Letting It All Hang Out

1 01 2015

I hate New Year’s resolutions and I never make any.  No, wait…I was wrong.  I made a resolution a few years ago that I won’t make anymore resolutions.  Well, I’m about to break that resolution.  Unless, I call it something else.  Hmmm.

My resolution plan for this blog in 2015 – to let it all hang out.

What does that mean?  I had some definition in mind, but wanted to confirm it before I made it the title of this blog in case it meant something, um, indecent.  But, this fits perfectly: “Be totally candid in expressing feelings and opinions; hold nothing back. To do something enthusiastically and without fear of the results.”

I realize I only wrote one blog post last year.  That’s pretty pathetic, I know.  There were several factors in that weak attempt at being a blogger.  I did work a lot this past year which limited my time tremendously.  I was also mainly limited to a desktop computer which also requires a substantial amount of time on my part because I’m, at least to me, a horribly slow thinker and need a bit of time to think about what I want to say.  I have recently acquired a decent tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard to hopefully make my blogging more portable and easier to type so that I can do it more efficiently, instead of try to set aside a big chunk of time to write a post.

What could’ve been the main reason, I’m afraid and hate to say it, is fear.  I’m not even sure if that is the right word or not.  It seems too strong of a word, but I can’t think of any others to use.

These past few years have really been life-changing for my faith.  You can read about it in some of my previous posts.  Between life events, church, the actions of fellow believers, other blogs I’ve read, culture, and, hopefully, a better understanding of the Bible, my faith has changed dramatically.  Thus, I started this blog a couple of years ago to write down my thoughts and understanding on certain subjects.  I was surprised to find that an ex-pastor, now atheist, had better biblical theology and understanding than many Christians.  I wrote a few times about the obsessions Christian have with singling out homosexuality.  I wrote about how, even though many Christians want to constantly rip on President Obama, if the Bible is true, God put him there.  There are many other things I posted about.  The point of the posts were to try and encourage others to live out the faith they claim to have.  But, when looking back, I only scratched the surface.  I was being too “safe”.

I found myself, especially this past year, thinking of things to write about.  I would think about what I wanted to write at times, but then thinking about who would read it, dealing with reactions to what I wrote, along with the lack of time because of working a lot, pushed those things out of my head.  But, even while I hardly wrote anything this past year, I still learned quite a bit.  That’s why, hopefully, I am coming back to blog this year with a new drive…a drive to challenge Christians to understand and live out their faith.

There was a phrase that I wrote down years ago that I still hold to – “Communication is key”  I thoroughly believe that with proper communication and understanding, the level of accomplishment can be tremendous.  Unfortunately, it seems that very few can do so without succumbing to insults, arrogance, or emotional distraught.  When talking to someone about views different that what the majority believe, there is hardly any room for any adult conversation and debate.  It is either they insult you, either openly or as side jokes, they say, “Well, I believe…” without giving any proper argument for why, except that their pastor said so or they give some verse out of context and won’t listen to any sort of rebuttal, or they just go into some kind of dramatic emotional psycho-state that makes it all about them.

I am hoping to blog more about the things I have learned in my journey of faith and communicate them to you.  I will get deep.  I will say things that are not widely embraced.  I will be going against the contemporary flow.  I am not concerned about what people think of me.  I am concerned about truth and I am concerned with what we do with that truth.  If you disagree, you can join me in an adult discussion and debate so that we may encourage each other.  I may be wrong in what I say here, or you may be wrong in refuting me, but if any of us has the attitude to prove that one of us is right, we are missing the point.  Neither of us is right, God is.  Until we humble ourselves and realize that “God is true and every man a liar”, we will not be one Body in Christ*.  Heb 3:13 – “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

Remember, it’s not about us, it’s about Him.  It’s not about getting all the answers right, but seeking out the right answers so that we can live them out together to glorify God.

Jesus said to follow Him!

 

* Do not think I’m getting all ecumenical.  There are major differences in some Christian “faiths” that are false and heretical and cannot be reconciled with.  But, there are also many minor things that Christians divide over that should not divide us.





World Vision: After the dust has settled

14 04 2014

A few weeks ago, the Christian community was rocked by the news that World Vision, an organization that helps third-world children and adults with basic needs and Christian teaching, changed their policy to allow the hiring of homosexuals, along with married homosexuals, into their organization.  This instantly caused many to withdraw their financial support until two days later, when World Vision reversed their decision due to the backlash from supporters.

While this may be old news to many, the arguments for and against that I’ve seen and heard have been basically the same.  One the one side, there are many Christians that just can’t believe World VIsion would do such a thing as to hire those that are in open sin into their organization and can’t see themselves supporting such a “ministry”.  On the other side, there are those that think this is a good way to show people that Christians can love everyboby, even homosexuals, and, besides, how can someone just take away their support and leave these children without basic needs?

After the dust has settled and the arguments are basically over, I guess my question is:  Is that really what this is about?  Let consider something a little more deeper.

