). In short, as Peter wrote, “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

• But he has a future… He’s gonna be completely banned from any access to God (Revelation 12:9), he’s gonna lose the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:13-14), and then he’ll be thrown into the lake of fire for all eternity (Revelation 20:10).

So Satan is real and has an agenda. In our next post, we’ll be sharing more from Don’t Buy the Lieand talking about taking a stand against darkness.


Featuring excerpts from… [Matlock, Mark (2010-09-21). Don’t Buy the Lie(invert). Zondervan.] Purchase the book (in digital or hard copy) here.

Top Posts of 2008

Posted on December 26, 2008 by Pastor Derick in Blogroll

I started this blog back in May of 2007 and, since then, I’ve somehow managed to average about 100 unique visitors a day this year (up from an average 20-a-day last year).  I’m so thankful for all of the friends and new connections I’ve made as a result.  I’m completely hooked!  I’ve had so much […]

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I started this blog back in May of 2007 and, since then, I’ve somehow managed to average about 100 unique visitors a day this year (up from an average 20-a-day last year).  I’m so thankful for all of the friends and new connections I’ve made as a result.  I’m completely hooked!  I’ve had so much fun sharing links, memories, and life with students, parents, and youth workers.  Thanks for reading!  I hope you stick around for more “thoughts, links, and updates on youth ministry, life, and culture” in 2009.

I think it’s funny seeing what the top posts were for the year; check ’em out:

  1. “Jesus is My Friend” by Sonseed (with 6,399 views) – this post features a fun, Jesus-loving song from the 70’s and continues to be the blog’s most viewed post to this day
  2. David Cook Singing “Billie Jean”the show-winning performance (IMHO) from last year’s American Idol winner; I published this right after the show that evening
  3. Ralph ’08the only candidate that had my FULL support!  😉
  4. How to Be a Rebel I’m guessing this post — about a student message series of the same title — got all the hits from the “Rebel Alliance” reference.
  5. Hills Alive 2008a simple post featuring pics and links to the great line-up of artists at this year’s Hills Alive music festival — at least, the ones I was most excited to see

These probably wouldn’t have been my top pics for the year, but since most of my readers seem to come from a variety of backgrounds and geographic regions, I guess I can see how these rose to the top.