Monthly Archives: July 2016

Is the World Going Insane, or Am I?

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I came to a realization last night after the Republican Party booed conscience, and cheered “I’m proud to be gay.”  Either the world is going insane, or I am.  That question is what I’m going to ponder over the next month while I avoid social media.

mad-worldI know that the Scripture says not to announce your fast to avoid self-righteousness.  My announcement of my fast of social media, however, is not to promote myself as a “holier-than-thou” person.  For those of you who still read my writing (and by the look of my blog traffic, few of you still do) I want to explain my absence.  I’ve been accused of dropping judgmental bombs and then flying under the radar for a time in order to let the uproar die down only to swoop in and drop more.

Before I go any further, I want to say how much I love and appreciate my wife, Dawn.   God has used her to help center me and keep me disciplined.

Dawn, I used to think that God doesn’t have just one person for someone to marry, but that the person you marry becomes that one person.  Now, I see God’s orchestration in brining us together to be the perfect spouse for my perfection and sanctification.

I came to this crossroads last night.  The world seems to be falling apart.  Even the Republican Party is celebrating the sin of homosexuality.  The party that used to be dominated by conservative Christians is now dominated by godless conservatives.  The opposing political party, the party that booed God at their national convention in 2012, enthusiastically cheers on and supports a hypocritical, godless criminal as their pick for president.

My life’s goal has been to speak the truth in a world that loves lies.  Lately, even those of my spiritual family, however, seem to be tone deaf to the message I bring.  Whether it be the Church’s idolatry (of sports, coffee, entertainment, family, tolerance, self-esteem, etc.) or on what truth is to be spoken and how it’s to be spoken.  I’ve been harping on a Church filled with people who appear to me to worship college football, the NFL, the NBA alongside of their worship for God.  I see more enthusiasm for things of sports than things of God, nobody seems to think that this observation applies to them.  The usual retort is to say that sports is not inherently evil, and so the idolatry goes on.

I still have a sports idolatry.  Not when I play them as recreation, but when I root for my teams.  I have decided to completely tear down this idol.  It’s an idol that is working against God anyway.  Besides taking my heart away from worshiping God exclusively, it is trannyworking against God in our society by taking stands for unrighteousness.  The NBA just announced that it is moving the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, NC because of the law that protects young girls from being forced to shower with grown men.  The NFL threatened to move the Superbowl.  Disney, the rock band Boston, and other entertainment companies have vowed to boycott places that protect religious liberty.

Even after Christians are made aware of this, they continue to vociferously consume this entertainment as if nothing is wrong.

I’ve been trying to get to know who God is and how I am to worship him.  I see silly “worship” songs that seem to get Christians motivated emotionally but are devoid of anything theological.  I think I am speaking the truth, but I keep getting push back from people, or worse, they completely ignore me.  It seems people are afraid to have a discussion because it might get unpleasant.  So, they avoid the exchange of ideas and are never exposed to a true idea that might steer them to the truth.

I am not saying I always have the truth.  Being confident in your opinion and insisting on it being the truth is not self-righteousness nor is it arrogant. Of course I think I’m right, otherwise I would not have voiced or advocated a position. Others think they are right, otherwise they wouldn’t challenge my position. But the debate needs to happen because it is in that discussion that we work toward what is true.

The truth is sometimes presented in an arrogant way (of which I know I am sometimes guilty).

“…’Sometimes’ you say?”

OK, enough from the peanut gallery. I try not to be arrogant.

“Maybe you need to try harder.”

Are you done? I have a serious point here.

People tend to read emotions into social media posts that simply aren’t in the minds of the authors. Then the authors get accused for the way they made the readers feel.

Boys and girls, it’s time to put down those participation trophies, leave your safe spaces, and grow into fully functioning adults.

First of all, don’t assume offense was intended. We probably are not as clairvoyant as we think. Secondly, we are not required to carry offense, real or imagined. This situation is the kind for which Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek.

Social media is a place of human communication. Wherever humans interact there are bound to be miscommunications, misunderstandings, and mistakes. There will also be malevolence. The solution is not to shut down the forum or to limit it to light-hearted, soft-headed discussions. To do so would simply yield the forum to banality and lies.

Social media is full of truth claims that compete and clash. Sometimes this conflict produces more heat than light. For Christians to avoid the conflict altogether is not what God has called us to do. The Church has largely avoided conflict with the secular humanists in our culture and now all of our institutions are run by secular humanists.

We must be willing to cross swords with wicked and vain philosophies without cowering because someone might be offended, even on social media. We must speak the truth in love. But speaking the truth in love still requires speaking the truth.

Because I want to be on the side of truth and not promoting lies, I am open to having my mind changed.

hqdefaultThere is something wrong.  It is either me, or the world.  I know my fellow believers do not want to be on the side of lies, but I’m not convinced they are courageous enough to seek the entire truth.  Then again, am I deluded in thinking that I have the truth that no one else has?  Am I pompous, condescending, arrogant?  Am I speaking the truth, but people are turned off by my personality, or the manner in which I present the truth?  Are people so engrossed in postmodernism that any presentation of the truth is offensive to them?  I want to find out the answers.

I intend to avoid social media to free up more time to seek God, and pursue the truth.  I hope to offer to you what I have found.  I am jealous for the glory of God, and ardent in my defense of the truth.  I just don’t want to make my ministry an idol.

See you in a month.

Chris

All Sufficient Grace

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Why is it that guilt often seems to cancel out God’s grace?  We yield to the temptation of sin, agonize about it, repent, and then wallow in guilt.  Even as a Christian of about 40 years, I’ve often fallen into this pattern.  Guilt is not always bad.  Guilt is a natural response to our having wronged God.  It is like a “check engine” indicator, to let us know something is wrong.  But, why after sincere repentance, we still feel that lingering sense of guilt and shame?

I did some thinking on my run this morning.  Some scriptures came to mind.

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ They answered him, ‘We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, “You will become free”?’

 “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the Son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'”
-John 8:31-36

Jesus said in this passage that sin places us in bondage.  We are a slave to its whims.  But, he has called us out of the bondage of slavery into sonship.  “But as many as received Him, to them he gave the power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12.  “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14.

To those of us who believe, we have been given the position of children of God!  No longer are we slaves.

We are free.

“There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1.

So why do we wallow in guilt?

I’m convinced that this lingering guilty stain stems from the belief in a lie.  We believe that we have to suffer for our sins a little.  God’s forgiveness cannot possibly be handed out so freely.  We must have to pay for it somehow.  So, we pay for God’s grace with our guilt.  So, we wallow in it for as long as our narcissism lasts.  Woe is me, God.  You can’t possibly love me.  Our thoughts about ourselves go beyond what God thinks towards us.  We think too much of ourselves, that what WE’VE done is to too much for God’s grace.  It really is pride, which is also a lie, that keeps us in guilt.

Jesus’ work on the cross is sufficient. Jesus shouted “It is finished.” John 19:30.  This exclamation was not an announcement of his death.  It was a shout of victory!  He had accomplished all that His Father asked Him to do.  His death and resurrection completed the work of our eternal salvation.  Do you think  your sin can undo God’s grace and Christ’s work on the cross?  That is the lie that we believe when we hold on to our guilt.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9.  What Jesus said he will do, HE WILL DO.  “Being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6.

God’s grace is powerful, but it won’t impose on your will.  Stop believing in lies.  Open the window of your soul to Him, and let His grace outshine your guilt.