Month: July 2015

An Open Letter From Jesus to The World

Dear friend,

I want to speak to you personally, just you and me.

I could say a lot, but certain things overflow in my heart.

How I long for you to know… please know, that I am not who some might think or portray that I am.

Many people follow me, but they are not me. Some with good intentions, some with not. They misunderstand and miscommunicate my heart and my message. I love them, but their love and understanding of my love, is not always true to mine.

“Church” is not me. The Bible is not me. Both of which, yes, I did create, but created to lead to me. They are not me. Each at times, missing my heart and my message. I always interpreted the Bible anew in light of myself, I designed the church as the manger of myself. They, are not me.

Honestly, I am heart-broken with much of what many of my followers have made of me, my message, and the life I desire. The cost has been great. Many who claim to know me the most, turn out to know me the least. Their lips sound so spiritual, but there hearts are far from me. So much that when I tell you who I am and how I feel about you, you probably won’t even recognize me.

I am Grace. Pure Grace.

I have nothing but love for you, unconditional love. Always have, always will. There has never been, nor will there ever be a moment or a person absent of my love, including you.

I am love. All I do is love.

There is no other love from me than unconditional love; from beginning to end, all the days of your life. Any other flavor of love portrayed from me unto you is a reduction, a fabrication, a mixture, a religious idol.

Love can be only unconditional or it is not love at all. That’s the one and only, original and eternal… unconditional love.

There are no conditions you could satisfy for my love, and because of my love, there are no conditions for you to satisfy.

You have been forgiven, all stains erased… past, present and future. Those secret thoughts, bloopers and blunders. The big, the little, the knowing, the unknowing. The ones you enjoyed, the ones you regret. The ones you meant, the ones you didn’t. Every one.

I don’t think about your mistakes and blemishes, but I know you do. I have forgotten what you remember. They are dead to me, even though alive to you. All that was, is, and will be, is forgiven and forgotten… completely. Sin and brokenness makes for a terrible mirror. Stop looking into it and believing the people who tell you to do so, it’s not who you are. My Grace is sufficient, it’s depth deep enough, it’s height, high enough, it’s healing, powerful enough. No choice chosen or unchosen can withstand it.

I have made you holy, sanctified, and justified. You are complete and whole and so is our relationship. There is nothing wrong with you, and nothing wrong between you and me. Everything that is right about me I have made right about. You are the image you see when you look into the mirror of Me.

This is what I accomplished for you and did to you on the cross. I brought you from death to life, from broken to whole. It’s what I do, it’s what I did.

That’s why I said “It is finished” while being crucified. I finished your salvation; your being made whole, and our being whole together. It is finished, never to be undone.

Despite what many of my followers have said, I am not angry, there is no condemnation for your life, there is no reason for guilt or shame to rule your heart and mind. And any suffering, struggle, or hardship in your life is not from me. I promise.

I am not the unstable white-bearded old man who loves you one moment and is throwing lightning bolts at you the next. I am not the bad parent who uses wrong to bring about right, punishment to bring about holiness, evil to bring about good, hardship to bring about significance, adversity to bring about growth. You are already right, holy, good, fully grown and significant. I finished that project. Now, I am just trying to convince you that you are a finished project. Stop working on what I have finished and start enjoying and being the workmanship you already are… please.

I accept you, as is. I delight in you, as is. I am proud of you, as is. Your picture has and always will be in my wallet.

I have seen your pain, I have felt your cry, I know your thoughts. You tears have been my tears, when you couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t sleep either. My heart breaks at the destruction condemnation, hopelessness, tragedy, inadequacy, guilt, and shame have unleashed in your life. I was there, and will be there in every moment. I run to you when life hurts most, when you stumble the greatest. The anguish is deep, the insecurities wide spread. Your daily struggle, one step in front of the other, is real. And, it’s really real to me.

I am sorry that many of my followers have fanned these wounds into flame. They judge, label, point fingers, look down noses and prescribe a life of religious performance as the cure, defending their doctrines, platforms, and their institutions while throwing the world under the bus and into their hell.

