Coffee, Theology, and Jesus

working out our messy faith over coffee

Page 3 of 13

On Resolving Conflict

Resolving relationship issues is tough work. It’s so tough in fact, that most people don’t even bother resolving issues they have with other people.  They either sweep them under the rug, or cut the relationship off completely.  But this is contrary to Jesus and His way of living.  When we hold grudges and let problems get in the way of our relationships with people, we are letting brokenness reign instead of Jesus and his restorative nature.

 

I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a strong local community these past 7 years where I’ve had to resolve issues I’ve had with people, or people have had to resolve issues they’ve had with me.  These conversations have not been always easy, but they have always been necessary.  Why?  Because we knew that for us to really live in relationships together we had to be honest and willing to ‘go there’ even when it was difficult. 

 

Because of that, the relationships formed are of the strongest bond.  When you confront someone with the love and humility of Jesus, you open yourself and the other person involved to healing and restoration.  Is it easy? Of course not, it’s often awkward, and painful.  BUT, as the conversation progresses you see a light at the end of the tunnel.  

 

Why am I blogging about this? Because we don’t know how to confront people and resolve problems between each other in our culture.  No, we’d much rather run to twitter and rant, we’d much rather call our other friend about the problem and spread gossip like wildfire, we’d much rather tear the other person down to make ourselves look better.  When we don’t confront, when we don’t know how to humbly approach each other we lose out on deeper relationships.  

 

I’ve been on both sides of the confrontation.  I’ve been the person who has initiated and brought the conversation up, told the person how I felt when he/she said this, or did that, and then heard their side and worked to common ground. I’ve also been the person who has been told that what I did or said was not ok and he/she was deeply hurt.  At that point, I had no choice but to eat a big helping of humble pie, ask for their forgiveness (which they so graciously extended), and then moved on.  This is a lost art even in the Christian culture.  we’d much rather go to our pastor, we’d much rather talk to someone else about our problem, not the person directly involved.

The Bible talks over and over about this.  Jesus tells us that before we even go to Him, if we remember that we have an issue with someone to immediately to that person to resolve our problem.  We are told not to let the sun go down on our anger, and Paul tells us to love one another, forgiving one another just as Christ forgave us.

 

Do not be afraid to talk to someone about the offense they committed against you.  Be gracious, be humble and willing to hear them out. Humans do dumb things and that includes you.  No one is above reproach.  We love to think that we are above being confronted.  People will vehemently defend their actions even if they are completely in the wrong.  Ultimately, this comes down to a pride issue that is for another post, but to Christians I will say this: Kill that pride and be teachable.  If you have an issue you need to resolve with another human being (wife, husband, son, daughter, friend, brother, sister, mom, dad, the guy at the grocery story etc), then go to that person and talk those things out.  Don’t give sin a foothold to start spreading, the longer you wait the harder it is to resolve the issue and the easier it is to keep going down that path. 

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-TW

MICHAEL GUNGOR On The Problem With The Christian Music Industry

This is a must read for Christians, especially Christians who happen to love music,

A Thanksgiving Thought

 

Yes, after months of silence I have returned with a post.  My apologies for such a delay, my personal life has kept me extremely busy these past few months.  Between travel, moving into a new house, school, recording for a friends album and general life things I’ve had difficulty in finding the time to get a post up.  Not to mention that I’ve also had a difficult time thinking of what to actually post!  Not to fear, for I think I have something here.  (See what I did there?)

 

If you’ve followed the news or just keep in general touch with topics that run through the headlines, then I’m sure you’ve been hearing all about many big retail stores opening there doors for Thanksgiving for early shoppers.   Here’s my advice – Don’t go.

 

“Oh Tim, why don’t you get a grip, it’s really no big deal” you say.  But alas I think it is a very big deal.

 

 

 

There’s little to no surprise that consumers drive the holiday shopping season.  To an extent, it makes complete sense.  People buy gifts during Christmas, and black friday is a yearly tradition for some.   Now for the sake of transparency let me admit that I think black Friday is a ridiculous idea.  To see people lined up for hours to get their hands on a super cheap tv or whatever other fancy object they’ve been dying to buy I think is a complete waste of time.  Why?  Because we are talking about stuff…things…you know, items that won’t matter in a few years.  People actually rush the stores, cut in line, get into fights and argue with employees all over…..stuff.  These things don’t breathe life, they don’t actually live, they just exist for the sake of pleasing us.  So we flock to the stores like cattle all for the name of a good deal.

