Friday, August 7, 2009

The American Teen

Lately, I've been watching a couple episodes of a tv show online. (If you'll notice, i'm not giving the name of the show because I don't want to come across like I'm endorsing it.) It feels like I'm watching a teen soap opera. There is tons of drama in this show and I'm just glad I didn't involved much with folks like this in school and at the same time, I kinda wish I would've had more friends like this to bring stability into situations. One of the main girls in the show is pregnant (i think she's about 15 or so) and they're all talking about sleeping around or at least making out and dating.... its a lot of drama for me. Sometimes, my heart is just totally broken for this kind of stuff. Another one of the main characters is supposedly the 'good little Christian girl', but its a bad portrayal of one. Granted, that's what the world sees and perceives of it. But when I found out that the 'christian' girl was who the character was to portray, I was just like "oh dear God, here we go..." (but that's what happens when the church isn't being the church and not being an example of living a standard according to the Bible... I'm preaching to myself on that one).

I find it hard to grasp of my identity being in anything but Jesus, but that's just how I grew up. I mean, obviously in this show most of the characters aren't Christians. In any case, I look at society around me and ask for God's heart for the folks around me. Because from myself, I just have no patience. But what about God's heart for these folks? Do we just abandon them or do we befriend them and show them the love of Jesus? Those who have been forgiven much know how to forgive. To those who have been given grace, they give grace a whole lot.

Normally, I wouldn't want to sink a whole lot of time into a show like this. But in a strange way, I feel the grace for it... meaning that I almost feel like the Lord wants me to get something out of it and show me something through it.

But over the past few years, I've been examining my evangelism methods. I used to be one to just boldly say stuff, regardless of many of the repercussions. And there is time and place for that still. I used to love to open air preach, and perhaps I'll be doing more of that someday. But I've come to realize that often times, folks don't feel loved. (I am in no way endorsing a total seeker sensitive thinking here and never addressing issues and never speaking truth, because there is a definite need for it.) But in every situation, grace and wisdom needs to be used. Jesus told the woman at the well to "Go and sin no more." He didn't say "oh, its ok, keep messing around with all these guys and i'll still love you..." He didn't exploit her either. He calmly and gently laid down the law and pointed her to truth.

Also in watching this show, I often times as myself how I would handle this if I were in this situation? I mean, obviously most if not all of these issues would be handled if the folks had any real idea of who Jesus was and all that wonderful stuff. But then they wouldn't have a show. And it makes me very grateful that I know Jesus and gives me a greater burden to make Him known.

The United States is probably one of the greatest nations on this Earth as far as I'm concerned. We have our problems, no doubt. But the Lord has been able to use us in countless occasions in the past to help our nations out. Now, with that comes a great responsibility. It's the responsibility to use what we have properly. Same thing goes for the church: we have to steward God's presence properly... thoughts anyone?

Truth Is Truth

Sometimes there is no way around it... sometimes, the law just has to be laid down. Sometimes, no matter how nicely I try and tell people something, there is a chance of a bad perception. Sometimes it’s my fault for the delivery, and sometimes the it was just received wrong, by that I mean the person receiving it didn’t get it right. I once heard the line that its better to be understanding than understood. And I try and live by that. But sometimes, no matter how it’s brought up, there is an offense brought up.

My pastoral side sometimes just wants to throw my arm around folks and encourage. And then at times the prophetic side rises up in me and then I know I have to be careful with what I say. I will say this: we as Christians are to be physicians more than cooks. With that said, its also important to say things in the right spirit/attitude and correct manner. You want to deal with each situation as you feel the Holy Spirit directs you.

I have come across a few arguments, they’re called ‘self-defeating’ arguments because followed out logically, the cancel themselves out. One’s like:

1. There are no absolute truths. Response: You sure about that?

2. Well, that’s right for you but not for me. Response: You try telling that to the cop when they pull you over for speeding, doing a 70 in a 55 (a hypothetical situation). When the officer comes up and says “I caught you doing 70 in a 55. And you say “Well, that may be true for you but not for me.” And you speed off… that just won’t work.

3. Well, I grew up in church and I’m a good person… Response: This one is my favorite one. Because it’s probably the most destructive one. In Revelation, the Laodicean church got all out rebuked for having this type of mentality. They thought they had it going for them, but they were spiritually bankrupt. Leonard Ravenhill said once “How is it that the world couldn’t get on with Jesus who was the holiest man ever to live and yet they can get on with you?”

4. You’re being judgmental! Response: thanks for judging me and thus cancelling yourself out. This is an argument that’s seemingly based out of Matt. 7. What that chapter ISN’T saying is that we’re not to use common sense and wisdom from God and make a judgment call when someone does something stupid… like stealing (just an example). What this chapter is meaning is that we’re not to judge the motives of someone’s heart. Check out this article about it

Here’s the deal: Jesus had more grace and compassion on the sinners of the day than the religious folks. The woman caught in adultery, go and sin no more. He didn’t excuse or condone her sin. He judged her with love and compassion.

We also need to get a concept of what love REALLY means. True love is rough at times when it’s needed. Sometimes, loving parents have to kick their kids out of the house for being stupid. And honestly, I have more patience with a outright pagan than I do with someone who CLAIMS to be a Christian, but produces no fruit for it. They don’t know the Bible at all, there is no prayer life… stuff like that.

Sometimes, love means discipline… and yes, I believe in spanking. Spanking done in the right spirit produces fruit. I know, I was spanked as a child (and I continually thank my parents for it to this day.)

Lately, its seems like the church (talking about the body as a whole) is in this huge identity crisis. It seems more like a big social club gathering, and instead of actually addressing issues, we’ve turned a blind eye to it.

A solution to all of this: For one thing, quit giving the Lord lip service. In Jeremiah it says that we honor the Lord with our lips but our hearts are far from Him. We put on a mask and sadly, we can fool a good number of folks. Two: be honest with the Lord and with yourself. Three: it’s time to get the presence of God back into the body. We’ve traded the presence of God for our churchy programs. I’m not against programs necessarily. I teach at our Royal Rangers program once a week at my church. But more than anything, my desire is for the body of Christ to experience the manifest presence of God. Trust me when I say that 30 seconds in the presence of God can and will do the work of hours and hours of sermons/messages. And those messages aren’t a bad thing necessarily. We need good solid Biblical teaching. But just seconds in Daddy’s presence will do the work of tons of sermons.

All of this isn’t really anything new. Most of it was due to recent conversations I’ve had with folks who were very well meaning, and I just wanted to set the record straight on a couple things.

I’m not afraid to necessarily pull ideas from various sources, but just to let everyone know in reading this that the Bible is my foremost authority. I get a lot of concepts and ideas from various sources and everything is taken by to scripture and scrutinized according to Biblical principles. So I welcome your comments but be mindful that I do use discretion and if I feel the comment needs to be pulled, this is my site and I hold that right. But everything will be done in a Biblical order.

I forgot to mention some websites to check out: