Local churches too often thrive on a culture of control. We set a standard of fear and condemnation based on an unachievable standard and spend our precious relationship cycles telling people what they can’t do. Our control choice inhibits the mission of spreading good news.
We should be focusing our leadership and congregations on what they CAN do. That is GOOD News of great joy. God is love. We the people are charged to live in that example. The entire garden of Eden is ours and yet we focus on control and the one tree. That power choice controls us.
Faith in God trumps fear, Including fear of viruses and fear of big governments. Fear easily focuses ME exactly on what I view as the ultimate authority AND power in my life at the moment. I choose to use faith as my lens instead, now and into the future. If I remain afraid, I’m not rooted in faith and I’ve chosen poorly. Honestly.
In order to proceed differently, we must accept what went well and what is failing. Changing nothing is accepting a likely outcome.
All we really know is that happened based on the actions in the past and even those facts are often interpreted differently. How do we define success and what are we able to actually do to make a difference? There is a judgement and the accountability for how we spend our time, money, and precious ability. We choose and we are thus accountable for our choices. Too many desire to be subjects to avoid accountability.
What is the job? What is the goal? What is success?
for your church? Your family? Your job? Your freedom? Your example? Your writing? Happiness?
Tozer teaching still today. “No free believer should ever sell his freedom to another. No Christian is worthy to be the master of other Christians.”
Christianity is not rational. It is miraculous. Jesus loves us in spite of us. He was resurrected from the dead and is God was God as well as man. Based on what we know, this is impossible. Faith requires belief in what it impossible.
The mystery of the Trinity boggles the minds of men because we are made, we are not God. It is okay to not understand everything. Be. Love. Serve. Repeat. This is the way.
Singing in a safe space is a way forward. We need to start somewhere in society. The local church and musicians are a critical step.
We as individual must step up and be the light. #JustSing
Turning on a light in the midst of a dark, dangerous place is not a subtle small thing. It is miraculous, courageous and powerful.
Think evil, bugs, criminals, etc. The light is the beginning of their end and they know it. They will fight.
Stand up and fight back. Be. Love. Serve. Repeat is not about being neutral. Let your light, the light of God, shine. Let it shine Let it shine let it shine.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
--- Marianne Williamson.
I enjoyed listening to Cardinal Dolan in NY just now. I agree... Religion is a very personal thing, but it is not private. The secular humanist idea/movement to silence and sideline faithful is in direct opposition to the great commission. Relegating faith and testimony to Jesus as non-essential is insidious. Amplifying secular voice while restricting and minimizing the "church" will not succeed. It never has. Focusing on secular and human ability has however created and spread chaos and tyranny along with pain and suffering whenever it is separated from GOD. History proves this simple fact over and over and over.
Christians must utilize our rights and stand up publicly for our beliefs and principles. Government is not God. Science is not God. Pain and suffering are not God and are certainly not eternal. We are blessed beyond measure to understand and accept the simple truths personally as we share the good news publicly.. in word and deed. Be. Love. Serve. Repeat.
"God fully expects the church of Jesus Christ to prove itself a miraculous group in the very midst of a hostile world. Christians, of necessity, must be in contact with the world but in being and spirit ought to be separated from the world. --- and as such we should be the most amazing people in the world." A W Tozer 1897-1963
“...All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with youalways, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20
It is difficult for me to understand actions which elevate the darkness of our world in the face of such hope and light. The birth of the child, any child, is an inestimable miracle and blessing. Jesus birth, savior of the world, shows us the love and hope in the Lord.
It is a choice to embrace the sadness, and the darkness born out of our fallen nature. It is a choice to submit to the fear of the unknown. Faith is hope in the throes of the turmoil and struggle.
Joy comes in the morning. The night is cold and dark, and we must not linger there precisely because we KNOW that the morning is coming.
We as Christians MUST stand and be counted for what we know. I know whom I have believed. It is not the television, or the government. I trust in the name of the Lord of Lords. Jesus loves me in spite of my nature. That is a miracle indeed.
Refuge and relief from evil does not come from logic, laws, nor music, nor art or poetry. Evil and darkness do not recognize reason. We cannot save ourselves but we need to only ask and we are saved. In a moment... Jesus Christ is the light of the world, the way the truth the life... Our hope... He is our refuge and our strength in the face of evil. He lights the way and walks by our side. In him every valley shall be exalted...the crooked straight, and the rough places plain. Look to the heavens friends. Seek ye first the kingdom and his righteousness. And then, all these things will be added unto you.
