Coffee, Theology and Jesus

working out our messy faith over coffee

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Hoax and Chains (Guest Author, Tim Whitaker Sr)

DISCLAIMER: The following post was written by my father Tim Whitaker Sr.  It does not necessarily reflect my views on the issue.  This article is written with a heavy satire tone.  These are one man’s opinion and experience on a very complicated issue. 

 

Hoax and Chains –

 

One man’s experience with Obummer care

Hi there, may name is Tim Whitaker Sr, the greedy vice president of T. Whitaker Painting, Inc. – an evil woman owned corporation.  Let me tell you a little about our company. We make an absurd amount of illicit money on the backs of slave laborers two of which are our own sons.  Here are some of our many transgressions that we are being punished for:

1. Employing 8 people, the least of whom makes double the minimum wage, most of whom make 20/hour or more.  Our subs make 45-80 dollars an hour. We clearly take advantage of our workers.  Oh, and we pay them for their lunch break too. Plus we force them to work here – they have no choice.
2. Paying all the associated costs of doing a legitimate business in NJ – Workmans comp. insurance, general liability insurance, business liscence, cost of vehicles/maintenence, Federal taxes, state taxes (hey we pay local taxes too), corporation taxes, etc. et. A total of $125,000 of expenses before be begin to see a penny and that does NOT include any payroll or health insurance.
3. Add in $24,000 per year for health insurance JUST for our family (more on that in a minute)
4. We support our church with our time and money (that’s very, very evil)
5. We give to those in need, loan to others and have just co-signed a loan for someone with bad credit that needed to have their car repaired.
6. I personally work on average 80 hours a week between working on the job, doing estimates, getting materials, doing proposals, finding out why so and so is late, etc. etc.
7. My wife who runs our office puts in similar hours
8. Our smoke filled back office where we do our shady deals is actually our kitchen table.  I usually have to push a stack of papers aside to make room for a piece of french toast and a cup of jo.

You get the picture, and again, my apologies for running an evil corporation that actually has turned a profit (oops, am I allowed to use that word?) for 27 years.  But don’t worry, we have been punished – again.

Which brings me to Obummer care, AKA “The Affordable Care Act”. You know, the bill that needed to be passed “So we can see what’s in it”.  

 

We just had the displeasure of receiving a letter from our insurance company (Blue Cross/Blue Shield) stating that our health insurance is CANCELLED SINCE IT DOESN’T MEET THE GOVERNMENTS CRITERIA.  

 

 

Now wait a minute, didn’t I hear somewhere, someplace, sometime, something about “If you like your insurance plan you can keep your insurance plan”?  Hmmm, well at least I’ll be saving the 2,500 dollars a year we were promised during Obummers campaign, right? Um, sadly, no – just another lie.  We will now be paying – get this – $32,000 and change for the health insurance JUST FOR MY FAMILY.  That’s not a typo – let me spell that out for you – thirty two thousand dollars a year.  And this thing is called the “Affordable Care Act”?

Obama should be in prison right now along with Pelosi and Reed as well as many others for forcing this unconstitutional scam on the American people.

As for me, I’m toying with learning from the illegal immigrants who have stolen so many of our jobs – just use the emergency room as the doctors office. 

So how’s that hoax and chains working for ya?  

Way to Drop the Ball, Phil

*Sigh*

That’s what I thought when I first heard about the “controversy” surrounding Phil Robertson. Also, for the sake of length I’m not going to explain what happened. Besides, every news outlet has covered it, you can read part of the interview he gave with GQ magazine almost anywhere.

Anyway, I can’t say I was exactly surprised when Christians all over the place went crazy hearing that Phil got suspended over the comments. I was however pretty disappointed with the way Christians decided to express their view (and outrage) over the suspension. There are a fewdifferent themes interwoven into this situation so I’m going to list them out and address them head on. Hopefully I can shed some light on this issue and why I’m pretty fed up with my own people who claim to follow a God who extends grace to all, but yet only show grace to their own.

1. The Free Speech Issue

Let’s nip this one in the bud fast. A&E suspending Phil is not a free speech infringement.

Viewing this from a strict viewpoint of rights and free speech, any employer should have the right to fire people for the language they use if they deem it inappropriate. We’ve had to let people go at my dad’s company because of the words they used, does this mean we were infringing on free speech? Of course not! People can say almost anything they want without the government infringing. This does not mean that there are no consequences for the words you use. If someone lumps bestiality, homosexuality, and fornication into one sentence then there might be some kickback.

