Tag Archives: christ

Why the world hates the Church

John 15:18 (NIV) If the world hates you, remember they hated me first.

So at first sight the church finds pride in this statement. I have heard many Christian ministers say, “The world hates us because we are followers of Christ.” And Jesus did say it, but do they hate us like they hated Christ.

We need to first understand why they hated Christ.

19If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

They hated Jesus because he was not like the world. He was a shining light in the midst of darkness. If we were like him then they would hate us for that reason. They would see the truth of the gospel and the spirit would convict them. Their hatred would stem from the conviction that was why they hated Christ. I don’t believe that is why they hate us.

They hate us not because we are like Christ, but because we are like the world. They hate that we indulge in the same sins, but then turn and pretend that we have it all together. They hate that we stand for something in the daylight, but when the lights are out we scurry around like cockroaches covered in stench and filth.

The world hates that we speak out of both sides of our mouths. We are double minded. We say we believe in God, but still seek after the things of the world. We truly have nothing to stand for, but we pretend to stand for everything.

In James 1:6-8 NLT is says:

6But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

They hate us because we are fake. Jesus was genuine in everything he did. We too need to be genuine. Does that mean to be perfect? No. It simply means real. The Christians that reach the world are those who fail at life. The stumble and they fall, but they are honest about it. They do not attempt to hide it in the shadows and sugar coat the consequences.

The world needs to see that we are human. We are in the world, but because of the amazing Grace of Christ we are not of the world.

Stop glorying in the hate the world has against you. Instead start being the shining love that Christ created you to be.

Halloween and church

I recently had a conversatoin with a Pastor who was very opposed to having Halloween activities at church. (This same pastor speaks against the traditional secular Christmas and Easter celebrations at church.) I am very opinionated and so I try to avoid confrontations. It is better to avoid the problem in most cases. However, I have a severe problem when a pastor allows their own dogmatic convictions to overrule their opportunity to reachout.

Churches can capitalize on events such as Halloween, Easter, and Christmas. I understand that the traditional secular events were taken from nonchristian holidays. I also understand that these events have little to no connection with the Christian part of the holiday. But if my child wants to hunt easter eggs, go trick-or-treating, or share Christmas gifts, I am going to visit a church that will let them do that.

If you want to reach out to the nonchurch, support activities that they are going to be involved in. If you tell the nonchurch, “We do not have candy for Halloween because it is of the devil”, then you are essentially saying, “We do not want you at our church.” That may not be what you are saying, but that is how the take it. That’s how I would take it, and I have been a pastor for years.

I am not saying change your belief system and acept things you do not agree with. I am telling you to capitalise on an opportunity to reach out. Instead of Halloween have a trunk or treat, a fall fest, harvest celebrations, or another activity that will give families the opportunity to be involved in your church. But when you refused you have told them that you are not interested in them being at your church.

I had a situation a few years ago when a pastor where I served wanted to force the city to move trick-or-treating from halloween night which fell on a Sunday, to the saturday before. It was not a big deal. It was only one night different. The problem, it told everyone in that town that the church was not willing to support things that people are interested in. It would be just like a church trying to force the High School to cancel a football game because the church had something going on. What bothered me more, the church in question did not even have Sunday night services. 

To win nonchurched we have to understand how the nonchurch think. When we understand how people think, we can reach them.

Has Holiness gone too far

I recently was at a Church where the minister had talked to a female singer about her low-cut dress. I agree there are somethings that we should not see in church, but it was not the clothing complaint that bothered me. The Preacher said, “You can tell that she was not raised Holiness.”

When was Holiness perverted into a standard people should live?

The only standard that the Bible mentions is to live like Christ. No one can live up to the standard of Christ even with a set of rules. So there must be more to it than a set of rules.

The Bible says that Holiness is a way of life that comes from a devotion for God. It is being set apart for God’s use. Furthermore, Paul made it very clear that one person’s understanding of holiness should not be forced on another person.

Holiness is not a level to be achieved. If it were, we would be adding to the work that Christ has already done. Legalism always says, “I can add to the work of Christ.” It is a precursor to pride, arrogance, and then a fall.