Hell? This is hell… trying to earn or accomplish that which I have already freely given. To fall from Grace; rejecting it for yourself, turning to yourself, and restricting it from others. To be pursued and poured over by a Love you refuse to embrace, and therefore a Love you withhold. It’s an eternal party where everyone is dancing in Grace, all but the religious, with hands crossed, noses to the ground, backs up against the wall in protest, “what are they doing here?” It’s Grace to get you in the door, but rules, expectations, to-do lists, and spiritual gymnastics to keep the Light on. It’s confusing “walking in darkness” as disobedience, when it’s withholding and rejecting Grace that is the heart of all that is evil. It’s lukewarm; a mixture of love and condition, Grace and Law, Jesus and Jesus-plus-me. It’s clubs with crosses on tops. Slick services, with spiritual steps, to-do lists, and appeals to become more “successful for Jesus” at the front, and Grace, resting in Grace, and being Grace, in the back, if present at all.

So, you are a drunk, a liar, a thief, a gossip, a murderer, an adulterer, a glutton, a hater and on and on… all the same to me. All redeemed by me. Not offended, not altered, just concerned for what it’s stealing from your life and the lives of others.

They call you homosexual, transgender, bi-sexual, white, black, hispanic, asian, special needs, bi-polar, fat, skinny, smart, stupid, ugly, beautiful, successful, failure, rich, poor, male, female, child, adult, all the same to me. All label-free to me.

So, where are we now?  Well, you are done with church, fed up with Christians, confused by the chatter, searching for truth, looking for a better way, at times going through the motions, trying to make the most out of life.  Where am I? Well I am with you, reaching out to you now. Not through church, not through the Bible, not through a sign. Just me to you.

I love you. Without expectation. Before you could love me, I first and forever loved you. That’s my decision, that’s my verdict, that’s my heart. Case closed. Question answered. Debate solved. Unseen, now seen. Grace wins.

I have done it all. You have it all. From death to life, insecure to secure, hopeless to hope, broken to whole, sinner to saint, fear to faith. It’s a gift. All of it.

That’s Grace. Your part is to realize you have no part, only to believe.

Accept your acceptance. Awaken to your awakening. I am your Father, the Lover of your Soul, your Creator. It’s me, Jesus… Grace. Grace is a person, and that person is Me.

What is your life? Well, life… it’s not a test, it’s a rest. What are you to do? Rest in Grace. I’ll show you what to do.

Enjoy Me, and do what you love to do in ways that honor me. That’s my super duper, perfect will for you. Be you, be Grace. You are the revival, you are the miracle, you are the “big thing.” Everything is spiritual, everything you do is spiritual because you are doing it. Be you. You are the loveliness of Me on earth.

So relax, I got this, I have you. Go, believe, be free and enjoy!

I leave you with this thought.

You can always tell where Grace is, by the religious that gather to crucify it. The religious will crucify you as you embrace pure Grace and give pure Grace in your life. If they hated Grace when I was there, they will hate it in you as you are there.

Believe in Grace, be Grace anyways.

Grace won, Grace wins,

Jesus

Middle School Whining, Easily Offended, Feather Ruffled Christians

I am not nearly as concerned about how other Christians receive me as I am about how non-Christians receive me and my faith.

Why? First, because I am not trying primarily to influence Christians. I love Christians, but they are not my most urgent desire.

Second, because I have found that many Christians have become so quick to hear what they want to hear, no matter what you say or how you say it. And in most circumstances, when words and actions are twisted, it’s in a negative way that fuels their having something to stand against or label as “wrong” or “offensive.”  It’s almost as if we have determined that “assuming,” “conjecture,” “spin,”  and “being offended” are new gifts of the Spirit. Most Christians listen not to understand, but to see if what you say fits with what they believe.

In fact, I am not sure who dropped who as a child, but it seems a majority of Christians these days, particularly Evangelicals have a whiney, insecure chip on their shoulder and their radars set to high sensitivity. They seem locked and loaded, ready to strike out against even the slightest blip on their “this is wrong” screen.  Many Christians have become self-declared experts in and increasingly known for what they are against. With language like “persecuted,” “targeted,” “violated” “discriminated” and alike, they are quick to sound the alarm, take up arms, choose sides, and declare apocalyptic doom and gloom when they feel threatened or conclude they aren’t getting their way in culture.

Are Christians being mistreated and/or discriminated against in America? In certain instances, I am sure they are. Are there problems in the world, things that need addressing and improving? I am sure there are. Do we Christians sometimes get treated unfairly while being given the short end of the stick? Sure. Could Christians say they have various kinds of “enemies” within our culture? I suppose so. Depending on your flavor of Christianity and what you deem to be right and wrong, you have things you are against and things that you feel are against you. Yet truthfully, that reality only puts Christians (no matter the variety) in the same parking lot as just about every other group or believe-set on planet earth.

