Monday, April 30, 2007

I Saw Jesus At The Taco Bell

I have to share this story. Yesterday after a needed day at church my wife and I decided to stop at the Taco Bell on the way home for a bite to eat. While there, right in front of us was this little old, in his mid to late 60’s I assume, not well dressed in of overalls, white medium length messed up hair, white untrimmed beard, not very well kept with holes in his pockets but an infectious smile and a gleam in his eye.

I know that eavesdropping is not a good thing; I also know that sometimes one can hardly help it. That was the case yesterday as this elderly man stood in front of me talking away to a younger man beside him, I assume in his mid twenties. Now this man had had very close cropped hair, and was a big boy, larger than me in fact and his clothes obviously didn’t fit. They were in fact almost falling off of him as he constantly had to pull up his tattered blue jeans so that his dirty white t-shirt would keep the top of his underwear showing from the back side. This man barely nodded and on occasion said a word or two to the interesting conversation that was going 200 miles a minute in every direction that you can imagine when it comes to the area of religion.

Here is what I suppose to be the case. The younger of the men somehow came into contact with the older of the two. The older decided as a point of ministry he was going to take this younger man out. I know they weren’t related or didn’t know each other as they each asked each others names every few moments. I will say the older man only had to ask a second time and he had the names down. It was obvious this older man was on a mission. He was on a mission in more ways than one.

I was amazed at all of the directions this conversation was going in the area of religion. It was as if the old man knew this may be the only time he ever had the chance to share his faith with this younger man. I decided, as intrigued as I was, to stay out of the conversation, and listen away. I know again, I shouldn’t have been eavesdropping.

As the two men were standing in line, I saw the old man ask the younger man what he wanted to eat as they got to the cashier to place their older. “Oh I don’t have any money.” The young man stated. It was then that I could tell the sincerity of the older man. He pulled out an old tattered wallet that was bound together with a rubber band. “I have money, you order what you want.” At this time, I noticed the old man had money all right, but not enough to buy him and the young man complete meals.

The young man stated that all he wanted was a extra large soft drink, I think it was a Mountain Dew. The old man ordered that for the young man, and ordered himself a ½ pound bean burrito, at a cost of 99 cents, and a glass of water. To me it was obvious he didn’t order the drink or any thing else because he just didn’t have the money but was offering what he could.

The two got their food and went to sit down. It was then that we ordered our food. I had a coupon for buy a burrito supreme get one free, and wife and son both ordered a combo. I also ordered a cheesy tot potato for 99 cents and a glass of water. I got my food first, that way my wife and I could use two coupons instead of one, we are thrifty you know. As soon as I got my seat, I did something I don’t normally do,. I went and got our seat and left my wife and son at the counter. I wanted to make sure that I got the seat right next to the couple who had been in front of me.

I have to be honest, I was so impressed with the obvious mission this old man was on. He was sharing and loving rapid fire, one way right after the other, from talking about the book of Revelation to specific teachings on Christ to be humble, to serve, to care etc… Every now and then he would be countered by the young man who thought he knew some things about the Bible. It was a marvel though to watch the young man respond to such things as how he, (the young man) knew for example that the Anti Christ was in prison in Atlanta awaiting release so he could begin his journey to take over the world. He went on about other sorts of things, but the old man kept preaching, (not really preaching but yes preaching) about salvation, about God’s love, about God’s mercy, and yes, about how Christ provided salvation from Hell. He kept on and kept on giving love not just in providing a meal, but keeping that infectious smile and that wonderful glare to his eyes.

As I sat there, I have to be honest, I was moved. I was moved not only in this mans passion to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with someone but in his willingness to put what little money he had where his mouth was. He wasn’t only showing the man spiritual love here, but he had obviously gone out of his way to show the man physical love. He wasn’t condemning, he wasn’t rude, he wasn’t obnoxious, he was simply sharing a straightforward Biblical message that had as its focus, its roots, its intent Jesus Christ. Again, I marveled.

We stayed at the booth at Taco Bell longer than usual. I was impressed with this little old man carrying out his mission and purpose in life in such an effective way. As we got done, I realized I had a burrito left and my wife had two tacos. She said something to my son about going to ask for a carry out bag from the clerk. I responded to her, Mary Jane, wait a second. I then grabbed the left over food and asked the two gentlemen sitting next to me. “Excuse me gentlemen. I have extra food and I am really full and can’t touch it. It hasn’t been opened or taken out of its wrapper, would you like to have it? A smile came over the two men’s faces. The younger of the two, said, “Yea thank you, I’ll put it in my pocket and eat it later,” as he quickly grabbed the burrito and placed it in his pocket. Then the old man paid me in a way that blessed me more than he could ever imagine. He simply looked up and stated, first to the young man, “See how good God is.” Then he looked up at me and said, “Sir thank you so much, God bless you.” I will tell you, a “God bless you”: from a man or woman living out their faith like this is worth more than anyone can imagine. I have gone some 24 hours now since this event happened and it is still fresh in my mind as to the way and the passion this little old man shared his faith, and shared his love.

I guess my question for the day is how do we love? How do we share Jesus with others? My hope and prayer is that I can someday be like that little old man. I hope in other ways, I already am.

Matthew 25: 31-46

(31) When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all of his angels, he will sit on his royal throne. (32) The people of all nations will be brought before him, and he will separate them, as shepherds separate their sheep from their goats.


(33) He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. (34) Then the king will say to those on his right, "My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created. (35) When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, (36) and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me."

(37) Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, "When did we give you something to eat or drink? (38 ) When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear (39) or visit you while you were sick or in jail?"

(40) The king will answer, "Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me."

(41) Then the king will say to those on his left, "Get away from me! You are under God's curse. Go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels! (42) I was hungry, but you did not give me anything to eat, and I was thirsty, but you did not give me anything to drink. (43) I was a stranger, but you did not welcome me, and I was naked, but you did not give me any clothes to wear. I was sick and in jail, but you did not take care of me."

(44) Then the people will ask, "Lord, when did we fail to help you when you were hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in jail?"

(45) The king will say to them, "Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for me."

(46) Then Jesus said, "Those people will be punished forever. But the ones who pleased God will have eternal life."


Check Out Pink's Dear Mr. President. If the Video Don't appear, just click on the link provided. Now it should be noted, this is not a politically correct video, I don't even agree with everything in it, but I agree with the premise of thought and being challenged. If you want that, give the video a view.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugH5MUNNL0c


Another to think about is Kelly Clarkson's Grown Up Christmas List. Same thing, if you don't see the video, click the link below.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7zRtLptyc4


Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.


Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew at MySpace, and become a part of it. A different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information, all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.


Click to visit the Virtual Pew Website and become a part of that ministry


Click to subscribe to my blog


Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives.

