Category Archives: “Guest Post” March
I’ve always found the song “Kung-Fu Fighting” a bit comical; the performance is even more hilarious. You can watch it here if you wish. I also don’t really get why one would waste so much time singing about something like that either. But the fight that is going on amidst the body of Jesus Christ over the issue of free-will is no laughing matter. Primarily because it is civil war in the church and is diabolically (I mean every ounce of that word) opposed to the unity our LORD prayed for in John 17.
I must confess, I have been on both sides of the battle of this civil war. I have cast aspersions at the opposing team and received like blows. Terms of endearment such as “Heretic,” “Pelagian,” “Muslim,” “God-denier,” “Idolater” or more theologically rooted terms such as “Moron,” “Ignoramus,” or “Stupid” were amidst the arsenal of labels one could use when referring to opponents. This wasn’t just confined to me, but was exemplified by others also on both sides. I’m not trying to justify myself, but just say it’s a common thing. After all, this is war! Right?
Do something for me? Grab a home video and press play. No, I don’t mean go dig in that box in the garage for the tapes and VCR. Take a second and snag that video you keep on the shelf in your heart; the one that only you and God have seen. You probably don’t even have to hit play. It’s more like “un-pause.” You know the story of your life so well you could recite it in your sleep. This is what I do, and maybe you’re guilty of it too. You play back that video over and over pinpointing the flaws and regrets. You find everything you can to have a reason why God wouldn’t want you.
While listening to Ketric, one of Cross Point’s youth pastors, speak to the students on the mistakes we make in our life, I couldn’t help but replay my life story starring yours truly. (One of these days I’m going to see if Kate Hudson is available to be my stunt double.) In the new leaders group afterward Ketric told us, “There is nothing too big that God can’t fix.” There is no denying the truth in that statement.
The question stunned us. Wasn’t this America? Didn’t everyone know about Jesus? But two of the 13 children who attended our neighborhood kids’ Christmas party asked that when they saw our large “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” banner.
Late last summer we felt God quietly tell us “Put as much as you can into your neighborhood kids.”
In our 6 years here, we’d watched the neighborhood steadily fill up with kids – more every year. No question, there was room for a “love your (young) neighbors” ministry. But how to start?
The most common characteristic in all false religion is the ability to progress through works. Sometimes it involves praying, fasting, or complicated rituals. Some false religion encourages horrifying forms of self-abasement. They do these things to please their god, or improve their spiritual condition. The goal is common, regardless of the form it takes: self-improvement.
Working to be pleasing to God is nothing new, and we can find the roots to such practices in the way Cain offered his sacrifice. Remember, the ground was cursed, and God said that only “In toil you will eat of it”, and “by the sweat of your face you will eat bread” (Gen 3:18,19, NASB). The ground would only produce fruit through hard labors and toils. This is what Cain chose to bring before the Lord, and why Cain’s offering was rejected; it was the very essence of works-based effort to please God.
Have you ever read Exodus? If you haven’t I’m gonna say this: it can seem pointless. (I’ll be getting back to that later.) The book’s title is from the Greek word meaning “the way out”. It refers to the Israelites’ deliverance from slavery. Originally the title included a word meaning “and” or “now,” which suggested that this book was like the sequel to Genesis. Most people agree that Moses wrote the book between 1445 B.C and 1405 B.C.
What did he write? He recorded the Jews’ first real experiences with persecution. Then the book gets hopeful with the miraculous birth of Moses, the man God appointed to rescue His people. The rest of the book of Exodus basically describes the Israelites’ very dramatic escape from the Egyptians.
He was there sitting in front of my desk. On the outward appearance he looked calm and collected, but it was his eyes that told me a different story. I could see a sense of a struggle – the kind you see in someone who is on a bridge about to bungee jump. Their feet are firmly planted on the bridge, but they know the time is coming they will make the decision to jump or not.
Choosing my words carefully I started to ask him how he has been doing and other questions you ask a person when starting a conversation. He proceeded to answer my questions quickly and with short answers. I knew something was up, but I could not put my finger on what it was.
After my various questions, I looked him the eyes and said, “What’s going on?”
She was sitting on the park bench, her head in her hands, and she was sobbing. I saw her right a way. I was not sure what I should do – should I approach her or just continue walking?…seeing I was already late for my next class. Conviction set in and a small, still voice told me I should talk to her.
“Okay Lord, whatever you want me to do.”
I quickly made my way over and plopped down beside her. “Hey, are you ok?”
At first there was no response. She then sniffled and took a tissue out of her pocket and blew her nose. She looked up and then said, “I am fine.”
I was less than convince… I then decided I would sit there and wait a minute. I knew she would talk eventually.
I arrived at the church early that morning. I always did. Being that my father was the Sunday School Director, he felt obligated to drag our family to church not just early, but obnoxiously early. Me and my father made our way to where general assembly was held — him carrying a bin of songbooks, toys, candy, and other Sunday School paraphernalia, and I carrying his large black Bible and my one-of-seventeen Bibles that didn’t happen to be lost that week. I took hold of the heavy gray door that led to the gymnasium and pulled it open, trying to hide the fact that it took more effort than I was willing to admit. I held the door as my father entered then followed him in allowing the door to close heavily behind me resulting in a loud “thud!” As was typical I made my way to find a seat to relax in until assembly started, but then I noticed something not so typical.
We all have them–some of us more so than others. I tend to be the type of person who plans every little detail of my life, from what meals I’m cooking for the week to what I’m going to be doing five years from now. To say I’m Type A would be an understatement…my life runs more smoothly when I feel that I’m in control.
Some things, however, cannot be controlled, as I have had to learn the hard way.
My wife and I were on a road trip a couple of weeks ago when we saw a Billboard that said: “May 21, 2011 – Judgment Day!” I thought it was really nice that at least we would have Valentine’s Day. I always love the prices on candy the day after.
But seriously, has anyone else seen those signs? There’s always some self-proclaimed expert and “prophet” who predicts the end of the world. Those “prophets” have always been around. For example, some guy (Seventh-day Adventist founder) predicted that the world would end on October 22, 1844. Obviously, the world only ended for him. Life kept on going. And there’s many other people who came up with different days, using different calculations. They were all wrong.