Yet sadly, what is so disturbing, is the truth that the way many Christians have been handling this reality, particularly as of late, is so middle school; selfish, dramatic, and immature. With moans and groans, grandiose statements and declarations, whines and complaints, we bark at the world.  Evangelical leaders like Franklin Graham, Albert Mohler, and Jack Graham, as much as I respect them, seemingly can’t control their licking chops dripping with rhetoric about all that is wrong with the world and how all of Christianity (mainly Christian America) is in the balance. Lions, tigers and, bears, oh my! And then in between barks and rants, they feverishly board up the windows of Christianity for war and the ultimate defense of Christianity’s seat in the world. All so that we can have our way for the sake of our way.

Right now, the hot issue that has ignited much of this posture is homosexuality, but trust me, when that issue drifts back stage, many Evangelicals (and other groups) will certainly find another. What would would they do, where would they find their passion, where would they focus their vision if there wasn’t something to be against and complain about?

Don’t be a hater for me dragging the truth out of the shadows, but, for many Christians in relation to our culture, it has become all about us for the sake of us, no matter how missional and spiritual the lipstick is we are putting on the pig of our selfishness.

At the end of the day, we have been found out, we are more concerned about America serving us than serving America; laws serving us, treatment serving us, politics serving us, values serving us, morality serving us, preferences serving us. All, instead of us just serving people… without condition, expectations, return, pouting, rants, and defense of the institution that is Evangelical Christianity.

I find it interesting that any defensive impulsive Jesus manifested was directed actually at confronting people who withheld Grace and love to the broken, sinning, and condemned within culture. When Jesus turned over the tables in the temple, it was in defense of the exploitation of people for personal gain in the guise of spiritual enrichment.  Oh my, that could poke a few holes in modern church-world.

Interestingly enough, we never see Jesus defending His cause in relation to the world, but rather, in relation to religious people who would restrict Him from serving the world through Grace. In fact, what we do see, is Jesus loving, serving, and sacrificing for the world, not standing against it, distanced from it, and barking at it.

We never see Jesus rant, pout, whine, or defensively defend Himself or His cause. In fact, when He was provoked to do so, to write that FB status about how offended He is, how wrong the world is, how He and His peeps were getting the shaft, He remained silent. Later finally declaring… “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And to top it off, His message about Church-world is, “and the gates of hell will not overcome it.” No need to get defensive, I got it covered. Just love people, serve people, give them Grace as I have given you… unconditionally without condition. I’ll take care of the rest.

Besides, it’s not about you, it’s not about “church,” it’s not about being treated fairly, it’s not about your doctrine, it’s not about your standing within culture (or America), it’s not about politics… it’s about Me. And more than that, it’s about giving, not receiving; serving, not being served; lowering yourself, not being lifted up; giving yourself away, not insisting on your way.

Christian, get off your high horse and start loving people, serving people, and standing with people… period.

If you have to defend Christianity, then defend Christianity by defending the people Jesus defended and died for… sinners, not unlike you. He didn’t die for Churches, doctrine, or a prominent place in culture, He died for people, all people. If you have to get on a soap box, if you have to rant, if you have to be all middle-school dramatic and whine while taking your marbles and going home, do so about injustice, do so about people withholding Grace, do so about people being condemned, marginalized, and labeled.

Christian, it’s not about you. Christianity, it’s not about you. Franklin Graham, Francis Chan, David Platt, Chris Kratzer, it’s not about you. Doctrine, right and wrong, in and out, fair or unfair, it’s not about you. Evangelicalism in America, it’s not about you. It’s about Jesus.

Let Grace do what it does (and can only do), which is everything that matters; change, inspire, correct, heal, save, draw, prompt, protect, and prosper.  Trust it over institution, trust if over doctrine, trust it over fairness, trust it over defense, trust it over self. Just love, and let Grace do the rest. For Grace is a person, and that person is Jesus.

Stop your whining, easily offended, feather-ruffled, self-righteous vomits. Christianity is not slipping into the abyss of culture, it is actually being pruned by the Father of all that would be about everything but Him. Him, who is Grace… pure Grace.