2. The Political Issue

I’m not surprised that of course party lines were drawn when this happened. It’s really a shame that someone’s view is so heavily linked to the assumption of their political leaning. I’m not surprised that conservatives all of the sudden came out in support of Phil’s free speech to say whatever he wants (they are not surprisingly silent on this issue when something is being said that they don’t agree with however), and I’m not surprised that liberals are all of the sudden insisting that someone being fired for their beliefs is not infringing on their free speech. Yet I bet if Phil was a homosexual, expressed his view for equality and got fired for that, there’d be an uproar from the liberal side. It’s frustrating to see that beliefs are not consistent, they are so often just driven by political leanings.

3. The Jesus Issue

This is what matters to me. I don’t care about free speech, political leanings, company profits nearly as much as I care about how Jesus handles himself and how as people who claim to follow Him we are called to be LIKE Him. We are called to be followers of Jesus ONLY.

I’m not approaching this issue from a political viewpoint. I don’t care about the conservative view point or liberal viewpoint nearly as much as I care about the view that Jesus has of people. I don’t care if it’s a double standard, just because someone else isn’t playing fair doesn’t mean that we who claim to follow the God of the universe start cheating too. The rules don’t change simply because other people (who don’t claim what we claim) don’t follow the “rules”. I don’t care how hypocritical, judgmental, or hateful other people are. It does not change who we as followers of Christ are called to be. Just read about the guy called Jesus who died on a cross after being tried unjustly and unfairly (what a double standard right?)

Here’s the bottom line; I don’t care if it’s a double standard, I don’t care if it’s not fair. As followers of Jesus we are called to speak kindly and with love to people. There are ways to express your convictions, to express the heart of God without compromising your beliefs and without marginalizing someone. A great example of that would be Jesus with the woman at the well. He didn’t come out and lump her sin in with bestiality, he didn’t tell her that sin “just ain’t logical” or anything like that. He met her where she was at, offered her FIRST living water and then told her to go and sin no more. Jesus doesn’t avoid sin, he overwhelms it with love and grace and she turns from it and lives forever changed because of Jesus.

I’m tired and exhausted from apparent “christians” who have no problem watching movies that involve premarital sex, who are silent on divorce in the church, who are silent on pornography, who are silent on the ridiculous amount of consumeristic tendencies our culture thrives on, who have no problem listening to music with sexual suggestive themes or watching music videos full of hypersexualization, who have no problem having a little too much to drink every now and then but then have the audacity to make sure we know the “truth”on homosexuality! In their minds they say “we MUST make sure people KNOW that WE believe homosexuality is SIN! is SIN!”

It gets old quick.

People all over the place need redeeming grace that Jesus offers them, we are the vessels with which Jesus shows it.

Why did Phil drop the ball? Because he had a chance to clearly articulate God’s heart for people. Instead He told the interviewer how a woman’s vagina has “more to offer” than a man’s anus (gee, thanks for the heads up bro), and that sin “just ain’t logical”. Way to drop the ball Phil, truly you showed Jesus to a a world desperate for answers.

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-TW

Growing Up Never Felt So Good

Yep you heard me growing up never felt so good.

Of course the younger me is screaming right now at the top of his lungs.   I can hear him telling me that I just admitted defeat.  Well if growing up is admitting defeat….then I admit defeat.

Here’s the thing (and there’s always a thing), I’m glad I’m growing up and if you’re in your early twenties or late teens and you couldn’t disagree more with me then read on.

I remember when I was 18 (wow I said that), I remember listening to Soco Amaratto Lime.  Heck, for nostalgia’s sake I threw it on while typing this post.  Ah yes this was the song I would sing to myself for many years.  I’d tell myself I’m going to stay 18 forever, I told myself that the girl I was in love with was the one I was destined to be with, and then I turned 19, and then 20, and then 21…..and now I’m 25.  Guess what? I’m not 18 anymore.  Brand New lied to me, I wasn’t going to stay 18 forever.  *Sigh*

I cherish my teenage years, and I cherish my early twenties.  I had the chance to travel Europe for three months, live in community with some great people, cut a record with my band and throw it on iTunes, played Cornerstone festival in Illinois, and had some of the best times yet of my life.  Truly the memories I have of those years I’m so grateful for.  I lived life with some of the most amazing people doing some of the most life fulfilling things.

As time goes on, you start to see the transition of adulthood encroaching on your life.  If my life was a book and I was standing in one of the pages, then I saw the page of adulthood turning and I couldn’t outrun it.  Truth be told I don’t know what I was running from, but I was running.  Who wants to grow up?  Who wants to work for some company slaving away with tons of bills to pay?  Who wants to go into debt or being upside down on your mortgage one day?  Who wants to be that big grown up that never let kids be kids? Who wants to be this boring no fun adult who forgets how to party?   Who says that’s what growing up is anyway?

Growing up can mean a lot of things to a lot of people.  For some people it does mean that career or for some others it might mean that mortgage, but who makes these rules that define what growing up is?