 
Anyway, that’s not the point of this post.  The point is to explain why I think stores opening up on Thanksgiving for shoppers is a bad idea and why as Christians we should stay out of stores and stay in with family..

 

I realize that we live in a consumer driven society.  I (like most people) am not immune to the fact that I at times, have to go out and purchase something that I want or need.  I wanted my Nintendo Wii U so I purchased one.  I needed a pair of jeans (my last pair ripped), so I went out and purchased them.  This is the way our society works.  Is it flawed? Sure, but it’s what we got, and slowly people are becoming more intentional shoppers, purchasing from companies that do things ethically, not just in the name of the lowest price (yes, I’m looking at you Wal-Mart).

I say all that so I can say this; as Christians we have a duty to be responsible consumers.  It is our responsibility to view our lives through the lens of Christ, not just hot button issues that the Christian culture pushes.  It’s a shame honestly, that the Christian culture is so willingly accepting of greed, over the top consumerism, and blindly supports massive companies that don’t treat its workers fairly.

 

When it comes to Thanksgiving, the day that Americans take time out of their work schedules, their normal schedules and gather around family, or people in their life that are equivalent to family and eat, and talk, and share a good meal.  It’s a day of rest, it’s a day of feasting, and it’s a day of remembering all that you have and how blessed we are to live in such a country.  This also goes for employees of retail stores.  They deserve the same day that most of us get.  A day around family, without worrying about going into work later to face hordes of self-centered consumers who put more value on the stuff their trying to buy than the human being God created standing right in front of them.  If anything I would like to see the Church protesting companies forcing their employees to work on Thanksgiving (For those of you who don’t think they are being forced, you’ve clearly never worked retail).

 

I’m not here to belabor my point but I’ll end by asking this; When is enough, enough as a society? When do we draw the line with the materialism and consumerism in our culture?  How many things do we need to go out and buy before we realize that you can’t buy family, people, or happiness? We might say that people are most important but when it comes to our actions we so often put stuff above them.  We get mad at the employee who is slow to check us out, we fight over the last item on the shelf, and we get mad when that guy takes our parking spot.   In many cases our beliefs do not match up with our actions and as followers of Jesus it is more important than ever that they do.

 

Spend time this Thanksgiving with people, not with stuff.   Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

-TW

 

A Double, Double Standard?

Heterosexual men are naturally attracted to breasts.

Hi, welcome to my blog.

Do I have your attention? Excellent. Are you offended? Well don’t read Song of Solomon, it’s much more explicit.

In this blog post I’ll doing my very best to walk a very thin line. In our hyper-sensitive culture it is important that I as a writer do my best to articulate what exactly I’m trying to say. Because this post is dealing with women, how they dress, culture’s lie to men, and men’s dishonor towards women I will do my best to write as clearly as I can. Considering however, that I’m a left handed drummer, I make no promises.

Back to my first four words.

If you’re a female you might be saying to yourself “well yes tim, I know that already”. But do you? Do you really? Allow me to explain myself.

As a man, regardless of my heart, my good intentions, and my willpower, there are still moments, split seconds where my mind puts thoughts in to my head that I simply can not control. It’s as impulsive as when your hand responds to touching something hot that you weren’t aware that was hot. Your body takes over and your hand instantly pulls away, there is no conscience thought. Your hand in a split second is off of that stove and there’s nothing you an do about it. The same thing is said for sexual thoughts that enter the mind of a man. There are times where either I’ll see something, or randomly an image of something sexual pops in to my head and only after that thought arrives do I have the option to entertain it or deny it. This shouldn’t be shocking, it’s how men are wired.

Let me just give the women out there a heads up, when you wear low cut shirts, short shorts, or tight fitting clothes that show the contours of your body, expect thoughts to pop in to the mind of a man. Now, before you stone me as blaming women for men’s problems let me say that it is on the man to entertain those split second thoughts or to deny them. Let me also say that to a degree there’s nothing anyone can do about preventing those random, uncontrolled thoughts. The blame is truly not on any one person, but what I am communicating to my female audience is that how you dress, act, the things you say, and how you present yourself all affect how men perceive you.

