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

Think and Act 1.15.18 – Why I Think MLK Jr. Should Matter to White People

If you’ve not seen the move Race, it chronicles the experience of Jesse Owens’ rise to fame and his domination at the 1936 Olympic Games. In one intense scene, Owens attempts to tell the Ohio State track coach he will pull out of the games resulting from the suggestions of some in the black community.

The coach responds, incredulous. He boldly tells Owens in no uncertain terms he doesn’t care what black people think. Owens replies: “You don’t have to.”

That’s the approach many white people will take today toward remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. and will take toward the concept of racial reconciliation in our society. “We don’t have to.”

If you choose to look up the scene or watch the movie, know there is a bit of profanity.

Today, white friends, or anyone reading, let me encourage you to not take the easy way out. Let me suggest three reasons to do a little bit of lifting on this day and as you consider the way you live your lives.

1. A LOT has changed due to the influence of one amazing leader.

I am not going to comment on MLK’s questionable theology or moral decisions. Question marks stain many influential leaders in the past. I hold him up as a leader whose efforts left a legacy of change.

After our kids did their homework today on MLK (yes, I made them work together to come up with ten facts about MLK’s life), we asked them if they could imagine a society where schools, businesses, rest rooms, hotels, drinking fountains, etc. were divided along racial lines. They said they couldn’t.

The work and legacy of MLK brought amazing public change to our society and changed the way we think and act.

2. A LOT still needs to change.

I encourage you to listen. Not just today, but as a conscious choice. Listen to those who say things need to change. Ask yourself why they see it that why and what you can learn. Resist digging in your heels to reinforce your viewpoint, and for the sake of listening, listen.

I admit I don’t always understand. But here are a couple resources that will help you think:

The Witness: A Black Christian Collective . This website has content regarding current events and the church. I honestly don’t understand everything I hear or read, but I can encourage you to listen and think.

Just Mercy – by Bryan Stevenson. I have a copy if you’d like to borrow it. This book gives a great insight into a Christian lawyers work to un-do many injustices in our criminal “justice” system and helps us understand how systems can work against groups, classes, or races of people.

3. Social justice is not opposed to soul (salvation) justice.

Evangelical Christians care very deeply about someone’s relationship with God. This can be traced back through the ages, and really was one of the central issues in the Protestant Reformation in 1517.

But for a long time, many conservative churches have pitted social justice work against evangelism and spiritual growth. The Bible gives us many clues that the two are NOT mutually exclusive. For starters, how about “faith without works is dead”?

If you don’t like the theological legacy left by Dr. King, then don’t just oppose him on those grounds and take a pass at important historical and current issues. How about searching your (our) own theology and wondering about the balance between justice in our relationship with God and seeking justice in our world?

Think. What does King’s legacy mean to you? How does social justice link to Gospel justice?

Act. Pray. Research. Listen. Seek ways to display unity, justice, and reconciliation in our world that are consistent with the gospel and the commands of Scripture.

 

Think and Act 9.7.16 – NBC, The Ark Encounter, and Bill Nye

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In case you didn’t hear yet, a Christian group called Answers in Genesis opened a life-size Ark Encounter in Kentucky in July.

Think a bit with me. A title of “Think and Act” might lend itself to that, yes?

1. NBC covered the opening of the attraction.

Well, good for them. The attraction, site, and opening certainly proved newsworthy. Any attraction capable of drawing thousands upon thousands of visitors in its opening weeks should make the news.

 

See the spot on NBC News here.

2. What about the opposition?

After the story aired, this site complained that not even a soundbite from the opposition made the telecast. In all honesty, looking at this from a simple presentation of the news, they may have a point. If an atheist attraction drew thousands and thousands, received national news coverage, and viewers heard not a single believer’s voice of opposition, I’d assume creation supporters may feel slighted.

3. NBC eventually aired Bill Nye’s disagreement. 

Check it out here.

Some points in the article actually give an accurate presentation of the “young earth” creation viewpoint. Hey, at least the clearly explained viewpoint made a national news source.

What I hope spurs thought lies in how NBC presented opposing thoughts. I don’t have time to pick apart the way this comes across, so I’ll highlight one sentence:

“Scientists, however, say there’s no evidence to suggest an epic, worldwide flood occurred within the past 6,000 years.” This sentence comes directly after one explaining some scientists remain open to a global flood event. “Scientists” really means the kind of scientists who agree with Bill Nye.

In reality, many high level scientists believe in a young earth and their presentation of rational evidence can be found at answersingenesis.org

4. A respectful exchange.

Nye gives a good example here of how we should disagree in our culture. He showed up, took the tour, and avoided a public opportunity to shout down his opponent. I don’t agree with his beliefs and I wonder why believers teaching their children their beliefs bothers him so much, but I appreciate how he conducted himself in public toward someone with whom he obviously has little intellectual common ground.

I wonder how many believers would do the same at a blatantly atheist exhibit covered by the news.

Think. How do you process coverage of opposition to believers’ viewpoints?

Act. Act in love, listen to understand, show respect, and pray for opportunities to speak the truth!

Think and Act 7.20.16 – When Churches Partner With Local Schools

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Guest Blogger Sarah Klingler!

Sarah Klingler is a local wife, mother, and runner who gains a unique look into the body of Christ through her position on staff at Love Akron. You can read more about Love Akron at their website. Allow Sarah today to share her passion for church/school partnerships with you. As always, think, then act!

