Welcome: In Construction

8 years ago I started a blog called Take it or Leave it. I wrote about religious topics as I saw them. After a few years I began to write about broader topics, mostly sports. I am looking to get back to writing on a more consistent basis. 

In preparation for more consistent content. I am making some design changes to the site and it will be down for a short period of time. I apologize if the site looks a little wonky. To get in contact with me find me on Twitter @Deanlentini.

Podcasts: Why Arn’t You Listening?

I love podcasts. I listen to them all the time. Whether it’s a serious theological podcast, a comic book review, movie news, a journalist’s pursuit of truth, or a podcast about making podcasts. I listen to a lot of podcasts and I honestly thought that everybody else did too. This is not true. I was talking to a buddy of mine last year, (this guy is a techie and owns an iPhone and iPad) I told him about something I heard on a podcast and his response was “What’s a podcast?”

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Jesus Died Today And I Killed Him.

Today is Good Friday. I think that name stinks. I know, without “Good” Friday there cannot be Easter and that’s why it is “Good” Friday, but I just can’t get over it. The last few months I’ve been teaching through the book of Luke with the youth group. I did this to introduce Jesus to my kids, the Person known as Jesus. I wanted them to know His Character, His love, His passion, His wit, etc. Praise God I have seen changes in some of the kids, but I think I have learned more than they have.

I have always known that Jesus was an emotional Person. Obviously, any good theologian would say “duh!” But to be honest that has never really sunk in as it has the last couple months. One of the most emotional stories for me is Jesus and the Leper and Jesus touched Him, how much He must have loved that leper!

So the last few days I’ve been trying to put myself in Jesus’ sandals. How would I have felt? The pain He felt was immense. We all know that. Obviously, it killed Him right? But what about emotionally? He was emotionally devastated. 

Luke chapter 6 gives us a little insight into how Jesus felt. After He had healed a ton of people directly after picking His Aposteles, Jesus is depressed. Luke 6:20 says, “He lifted up His eyes on his disciples” not a huge phrase in English. In the Greek we can understand that this an emotional look, it meant to look for courage and hope. Jesus was depressed. Why?

He had just been healing all those people with diseases, unclean spirits, and troubles. Jesus is the Creator according to John 1. Jesus had made Man and when He did so God called us “good.” But because of sin that was no longer the case. THe Creator came down and was now healing His Creation from their self-inflicted hurts. He is a loving Creator and was depressed at what had happened to His creation. Jesus as God knows all though and knew it would not last forever, that’s why He said blessed are the poor, hungry, hurting now because it will not always be this way.

Jesus came to save His creation. How did His creation respond to their Creator coming to rescue them? We murdered Him. Not only did we murder Him, but we tortured Him first. We ridiculed Him. We tore out His beard. We spat on Him and yelled hate at Him. We embarrassingly stripped Him. We threw thorns around His head. We beat Him. We whipped Him as chunks of flesh came off His body.

Then we made him carry His own death sentence up a mountain and drove nails into his hands and feet and left Him there to die. As He hung we continued to drive the emotional pain into His Heart. Mocking the One who gave us existence, we laughed at His pain. Hours this continued until He finally died. We betrayed God. We murdered Him. we are the worst that has ever been, we are no longer “good.”

Yet Jesus did this willingly. He was completely innocent yet He wanted to go through with this emotional and physical torment. Why? Because He loved us. Is there anything or anyone more passionate than Jesus? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Jesus is the definition of passion. He went through (please excuse the phrase) hell to save man. He is the ultimate hero. 

Today, “Good” Friday, is the day we set aside to celebrate the fact that Christ died to save us from our sins. But I think the name is a horrendous offence to what Jesus went through. I mourn today for my Saviour. Today is a Horrible Friday, God died, but the good thing is that Sunday is coming. Even though I mourn for what my Saviour went through at the hands of others, I also mourn because I know I would have been the same. I would have cried out crucify Him! I would have spat on Him and ridiculed Him. We all would have, because it’s all we can do in the Face of Innocence. Jesus died today. And I killed Him.

That’s my opinion. Take it or leave it. - Dean

Tebow: Man, Myth, or Just a Dude Who Loves Jesus and Plays Football

So if you’re any type of sports fan than you must know what time it’s been for the last 9 weeks or so, Tebow Time! It’s true Tebow is the man of the year in the sports world. Every week since week 6 of the NFL regular season, each monday has been overwhelmed on someone’s input on Tebow. It’s all you see on Fox Sports or ESPN these days, this has led to cynicism and honestly some hostility by pretty much everyone in life.

Tim Tebow has had some good weeks and some bad weeks. He led the Broncos from a 1-4 record to 7-5 and then making the playoffs. During the good weeks he was teased, scorned, and mocked by many. During the bad weeks, he was teased even more. There were the snarky sports writers who thought his skills to be subpar at best and non-existent at worst. And then there were (sadly) the Church “big heads” (as I like to call them), mocking Tebow, calling him the fourth member of the Trinity, that Tim walked on water, etc. Why make fun of the faith of a brother in Christ?

Tim Tebow is a born-again believer, no doubt about it. Now, I don’t think people have a problem with that, I mean there are tons of Christians who play sports. So why all the hostility? Timmy doesn’t keep his faith to himself, not in the slightest. He is very outspoken about his faith in Jesus Christ. This is why everyone loves to hate on him, just look up Bill Maher’s twitter, or SNL’s take on him two weeks ago.