If you’ve read my past post about gay marriage, you know that I cannot deny that homosexuality is a sin.  There is no doubt about it.  The Bible says it.  However, there are so many Christians that want to single that out as a sin that seems worse than any plague this world has ever known.  It’s as if it is one of the top five most horrible sins ever in the history of mankind, right up there with trying to take “God” out of the pledge of allegience, as if making sure these things don’t happen will win everybody over to Christ.  On the contrary, all it seems some Christian are trying to do is to keep their life from getting a little uncomfortable.

So why all the reaction against homosexuality?  Is it just a traditional reaction?  Are some just trying not to be uncomfortable?  Is it because we’ve never had to deal with it and don’t want to?

I read an interesting blog post earlier this month where the author spoke about how so many were withdrawing their support from World Vision because they felt that homosexuals shouldn’t be involved in a ministry like that. Yet. the author also pointed out that there are many in churches today that are unbiblically divorced, and some remarried, and, therefore, by Jesus’ words are adulterers, that are in ministries, even marriage ministries, but Christians hardly consider it an issue, even within the author’s own church. This is only one of many  examples, however, of how some blatant sins are winked at, that are “covered with grace”, but for some there seems to hardly be a shred of grace for.

Why are we letting some sins go and some we are so adamitly against.  Where is the balance?  Where is truth?

So why shouldn’t homosexuals be able to get married?  Why is it such a big issue?  All homosexuals see is that Christians think they shouldn’t be able to do what you can do because they are not you.  As you preach love, you come across to them as selfish and unloving.  And for what?

When I read the Bible, I see Jesus eat with and talking to sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, Samaritans…you know, the scum of the earth in those days.  He was speaking truth to them about God, life, their own sin, and who He was.  He was not condoning their sin, but He was not keeping them from doing it either.  He told them the truth and let them decide if they wanted to follow Him or go their own way.  The ones that I see Jesus condemning are the Pharisees, the ones that twisted God’s commands to suit themselves, laid heavy burdens on people that they couldn’t carry, and wondered how anyone like Jesus could eat with tax collectors and sinners.

So why make a big deal about homosexuality and gay marriage?  Why try to make sinners not sin?  Why not make a big deal about dealing with the ridiculous divorce rate in churches, the false teachers that influence Christian culture, encouraging one another to live holy, blameless lives, and being a part of the worldwide Body of Christ by reflecting Him in this lost world?

As far as World Vision, there seems to be an issue not being discussed about it. World Vision is considered a Christian organization and is considered to be teaching Christian values to these children. It is supposed to be more that just sponsoring a child to keep them fed and clothed. If that is all it is, there are plenty of secular and even “religious” organizations that will feed and clothes men, women, and children all the way up until they die and go to hell because they do not teach Christ. Yet, World Vision says that they not only feed and clothe them, but also teach the children about Christ. Now, if you have a Christian organization that is teaching children about Christ and His teaching and practically endorsing open sin by having not only homosexuals, but also married homosexuals, they are distorting Christ and his teaching. While it sounds great that the children would learn how loving Christians can be toward everybody, no matter what the sin, they would also learn that homosexuals can be Christians and Christians think being homosexual is fine, when in actuality, it’s not. It’s sin that Jesus does not endorse.

I do not say this just because it’s homosexuality. No, I think the Christian culture is a bit hyper-political about it. However, if World Vision were to announce that they changed their policy to hire  people in other relationships while still married (adulterers), people who happily engage in premarital sex, Muslims (remember it’s a Christian org teaching Christ), people who openly use God’s name as a curse word (blaspheme), or people who frequently get drunk, I would not hesitate to revoke all sponsorship that I may have with them and encourage others to do the same. It’s not the issue of is it okay to hire homosexuals, it’s the issue of how are the people being helped going to take it when they realize that the Jesus World Vision represents is not the total Jesus of the Bible.

There has to be a balance.  I can see where people are at that want to emiphasis the truth of homosexuality being a sin.  I can see where people are at that want to show the love of Christ.  But, those are one and the same in Christ.  He is full of truth AND grace and we are his representatives.

If the point is to just feed and clothe children, there are plenty organizations out there that will do it without putting Jesus’ name behind it.  That way, the children won’t realize that Christians are liars just so they’d get people in their club.

Jesus said to follow HIM!





Obey God Rather Than Men

20 10 2013

SpurgeonDiscernment

Acts 5:27-29 – “And when they had brought them, they set [them] before the council.  And the high priest asked them, saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” But Peter and the apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

We seem to have a “he said, she said” issue in American Christianity.  I am sure, though, it’s not just here in America.  Some might label me as a “Protestant” or even a “Reformed Protestant” (I hate labels….I’m a follower of Christ) and I tend to enjoy some of the writings of the great preachers and “reformers” of the past.  What they seemed to write and want to tell others seems so much more deeper and filled with truth than many of the things offered in our current place in time.