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Here is our contact information


The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew.(Please note that the links for The Virtual Pew blogs have been going through some changes and the url’s have changed.)


Donations to The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew Blog
Personal Furches Web Site
Mike Furches MySpace Page
Mike Furches MySpace Blog
Hollywood Jesus
Reviews With Mike
The Virtual Pew Sermons
The Virtual Pew News
MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group
MySpace The Virtual Pew Group

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Virtual Pew and a Presidental Candidate Joins the New Group

Here goes, hopefully won’t be too long today, but there is good news, there is bad news. Bad news first, I left another “Christian” group yesterday. It kind of hurt to leave that group because in the past it was a very good group with a lot of great discourse. The group WWJD or What Would Jesus do went through the last year and had a new moderator appointed after the person that used to moderate the group left. Long story made short, I saw posted in the bulletin board of that page a list of rules and it was referenced to the rules being posted before and that if people didn’t follow the rules they would be “BANNED” from the group. Well long story made short, I simply suggested that the rules be posted someplace besides the bulletin board because I realize that many times people don’t read those bulletins. Well you would have thought I had just made the biggest insult possible and was berated and called out as the person thought a lot was said that was personal, despite the fact that I thanked the person, went out of the way in the post to thank them and say other good things about them. I decided to leave, but since found out that a few folks came in said good things and because they did they were deleted from the group. I noticed this morning that that particular group is down quite a few members from yesterday. That is sad, be in prayer but bottom line is those types of things, especially when people assume you meant something you didn’t can be tough.

Now the good news; As a result of yesterdays activities, and some of the things I have been actually contemplating for some time, I started a Virtual Pew Group at MySpace. That particular group, in less than 12 hours has over 230 members. It has grown quite fast over a very short period of time. Of course the postings in other groups, and invitation requests from myself and others didn’t hurt. Here is the question, have you joined yet? There are already several topics of discussion that is taking place that range from Pro Wrestling, to What is A Christian. I plan on being active in the moderation of the group and keeping it on task and on focus. Those a part of the Hollywood Jesus Group know how careful I have been about things there. So far, we even have one of the presidential candidates that have become a part of the group. Now I realize this is likely their campaign group, but it is the official candidates page here at MySpace. Now I would love for all of them to become a part of the group, even look in occasion if they desire, even make a comment, but I’m not keeping my fingers crossed too much on that one.

A note on my contacts with the Presidential Candidates and the friends request here at MySpace. I have received friends acceptance from every single candidate at MySpace and they are listed on my friends list in the order I received their response. If they are not on my page, they either don’t have a MySpace page or as in the case of Rudy G. he has a private page, and hasn’t responded as of yet to my friends request. The presidential candidate that has joined The Virtual Pew group is Tommy Thompson, his MySpace page is available if you visit http://www.myspace.com/tommythompson08 please understand, this is in no way to be seen as an endorsement of Tommy Thompson, just a notice that at least he has joined the group.

Now what can the rest of you do for The Virtual Pew group? Join if you haven’t. If you have be a part of the discussions, talk about whatever, even start your own topics. Of course you need to read the rule, (that’s right we only really have one rule, see if you can figure it out.) Then, another thing you can do to help there be a group that sticks to it’s guns and makes the attempt at really having church here at MySpace, invite your friends. The process for this is really quite easy, invite your friends, and have your friends invite their friends. Just go to the main page and click on Invite Friends in the banner.

Now that will be about it for now thanks for reading, and thanks for being a part of The Virtual Pew.

Click to visit with Pastor Mike regarding any of your needs. He will respond to each request personally, and if need be refer you to one of our other pastors.

Click to visit and join the new group The Virtual Pew, This group has had over 200 new members in less than 8 hours and is still growing, become a part of it, a different kind of Christian group, check out the page for more information, all welcome, including those who are not followers of Jesus.

Click to visit the Virtual Pew Website and become a part of that ministry.

Click to subscribe to my blog

Click to visit and join our sister group at MySpace Hollywood Jesus.

Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives.

You can visit www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew.(Please note that the links for The Virtual Pew blogs have been going through some changes and the url’s have changed.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Should I Run For President?

I honestly love politics. It is why I have placed a friend request for every presidential candidate here at MySpace. I have also subscribed to all of their blogs and will with a peeking interest read them, think bout them, and likely at times comment on them. To be honest, when doing the search this morning I found that there were some running for president that didn’t have that much more friends than I. Then again there were others who dwarfed me. I was impressed with the gloss and slickness of the pages of most of the candidates. I say most because ol Rudy has a private page and until he accepts me as his friend I can’t see or read anything about him. First notice Rudy, if wanting to impress people, having a private page for friends only is not a good place to start.

Here is a shocker, I love politics so much that I almost always vote and have been more active than that. Here are some givens for you. I was a delegate to the state convention one year for Jessie Jackson. It was in Kansas so it was a caucus system. I was also a delegate for Al Gore one year in South Carolina. I actually got to address the largest gathering of Democrats in a convention at that one. I spoke about the need for pro life Democrats and the need to not take a position on abortion within the platform. For those who would like to know, I got a standing ovation for that one. Then there was the time I actually ran for a State House Seat in South Carolina. I think I may be the only person who ever got the endorsement of both the NAACP and The National Right To Life in the same election. I got something like 46% of the vote before losing that election to a retired post master. It seems that going from house to house for all of those years made a significant difference when it came to getting to know the voters. Actually the guy was a good guy, but ended up losing the general election to a Republican.

Now over the years I have changed, and am kind of changing back again. Let me explain, after the election of Bill Clinton I changed my party affiliation to Republican. I for one am one where morality matters and while I understand others will disagree with me on this point, I just couldn’t bring myself to support President Clinton. I still hold to those values, but will say that President Bill Clinton was a much better president than many gave him credit for. The economy, and even the attitude of American’s wasn’t quite so bad as it is now.

Now over the years I have toyed with the possibility of someday running for office again, whether that be a school board member, representative, or even President. Now realize that the President thing is only a dream, it is only a slight, slight part of my thoughts. I realize I would really be someone different, who in reality would never have a chance at political office. I do value the concept of serving though; I love my country, but not as much as my God. I am a citizen of the United States of America, but primarily consider myself a citizen of Heaven. In other words, my faith, my whole faith, not a single issue of faith, is what has to drive me, I consider myself a Heavenly Citizen more than a United States Citizen.

I will say there are certain things I would love to see in a president though. I would love to see someone genuine, not afraid to say what they think without trying to be politically correct, or spin certain views and perspectives. I would love to see a real person, not some made up image of a person created by some political think tank. I would love to see someone where their faith was real, not just when it made a political difference. I would also like to see someone who understood the value of service, they genuinely want to be there without having to make a name for themselves. I really believe that when doing what is right for people, and our planet, that good things follow, and people remember. I would also like to see someone who values all people, men and women, and people from all political spectrums, and all races. Not just try to understand them, but value them. I would also want to see a president genuinely care for the poor, the needy, the Last, the Lost, and the Least. One who would see that when we honor, love, and care for the least of these, we have done as much for God.