It’s an interesting thought, that while Evangelicals (and other Christian groups) so want to prune, correct and change the world to be and think like them, it is God who is pruning, correcting, and desiring to change them to be and think like Him.

Pushy School Prayer People

So you read the title of this article, and your back has already tightened up. As we speak, your mind is powering up remembered “prayer” passages from the Bible as your eyes drift down to find the comment section of this post.  But before you have a cow, or some other farm animal, read closely. I believe prayer is important. I pray, I value prayer, and encourage others to do so.

But holy steaming manure Batman, not only have many of us Christians turned prayer into everything Jesus never intended it to be, we have also become so ridiculous about this “prayer in school” issue.

“You need to pray more of this,” “you need to pray about that,” “pray this way,” “don’t pray that way,” “pray here, but not there.” Hot off the shelf,  “6 steps to more effective prayer,” “10 steps to bending the ear of God.” All with the vibe, if you aren’t doing prayer like us, you aren’t doing prayer.

I mean seriously, we have created such a huge fermenting debacle out of prayer; eroding it into spectacle, verbosity, formula, ritual, work, Law, and God arm pulling.

Yes, I believe prayer is important, Yes, giving a time for all students to silently reflect or pray as school begins seems benign. For the individual this can be either religious or not, and always kept personal. I get it.

But common, nothing is perhaps worse than Christians who have become reckless about the issue of prayer in schools.  Some demand that students have a set time to pray in school (even audibly) and whine like little school girls when in some instances they don’t get their way, or their way is threatened. Many blame the lack of prayer in school, or its restriction, as the reason why students’ behaviors and morals are in decline. Some, even go as far as to say that if prayer (the Christian kind of course) was more prevalent and planned in school, there wouldn’t be near the school shootings and other tragedies. “Don’t let them throw God out of school” is the battle cry of many, as if that would be possible anyways.  I’m just shooting in the dark here, but I think I remember reading a semi important figure in the Bible discovering something like… “I can never be lost to your Spirit! I can never get away from my God! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there.” Gee, I wonder if that includes schools. Probably only those where Christians are praying.

It all makes perfect sense to me now.  Duh, God only answers prayers from certain locations, right? God thinks to Himself, “Yeesh, I could have kept that tragedy from happening if they only allowed or encouraged kids to pray in school.”

It’s interesting to me, how many Christian adults care so much about having kids pray in school, but never, or rarely pray at home. And by the way, that religious “bless this food, Jesus” around the KFC bucket doesn’t count. Ranting about prayer in school all while buying your kids tickets to a Miley Cyrus concert, sounds like a plan to me.

I mean really, does God think to Himself, “Now that you asked me to ‘bless this food’ not only will I Jesus-zap the Ecoli out of it, but I will make it send your body into the next level of fitness and vitality.” It’s so obvious this is the way God works with prayer. I mean can’t you tell by how healthy, fit, and slim all those Christians are who religiously ask God to, “bless this food, Jesus.” Besides, no one ever gets sick at the local church barbecue… never.

Nothing lacking or present in the daily school life of a child can resurrect what is being put to death or ignored at home.

Furthermore, none of this is to even begin to get into the whole issue of Church and state and the constitutional restrictions and freedoms thereof.

I find it interesting that Jesus taught…

And now about prayer. When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who pretend piety by praying publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. Truly, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, all alone, and shut the door behind you and pray to your Father secretly, and your Father, who knows your secrets, will reward you. Don’t recite the same prayer over and over as the heathen do, who think prayers are answered only by repeating them again and again. Remember, your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!  -Matthew 6:5-8

See, if you pray the way Jesus taught, every person has the freedom to pray biblically anywhere at anytime. And believe it or not, Jesus listens and responds to it just as much (and maybe more. *wink wink).

I know, but there’s no spectacle in that, no religious pushing and shoving, no freedom fight, no work, no spiritual notch on your belt, no protest. Praying Jesus-style takes all the Evangelical fun out of it. Dang nab it.

Did I say fun?  My bad, I really meant “flesh.”  Stupid spell corrector.

“We just need to keep prayer in school.” “God is offended we are keeping Him out of schools” It sounds all so spiritual, like we are real-deal Christians, but it’s so reflective of how religious, insecure, selfish, political, parental-outsourcing, and Jesus-doubting we have become. We obviously believe prayer is primarily about location (school), behavior modification and personal performance (kids do better), and getting God to do certain things He wouldn’t normally do or hasn’t done. This is absurd and nothing like Jesus’ attitude towards prayer.