One of my favorite things to read is just about anything written or preached from Charles H. Spurgeon.  He was from England in the mid-1800’s and converted at the age of 15.  He became a pastor of a church at 17.  He then went on to lead a congregation of 6,000, have most of his sermons published in the local paper, help others into gospel ministry in his Pastor’s College, among many other things.  He is a joy to read.  He spoke truth simply and with conviction and humility.

However, he is not God.  His words have not become God’s Word.

There are those of you that are of other parts of Christianity.  You may not consider yourself “Protestant”.  Maybe you’re Catholic or Orthodox and enjoy reading some of the writings of the “saints”.  (I put quotes because I know my non-protestant brethren would call Augustine – Saint Augustine.  I have read some of his work as well in study.)

However, they are not God.  Their words have not become God’s Word.

What do I mean by that?  Just as today, if Pastor so-and-so says something, it doesn’t mean it’s true.  How do you know it’s true?  Does what he say line up with what the Bible says or is he trying to grab verses out of context to conform them to what he’s saying?  If God’s Word is truth, everything else anyone says must be subject to it.  What if what he says is not according to the Bible?  What if he writes a book and someone reads it 200 years from now.  Does it make it truth 200 years from now just because it’s old?

As I said, I love reading the writings of Charles Spurgeon.  However, I need to know what the Bible says for myself so that I can discern if what he has written is true. Spurgeon’s words should compliment the Bible and help us to understand it.  They do not become truth just because he quotes a verse or two and says, “This is what it means”.

A great biblical example of this is the preaching of Paul.  Imagine, if you will, sitting in a room filled with other people hearing the words of the great Apostle Paul (or St. Paul).  He speaks with authority and seems to know the Scriptures inside and out.  But, are his words right just because he sounds like he knows what he’s talking about?  After he speaks, the group gets together to see if what Paul was saying was right.  They are known as the Bereans.

Acts 17:10-12 – “The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue.  Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.  Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.”

Can you imagine that?  They didn’t just take Paul’s word for it.  They looked it up for themselves.  For that reason they were given the title of being more noble for it.  What if we did the same?  What if we could discern what was truth and almost-truth?  Would we know when error was taught and would we speak against it?

Today, there is a problem with culture, psychology, and “worldly wisdom” being mixed in with the truth of Scripture.  I am sure that this is nothing new and has happened in much of Church history.  However, it is hurting the Church in so many ways in our day:

1.) The “Gospel” comes in so many flavors that many can’t discern the true from the false.

Having a hard time?  We have a gospel for that.  Diagnosed with a terminal illness? We have a gospel for that.  Need more money?  Need a spouse?  Need a divoece?  Need your husband to better?  We have a gospel for all of those, too.  You can hear preaching on just about anything you can think of.  How do you know which one is true?  One pastor says the more you give to his church, the more you or your family members, dead or alive, will be blessed.  How do you know that’s right?  Just because a pastor said it?  Somebody says all you need to do to go to Heaven is ask Jesus into your heart.  How do you know?  Where is that said?  What is the “good news”?  Is there any bad news?  Where do we find it?  Someone else states that God is all for you and if you just believe, you will have the life you’ve always wanted. Can someone please line that up with Scripture…the whole Scripture.  You can make a doctrine out of just about anything if you just take one verse out of its context.  What is taught most likely cannot be taught by one verse.  It has to line up with the rest of the Scriptures.

2.) Many hold on to certain “ism’s” (Calvinism, Preterism, Dispensationalism, etc.) so tightly, that they shun those they disagree with, though they may just not have proper understanding of such issues.

I may tend to agree with certain things because I see them in Scripture, but am I fully right?  Do I have perfect understanding?  Do we see clearly yet?  Even if I am right, does that give me reason to say those that don’t think I’m right are not Christians?  In some cases, yes, but there is a difference in denying concrete biblical doctrines and not understanding something that is not so clear.   There is a difference between denying that Jesus is the only way to God and denying that tongues is a prayer language.  One is concrete and shouldn’t ever be questionable, the other is questionable and could be debated until Jesus comes back and isn’t worth splitting the Body of Christ over.  That is what is supposed to be the wonderful dynamic of the Body of Christ.  We all have different backgrounds, traits, understandings, gifts, talents, struggles, strengths, and weaknesses and, yet, we use them together to build each other up.  At least, that would be the ideal.  However, the common practice is to think that someone else’s weakness or misunderstanding disqualifies them from the grace of Christ.  The thought becomes that because they don’t believe everything that I do on a certain subject, they are therefore “heretics” or “apostate” when nothing is said about it in Scripture, but someone may have spoken or written, even hundreds of years ago, that it was so.

3.) Biblical marriage roles are not understood or tossed out altogether

A leading, authoritative, and loving husband and a submissive, respectful wife is like sour milk to the world.  They cannot understand such a concept, nor should we expect them to.  However, this is what marriages within the Church should be like for that is what God in His Word calls us to in Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3, and Collisions 3.  But, instead, we water it down or argue with it.  Our marriages, therefore, look hardly any different with the world.  Not only that, but the divorce rate among Christians is at about the same as the world.  How are we any different? How are we an example to the world?  It’s no wonder nobody wants to get married. It’s no wonder homosexuality is becoming more common.  What do they have else to look to for an example of what is right?

