Browsing Category

Uncategorized

Uncategorized

A Psalm for Election Day

November 8, 2016

 

 

Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”

It’s always been this way. American politics in 2016 is full of absolutely nothing new. Nations rage. People plot and scheme and set themselves for gathering power. As another Psalm notes, there are no good human beings, much less countries. We’ve all turned to our own ways and desires, swearing that we’ll cast off the cords that God has bound us with, regardless of how we vote or who wins.

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”

But God’s not worried, not in the least. He’s in heaven laughing. Puny, pointless attempts to bend the sovereign hand of the Lord almighty fold in the face of the resounding call that the King has already been decreed and enthroned. There’s a ruler, and he’s not being elected today. The Father put him in place millenia ago and he’s not going anywhere. Clinton, Trump, Putin, Nero, Pharaoh, and even Satan himself shake with fear when God speaks.

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

When God speaks he says that his Son – Jesus of Nazareth – both inherits and rules every nation on the earth. His rule is so powerful that he can crack a nation into pieces like you would a clay pot. He is, after all, the only begotten Son of God. He takes after his dad and laughs at any attempt to go against his will. Election day? Let’s have a good laugh.

Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

  • Psalm 2

The lesson for this election day? Watch out, presidents, congressmen and women, supreme court judges, mayors, and every leader regardless of political party or religious affiliation. Bow and kiss the Son, because he’s the one who’s really in charge today. All your power and pomp and circumstance and billion dollar campaigning is worthless if you are not among those who have taken refuge in him.

The same goes for those Americans casting their votes today. When it comes down to it what really matters isn’t who you vote for. It’s whether or not you’ve come to Jesus and knelt before his throne, submitting yourself to him as the true ruler.

 

 

Uncategorized

Top 10 ed.7

May 11, 2013

For those who write – How To Understand and Reach Your Target Audience

Tradition, ritual, and the affirmation of manhood – The Painted Men

9 Strategies for Creating A Leadership Development Culture 

The Trainer vs. The Developer (hint: you want to be the second one)

As someone who just finished his last college class yesterday, I appreciate these 12 Things to Do after Graduating

The Real Win (Ebook)

A 9-part series by Sam Storms on what it means to be Reformed (Despite the length, it’s well worth the read!)

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2
  3. Part 3
  4. Part 4
  5. Part 5
  6. Part 6
  7. Part 7
  8. Part 8
  9. Part 9

In our sex-saturated culture, here’s 9 Things You Should Know About Pornography and the Brain

 

Because spring is here and cycling is the way to travel:

FRAMED II from Mario Feil on Vimeo.

 

All Sons & Daughters “Reason To Sing” at RELEVANT

Uncategorized

Update

October 19, 2011

It’s been some time since I last posted here. Between school, work, and ministry, my writing has faded almost solely to what has been assigned to me for classes or for functional writing for Threshingfloor. Happily, one of my classes is a poetry writing class, so I’ve continued to produce the occasional piece here and there. My hope is to get back in the habit of posting here regularly, though more than likely posts will be only poetry through the end of this semester. For all you who read, much thanks! Be praying for the work we’re doing here in Fargo to make disciples of the nearly 70,000 young adults and college students. Follow us and stay updated on Facebook.

 

Grace and peace,

Benjamin Pontius

Uncategorized

An Unnecessary Grace

December 23, 2010

I had the day off of work today, so I relaxed and studied the Word to start off the morning and then spend the better part of the afternoon wandering around downtown Fargo with my friend Kelly. As I got back to MSUM, I began to ponder what I was going to do with my evening. First thing that popped into my head; turn on a sermon and head to the studio to do some art. Sounded great to me. It had been a week or so since I’d gotten my hands dirty with paint, charcoal, or whatever other medium seemed appealing at the moment. I dropped my stuff on the floor of my dorm, grabbed my art supplies and Zune, slipped on the headphones, and hit the power button as I walked out the door. The Zune turned on and I browsed through the menu to “shuffle all,” clicked, and was prepared to hear some random musical goodness.

The Zune said no.

The screen stopped in half-step and so did I. After half a minute of waiting for the little hard drive to catch up with me I attempted to reset the thing.  No success. Went downstairs and plugged the Zune in to the computer, thinking that the batteries had been lower than I’d thought. A half-hour passed spent reading up about the technical specifications of various camera lenses at dpreview. Still no luck. Tried resetting again.

