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Sarah Young Isn’t Satan, but her book might make you stumble…

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And so might my blog, David Platt’s books, the latest from Mark Batterson, Tim Keller’s brilliance or even, gasp (this is for you, John) Dallas Willard.

But let’s address the thing about Sarah Young’s book, Jesus Calling, first.  Clearly this is by far one of the most widely bought books in recent history. And, I assume, it is being read…

Within the Christian sub-culture there is a growing following of Sarah Young’s book – after all, there are calendars, versions for kids, etc. – you know, all the great things that allow us to be consumers first, disciples second, and still feel good about ourselves (maybe a topic for another post someday).  There is also a growing contingent of people who are putting Sarah Young into the category of heretic, new age, occult, etc…  I don’t need to put you, the reader, into either of those two camps – you know where you fit and I love you.  🙂

I have read good portions of Jesus Calling.  Not all of it.  I rarely actually finish a book and believe most books should be a third shorter than they are!  I found the book to be a bit light theologically, designed to give us a feel good kind of experience.  And, to be sure, the amazing love of Jesus that keeps us in the center of his hand (Gospel of John) and which can’t be overcome by anything powerful, big or wide (Romans 8), is a wonderful reality to experience and into which more of us should live rather than by rules. The book isn’t Scripture and doesn’t claim to be (I’m sure some of you disagree with me on this).

I am about to offend some of you now, maybe many of you…

Is Sarah Young the anti-christ and will reading her book lead you astray?  No.  And, well, maybe…yes.  No because, well, its mostly harmless. Is everything Sarah wrote biblical?  No.  Does everything she claims to be her experience line up with Scripture as I read Scripture? No.  But the same can be said of Andy Stanley, Mark Batterson, Michael Frost, Kevin DeYoung, John Piper, Tim Keller, Dallas Willard, Charles Swindoll, John Stott, C.S. Lewis or anybody else who might be your favorite author right now.  As a Reformed pastor I should also include John Calvin in my list.

Yes, it might lead you astray and here’s why:  Technically, it isn’t really Sarah Young or her book that might lead you astray, it might actually be you.  Within the Reformed tradition there are a couple of theological truths that I want to highlight for us.  The first being the reality that we are all sinners born with a sinful nature who do life as sinners in every context.  The second is that it is only Scripture which is to be the rule for our faith and life.  And that is the very problem!  I bring my sinful nature into my understanding of Scripture and it isn’t perfect.  I have a lens I read Scripture through and believe it or not, MINE IS THE RIGHT LENS AND YOURS MUST BE WRONG.  Just kidding, but that is how most of us approach life isn’t it?

Let me put it another way.  When John Calvin wrote The Institutes, he was sinning. When Billy Graham gave an altar call, guess what!  Yep…

Let’s take this deeper, to two things I think part of the problem might be.  The first is this: because of the very nature of the Bible, and our sinful natures, most of us are more likely to spend more time reading books about Scripture than reading Scripture itself.  We prefer to read books about Jesus – whichever version of Jesus we prefer – rather than reading the Word.  The problem isn’t so much that Sarah Young’s book, or anyone else’s for that matter, will lead you astray so much as it is that we make idols out of authors, Christian celebrities and what they write, say or sing. 

Interestingly, we only make idols out of the Christian celebrities we agree with and we follow them more than we follow Jesus.  We so quickly are willing to substitute that which is best – Jesus and the Word – for that which is good, sometimes really good and sometimes really not very good at all….

The second part of the problem, I believe, is our tendency to put everybody into right/wrong categories – along with everything they say, write, sing, pray, did, thought, or didn’t do throughout the entirety of their lives.  And, often, we base this judgement upon the thoughts, writings, sayings, actions and etc. of the Christian celebrities we like.  We have become really good haters within the Christian community and we are sending a very strong message to the world for whom Jesus died.

Don’t worry, I’m not bashing all books, teachings, music, etc…  I read, I pray, I sing (in my car with the windows up and the subwoofer pounding) and I enjoy and benefit from it.  But I am reminded of something one of my professors said in seminary:

Read the Gospels more. Read the Bible more. Read other books less and grow in your love for God and those he created.


Going Postal

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She tilted her head and looked over the top of her glasses and said, “You know I’m joking right?”