And the list can go on and on.

The point is in all of this is:  Where do we turn to for truth, to men or to God? Yes, I understand that God gives pastors and teachers to equip the Church for ministry (Eph 4:11-13).  However, not all pastors and teachers are correct, as Scripture clearly warns us of false teachers who will not spare the flock (Acts 20:28-30).  Not only that, but even those that seek to be true to the Word of God are not correct on everything.   So, it is also the job of the hearers to read the Scriptures for themselves to be able to judge all things.  That being said, nobody, including you and I, will ever be able to understand every little truth in Scripture.  That is where the Body comes in to encourage each other in what we know is true, not beat each other up over misunderstandings.  That is why God inspired the Apostle Paul to write Romans 14:1-15:7.  That is why we are called to be humble, not thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought, and bearing with the weak if you think you are strong.

Finally, do not at all think that I am advocating an ecumenical-kumbaya-we’re-all-the-same attitude.  By no means.  If I thought that, I would be denying the very Word of God that I want to uphold.  There are certainly false teachers, false gospels, and false theology that must be refused and brought to light.  There are black-and-white issues that some want to make trivial.  We need to point to the Scriptures to make it known that they are not trivial.  However, there are also trivial things that some make into black-and-white issues that you cannot backup with Scripture.  How do you know if it’s black-and-white or trivial?  You can ask a godly friend or pastor, but ultimately you can ask God.  It is his Word and He knows perfectly, better than any man, what He meant by it.  He has given us the Holy Spirit to teach us His truth and lead us in it.  Trust in Him.

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

John 16:13-14 – “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”

1 John 2:26-27 – “These things I have written to you concerning those who deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”

Jesus said to follow Him.





The Christian “Red Pill”

10 12 2012

Over the past year, I have grown to enjoy reading blogs.  It has shown me that I am not alone at where I am in life.  Reading some of them is encouraging, convicting, and edifying.  Some of them also help me to understand where other people are coming from in their views as well, whether it be about the Bible, Christianity, marriage, or some controversial topic.  They helps me to understand why people think the way they do, even if they are wrong.  One of the reasons why I think some people blog is because there may not be anyone around them that will respect them enough to listen to them.  Blogging gives them the opportunity to discuss their views without someone close to them condemning them for doing so.  Reading blogs gives us the opportunity to know why atheists have a problem with a deity, what is going on in the mind of someone with a different view of the Bible, or why people hate church.  We can then come and discuss it with them at their level instead of just making sure they know “their wrong and we’re right”.  How far will that attitude get you?

Around the blogging world (aka the blogosphere), there is a genre of what is considered “red pill”.  The “red pill” is a term derived from the movie “The Matrix” to refer to having one’s eyes opened to things that are not commonly seen.  In the movie, a character is offered a red pill that will change his life or a blue pill that will make him forget any changes and go with the flow of others.  (To those who are “red pill” or are familiar with the movie, forgive me if I am misrepresenting the movie.  I still haven’t watched it.  I have just seen clips and other blogs referring to it.)  I have dealt with swallowing the “red pill” myself in this post.

I hope I am not going out on a limb by posting this because many “red pill” blogs have to do with relating to women, marriage, and alpha and beta traits, both secular and Christian.  However, of the Christian ones, many of the topics discussed point out how the Bible is being either horribly distorted or totally neglected by many in Christianity.  I appreciate many of their posts.  It has helped me to see the questions that I have asked are ones that others ask too. I am not necessarily here to speak specifically about any “flavor” of the “red pill” such as feminism, marriage, PUA, Game, MRM, or the like.  In this post, I want to broaden the reach of the Christian “red pill”.  The Christian red pill is not anything special.  All it is about is taking the Bible for what it’s worth at face value.  It’s about taking all of what God says, not only the parts you like, and counting it as truth and seeking to please God by doing it, even if it goes against the “Christian” norm.

For me, I think I accidentally swallowed the “Red Pill”.  From what I’ve read, that seems like this happens to many people.  God has a way of getting our attention when we’re to dumb to realize things ourselves.  (Again, click the link above to read my “red pill” story.)

The “red pill” goes down hard, tastes horrible, and has serious side effects.  You are just living life and BOOM! …questions arise.  You get answers to those questions that don’t make sense and it makes you question things even more.  You wonder where in the Bible what is said came from.  But what is said is just the way it is.  Everyone seems to think it as well.  It’s just tradition.   Then you hear that Pastor so-and-so said “this” or a Christian book or radio program said “that”.  Where did they get THAT from?  Suddenly, you start fighting with yourself on what is true or not.  Who is right?  You realize God is.  His Word is truth whether other Christians want to follow it or not.