Local ministries are doing an amazing job of meeting the needs of the marginalized – those living in poverty, those struggling to find a job after being incarcerated, or those who are looking for help leaving behind a life of addiction. Did you know that there is an institution in our community where the local church can serve the poor, feed the hungry, minister to the homeless, welcome refugees, and care for orphans all in one place? Where is this, you ask?

Neighborhood schools. Every church is planted in a neighborhood; every neighborhood has a school or schools; every school has needs that simply can’t be met by administrators and staff alone.

What are some reasons churches should consider forming a partnership with a school?

1. There is such a wide array of ways that a church can help.

People sitting in the pews have so many diverse talents and gifts, and a school can use all of them. From tutoring to lunch room monitoring to organizing a clothes closet to helping teachers create bulletin boards to helping with small maintenance projects. The list of opportunities at your neighborhood school is nearly endless.

2. Creating a partnership between a church and a school provides benefits to both partners.

The staff, administration, and students will be blessed by the church’s consistent presence, their meeting of needs that are specific to that particular community, and their encouragement. The volunteers will be blessed by the relationships that are formed, the improvement that is seen in students’ skill levels and behavior, and the appreciation expressed for the impact they are making.

3. It really is a wonderful opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to be salt and light in the community.

There should be no hidden agendas going into these partnerships. We recommend simply starting with the question, “What can we do to help?” Schools can feel comfortable with the church’s presence, and we can trust that God will work in the hearts and minds of all those who are impacted. This might be some students’ or staff members’ only tangible experience with the Church, perhaps their first or only experience with Christians. What an amazing opportunity to introduce Christ in this way- through both service and love.

Think. Try to imagine all of the issues and problems in your community. Now think of the school as a microcosm of society. Imagine teachers trying to teach a classroom full of students of different ability levels, different backgrounds, with different family issues. What an impact the local church could make in coming alongside of educators and families. Take a look at just one example of a working partnership here. https://youtu.be/KhxBCiqtu7E

Act. Did reading this resonate with you? Do you wish something like this could happen in your own church? Talk to your pastor. Call a friend in the education world and hear the challenges and needs they have. Find out about organizations that are working to equip churches to form these partnerships. Locally you can reach out to LoveAkron.org.

Think and Act 4.27.16 – Think With Me About Grief

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Right. Grief. Everyone’s favorite topic.

I don’t want to waste any space, so I’ll just jump right in with some quick reflections from a grief night we had at our church Sunday called “When the Lord Takes Away”.

1. We ultimately grieve as a result of sin.

Sometimes we grieve a loss due to someone else’s direct sin and responsibility. Sometimes we grieve due to Adam and Eve’s sin, which IS (and NO I DON’T mean this as a cliche) the reason messed up things happen.

Some of the worst situations come about when someone has sinned but justice escapes those victimized by the sin.

2. Calling grief an “inward limp” makes a lot of sense.

One of our participants likened her grief to an “inward limp”. What a great analogy. When you limp outwardly, you will do things to compensate. You may lean on a crutch or cane. You may strengthen or weaken other muscles due to the limp. Translate that to the inward affects of grief and you’ll make some great connections.

3. Believers in Jesus Christ grieve with hope.

Overwhelming stories of loss can stun us. But, what happens when hope overwhelms the overwhelming? That’s the truth of Jesus Christ. The hope of eternal life CAN apply to every day and long term struggles. Trusting in God’s sovereignty gives people shelter from doubt, fear, and worry.

I Thessalonians 4:13: “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.”

Think. Why does grief happen? Do you have a framework for processing your grief?

Act. If you’re struggling through grief, keep processing and finding ways to let God lead you and guide you. If you know someone struggling, do your best to help without saying too much.

Think and Act 4.6.16 – Challenging the “Us vs. Them” Culture

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Us vs. Them. Let me define the term, since I kind of made it up. What I mean by “us vs. them” is this idea that in order to support someone or something we must demonize the other side. The prevalence of this thinking in society (politics, churches, etc.), I think, not only threatens to splinter the nation but local communities as well.

Challenging questions as you think about your involvement:

  1. Can you say anything respectful about a candidate who won’t get your vote?
  2. Could you imagine a scenario where those eager to serve and lose an election could still benefit society – either locally or on larger levels?
  3. How do you view other churches? If you have somehow believed a mindset of “our church vs. the world”, you’ve believed lies. Instead, try “our church with other churches for the world”.
  4. How important is it to know why you don’t attend another church, or why you disagree with its leader? How important is it to tell others about your “differences”?
  5. Will you risk a relationship with a neighbor or a friend over politics or church affiliation?
  6. How does this phrase from I Cor. 13:7 inform your belief about people with whom you disagree: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”?
  7. When was the last time you believed or passed on things about people, issues, or candidates without any way to really verify them?
  8. Have you ever held a conversation with anyone you would be uncomfortable around based on things you heard about them?
  9. Would you pray for someone you seriously dislike?
  10. If you thought someone had motives to harm, would you pray for them?

I ask questions like these to remind that “the enemy” always represents a real human being, made in God’s image, often with strong desires to benefit society. At the very least, as believers let me ask you to pray for the salvation of those you view as opponents (if indeed they have not committed to Christ yet).

Think. How difficult do you find it to hope for the good of those with whom you disagree?

Act. Try simply starting with prayer, or if possible, a basic conversation. Totally radical! Try a simple conversation with a human being? At the very least it will help you think and pray.