Why title my post a double, double standard? Because sometimes I feel like we want to have our cake and eat it too. We tell men don’t objectify women in one breath, while we as a culture support the objectification of women through medians like pornography or pop icons. The double standard happens when we tell men “shame on you for only wanting women for sex” while we whisper in to the woman’s ear “don’t let anyone tell you what to do with your body, do whatever you want with it. That sex sells, and if you have it, then flaunt it” What i’m communicating here is not a blame game. I’m simply communicating that it takes mutual responsibility on both men and women to treat each other with honor, love, and respect.

Women let me be blunt and direct here, when you post pictures of yourself with your chest hanging out as an attempt to be sexy, it tells men you want to be seen as a sex object. I’ve had girls ask me why guys just hit them up for sex while their facebook and Instagram is full of sexual innuendo and pictures to back it up. I’m reminded of the principle “You reap what you sow”. As is true in all of life, when you reap something, you’ll reap the benefits or consequences of it. You simply can’t expect to put yourself out there sexually on social media and then not be expected to be viewed through that lense.

Men, it is on us to control our mind and regardless of what we see, to treat women with dignity and honor. This to me is the root cause of so many problems in our culture. Men believe the lie that women are to be viewed purely through the lens of sex and nothing else. Every woman has a universe inside of her that goes way beyond the sexual. She has feelings, desires, and most importantly she is made in the image of God. When you deface that image you are defacing God’s creation. There is never, ever, EVER any excuse to cross the boundaries of a woman. Her heart is sacred and should be treated as such.

Let me sum this up in one paragraph

I’m so tired of blame games. I’m tired of genders calling each other out blaming each other for the problems we give each other. The change starts with you. Wether you’re a female, or a male there is a God given responsibility you have to treat each other as God made human beings. All of us are sacred, all of us are are made in the image of God and it is time that we start treating each other like it.

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Church Hopping: It’s Really not a Bad Idea.

“So Tim what Church do you go to” is often the question I get from pastors or other Christians I meet for the first time. Usually I start by saying “uh…..hmmmm….it’s kind of complicated”. At that point the first bead of sweat pours off my forehead as I start to utter the words “I visit different Churches every Sunday”. As those words pour out of my mouth I see the face of the person I’m talking to change from pleasant to “oh he’s one of THOSE people”. Awwwwkkkwaaarrrdddd.

I’ve been Church hopping for about a year now and I’m still a Christian! I know, it’s unbelievable that I haven’t lost my faith, or that God hasn’t given me the almighty smite that I was under the impression I’d get if I start hopping around to different Church bodies on Sunday mornings. But here I am a year later and all my limbs are still in tact.

Before I go further let me say that I understand why I was told that hopping around different churches is a bad idea. I understand that there are people looking for the perfect church that meets all their needs and requires nothing from them. From that perspective yes, Church hopping is a bad idea. But if you’re doing it to meet other believers (read that as meeting family you’ve never met), then I highly recommend it.

I’ll be blunt, it’s easy to get burnt out serving on Sunday mornings. In fact, this is the first time in 13 years that I’m not required to attend a Sunday Service to serve in some capacity. To be honest, I often wrestle with why we as a Church culture define people serving as “We need help making our Sunday service work, and if you don’t serve that in some way, we question your devotion to God”. I digress.

Usually, the main way I serve on a Sunday morning is by playing drums for a specific worship band. A year ago I said goodbye to a dear Church family I loved serving with and embarked on a new journey. The journey of seeing how other believers worship on Sunday morning.

It has been quite a year. I’ve had the chance to visit Sunday morning services all over New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and even in Illinois. Here are three things I’ve learned over this year.

1. Going to a Church service you’ve never been to is quite intimidating. If you ever wanted to know why non-Christians rarely come out to a Church service, take a Sunday morning to attend a Church you’ve never been to and where you know no one. It’s completely intimidating ESPECIALLY when no one talks to you. Yes, that’s happened to me more than once. I’ve been that guy by himself standing awkwardly in the hallway waiting to walk into service while everyone looks at me with the face of “who is that weirdo”. I never went back to those church meetings.

