Monday, July 18, 2016

I Suppose

I suppose I could complain
About how tough my life can be
About how I’ve been done wrong and hurt
About all those who were mean to me

I suppose that I could grumble
And blame my trouble on others
And lament how much better it would be
If not for that church of hypocritical sisters and brothers

I suppose that I could fuss
And refuse to look inside
And realize my trouble is of my own making
Instead of running away to hide

I suppose that I could murmur
And get others to feel bad for me
To gently pat me on my back
And illicit all their sympathy

But should I choose
To cry and complain
The bound will stay bound
And the addicted the same

And If I choose to take my ball
and run away and caterwaul
Broken families remain Broken
Stuck with no hope at all

The Devil will laugh
 The sinner stays lost
Another life may leave this Earth
Having never heard of Christ and His Cross

Because while I moan
While I selfishly grumble
Christ cannot use me
To reach a life that has crumbled

So instead of complaining
And fussing and such
I will choose to stay faithful
And see that I’ve been blessed so much

For to live my life focused only on me
Is a life that I refuse
To die having wasted my very breath
Instead of giving God my breath to use

Because I have been chosen
To shine a light
To offer hope
In the darkest night

And on the day
When my last breath I take
I want to have given all I could
To share the Love of God and for the Gospel’s sake

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Just Thinking...About Laodicea

The greatest problem in the American church is that we are the Laodicean church! The most prominent message I hear today, especially by Christian Television and media is the “Prosperity” Gospel. It’s all about blessing, breakthrough and the pursuit of personal satisfaction. Apparently the sign of God’s blessing is money, jet planes, impressive homes and big buildings. Who Knew?

We fear struggle more than we fear The Spirit. We fear losing money more than we fear losing our anointing. We fear losing our prestige more than we fear losing our voice. We fear losing our tax exempt status more than we fear losing the presence of God.

Meanwhile, race wars are breaking out, our cities are being destroyed, our citizens are being murdered, our officers are being mowed down in the streets and our babies are being killed in the womb. Evil is redefined and legislated to be righteousness and the righteous are viewed and portrayed as hapless idiots.

We stand as a Christian community, wringing our hands and saying, “I don’t understand why we are not respected and honored like we used to be. Why won’t anyone listen to us?” We attempt to bolster our waning influence through boycott and forcing the legislation of morality, instead of allowing God to create a moral revolution driven by The Spirit of God, in us, through us and into the conscience of our country. Political expediency is, seemingly, easier than Spirit-driven transformation. (Oh, and hopefully it won’t affect our bank accounts. Because, after all, calling sin sin and calling out for repentance may negatively impact our finances, P.R. and very thorough marketing plans.) Where do you suppose this is all heading? How’s it working out?

 The media on the right and the left are putting forth a racist, evil and deceptive narrative of events that seem designed, purposefully, to stir up abomination, anger, hate and division. Sadly, the Christian community is, by and large, getting sucked in hook, line and sinker. By all means, we need a few more posts, articles, commentaries and sermons from inside the Christian church that explain why the Whites are wrong, the Blacks are wrong, the Latinos are wrong, the Bora Borians are wrong, the Gilligans Islanders are wrong, the republicans, the democrats, the government is wrong...and on and on. I know this is true because CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, E.S.P.N. and that really smart guy on public access told me so!

What we really need is just a teeny weenie bit more media parroting hatred and division from those who claim to be a voice for Christ. (Oh and we need some more supposedly theologically sound discussion of why the things God calls sin aren't REALLY sin. That one news interview with that one college theology professor from that one college explained to me how what the Bible says isn't really what it says. I'm glad that confusion got cleared up. Also, eliminating the truth of God's Word will bring the people running and the money flowing. Woo Hoo!)

Is all of this the message of The Gospel? Does it matter? Is this the message that will facilitate revival and release an awakening of The Spirit of God? Is this the message of The Apostle Paul who said:

Galatians 3:26–29 (NLT)
26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.”

And yet, the united voice of the Christian church seems to be more attuned to being en vogue than being a voice. Jesus is knocking at the door church! It’s time to let Him back in!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Just Thinking.....About America

What can you say? How do you digest the devastating wounds that we are inflicting on ourselves? At what point will we see that the culture that we have created in this country is killing us from the inside. At what point do we realize that our politicians are useless to help fix the gaping wounds that are bleeding life out of America? At what point do we realize that meaningless arguments and the hatred spread from social media to the streets of our country is succeeding in nothing except for driving a deeper wedge between “US” and “THEM?” We are all US! We are citizens of the U.S. At what point do we realize that it’s not O.K. to continue to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that we don’t know our country is imploding? It’s not acceptable to say it’s not your problem. It’s not reality to say “It’s not that bad.” At what point do we quit blaming our broken condition on things that are irrelevant to the real problems we face? At what point do we realize that we have to turn to turn back to God if we have any hope at all of righting this sinking ship.
I have watched with incredible sadness and I admit overwhelming anger, the events of the last several days, months and now years. What I see is that death drives hate and hate drives death. What I see is that when you create a culture that devalues life then lives are lost because they are not valued. It is a natural, and seemingly obvious, conclusion. Maybe not? From the abortion clinic to the nursing home to the streets of our cities life doesn’t really mean much anymore. Oh we say it does but in reality we watch people being shot, we watch the news of officers being murdered, we debate whether our taxes should be used to kill unborn babies in the womb and then we yawn as we go back to posting selfies and discussing the Kardashians.