I understand that a president doing those things mentioned above would have people who worked extremely hard to keep them from office, but I also believe there would be an abundance of people going out of their way, crossing political boundaries, to vote for them. How much of a chance would they have at bringing about change? I don’t know, you tell me! Personally, I think we need change in a lot more than just the president. We need change in our own lives where we care. Has society gone so far that individuals only care about themselves? Sometimes I think so, but there is always hope. Unfortunately, that hope in political systems seems to be fading to a point where we may have passed the point of no return. At that point, I have to focus my hope not on the political systems of the United States, but on hope that comes from serving God in all things, and loving all of that which he created. In that love, there may or may not be hope for the future on this planet, but there is certainly hope for the future beyond this planet.

I don’t know if I should run for President or some other office at some point? My faith system has changed over the years, I adhere to a theology that don’t place much hope on the political system. I’ll keep voting though as long as it don’t interfere with my faith practice, I’d just like to have someone I can believe in when I vote for them.

Now feel free to pass this along, repost, and all of that good stuff. I appreciate it when you do that. Now if there are any specific question as to my thoughts on any of the candidates for President, pass them along, I’ll tell you what I think at this point. If there are any plugs you would like to make for any candidate, pass them along, the dialog and discussion could be fun.


Check out George Bush Comments on Voting, (well sort of) Now if the video don't appear, just cllick on the link below.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRt3dWFqs-M



Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives.

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Here is our contact information


The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew.(Please note that the links for The Virtual Pew blogs have been going through some changes and the url’s have changed.)

Donations to The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew Blog
Personal Furches Web Site
Mike Furches MySpace Page
Mike Furches MySpace Blog
Hollywood Jesus
Reviews With Mike
The Virtual Pew Sermons
The Virtual Pew News
MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Thanks To Howard Beale...

Today's thought is really quite simple. Just a note, some will be offended by the language so don't click on it if you are easily offended. But the thought presented by Howard Beale is really quite thought provoking. If not easily offended, take a look, listen, and then let's discuss.

If the video don't appear in the article, click the following link, otherwise, just click on the video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTN3s2iVKKI


Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives.

You can visit www.thevirtualpew.com and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew.(Please note that the links for The Virtual Pew blogs have been going through some changes and the url’s have changed.)

Donations to The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew Blog
Personal Furches Web Site
Mike Furches MySpace Page
Mike Furches MySpace Blog
Hollywood Jesus
Reviews With Mike
The Virtual Pew Sermons
The Virtual Pew News
MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group

Monday, April 23, 2007

35 Minutes God Gave Me With A Little Boy Named Tyler Graebner

I had been working with a little boy named Tyler Graebner for a number of months. Tyler was 8, loved wrestling, and had this infectious love for movies, video games, and anything else you might think a little boy would be into. I have written a lot about Tyler over the last few years, this little trooper left a lifelong impact on me. I hope to one day write a book about the little guy that brought the wrestling world together as family, if only for a brief period of time.

Tyler had pancreatic and liver cancer. He fought the tough battle for around nine months before the cancer finally took his life. I live in Wichita, Tyler lived in Hutchinson, almost an hour away, and he was in the Mercy Children’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, some 3 hours away during the last couple of months of his life. Tyler had been in the hospital for some time when I made my last visit at the hospital. I’ll never forget watching I Robot with Will Smith with him the last time I saw him in the hospital. It was the week before he was to come home for good although we didn’t know it at the time. I knew he wasn’t doing well so I called good friend and World USA wrestling competitor Eric Akin who lived near him to let him know that he and his wife Steph needed to visit him at the hospital. Eric has always been great about things like that, and I knew that he and Steph would pull through.

World Competitors, Olympic Gold Medallists, USA World Team Members within the wrestling community, and even others in the sports movement like Michael Vick and LeBron James had heard about Tyler but I can’t think of a world class athlete that did as much as Eric Akin, even USA National Champion TC Dantzler had dedicated his USA World Team Championships to Tyler, but Eric was there to donate time for clinics, and so much more to help with costs. It was on a Friday morning after making that phone call to Eric and Steph that I received a phone call from Eric.

Eric had gone to see Tyler one week after my last visit and that day I had made the phone call to him on Thursday night. He called me that Friday morning and it was one of the toughest but best calls I have ever received. Eric was crying and it wasn’t long before we were both in tears, barely able to carry on a conversation. In fact I would say, we were both weeping. Eric had called me to tell me about how he had seen Tyler the night before and it was all he could do to stay there and stay strong. It was evident to him that Tyler was on his last legs. This little wrestler had wrestled with cancer and given it everything he could give it. He couldn’t give it any more and it looked like the cancer was going to win. It was going to win despite the courage of Tyler and his family, and the prayers of hundreds if not thousands from around the world.

During that time I was going through one of the worst challenges in my life. There were people blasting away at me, and among those were people I had loved and served for over 4 years. My church had a few outspoken critics that were upset that I had spent so much time with Tyler. I was taking time away from the church to be around this little boy. To be honest, I never questioned God, but I was certainly questioning people who said they were followers of God. To this day, the bite of those comments still sting, and still hurt, especially when coming from people I loved during the time they came. I even received a sit down request for criticism the day I was to preach Tyler’s funeral. We, as a family were also starting to have the financial troubles of our house in Oklahoma (which we may now loose within the next 4 weeks) start to hit hard. I had invested most all of my retirement money in this house as a possible vacation home, and a home for my family to have after retirement, (as if one ever actually ever retires,) All of this was going on, plus now I was hearing from Eric that Tyler would be coming home that day, on Friday. We knew he was coming home and that it was to die. Eric was telling me this through both of our tears that Tyler may not make it through the night and would live through the weekend at most.

After that conversation I begin to question God, not for all of the crap I was going through, but why it was that an 8 year old little boy had to die of cancer and be in the type of pain he had been in. I literally fell on my face in the hallway of the home we were living in and cried for what seemed like an hour asking these questions. Why God, Why? Please tell me why? I later came to have an answer for those questions but none of the things helped change my heart from breaking, my grief seeing this little boy die. The pain, the gentle spirit, the hurt, the decent little guy, all of these emotions, all of these thoughts, I was hurting like I don’t think I have ever hurt in my life.