2. Many churches think way too small. Since I’ve been visiting different Churches every Sunday my view of the Church has expanded on a global level. I used to view Christianity starting with the local Church and then eventually expanding to the big picture. That there is one Church globally that has been charged with showing people the Kingdom of God. Now, my mind first starts with the big picture and then moves downward to the local level. It’s just like when you use Google maps when you’re all the way zoomed out. Then, when you type in an address it zooms you in to that address. That’s the way I think about Church now, and you know? It changes the way you view things. Now, when a Church body asks me to help out on a Sunday morning (usually musically related) I see it as helping out another part of the family in the Kingdom of God. It’s freeing because once you see other Churches as family and not as competition, you want to work with them, not outdo them.

3. Apparently drummers are in high demand. I probably fill in 2 times a month at a different Church body on the drums for Sunday morning. Who knew.

If (and only if) The Lord has released you of your Sunday morning obligations to your local Church I highly recommend taking a couple months and visiting other Church bodies in your immediate area. You meet some great people, make new connections and you get a much bigger picture of what is going on on a Kingdom level. It’s freeing knowing that you’re a member of the Kingdom, not one local Church.

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-TW

If You’re Single and You Know It Clap Your Hands

I’m writing this post because I know that I’m not the only Christian who is in their early/mid/late twenties and hopelessly single. Is this a bad thing? Not always, but is it a difficult thing? Absolutely. Why? Because not only were humans not really designed to be single abstinent people at this age, but both our church culture and the culture of our society both throw two options out that in many ways just are not viable. This post isn’t a rant or about getting attention. I don’t sit in my bed at night crying to Dashboard Confessional, I don’t walk around with jet black hair in my face with a frown about how sad I am that I don’t have a girlfriend. No it’s not about that. It’s about sharing my honest thoughts on being single in my mid 20’s.

Is it frustrating at times being single and in your mid 20’s or older? Absolutely. Who in that situation doesn’t have these thoughts “Maybe I’m just really weird”? We all have those thoughts, especially when we are going to weddings monthly of our piers tying the knot. And congratulations to them by the way, weddings make me extremely happy.

So what are we single people to do? Well let me start by telling you that our American culture’s answer is a horrible one. The train of thought for people our age is usually something along the lines of date as much as you can and sleeping with your date is perfectly fine, after all you have to test drive the car before you buy it right? What a horrible analogy.

But I digress.

What culture fails to tell you is that statistically people my age are more emotionally miserable and often feel empty when they live such reckless sexual and emotional lives.

Sometimes the Church’s answer isn’t much better. Usually the answer is something like “hey you’re single? We better get you married ASAP!”. One time I heard a pastor say from the pulpit “Hey if you’re single, go get married”. As if all I had to do was put a dollar in the crane game and pick out my wife. Sometimes it’s just not that simple. Plus, sometimes we need to be supported in being single. And if I hear one more time from a married guy or girl tell me to let Jesus fill the void I’m going to run my car off a cliff. Isn’t that ironic? I’ve never had a single person tell me that. Why? Because we single people know that we were designed for relationship with someone of the opposite sex. So does God, that’s why He says in Genesis that it’s not good for man to be alone.

Think about that statement for a minute. God said that BEFORE sin entered the world. Even when God declared his creation good it still wasn’t complete. God and Adam had perfect unity, they was no sin in between them and God still says that Adam is alone? According to many of the songs we sing on Sunday morning that tell us God is all we need, God must be wrong. Nevertheless, He sees man so He creates Eve and this beautiful thing called marriage. There is a void in the heart of most people that God does not fill because he designed that void to be filled by a human companion. Don’t misunderstand, without a relationship with God how can we live fully? How can we love someone wholly? God is the source, but God designed us for more than solely a relationship with Him. We were designed for marriage, and God delights when His children commit to life with each other.

What am I saying? That’s actually a great question, I feel more like I’m rambling to be honest. Here’s what I’m trying to say, yeah being abstinent and single is difficult, but it’s ok. It’s ok to admit that sometimes it’s tough and it’s ok to admit that there are times where you struggle with being lonely in that area of your life. I used to BS to people and tell them that God has filled that void, but one day when I was having a conversation with God, the Holy Spirit gently told me “It’s ok to admit you’re lonely with this, now trust me with it and walk through it”. It changed me forever. Yeah, I’m single, no I really don’t want to be single, but you know what? I’m not compromising for the sake of companionship and my God can sustain me through it. Admitting that you don’t want to be single, while still being single is not a pity party, it’s not depressing, it’s truth, and it’s truth that I’m comfortable sharing.

