Saturday, August 13, 2011

We Need To Return To Living Christ's Walk

Lately I've been seeing and hearing so much chaos in the church. Now, I'm speaking of the Body of Christ, not the local denomination or non-denominational body housed in a brick and mortar building. The denominations/non-denominations have argued for years over the 'interpretation' of scripture. But, the foundations upon which our faith is based is on the life and walk of Jesus Christ. Our principles are supposed to be those that He taught, and lived!

I've had concerns for a while about how we have strayed from those teachings and His examples. Many non-Christians are proclaiming the hypocrisy of the church, today, because we teach about love and turn around and practice hate and apathy. Where are the works that Christ said we would perform? He told us that we would perform the same, even greater, works than He did during his 3 years of ministry. And He performed some mighty works: healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, restoring the withered limbs of the lame, giving hearing to the deaf, even raising the dead! But the biggest work He accomplished was loving everyone around Him. Feeding the 5,000 was an act of love! The motivation for raising Lazarus from the dead was love! Restoring life to the son of the widow was compassionate and loving!

But, where is the love in the church, today? The church is more known for it's works to take away rights from those who don't believe the way we think they should, and that's not love. Some argue that the Constitutional protection for the right to worship is only meant for Christians, not for Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. That's not love! I'm not certain if the motivating factor behind these 'movements' is hate, or whether it stems from fear, but either way, it's not motivated by, nor does it show, LOVE!

In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul wrote about love; he told us: "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails."

Measure your actions, your attitudes, your motivations against these scriptures. When you work to take something away from others, whether it be the right to worship as they please or to take away rights that you enjoy, that does not conform to what Paul taught us love is. So what if you don't agree with them? You don't have to! All you have to do is love them: show them kindness, patience, compassion, hope. Think back to your life before you accepted Christ: if Christians had worked to take away your rights and freedoms, would you have become a Christian? By and large, the answer would be no. Because you wouldn't have wanted anything to do with people who were working against you! Trying to take away your freedom, your choice.

The way to win the lost is not by force; by stripping them of their freedom of choice so they are required to become Christian in order to enjoy the same rights and freedoms you do; the way to win them to Christ is by loving them, supporting their rights, even if their decisions are contrary to what you believe.

Take some time to read just the words in red in the New Testament; after you've done so, reflect on what you've read: is there anything in those words that tells you to limit anyone's choices? Is there anything in there that tells you to use the government to force people to believe the way you do? Is there anything in there that tells you treat the lost in any way other than respectful and with dignity?

It's time we returned to the basics of our faith: loving each and every person on this planet the way Jesus loved us!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Governor Perry's National Prayer Event

I've been in full agreement with the Prayer Event suggested by and brought about by Texas Governor Perry. However, I'm appalled at the stance of the American Family Association in Tupelo, Mississippi when they state that the First Amendment's freedom of religion applies ONLY to Christians.

Not only does the amendment apply to ALL religions, but Christ, Himself, taught us that WE are to give freedom to those who choose another religion. We are not to abridge ANYONE's rights to make choices based on their own free will. God gave man the free will to make decisions and choices, even the choice to not believe in Him or follow Him. How, then, can we claim to be His followers if we do not extend that same freedom of will to other people?