The “red pill” is really nothing new, either.  Many, many people through the ages have taken the pill.  Some of the more famous ones are ingrained into Christian history.  Martin Luther took the “red pill” and questioned the authority and some practices of the Roman Catholic Church with what the Scriptures taught, only to be condemned because of it.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer did not sway with the Church toward Hitler’s Nazi Regime and stood his ground at the cost of his life at the age of 39.  John Hus was burned at the stake for speaking against the Roman Catholic Church in his time.  William Tyndale was burned alive for translating the Bible into common English.  John Wycliffe was deemed a heretic for his Bible-based views prior to the reformation.  He died of natural causes, but his body was dug up a burned afterwards.  Charles Spurgeon, a London pastor in the 1800’s, stood strong in the midst of the “downgrade controversy” when, even among Christians, the Bible was being questioned if it was the sole authority.     Ultimately, Jesus, the Maker of the “red pill”, stood up against the religious authority of His day who made their own rules instead of following God’s Word.

You see, the Christian “red pill” is nothing new.  It is believing EVERYTHING God says in the His Word whether it sounds good or not, even if other “Christians” think otherwise.  It means not throwing in psychology or philosophy along with the Bible.  It means doing what God says even if it’s not the cultural norm.  It means dying to yourself and the world around you.  The Christian “red pill” simply means believing and doing what God says.  Hey, isn’t that what Jesus tells us to do anyway?

Yet, in the United States, our culture wants things our own way.  Don’t like what the preacher says?  Go to the church down the street.  You can watch preachers on TV that will tell you how to get what you want and get your best life.  They can tell you God thinks your awesome, wonderful, and that you’re the greatest thing ever.  Okay, before I go into a sarcastic seizure, I’ll move on.

You know those crazy medication commercials you see on TV or hear on the radio?  You know, the ones that say you can be free of some pain or other issue at the risk of side effects that includes dry mouth, constipation, internal bleeding, or infection that can lead to death.  If someone would make a video “commercial” about the Christian “red pill”, that would be an awesome thing to watch.  I would advertise the Christian “Red pill” something like this:  (Of course, I’d need to make it way more concise.)

Benefits for everyone include:

– You don’t care what other people think about you, but what God thinks.  You don’t worry if people hate you because your life doesn’t consist of pleasing others, but pleasing God.  The world will hate you because you are not of this world.  But if the world loves you, you need to check yourself.  (John 17:14, 7:7, 15:18-19, 1 John 3:13)
You seek to be humble.  You know you are not wonderful and never were.  You understand it is only by God’s grace that you are not drowning in the depths of sin.  You do not boast in anything but God because you offer nothing good and He gives everything good.  You do not boast in any of your own accomplishments, but in what God has accomplished. (2 Corinthians 10:17, Romans 12:3)
– You remember where you came from.  You know who you were before Christ and know you would still be there, or worse, without Him.  Therefore, you also treat other “sinners”, even homosexuals, like actual human beings.  If it weren’t for Christ, you’d be going to the same Hell for your own disobedience to God.
– You understand that political leaders are chosen by God.  Therefore, you can spend more time preaching the gospel that can change hearts and lives instead of preaching about political issues.  Changing people’s minds about abortion, civil rights, or homosexuality will not make them a follower of Christ, but God changing their hearts through the gospel will. (Daniel 4:35, Romans 13:1, Daniel 4:25)
– You take responsibility for your own sins.  It is not so-and-so’s fault that you did this or that.  If you did it, it’s your own fault and you will be held accountable for it.  Deal with it. (2nd Corinthians 5:9-11)
– Yet, you also understand that your actions or words can have an effect of others.  They may be tempted to sin because of something you said or did.  You know you can put a stumbling block in front of another brother or sister. (1 Corinthians 8:9-11)
– You understand that everybody have different gifts and different issues they struggle with than you do.  You can encourage others that are going through things that you are strong in and get help for things you are weak in.  You also do not look down and judge those that are weaker than you in certain areas.  You understand that without God’s grace, you can be in that same position. (1 Corinthians 12:4-27)
– You understand there is a difference between “church” and the “Church”  If you are a true follower of Christ, you are part of the “Body of Christ” or community of Christians from around the world that spans throughout history that doesn’t involve denominations.  You seek to help, build up, challenge, encourage, strengthen, and be like-minded with those in the Body.  You understand that not everyone in the Body is just like you.  God has given to each one different talents and gifts.  Each one is either stronger or weaker in faith than you.  But the Body seeks to work together to glorify God, the one who bought it.  Lastly, your Christian walk does not consist of being in a building for a few hours a week and only becoming a clique with a few people and forsaking the rest of the Body.
– You understand that the Gospel is not about life-enhancement.  Jesus did not come and die just to make you live a happy life.  The Bible has much to say about you being a sinner and condemned already because of your sin.  It speaks plainly about what you deserve and what you will receive without the atonement that comes only from Jesus Christ and His death on the cross.  (If that doesn’t make sense, message or email me.)  The Gospel is about becoming righteous, or having being made right in the eyes of God, despite your rebellion against Him.  It’s about His glory, His salvation, and His righteousness.  The only thing you bring to the table is sin.  (Romans 3:9-28, Ephesians 2)
– You understand that no matter how much of the red pill you swallow, you are to be humble, contrite, and a servant to all.  You are not to be wise in your own opinion.  You are to bear with those who are weak.  You are to provide unity to the Body of Christ and not discord and division.  (Romans 12:9-21)