“I don’t entertain guests in my closet. You’ll never hear me tell visitors after dinner, “Why don’t we step into the closet for a chat?”. Denalyn and I prefer the living room or the den. God apparently likes to chat in the closet. The point? He’s low on fancy, high on accessibility. To pray at the Vatican can be meaningful. But prayers offered at home carry as much weight as prayers offered in Rome. Travel to the Wailing Wall if you want. But prayer at your backyard fence is just as effective. The One who hears your prayers is your Daddy. You needn’t woo him with location.” -Max Lucado

Let’s stop outsourcing and pushing prayer onto schools. Let’s do our jobs at home to spiritually lead the way. Trust me, teachers and administrators would trade their salaries for parents to start doing that.

Let’s see prayer as a way of life, a humble communication with God, not a spectacle, ritual, or Evangelical badge to be worn.

Prayer is simply talking and listening to God.  Nothing more, nothing less.

It’s not how you pray, as if God were into verbosity, postures, formality, formulas, or eloquence as a condition or key for prayer.

It’s not where you pray, as if God was a location snob, territorial, or contextually limited.

It’s not how long you pray, as if God were holding a stop watch, doing a word count, or was impressed by stamina, waiting for that “o.k, that’s enough” moment to respond. The false notion that “the more you pray, the more God responds” places the power of prayer on you and not God.

It’s not how hard you pray, as if you have to bend God’s ear, wrench His blessings, or prove you’re seriousness in order for Him to reply or to increase His willingness to reply favorably.

It’s not how loud you pray, as if God is hard of hearing.

It’s not how good you are as a person, as if anyone’s righteousness before God comes from their own performance.

God already knows what you need long before you ask, He knows the desires of your heart, long before you express them.

So, why pray?

It’s simple, because God enjoys hearing from you and you could benefit from hearing from Him. Prayer, from a posture of thanksgiving and faith, draws our minds and hearts to all that we already have in and with Jesus, and reminds us that He works out all things for our good. Prayer is not about getting what you want, but much more about embracing, enjoying, and resting in all the you already have in Him.

In prayer, you don’t get anything more from God that you don’t already have, you just become more aware of it, and thus can enjoy it, harness it, believe in it, and be blessed by it. Bam, there ya have it!

Make you prayers full of thanksgiving, words (declarations) of faith, and honest requests. Then… listen, with the Holy Spirit as your guide.

Keep it simple, personal, and genuine. And for crying out loud, stop being so ridiculous, pushy, and preoccupied with prayer in schools. Jesus is bigger and prayer is higher, deeper, and wider than all of that.

If your particular brand of Christianity requires you be pushy, be pushy about making sure prayer happens at home. And even more so, be pushy about making sure you and your kids have the right heart, understanding, and attitudes toward it.

Flag Wars

If you haven’t heard, it’s emerging to be national news.  Some churches have decided to display the “Christian” flag above the American flag for the purpose of communicating their displeasure with sinful American culture, their declared priority of putting God first in their lives, and to “get the attention of the church” to realities such us their belief that God comes before government.  As you might guess, this has not been well received by many.

So now, we have flags flying over flags.

That will teach them, right? That will show them “we put Jesus above all else”  We’ll will demonstrate to gay people and everyone we are against, we ain’t moving from our superiority and the showing of our super-faithfulness to Jesus.  Make no mistake, Jesus is our priority. Raise that flag!

I find it interesting that Peter (in the Bible) once boasted of his priority for following Jesus over and above everything else in his life. He raised the flag and boldly declared Jesus as His all and all, that his priorities were God, then country, and then family. No one was going to stop Him or His love for Jesus.

Well, how did all that flag raising play out for him? He ended up denying Jesus, not just once, but “three times a lady.” Oops… that turned out to be more like a flag crash-and-burning… how unpatriotic. See, when we raise our “doing” or “believing” or “faithfulness” as the essence of our faith, somewhere along the way, like Peter, our performance breaks down and we are shown for the religious hypocrite we are. Even if our religious eyes refuse to see it.

Christianity is not defined nor best illustrated by a flag, and especially not by a flag over another. Sadly, this is rather the perfect symbol of the performance-driven, religious-spirited, elitist state of much of modern Christianity, where in the face of growing cultural disagreement and tension, our deepest reaction is to dig our heels in and further serve and heighten the defense of our religious system rather then to further serve, love, and defend the people who we believe are enemies of it. Yes, Jesus put the serving, loving, and defense of people (especially his sinful enemies and those against Him) over and above everything, even Himself.  That’s the model.