Mary (not her real name) is a bright 27 year old follower of Jesus. I know Mary through Jesus Loves Kalamazoo and those are the last words she heard as she left the post office last week deeply embarrassed and offended. Mary is African American and those last words came from the lips of the Caucasian postal clerk at the end of a transaction filled with judgment and racism.

Because I know Mary a bit, when I heard about her experience in the post office, I asked her to share the experience with me. I wanted to know what the impact of that experience was like on her. So today she sat down with me and shared her story. I’m sharing it with you, not because it is the most horrific event known to man, but because I believe it tells the story of so many and highlights what is still so in our culture today.

At this point, many of you are going to be tempted to quit reading. I get that. There’s also a part of me that doesn’t want to know this goes on still.

It is September of 2014 and Mary goes into the post office to pick up a package, from the VA, for her mom. Her mom has all the proper paper work filled out so Mary can pick it up on her behalf. But as she engages the postal worker at the window Mary is harassed, belittled, profiled, accused of being a junkie and a drug dealer by the clerk.

 Loudly, so loud every one in the room can hear, the clerk tells her that often the VA will send narcotics through the mail and that she is wondering if Mary is going to go sell them.   Mary, of course, is horrified and offended. She is embarrassed. “You just don’t talk to people that way,” Mary tells me.

After proclaiming she needs her supervisor’s approval, the worker leaves Mary standing at the window feeling just slightly awkward. When she returns with the package, it is with an equally as loud, “I guess you can go get high now” that she hands it to Mary.

Maybe it’s because of the color of Mary’s skin? Maybe it’s because Mary is young (a whole two decades younger than me!)? Maybe it’s the combination of the two? I think we all know there are white folks selling drugs and doing drugs. I think we also know there are old peeps who also sell and do drugs. And if we all know that, then why profile Mary?

I don’t know if it was the look on her face as Mary turned to leave, but the clerk – probably realizing she has crossed a line, finishes their interaction with “you know I’m joking, right?” What I can say is this, the only time I have ever said that is when I KNOW I have crossed the line, said something unacceptable, and want to cover it up and make sure I don’t get into trouble.

When I asked Mary what the impact of that exchange was on her, I could tell it was difficult for her to identify it. She felt humiliated and embarrassed – like her dignity was being stripped away. She didn’t make eye contact with anyone else in the crowded lobby as she got out of there as fast as she could.  At the same time, however, she also said it is what she has always experienced.

Mary went on to tell me about being ignored by white teachers when asking for help, of being snubbed by white students at school and how even being on the same sports teams didn’t make the playing field level.

In Galatians 3:8 Paul tells us, “there is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one…” If that is our spiritual reality, I wonder how long it will be before we live that way?

I don’t know how many times I have been to the post office – often looking like I have been dragged through the gutter. Never has anyone assumed I was doing drugs or selling drugs. And, if they did, nobody has ever said as much out loud to me. And certainly not in a public space like the post office.

Because of the way I look, speak and dress, nobody has ever profiled me for anything except for being the amazing upstanding citizen I am! (ok, I see that look!)  Whether you want to believe it or not, because of the way I look, because I was born to white parents, I live in a position of white, male privilege. And in order for me to live in privilege, that means somebody doesn’t get to – that’s the nature of privilege, some get to have it and others don’t.

In this instance, Mary doesn’t. Mary doesn’t get to go to the post office and assume it is a safe place for her to do business. Mary doesn’t get to believe that others will just assume the best of her. Mary doesn’t get to have the privilege of being able to go in and out of places, like the post office, without wondering if she will once again be harassed, belittled, profiled and accused.

Not unless something deep changes in our nation. My hope is that the church will lead the way and that we will learn to love the way Jesus loved.


Heaven Is For Real, that’s why i won’t see the movie

Abrasive Alert!  Let me say this right away up front, some of you will read this and won’t like it.  I’m ok with that; but I don’t know you are. Most of us want others to think the same way we do about things and then get a little perturbed when they don’t…  But don’t let that stop you – read on!

When the book Heaven is for Real came out several years ago, I had a discerning movement in the pit of my stomach.  I believe that is God’s gift to me when His Spirit is telling my spirit that something isn’t quite right.  It happens often enough that I have learned to pay attention to two things: what is happening in the world around me and what does Scripture have to say?

