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How to Respond to Evil by MLK Jr

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While evil men plot, good men must plan.

When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind.

When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. 

Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice.

Martin Luther King Jr

Christianity – Belief? a Way of Life?

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Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 2.53.33 PM.pngWhat do Christians believe?

If we were to ask folks on the street, we would get quite a few answers:

  • Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God
  • Christians believe Jesus rose again from the dead
  • Christians believe being gay is sin

If we were to ask the same folks, “How do Christians live?”

……….silence……….

Christians have not shown the world a better way to live because Christians live pretty like everyone else.

When Christians cannot show a different way of living, our beliefs have very little credibility.

How to Break Free From the Dis-Ease that Has Become the Norm

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Free from guilt and shame. Joy-filled, grace-filled. Grateful. Fully alive.

Sadly, most of us have no idea what these words mean.

We all know that we once knew how it felt to live that way…just look at any child.

They haven’t learned how to cope with guilt and shame…yet.

We have coped with guilt and shame for so long, coping, medicating, ignoring, quieting, covering our guilt and shame has become the new norm…in our “growing up” we have grown out of grace and forgotten what it’s like to be free…free from guilt…free from shame.

So, today, millions live with emotional pain, physical weariness because of our alienation from God. The dis-ease has become the new norm.

But in our quiet moments…in those moments when we have the opportunity to quiet our souls…in those moments when we can free ourselves from the noise and the distractions we’ve placed in our lives to cover our guilt and shame…in our quiet moments, we remember…we remember the life we are meant to live…the life we long for…

Free from guilt and shame. Joy-filled, grace-filled. Grateful. Fully alive.

Yet, the greatest shame is that the guilt-free, shame-free life is available to all.

That’s the way God intends for all of us to live.

How can we live the life we were meant to live?

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32:5)

The word “acknowledge” means to “make known,” “to declare,” “to confess.”

How can we live the life we were meant to live?

  1. Confess your sins to God
  2. Receive his forgiveness

Are you ready to experience what it means to be fully alive once again? Ready to be done with guilt and shame?

Free from guilt and shame. Joy-filled, grace-filled. Grateful. Fully alive.

God is waiting to hear and forgive your sins…

 

 

Why Dying Organizations Die

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An organization recognizes that the way they are currently running their business is not working. They recognize that changes need to be made.

The board of the organization asks some people from the board to do the hard and time consuming work of exploring, studying, and examining different possible ways forward.

A small group of people are tasked with finding new ways forward. They are even given an apt name for their work – Task Force.

The people on this task force diligently study, meet, discuss, explore.

  • Dozens of conversations with other like organizations and how they do business.
  • Dozens of conversations with other like organizations who are experimenting with new ways of doing business.
  • Dozens of meetings to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the different options.
  • Hundreds of combined hours of discussing the merits of the different approaches and drafting a way forward to present to the board.

After hundreds of combined hours of service from the Task Force, the report and recommendations are presented to the board.

The board, seeing that the recommendations call for changes (that is what they asked for), decide they don’t like the changes.

  • We’ve never done things this way before.
  • We’ve always had a full-time executive.
  • We’ve never shared staff before.

And in a matter of minutes worth of discussion by the board, the board rejects the recommendations and decides to continue doing business the way they’ve always done business.

Hmm.

  • Hundreds of hours of work.
  • Dozens of face to face meetings.
  • Hundreds hours of conversations.

Mind you, changes that are necessary because the way the organization currently does business is no longer working.

Mind you, changes that were asked by the board because they recognized changes were necessary.

All dismissed within a few minutes of discussion by the board that asked them to do the work to begin with.

Now substitute the word “Board” with “Presbytery.”

Yup.

Not All Opinions Are the Same

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Screen Shot 2017-03-02 at 11.38.29 AM.pngEveryone is entitled to their opinions. However, not all opinions are the same.

I have coronary heart disease. I have had open-heart bypass surgery, multiple stents, too many angiograms to count. Without modern medicine and medical procedures I would not be alive.

My mom loves me. She has all kinds of opinions about how to “fix” my disease. Every time she reads something on the internet about heart disease, she’s on the phone to tell me if I drink this tea, eat this mushroom, or stop eating this or drinking that, I would be all good.

I love my mom. I know she loves me. She wants what’s best for me. But her opinions don’t have the same weight as the cardiologist or heart surgeon. Even though I know my mom loves me more, when it comes to dealing with my heart, my cardiologist and heart surgeon’s opinions have way more authority than my mom’s.

Sorry mom.

Every Christian is entitled to their opinions. However, not all opinions are the same.

For the Christian, there are three tiers of authority.

First tier have to do with two things that are non-debatable, non-negotiable. There are two things that Christians cannot disagree about:

  1. Jesus is the only way to salvation
  2. The Bible is our only authority

To be a Christian literally means to be a follower of Christ. That’s what “Christian” means. To follow Christ, means that he has to be leading. The only way we can know who to follow, what Christ stands for, who Christ is, what Christ taught is the Bible.

If one does not believe these two things, one cannot be a Christian. 

These are two things that Christians cannot disagree about. But then, what can Christians disagree about? Well, pretty much everything else. And Christians do.

The second tier of authority are things that are very important, but where people who love Jesus and stand under the authority of the Bible can disagree.

  1. Historic Confessions of the Church
  2. Books of Order – Constitution of the Church
  3. Manual and Policies of the local church
  4. The teaching of the local church

Christians can disagree on these things. These differences show up in multiple ways:

  • The way we order the church as Presbyterians, Catholics, Baptists, Congregationalists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Assemblies of God, Independent, etc.
  • Modes of baptism
  • Women’s ordination
  • Biblical sexuality
  • Divorce
  • Capital punishment
  • War against terror
  • Immigration
  • President Trump

The second tier is important, but it is not essential. These are things which Christians who love Jesus and love the Bible can and do disagree.

The final tier of authority is personal interpretation. “What I think…” “What I believe…” That’s on the same level as drink this tea and it will rid you of coronary heart disease.

The problem is our culture has placed personal interpretation above all else. We would never do that when it comes to our medical issues. We would not do that with financial issues. We would not do that with technical issues. We would not do that with pretty much anything else.

But it is absolutely puzzling that we do this all the time when it comes to morality and spirituality.

  • I know what the Bible says, but I believe….but I think….
  • I know what the historical church has said for 2,000 years, but I believe….but I think…

It is ludicrous for creatures to say to to the Creator that we know better. And this is happening all the time.

Every Christian is entitled to their opinions. However, not all opinions are the same.

Christians submit to God’s authority by standing under Christ as the only way to salvation and the scriptures as the only authoritative way we can come to know Christ.

Christians stand under the authority of the Confessions of the church

Christians submit their personal opinions under the authority of Christ and the Scriptures.

Choose Wisely

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I choose what I think about.

I choose what I want to give my attention to.

What I think about and what I give my attention to has my heart.

I choose what or who gets my heart.

These are absolutely true statements. Everyone is free to choose what they want. Everyone has total freedom to choose as they wish.

HOWEVER…every choice comes with a cost and its own consequences. And choices made without considering the cost of those choices always end up being very costly and painful.

So, yes. You are absolutely free to choose what you want. But the wise understand that there are consequences to every choice we make. And the wise choose wisely.

Still having difficulty choosing what is right?

You will never go wrong by choosing to let go of everything that is outside the will of God. And hold on tightly to those things that fall inside the will of God.

Choose wisely.