Hello… hello… is this microphone on?

If Jesus is a flag, God lowered it, put it under, that people might be raised.

That’s why Jesus is best displayed not in a flag risen over another but in Jesus, who did not consider His equality with God as over and better than another, but became a servant; humbling and lowering Himself to be crucified on a cross. He came not to be served, but to serve. And make no mistake, it was this Grace, pure Grace, that God resurrected and named as above all things; especially our self righteous, “faithfulness” flag raising. That every knee, especially the religious, would bow to Grace.

Yet, much of modern Christianity is so vehemently concerned with being served by America instead of serving it. Having spiritual performance raised above Grace, and self-righteousness above Christ-righteousness.

The house of cards that has become much of modern Christianity exposes its true self most clearly in the raising… arguments, voices, noses, flags, faithfulness, battle cries, self-righteousness.  Christ showed Himself, His true cause, and His true ways in the lowering… serving, humbling, loving, listening, dying, giving Grace in all and to all.

While some call for the raising of a so called “Christian” flag above the America one, God lowered the “Jesus” flag, put it under, that all people be raised by Grace through faith and His followers seek to serve rather than be served.

Following Jesus is in the lowering, not the raising.

So You Believe Homosexuality is a Sin, Now What?

At the end of the day, the debate about whether homosexuality is a sin or not will long be like the debate between Calvinist and Armenians. Each will quote their bible verses and line up their arguments with very little to any resolution between them. Those who believe homosexuality is a sin have their biblical convictions, as do those who do not believe homosexuality is a sin. As a result of their disagreements, there is unfortunately very little, if any mutual respect for one another to be found in most circles. This, in my opinion, is reflective of the sad state of Christianity in America and beyond.

For me, beyond the question of, “Is homosexuality a sin?” is perhaps a much more important question, “If you believe it is, now what?” What is the Jesus-way of dealing with that which you believe is sin?

Here are some thoughts…  if you believe homosexuality is a sin… fine, now…

1) You should focus on taking your sin seriously, now more than ever.

Since you believe homosexuality is a sin, and apparently increasing in influence and presence in our culture, you should start taking your sin much more seriously as the same reality could manifest with and because of your sin issues.

Imagine if our culture had the same “outbreak” and increased acceptance of your sin issues as you perhaps feel is happening with homosexuality. That could be catastrophic.

Imagine if things like lying, gluttony, gossiping, coveting, or “not doing the good that you know to do” (to name a cursory few sins) were legalized and lit on fire in our culture. That would be world changing! Imagine if everybody adopted and legalized the sin in your life. Comparatively, the presence of homosexuality in our culture would pail in comparison to the damage potential of the sin in your life (or mine) going viral.

Furthermore, in the familiar teaching about logs of personal sin and specks of sin in other people’s lives, Christ taught how suspicious it is to be even merely looking at sin in other people’s lives when there is obviously a log-full to be taken seriously (looked at) in your own life. In fact, one could surmise, with much wisdom, that Jesus was pointing out the fact that if you properly took your own sin-log serious enough, there would be little if any time for looking, let alone, finger pointing at another’s sin. And even more, Jesus seems to set the standard, if your log of sin isn’t so serious to you that in seeing your own, you can’t even begin to dream of having the perspective from which to judge just a speck in another, you aren’t taking YOUR sin seriously enough.

Perhaps, we Christians who are often so sin-conscious in our outward gaze, but sin-justifying in our inward gaze are the reason why sin seems to be increasing in our culture. The culture sees our example, and concludes, “Double standard for you, double standard for me.”

See, a lack of needed seriousness (apparent because one seems to have time for sin finger-pointing) about one’s gluttoness face-feedings at the local Golden Coral every Sunday after service could be sending a message that a person’s homosexuality is not so serious too. A lack of seriousness about one’s church gossiping, slander, and backstabbing could be sending a message that one’s homosexuality is not so serious too. A lack of seriousness about one’s coveting of other people’s lives, ministries, salaries, homes, marriages, finances, clothes, health, etc. etc. etc. could be sending a message that their homosexuality is not so serious too. And the list goes on and on.

