Tag Archives: theology

What is Jesus Writing in the Sand About You?

“Jesus, friend of sinners. Break my heart for what breaks yours.” ~ Casting Crowns, “Jesus Friend of Sinners”

Here I am, awake at four o’clock in the morning, grieving and with a broken heart.

I have my opinions, in regards to politics, religion, morality.  Some based on fact, some based on faith, some on a certain moral standard I try to live up to.  But they are just that; opinions.  I’m not knowledgeable enough about all issues to weigh into the public forum without coming off half-cocked; self-righteous; or, in fact, dangerous.

So it weights heavily on my heart when I see what is written in (very) public forums by so-called Christians about issues such as this latest touchstone: President Obama’s comments on gay marriage.

I’ve seen multiple comments from Christians equating homosexuality with child porn, child abuse, murder and so on; as if there is a hierarchy to sin.

“Well yes, I may be a sinner, but at least I’m not THAT!”

Yes, you’re that!

At least according to the Bible I read.

God hates sin.  Sin is sin.

Did you lie to your boss today (bearing false witness)?  Did you notice the latest Kardashian bikini pix in this week’s tabloid and maybe linger a little too long on the cleavage (lust)?  Did you have a few choice words for the guy that cut you off in traffic (using the Lord’s name in vain, anger, pride)? Maybe with your seven-year-old daughter in the back seat who’s an excellent mimic?  That’s called sin! It’s missing the mark! You too are a homosexual, child-raping, murder!!  So let’s get off our damn high horses and reach out to these people! In love!

We’re asked to be the light of the world, shining into the darkness.  That doesn’t mean you get to shine it into their eyes and ask for the secret password before they can approach . . . just to make sure they’re on our side.

We get so stuck on Galatians 5:19-21:

NLT: 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

. . .that we conveniently forget the rest of that passage.  It’s time to start living verses 22-26 instead of just mouthing the words while our butts sit in the pew on Sunday:

NLT: 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. (emphasis and underlining is mine)

The “passions and desires of their sinful nature” are not merely carnal instincts my Christian brethren. It includes pride and ego as well.

When I see those who profess to be Christians saying things like: (on same-sex marriage) “By definition, the only way they can procreate is to steal children from heterosexuals”; or, those who claim it’s just a small step from gay marriage to bestiality; or, the venomous names our governmental leadership are being called; all I can think of is:

John 8: 7-10 (AMP): However, when they persisted with their question, He raised Himself up and said, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.  Then He bent down and went on writing on the ground with His finger.  They listened to Him, and then they began going out, conscience-stricken, one by one, from the oldest down to the last one of them, till Jesus was left alone, with the woman standing there before Him in the center of the court.  10 When Jesus raised Himself up, He said to her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?

What would Jesus write in the sand about you, I wonder?  About me?

Listen Christians; those who are far from God, and those who consider themselves “irreligious” or “non-religious” are laughing at us!  And you have the audacity to wonder what it is they don’t see.

THEY DON’T SEE JESUS!!

“The world is on its way to you, but they keep tripping over me . . .Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers . . .”  ~ Casting Crowns “Jesus Friend of Sinners”

“Getting Right Before Getting God”

Philippians 2:12b-13 (NLT)Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

If this is your idea of perfection, you need to aim higher . . .

Reading Philippians, this verse struck me for some reason.  I feel so many believers hold to the misunderstanding that we have to be a certain way, strive to be “good enough” before we can ask God for forgiveness or into our lives at all.  (Which is different than the desire to be good enough to enter the kingdom of heaven which is; a) unachievable; and, b) a whole different subject matter.)  This misunderstanding is more like feeling the need to achieve a certain moral/righteous standard before we can even knock on the pearly gates.

That is ssooooo backwards.  It would be akin to having the already finished pot say to the potter, “Okay, now you can begin to make me.”

God WANTS the raw lump of clay that is your old life!

God WANTS to be the master potter!