My vain attempts lasted probably an hour before I finally gave up, rather frustrated and wondering why God apparently didn’t want me to do what had seemed like such a good way to spend the evening. Why wouldn’t God want me to listen to a sermon? There really wasn’t any answer as I trudged back up to my dorm room to drop off all the art stuff and the now-defunct Zune. It just didn’t seem right to go do art without music or a sermon, and I certainly didn’t feel like sitting in front of a computer longer, so I did the only thing that seemed vaguely appealing to mr, tossing on my winter apparel and heading to wander around campus and talk with God while enjoying the light snowfall. For some reason the crashing of that little musical device had really thrown down the spiritual joy I had had, and I began to see the warning signs of an electric idol taking root in my life, so as I walked I prayed. After 10 minutes of just breathing and reminding myself how to simply rest in the Lord, peace began to return. A side note is worthy here – Christian, if you do not know the stunning way that time alone with the Lord can bring peace to a life of utter chaos, I urge you, find time to escape and be with Him. Once peace came back to my soul, I began to pray for larger things like the numerous non-Christians in the Fargo/Moorhead area and much more.

As I came back to where I’d started, I felt like I should ask the Lord to make the Zune work again. As my God, he has absolute rights to give and take whatever he pleases, particularly if that thing is taking his place as rightful center and sole support in my life, so my prayer went something along the lines of, “God, I know I really don’t need it, but I would love to have my Zune working again. If it’s something you need to take, do it, but it  would bring me great joy if I was to walk back into my room and try the Zune and find it working.” For some reason just the thought of the Lord doing that little miracle got me rather excited, and I was in high anticipation of what would happen as I walked into the dorm, pulled off my jacket and hat, and grabbed the Zune to hit the play button. For a few seconds nothing happened. I tried resetting it. A few seconds. Then, as I was about to set it down and try to figure out something else to do with my evening, it turned on.

Something as silly as an MP3 player shouldn’t bring me such joy, but I was definitely excited at that moment. As I write this, my Zune is charging plugged into the computer and working perfectly.

It’s amazing the small graces that our God gives us, isn’t it? He lavishes upon us mountains of unnecessary graces. We get to taste our food and enjoy the eating of it, not just chew some flavorless paste to sustain our bodies. We get to relate to hundreds of people and find the joy that comes in deep friendships. We have opportunities to see sunsets and forests and fresh cut lawns and art galleries. We are wired to be emotionally effected by waves of sound floating through the air and hitting our eardrums. We have thousands of little machines that can play any variety of those sound waves at the touch of a button. It’s not like God is obligated to give us any of these things. He could have created a bland, black and white and gray world and saved us in such a way that involved no emotions, yet he chose not to. He chose to build into his creation a whole universe of pleasures, giving men and women the ability to enjoy them regardless of whether or not they praise him for it.

Oh how much we aught to exalt the Lord for the unnecessary graces that he puts in our lives! Not only has he saved us from death and punishment and given us “every spiritual blessing,” he has also given us thousands of physical and temporal blessings. Give thanks to him for it. To fail to do so leaves us crippled in our spiritual growth.

Don’t forget that your taste buds are a grace given to you, oh man. Don’t forget that the feeling of happiness that wells up in your heart from time to time is a grace given to you, young woman. Don’t forget, oh human, that your existence is a grace given to you. Praise God for it. Don’t forget that your Zune is a grace given to you, Ben Pontius.

Don’t forget.

Uncategorized

Sheba

December 4, 2010

This is a story I wrote a few years back, making a legend out of an afternoon spent at the Ruttger’s house, attending to maneuver an old half-floating dock section from the shore of the lake out to their raft where the rest of the people were playing king of the hill. It really was quite the adventure. No embellishment is used at all here. I swear.

—————–

We had yet another hundred leagues to go before we reached our destination, the floating island of Mettalia, where legends told tales of giants battling for dominion, toppling each other off into the blue depths, only to claw back on and renew the battle in a ceaseless war.