Benefits for men:
– You will man up.  You will not man up as it is commonly refered to by being nice and doing what everyone tells you to do.  Manning up does not mean being blamed for everyone else’s behavior, including your wife’s.  You will man up by doing the things God says without excuse.  God tells us we should imitate Him.  God is not always nice.  He is full of truth.  He answers to no one.  You only answer to Him.
– You will seek to be a man as Christ was.  You are called to follow, imitate, and be like Him.  ALL OF HIM!  This means not only being humble, serving, and gentle when need be, but also standing firm in God’s truth.  It also means calling people out in their sin.  We have seemed to forget that Jesus and Paul were sarcastic and said things that seemed cruel for the glory of God.  There is a big difference in being sarcastic to rip someone apart and doing it to uphold God’s truths. (Matt 15:22-26, Galatians 5:2-12)
– You will call out sin without worrying about anyone’s feelings or if they are offended.  Jesus was never apologetic for being offensive because of the truth and neither should you.
– You will learn to love your wife as Christ does the church.  He did so by laying His life down for it, not give it everything it ever wanted.  He served us by doing what was best for us.  He does not ask us what He should do even when we whine and complain. (Ephesians 5:25-33, Colossians 3:19, 1 Peter 3:7)
– You understand that love is not a feeling, but is an action as listed in 1st Corinthians 13. No matter how you “feel”, you are to love your wife and love others.
– You also understand that God tells you to love your wife no matter what she is like or how she treats you.  This does not mean you ignore her sin.  It does not mean she is not responsible.  It means you are to do what you are supposed to do before God.
– You will learn to teach and lead your children in humility, not provoking them to be angry.
– You will not apologize for being a man.  God made you a man with certain talents, responsibilities, and desires.  It is not a sin to be the way you are unless God’s Word tells you it’s a sin.  Period.  You do not let this world, culture, or even modern Christianity tell you what a man is.  You learn from God’s Word.

Benefits for women:
– You will woman down.  You will not try to be like a man, because you are not a man.  You understand that God has given men and women certain responsibilities.
– You will submit to your husband as the Church does to Christ.  It does so by respecting and obeying Christ.  The Church does not tell Christ what He should do and then yell at Him when He doesn’t do it their way.  The Church does not tell Christ how to be a better Savior.  The Church does not whine and complain until it gets her way, but asks Christ for things knowing that Christ has its best interest in mind and will give it what it needs. (Ephesians 5:22-24,33, Colossians 3:18, 1 Peter 3:1-6 – notice the “likewise” in verse 1? read the full context (1 Peter 2:13-3:6))
– You understand that God tells you to respect and submit to your husband no matter if you “feel” like he’s loving you or not.  God’s command for you to submit to your husband is not conditional to his performance.  This does not mean ignore His sin.  It doesn’t mean you follow him into sin against God.  It does not mean he is not responsible.  It means you are to do what you are supposed to do before God.
– You will not seek to have authority over men in the Church.  You understand that the head of every woman is man.  That is God’s design.  (1 Timothy 2:8-15)
– You understand you are responsible for your own behavior and sin.  You will not blame men for your own irresponsible sins. (2nd Corinthians 5:9-11)

Side effects:
– Other people, even Christians, will not understand you and think you’re very strange.
– Christians might label you as legalistic.  They may say things like: “That’s not for today”, “You’re taking it out of context”, or “Why are you so judgmental?”  Yet, your motive for wanting to do what God says is not to be right before God, it is because you ARE right before God because of Christ and want to obey Him out of love.
– You may lose your possessions and your family and friends may leave you.
– People may get very angry with you.
– People may hate you.
– People may physically hurt you.
– You may even lose your life.

But aren’t most of the side effects are things that God tells us will happen, anyway?  Didn’t Jesus come with a sword to divide people?  Didn’t he say you’d better be willing to lose everything, including your spouse and children, even your own life, to be His disciple?  Didn’t He say that you’re blessed when persecuted and woe to you when people speak well of you?  Don’t we have numerous examples in the Bible and through history to confirm this?

Of course, benefits of the “Red Pill” take time.  Once you take the Bible more seriously than what others may tell you how to live your life, it is just a matter of time before the questions arise and the “red pill” starts its effectiveness.  It is at this time that you MUST decide whether you go along for the ride in Churchianity, leave it all together, or decide that God is right and man is wrong and follow hard after God.