A good friend of mine put it this way:

“I think the “I need to get right before getting God” is the Devils way of deceiving folks from the truth of getting right with God by receiving Jesus as Lord and savior.   We can’t come to the Lord when we’re good enough and clean enough. Because we will never BE good or clean enough. But when we’re forgiven and given the Holy Spirit, we begin to change out of gratitude . . . “

But let’s go a step further and break down the scripture even more . . . Continue reading “Getting Right Before Getting God”

The Four Most Important Words I’ve Learned

There are four words fast becoming the most important, significant lesson I’ve ever read, seen, heard, what-have-you, up to this point in the non-stop roller coaster called life:  Whether it be in regards to living, loving, spirituality, relationship or anything else.  These words don’t come directly out of the Bible, or from the mouths of  some wise sage or new age guru, yet everything that’s been taught, written or spoken within or by any of them can be summed up in these four words:

It’s not about you!

Meditate on those for awhile; in any situation, any relationship, any exchange you’re dealing with, and see if it doesn’t change your life.

If it’s too hard to do, if it hurts, makes you angry, makes you think “No, no, no, this person doesn’t understand . . .”, take a step back.  Check your own motives, check your pride, curb your ego.  Maybe its not them . . .

Maybe it is, in fact, you.

Then, think again . . .

It’s not about you!

Don’t think, “It may not be . . .”, “It might not . . . “, “This time it’s not . . .”

No.

It’s NOT about you.  Pure.  Simple.  Non-negotiable.

Have a great day!

What OTHERS think of the Theology Books We Write {with thanks to T.E. Hanna & Peter Enns}

I borrow once again from T.E. Hanna’s great Of Dust and Kings blog who, in turn, borrowed from Peter Enns’ blog over on Patheos.  I think it’s a funny, poignant turn on what God thinks of the theology books we write (and can be extrapolated to pretty much any theological writing in my humble opinion).  As I was reading the following “exchange” though, a few thoughts came to mind which I’ll share later.  But, we begin with Peter Enns’ work:

What we think of the theology books we write:

Well, I’ve worked for years on this, and I have to say I think I nailed it. It’s not perfect, but I am sure this will be a lasting contribution to thinking Christians everywhere. It’s a thoughtful piece that raises many pressing, indeed, perennial issues, that have not been addressed quite as clearly as I do here.

You’re welcome.

What God thinks (as told through dramatic metaphor):

Five year old: Daddy, do you like my picture?

Father: [Dear God, if there is a God, have mercy on me and tell me what this random series–if series is even the right word–of lines and squiggles is supposed to be. Please. Help. Me.] Ah….woooooow! That’s A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Five Year Old: Can you tell what it is? [no clue what’s happening]

Father: [Merciful and Almighty God. I do not know what this is. Either tell me or make it stop. I will promise you anything.] Of COURSE. Yeah. It’s a cccaaaa….

Five Year Old: [slightly puzzled but not discouraged] It’s a reindeer in a boat.

Father: [Capricious God, was I asking too much? A little help. Still, not too bad. Damage control time.] Sure. Here are the antlers…and look…it’s nose…and there is the outboard motor…..and that’s the water, right?

Five Year Old: That’s the sail.

Father: [A sail? Why didn’t you warn me to leave well enough alone?] Oh, riiiight.. The sail.

Five Year Old: Isn’t that a great picture, Dad.

Father: It’s beAUTiful. I love it. And everyone else who sees it will love it, too. Let’s hang it up on the fridge to make sure everyone sees it. Everyone needs to see this picture of a …reindeer…in a boat….

Five Year Old: ….with a sail.

+++++

Sounds about right, don’t you think (especially to those of us who’ve lived through five-year-olds).  Eerily accurate from God’s perspective too, if I may venture.  But I was thinking as I’m reading this, “what would another five-year-old think of the picture?” After all, that’s their peers, their brothers, their “audience”.   So I made up my own metaphor to illustrate: Continue reading What OTHERS think of the Theology Books We Write {with thanks to T.E. Hanna & Peter Enns}