Everybody has some type of faith, whether it’s faith in God or faith that there is no God. But in our world today no one is supposed to talk about it. You have faith? Good for you, but I don’t want to hear about it. It’s offensive. So when Tim opens his mouth to thank the Lord for a win, or gets down on His knee to pray and bring glory to God for a touchdown, people get a little ticked.

Now, I have come full circle on this subject. I have made fun of Tim Tebow (especially when he played for stupid Florida, see Ace Troubleshooter’s “Silly Minnesota” for more), I have even Tebowed a couple times in front of Tebow fans, including my pastor, ha. But I have always respected the guy’s boldness. Tim’s outspoken faith is an example to many believers who are to scared of opposition to tell the good news.

Today as I read yet another post on Tim Tebow, I found myself thinking I wonder what Tim Tebow thinks about Tim Tebow, I wonder how his family thinks about him. Tim is just a normal dude. Sure we think of Tim Tebow and think of the popular (for better or worse) culture icon, but what is he really like without the lights.

I think Tim Tebow is just a normal dude, a normal dude who loves Christ and plays football. He loves Christ with a huge passion, that is appearant. He plays football pretty well, let’s just say he’s no Tavarius Jackson…sigh. I like Tebow, as a person and a player. He’s fun to watch and encouraging to listen to, this Saturday when he plays against New England I’m going to be wearing my Tebow shirt and cheering for the Broncos. Yeah, they’re probably going to lose, but I like rooting for the underdog, especially when that underdog loves Jesus. That’s my opinion. Take it or leave it. - Dean

Take the Good with the Bad in the Gospel

Alright, so that title is a little misleading, but I thought it would be a nice starting point to peek your interest. This is the first post I have written in a very long time (shame on me). I have a new part time gig nowdays, working as a sales associate at Staples. It’s a good company from what I can tell, but one thing they make clear is the priority of sales (makes sense). we are taught how to upsell and intrigue the impulse to buy from our customers by talking about the benefits of our sales.

This is a typical tactic many companies use to sell their products to customers. Talk all day about the benefits, with a just a quick note on the cost. I.e. all good, no bad. This got me thinking, are we believers all that different. We have preachers, like Joel Olsteen amongst others, who preach all day about the benefits of Christ, God, and faith but say nothing on tv shows about sin and repentance. I have always been a “I don;t care what others think, I’ll call it like I see it” kind’a guy, but I noticed a horrifying truth.

I was witnessing to one of my coworkers today and I kept finding myself nudging away from “the bad” of the Gospel, essentially our sin nature and its consequences, now I quickly changed that thought and told him the true Gospel. But I have to think I’m not the only one. We are essentially salesmen of the Gospel, now that does not mean we “sell’ the Gospel or deceive people into buying the Gospel, but we are the proclaimers of that Gospel. we need to make sure our “customers” are hearing the whole Gospel, not just the good but also the “bad,” the not so easy to hear things.

We cannot deceive the lost into buying the Gospel by only telling them the benefits, because that would not be the entire Gospel. Do not make the same mistakes as the seeker sensitive movement. We must proclaim the whole Gospel, telling others to repent and trust in Christ alone for salvation. There is no other Gospel. That’s my opinion. Take it or leave it. - Dean

Osama is dead. God is Just.

By now surely you have heard the news. Everyone’s talking about it. Osama bin Laden is dead. The evil mastermind of terrorism, who is responsible for the senseless murders of thousands of American citizens and hundreds more worldwide is finally dead. The particulars are not quite certain yet, but it looks like he was held up in a palace of sorts in Islamabod Pakistan. I don’t know about you, but it makes me furious that he was relaxing in a palace in the middle of a huge city of one of our “allies.”

Now, the reaction last night was varied for different individuals. Some were thrilled to hear of the death of the Al-Queda leader. Some folks were sad to hear he died, and would have rather had him live and tried in court (stupid). Some were not happy, but “satisfied.” The President, in his best moment yet, made a point to be cautious in his praise of this flawless military mission. At first I have to admit I was happy. I’m not saying it’s right but honestly I thought to myself, “It’s about time!”

But is that right? How are we as Christians to react to this killing of a mass murderer? Can we be happy? Should we be happy? How are we to act? Well we need to understand the gravity of this situation biblically. First, we understand that humanly we are glad he died, he killed thousands so there is something in us that says good, I’m glad. Proverbs 11:10 – “When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.” So we see that is natural to shout with gladness when the evil men fall. Notice Solomon does not say it’s a good thing, but simply this is how it works.

But the question remains is it right? How should we react. Proverbs 24:17 – “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, & let not your heart be glad when he stumbles.” So we are not say I’m happy he’s dead. We are not to be thrilled with this news, it should not put a smile on our faces. This goes against our sinful state. So if we are not to be happy, is it a bad thing he died?

No, it is a good thing he is dead. We should not be happy about it, but it is a good thing that he died. How can we say that? Because God is a God of Justice. There are many verses that speak on God’s justice, I don’t think any would debate on God being Just. God uses the government to judge those who break the law, like bin Laden, Romans 13:4, “For he [government] is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”

Osama bin Laden is dead because he killed thousands. The U.S. government was responsible for this death, and it is good because the government fulfilled its duty as God’s minister. God is the avenger and used the government to execute justice on bin Laden. Justice truly has been served. We can be thankful to God that He is Just, not that Osama is dead, but that God is Just. There should not be parties, chants in the streets, just prayer and praise to God for His Justice. I like what Derek Webb put on his twitter last night, “Don’t celebrate death, celebrate justice.” So true! It is a good, not happy, but good thing Osama is dead because God is able to show His Justice to those who do not fear Him. Osama is dead. God is Good. God is Just. That’s my opinion. Take it or Leave it. - Dean