Archive | August, 2012

LOVE

24 Aug

The Apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 13 that one of the greatest attributes

of a Christian was love.

 

Jesus said that people would know we belong to Him if we show love one to

another.

 

John said in his first epistle that “He that loves is born of God. He that

does not love does not know God.” (I John 4:7-8)

 

Yet, in my 34 years as a Christian, I have found that this quality is one of

the hardest for Christians to exhibit.

 

We gossip about each other.

 

We look down our noses at the lost.

 

We are so quick to judge.

 

Yet if a poll was taken of Christians, most of us would agree that it is

extremely important for believers to exhibit a Christlike love.

 

So why don’t we do it?

 

I became convicted about this a few years back and am trying very hard to

something about it in my own life. (Those who know me well can tell you that

I don’t always succeed but I do hope they’ll also say that I try.)

 

One thing I’ve learned is to take the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) motto as

something literal instead of just a catchy slogan. How would Jesus see this

person? How would Jesus react to that comment?

 

The answer is always that He would react with love.

 

So that’s what I try to do. I don’t always succeed. Sometimes I fall really

hard.

 

But you know what? I always feel closer to Jesus and better about myself when

I do it successfully.

 

Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we all mastered the art of

exhibiting a Christlike love?

 

Will you give it a try?

The Last Word (yeah right)

2 Aug

I really don’t want to beat a dead horse. No, this is not all I think about and it certainly isn’t all I preach on. But I am going to talk about it yet again to clear up (or at least attempt to) some wildly inappropriate and inaccurate characterizations of myself and conservative Christianity in general. That’s right. I’m going to talk once again about homosexuality.

Let me be very clear. I am not a hatemonger. I don’t hate anyone. There have been times that I have borne hatred temporarily because of wrong (real or imagined) that I felt was done to me. But the Holy Spirit convicted me of it each time and when able, I did my best to make it right with the other person. We are commanded in I John 4:7-8 to love others. That is what I have tried to do. I am not always good at it (I’m not a saint by any stretch of the imagination) but I try nevertheless.

It really comes down to how you view Christlike love. Jesus did live everyone but He loved them enough to call them out on sin. A careful scan of the Gospels will reveal plenty of times that Jesus compared someone to a whitewashed tomb, or called them snakes, vipers, or hypocrites. It wasn’t because He hated them. It was because He loved them.

As a believer, I cannot sit by and let people I love carry on in a fashion that does not honor Jesus.

“Isn’t that all Old Testament!”

No. The Bible refers to homosexuality in Romans 1 and I Corinthians and clearly condemns it.

“But Jesus never mentioned it”

Quiet right. He didn’t. But that’s not the only sin that Jesus didn’t mention. And the truth is that He affirmed all of scripture. So if the Bible speaks against it, then it’s wrong. As a friend of mine says, “I didn’t make the rules.”

“Well, the Bible also says to sell your children into slavery (or some other random Old Testament command).”

Yes but most of that was under the Old Covenant and done away with after Jesus established the New Covenant when He died on the cross and subsequently rose again. A good rule of thumb is to look at whether or not the command was brought up again in the New Testament.

“Well, why don’t you guys bring up other sins like gluttony (you guys always want to mention that one to me)?”

I do. In my 11 years as a Pastor, I have talked against abortion, sex outside of marriage, lying, stealing, and yes, gluttony. I did not talk about gluttony until recently. God convicted me of my weight and eating habits and I talked about to openly from the pulpit and asked for accountability. Here is the thing… Nowhere is anyone trying to make lying legal. Michelle Obama herself is fighting against obesity. I don’t threaten anyone with eternal damnation because of homosexuality or any of the aforementioned sins. That is NOT what sends anyone to Hell. Salvation through Jesus Christ is the only thing that sends anyone to Heaven and absence of that same salvation is what excludes people from it.

“Shouldn’t we spend more time preaching salvation then?”

Absolutely and I actually try to do just that…. Every sermon I preach gives a presentation of the Gospel (including funerals and weddings). I believe it’s our first calling. But I will also say that I want them to know the Jesus of the Bible and not the Jesus that someone wants to construct. Yes, the Jesus of the Bible does make me uncomfortable sometimes but He, because of His divine nature, is never wrong.

“Well, I’m not even sure your God exists”

Then there is really nothing for us to discuss. I’m sorry but my faith is the root of everything I believe. If you don’t believe in my God, we will always hit a stalemate. I pray you do come to faith in Him, It will save your life!

And as I read so many times on Facebook, that is all.