Evangelism, Homosexuality, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ There’s Mor Than Just Chikin at Steak* Here

Originally Published July 26, 2012Image

*Yes, I know I spelled it wrong in the title. That was on purpose. See the cows? :0)

If, this far into the game, you don’t know about “Chick-fil-A-gate” –as I’m calling it– you must have been living in a cave over the past few weeks. Without internet access, newspapers, cable TV, or, especially, social media.

In a counter response to the homosexual community’s response to Dan Cathy’s response (you’re following this, right?) to an interviewer’s questions, former governor/presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee created a Facebook event called “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day”. Basically, he’s encouraging all who agree with Mr. Cathy’s position on traditional marriage to support him and the restaurant chain (and make up for any business he has lost from the pro-homosexual community) by showing up at their local Chick-fil-A next Wednesday (Aug. 1) and buying some chicken.

In the broad scope of things, this day of appreciation is a nice idea, but one that will quickly be over when Chick-fil-A employees mop up and lock up at close of business. For better or worse, the whole brouhaha will soon blow over and people will go back to their lives.

Or will they?

You see, I’m betting that in a counter-counter response to the Chick-fil-A supporters, there will be some pro-homosexual groups of protesters who also show up. (Don’t hate on that. As long as they aren’t breaking any trespassing, traffic, etc., laws, they are well within their Constitutional rights to do so.)

That’s why I say there’s more at stake here than just chicken.

What if you had a chance to impact one of those people for eternity? What if you could play a part in making next Wednesday the turning point in someone’s life? What if you could be the first person ever to show someone what real Christianity looks like?

As nice of an idea as it is to throw Chick-fil-A some love, Jesus didn’t command us to support businesses we agree with. He commanded us to carry the gospel.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;” Matthew 28:19-20a

If we walk into a Chick-fil-A next week, past a group of people who are dying in their sins, and ignore them, are we any better than the priest and the Levite who left a beaten and bloody man to die in the road rather than rescuing him? Even if they aren’t conscious of it themselves, these people have been battered, bloodied, and enslaved by Satan.

And we’re going to “pass by on the other side” to buy a chicken sandwich?

“Go and do the same” as the one who showed mercy, said Jesus.

Take them a cooler of iced down cokes. Tell them you love them. Ask them if there’s anything they need.  Show them you love them by taking the time to take an interest in them, personally. (Nobody feels loved if they think they’re just a notch on your spiritual belt.)

And share the gospel.

You might get laughed at or cursed at or mocked, but there’s no greater way to show mercy than to show someone the Savior.

Your chicken sandwich could change somebody’s life.

Forever.

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ 1 Peter 3

10956047_925379967502938_4925571357353721499_n1 Peter 3

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For

“Whoever desires to love life
    and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
    and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
    let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
    and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.


Questions to Consider:

1. According to verses 1-2, what is the biblical way for women to win their husbands to godliness?

2. Does verse 3 prohibit women from wearing jewelry, nice clothes, or fashionable hairdos? How can you tell from the surrounding context? Where does true beauty come from (verses 4-6)?

3. What does verse 7 tell us about how the husband should relate to his wife and the impact that has on his spiritual life?

4. Verses 13-17 talk about suffering due to what reason? Why is it important to defend our faith “with gentleness and respect” (verses 15-16)?

5. What does verse 18 mean when it says Christ suffered, “the righteous for the unrighteous”? Why did Christ have to be sinless to make atonement for our sins on the cross?

 

Faith, Sin

The “Forbidden Fruit” Fallacy

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You’ve heard the old adage: “forbidden fruit is sweeter.” When people use this phrase, what they mean is that if you tell someone he can’t have or do something, he’s going to want to have or do it all the more just because it’s forbidden.

I heard this little cliché several times last week on blogs, on Facebook, in discussion groups, etc., in reference to the deluge (yes, I contributed to it) of Christian blog and press articles decrying the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, and discouraging Christians from attending. Apparently – and I can see where they’re coming from, a little, I guess – some folks felt that the strong, repetitive, and biblical stand against Fifty Shades turned it into a piece of forbidden fruit that a) actually informed Christians (who would have been otherwise oblivious) that this movie even existed (Really? People are tech savvy enough to be on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, but they were completely unaware of this movie? Ok, I suppose it’s possible.) and b) made Christians want to go see the movie because of its verboten status. The implication was that, if Christians went to see this movie, it was the fault – at least in part – of Christian writers who had warned against it.

Seems reasonable, right?

Until, that is, you start looking at this line of thinking a little more closely through the lens of Scripture.

Pop quiz: What does the phrase “forbidden fruit” allude to?
a) prunes
b) Snow White’s poisoned apple
c) the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Eden

Please tell me you answered “c,” because, if you didn’t, I might have to sit down and cry. When God put Adam in the Garden way back in Genesis 2, He said, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (2:16-17) Fruit. Forbidden. Boom.