The sun burned in the sky, and winds tore across the quavering ocean as we struggled onward. It doesn’t help to have a boat full of holes. But that made no difference to us, the crew of four. Weather-worn, sweat stained, and sinking fast, we piloted our marvelous craft. Sheba; the terror of the high seas. (and the low ones too) T’was I, my hair dripping with the water from the spray, captaining the ship; the short, red haired and fiery tempered deck hand; the wild and brown-haired boson; and last but not least, the golden haired beauty who for some reason insisted on sitting with her legs thrust through a gaping hole in the craft, being of absolutely no help at all; each longing to reach Mettalia and claim its shining glory our own. At one point, the crew had been larger, but many had abandoned ship in fear of the dangers that came with the quest, or had been thrown overboard by the wiles of the seas and our treacherous craft. We few that were left had paid the price to cross these forty (million, of course) feet of water, and were determined to complete the journey.

Despite the shrinking crew and our ebbing strength, we forged forward toward Mettalia, where the giants still raged and sent waves emanating from as they cast each other into the water, sending mighty geysers skywards. Sheba toppled before one massive breaker, but luckily the crew was quick, and instead of attempting to stop the craft from being overthrown, we simply leaned with the weight, and allowed her to roll completely over. At this the blonde smiled and laughed uproariously while the boson coughed up water and wiped sea weed from his face. The horrors were taken in stride, and once we gathered our wits, we struck off again.

The boson stood in an attempt to catch clearer glimpse of the island, but was caught off balance. He hung for a moment, wobbling as I reached out to grab his hand, but it was too late. He toppled into the sea as we all looked on. I, the sea-hardened captain, was about to make the difficult decision and leave another man behind, but our deck hand, brave soul he was, dove after the boson without a backwards glance. He reached the flailing red head, who grabbed him and promptly drug him down under the water. I was sure we’d lost two good men where we could have lost only one. But lo and behold, after what seemed infinitely long, the deck hand arose from beneath the waves, dragging the boson back to the only slightly safer hull of Sheba. Both lay on the broken boards of the ship’s deck, gasping for breath. We moved slowly onward, the shores from which we departed now barely visible to our sun-blinded eyes.

It took days to reach our destination, with many more great adventures along the way. However, to our great disappointment the legends of Mettalia had been untrue. The giants were mere men, caught in and endless fight over a resting place on the island’s blue shores. The stories had been spun by countless sailors who had passed by, hearing the loud sounds that rose from their fighting, and had grown the tale from there. Our crew had quite the ride of it though, and now, as I write this, we sit on Mettalia’s shores, dangling our weary legs down into the deep waters around her, with our faithful ship tied to one of the many outcroppings on the island’s cliff-like shores. We will rest here for a time, then perhaps strike out to further, more legendary places in this ocean. May whoever reads this seek such adventure, for it is a glorious freedom to ride the waves and risk ones life and limb in order to reach a high goal.

Truly,
The Captain

Uncategorized

A letter to the second-handers

November 17, 2010

You are a Christian, you say; you attend(ed) church and you believe things that you learned there. Your mouth tells me you love God and his son Jesus, that is, after you’ve discovered that I say the same. You nod and smile when I speak of the Body and the study of the Word, and you offer enthusiastically non-committal responses when invited to church or prayer or Christian fellowship. Things like, “I hope I’ll make it this week!” and, “Yea, that would be really cool. I’ll let you know.” Despite your enthusiasm at the outset, I am disappointed time and again as I wait to see you enter the sanctuary or text you to find if you’re coming and hear that you had too much homework, overslept, forgot, or ended up not being able to make it.  There are other priorities at that are higher on the list.

Those eyes that so readily light up at the talk of movies, parties, sports, video games, other people, and anything that brings laughter are quite dull and lusterless when the spiritual is brought to bear. Christ is spoken of and you bear it politely for a moment, turning the conversation back to more “present” matters at the earliest opportunity. The subject of life after death is one that thrills you little since there is oh-so-much to be filled with here and now. My excitement at a new revelation of who God is brings a strange silence to our conversation, as if you aren’t quite sure what a person is doing worrying about who God is at all. It’s not like it matters much to our day-to-day life.

You tell me that Jesus is the most important thing to you. Your life tells me your “care” for him costs you little and changes you even less. In fact, I do believe that even your closest confidant would be hard-pressed to discern the minutiae that differentiates you from all those who surround you. In fact, the people who surround you give me pause in and of themselves. I had been under the impression that those who loved Christ loved his people and desired fellowship with them, but apparently such things do not apply to all those who follow him. I see you out with several others who would spit in Christ’s face if he confronted them and you seem utterly at home. As if you are from the same family and speak the same language. Yet in a group of believers you seem to wear a mask that pulls your face into false pretense and bends your words into second-handed phrases that are crafted to fit the moment, borrowed from a dictionary of past church experiences.