I struggled all through the day as I notified the wrestling world and close friends of the fact that Tyler would likely not make it through the weekend. My son was wrestling in a regional state qualifying tournament on Saturday and had weigh in that night. We had made plans to get him weighed in, and then take the 1 ½ hour drive over to Hutchinson to spend time with Tyler and his family. After weigh in, a quick run through the drive through at a local restaurant, we were off towards Hutchinson at around 7:00 PM. I turned that hour and a half drive into an hour and five minute drive. I was going to see Tyler, in fact, I had to see Tyler before he died.

We arrived at Tyler’s house around 8:00 PM. Tyler was semi conscious and obviously in a lot of pain. His mother, Father, Brother and Sister were all there along with a house full of relatives. He was hooked up to oxygen, and was wearing a little mask. He was so small that the mask barely fit, it was almost too big, but there he lay, propped up, not making any noise, not making any motion. He would only occasionally open his eyes and glance around the room. I didn’t bother greeting anyone; I walked immediately over to Tyler who was in a hospital bed in the living room of the Graebner house. I spoke with him for awhile, he was unable to respond to me, but I finally bent down, prayed with him, prayed that God would receive him and asked him if he was ready to see Jesus. I tried to stay strong, but it was hard. I did stay strong though, not crying around those who loved him most, they needed someone to be strong for them, I guess I was the person God put in the place to do that.

It was approximately 35 minutes later when Tyler died. I was there with him and have always considered that 35 minutes of time one of God’s greatest gifts to me.
I guess that is what I focus on now, more than anything regarding the pain of the moment, not that Tyler died, not that we continue as a society to do irreplaceable harm to each other and the planet where things like pollution, starvation, disease, and in Tyler’s case, cancer, occurs, but that God cares enough about us to give us time, if only 35 minutes when we need it. To think about how God will make us strong when we need to be strong, and to think about how God does the things that only God can do when he chooses to do those things. Some will talk about coincidence, some will talk about any variable of things to take away the credit that God fully deserves, but for me, I know, I don’t guess, I don’t assume, I know, that regarding the strength, regarding the gift of 35 minutes, it all came from God.

I know we all tend to look at what is bad in life, I do, I know I do that often, but I also know that we have all had good happen and it is that good that we need to focus on. We need that focus when we hear about political turmoil that affects the lives of millions if not billions of individual human beings. We need to focus when there is turmoil that will affect a mother or father which may end up loosing a son or a daughter in a war that takes place in Iraq. Maybe the bad is the loss of husband or wife who has just lost a spouse to a car accident. There are all kinds of bad in life, including loosing a house, having an argument with a child, and even having something stolen from your home, or a relapse of an addiction. Yes we can focus on those things and we will feel miserable most of the time if that is where the majority of our focus is at. I challenge each of you though, don’t focus on the one little thing that has brought heartache for the majority of your time, don’t focus on the bad, focus on that which is good, focus on that which God has done. Look for the places where God has been there, if only for 35 minutes, only 10 minutes, only 5 minutes, focus on the goodness of God. Now don’t get me wrong, we will have times we have to look at, think about, and dwell on that which is bad, but the ultimate focus, the ultimate realization has to be on that which is good, for our own sanity, and the sanity of those who are around us.

It has been over 2 years now since Tyler died. I continue to share his story, even in situations like this. I have shared it in the introduction to a book in an article called Movies and the Good They Can Do. I think of him often, that little 8 year old boy who suffered from cancer. I also think of him when I asked the question of if he was ready to see Jesus, not just the 35 minutes prior to his death, but in the hospital talking about all kinds of things, including the movie I Robot. I’ll never forget his smile, his response of “yes”, and then the reply of “Now can’t we just finish watching the movie?” He seemed to have it right. While in pain he didn’t focus on the pain, when hurting emotionally, he didn’t focus on the emotions, when contemplating his certain death, he didn’t focus on death. Instead, he focused on being a little boy, and living a fun filled, eventful life, even if it meant telling an old man, in a nice way, to shut up, things are taken care of, now let’s watch the movie.




Now the following was Tyler's favorite songs. It was played at the funeral home and at the grave side service. If the video don't appear just click on the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOkhqxaKqVs


Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives.

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Here is our contact information


The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew.(Please note that the links for The Virtual Pew blogs have been going through some changes and the url’s have changed.)

Donations to The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew Blog
Personal Furches Web Site
Mike Furches MySpace Page
Mike Furches MySpace Blog
Hollywood Jesus
Reviews With Mike
The Virtual Pew Sermons
The Virtual Pew News
MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Lord I Was Born A Rambling Man

First of all thanks to all of you who helped promote yesterday’s blog, it made it up to #4. It could go higher maybe even a little lower on the most viewed blogs at MySpace related to religion and philosophy but will likely stay in the top 6. It really isn’t a pride thing as much as it is about knowing people believed in the message enough to help promote it the way they did. Thanks, I hope I never get over being genuinely moved over the fact that some people see value in me, or see value in what I say. Coming from the crap in life I come from, that provides not only hope for me, but hopefully hope for others who have been abused, hurt, neglected, involved in drugs, gangs or whatever association you want to throw on me. Truth is I am nothing but muck I was, except Jesus Christ changed my life.

Now saying that causes me to reflect on a couple of things. Reflect on a couple of things specific to yesterday and this morning. Yesterday I sat at a hospital in the surgery waiting room from about 10:30 Central Time to almost 6:00 PM Central time. My son had surgery and to be honest it wasn’t a fun day. Now before anyone asks me what his surgery was for, realize that some things are meant to be private. About all I can say is hopefully my son isn’t planning on any physical battles for the next few days because if he is, he is in some deep do do. (Now for those of you familiar with Biblical history, you should be able to figure it out.)

One of the things my son often says is, “Papa can start up a conversation with anyone, anyplace.” Now you have to understand who I used to be, and in many ways still am. I am in reality, a rather shy person and at one time an extremely shy person who never spoke to anyone. I suspect that is one of the reason I love to write. I suspect it is also a reason I tend to ramble when I write. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to speak publicly, although I only got a C in my Public Speaking in college. I tend to think that if I took that course again, I would get an A+ as I also now realize I do a pretty good job, as I have been told, speaking in public. Crowds, very large, or very small don’t bother me any more. I love one to one interaction but more on that later. Bottom line, something in my life happened, I think it is actually a combination of a few things.

One of the things that happened, and you can call this a practical lesson on public speaking, is I tend to only speak on things I know something about. Now on this point understand I always valued Abraham Lincoln. I learned he was a man without much education outside of his excessive habit of reading. I love to read, and I value knowledge. There is benefit to all of those books, educational channels on television, and one of my favorite film types, documentaries. When you are speaking about something you know things get easier and more relaxed.