To you single people out there, continue to pursue your relationship with Jesus, let Him write the love story to your life, and don’t compromise for the sake of companionship.

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-TW

The Twerk Seen ‘Round the World

Did I even spell twerk right? I hope so. Anyway, if you don’t live under a rock (which if you’re reading this I’m assuming you don’t) then I’m sure you’ve heard about or seen the video of Miley Cyrus’s at the VMA’s (Video Music Awards). Apparently, this was one of the most suggestive performances of the VMA’s in recent history. When you couple that with who Miley Cyrus used to be (An innocent little girl who went by the name Hannah Montana) you have a recipe for a media frenzy. After watching my Facebook blow up overnight with people railing against how disgusting and inappropriate Miley’s performance was, I couldn’t help but think to myself why now? Why are people just now starting to get upset at the vulgarity of the celebrity music crowd?

See all Miley really did was show us in a physical way, what we think. Our music is full of innuendo’s and flat out sexual content. It’s normal in our culture to see women half naked dancing around suggestively in music videos. In 1997 Marilyn Manson performed at the VMA’s in an extremely disturbing performance. Nicki Minaj has extremely explicit lyrics and suggestive content in her music and videos but there hasn’t been an outcry during her performances. Why all of the sudden are we as a culture freaking out about Miley? Because at one point she was a nice innocent little blonde girl and a few nights ago she was grinding against a man on national tv? What I don’t understand for the life of me is why we are now just saying “ok enough is enough”. I have three things I want to point out that are ingredients resulting in what we saw at the VMA’s.

1. Moral Relativity

Here’s the psychotic thing about our culture, we want to never be told how to live our lives. We do however, love to tell people in the public light how to live theirs. See we want to decry authority, God, and absolute morals. Then when something happens like what happened Sunday night at the VMA’s we are suddenly up in arms screaming “Have you no class!”. Well no, of course not, because we have taught her to have no class. We have taught that morality is subjective, do whatever feels right for you. So then by that logic, who are we to say that what she did was inappropriate? We aren’t. A culture reaps what is sows. We are telling my generation to experiment with everything, that God is a myth, that there is no absolute right way to live, but then we turn around and eat our own when they act out beyond society’s idea of normal and appropriate.

2. Twisting Human Sexuality

This especially rings true when it comes to sexuality. We have taken what is meant to be sacred and ripped it of its dignity and respect, running it through the mud all in the name of “do whatever feels right”. We have thrown sexuality out in the public streets mocking it and stripping it of its beauty. Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industryand fed the lie that porn is normal to look at. Is it? Is that really normal to do? Is that really healthy for the mind? My question is this; when are we a culture going to realize that human sexuality was never designed to be used the way that we are using it. Miley, is just the latest victim of a sex obsessed culture. I can’t emphasize this strongly enough, this is the fruit of the tree we planted in the 70’s, and it’s rotten to the core. My generation is one big sexual train wreck and like any good train wreck you just can’t look away.

3. The Gossip Machine

Secretly, I don’t think most of us want performances like Miley’s to go away. It gives us something to gossip about, something to talk about. It fuels our blog views and likes on Facebook. It fuels the tweets on twitter. But most of all, it makes us feel better about ourselves. “Well I would NEVER do that” we say. We love to talk about people that we view as less moral than ourselves. It makes us feel better. We have entire TV Shows dedicated to talking about the dirty secrets celebrities have. It fuels the machine called the industry (that includes music, movies, and anyone else in the public spotlight) and we eat it up every night when we get home from work and just want to relax. Gossip yeast in the dough, and we love our bread fluffy.