Around me in the world, especially in the world of evangelicalism, this book is receiving a lot of attention.  A young boy and his family are receiving a lot of attention! That thing that happens in my stomach was happening.  So I looked to Scripture.  

Interestingly, in the Bible, nobody goes to heaven, comes back, and tells about it.  What about Jesus, you ask?  Well, technically, Jesus came from the Father’s side in heaven and has now returned back to the Father’s side.  We are still waiting for his return, when the Kingdom will be fully manifested. Even Lazarus, after several days in the tomb, doesn’t have anything to say.  I have always wondered about that…

Jesus does tell a parable about a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus in Luke 16.  The rich man dies and goes to hell and the beggar, Lazarus, goes to heaven near Abraham.  In the parable the rich man, in his hellish misery, begs Abraham to send Lazarus back to warn his family.  The funny thing is this – in the parable Abraham is abundantly clear that even if Lazarus was to come back from the dead his family wouldn’t believe.

Who has gone up to heaven and come down? The is the question of the author of Proverbs 30:4. This question doesn’t get answered until John 3:13: No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven – the Son of Man.  In Scripture there are only 4 accounts of visions of heaven.  Over the course of thousands of years – only four accounts recorded in the Bible.  Isaiah, Ezekial, Paul in 2 Corinthians, and John’s vision in Revelation.

In all four accounts recorded in Scripture, there is also only one common denominator – a complete preoccupation with the magnificent glory of God.  

The book, Heaven is for Real, was sitting around our house.  So I picked it up.  This was years after it had come out.  It is well written.  But, the book, it is focused on the boy’s experience.  He even describes not liking the wings he was given (didn’t know we were getting wings in resurrection – that would’ve freaked out the disciples when Jesus walked through the wall!).  The book is not biblical.  But we like it, and others, anyway.  Why?

In our North American evangelical sub-culture, we have an unhealthy pre-occupation with end-times, heaven and hell.  It’s become popular.  Actually, our whole North American culture has become very distracted by apocalyptic themes.  This is why zombies are now showing up everywhere in media. I believe we, as a culture, are profoundly dissatisfied with our lives.  So we cling to those things that talk about something, somewhere else, being better or worse than our own experiences.  This way we have something euphoric to look forward to, or we can say at least lives aren’t as bad as that!  We have forgotten that Jesus came from heaven to give us a life, a full life – a life of abundant purpose.  Jesus wants us to live exciting lives.  Here.  Now. You can read about that in John 10.

But, what isn’t popular, is actually reading the Bible, believing God (different than believing in God, btw), and working hard in partnership with the Spirit for the transformation of ourselves and our world.

Getting pumped as the Newsboys sing God’s Not Dead at the end of the movie with the same title or after seeing Heaven is for Real, doesn’t make for lasting change. In many ways we have become like those who kept asking Jesus, after his many miracles, for a sign.  Jesus had some interesting things to say about that in Matthew 12:38ff.  

I love going to movies, you could even call it a habit – err… I mean a hobby! But movies don’t transform. Deep change comes in our lives when we partner deeply with God’s Spirit in working out our salvation “with fear and trembling.” (Phil 2:12)  We have to do the hard work of discipleship.  As we slowly begin to grow up and mature in Christ, we slowly begin to live lives that reflect the image of Christ in us.  We begin to slowly make a significant impact where we live, work and play.


When Caring for Orphans Gets Hard: his name is Abdel

Abdel.  That’s his name.  He lives in Chad, a small country in Africa.  As a family we have been supporting him for the last several years.  We have seen him grow physically and have enjoyed the periodic updates we get about his progress and the work taking place in his village.  Often we can’t read his writing or make sense of the way he uses English.  But he doesn’t live here, in Kalamazoo, and so his use of English isn’t the point right?

We support Abdel through World Vision.  Recently World Vision made a controversial decision about same-sex marriage and you can read about it here.  I know I will offend some of you here.  But I am not a supporter of same-sex marriage.  I don’t believe that is what God’s intention for marriage and the family is.  But I am a supporter of loving people – regardless.  Maybe that’s because I have experience Christ’s unconditional love?

So, here’s the dilemma.  Do we as a family stop our sponsorship of Abdel, which impacts not only his life the but also the ministry in his village, because the organization our funds go through allows for same-sex marriage?  Let me put it a bit more bluntly:  Do I stop sending money to World Vision because I might be paying a gay person?