Friend asked about black churches, democrats, and D vs R “theology” this am. I responded this way.
Political party affiliation really has nothing to do with Christianity. Period. Worldview and politics are best rendered and focused to Caesar. I love attending “black” churches and all Great commission focused churches. There are plenty, look to left, look to right... and then focus UP. Philippians 4 addresses it perfectly.
For record: All have sinned and fall short of glory. We are saved by Christ... not by govt or politics... or Caesar.
Unity of purpose in great commission does not require uniformity of action. Period. It is a hard reality for all sides. I do not need to understand actions and choices of others if I’m focused on God and my assigned mission. Where I am. As I am. Be. Love. Serve. Repeat.
Fear mongering is about focusing on what others cannot or should not do because of what you "might" lose...because of wildly speculative models and ideas with faulty logic and flawed assumptions...
Hopeful leaders focus on foundations of faith and love... anticipating what we will all gain when we adhere to principles.. rather than principals.
It is easy to find people and things to hate. It is even easier when our world view is based on victimization and comparison. This hatred often flows into violence and oppression.
Newsflash: the solution is NEVER more hate. Violence is a symptom of the hatred not a solution.
Loving and serving in a world based on individual accountability, honor, and respect is not a utopian dream. It is achievable here and now. Every day is an opportunity. Every person is a specific, beloved, first born child of Christ. When we start acting like it, things change.
Big things are managed by little things. Big problems are solved by many little solutions. There is no easy button and there is no magic bullet. Do the work. Make good decisions. Good BIG things will happen. Keep your eyes on the right prize. This is a big thing.
Luke 16:8-18 MSG
[8-9] … God Sees Behind Appearances [10-13] Jesus went on to make these comments: If you're honest in small things, you'll be honest in big things; If you're a crook in small things, you'll be a crook in big things. If you're not honest in small jobs, who will put you in charge of the store? No worker can serve two bosses: He'll either hate the first and love the second Or adore the first and despise the second. You can't serve both God and the Bank. [14-18] When the Pharisees, a money-obsessed bunch, heard him say these things, they rolled their eyes, dismissing him as hopelessly out of touch. So Jesus spoke to them: “You are masters at making yourselves look good in front of others, but God knows what’s behind the appearance. …
By Lonnie Bullock..
As we move into early voting and the last few weeks before the election, I have been thinking often about the filters I use in selecting the person I will vote for. Beyond party alignment, beyond fear, beyond media hype, beyond the deception of advertising, I find myself asking, "What will influence my decision when I mark my ballot?"
Here are some of the filters I am using to determine my vote:
1. I am a Christian who values the teachings of the Bible so that is my first filter.
2. I have and will forever be a defender and voice for the unborn. I will never silence by voice by voting for a person who devalues the life of the unborn.
3. I value our history of being a republic of states, united under one constitution.
4. I believe government should be as small as possible and exists to serve the people not for the people to serve the government.
5. I believe all people are created equal and should not be used as pawns to accomplish political agendas.
6. I believe in capitalism and that government exists to encourage private ownership and not government control.
7. I believe those who have much, much is required as individuals find ways to serve the community.
8. I value religious freedom and believe the church is essential to the health of communities and our nation.
9. I value law and order equally administered and enforced.
10. I will support those who best match my filter and who love their country.
I am proud to be an American and am excited to participate in our great democracy by voting. I encourage all of you who live in America to do the same.
The choir and collective singing is in the heart of worship. It is powerful, indicting, and comforting, but not always comfortable. Your congregation is essentially a choir. The recent pandemic crisis has restricted almost all communal singing due to the numbers, aerosol science speculations, fear, and the reality that Covid is a serious and dangerous disease for many choral singers due to age, comorbidity and a whole series of issues and complications born out of congregating together.
Is worship suffering? Yes it is.
Are churches growing in the midst of this crisis? Not in nickels and noses that I can see. but maybe in other ways.
My premise is that the absence of congregational and choral singing has reminded us all of how important worship is to our wellbeing. It also exposes a critical gap in many churches engagement models. Fellowship, Sunday School for kids and adults, Bible Study, and Service projects are the lifeblood of our churches.. Worship is a reflection of service.. in a service. It is the lens, the metric, to evaluate our health. When we are faithful and submit to serve and love others… Worship will showcase our hearts.