The only way things will change is when we start reaching hearts with God’s way of living life. If God is the author of human existence then He is the one who knows us best. When we follow Jesus’ way of living what we are doing is living the way we were intended to live from the beginning. When we start introducing people to this way, they become restored because it resonates with their inner most being. The solution to this sometimes ridiculous culture is showing people a better way to live. Miley Cyrus, I promise you can live the fullest life possible without taking your clothes off on national T.V

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-TW

The Problem with Scientists…

In my undergrad studies of Mechanical Engineering is where my deep interest in astronomical sciences really developed.   If time and money allowed, I would go back to school to obtain my PHD in astrophysics and astronomy but since that is not a current option I’ve resorted to reading journals and articles and book and papers.  I’ve been reading many articles lately on scientific findings and discoveries.  The overwhelming feeling I get when reading many of the articles (especially the ones dealing with the origins of the universe) is that the data is twisted to support the preconceived conclusion.  You may already be thinking “YEAH! Get those silly atheists!”  However, I’m talking about the scientific articles written by Christians.

The problem with scientists (both atheists and Christians) is that their beliefs cloud their findings.  Each side is guilty of observing a particular phenomenon and immediately seeking to fit the data to “prove” their conclusion.  Yes, creation scientists do this as well.  It baffles me that the ancient claim has always been “atheists have a preconceived conclusion that there isn’t a God and all their findings are bent to make sure God is never the conclusion” but Christians turn around and do the same thing to make sure their view of creation IS the conclusion even if it means to bend the data.

I have no problem with science.  Many Christians pick fights with science and that isn’t the battle they want to have.  God created science and all the laws of nature.  I would label him as the first scientist (He just doesn’t have to test His hypothesis).  I don’t want to get into a debate of the timeline of creation or the origin of the universe but I’ve heard too many people that lean to a certain creationist belief state that all science is bad and is just twisted to provide a platform for evolution.  I whole heartily disagree.  Now, the science isn’t the problem.  The scientist is; on both sides.

Many Creationists love to say that Albert Einstein was a Christian and believed in God. Actually, he was in fact an agnostic and was very critical of the belief in a personal God. In the early 20th century he developed the theories of relativity.

Relativity

If we were to let science and nature speak for itself what would happen?  Psalm 19:1 would happen.  Again I’m not about to get into a deep discussion about evolution vs. creation but the overwhelming evidence for a Creator is observable science.  Let’s take Einstein’s equation for a second.  The left side of the equation represents acceleration and if we step back and just take a look at the fine details it tells us that the universe is experiencing negative acceleration.  The Bible, other equations, and many discoveries reveal that the universe is also expanding (Job 9:8, Psalm 104:2, Isaiah 42:5).  An explosion is an occurrence where we see negative acceleration and expansion all in one… Big Bang anyone?  The interesting thing is that as Einstein contemplated the Big Bang he did not like the implications.  He realized that the Big Bang implied a beginning and thus the existence of a creator so he spent many years modifying the equation to give us the cosmological constant.  Even Einstein was “fudging” data to suit his conclusions.  Interesting that even something that is by many tied to “atheistic science” was realized by Einstein to require the existence of a creator.  Something about letting science and nature speak for itself.  Romans 1 give us a pretty good outline of things as well.

So the point?  I guess my point is that Christian and secular scientists make the same mistake.  They don’t follow the scientific method.  They determine the conclusion and wonder how their data can prove it.  Instead, if everyone would take a very good look at the data we may actually see what God intended us to see all along.  Him.

Taking Out The Trash: Operating in God’s Family

God’s Family

If you’re a follower Jesus did you know that you are part of a family that spans over thousands of years? One that expands beyond your biological and into the supernatural? I’m talking about the family of God. God’s family is huge and inclusive containing all different cultures, all different ages, and spans through generations upon generations of people.

Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that we are part of a movement that was started 2,000 years ago. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that we are part of a family that extends outside of our biological family. God’s family is eternal, it lasts forever. Where biological families will cease to exist God’s family will thrive and last eternally.

This past week I had an amazing privilege to help run Camp Melody, an all boys camp for ages 10 to 16. This year, the theme was brotherhood inside of God’s family. Every day we focused on a different aspect of what brotherhood looks like inside of the family of God. On Monday, the theme was encouragement, Tuesday forgiveness, and Wednesday unity. We really wanted to contrast the difference between how God’s family operates as opposed to things posing as family (such as gangs). As the week went by I couldn’t help but realize that the themes we focused on carry into the whole of God’s family. How in the Church practicing these principles of forgiveness, encouragement, and unity really change the way we view each other.