Holiness on the other hand is a natural demonstration of God working in one’s life. In Ephesians 2:8-9 it says that we are saved by grace, not by works. If we were saved by grace we could boast about it. He wraps it up by saying in verse 10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

He juxtaposes our works to us being the work of God that he prepared for us to be. The changes of our heart come from God working in us not by our attempts.

In other words, the closer our relationship with God, the more the acts of God will be demonstrated in our lives.

BTW:

If a church sees fit to mandate the dress code for people on the platform they have that right. But it needs to be on the premise of continuity and decency, and not because of rules.

God, I am angry

You know, I remember when I was younger it was always recommended not to get angry with God. My mother did not like the thought of her child being angry with God. She acted as if being angry with God would unleash the terrible wrath of the almighty.

As a child I really took that to heart. I did not want to be angry with God. Nevertheless, there were times that I did question God and even become frustrated with him because I did not understand. I was again told that this was not safe. I was told that this could cause God to be angry with me.

As an adult, theologian, and author, I now highly disagree with this previous belief. My question: do I really think that God is so small and so needy that he can not handle me questioning him, or dare I say, being angry with God?

Is God really that weak that he is offended or hurt when I get angry or even when I doubt? Is God really that miniscule that it angers him when we get upset? No!

Our relationship can actually be strengthened when we have these emotions towards God. First, when we become angry at God our faith is at its height. We can not be angry at something that we do not believe in.

Secondly, when we are questioning God, it gives God the chance to demonstrate his love for us. He proves to us that he really cares for us. God has a way of demonstrating his compassion for us when we are in need.

Third, the more we struggle with our beliefs the more we grow spiritually. It forces us to grow up and understand what we believe instead of just believing what we are told to believe.

Nevertheless, there is a problem. Even though it does not hurt God when we become angry or when we doubt, it can hurt us. Some people will become angry with God, and then just give up on God. When we are angry with God we have to keep moving forward with our relationship with God.

Some people get angry and then turn their back on God. We can’t do that. We need to love God enough to continue pushing forward when we are struggling with our faith. Hopefully, when we are angry with our spouse or significant other we would not give up on the relaitonship. In the same way if we get angry with God keep pushing forward. Furthermore, we need to give God the chance to prove himself to us.

UGH WHY GOD WHY

We all have times that we question God. It can be little or big, maybe the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, or an illness, but we question him. Did you know that it is a sign of a healthy Christian to question God?

People who never question God are weak minded. They just chalk it up to God’s will. And it appears that they are trusting God, but instead they feel that they do not have the right to question God. They feel that they are worthless, and many beat and abuse themselves because they feel questioning God is a sign of weakness.

Others who do not question God are easily manipulated. Many follow very charismatic leaders and believe what they are told to believe. If they are not careful they can easily get caught up in cults, e.g. Jonestown, Mt Carmel, Warren Jacobs, etc.

In each case there is no spiritual growth. They do not work through what they believe. If a person is not willing to work through what they believe, they will never grow. Growth comes through struggling with an issue.

I can not adequately preach a canned sermon that I have taken from someone else. My best sermons are those that I have struggled with. I have studied and learned the material. I have worked hard to understand. In the same way. If you do not struggle with your theology, if you do not work through your theology, and you do not develop your own theological understanding, you are not growing?

Do not beat your self up with you question God. God is able to handle our questions. These such questions help us to better understand what God is doing and who God is. Allow your development to promote growth in your life.

Faith of a Child

Parenting

My kids are just like yours; they can be a pain sometimes. They fight and argue. They refuse to clean their room or pick up their stuff. They love to pick on one another. It can make you want to pull out your hair and run away. Nevertheless, we know we are doing something right.
Recently, when my old son was sick, he lay there saying, “Daddy pray for me.” Shortly after our pray, he was feeling better.
On another occasion I was sick and my daughter who was 3 at the time walked up to me and prayed for me.
The faith of a child is incredible. They trust God, because they trust us. They are willing to pray for things that we need and they have no qualm about it.
Their faith is so much greater than ours. Sadly our faith was like that, I wonder what happened…

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