Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Monday Challenge 9.4.17 – Charlottesville Declaration, Athletes and Mental Illness, Saving Marriage

Good morning! Some tough topics on the holiday, but worth the ready. Enjoy – and be challenged!

Charlottesville Delcaration

Still processing this, but this declaration helps us understand the concerns and perspectives of our African American brothers and sisters.

Question: Would you sign it? Why or why not?

Athletes and Mental Illness

“It’s okay to not be okay”. Open, honest, conversation and statistics.

Question: How does this help you understand mental illness?

Saving a Marriage

Navigating “I don’t love you anymore” and “I had an affair” and staying married. Powerful testimony of love.

Question: What does this teach us about the nature of love?

The Will of God

This article takes us into the sometimes difficult topic of discerning God’s will.

Question: Can you relate to God better after reading this?

 

Tuesday Rambling 8.29.17 – Injustice, Justice, Akron, and You

Don’t want to have to ramble about justice, but here goes…

  • Justice involves a view of right and wrong.
  • To claim injustice shouts something has gone wrong, or someone has experienced wrong.
  • In the past few days, Akron’s police chief has resigned. The mayor had evidence of improper contact with a city official, conduct unbecoming an officer, and potential criminal activity.
  • Also in the past few days, a young man many in our community know somehow took his life with a gun in a police car following an arrest connected to a robbery that happened in close proximity to our home.
  • So…kinda hard not to ramble about justice.
  • So do you agree the police chief should have stepped down?
  • Do you agree something may be amiss that a teen had a gun in the back of a car?
  • If so, ask yourself why.
  • Now, examine your emotions. Injustice upsets many. If these events upset you, ask yourself why.
  • Do you have equal emotional disgust for the injustice suffered by two people allegedly robbed Friday night?
  • What about babies’ lives aborted? The mess of the heroin epidemic? What about human beings trafficked on a regular basis? Not to mention global issues?
  • Injustice is easy to respond to when it happens close to us.
  • But I ask about emotions and engagement in justice in general in order to ask a different question:
  • Why do you care about justice?
  • The fact we stir about right and wrong points us to God who has ultimate authority. Where this world constantly displays its imperfections, our God has no such shortcomings.
  • Due to sin, injustice happens and may last longer than we wish.
  • But God shows us His love in powerful ways. Jesus died in injustice, and God used it for greater glory (Jesus rose from the dead on the third day). I do not write this lightly.
  • Our relationship with God is not just the glory of eternal life guaranteed by the resurrection. It also must include dealing with sin, payment, satisfying God’s anger against our sin. Jesus did that.
  • Humanly, Jesus’ death was the result of a sham of a trial. Heavenly, it was the perfect way for God to deal with the sin of man and show His love for rebellious mankind.
  • In all of this recent and local stirring I find myself begging God for justice, for the patience to wait, and for those affected by these events. Ugh. It hurts and my heart breaks.
  • But I also must ask God for the strength to trust and the eyes to see injustice other than what immediately affects me.
  • And I invite you to commit your life to trusting and following Jesus by turning from sin, asking Him for forgiveness, and trusting that His (unjust) death was the perfect way to earn your forgiveness.
  • When we believe, we inherit the guarantee of eternal life, when all the sin, struggle, and injustice in this life will matter no more as we spend forever with Jesus.

Monday Challenge 8.28.17 – Texas Flooding, Small Groups or Sunday School, Race and Education

Good (late) morning,

I am excited to share a few challenging articles with you.

Texas Flooding

This gritty account will help you understand what residents in the area face.

This article, written by a local pastor, details how to help.

Question: What can you do to respond?

Race, Education, Equality

Or, better, how those three things don’t go together in Mississippi.

Question: How does this article help you understand the types of structural challenges some face?

Church Discipleship

Small groups or Sunday School? This will give some insight into church leaders’ thinking.

Question: How does this help you understand the way church leaders think, pray, and seek God regarding how best to minister to a congregation?

 

 

 

Think and Act 8.14.17 – Black and White Racism In A Culture of Gray Morality

Think about these instances:

  • President Obama struggled to call radical Islamic terrorism by that name.
  • Over the past weekend, President Trump failed to use the words “white supremacism” and “terror attack” when referring to the awful events in Virginia.
  • I saw on Twitter that someone had written a widely recognized church leader asking if they should discipline a member of their congregation who attended and refused to disavow the message of blatant white supremacism. (For those wondering, the answer would be yes.)
  • Some are re-thinking pedophilia as a mental disorder.

These instances may or may not surprise us, but they do fit what I think shows a larger tendency to gloss moral issues.

What we see in these examples points to a blurry, gray approach to morality where everyone can determine their own and demonize those who desire more clarity.

A question, from the halls of Dr. Phil thinking: how’s that working for you? (Note: I don’t visit the halls of Dr. Phil thinking on a regular basis!)

When relational, sexual, and general ethical issues reduce to the sum total of human input or reasoning, we have a problem. Morality, if you believe in an absolute morality, must come from a greater source. I believe that source is God, who exists eternal (always has and will) and possesses full authority over the earth as its Creator. I believe the Bible’s endless references to the truth of God’s Word establish clear moral lines for our thinking and behavior.

And if you don’t believe in an absolute morality, you believe it’s okay for everyone to make up their own standards. This will guarantee relentless shifting in moral standards like we see in today’s culture.

So no, I am not free to make up what I want to think about gender, sex, marriage, race, and criminal offense. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I submit my will to what the Bible says and seek God’s grace as I strive to draw closer to His will always.

And no, people who espouse views of one race as superior to others aren’t right, can’t be right, and never will be right. This is clear. God has clear boundaries for human behavior.

Think. Do you think the kind of racism we saw this weekend is the only kind present in our country? It exists on much smaller levels, perhaps including our own hearts and minds. If you struggle at all with racism, repent and ask God to forgive you. If you mean it, He will. Jesus died so you can experience forgiveness for racism or any other sin. Trust fully in Jesus’ sacrifice, one we could never make. Be clear with your morality and don’t draw back in fear regarding moral issues. God loves us enough to give moral boundaries to us!

Act. Meditate and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to live more fully the commands to love God and neighbor (see Matthew 22:37-40). Seek practical ways to live for justice, unity, and harmony. As with any form of obedience, it will come with challenges to our thinking, time, and perhaps other resource as well.

 

 

Monday Challenge 8.14.17 – Charlottesville, Bad Sermons

Right to it with some links to make you think!

Charlottesville

I wish I didn’t have to have links about this. I’m beyond disgust with this. This movement stands for nothing Christian and nothing American.

10 ways Charlottesville and white supremacy can still happen.

White conservative Christians need to oppose this movement.

Racism, in general, is wrong. This article covers the events in Charleston a couple years ago, but the principles transfer easily to current events.

We must speak with moral clarity. This point is huge. This article also includes a number of meaningful tweets from a variety of sources.

Questions: How much do you care about these events? Do you think this is the only kind of racism existing in America today?

Bad Sermons

Some good spin here on bad sermons.

Question: How does this help you understand and make something of the (hopefully) occasional klunker?

The T.V. That Created Donald Trump

Interesting article here about T.V.’s influence on Trump’s persona.

Question: How much do you believe in a connection between The Apprentice and “The President”?