I want to point out three things that are the opposite of forgiveness, unity, and encouragement that we need to get in check in our local Church bodies. The culture we create in our local Church is essential to the Body of Christ thriving in our local communities.

1. Divisiveness

All too often for those of us who have been involved with church politics, we have seen the church split over things that really in the big picture are petty. I’ve seen church bodies have major arguments over the instruments played, the carpet color, and the leadership structure. You know who wins these arguments in the end? Satan that’s who. He is all too happy to help those fights along. Jesus prayed directly against being divided in John where He said “My prayer is that they (us) are one”. To divide over things that are secondary to the gospel is sin pure and simple. Do people have different opinions on different things regarding the Christian faith? Absolutely, but to let that stop you from working with fellow family is absolute garbage. Do you and your siblings agree on everything? Of course you don’t, but that doesn’t stop you from being family.

2. Bitterness

The opposite of forgiveness is bitterness plain and simple. When we don’t learn to forgive people we let bitterness eat away at us like termites devouring wood. Christ commanded us to forgive others because He has forgiven us first. The practice of forgiveness in God’s family is mandatory and necessary to have healthy relationships with people. Chances are at some point in your life a fellow Christian will offend you, hurt you, or upset you. If you don’t learn how to forgive you will walk away from the Church with a bitter heart and an angry spirit. Both of those things are the opposite of how God operates. God operates with forgiveness and reconciliation at the forefront (for any doubters just read the Gospels).

3. Gossip

Perhaps one of the dirtiest secrets of our American Church culture is our obsession with gossip. I would argue it’s also one of Satan’s most effective weapons. If he can people to talk about other people negatively and behind their back he can start stress cracks in the foundation of the Church. All too often those stress cracks in the foundation lead to a crumbling house full of he said, she said. When we create a culture of encouragement there is no room to gossip because we are too busy focusing on building each other up. At least here in the states gossip is common and seen as not a big deal by our American culture. We have borrowed that view and brought it in to Church culture. The only difference is that we preface our gossip by saying “I really am not gossiping but…”. As I type those words I cringe because I am 100% guilty of using that line to justify my tearing down of someone. This is once again, the opposite of how God’s family works. When we are a part of God’s family we replace a culture of gossip and tearing down with a culture of encouragement and building each other up.

May I suggest Church that it’s time to take out the trash? It’s time to take these things and throw them away, replacing them with God’s principles. May we as a Church learn God’s culture and implement it in to our local church cultures. Creating atmospheres of family, belonging, and encouragement.

Poetry: “Ok”

Ok so it’s been a while since the last post and I’ve been working on a few other ideas but I decided to mix it up a little bit with this one.  I  like to write poems and lyrics from time to time and I wanted to share a poem I wrote recently.  The Title is “Ok” and it is about man’s ruin and redemption; sin and salvation.  Let me know your thoughts.

 

“Ok”

Beating my fist to this chest to feel relevance
Defining by opinion my own excellence.
If I can only convince Him of my worthiness
Then I’ll be ok.

Him, who breathed the worlds into time, space and matter,
Who aligned the expanding universe on a silver platter
And handed it to man to rule; what a disaster.
It’ll all be ok.

The innocence of creation had lost its position
In the heart of man was now a self-religion
To put ourselves on the throne; a new vision.
We will be ok.

The more rungs of this ladder I upwardly climb
The further I descend from the presence of the divine
And the terror of our circumstance dawns on my mind.
I am not ok.

As our sin offended the highest the heavens
It continues to corrupt us down to our essence.
We’ve got nothing to fight with, no weapons.
We are not ok.

The point and purpose of eternal salvation
Is so much more than we have time to mention.
But how is this for a simple explanation:
To be made ok.

The beauty of grace is in the inability
To save ourselves, its all futility
But God sent Christ to save you and me.
We can be ok.

In a moment the Christ, reached in and changed my heart
A complete change from the inside, a brand new start.
I have a place in the plan of God, my own part.
More than just OK..

The beauty of grace is in the inability
To save ourselves, its all futility
But God sent Christ to save you and me.
We can be ok.

In a moment the Christ, reached in and changed my heart
A complete change from the inside, a brand new start.
I have a place in the plan of God, my own part.
More than just OK.

-RM

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