Like many Americans I’ve been frustrated by the attitudes and actions of my fellow citizens since Donald Trump was elected and took office. But yet my somberness is not the same as the political angst being flooded throughout the media waves and coffee houses across the land. My frustration has to do with the body of Christ.
One of the things that I’ve been looking forward to as we kick off 2017 is reading through the Bible again devotionally. I don’t always get the whole book read in a year as some passages are missed because of interruptions in life. But I’ve found that a daily practice of systematically working through the Bible has been just as important spiritually as eating a healthy diet is physically. The objective is one of simply coming before the life changing Word of God on a regular basis and allowing HIM to change us.
In my occupation it’s easy to check out and simply look at the Bible as a text book. By this I mean merely studying the content for sermon preparation, teaching, and the like. Actually, that’s probably not too far off for many of us. In other words, it’s easy to take it for granted. Somehow we know there’s something different to this book and we have at least one laying around our house even if it’s just the white covered gift Bible we got from our grandmother at High School graduation; but we ignore it. Thus many times it just sits next to the Webster’s Dictionary until we hit the wall emotionally and seeks an answer from the Divine.
A lot of folks question the validity of scripture and speculate whether it can be trusted or not. Many people suggest that “because the Bible was written so long ago and was translated so many times” that it just can’t be reliable for us today. If that is true, then the Bible rightly should be questioned.
Earlier this morning a friend noted a New York Times article from yesterday addressing the political aftermath of the shooting at a gay night club in Orlando. In the write up the author stated that prior to a recent congressional vote, a “Republican congressman read his colleagues a Bible verse from Romans that calls for the execution of gays.” The truth of the matter is that the book of Romans in the Bible says no such thing. This type of paid journalism, beyond being unprofessional and dishonest, is part of what is propagating the myth in our present culture that Bible believing Christians hate gays.
Yes, a section of Romans chapter 1 does speak of giving into homosexual temptations as being outside of God’s design but it nowhere calls for hatred and violence toward those people by Christ followers. Indeed there are cultish groups like the Westborow Baptist Church that spew hatred toward others. However this does not speak of authentic Christianity. While people who hold to an authoritative view of scripture may not agree with gay-marriage, they do not hate those who practice such. On the contrary, they love them despite their differences.
This can be easily illustrated by the response of Chick fil-A Sunday following the shooting in Orlando.
All of Jesus and the Truths that Test Part III The Act of Marriage. (LGBT, Adam and Eve, and Six Challenges for Us All)
Jesus never spoke on the issue of gay marriage. That’s what my LGBT friends report. If we’re looking for those specific words, then they are correct. But on the other hand, there are other issues, such as embezzlement, of which Jesus never talked about either. However we know His teaching on the specific because of what he said in the general about possessions. “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” and other references. In like manner we can see that Jesus covered not only the idea of gay marriage, but all marital issues when He took the religious debaters of His day all the way back to Genesis.
God created mankind distinctly as male and female. The two being differently and completely complimentary to each other. The essence of the act of marriage is the union of those two different beings into one.
The old Sunday School lesson says that Jonah was swallowed by a whale and spit out three days later to preach God’s message to Nineveh. So the story goes anyway. While the original text does not require the specific word whale be used, Jonah 1:17 does give that account. Historically, the event would have taken place during the reign Jeroboam II around 793 – 753 BC. The context is one of Jonah being commanded by God to go and preach to Nineveh which he didn’t want to do because of his personal and national animosities to the Assyrians. Nineveh was their capital city. Jonah rebelled and went in the opposite direction by sea. God intervened and the men of the ship threw Jonah overboard into the ocean which is where the oversize critter showed up for lunch. It was during his time in the big tuna that Jonah himself repented and thus God caused the fish to vomit Jonah up onto dry land giving the prophet a second chance at obedience. Jonah did obey this time and the text tells us that after his preaching to Nineveh the city repented and accepted God’s grace. Nice story. But did it actually happen and so what?
Everybody has an opinion. But how do we prove our point? When it comes to Jesus, people usually bring Him into a discussion when they believe He can lend added weight to their argument. Socially and politically speaking, conservatives will bring Jesus up regarding a pro-life position and liberals will enter the Jesus card to support their call to feed the poor and take care of the down and out. Good Samaritan type talk. But what about the passages where Jesus doesn’t always say what we want Him to say? Do we really believe Jesus when He talks about issues that we’re not quite sure about or maybe even just don’t agree with?
What about the times where Jesus spoke in reference to Old Testament accounts as if they were really true? Stories like Jonah and the big fish that are often placed alongside cute little kid myths of the tooth fairy and Santa Claus.
Here I go again. It was 6:45 last night and I “just had” to check online to see who was leading the pack in the second caucus of the 2016 race. There’s nothing wrong with having an interest in politics or even entering the political ring. The problem for me though is that sometimes it just gets too tempting. I want to raise the black flag and dive into the fight with such intensity that I forget my focus on the real and eternal answers.
While I tend to lean toward a more conservative Republican bent, the fact of the matter is that neither major political party has it all right. They both have some huge things going for them but neither one really possess a corner on the market of truth.
They did it again! It’s just another reason why I’m proud of Cypress Crossings Christian Church. This past weekend volunteers from the C4 family reached out again this year to bless children and families in our area. For a church family of our size; they did an amazing job in providing just under 150 children and families in our region with Christmas presents. The thrilling part is that this outreach project was not something pushed by the lead minister. It actually grew up organically from within the body and that’s what Christmas and real Christianity is all about.
Jesus clearly noted that he came to seek and to save that which was lost and to give his life as a ransom for many. Jesus came to give. The folks of C4 have not only experienced the life changing grace of Christ but have turned around to bless others. They are giving.
People have pointed to John Lennon’s song, Imagine, as a hope for humanity. As for me, I like imagining a world, not with or without religion, but where more people truly know Jesus Christ and are radically pursuing Him. Such a place might actually do what politics simply cannot accomplish. Change the heart and thus the world. To indeed bring “Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men.” Yes; Imagining a world with more Jesus, more Christmas.
But for now . . . I’m stoked at how C4 is giving it an amazing shot.
What does it mean to live Glocally? Like me, pastor and author, Bob Roberts Jr. has a way of creating new words and Glocalization is one of his best. I love that word and what it represents. Thinking glocally is that healthy neighborhood between touching those locally around us and those who live on the other side of the globe. What was once a near impossibility is now a present reality in our modern early 21st century world. Yes, it really is possible to engage the world no matter where we are.
What is God doing in the world today? How can we engage a globe that has gone flat with modern technology? What is the vision of Christ for his disciples in our modern times?
Join us as we look at these and other questions for the Discussions Sunday night at 8p Central. Our special guest, Bob Roberts, will be with us to answer your questions and talk about living the life of a Glocal Christian. Bob has written a number of books and we will be giving away a copy of one of them to someone listening or watching our live webcast. The show can be viewed here or on our Google + Sunday Night Discussions page. Questions can be sent in live via Google + of through email here.
So make plans to join us then and feel free to send in early questions.
I had heard the story of Dave Roever before. But I listened a little closer this morning as he was being interviewed by Focus on the Family on the radio. I suppose part of the reason being that my second son, David, went off to Marine Boot Camp last month and is on the road to being a veteran himself. If you’ve not heard of Dave Roever, he is a veteran of the Vietnam War. Dave is also a personal testimony of how God can move in some very profound ways even today. Roever was wounded and almost died from a white phosphorus grenade but lived and demonstrated a life of profound power and help to others.