Wednesday, May 16, 2012
So, this Sunday we talked all about relationships and one set of questions directly pertained to Homosexuality - Is it a Sin? Why is it a sin? and so on. I am not going to rehash any of that here if you want you can go online to btchurch.cc and listen there to hear our stance on all of that. What I do want to say is this - I am EXTREMELY bothered by the fact that in the church today, especially here in the south, we tend to have a peculiar affinity for ranking and ordering certain sins over others and as a result degrading, demeaning and distancing entire people groups from the Gospel of Hope that we are called to share. And often times we do it in a way that is built on what we have been TOLD rather than what scripture says!
In this particular case the church loves to landblast the homosexual community for the detestable abomination citing scriptures such as Jude 1:7 , 1 Corinthians 6:9 and again speaking of Sodom in Ezekiel 16:50. And we shout amen that's RIGHT God killed a whole city for Homosexuality... Right? How about you go read this verse now just one before verse 50 is Ezekiel 16:49. That sound like a lot of the people that I see in churches every Sunday - fat, lazy, prideful, unwilling to actually serve anyone! It also sounds like a lot of Christians I see out preaching on the "abomination" of Sodom while their 42" gut hangs over there 34" pants. WOW!! Let's look at it this way - when it all comes down to it it sounds to me like we are ALL a bunch of Sodomites. That's RIGHT you heard me you are a Sodomite - if we want to label let's label properly. Your sins of pride, laziness, gluttony, a "serve me" mentality are all equally as detestable in the sight of God as the sins of those you are so eager to ostracize and isolate!
So instead of raising our voices in harsh judgement and condemnation let's remember to exercise and live in the same love and grace that has been shown to each of us - let's be careful to not slip in to a Pharisaical mindset that declares how much greater their sin must be than our own. And let's approach this with the understanding that we are all nothing more that Sodomites in need of a Savior!
**By the way unless you have already listened to Sunday's message whether live or online - please don't comment or expect your comment to be posted.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
I was reading a story recently of a conversation between C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkein. Before Lewis became a Christian Tolkein had been actively sharing all about his own faith in Christ. The night before Lewis’ conversion He and Tolkein had a LONG conversation as Tolkein tried to convince his friend of the validity of Christ – They went back and forth and THEN at a decisive moment in the conversation Tolkein countered all of Lewis’ objections “Your inability to understand stems from a failure of imagination on your part!”
"Lack of faith IS NOT a failure of logic it is a failure of imagination. It is the unwillingness and the inability to entertain the thoughts of a God who really can do immeasurably or Exceedingly more than all we ask or imagine."1 One of the greatest threats to your God GIVEN call, one of the greatest threats I believe to the future of the church as a whole is that failure of God given imagination. Failure to THINK and DREAM big!
1Taken from Mark Batterson's book - Primal
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
I want us just to concentrate, focus in on just one word here - IMAGINE. Imagination is one of the most impressive and powerful gifts that God ever gave to mankind. The capacity for vision, the ability to dream. Unfortunately I think we have become a people satisfied to live out our lives vicariously through the dreams and imagination of others, never achieving our own. Most people don’t DREAM big, they don’t IMAGINE big... they simply repackage someone else’s dreams and call it their own.
Now I know none of you have ever done this but maybe your parents did when you were a kid. How many of you remember when company was coming for dinner and there wasn't quite enough time to get the house clean and dinner cooked all before they arrived. So, you, I mean your mom ran to KFC picked up a bucket of chicken and all the fixin's and then brought it home and tossed it in the Savannah Ware? HA! And then the guests were amazed how much your, I mean your mom's, chicken tasted like the Colonel's! You pulled it off - you took something that wasn't yours and convinced everyone that it was.
Nate what does this have to do with anything – I’ll tell you – Ephesians 3:20 says that he can do exceedingly abundantly ABOVE all that we imagine. We have to embrace imagination in order for Him to execute manifestation - In other words we must first IMAGINE what God can do in order for Him to exceed it. Your imagination is not a LIMIT ON GOD it is a LAUNCHPAD FOR GOD!
So today, stop repackaging someone else's dreams and imagination and start dreaming yourself... then watch what God does next!
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The following was shared by one of our staff Ryan Allison at a men's prayer gathering not to long ago. It is definitely food for thought! Great job Ryan!
MANIPULATION. Did you cringe at that word? You shouldn’t. Sometimes we embrace it while others times we firmly reject it. Think about it…how many parents welcome the process of “Popeye the Sailor Man” manipulating their children into eating spinach. How many wives boldly boycott Paris Hilton manipulating men to buy a Hardee’s thickburger? Rightfully so might I add!! Nearly all of us are trained to believe the lie that it’s unacceptable, but manipulation is neither good nor bad. For all of you doubters, here is Webster’s definition: manipulation— to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one's purpose. Manipulation can be awful (“unfair means”) but it can also be good (“artful”). It all depends on the means or should I say, MOTIVES!
9“Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10and not to steal to them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.”
Paul wrote this to his friend Titus to instruct slaves that their behavior mattered. He was saying NO NO GO!!!
NO – don’t talk back (v. 9), NO – don’t steal (v. 10), and GO – display your integrity (v. 10).
Why? TO MAKE THE GOSPEL ATTRACTIVE!! So many of us try to lead others to a saving relationship with God or try to take our family/friends deeper in their relationship with God, but we epically fail! WHY? Because we have made the gospel so unattractive! In the words of a profound country song, “It’s hard to kiss the lips at night, that chew your [butt] out all day long!”
So how does this look in life?
- As a spouse: NO – more complaining to your spouse more than you complement them; NO – more stretching the truth to cover yourself; GO – home with flowers (men), start doing around the house what you should already be doing, make him feel like King of the Hill (women)
- As an employee: NO – more being disrespectful; NO – more deceit (laziness, embezzlement, slander); GO – Work hard, tell the boss thank-you, honor your boss by agreeing with the job you signed up to do!
Helpful Tip: I wouldn’t recommend telling anyone that you are manipulating them for the gospel, just keep that between you and God!
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
You know what I am talking about you suck it in so you don't look like your are still carrying around those Christmas cookies around your mid-section. And then and hour, or if you have 3 kids like me, 3 hours later you get back in the car or to the room and just go - PPPPHHhhhhooooooo... with a big gasp of air and everything is back to jiggling again -- sorry about the visual. Anyway that whole time you were just holding your breath hoping you could put on a good show.
Isn't that how many of us go to our churches (especially pastors) - the week has just knocked the wind right out of us but the weekend comes and we Suck It In! Hoping that no one can see what's really going on. It's sad really - we need to become a people that let that guard down just a bit and take a deep breath - let it out... and just become real.
I heard Pastor Judah Smith share one time about this very subject to a room full of pastors and church leaders -
"We get together with other guys and no one has been honest for years... you kinda get together semi-annually... and you say things like 'Hey brother how you doin?' 'Praise the Lord God is good'... finally some bold person says 'Can I be honest guys... I WANNA DO CRACK and I am really considering lookin' at naked people on the internet late at night, that sounds good, my Wife HATES me and my kids never want to come back to church - I'M NOT GOOD AT ALL!' and then finally everyone in the circle breathes out and says 'Me too man I'm going nuts'"That was an insanely powerful message by the way - Anyway, we simply need to get real and stop sucking it in so that we can do this together!