Pop Culture

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.

Ghosts, Spirits and Reincarnation

Posted on November 6, 2012 by Pastor Derick in 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 4 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 and part three, “Psychics and Our Emotions” here.  And what, exactly, does the […]

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

Written by: Shawn Shoup

This is part 4 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 and part three, “Psychics and Our Emotions” here

And what, exactly, does the Bible teach about life after death—and spirits reaching out from beyond the grave? It actually doesn’t leave much room for such things to happen.

The writer of Hebrews said, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27). That at least implies that death is followed by facing God, not by hanging around on earth in spirit form. It definitely rules out reincarnation for those who believe the Bible (since people die only once). And Paul wrote about his willingness to be absent from the body and present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8), suggesting that for Christians, one immediately follows the other.

So even though I might feel strong emotions about getting a message from “the spirits all around us,” including one from a lost loved one, I have to compare that idea to what the Bible teaches. And Scripture doesn’t seem to teach that the spirits of lost loved ones can contact me through psychics.

Beyond that, we do believe the Bible leaves room for the possibility that Satan or demons could use a psychic to fool people into believing they were talking to the dead. Many psychics claim to be hearing voices or becoming possessed by the spirits of those they are “channeling.” Though these claims are most often a hoax, it’s at least possible that demons are involved in these processes.

That might be why God commanded the Israelites to avoid getting involved with such people: “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them” (Leviticus 19:31). Such contact could open a person up to demonic influence.

Only one passage in the Bible suggests contact with the dead is even possible—and even this story seems to suggest that things like that don’t happen normally. It’s the story of King Saul and the witch of Endor. Read it in 1 Samuel 28.

Some suggest the woman was just pulling a hoax on Saul in order to give him what he wanted. However, it seems unlikely she would have known what Samuel told Saul in the story.

Others say the woman was possessed by a demon who delivered the message to Saul through the woman. That’s possible, since she was a witch in a time when there was much spirit worship. But the passage doesn’t say anything about Samuel not really being Samuel.

A third idea—and the one that seems most likely—is that this witch intended to do a hoax, but got more than she expected. Perhaps she normally tricked people the way most psychics and mediums do today. The fact that she cries out in a loud voice when Samuel appears suggests that she was shocked and surprised to actually hear from someone who had “crossed over.”

It’s definitely possible that God used this means as a one-time supernatural event to communicate his message to Saul through a deceased prophet who had been used many times to deliver supernatural messages. But this example does not suggest that it’s “normally” possible to talk with the spirits of humans who have passed on. In fact, it seems to suggest that only through God’s power could such a thing happen.


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

Psychics and our Emotions

Posted on November 1, 2012 by Pastor Derick in 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 3 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. What do we do with all of the spiritual ideas in our […]

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

Written by: Shawn Shoup

This is part 3 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.

What do we do with all of the spiritual ideas in our culture today? What about mind readers and psychics? How should we think about different culture’s spiritism and reincarnation or even ghosts and communicating with the dead?

We’ve got to do two things with these and any other ideas about the supernatural that come our way. First, we’ve got to pass them through a discernment filter—listening, learning, and comparing the situation with Scripture.

But we also have to remember that Satan’s number one weapon in a Christian’s life is deception. His plan, working through our culture and through his demons, is to confuse and mislead believers and unbelievers alike about the reality of the supernatural world.

Every supernatural experience or idea we come across has one of four possible explanations:

1. Spiritual activity from God – events involving actual angels or godly intervention
2. Supernatural activity from Satan/demons – events in this category would include actual demonic possession or satanic/demonic influence
3. Hoax
4. Unexplained natural phenomena
 – we may mistake a natural experience for something supernatural… a person could believe that lights in the sky are from a UFO when, in fact, they are generated by an airplane or other human-created aircraft.

Satan loves to get skeptics to reject the reality of God (and himself) just as much as he loves to get those too eager to believe in the supernatural wrongly fascinated with lies about reincarnation, talking to the dead, and helpful spirit guides. Our goal is to find the truth in God, not just to reject everything in the supernatural world.

Thinking Trap #1: Not Balancing Mind with Emotions

The death of a loved one may be the most emotional experience in life. Even Christians who carry the hope of meeting that person again in heaven often carry the intense pain of loss for many years. The pain and longing can be amplified when some key issue in the relationship remains unresolved. Supposed spiritists and psychics have been exploiting those emotions to take advantage of people for thousands of years.

“I feel someone coming through. He’s very assertive. He really wants you to know something. Is there a…an “R” in your family?”

A woman gasps. “Richard? Richard was my uncle! My father’s brother.”

“Yes.Yes, I’m getting that. R is very strong. He wants you to know something about your dad. I’m getting something about the chest area or…Is there something about the chest?”

“My dad died of heart disease.” 

“Yes, that’s it. That’s it. And there’s more. Something about a…a car or a truck…”

“I don’t know. Hmmm. Well, my dad did give me a car for my sixteenth birthday.”  …and so on…

The woman is crying now, and she’s convinced that a spiritually gifted psychic has just given her a message from her family from beyond the grave. It’s very moving for her. If you read that exchange carefully, though, you’ll see that the psychic didn’t really know anything about the woman’s life that she didn’t tell him. I personally know highly skilled illusionists that can convince entire audiences of their psychic abilities using similar fishing and reflecting techniques. It’s not that hard.

Why do so many people buy it? Why do people believe the psychic is really delivering messages from the afterlife? Emotion. When it comes to the areas where our feelings are deepest, humans are very vulnerable creatures. If I show up to a psychic hoping to hear from my dead mother, I’m already emotional. If you can give me just enough convincing-sounding comments from her that I assume you could never have known, I’m likely to believe she’s speaking through you. And I’m likely to pay you for more information.

What is it about our emotions that can prevent our minds from working well? The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). But that doesn’t mean our emotions are evil. They’re just very powerful; we need to learn to control our emotions instead of letting them run away with us.

“Above all else,” says Proverbs, “guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (4:23).

Guarding our hearts means being aware that our emotions may lead us away from truth and from God’s best direction for us. That’s why the first step in guarding our hearts is to fill them with God’s truth—learning to trust God instead of the way that “feels” best to us.

Psalm 37 reminds us that when the law of God is in our hearts, our feet will not slip (37:31). And Proverbs urges, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

So avoiding the thinking trap of letting our emotions rule our minds comes down to trusting God’s Word, even when our emotions tell us to believe something else.


Featuring excerpts from… [Matlock, Mark (2010-09-21). Don’t Buy the Lie (invert). Zondervan.]
Purchase the book (in digital or hard copy) here. We’ll look at some more thinking traps this week and next… stay tuned.

I Just Texted to Say I Love You

Posted on August 17, 2011 by Pastor Derick in Comedy, Featured Video, Just for Fun, Pop Culture, Random, Technology

This is either really funny, really sad or something inbetween…

This is either really funny, really sad or something inbetween…

Good prayer?

Posted on July 27, 2011 by Pastor Derick in Comedy, Pop Culture, Spiritual

Alrighty then my Elevaters! We spent the last 3 weeks before camp talking about prayer. Watch this one and comment what you think about it…

Alrighty then my Elevaters! We spent the last 3 weeks before camp talking about prayer. Watch this one and comment what you think about it…