Another thing is I have practiced speaking, I have accepted every challenge, before every type of group imaginable. From television shows to the radio, and from birthday parties to arenas before tens of thousands, I have taken on every chance provided. In this regard there was really one thing that helped me immensely. I have studied theater, acting, performance. To this day I love acting and the theater. I never really knew I could sing until I sung in the play The Dracula Spectacula where I played the lead some years ago. I have since been told that I have a very good voice. I took that and went from being a promoter to a band member where I would on occasion sing a lead vocal, but mainly background vocals. I have also taken the performance art into a hobby I love, magic and have performed before individuals at shopping malls to private parties for The Vanderbilt’s, (yes the real family, not the store.) Bottom line, I have made the effort to practice my desires, and habits that would allow me to be more accomplished at presenting and promoting the things I do.

I could take on the aspect of writing but I have so much to learn. I keep trying though, writing something from day to day.

The last area that has helped me is the greatest area o f change imaginable, the acceptance of Jesus Christ into my life. Simply put, I am not any where near the same person I used to be. On that fact, some can be thrilled as I was not a likeable person. I was just sharing with a friend the other day, there are some things I did as a youth that I don’t believe there is a statute of limitations on. I have to be careful, I will accept whatever comes my way for some of those things, I would hope that what I did was forgiven and that society would see that I truly have rehabilitated, but not through some program, but through the person of Jesus Christ. I will never undervalue the importance of this relationship in my life which brought about the change.

Now back to the conversations and yesterday, (I know a long ramble to get there but let’s just call that background information, or plot development). While sitting in the hospital waiting room I happened to notice as I was watching a television show, The Big Valley on my computer that the gentleman sitting next to me was reading, marking and taking notes from Matthew Henry’s Commentary. Now for those that don’t know, this is a form of abbreviated commentary on the Bible. I noticed at times, this older gentleman speaking to his daughter, and at times going back to the notes. It seemed as if all of the notes he was sharing with her had to do with being saved. I could only speculate that he was trying to convert his daughter or prove a point to her. I don’t know I didn’t pay a lot of attention, after all Heath Barkley had some things to take care of at the ranch or there was going to be trouble.

I later on finished watching the program on the computer when all of a sudden a wireless service is available icon popped up and I realized I might just have wireless service available at the hospital. Well sure enough I had it and was able to keep on top of my replies to MySpace and The Virtual Pew yesterday. I was doing a lot of responding when the gentleman who had been sitting near us asked if I was writing a book or something. Well you can imagine the conversation that started. Long story (if you can imagine that) made short was that we talked about everything from Catholics to Baptists and from Revelations to Genesis. I can imagine my son sitting there, rolling his eyes, for another conversation I had just become engaged in with someone I had just met for the first time.

One of the things I noticed from this conversation, is that like so many other Christians, this particular Christian just didn’t get it when it came to the concept of The Virtual Pew. We try to reach out to Christians who have been neglected or burnt on the church, or for whatever reason don’t attend church. And on that last point, there are many good reasons that for some reason those still in church just don’t get it. Now for those that can, we also try to get them plugged back into church, whether it be a small home style church, or a larger church that will really be the church, not the judgment center, continue to beat down people type of association that so many churches have become. Now on that point realize we don’t force that issue, it comes up when it comes up and usually has to come up at the request of the person we are working with.

The Virtual Pew also places a high priority on reaching out to non believers in a unique way that shows love as opposed to condemnation. Some people in the “church” may often refer to these as the Lost, the Last, and the Least. We do this because bottom line, I am convinced many churches don’t know how to, their lack of success at reaching these people is an indication they don’t know how to. Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that they don’t want to, (although that is the case in some situations), but primarily they don’t know “how”. It is why I train and educate churches in this area that really want this knowledge. I do believe my own success indicates I have done something right over the years. To pass along that knowledge, knowing others can have the opportunity to learn about Jesus as opposed to religion or they can feel love as opposed to hatred, is something of value. Remember the reason this is of value to me. Remember my first few paragraphs here. I know I am not the same person, I feel love, I feel happiness, I feel joy more than I ever felt prior to my relationship with Christ. I also know that don’t mean things are perfect, in fact, often it seems as if life sucks, but at least I am not going through it alone, and I don’t know how, but I do know my relationship with Christ has enabled me to find the inner peace I never felt before.

Now what got me thinking about all of this today? It was a simple pm interaction between me and a friend at MySpace. She knows who she is as I told her that she had inspired me to write the blog today. I told her this morning, “Thanks, one of my concerns is that usually at first I suffer from first impression complex. That is because people hear and see that I am a Christian the first impression is I am like all other Christians. While my beliefs may not be that much different on many things, the way I practice it is much different. It is why most of my "enemies" are "devout" Christians and most of my friends are people who have had issues with "Christians." Once people get to know me though they know I am a little different. I have to be honest though, I really want people to see Christianity in a different light, not to force anything on them, but to open up a thought process that some of us have had, and can have, an impact. People like Martin Luther King Jr., Bono and so many others I could name. We are in the minority compared to the Jerry Fallwell types and others who report to be Christian, and because of that we have a very tough and difficult battle ahead of us. But then again, I am on another ramble.”

After receiving the above message she responded: “Well, I happen to appreciate your ramblings! I agree with you about how a few who "stand" for Christianity badly represent the real message of love and tolerance. I'm so glad that you are willing to get out there and show others a different and positive side to Christians! I hope you have a wonderful weekend as well!”


Now I have to come to why did this inspire me to write about the things I did? I guess my answer is multifold. I think we all have to remember, just as I told the gentleman at the hospital yesterday, none of us are any better than anyone else, it is important we realize that. Being a Christian doesn’t mean we have all of the answers, doesn’t mean we have it all down pat, doesn’t mean we have the right to put people in their place. All being a Christian means is we have salvation, and should have the ability to love others, no matter what the circumstance because of all people we should know what Jesus love did for us. That is the first thing I would say the Apostle Paul in the Bible recognized, the most powerful tool we have to share Jesus love with others is our lives. Unfortunately many have forgotten who they were before Jesus, and after Jesus. They forget they are different people who knew what it was like to not feel and know all of the things Jesus gave us. You know why I believe this is the case in most Christian’s lives, why it is they become these creatures? I believe they have forgotten because they quit hanging around people like they used to be, they made new “Christian” friends and somewhere along the line, they forgot what it was like to not be a Christian. It is why they say and do the things they do towards those who aren’t Christians, if in fact; they are around them and choose to have a relationship at all with them. From isolating to watching Christian television, going to Christian concerts, Christian Festivals, listening to Christian music and everything else, we have forgotten what it means to be salt and light. Our salt has lost its saltiness, and our light never penetrates darkness because we never enter darkness.