Jesus describes what it means to belong to him as one who feeds the hungry, clothes the poor and visits the prisoner in Matthew 25.  James writes this in his first chapter, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

So, now what do we do? I think the right thing to do is to continue to care for the orphan.  For a couple of reasons.

First.  When we decide to stop supporting orphans because the person helping with that work is gay or lesbian, we have now made that laborer’s sin more important than the need of the orphan.  I wonder what kind of message that sends to the world, living in darkness, about the light we are asked to shine?  I wonder how the world, in desperate need of Jesus, experience his love in that decision? Have we then communicated that we will love this person over that person, or love our sin but not yours?

This following Jesus in mission is hard, isn’t it?

Second. We set ourselves up as judge over who God can and cannot use.  In Scripture we have seen God use donkeys, prostitutes, adulterers, drinking parties (ok, weddings with lots of wine), shepherds and pagans.  If we stop helping orphans, if we stop bringing relief to those in desperate need, because of World Vision’s decision, have we put ourselves in the position of God?  I’m not saying that’s true for you, but wonder if you would be willing ask the question?

It’s hard not to armchair quarterback God sometimes!

Third.  Think how exhausting this way of living will become!  While I don’t believe same-sex marriage is God’s design, I also don’t believe adultery is, or stealing, or abusiveness, or drunkenness, or greed, or many other things.  But think about it.  I am pretty sure that when I filled up my truck with gas this morning that some of that money will find its way into the pockets of someone who is greedy.  I am pretty sure that when I bought bread this week that it helped the paycheck of someone who is getting drunk on the weekends.  I am pretty sure that my mobile phone bill is paying someone who is beating his wife or children. I am pretty sure that my taxes are supporting someone who is committing adultery.  In fact, I am completely convinced that most of my money eventually ends up in the hands of sinners and helps pay their bills. I know, sounds depressing!

Our world is broken and we are seeing the end of Christendom.

But that isn’t a bad thing.  I think it gives us a new opportunity to really live deeply Christian lives transformed by the power of Jesus at work in us. Following Jesus requires a deep work of thinking, praying and submission to his Word.  We can no longer afford to be haphazard in our thinking or way of being in the world.  Living missionally today give us so much opportunity to be the light of the world.  But it also requires deep transformation so we know who we are, whose we are and what we are to be about.

What I do know is this, it is really really hard to condemn someone into Heaven or invite them to experience the Kingdom through shame.


Love Came To Town Like A Storm

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PANIC

It was a little after 3:00am when her iPhone started going off.  Neither of us were able to rouse ourselves out of deep slumber before it quit and landline (yes, we still have one!) was blaring loudly.  As a pastor, any call at 3:00am isn’t good.  When your wife’s father is dying of bone cancer, it certainly isn’t good.

Cathy got to the phone and the message was clear – she and I were headed to WI as her dad was “actively dying” we were told.  We lay in bed trying to figure out what to do and how to go about doing it… It was Sunday morning, early, and I was slated to preach.  Does she go alone? Does she fly or take a train?  Do we both go early? Do we wait until after church? Who will take care of the kids?

Decision: We will drive together, she wants me with her, after church.  We will get someone to come and stay with the kids so it is as least disruptive for them as possible.

Experiencing Christ’s love through the Church is an amazing thing.  I love the Church!

I sent a text out to a couple of people to see if they can come hang with the kids overnight.  Neither one responds.  It’s 4:00am after all!  So in a couple hours I call and wake one of them up.  She freaks out hearing her pastor’s voice at this time in the morning.  However, she is able to pull herself into consciousness and our two-day profound experience of Love in action begins.

What does that kind of love look like?  It looks like God’s children interrupting their own lives in order to serve others. It looks like Jesus.  It looks like this.

Jesus’ love showed up in Rochelle. Setting aside whatever else she may have had going on that day & night, she takes on being fully responsible for the four teens in our home.  It showed up in her playing Yahtzee by candlelight and sleeping in a cold house because the massive storm the wrecked whole towns in Illinois swept through West Michigan too.

Jesus’ love showed up in Tom. On Sunday evening when we hear from the kids that they have no power, he promptly responds to my text from WI which said, “if still out in the am, would you fire up the generator for me?” He says, “yes.”  No hesitation.  So on the 18th anniversary of his marriage to Julie, he spends hours getting my generator running, getting extra gas for it and running extension cords to all the necessities in the house.