Notice that God is the One who forbade Adam from eating this fruit. God’s way, throughout the entirety of Scripture, is to warn the people He loves of the dangers and consequences of sin, not to remain silent and keep His fingers crossed that they don’t stumble into a pit. God didn’t stick the tree in the middle of the Garden and say to Himself, “Gee I hope Adam doesn’t notice this tree and eat from it, but I’m not going to mention it to him because I’m scared that I’ll make him aware that it exists, and that he’ll want to eat from it just because I said he can’t.” Uh uh. God pointed it out and said, “No.”

And let’s take a gander at something else in this story. What caused Adam and Eve to eat from the tree? Was it God telling Adam not to eat from it? No. If that was all it took, why don’t we find Adam eating the fruit immediately after God told him not to? Why didn’t Eve immediately eat from the tree upon learning from Adam of God’s prohibition against it?

Because the warning is not what led them to sin.

We don’t see Eve lay a finger on that fruit until Satan enters the picture. He tempted her, and she gave in to sin.

james-1-13-15

It wasn’t God’s fault for putting the tree there. It wasn’t God’s fault for warning them. It was Adam’s fault and Eve’s fault for being disobedient.

And giving in to sin is still our fault today. If you went to see Fifty Shades of Grey, it’s not God’s fault for allowing the movie to exist. It’s not some Christian blogger’s fault for making you aware of the movie or warning you not to see it. It’s your fault. You were tempted. You gave in to sin. (The good news is that if you will repent, God will graciously forgive you.)

As Christians we are to be imitators of God. “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:6) That means that when we see sin that could easily ensnare our brothers and sisters, we don’t turn our heads. We don’t mind our own business. We don’t keep our mouths shut to be polite. We do the same thing God did time after time in the Bible. We run into the fray to rescue those we love.

And we are not to blame if there are those who choose to charge headlong into sin rather than heed the alarm we sound.

Faith, Gospel, Salvation, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ Risque Business: Or, How an Adult Product Company Provided Some Very Interesting Content for my Blog

Originally Published July 21, 201210900047_932153883492213_7491827866857274193_o

I received a hilarious e-mail today. Was it a video of a cute and bumbling puppy? No. A clever joke or anecdote? No. A funny political cartoon? No.

It was actually a piece of spam from an up and coming …shall we say… “adult” products company.

Normally, I would just roll my eyes that my spam filter didn’t catch it and simultaneously click delete, but due to the fact that there were no pictures in it nor a subject line that would raise a red flag, I didn’t realize what it was until I started reading it.

This company wasn’t trying to sell me one of their products, they wanted me to review one of their products.

On my blog.

Which sent me into hysterical fits of laughter.

The company wants to provide me “with the opportunity to write interesting content for [my] site.” And, “If this project goes smoothly, there are probably other ways we could work together as well.”

Do tell.

No, on second thought, don’t.

Sorry, my friend, I’ve already got the most interesting content on the planet for my site.

I’ve got a God-man who came to earth, lived for three decades without ever committing a single sin in thought, word, or behavior, turned water into wine, healed blind eyes, deaf ears, crippled limbs, and broken minds, fed tens of thousands of people from one plate of food, and spoke the wisest words that have ever been uttered.

And to top that all off, He willingly let His own community butcher him. Why? For billions of rebellious people who hate Him. So that He might set them free and rescue them from an excruciating eternity.

Oh, and then there’s that bit about Him coming back to life.

My reply to the spam e-mail I received was this:

I’m just curious, have you actually read my blog? Take a look and let me know whether you still think it’s a fit for your product: (web address)

I truly hope my e-mail makes it through and is actually read by someone. Because it turns out that “Brian” at the adult product company was right. They did give me the opportunity to write interesting content for my site: the Gospel.

And, Brian, if you want to discuss this interesting content more, get in touch and we’ll chat. I believe you have my e-mail address :0) “If this project goes smoothly, there are probably other ways we could work together as well.”

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ 1 Corinthians 16

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1 Corinthians 16

Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me.

I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go.For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

10 When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am. 11 So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.

12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was not at all his will to come now. He will come when he has opportunity.

13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

15 Now I urge you, brothers—you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints— 16 be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer. 17 I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence, 18 for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such people.

19 The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. 20 All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

21 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. 22 If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.


Questions to Consider:

1. What is Paul’s goal in writing this chapter?

2. What can we learn about giving and collecting offerings from verses 1-3?

3. What example can we take from verses 10-11 about how we should treat our pastors?

4. What five things does Paul tell the men of the church to do in verses 13-14? Think of one way you could carry out each of these instructions in your church.

5. In verse 20, Paul instructs the members to “greet one another with a holy kiss,” a culturally appropriate sign of respect and affection at the time. Why is it important to have and show respect and affection for our church family?