There is another reason for the rant today, that is to remind those who are Christians, be yourself, love those Jesus loved, be like Jesus, of course you have to study his habits to know how to do this. Instead of doing a “Theological” study of Scripture, do human relations study of Jesus. In other words, don’t try to discover theology; try to discover Jesus personal relationship habits. How did he approach people, how did they approach him, what did others say about him, why, question after question of what was Jesus like as a person. Once you discover these answers, and you will as they are easy to find, then you can start to live like Jesus. I would give one pointer here; if I am wrong tell me. Most of the time we see Jesus angry or using harsh words, we need to realize it was to the religious leaders. At that point, you really have to ask yourself, is the church really any different than the religious organization of the time? If you do any research at all here, you will realize, that the unfortunate answer to that is, no, it is very much the same. Preachers and parishioners of churches are more like the Rabbi’s and Pharisees of the day. People hate to hear that now, just like they hated to hear it then. I still challenge, just as yesterday, if the shoe fits, and people make that association to you, maybe, just maybe, you fit the bill. I can’t change that as it is likely more reality than it is imagination.

Last reason I did this, those who don’t follow Jesus need to realize that not all of us who do are alike. Just like you don’t like being thrown into a category that don’t fit you, neither do a lot of us. Don’t tell all of us that we don’t care about the poor, the hungry, the HIV infected, the injustices towards women or whatever political correct agenda you happen to be on is. Many of us do care, we are involved, we seek to change the way the world practices because we believe that is exactly what Christ would have us do. While many will throw theological labels at us because we do care, realize that we ourselves go through some level of misunderstanding, some level of being accused of not being Christian. That don’t change who we are though, that don’t change our compassion, it don’t change the fact that while we may at times fail and make mistakes, we still seek to improve, take the next step, make the next move, to be more like Jesus.

Well I know it has been another ramble for today. I have a lot of work to get caught up on so I guess I have to get there or I’ll never complete my day. As always, thanks for reading, and if you have liked what you have read, pass it along in blogs, bulletins, message boards, or wherever. Take care and again thanks for taking the time to read the words of this rambling man. (Hey that sounds like the name of a great song, Rambling Man)

Don't Write Me Off with Hugh Grant from the Movie Music and Lyrics
Click Here if the video don't appear:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dYc3PblZR8


Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives.

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Here is our contact information


The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew.(Please note that the links for The Virtual Pew blogs have been going through some changes and the url’s have changed.)

Donations to The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew Blog
Personal Furches Web Site
Mike Furches MySpace Page
Mike Furches MySpace Blog
Hollywood Jesus
Reviews With Mike
The Virtual Pew Sermons
The Virtual Pew News
MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Cho Seung-Hui, Sanjaya, Cyber Bullies, and The Religious Right

I would like to first of all ask, after you are doing reading this, if you agree with it, pass it along, let others know this article exists.

I have to say it, but will say it in a tame manner of which I really don’t feel. “I am so friggin sick and tired of the hate, attitude, and ill will towards other human beings on this planet I just want to throw up my hands and say to the rest of the world; you friggin idiots! Do you realize what you are doing to humanity?”

Over the last few days I can’t help but think about how our society, and Christianity in particular, has become so much a “me generation” that we have forgotten about the whole message of Jesus. Let me illustrate several points that got me to the place I am presently at. One will be understandable for most, the others, maybe not. Let me get started on my rant for today that hopefully has some meat to chew on.

Anyone else deeply sickened by the events in Blacksburg Virginia at Virginia Tech? I am, there were so many wrongs during this event I have to wonder how we can go on, and act like nothing happened is beyond me. Let’s take a look at Cho Seung-Hui. As the news continues to come out I am saddened by a few things, Cho Seung-Hui seems to be getting all of the attention. While I realize that is wrong, it is the place we have to start. This young man, a senior at Virginia Tech committed the worst individual school shooting in America’s history. I refuse to call it the worst Massacre because our not to distant past involved our own country massacring multitudes of people. Just ask the American Indian of that and their opinion of the sanctioned murders by Custer and others. That being said, Cho Seung-Hui went on a rampage, killing 32 people, wounding numerous others. This has affected the lives of tens of thousands. I have to ask though, is it his entire fault?

Cho Seung-Hui as we now know was mentally ill. Mental illness is a subject I know a little about for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is I trained rehabilitation programs all over the world, and was the executive director for a top rehabilitation agency. I value and appreciate my working history with this population of people. While I have found them to be loving, caring, and extremely intelligent, I have found society being judgmental, critical, and uneducated about this population group which has the potential to affect 1 out of 7 Americans, and more than that on a world-wide basis.

This is a population group where it is still acceptable to bully, discriminate against, and place blame on. While Cho Seung-Hui certainly had a mental illness, we have to look deeper at the situations which caused him to eventually explode and not get the appropriate help he needed. Please understand on this point. I am not excusing him for his actions, just pointing out how those of us in society, if given the chance, could have an impact to keep something like this from happening again.

It was around 1988 that I appeared on the Jack Elery Show, a nationally syndicated radio program talking about the recent Reagan decision for reintegration of the mentally ill. As a result mental hospitals across America were shut down and the mentally ill were released onto the streets of America with no guarantee for follow up and treatment. It was during this time that local treatment facilities were blasted and inundated with an over population of mentally ill adults. The truth is that even for the very sick, there was no place to hospitalize these individuals that needed it. As we look at Cho Seung-Hui, it is evident that while the warning signs were there, no treatment was offered, or forced upon him (BTW, I believe in forced treatment in situations like this). Sure there were teachers, faculty, other students who made efforts, but he slipped through the cracks and as a result, our nation has been paralyzed with these events.

Cho Seung-Hui used the week anniversary of Columbine in Littleton Colorado to carry out his massacre. It didn’t start there though; it started with the teasing in High School that we are now reading about, the unwillingness of the system to get him help and how there seemed to be no help for the multitude of warning signs that existed. We can ask tons of questions, but asking those questions in and of themselves will do little good. We eventually have to come up with solutions. I propose that one solution is becoming better educated about mental illness and the effective treatments that exist. The truth is, various medications are out there that do wonderful things at helping people out in conjunction with a total treatment program. Christians have to start accepting this and quit the idiotic approach that all mental illnesses are related to demons. While some may be, that does not solve the overall need for treatment and help that already exist. For the Christians wanting to enter this debate, be careful, I am fully capable of arguing against the perspective from a Biblical and medical point of view. I would challenge those Christians to do exactly what we are admonished to do on various perspectives, study to show yourself approved. In other words, study the complete aspects of this disease, not just what you heard some preacher say at some point in your life where you may or may not remember part of their discussion, but certainly the preacher was not educated in the reality of mental illness and its scientific and biological basis.

I could delve deeper into the need to understand Mental Illness but my intent is to do an article here, not a book. I must ask the question though; do we as a populace really care about learning about mental illness? Do we really care about helping the least, the lost, and the last? If so, despite what many think, I challenge that the mentally ill are the lepers of the 21st century. While there are other groups out there that may try to claim this, this population group is the least understood, and because they are unable to speak for themselves, with the exception of a few groups like the National Consumers Movement and NAMI, very few people are advocating for this population. What are the dangers of that? I don’t know, watch the news about Virginia Tech this week and then come back and tell me what you think.