If you decide to follow hard after God after tasting the “red pill”, you need to realize some things.  His Word, that you decide to cling to above what anyone else says, tells you to be humble and not to be wise in your own eyes.  (I know I mentioned this above, but I can’t say it enough.)  You are to use your gifts that God has given you to build the Body of Christ up, not to tear it apart.  Above all, Pray, pray, pray and understand that we are in a spiritual battle.  We do not war against each other, but against the powers of darkness.

As I said, the “red pill” is nothing more than taking Scripture for what it’s worth.  Satan has, unfortunately, duped many Christians and churches into what he did to Eve…to question many things that God has said.  We have divided ourselves by whether we believe the same things or not.  We try to control one another instead of encouraging one another and letting God work in each others hearts.  We have lost the ability to discern between truth and “kind-of” truth.  Satan has bound us with many lies.

It’s time we “Christian up” and take things seriously.  It’s time we stood on the Word of God alone and judge everything according to it, not trying to fit what other people say into it.  It’s time we get tired of just “playing church” and start taking the Kingdom by force.  It’s time we be on offense with the Word of God.  It’s time to stop being a “cookie-cutter” Christian and be real.

It time we follow Christ and not other people.

For further reading:
Red Pill Ministries
Red Pill Christians
I would also have a link to CMD-N’s blog on “manning up (for real)”, but it is no longer available.  (If someone can find it or let the author know it is missed, that would be great.)





Obama’s America…by God’s Design

15 11 2012

With the elections done over a week ago, we can now enjoy (or fear) the next four years.  Whoever you voted for and the reasons why I will leave between you and God.  I am not here to debate politics, but to just share some of the things that I was thinking before and during the elections.

(Disclaimer: If any comment is about arguing politics, it will be deleted.  This post is to build up the Body of Christ with God’s truth, not the political opinions of you or me, no matter who is right.)

I voted for Romney for President.  It was not because I am white, Republican, conservative, or any other name you can give me, it was because I am not happy with what Obama is doing to our country.  Of course, my guy lost but hope is not lost.  My hope is not in who our leaders are and neither should yours.

After watching “2016: Obama’s America” earlier in the summer, I was not surprised to see Obama win the election .  The movie was pretty much about the history of President Obama and how his history drives him to do what he’s doing now.  It is an anti-Obama movie and is very fascinating learning about his past (or at least one man’s thoughts about his past.)  The most fascinating point to me was not his history though, but some of the things that has happened the last four years under his presidency.  Near the end of the movie, it spoke about:

– Our failing economy
– Our reduction of defense
– The increase of strength in existing Islamic nations
– The increase of new Islamic nations thanks to our help toppling the Libian and Egyptian governments.
– Our decrease of support of Israel
– among other things I can’t recall

This movie didn’t change my mind about President Obama.  I already knew I didn’t want to vote for him.  But, it was at this point at the end of the movie that I just would not be surprised if he did get reelected.  All I could think of is that God was just setting His stage and if He wanted to continue setting it using Obama, then God will have him in office.  So the fact that he is still in office for another four years didn’t scare me, I was kind of expecting it.

So with this in mind, I want to share some things in light of all of this.  I have no idea your political preferences and that doesn’t matter.  What matters is that God is sovereign and in control of all of this whether you believe it or not.

Daniel 4:35

All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

Romans 13:1

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

Daniel 4:25

…know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.

Proverbs 21:1

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord and He turns it wherever He will.

There are other examples of God raising up leaders for the judgment of a nation.  The Bible tells about God raising up Pharaoh during Moses’ time for displaying His glory.  Isaiah prophecies about God raising up a Babylonian king to execute His judgment on Israel and then He will judge Babylon for doing it.  He is in charge and He does what He pleases.

Whether President Obama raises up or destroys this country, it is mainly because it is the Lord’s doing.  Who you wanted in office (and in other offices) may not have won, but rest assured, it is who God wants there and He WILL fulfill His purpose.

So if you voted for Obama, do not gloat about it.  And if your brothers in Christ did not, do not destroy the unity of the Spirit or the Body of Christ on account of your petty disagreement or, even worse, on account of race.  Salvation is of the Lord, not by who someone voted for.

If you voted for Romney and think the country is doomed, it will only be if God wills it, not just because Obama won.  I will say to you also, if any of those in Christ did not vote for Romney, what is it to you?  Do not destroy the work God has done in them for the sake of not having YOUR candidate in office.

If God is indeed at work in those that are in Christ, He is more than capable of conforming people hearts to what issues are important.  I am not saying that you cannot voice your opinion and concerns, but don’t argue constantly and/or make your brothers and sisters in Christ resent you.  It is not worth dividing the Body over such issues.  Say what you may and let God work.

Just remember, you might not like who the President is, but it’s not about you.  God has placed Obama in there for His purposes and you are called to honor God and those He puts in authority over you.

Yet, the call to follow Christ trumps everything else.  Do not follow those in authority into sin.  Stand against sin and follow Christ!





The Dislocated Body of Christ

14 07 2012

What I want to post about is an issue of so much importance.  Yet, I don’t even know how to start it.