 I love our Police Officers! Let me say that again so there is no confusion, I LOVE OUR POLICE OFFICERS! I can’t begin to imagine and I won’t pretend to try and understand the pressure our law enforcement officials are under. They have to deal with stuff every day that all of us who sit on our high horses pretend to understand and feel free to criticize. They are asked to walk in to situations that require split second judgments and actions. Their job description is to run in while you are running away. They see and experience on a regular basis what many of us would not wish to experience even once in a lifetime. Those who are so critical of law enforcement tell me, when was the last time you put your life on the line for someone you don’t even know? Hmm…awfully quiet out there. These individuals are husbands and wives, sons and daughters, friends and family. They don’t have any desire to die. They don’t look forward to being shot or stabbed our assaulted. They don’t enjoy being criticized or hated, but they are willing to risk all of these outcomes to protect you and me. All of you who are or have been in some way involved with law enforcement THANK YOU!

Having said that, we also must address what is real, not just what we wish to be real. What is real is that there are bad police officers. Not all officers are bad! A majority of officers are not bad! A lot of officers aren’t bad! There are VERY FEW! The problem we face in our country right now is these few give the whole community a bad name. As I type this, I am broken to be watching the news of the Dallas Police Officers who were inexplicably executed in cold blood. Their crime? I guess their crime was to show up and protect the people who were protesting them. I admit that I don’t know everything that is going on in this situation, but it appears at this moment, they were killed as some form of protest of what other officers supposedly did. Maybe this information will change as the investigation proceeds. If it is true then why are they paying the price for the bad apples who aren’t true police officers, but thugs in a uniform? I can only believe that all of the faithful and committed officers out there wish to get rid of these criminals in uniform as much as anyone else. Why would they want their names and reputations damaged by these frauds?

It is so awful and absolutely unacceptable that we seem to be constantly presented with videos or accounts of young black men being shot by police officers. When I see what I see, the evidence seems pretty convincing that they are being shot down without legitimate cause. Do you know what the problem with my opinion is? I don’t have any idea what I’m talking about. I don’t know who is telling the truth because I wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened before these recordings began. I don’t know what the officers perceived to be happening. I don’t know if they were threatened. I don’t really know anything.

The sad truth is the loudest voices of hatred against the police are emanating from people who don’t know a shred of information more than I do. As hard and as dangerous as it seems to be to say some of those who are killed are killed because of terrible choices they made. It may not be politically correct to say, but it is true. Maybe we could let each case be investigated and allow those with knowledge to determine what really happened. If the evidence is as it seems to be, these so-called officers are guilty of murder. When it is true that one of our fellow citizens is gunned down, then justice must be served. If it is shown that the one who was killed is at fault then we must face that reality also and put the blame where the blame is justified.

There are more than a few of my friends that look at these protests that are happening related to these incidents and are quick to criticize. They see anger and, at times, the destruction of cities. It is easy to dismiss this as simply criminal behavior. However, just as it is true that there are some criminal police officers, there are criminal protesters. There are those who are willing to destroy their own communities, not to truly protest anything, but just because they can. Sensible people of any racial background cannot believe the destruction of neighborhoods, businesses and property are productive ways to make their voices heard. Murdering innocent police officers is no more justifiable as a tactic as the incidents that are supposedly being protested. Sometimes criminals are just being criminals.

However, we CANNOT use the activity of criminals to outshine those who are protesting for what may very well be a justifiable cause. If people of any color are being shot unjustifiably then a protest at the very least is in order. If my son or daughter was shot for no reason, mistaken reason or even worse criminal reason, I would, most certainly, protest as well. I would likely demand justice and not stand down until I received justice. Why is that so hard to understand? We are all the same and we would probably react in similar fashion. It’s true right? Be honest.

Here’s the thing. When all is said and done there is an answer for all of this that very few are willing to hear. The answer is Jesus Christ. Anyone who has truly studied the Word of God and understands what it teaches about love, hope, reconciliation and peace knows that this is the answer. I know this opinion is easily mocked and ridiculed. However, what I also know is that in Christ there is no white, black, Hispanic or any other racial separation. There are only sons and daughters of the Living God. I love our country. I am praying that God will visit us again and help us to pull out of the mess we have made. I am not concerned with what anyone thinks about my answer to all of this. It is reality. I think for the believer in Christ there is no more time to worry about what people think, we must pray, we must love, we must preach the good news of Jesus Christ. It is our only hope.