The second area that shows a lack of concern and an attitude in society is the one that promotes self (the individual) over others (your neighbor) is the recent disposal of Sanjaya from American Idol. I could speak in great detail about this and did in another blog, but a large group of people made their intent known by voting for who they thought was the worst on this very popular television show. Since I dealt with this issue in another blog I won’t spend much time here other than to ask the question; “What kind of society do we live in where we would willingly do what we can to tear down, not just a television program but a person or populace who actually care about the show. Don’t get me wrong, it is far from the best show on television, but to think that I have the right, and responsibility to force my position on another group of people is one which I believe is dangerous for society.

I have personally seen this attitude on message boards as of recent, not just with others, but with myself. I have one individual who has made it his public mission in life to tear me down and share things that are untrue on a message board. This individual is unwilling to use his real name, unwilling to let others know who he is for whatever reason. He is an individual that others have called out on various issues and topics, but they still see themselves as the moral authority for this particular message board. I see these types of people all of the time. Today after doing some research I found out this individual around 1991 lost a daughter. I don’t know how, I don’t know why but to loose a 20 year old daughter is an unimaginable pain. I can understand why an individual over the years could become bitter and strike out against the world. I can also understand how my replies, my rants can feed this anger, this bitterness that has no redeeming value for this person. I have to ask myself, what is my response for individuals like this? It is a question we all have to ask as we live in a cyber world where this occurs on a regular basis. Not only do we have to be concerned about real bullying in the school room, we now have to respond to cyber bullying from people who are faceless, nameless, and obviously in one way or another, hurting others and not caring about it. We have to question what we can do, because in a world where an individual may try to work out their differences, we don’t readily have that option available because of the unwillingness, and ability for some to remain anonymous. It is not as if we can provide help for this people so we must ask ourselves what we can do for ourselves when these types of situations occur. Then in that process is what we are doing bringing about some measure of resolve and ultimately helping out the group or is it selfish in its intent.

There is a final group I want to address, it is a group I love, care for, and admire, but also a group with which I am disappointed. This group involves Christians who are so quick to judge and think that judgment is the only way to reach the world around them. We see disputes, disagreements, arguments, and even the questioning of faith that occur. These individuals approach life as if “people are going to hell and they need to know about it” is their approach. They will shout from the street corner, internet message board, and pulpit to share how we all deserve to die and receive hell as punishment. They attempt to disguise this as love but for some reason has the inability to see the total and complete love that is offered from Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, those taking the position presented in the previous paragraph seem to not understand that they may in fact be doing more harm than good and ultimately be responsible for driving people away from faith in the person of Jesus Christ. They are the ones that muddy the water as to what Jesus was like in comparison to what Christians are like. Unfortunately, Gandhi got it right, many Christians are nothing like their Jesus.

I have asked questions but that would be worthless without presenting some answers. Here is my attempt at where to start.

First of all, we have to get over this me generation and me is it mentality. Jesus made it very clear, we are to love him, and love others. In fact it is from loving others that we show him that we love him. Matthew 25 is a perfect example of this message, and despite the fact that many Christians claim this passage is not for Christians today does not change the overlying theme of Scripture which supports this concept. That theme is, God created us, loved us, we committed crimes or sinned against God to the point that his perfection can’t accept us, he thus presented his son Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins and when we accept that sacrifice, and follow Jesus we are forgiven and saved from the Hell that was created for Satan. It was all done out of love though, not to say that God don’t hate sin, he does, he does though because he is so perfect and so loving, that he can’t stand to be in the presence of sin. It is why Jesus is so important, he becomes our advocate, our substitute.

Enough of that little sermon, but we have to realize, Christ calls us all to love our neighbor, the drunk, the down and out, the leper of society. We have to love them as much, if not more than ourselves, and then be willing to serve them in the same way that Christ served those, including those who would betray him, when he was around him. On this point, I often remind people, Jesus was willing to wash the feet of the very one who would betray him, Judas. If Jesus is our example, we must love and serve. Period!

Regarding the least of these like the mentally ill, we have to get to know them, love them and serve them, whether they be Mentally Ill, HIV positive, Gay, Straight, or whatever. When we see injustices done toward them we have to speak out and seek justice. If that means becoming politically involved, then it means becoming politically involved. We need to base those political decisions not just on what we are promised, but on what is delivered. We have to look at the total picture, not just a single issue.

Now on the above part, I realize that Americans have a level of involvement here that others may not. I also realize that people all over the world read these comments. I am aware of my own political convictions in comparison to my faith walk. My first obligation of citizenship is Heaven, not the United States of America. While I am given some leeway by my system to be involved, that involvement can never compromise my faith. That is where it becomes incredibly difficult because there is obviously no “Christian” political party, as much as any one party would have us believe. It is why we have to look at the actions of those making the promises, and above all, stand for justice and the things that God would have us stand for. We must be just as concerned about a hungry starving child as we are over an issue like prayer in school. We must seek out our own individual answers to those issues, and then respect the search and journey that one has been on to come to their conclusions, whether it is the same answer we have or not.

Next in the area of bullying, especially cyber bullying; I have come to a conclusion, and it is not an easy one. But the Bible tells me to love my enemies, to pray for them, to do kind and good things for them. It is in reality, living out the message that Jesus himself lived. In fact it wasn’t the people we saw him often times getting angry at, it was the religious community. In fact Jesus went out of his way to show others his love. Of course there comes a point in time where we have to ignore what is being said and done, and that is not easy, but sometimes we have to turn people back to their own ways, let the Holy Spirit do his job. In those situations we have to make sure we have done our part. I realize for example, that I will ultimately stand before God and have to answer for how I have treated people, even my enemies. Instead of feeding their trolling attitudes, I have to let my actions speak, hopefully my actions become actions of love. I must admit, I am week in this area, I want to often times argue my point, prove that I am right on an issue. While there are times for that, while there are times that people need to be called out, it should be prayerfully considered as to when I/and/or others do that as opposed to displaying an obvious attitude of love.