I know we don’t know each other all that well, but I worry for you. Even from the small amount of interaction we’ve had I feel that if I compared what I see of your life to the Bible’s portrayal of what you say you are the two would not match. You are a Christian, you say. You believe Jesus came and died for our sins. You know your Bible. You do well to say and believe so.

But I call you a liar. Deluded at best. A second-hander who follows Christ when it’s convenient and smiled on by the majority of those around you.

Even devils believe and tremble. You say you love Jesus, but Jesus himself said,  “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.” In 1 John, the apostle echoes Jesus and says, “whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,” and, “whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”

You say much and walk little. I’m afraid for you, my friend. It may be that you have deceived yourself and the truth is not in you; that you are running a vain race, if you are running at all. To be honest, I’m not at all sorry if I’ve offended you. Better that you be offended at me than you run ignorantly towards your damnation. Please, take these words into account, particularly where they line up with scripture. I truly do care for you and urge you to examine yourself and see whether you are in the faith. Test yourself, and if you find you fail the test, do something about it! Plead with Christ to change you. Talk with me. Read the Word.

And though this may seem harsh, if you refuse to live a life that actually reflects Christ, please stop calling yourself a Christian. It makes him seem foolish, weak, and altogether something that he is not. It causes more people to “exchange the uncreated God for images created things.”  For the sake of my savior’s glory I cannot let you bring dishonor on his name.

Please, consider what I’ve said. These are things of utmost importance.

In love and, by God’s grace, in Christ,

Benjamin Pontius

P.S. – perhaps this can say what I’m trying to: TRUTH

Uncategorized

I Go To War

August 23, 2010

I have a sword hanging over my desk in my dorm room at Moorhead; a sword nearly 5 feet tall, made mostly of plastic, and purchased at Target a few years ago on clearance after Halloween. A fun toy, and certainly gets a few looks, but not much good for any battle. It is, however, a reminder to me that I have come here with a solemn purpose and that my mindset is to be that of a man in a war zone. My eyes are to be open to see both friend and foe, my heart prepared for every opportunity, and my mind attentive to not only my studies but also to my commander. Oh that the Lord would open all our eyes to see our world in such a way!

I’ve come to Moorhead quite a different man than I was when I attended CLC four years ago. No more can I walk silently through halls and classes; my life must be a beacon and a banner. My voice must be a declaration of love and truth. I have tasted and I have seen that there are things far more massive than the futility of a life lived upon earthly things, and I shall give what life I have left to help others to see as well. May God use me.

I go to war; war has come to me, and I intend to make the most of it.

I pray the same is true for you.

Uncategorized

A Question You Need To Ask Yourself

April 7, 2010


“What makes me think I’m a Christian?”

Ever asked yourself that question? If you call yourself a Christian, you really should. If you agree with what the Bible says about what comes after death, then it’s probably one of the most important questions to force your mind to work over.

It breaks my heart on a regular basis to know that there are thousands of people who attend churches, live their lives, and die assuming that they have been justified before God and will be saved, only to be counted among those people who will be horrified as the Lord declares, “Away from me, I never knew you.” And to be honest, it’s something that I worry about for myself… what makes me sure that I have been saved? There can be nothing worse than coming before that throne thinking that you will be brought into heaven, only to be cast into the outer darkness. Yet the majority of people who would call themselves Christians have never given a second thought to whether they truly are what they think they are.

So, what makes you think you’re a Christian? If you can’t give an answer to that question, don’t let yourself go on assuming you are one. That’s as stupid as a pilot taking off on a cross-continental flight just assuming the plane has the fuel it will need.

Uncategorized

Costa Rica / Pura Vida

January 22, 2010

I am super excited to be hosting my sister (Brenna) and friend (Megan)’s blog during their trip to Costa Rica on a subdirectory of this blog. navigate your way to Pura Vida by scrolling down a bit and clicking the link to their blog on the right under the “blogroll” section, typing www.theeverlastingfallout.com/costarica into your browsers address bar, or just freaking out and running around the room screaming.*

*may not work

Uncategorized

Wild Things

October 19, 2009

A great article that I would encourage you to read, inspired by the author’s thoughts after seeing the new movie “Where the Wild Things Are.”  Do we do too much to keep our children from the “wild” parts of the Gospel?

Where the Wild Things Aren’t