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Good People and the Art of Self-Deception


There are tons of really good people out there who don’t know Christ.  Just today at the mall, while waiting to see Santa, this couple behind us let our son share their iPhone with their son.  Then they let my son use one of their phones by himself.

They could have been Christians, but I have no idea.

Also, I have no idea if they were even good people.  Looks can be deceiving. Being a good person is kind of a relative statement anyway.  Depending on what group of people you consider of a like mind the definition of “good” can vary drastically.

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People and Needing Confirmation

People.

I think God likes people.

Really, I do.  God is big and can do things that we can’t.  Still, He decides to use us to accomplish His goals.

We can say things to people that we think are complete throw away statements and those words have the power to do so much.  We can hurt and build up.  Sometimes God even chooses to use us as His mouthpiece.

I saw an old friend today and God used the words that she said to really encourage me.  We had a short conversation but so much of what was on her heart were things that I feel God has been speaking to me as well.

We weren’t trying to be spiritual.  We were just talking.  God used who we were to speak into the other’s life.

Times when you feel God has given you a job to do, or asked you to take a different direction in life, can be really confusing.  It’s not like He sends an angel down to earth to tell you what to do every time a decision has to be made.

I don’t like guessing games.

Today was a good lesson in how God can work.  I still needed some confirmation in my life for the direction I’m taking.  Today was just one more confirmation for me that I’m headed in the right direction.

Trust.

Now I have to trust.  This is the part I don’t like.  I don’t expect God to confirm for me everyday that I’m doing the right thing. 

He normally doesn’t.

Mary was visited by an angel, but then had to spend 20 plus years raising Jesus withoutanother one.  That’s a big job to do.  That’s a lot of responsibility.

Eventually the memories of the dreams and the angels were going to fade somewhat.  Eventually the confirmations I’ve received are going to fade as well.  Eventually I’m going to face some hard times and have some doubt.

Remember and keep going.

Sometimes we’ve got to take a step back and look back.  We’ve got to remember the things that God has done for us in the past, how He’s led us this far.

We’ve got to trust that God is not going to forget that we’re still down here working and praying and striving within our dream.

It’s His dream, we’re His kids, and He likes us.  He won’t let us go.  Hold on, be patient and keep moving forward.  He’s watching and smiling because any good father likes to see his kids walk and grow.

Have you had any good confirmation moments lately?  How have you overcome those moments of doubt?

Gay Marriage and a Line in the Sand

I debated whether or not I wanted to talk about this subject. It’s definitely a hot-button issue and I don’t want to cause any head-aches or heart-aches for anyone. I just think this topic, and others like it, needs to be explored a little deeper than whether it’s right or wrong. I doubt I’ll go the direction you think I am.

We hear a lot in the Christian community about drawing lines in the sand and standing up for things we believe in. No issue is more indicative of this than gay marriage. Proposition 8 in California is the bellwether for standing up against gay marriage. Proposition 8 was an amendment to the state constitution of California to declare that only marriage between a man and a woman was valid or recognized.

Can I just say that I think it’s a lot of positioning and grand-standing and really just a whole lot of nothing? What has proposition 8 accomplished? What has drawing that line in the sand accomplished?

I’m going to draw in the sand a line that is as deep a line that needs to be drawn. Are you ready?

Homosexuality is a sin.

The fact that homosexuality is a sin is very clear in the Bible. Is drawing lines in the sand regarding what the unsaved do really the job of the church? By agreeing that homosexuality is a sin you have drawn a line in the sand that is probably a lot deeper than you would like. When faced with someone who is homosexual, has insecurities, has a need to be loved, and has a need for a Savior, I think the fact that you believe what they do is sin will be enough of a line. No more is needed.

Proposition 8 or any other amendment or law has not accomplished anything.

Jesus did not spend His time publicly rebuking the lost. If He did rebuke someone publicly it was always the religious.

It is not the church’s job to keep people from sinning. In the case of homosexuality Romans says that God GAVE them over to it. Are we now going to put the mantle of God on ourselves and do what He doesn’t do and try to make people stop sinning?

Creating amendments to defend our beliefs does not make them any more sacred. Creating these same amendments will not cause anyone to sin less.

Even if we make it illegal to sin it will never change a single heart.

Standing up for “what is right” is not drawing a line in the sand. It is being decidedly combative. Some say that it’s to stem the tide of our cultures slide into immorality. You don’t stem the spread of cancer by putting a band-aid on a weeping sore.

The finger should not be pointed at gay activists and politicians. The finger should be pointed at the Church. The problem is not a sinful world. How can we expect anything different? They are being who they are and who all of us in the Christian community used to be.

The problem is the Church. The problem is dwelling on the sin and not the solution. The Bible says that salvation is not by works. It is by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit alone. We are called to preach the Gospel and make disciples. That’s the great commission and not protesting the sin of the unsaved.

The Church has failed all those people we stand up against. We have failed them and add insult to injury by pointing at them as if they are the problem.

“But you gotta love the sinner and hate the sin, brother.”

Let’s stop dwelling on the hate part of that and dwell on the love part for a couple centuries. We don’t have to condone what is clearly sin in order to love the unlovable, give hope to the hopeless, and be strength for the weak. It’s those people who need Christ most that we are alienating and trying to push to the fringes of society. We’re supposed to eat with them like Jesus did and not protest them.

If the Church had done its job we wouldn’t be debating this. We have failed. Don’t blame them. We must stop wasting time drawing lines when we should be building bridges. “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14)

How will they listen if they are not loved first?

1 John 4:18-21
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. (Emphasis mine)

The line was drawn when we first believed. And just like when we first believed, the change occurred from the inside out and not from the outside in.

The Christian Formula

Why do we always thinks there is some sort of formula for everything.

I’m guilty.

We always want to know if we’re doing the right thing. Should we go to this university or that one? Should we marry this person or that one?

We want to be able to feel if we’re doing the right thing.

We won’t.

At least not always. That doesn’t stop us from developing formulas for knowing if we’re on the right path. The problem is that our formulas differ from one person to the next.

For me it’s if I meet resistance. If at every turn there is some sort of obstacle to hurdle I think, “Well, if you’re not meeting resistance you’re swimming the wrong way.” Some think just the opposite. If they meet resistance they think it must be God’s way of telling them “no”.

It’s not that easy.

Living a life committed to Christ takes trust. Lots of trust. There isn’t a feeling to go along with every decision.

We have to trust.

We have to trust that even if we make the wrong decision that God is good enough to correct us and not simply punish or let us wallow in our mistake. The God I serve won’t punish or let me miss out on what He has for me if I’m honestly seeking His will and honestly make a mistake and go the wrong way.

Let God be God.

He loves us and knows where we’ve been and knows where we’re going. He’ll get us there.

Do you have any examples of where maybe you went the wrong way and God gently set you back on course?

The Main Event

Ok, The Shins are my favorite band right now. I can’t explain what it is about their music that I like so much, but I do. They have a song called Gone For Good on their album Chutes too Narrow. In that song is one of my favorite lyrics. It says, “You want to fight for this love, but honey, you cannot wrestle a dove.”

It’s not a new thought, but the way it’s said within that song really makes me think. I heard it today and tried to think through all the different angles someone could say that from.

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