Now to the last group, the group hardest to address because they often think they have all of the answers. That is those in the church who are so judgmental. I challenge Jesus and the Bible uses many analogies, from babies to sheep, and from families to the body. The Bible certainly understood the concept of analogy and metaphor. I challenge that we start looking seriously at the actions of Jesus and the early church. We need to focus on becoming more like Jesus and less like Judas or the Pharisees. I challenge, that if people are calling you a Pharisee, then maybe, just maybe, it is because you are displaying the attitude of the Pharisee. I continue to be amazed at the Christians who get upset about this analogy, deny it, and refuse to think about the comparison that many, including others who recognize Jesus and God as not only as lovers of humanity but the judge of humanity place on them. Christians are called to be accountable, not to be lone rangers in this battle we are engaged in. It is time that accountability partners are in place to help with these self assessments. If a person is unwilling to do that, then I certainly question whether or not they are speaking for God. It becomes obvious in these situations, that people at that point in time, find themselves speaking for themselves. Of course where those accountability partners come from is incredibly important as there are quack groups out there who as a group will give bad advice. There are those that read this that I would love to be a part of my accountability, if willing to help, let me know through email or pm.

For me, personally, I have a variety of accountability partners who check me out, advice me, and help me. When they speak to me of a mistake, or a misunderstanding, or regarding something I have written that may be taken the wrong way, I listen and value their input. They come from across the country, and from various denominations and Para church groups. I know the process while easy to implement, is not always easy to follow because constructive criticism is not always easy to hear. It is needed though, but I and others need to listen to that criticism.

I could go on, but I challenge to think about one thing, the one thing I have already mentioned. Who will be our model? Jesus or the Pharisee? What will be our action? Love or judge?

We have a long way to go, as people who follow Christ, we have to get over this, “I am it” mentality that has permeated our ranks. For those looking for someone to follow, and especially looking at Christianity as an option, I beg and implore you, look at the one more like Jesus, and ultimately Jesus himself. Please don’t judge my religion with how I practice my faith, judge it by the person of Jesus Christ. It is he who I want to be like, and it is he who I realize sat an example for me where I have a long ways to go. Where I have failed forgive me, where I have succeeded, I give all honor and respect to he one who gave me the ability to succeed, Jesus Christ through his Holy Spirit. Now if understanding that we are as humans are not perfect, that we make mistakes, and you can learn from those, then like Paul, I would say, by all means look at me, look at my example. I can be honest here because I have been honest with myself. It is not I who have succeeded, it is Christ through me. It is not Christ that has failed at times in my life, it is my failure for refusing to be like Christ.

God bless and help us all.

Here is a tribute video in memory of those who died at Virginia Tech.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX4S82jCdyw


Here is another Tribute Video by Nickelback
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPxD8HiAH8s


Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives.

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Here is our contact information
The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew.(Please note that the links for The Virtual Pew blogs have been going through some changes and the url’s have changed.)

Donations to The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew
The Virtual Pew Blog
Personal Furches Web Site
Mike Furches MySpace Page
Mike Furches MySpace Blog
Hollywood Jesus
Reviews With Mike
The Virtual Pew Sermons
The Virtual Pew News
MySpace Hollywood Jesus Group

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Faith In Film Series, Lost a Spiritual Journey

What makes Lost one of the most talked about, most viewed television series in television history? There are many who speculate, but few who have actually figured it out. Come to the next Faith In Film Series featuring Lost. We will be watching an episode of Lost and discussing the themes in that particular show. I think many will be surprised at the imagery and imagination behind this popular television show.

On a side bar, we will be starting next week with movies so the discussions will be more direct, not nearly as broad and shorter in duration. We will go back to television series on occasion but we want to throw out some movies for discussion and observation. More on that later in the week.

Another side bar, we had 11 people this last week and the numbers keep growing. If everyone who says they want to come do, we will have over 20 people. We will eventually be moving the group outside and to a larger space so be on notice for that. Until then though, you might want to bring an extra chair or even floor pillow. The times have been a lot of fun and I think anyone would enjoy the activity. Another new piece of information this week. We are starting next week with cooking out for a few of the Faith In Film groups. We will invite people to come early, cook some food on the Charcoal BBQ if they want and enjoy some added fun activity. Feel free to set up the following and pass along for information if interested. For those unable to attend, the themes and topics of discussion are posted within the next week of the featured program at The Virtual Pew pages and MySpace pages. We will be watching this week, Season 2 Episode 10 The 23rd Psalm.

Take care and see you this weekend.


Faith In Film Series


Saturdays at 6:00 PM
April 21 – Lost a Spiritual Journey
Season 2 Episode 10 The 23rd Psalm.




Please Note, No Small Children as Adult Themes are Covered.

Bring Movie Snacks and Refreshments.
Arrive Early for Choice Seats, Might bring a cushion for floor seats.

400 S. Georgie, Derby (Behind the Bowling Alley on Hwy 15)
For More Information Call: 316-788-1961 or -258-3952

We will watch the program and then discuss Spiritual Themes.

Future Meeting Dates (Dates in Bold are outside, cookout & Big Projection Screen)

May 5, May 19, May 26, June 9, June 16, June 23, July 14



What Is The Faith In Film Series? A type of Small Group with a focus on discussing spiritual truths that exist in the arts, not just film. We realize all truth comes from God and God’s truths are often spoken about in culture. Jesus used parables to teach spiritual truths. The Bible states, “He never taught them anything without first telling them stories.” Mark 4:33, 34. Movies, books, television, and music are the most popular form of storytelling today; using these media we will look for ways to deepen our faith as well as finding ways to share spiritual truths with the unchurched.

Your Facilitator: Mike Furches has been using the arts to share culturally relevant truths with those in the church, and unchurched for over 15 years. Recognized as one of the leaders across the country in this field he is adequately prepared to present this in a small group setting. Mike currently writes for one of the most visited review web sites in the world, Hollywood Jesus. He also facilitates and operates an online community of faith called The Virtual Pew.

What will we do? We will watch all kinds of movies, television shows, and listen to all kinds of music. The focus will be on popular arts within the non Christian sector. Some of these will be ‘R’ Rated and will include discussion while at times looking at adult themes.

Who can come? Anyone and everyone that is age appropriate. This is a great opportunity to invite unchurched friends or those who are open to these types of themes. Small children should not attend for obvious reasons. Media that has more of an adult theme will be announced in advance.

How often will we meet? 2 – 3 times a month. A calendar of meeting times will be made available. You can also access information about the events through http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and via making contact. You may also email regarding a schedule of events to mike@thevirtualpew.com



To see a film recap click on the link below. If the video is not showing up you can click here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLTtTrpy_5k




Now for those that do not know, make sure you check out the numerous articles and blogs by checking out the archives. If visiting The Virtual Pew or MySpace they are archived on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to where you see newer or older listed under archives and then click there. There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the archives.

You can visit http://www.thevirtualpew.com/ and on the front page down on the left side you sill see our store. Your purchase provides needed funds to The Virtual Pew. If you do not see something to purchase you can click on the search engine, (do not put anything in the search box at this time). You will be taken to Amazon where you can search for anything you desire. Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Here is our contact information

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217
Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual Pew.(Please note that the links for The Virtual Pew blogs have been going through some changes and the url’s have changed.)