Since you believe homosexuality is a sin and it’s growing presence and influence in our culture is alarming, all the more reason, you better spend every waking moment getting off of their sin and on top of yours, for your’s could become even more alarming than theirs.

The way of Jesus in responding to believed sin isn’t to point fingers and focus attention externally, but to be humbled by the alarming, toxic reality of sin in our own lives that demands our internal vigilance and heavenly mercy.

The way of Jesus is to make sure you don’t take your eye off the ball. The ball is your sin, not theirs.

2) You should be befriending many more gay people.

Jesus befriended sinning, sinful, sin-ladened people. Can’t get around that.

In fact, much of his reputation was founded on it. Apparently it wasn’t a hobby, but a priority. People don’t get reputations from hobbies. Jesus saw sinners as friends, and more profound, sinners saw Jesus as “friend.”

Every gay person you meet, from the day you declared homosexuality a sin, should now conclude from your investment and interaction in their life that you are a real-deal “friend.” That’s the Jesus-way and the Jesus-result.

This is no easy accomplishment. That is, to be known as a “friend” by gay people. When gay people see you in public, they ought to be saying to one another, “he (or she) is safe, they truly get me, and love me for me.” Not an easy response to gain.

Thats why this Jesus-way of befriending means genuinely loving gay people, not for the purpose of trying to change them (as if you or I could do that anyways), but simply to love them. People don’t hang out with and call a “friend,” people who are simply trying to change them and thus put another spiritual knot on their belt. Do you call people like that, friends?

Oh, and by the way, that whole “hate the sin, but love the sinner,” thing. That’s like saying, “Love the pizza, but hate the sauce.” Loving a person the Jesus-way is loving the person, as is.

But, if you believe your befriending a homosexual can change them, all the more reason you ought to be befriending every gay person you meet.  Oh, and I guess that applies to every other kind of sin and sinner; hookers, liars, murders, child abusers, sexual predators, rapists etc. Shoot, for that matter, you ought to be befriending yourself.

Dang, between taking your sin more (properly) seriously and genuinely befriending gay people (who you may believe are our culture’s worst sinners) there isn’t going to be time for much else… hate, condemnation, marginalizing, political rants, declarations of your right and they’re wrong.

3) You should be studying the “clobber” passages that relate to YOUR sin much harder

Along with your belief that homosexuality is a sin, you may believe that people hearing the so called “clobber” passages in the Bible about homosexuality is going to change their mind and heart. Therefore, perhaps you memorize them and even rehearse them in preparation for that next debate or anticipated time when you get to “restore a brother gently.”

At the very least, if you are like most people who believe homosexuality is a sin, you have studied the 6 “clobber” passages in the Bible widely believed to condemn homosexuality as sin.

By the way, you also may believe there are passages in the Bible that give you license to point out people’s sin and get them on what you believe to be the right path. Just a question… these passages, that have become important to many people now, especially with the whole homosexuality issue, have they been just as important to you in regards to sins like gluttony, cheating, coveting, divorce, etc. etc. etc.? Have you made good on those passages and leaned across the cubicle to confront or “restore” your over eating, Christian coworker? What about your gossiping small-group buddy? What about your envious worship band team member? What about your non-biblically divorced next door neighbor?

If not, why not? There are tons of other sins and corresponding “clobber” passages to choose from? Aren’t those sins just as serious?

Why is it, with this whole homosexuality thing, that seemingly it’s all the sudden now so important to make sure we dust off the biblical badges that seem to justify our spiritual policing of believers and the world?

Well, if you believe clobber passages change hearts and minds, so be it… great. But that means you should now be all the more memorizing and studying the clobber passages about your sin for the same purpose.  You should be writing yourself blog posts, Facebook statements, political messages, declarations of doom and wrath, and holding yourself to the fire for the destruction of America?

See, God doesn’t need to look any further than your own sin (or mine) for cause and reason to open up a can of angel-wrath upon the world. In fact, God expects the world to sin, but you (and I) do it having “tasted and seen.” Oops, probably not good if you believe in all that judgement, wrath, and hell-fire stuff.

I mean really, if God was looking for easy justification to man-handle the planet and drum up disasters of judgement, I think we would ironically find him far more peering into the stain-glassed windows of the Church more than bedroom windows of the world.

So you believe homosexuality is a sin because of your understanding of the “clobber” passages in the Bible. What are the clobber passages that speak to your sin issues? Are you studying them with equal diligence and debate? What about your self-posts, self-articles, self-rants?

