If the current war in Ukraine has caused many to rediscover anything, it is specific prayers in the Bible that we used to ignore or that would cause embarrassment. The two I quoted above from Psalms fall into that category. They are pleas for God to essentially step in and beat up the enemies of Israel in some graphic ways. How can these be justified as “Christian” prayers?
Too often and easily, we get set in our ways and fail to think about why we do what we do or honestly examine what we are doing. But what if we stripped everything away and started over? What would we do? What are we called to do? Could it be that we lost our way, purpose, mission, and calling that Jesus outlined for us?
I loathe election years, and in general American politics. But it is not politics itself that I see as the problem. Instead, it is the relationship of the evangelical church in the United States to politics. I believe the great sin of the American church is an obsession with power and politics.
These are embarrassing and sad days for the church of Jesus Christ in America. These are days we may look back upon with deep shame. But when that day comes, it may be what finally brings us to our knees in recognizing our need for the only one with power to save, heal, redeem, restore, and deliver. We need Jesus. Only Jesus.
However, the verse that most struck me and has stayed with me is how, the Lord had promised to keep the lamp of David’s kingdom burning brightly. Amid human failure, was still divine faithfulness! Among a people who had lost their way was a promise that not all was lost. Towards a nation living beneath their calling, was a word of eternal hope.
We have elevated lesser earthly values above more important kingdom values such as mercy, justice, grace, forgiveness, and love (Matthew 24). We have lost the spirit of Jesus who came not demanding his rights; but laying down his very life and “rights” for our sake and salvation (Philippians 2:5-11). I think we have become disconnected and disoriented from our primary passion for Christ and his eternal kingdom. I believe we have lost perspective and lost our way because it is not about us, it is about God being glorified in our lives. It is not about our rights above all or above the good or consideration of others. I want to get back to the heart of worship. I want to see only Jesus
Let me cut to the chase: too many who identify as “America Christians” are putting “America” ahead of the “Christian” part. Yes, I am an American myself, but I am first of all a follower of Christ. I am a citizen of the United States of America; but I have a higher citizenship as a citizen of heaven. I was born an American; but I was born-again into the family of God when I trusted in Christ. This identity and citizenship in the kingdom of heaven is one that is eternal; while any earthly citizenship is temporary.
In America, we have made everything about being “right” that we have failed to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15-16). In America, we have made our focus political rather than the person of Christ. In America, we have succumbed to fear, anger and outrage with those who disagree with us or hold a different worldview, instead of living a life of hope, joy, respect and gentleness. In America, we have failed to show this generation the goodness and grace of God by our attitudes and rhetoric.
I was in a meeting recently where several people were sharing their efforts in different arena’s. One man shared about his efforts to address homelessness, another spoke of prison ministry and rehabilitation, and yet another missions work around the world. There was one more who spoke about political issues.
Want to take a guess who got the biggest applause and only standing ovation that day?
But God has one purpose for my life and yours and every other Christian in every other generation and every generation to come, until Christ comes back and we are perfected. It is a singular purpose that is the same for every one of us.
This week I prayed an honest prayer in front of my staff. It was a little unnerving for me and I think uncomfortable for them. In that prayer, I was wrestling with God over an issue (without coming to a definite resolution) and wrestling with my emotions in a rather raw way that might not have sounded very “Christian.” Normally, I would save those “darker” prayers for private, but to be honest, I’m kind of tired of what seems like an only “positive” (and hence somewhat superficial or one-sided) Christianity in public.
Your neighbor is anyone, at anytime, anywhere, that you come across and see in need. The question is not who is your neighbor, but will you be a neighbor to those in need, even at your own personal expense?
And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing—the utterly detestable things the Israelites are doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see things that are even more detestable.” -Ezekiel 8:6
Over the years I have been giving more and more concerned thought to a number of issues within the American Church world specifically. There has been growing alarm in many circles (even many pastors/people in the Church community and leaders that I have personally spoken too in the non-profit world) over issue’s like the realityContinue reading “First Love: He is After Our Hearts”
Today, on Easter Sunday, as we remember the stone that was rolled away out of which Jesus emerged to new life, I pray the same will happen for you. Whatever “very large” stone has trapped you or is crushing you, may it be removed in Jesus’ name! May you experience His resurrection and victorious power.
Many of us do nothing for God because of “stones” that exist in our mind. There are obstacles that hold us back from even moving towards those situations. We feel called to serve but we see no way that we can do it, so we don’t even attempt. And because we don’t attempt, we never witness the resurrection power and reality of our Living Savior!
There are a lot of things that pass as “Christian” but are actually very unbiblical or unChrist like. Below are ten of my top “pet peeves” that commonly pass as “Christian” but fail the biblical test when examined more closely. Some may surprise you, even might offend you!