Archive for September, 2007

The Forgiveness Affair

Posted in Christianity, Community, Culture, Faith, Family, God, Marriage, Prayer on September 28, 2007 by Scott

Scott Williams got us thinking with a post he did this week…more here…regarding a comment made at Swerve. There is probably no more one thing that better represents our American culture than the phrase, “it easier to ask for forgiveness than it is permission”.

We joke but it is innately within us since Adam and Eve that we have that “just don’t get caught” mentality…and if we do, we’ll just say we’re sorry. This populates every relationship we have…from God…to our spouse…to our friends…to our employer.

How’s your speeding lately?

We have an affair with being forgiven and we live life pushing the boundaries of God’s best.

Anne Jackson wrote a short story called An Emotional Affair, and she openly talks of the lines we allow ourselves to blur because we can…because we can always say, “forgive me”. We are seduced by our own hidden knowledge that it is there for our taking…just like dangling fruit.

How many wives have had lunch alone with another man because they can…no need to realize God does not want you in that situation…no need to make sure the husband is comfortable with it because after all, it’s harmless, though women are seduced emotionally through conversation. How many men watch porn or go to the sports bar that have the girls with outfits that are incredibly seducing to the eye…no need to make sure the wife is comfortable with you in that setting or the fact you shouldn’t be there anyway.

If I screw up, I’ll ask for forgiveness…I’m stinkin’ bulletproof!

And isn’t this how we approach God? Prayer…I’m not sick. Do we really want to know God’s will in a situation or is it His blessing on our decision that we want? A decision that is usually made out of a me-centered desire…not a God-placed desire. And the silence of an inaudible God is overwhelming at times, so instead of realizing that most decisions are made inside of God’s will because anything not in sin is in God’s will, we become frustrated with perceived unanswered prayer and fail to present to Him our dilemmas when we are faced with a sin decision.

We need to understand that in a choice between two jobs, both are inside God’s will if we are currently not in sin. He allows us discernment in those times through our knowledge of Him to pursue Him in any job. We need to grasp that if we are not in sin, all things are permissible but not beneficial, and though not prohibited, they can lead to sin. We also need to recognize situations that need accountability, that need permission…those where our hearts have drifted from a Holy God.

When did grace become an avenue for selfishness, and trust a mask for transparency?

If we make decisions with an assumption of grace…of forgiveness, we need to ask whether ours is the love of a believer…the love of a godly spouse…the love of a friend.


I Raised My Hand… Now What?

Posted in Christianity, Church, Evangelism, Faith, God, Relationships, Religion on September 27, 2007 by Scott

hands_raised.jpgA reader writes Billy Graham:
“I was real excited when I gave my life to Jesus at high school church camp a few months ago. But now it’s kind of faded…

Dr. Graham responds:
“Your problem, I suspect is that you haven’t nourished your faith…. If you stopped eating for even a day, you’d grow physically weak, and the same is true for spirituality.”

This seems to be a dilemma facing churches today (see previous posts Lost Art of Followup, The First 90 Days ). What happens AFTER a new believer raises their hand?

We provide brochures, watered-down versions of the Bible, websites, study materials and more hoping that is nourishment enough to keep the fire burning. Yet it feels more like self-serve discipleship.  

1 Peter 2:2 says “Like newborn babies, crave spiritual milk, so that you may grow up in your salvation.” New believers, like newborns, likely can’t feed themselves – they need to be fed.

What is your church doing to ensure the excitement of a new believer doesn’t fade – that they get the nourishment they need to grow up?

10 Most Irritating “Christians”

Posted in Blogs, Christianity, Culture, God on September 26, 2007 by Scott

You know the ones…when you see them on TV, the first thought is, “holy crap, not them again!”

10. Stryper…come on, they suck

9. Joel Osteen…he’s on God’s bonus plan

8. Benny Hinn…steals from the needy, gives to the greedy

7. Bill O’Reilly…just shut up

6. Dr. Phil McGraw……really?

5. Pat Robertson…his university has the most grads working on the Bush staff

4. Jan Crouch…1-2-3…cry

3. Amber Siyavus (Big Brother 8)… her god speaks to her

2. Al Sharpton…never met a cause he did not try to incite

1. Kirk Cameron…bananas and evolution…yah

Following the Rules (except the important ones)

Posted in Christianity, Discipleship, Faith, God, Religion on September 25, 2007 by Scott

An author recently spoke to Newsweek about his new book, “The Year of Living Biblically,” in which he spent one year following every “rule” in the Bible.

 A.J. Jacobs spent a year carrying around 700+ rules and prohibitions identified in the Bible. He consulted religious leaders and spent time with the Amish, Hassidic Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses to ensure he had everything covered.   

Had he spoken with Floating Axhead, we would have directed him to Matthew 22:36-40:

“Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and wirh all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”

If you are going to follow the rules, start with these two. In case you are wondering, Jacob’s doesn’t mention love once in the article.

Lady Liberty

Posted in Community, Culture, Discipleship on September 24, 2007 by Scott

Do you know this…

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

2 Assumptions?

It is almost Christ-like…but no, it is the inscription on the Statue of Liberty. Interesting how we were all once immigrants and still are to some degree, and yet our souls are replete with legalistic virtue, lack inner hospitality and have seemingly no room for Christ.

When you look at a whore, do you see a disciple…Christ did.

Voting by the Book

Posted in Christianity, Faith, Politics, Religion on September 21, 2007 by Scott

Consider this part of our “Here’s Your Church Sign” series.

What exactly does this mean?

Does this mean you vote Republican? Have you seen these guys? They want to protect the sanctity of marriage – although apparently cheating on your spouse and divorce has nothing to do with protecting this American institution. Scandals? Got those too, including bribes, homosexuality, prostitution – you name it.

The Democrats – they’re a mess.  For many its one issue – abortion. But their entire platform is “Whatever they are for, we’re against.” No ideas. Take your choice on scandals –  unless you’ve forgotten about the whole “I never had sexual relations with that woman” thing.

Nader? Please.

So, what does it mean to vote by the book?

Suddenly Christian

Posted in Atheism, Blogs, Christianity on September 20, 2007 by Scott

Suddenly Christian has a couple of outstanding posts on our relationship with atheists and what it should look like and what it actually looks like. Check them out and read some of the comments to just digest the dialog.

What the Atheists Taught Me and An Honest Question: Atheists, How Do You Process Your Guilt?

Some of our thoughts are that when we profess to hate the sin but love the sinner, we often do it at arm’s length. And our insecurities often distort our message of giving into superiority. Christ was clear, “I desire mercy not sacrifice“. Jesus’ moral teaching is not intended to set us apart from “worse” sinners but to break down the comfortable distinctions we make.