Editors note: I copied and pasted this from my Facebook account to this. Some folks may not be able to view Facebook if they don't have an account. So, in an attempt to allow others to view this, I brought it here. Aren't I a nice guy?
I want to put this out here for you blogging folks to chew over. There are big disputes, or maybe we'll say 'misunderstandings' of the love of God. Granted, I'm still trying to work this out as well, but I've done a few laps around the sun by now, so I felt my input might be helpful for some.
I've done various street ministry (meaning going to the streets of the city and talking with various folks) and I've done open air preaching at UNCC. It was quite interesting. That certainly has it's place. I was on a team of folks who would go onto the UNCC campus for a time and do open air preaching and just walk around and talk to folks. But sometimes, I question the results of it and its effectiveness. I'm sure there is some fruit to it. Did Jesus do street preaching? From time to time He did. Of course, most of the street ministry He would do is healing the sick and stuff like it. He moreso challenged the religious system of the day. This isn't to say that anyone who does street ministry is wrong or bad. One of my friends from church has a 10' cross and he carries that down the city streets. Talk about a magnet to draw people into conversation.
But I think that one of my favorite techniques of ministering is around a kitchen table or quieter conversations with people, to hear whats going on with them. I would say that much of my theology is a mixture of Arminism and Calvinism. I believe the Lord gives us free will to choose the path we want to go down. He has a path He would like us to go down, but He wants us to choose Him. As far as I see it, extreme Calvinism makes God out to be a sinner and un-Biblical. It makes God to draw us into sin. Which of course He can't do. Theology and doctrine are good, but its really just man trying to figure God out.
I want you to think as judgement/correction/rebuke as this. The Lord disiplines (judges/corrects/rebukes) those He loves. I'm sure there are a few rebuke-happy folks out there. But when its done in the wrong spirit/attitude, its wrong. If and whenever I bring correction to someone, I like to do it one on one. No one else needs to hear it, or at least not at that times hopefully. But then when i get to praise someone for doing something, i love to do that in public. But I've been corrected in the past, and it doesn't feel good at the time. But afterwards, i realize that this person had my best interests at heart and they wanted to see me grow. Whenever my supervisors at work would tell me I'm doing something wrong (and they were right) i would thank them and move on. They were doing that to help me out.
My parents would discipline me growing up. At the time, it didn't feel good. but in the end, they were doing it because they loved me. I know some of you don't believe in discipline because it was done in the wrong spirit. And now whenever you hear the term discipline or Father, you recoil. You had a bad experience. Satan brings condemnation (meaning there is no hope for you). God brings conviction (you were wrong, but there is hope for you yet.)
A lot of time in ministering, I'm dealing w/ folks (young and old) who have a bad perception of God. They think He's a evil task master and just wants to discipline and hurt people. There was abuse growing up and your dealing with that and that's the filter you run it through when you hear Father. Do you realize that that's giving a bad perception of God the Father? God the Father wants the best for you. He has an awesome plan for you and He wants to love on you.... You just have to open up your heart to Him. He doesn't want to exploit you in any way, shape or form. He wants to heal those hurts and give you a correct perception of Him.
Do you realize that you can actually enjoy God? You can enjoy prayer and reading the Bible? God wants for you to enjoy those things! He wants you to enjoy life! God is a Father who wants to love you; He's Jesus who wants a personal relationship with you; and He's the Holy Spirit who wants to empower you to live life to the fullest.
I was just talking about this last night with some of my friends. When a guy and girl first start dating (and hopefully it doesn't stop), he doesn't consider the time he spends with her as something he HAS to do, he probably looks at it as something he WANTS to do. He'll ride his bike miles on end in crazy traffic, with 95 degree temps and humidity like crazy just to spend time with her (ok, so this is all either theory, or at least stories i've heard). But its not like he's dreading the time. He's looking at the end destination.
So I've spouted off for long enough, thanks for taking the time to read this.