Love showed up in Nanette and Steve. I got a text early Monday morning from my daughter Hayley, “no power, no water, no school – what do we do?”  It’s not even 5:30am in WI after a long night of little sleep!  What do they do…?!? Another early morning text and not only do they let my kids run over to shower and warm up – they took them in for the whole day, fed them, AND when wegot back from WI later that evening, opened their home to my family to sleep someplace warm!

Jesus’ love showed up in Niki.  The consummate taxi driving mom of four, in all the busyness of her own family “post-storm,” loves on us by hauling my daughter around so she can still get to dance for her Nutcracker rehearsals.

Cathy’s dad did pass away just before we got to his bedside.  But that’s ok.  He went to be with Jesus and over the last several months deep reconciliation had taken place.  Everything that

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needed to be said was said.  He is with Jesus.

In the midst of the loss of Cathy’s dad, we never lost peace. Why? Love.  Loved showed up in our lives.

When God’s people choose love – there is a tangible shift in reality.

Everybody you meet today is facing a battle of some kind… Who are you actively loving today?


I Think I’m Racist!

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Don’t get me wrong.  Most people would look at my life and the people I hang out with and never suggest that I am.  In fact, for the most part, I wouldn’t say that I am.  But, there are these small little pieces in the secret places of who we are; and it is in there, that I think I am racist.  And, I am hopeful I will have the courage to press publish when I am done writing this.

Recently there were 3 Questions that really challenged me:

Two of them took came recently at a conference in NYC called Movement Day 2013.  I hadn’t been to Movement Day before and didn’t really know what to expect.  All I knew what that it seems that here in Kalamazoo God is doing something great and is generating a Gospel Movement to transform our little city, and that Movement Day is a conference about exactly that.  I went to the conference hoping to get some ideas to bring back, and understanding of how to steward such a movement, some practical tools and inspiration.  I got all that (it really is an amazing conference), and a whole lot more.

Already God was working on me in regard to what is happening in Kalamazoo and what needs to happen.  And then during the pre-conference it seems God really set me up.  Sitting with my friend Keith, we were to look at the current reality of Kalamazoo and identify what is missing.  It was clear to me what was missing – involvement from some of the African American churches.  In my head I am asking the question, “how do we get them to get involved in what we are doing, and why aren’t I doing anything about it?

Question 1

Moments later one of the African American leaders from another city talked about racial division and what racial collaboration can look like.  He shared how it first starts in relationships and finding the courage to meet one another on each others’ turf.  That troubled me.  I already knew it was about relationship.  And, I thought I had really good relationships with some African American pastors/leaders.  But…  I also knew, deep inside, that I hadn’t done anything to build a relationship with the pastors on the “north side.” Why haven’t I bothered?

Deep inside I was pretending I knew why I hadn’t. I’m too busy.  They’re too busy.  You know, the usual bull.  I looked at Keith and made a commitment to begin to build those relationships…

Question 2

One day later, in the middle of the conference, I am confronted by a very raw dialogue by Connally Gilliam (white and resourced) and Sherry Jones (african american & not as resourced) about their relationship and cross racial collaboration.  In that conversation Connally confessed to some areas of racism that I just hadn’t even thought about.  She said she realized that she believed “That Christianity was somehow a white religion and others got to just come along…” Some ways of just being in the world are inherited in a white, middle class, resourced life.  And I began to ponder with God…. What do I really believe?

I didn’t set out to be racist.  My parents certainly didn’t set out to raise me to be racist.  But I grew up in an all white little town in the middle of a mostly white state.  Wait…!   Remember the commitment I made to Keith – to build relationships?

The Monday morning after the conference I get an email from some guy I have never met.  It was an invitation to the prayer breakfast hosted by the Northside Ministerial Alliance.  Really God? I had never been to one of their meetings and I had never before been invited.  Clearly this was God’s way of opening a door for me to begin living into a commitment I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep.dr wright2

But God wasn’t done.  The featured speaker at the prayer breakfast was none other than Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright.  The Dr. Wright who made headlines because of harsh statements made about the United States and white people in general as a spiritual advisor to President Obama.  You know, the guy who made national news out of Chicago!

Thanks God.

