I heard various sentiments yesterday from the faith community in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to force the States to recognize same sex marriages. “This is so sad…a terrible day for God’s Kingdom…America will be judged.”
I say, let us think about what has really changed, and let’s respond in a manner that’s both Historically Christian and Scripturally Correct.
The church- the Kingdom of Heaven on earth- has always existed inside a sinful culture. This is why God sent His Son Jesus: to seek and save the lost. In fact, our culture today is far ‘better’ than the culture surrounding the early church. The early church- the new church after Christ ascended to heaven- existed within a culture even more distant from the faith than ours. This decision yesterday that allows men to marry men or women to marry women is not very different from the habits of the culture facing Peter, Paul, James, John, Jude, Apollo, Aquila, Priscilla, Timothy, Rhoda, Lydia, Tabitha, and the other converts of the Christian faith. Yet, the gospel thrived and grew exponentially in this culture. Why? Because the church was a light and the Gospel had, and still has, the power to give New Life.
So let’s stop whining and debating the point. Let’s respond in the way God has directed us: Shine in a dark place. Don’t hide your lampstand. Shine bright! In fact, if each of us had been doing our job better- shining brightly- than perhaps this culture would not have deteriorated like this.
What does it mean to “shine bright?”
First of all, it means LOVE. Love God. Love your Neighbor
Share the Good News. Disciple. Fulfill the Great Commission.
Live a life so well lived that exudes the New Life that the gospel provides. Our lives should exude love, joy and peace, patience, kindness, and goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
We cannot change the culture in any other way.
So what was your response? Are you afraid? Discouraged? Don’t be.
Utilize the power of God. The Gospel is the power of God for the Salvation of everyone who believes. Share the Gospel. Love. Give. Pray. The power of God will shine through you and transform those around you.
We will see many of our loved ones changed and transformed.
Another question for the church: Why is our cry against homosexuality outside the church greater than the cry of adultery and fornication within the church?
All sex outside that of a man and woman solely and forever committed to one another is wrong, whether homosexual or heterosexual. God’s intention is that we are monogamous and faithful to our one partner of the opposite sex for all of our lives. This is not only God’s law but it is the natural order.
Jesus hated divorce, although he “allowed” it under certain conditions where the marriage covenant was broken and both parties were not willing to submit to one another, change and forgive.
Ok, so let’s sum up this Christian’s Response to the Christian Response.
Stop whining, murmuring and complaining.
Love your neighbor.
Share the Gospel.
Judge within the church, not outside the church.
Leave the rest up to God!
If God is willing to send a part of himself -his very son Jesus- down to the earth to sacrifice his life for you and for me and for all humanity- to give it unto death- then he is worthy to be trusted with the large and small issues in your life. (Would you give your life if you were completely innocent for those who were not? That must be love!) You can trust God. Give God your heart (your affections, your inner man, your past, your future) and receive the love He has for you as shown by this selfless and pure sacrifice. When you trust God, He will give you a real peace and joy of heart – a new life- that you have never experienced before. It is an amazing thing.
As Jesus resurrected, we do as well when we put our faith in God. We get a new lease on life so to speak. We are actually made new.
Have a happy Easter because of this good news!
Let’s have a party at church.
Yes, let’s have a New Year’s party!
Now to those of you who have a “service” on New Year’s Eve: this may not be for you. You may already get it. But for the rest of us….
The church should have a party. Let’s share what Jesus has done for us. Let’s eat together (have communion) Let’s share, and laugh and sing, and even dance (innocently of course.) Let’s celebrate. For those who can’t celebrate at the moment, just being in the company of friends may soothe a sad heart.
The point is this: the church should be the center of all life. Even on New Year’s eve the church family can share life together. We should be the kind of people that want to spend time together. Let’s celebrate what God has done in our lives this 2014 and look forward to what God wants to do through us in 2015. We don’t need to booze it up- Jesus has satisfied us and we don’t need to get drunk or high to make us feel good.
I pray the Lord gives me opportunity to do this as a church leader…right now I am not in the position to do so. I pray that God will open up the door for me to bring Jesus and the church to the center of our everyday lives. That’s what Jesus meant when he said to, “Go out into all the world and make disciples of all nations.” I am tired of the church- that is the Body of Jesus- being second or third or last in our everyday lives. Our Christianity should pervade every part of our lives-school, work, celebrations and social arenas- and in that way we can invite others into the goodness and the hope we have. Let’s be so open that all can see the life- and the hope- we have.
So, let’s have a party…at church.
I pray that the Lord will continue to speak to each one of you!
May the Lord bless you, keep you and make His face shine upon you…and give you peace…
Happy New Year, 2015!
One of the things that really bother me sometimes is silence- silence about the hard things: those difficult and controversial topics that we see and hear around us.
When Jesus walked the earth, He did not shy away from the hard things. Why do we?
Humanity needs the church to step up and address such things. Not in a judgmental way, but lovingly and truthfully. Yes, the Bible has already addressed these things but not everyone reads or understands it in it’s correct context, right? So as leaders, ministers and scholars in the church we need to bring the truth to the forefront. We need to talk about things and behaviors that are hurting people, destroying families and killing our culture. We can’t be shy. We can’t be quiet.
Why are we quiet? Why do we more often talk about the things that are less important? Maybe, just maybe, this is why some of our churches are empty, or ineffective.
If we love others we will warn them of dangers ahead, right? If someone is walking off a cliff won’t we try to stop them? Should we say…
“If you want to do it who am I to judge.”
“It’s not my business.”
“I can’t talk about that.”
“I don’t have time.”
“They will be angry.”
“If I say something then they would know… I did the same thing.”
Why are we quiet? Good question. Any answers?
Lord, help us address the hard things. Make us speak up. Make us shout the dangers ahead, especially if we have already been there and know truly how bad it is. Help us save our children, our neighborhoods, our communities. Our world.
Thank you, Lord. With your help we can talk about the hard things. Give us strength and wisdom and the power of Your might and Word. Amen!