Over the past four years I have been traveling around the world and the US with the mission organization I lead called ServeNow. It has been awesome, exhausting, inspiring and exasperating! I have learned much, my faith has been stretched, my patience tried, leadership enriched, and eyes opened even more to the vibrancy of faith around the world. I have been humbled by the sacrifice, service, passion, compassion and joy of fellow believers and co-labors in other nations and many generous people here at home. But, I have it on my heart to share five insights I think the church in the US is in desperate need of being challenged by and encouraged with. I pray this article could be used for both those purposes.
There seems to be on ongoing trend and growing problem in the church world that I believe needs addressed. It is something that flies in the face of the very message of the Gospel and way of life we are called to model as representatives of Jesus and brothers and sisters in Christ. The issue I am writing about is how easy it is for us to get offended and walk away from relationships, friendships and churches, instead doing the painful but biblical work of seeking reconciliation
Wrestling with what is wrong, must turn into working for what is right. Anger must turn to action that brings forth positive change. Bitterness must be replaced with mercy and grace. Being hurt must lead to becoming more compassionate and sensitive to others hurting or feeling unnoticed. And being upset about all the “un-Christ-like” Christians out there must lead me to becoming more like Christ myself not less.
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
He said that as he was looking at this picture it struck him that while that was an outward, visible and physical slum in a third world country, there are millions of people all around us right here in America who live in a very different kind of slum; a slum in fact that is not on the outside, but inside of themselves. A slum or poverty of the soul.
Marriage is meant to be one of the most profound and clear pictures of the kind of relationship God desires to have with us, and how it will be in eternity with him. Psalm 16:11 in fact says: “In your presence is fullness of joy and eternal pleasures forevermore.” Sex in marriage is a foretaste of even greater joy to come in the presence of God. There are eternal pleasures that supersede any earthly pleasures. God is not a cosmic kill-joy, but a life-giving joy giver!
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!