I show up for the breakfast knowing I will get to sit with some other peeps I know from the community.  People from another nice suburban church.  What I didn’t know!  I didn’t know I should have dressed for The Oscars not my jeans and untucked button down.  I didn’t know I would be sitting right in the middle of the very front for everyone to look at – even as a high extrovert I was a little uncomfortable.  I didn’t know God wasn’t done bringing stuff up out of me.

Question 3

Dr. Wright gave a great message based out of Lamentations 4:17  and looking for help where there is no help to be found.  He was funny, sharp, brilliant and seemed to hit me hard.  In the middle of his talk he ran through a litany of where the Africans and then African Americans had looked for help in places it cannot be found.

In the middle of that litany I found myself feeling a wide array of emotions from anger, sadness, hopelessness, bitterness, etc.  I also found myself wanting, but unable, to distance myself from what he was saying. I didn’t want to hear in his voice the pain of the African people.  I didn’t want to hear from him the stark reality of the current situation.  My life is pretty squeaky clean and I like it that way. Why don’t I want to know the story and pain of the African American?

I love my life.  I have an amazing wife and family.  I get to do the kinds of things I know God has wired me and given me deep passion for.  I don’t like being racist.  And it isn’t that I have a dislike or hatred for anybody.  What I am discovering is that there is a part of me that loves the version of the American Dream I get to live.  I have been discipled by a white middle class version of the American Dream more than I have been discipled by Jesus and fear of stepping out of that keeps me stuck.

HOPE!

The good news is this.  God is reconciling all things and people to himself and the Spirit is alive!  And, I have a good friend, James, who has promised to help me. He wouldn’t have, however, if I hadn’t found the courage to authentic with him.


We Can Be Better?

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I grew up in a family with three boys.  I am the middle child.  Most middle children are peacemakers.  I am not.  Those of you who know me are shocked I’m sure!  Something I remember clearly from childhood are the fights with my brothers.  Sometimes they were physical.  You know how that would work right?  My older brother would beat me up and not being able to retaliate effectively, I would beat up my younger brother.

Sometimes the fighting was with words.  We were creative users of the English language my brothers and I.  We could sling mud and insult one another as if we were a Hollywood portrayal of 17th century parliament. When we really got going, we often stopped thinking about the language we were using and THAT would get Mom’s attention.  And not in a good way.

When we used language we weren’t supposed to use, we were given the opportunity to clean our mouths – with soap.  Hard, white soap doesn’t taste good.  I don’t know about the soft soaps that smell nice from Bath & Body…

Over the last two days I have been dismayed by the Christian community’s use of language.  

I have read words from Christian leaders, many of whom I really admire, using hateful, warlike language to describe those politicians they dislike.  I have read words describing our leaders (democrats, republicans, the president, etc.) as terrorists, bullies, the enemy, the antichrist, thieves, hostage-takers, and the list goes on.

Jesus is really clear.

Jesus didn’t beat around the bush about how we are supposed to talk to and about one another.  In fact, in Matthew 5:21-22 he says, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother is subject to judgment. Again, anyon who says to his brother, ‘Raca’ (an Aramaic term of contempt) is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

Words matter.

When I choose to stay in my anger and to villainize another person, it is impossible to have meaningful dialogue.  When politicians villainize one another, it is impossible for them to have helpful dialogue enabling them to lead our nation.  When the Church villainizes others, it is impossible for us to be on mission with God.

Let me say that again, maybe a little differently.  When we, the Church, villainize others and use combative language, we are not advancing the Kingdom, the Shalom, of God.  Jesus is really clear about that.

Church, what if we walked humbly, lived missionally, loved profusely and prayed deeply?  Would we reflect more the image of Christ and his love for this world?

Lead like Christ.

Now is an opportunity like no other for the Church – to lead and live in the way of Jesus.  Be prophetic filled with love.  Speak authentically words seasoned by grace. Live courageously like Jesus joy-filled lives designed for integrity. Through the power and presence of the Spirit, be different. Lord, during these times of distrust and deep division, may we, your body & bride, be experienced differently by the world and may they see hope.

I love being right.  More than being right, however, I want to live with integrity and love.  I want to live into the design God created me for and to lovingly see the Kingdom of God reign in my world.  So, as much as I want to be right, I’m not going to call you names when you disagree with me. That way we can talk about it.