What I’m learning is that you can grow up into the future without leaving who you are behind.   Nothing has been more disheartening than to see people with big dreams never follow through because the American culture’s version of adulthood swooped in like a hawk honing in on its prey.  I’ve watching friends go to school for the sake of going to school, accumulating massive amounts of debt and then picking up a job at Starbucks because their degree really wasn’t what they felt created to do.  They just did it because people told them it’s time to grow up and get a real job, start a family, and work your way up the ladder.

For some people this works great.  That’s awesome.  Really, I know great people that have great careers doing what they love.  I had a friend go to school for 4 years in the Philippines to become a doctor and now he’s back in the states working on his licensing.  Every time we talk, health is bound to come up and it’s clear that he absolutely was created to help other people in the medical field.

But what about us? The others who don’t really know exactly how their calling will work in reality?  Culture isn’t built to handle dreamers, artists, people who are passionate about things that start in the form of a non-profit is it?  Culture is built to try and have security, peace of mind, and accumulate as much wealth as you can.

This is what I’ve been learning; that I can grow up, being confident in what I want to do, and not feel bad for not following a normal trajectory in life.

I used to think that growing up meant selling out, that it meant to give up who I was, and what I wanted in return for a career.  I thought it meant buying the house I couldn’t pay for, and taking what I believe to be created for and flushing it down the toilet.  But growing up I’m realizing, is maturing more into who you are created to be.  This is why I’ve been not just ok with growing up, I’ve been loving it.

To fight growing up (maturing) is to rob yourself of who you really are.  You sell yourself short because when you get into your mid twenties you start to realize that the things your parents taught you were genius, and you ultimately begin to understand that you really know nothing.  It’s humbling, yet confidence building all in one.  The best part though, is that you begin to develop the connections and resources to start making your passion a reality.  This is the time where I am combining my years of developing a talent, skill, passion, or project and I get to see it now begin to mature.

Yes growing up is great, don’t be afraid of it.  Instead, embrace it and go with it.  Let it polish you more and more into a more complete person.

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-TW

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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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.

Putting the Cart Before the Horse.

As much as I like (and use) Facebook, it can also be frustrating.  Frustrating because you get the opinions and views of not just people you agree with, but people you disagree with.  It’s not that I don’t mind to disagree, in fact, I enjoy a good discussion with people who hold different views than myself.  However, what gets my blood boiling are the people (mainly Christians) who are arrogant and never wrong who would much rather shove a bucket of truth down an unbeliever’s throat than spoon feed little bits over time to a friend in need.

 

We’ve all seen it in some form in life at one time. The street preacher who would much rather  yell, rant and rave about homosexuality than speaking in love to people the hope of Jesus from their mess.  The Facebook people who loves those memes about fire and brimstone and then not only defends himself/herself but is hostile, arrogant and rude in the dialogue.   Or how about the statuses that come across like the person’s views are absolute truth and then say “hey I’m just saying what God says”.  Gee, thanks for speaking for the big guy, he is after all…a mute….

 

 

See, when we take “truth” (I say that in quotations because so many things that people say are true are more twisted than true) and strip it down to raw, cold facts we don’t really reach people at all, instead we turn them off to the point of Jesus, salvation and new, everlasting life.   If you ever read the Gospels you’ll see that Jesus always connects relationally to his audience and then begins to preach to them.  You’ll never find Jesus in the gospels on a street corner letting people know of the doom to come, you’ll never find Jesus stirring up controversy because he was condemning people outside of his religious system.  In fact, the only time Jesus really starts making waves is when He attacks the religious elite!  Thing about it, what got Jesus killed?  His own people essentially forced Rome to crucify Him.  It wasn’t Rome’s bright idea to kill this guy and when He did stand trial Pilot said He found no fault with the man.

 

The disciples went out in to the world to MAKE disciples.  Think about that for a minute, the disciples made converts, then disciples.  There was no big spread of Christianity then, the disciples were the essentially the only ones.  What good  would screaming on street corners do?  Nothing that’s what.  The disciples were far too concerned with people than they were with being right because being “right” was never the POINT.  Jesus is the point, redemption is the point, repentance is the point, everlasting life that starts now is the point, not proving that your views are 100% accurate, not telling people that you have the corner on truth.  Jesus, He is the point of life, it’s how God designed it. Everything points to Jesus.     If you’re on a street corner preaching (or yelling) and people are passing by you and not listening, then maybe you should stop.  Why? Because you’re about as affective as preaching in your closet.    I’ve heard people tell me “But the word of God is being proclaimed” in that case preach in your house alone too.