How is it, O Christian, that you look down at your brother that doesn’t believe just like you?

How is it that you judge your sister because she thinks speaking in tongues is for real and you do not?

Why do you seclude yourself from the Christian couple down the street just because they are “King James only”?

Can you have fellowship with an “Arminian”?  Or are you too good for that because you claim to believe in “Calvinism”?

If you are more prone to show mercy, do you think those that “tell it like it is” are too merciless and judgmental?

Of course, these are just a sampling of questions to prove a point.  I am not here right now to debate and argue about these matters.  The point in this post is to say that those that follow Christ are to be united as a “Body” and we are doing an absolute awful job at it.

While Christians smile, have happy faces, and raise their hands while singing in church, I must admit that they can be just as judgmental as the people outside the church.  (By judgmental, I don’t mean merely having an opinion as many think is judging, but looking down at others.  More on that in a later post.)  One person might think all “Baptists” aren’t really “in touch with God”.  One may think all “Pentecostals” are heretics because they speak in tongues.  Some “Pentecostals” may think everyone is wrong if they don’t speak in tongues.  One may believe that God alone brings a sinner to repentance and despises others who believe that people make that decision themselves.  I could go on and on.  I hope you get the idea.

Fellow followers of Jesus Christ, these thing must not be this way.  We are not only doing damage to ourselves as a “Body”, but also saying to the world, “Hey, we can’t agree and can’t stand each other.  But, come on in anyway!  We will try our best to like you.  You just need to believe everything just the way we do.”

Personal evaluation time:  Can you have fellowship with someone that doesn’t believe just like you?  I am not talking about the major doctrinal things that are in plain black-and-white in the Bible.  I am talking about the little things that you constantly hear come up and being debated.  If you’re a “Baptist”, can you have enjoyable fellowship with a “Pentecostal”, “Lutheran”, or “Non-Denominational” Christian and vise-versa?  Or does it bother you so much that “those people” are “wrong” that you shun them away?  What if another Christian is actually wrong about something?  Can you go to them gently and with sincerity let them know?

For example:  You meet a “Lutheran” or “Presbyterian” who may believe it’s okay to baptize babies.  Maybe you meet a Baptist that doesn’t baptize babies, but rather does a “baby dedication” and believe in 3 of the 5 points of Calvinism.  What is the first thing that comes to mind?  Do you automatically get a sour look on your face and think to yourself, “That’s just wrong!”?  Do you automatically start a debate about what you disagree with?  Are you sure you’re the right one?  Do you have to make sure you let the other know your right?

Don’t get me wrong.  There are surely things (and people) that we must stand our ground on, defend, and reject.  It has to, however, be perfectly in line with what God says in Scripture.  I am not talking about those things here.  I am talking about silly things we can easily get carried away with arguing and defending that we reject a brother or sister for whom Christ died.  We end up cutting part of the Body off and saying with our actions, “I have no use for you for you are not a (insert body part here) like me.”

But enough of my words.  What does God say to us through His Word?

First, are you separating yourself from a follower of Christ who may not understand as much as you?

    “Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.”  Romans 14:1
“We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”  Romans 15:1

Pretty much the whole 14th chapter and some of the 15th chapter of Romans deal with those whose faith and understanding are weaker than than others. Another good passage is 1st Corinthians 8 where Paul writes about eating meat offer to idols and making those weaker to stumble.   There are so many grey issues that people have different opinions about because God decided not to make plain for some reason.  One person believes such-and-such is sin while another does not.  Is it plain-as-day a sin in the Scriptures or just your conviction?  If God did not plainly say it, why do you judge another as if He did?  If someone worships God with rock music, then with rock music he worships while another thinks that you should only worship with hymns.  So what?  There are just some things that are not worth dividing the Body of Christ over.

Do you think yourself  “more spiritual” and know more about the Scriptures than others do?  Do not look down at them!

 “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.  For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;  … Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. – Roman 12:3-16

“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also [is] Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free–and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.  If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? … If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” …Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.” – 1 Corinthians 12: 12-27

I guess my challenge to you is this:  Do not make trivial matters that are not black-and-white in Scripture major dividing issues, even if YOU think they are.  Indeed, if people are preaching a different gospel, as Paul says, let them be cursed of God.  (Galatians 1:8)  But if you are making a big deal and dividing the Body about differences in understanding God and His Word, you need to check yourself.  You or I will NEVER understand God or His Word perfectly this side of eternity.  Therefore, do not act like you do and tear someone else down that doesn’t think just like you.

I wish I could think of the perfect words to bring the “Body of Christ” back together, but it will take peoples eyes being opened, repentance, and a move of God in our hearts.  Unfortunately, the world can see what we are doing with each other. We need to come together despite our some of our petty differences and honor God as the Body of Christ.  Can you do it?    How can the world truly know we are Christ’s disciples if all we do is argue with each other?

“By this all with know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:35

Jesus said to follow Him!