If you believe clobber passages change people, are you just as adamant to use them to change you?

4) You should be defending and declaring from the mountain tops the righteousness of homosexual Christians and God’s unconditional love for them.

So, you believe homosexuality is a sin, great… now what? Is it more of an important sin than yours?

I read somewhere, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  Sin, in God’s eyes, is not placed in hierarchy. Therefore, the same righteousness declared over your life, through faith in Christ, is the same declared over a homosexual Christian.

I know, maybe you say your sin is not a “life-style” of sin. You don’t willingly choose it. Really?

Btw, how many times sinning in the same way makes for a “life-style?” Is it two, five, ten, twenty four? Who gets to determine and judge that? And, how much time in between the sin is this limit. One hour, one day, one week? Who gets to determine and judge that?

See, if you (or I) can’t shout from the mountain top that homosexual Christians are righteous in Christ; unconditionally loved, holy, sanctified, and justified, than neither can you say you are. All these spiritual realities of the believer are based solely on Christ’s performance and finished work on the cross, not the believer’s. It is Christ who makes and keeps us righteous, holy, loved, sanctified, justified, and yes, even saved.

The moment you pull back from the righteousness of homosexuals, you are pulling back from your own.

If they aren’t righteous, you aren’t either.  If they are second class citizens, so are you.

5) You should be welcoming and wanting homosexuals in your church all the more.

In the same way, if you, with your sin and sinning, are welcome and wanted in your church, why aren’t homosexuals?

I know, it’s maybe because you see your sin as a sin and many homosexuals don’t. And yes, many don’t believe the way you do that their homosexuality is a sin. Therefore, perhaps in your mind they are not welcome or wanted. They, through their behavior and attitude towards what you call sin, are condoning sin. And you perhaps believe we can’t have any of that running around on in the church.

Well, maybe now you see your sin as sin, but did you always? Furthermore, do you see all your sin? Are you aware of all the areas of sin in your life and see every sin-area of your life as sin? Is not, in your beliefs, the heart wicked and full of deceit? Even portions of your heart, due to the “flesh?” Therefore, can you really trust that you see everything, and aren’t missing an area where you think you aren’t sinning, but actually are? Just like you believe homosexuals do.

By the way, perhaps you say you see your sin as sin, and that makes all the difference, is that why perhaps you overeat still? That’s why you perhaps still lie, right? That’s why you are better than homosexuals? You are better, more worthy, more wanted church-material because you are managing sin better in your life? That’s why you are the perfect leader, right? Never make mistakes that you know are mistakes, never see thing that you are doing as o.k when in fact, they are sin? Right?

I mean seriously, tell the Holy Spirit to move onto someone else. You don’t need any truth guidance, you got it all under perfect view, watch, discernment, and containment in your life. Which makes you the perfect gatekeeper for a church, right? Who better to know who should be in or out, welcome or wanted then you? You see all your sin perfectly, surely, you can do that in other people’s lives, right?

Trust me, awareness of sin makes a terrible safe-guard for sin. Just because you know and say it’s wrong doesn’t make you any more protected from acting on it, nor does it make you any better of a Christian or worthy of being welcomed or wanted in a church.

If “Church” is of and for the sin-aware, then “Church” would have never started. No one starts as sin-aware and therefore, there would have been no one to begin “Church” with on that first Pentecost.

Besides, in your mind, are homosexuals, regardless of “sin-awareness” better off in fellowship with the world or in the family of a church? If, while you were knowingly sinning, no one welcomed and wanted you, where would you be right now? Do you trust the Holy Spirit to change people, if change is needed? Point out sin, if sin pointing out is needed? Or, are you dependent on your “church-strength” and “church systems” to do it and manage it.

It’s one thing to welcome the knowingly sinning, and another to want them. It’s easy to welcome, and not want. Easy to let them sit in your pews, enjoy the same air conditioning, and sing your songs. But a whole other thing to “want” them; want them connected, want them serving, want them doing life along side everyone else.

Truth is, while you were knowingly sinning, through the cross, God welcomed and wanted you into His Kingdom, and still does. To not welcome and want homosexuals, is in all natural and spiritual reality, not to want and welcome you.

If you can’t welcome and want them, you can’t welcome and want you.

So, you believe homosexuality is a sin… now what?

 

 

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