 

 

Let me bring some balance here.  The heart of everything we do must be love, not condemnation.  I’ve seen street preachers filled with the Holy Spirit practically crying because of how burdened they were for the lost.  Love flowing out of them like a river and people listening to what this man had to say.  When love becomes our motivation everything changes.   Our hearts are not cold and bitter, they are warm and sweet to people who are not in the faith.  I am exhausted from seeing people defend there arrogant actions by quoting one single verse, or telling me to take my beef up with God not with them because they are just a messenger.  That’s an excuse for being a jerk.   All throughout the Scriptures we are told to have love and to speak with gentleness and respect.  Let me put it another way for you: It’s not your job to save anyone, all you’re instructed to do is be a physical incarnation of Jesus and to make disciples, NOT enemies.  You can’t save anyone only the Holy Spirit does that work.  You don’t judge the world only God can do that.  You don’t defend God, God can defend Himself.  You don’t have the authority to condemn or save people, only God can do that.

 

 

Love people like crazy, God is the judge of humanity, not Christians.

 

 

-TW

 

 

 

“Waiting on God” Has Failed Many Christians

Psalm 27:14
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” –ESV

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” –KJV

 

From many pulpits it has been proclaimed that we “wait on God.”  Whether it is a spouse that we are waiting for, a direction for our career, an answer to prayer for a loved one, or a big life decision.  We are constantly instructed to wait.  So young teenagers put on purity rings as they wait for their spouse, and college graduates pass on job offers as they wait, and married couples renew their lease on their apartment waiting on an answer to buy a house.  Waiting is the name of the game.

But what if that wasn’t Biblical?  What if this whole concept we have developed of “waiting on God” wasn’t what God intended at all?  Yes, I realize there are numerous verses about waiting on God but I think the English language doesn’t do us any justice here.  Let me take you to a few other verses that use this same word wait (qavah).

Genesis 1:9
“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.”

Psalm 25:5
“Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”

Psalm 37:34
Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.”
“Ok…” you say, “why do you bring these up?”  I will tell you.  This word “qavah” has two meanings.  There is both the literal and figurative meaning to the word.  We have words like this in English that we use CONSTANTLY.  For example, the word hot.  When we say, “That pan is hot.” We understand that it is the literal meaning of the word and the pan has a high temperature and we could get burned if we touch it.  However, when we say “That girl is hot!” we aren’t worried that if we touch her our skin will get burned (maybe our hearts) but that she is attractive.  That is the figurative use of the word.

So what is the literal meaning of the word translated “to wait?”  It actually has the idea of a rope (see here).  A rope has many strands that are pulled/twisted together which gives it strength.  A strand by itself is not adequately strong but when they are all twisted together they can hold much more weight!  The literal meaning is implied in verses like Genesis 1:9 where things are gathered together or bound together.

So what is the figurative meaning of the word?  That is found in all the other verses translated “to look” or “to wait.”  It gives the idea of hoping for or waiting for something.  In this case it is we who are waiting, or looking for God.

Now, when it comes to words with figurative and literal meanings there is always a connection (even if a faint one) between the two meanings.  We can see that with the word hot, cold, dead, etc.  But for some reason churches have not been pulling the connection between the two meanings of the words.  Instead “waiting” on God has turned into a pause in life until we get an answer.  Waiting on God has been giving the idea that we aren’t complete or capable until God reveals something new to us.  With this view we have been setting up kids for failure.  Think about the situation of waiting on a spouse.  To me, I always got the impression that in my waiting for my future spouse I’m not complete until I have her.  My life is missing something and I have to wait on God for my wife until I can be effective for God.  We are neglecting the literal meaning of the word when we do that and are losing out on some tremendous Biblical teaching.

Waiting on God is not a pause in service but a preparation.  What if we took the literal meaning of waiting and applied it to the figurative?  What if we thought of that rope and tried to determine the strands of it?  Instead of waiting on God to do something while we twiddle our thumbs, we can be actively adding strands to that rope.  I think that is much closer to the meaning of the word “to wait.”  Those verses in the Psalms are talking about waiting on God but they are also talking about actions.  Lead me in truth, teach me, and keep his way are all actions.  There are things to be done while we are waiting!  The strands of the rope?  I see that as learning the truth of God, praying, reading, actively doing what you can where you are now, attending church, witnessing to others, etc.  There is so much we can be doing while we “wait on God” but that is often neglected as we are told to just wait.

What will this preparation do for us?  Well it will keep our focus on God for one thing.  But it will also prepare us so that when God says “ok, go!” we are ready and able to do the next thing he has called us to do.  God has something for each of us to do in our lives at this very moment.  It may just be a preparation step and learning more about Him, it may be witnessing to friends and family, it may be taking a younger person out for coffee and conversation, but there is something we can all do right now!  We should be adding strands to that rope so when God gives  us the next task, our rope is ready to handle the load and will not break under the pressure.  “Waiting on God” is not an excuse to stop working and it isn’t a declaration that we aren’t able to be used of God.  Instead it is the active step of preparation and involvement service in where He has us RIGHT NOW.

~Rob

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