We must sing together and share songs. This is about more than physical singing. It is about example. Singing is uncomfortable for many because it is an outward and public sharing of heart. This exposes us, and makes us vulnerable. We are so lucky that God covers us.
Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you.
Breaking news! It really is September First. The world continues to turn. God is in control, and we are all going to be okay.
Also.. don't be fooled by the media and politicians.. every election is important.. every single one. Principles and Platforms are the game.. not the individuals. Experience teaches us this. The seasons continue, and we the people are just that.. people. GOD HAS GOT THIS!
Romans 8:28 NIV And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Solid question asked today in our era of crime and punishment and evidence and science. If you died today, is there enough evidence available for your friends, neighbors, family members and even strangers to review and convict you of being a Christian? It isn’t about talking, being good, nice or moral... the case is made in your words and deeds. Your legacy in sharing the good news of the Gospel. We are so easily distracted these days, consumed with a desire to look good, be good, do good. Those things are indeed good, but the way to heaven is through Jesus. Belief and devotion to a man that lived, died and was resurrected for us. Earthly standards are just that. God’s standard is all or nothing. Everything ventured. Everything gained.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life— your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life— and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.” Romans 12:1-2 MSG
National political strife and division in face of a historic election decision , violence and protest.
Disease, sickness, death.
Isolation, mental illness, bullying, tyranny
Entertainment, education, and evolving expectations of everyone.
Too many spending too much time focused on not dying above all else.
we must choose to live and be alive in Gods world.
The sun rises. Today is an opportunity to serve. What we see and how we see matters. Don’t worry, be happy is more than a platitude. It is a critical principle to living. Faith. Hope and love remain. That is a trinity of advice we must see and say every day.
Every group, family, and relationship has cracks. Here is the thing. When that foundation stone is under intense pressure, it is NOT possible to repair the cracks. If nothing is done, then cracks will widen and eventually the foundations will crumble completely leaving a disaster zone for everything, and everyone connected. The problem to manage is repair, without driving wedges into the cracks and making the problem worse.
In our world today, our families, our churches, our institutions are under immense pressure. Cracks which have been present forever, are being stressed and widened. Many of these “institutions” will suffer catastrophic failures. As a leader in my family, in my church, it is my job to care for the entire system. I seek to repair the cracks, or at least fill them. HOW?
First, I use time to remove pressure and then I find the strong pieces, and use them to carry the load for the weaker sections as we add strength.
The mortar is love, but the solution requires more than simply loving and accepting. It is a balancing act of stress and relief, communication and care and accountability for change. Understanding the true pillars of the foundation is a required step. For me, that is faith and commitment to God.
As a family comes apart, there are flex points.. fulcrums and pressure points. The process is the same for bring one together. We must accept the cracks, and seek to fill them so that we can lift one another and shore up the foundation.
Disagreements must not be allowed to move to contempt.
Actions and decisions affecting the “whole” must take into account the needs of the individuals.
People are equal. Ideas and solutions are not. Decisions and actions separate but they also unite when connected to a shared purpose. Unity of purpose does not require uniformity of action, but it does require a shared understanding and direction.
FAMILY. FAITH. These are flawed and cracked… but the foundations rooted in stone, rather than sand will stand the pressure… and by working together, we can find a way to avoid collapse. IF… we choose to do so.
For me, it is unacceptable to see the coming failure and do nothing, but doing something must not spread divide and weaken the whole. We must agree on the definition of the whole.
The vision to move on with life embracing faith and fellowship over fear and isolation threatens the houses of sand for many in power. Reputation, position, even authority is shifting. A powerful vision. evokes fierce opposition from many who are comfortable and just want to return to how it was “before”.
Our times are a chrysalis. We will emerge and fly soon enough. God is in command and evolving HIs space and time around us as He decides. We are changing and when we live in Him we are remade...literally. EVERYTHING CHANGES.
Tutto cambia. Vedo la luce.
Will you seek a future filled with faith and hope, rooted in love? Now is the time to decide. Don’t be one of the millions who is acting a part, performing for man rather than worshipping a loving and living God.
Intersection of principles and practices...