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Monthly Archives: November 2011

A Believer’s Role in Today’s Culture

In an increasingly secular and ungodly culture, many Christians wonder about their role and duty. Should we lobby for rights that have traditionally belonged to us? Should we make every effort to implement a Christian agenda? Should we completely reform the government? The Bible speaks clearly about our duty, and it’s all about governing our character.

On this lazy Friday, I am shamelessly re-posting from and redirecting to John MacArthur’s article on Grace to You. Not just because I’m lazy (actually I am in read rather than write mode today), but more because I think this is incredibly timely and well-said.

In his article, Christian Duty in Pagan Culture, MacArthur states, “Believe it or not, Christians have obligations to a pagan society. When you live as God wants you to in an unbelieving culture, the Holy Spirit uses your life to draw the sinner by softening his attitude toward God (1 Peter 2:12).” He then outlines five areas which we can all be more mindful of:

  • Submission and Obedience
  • Readiness for Good Works
  • Respectful in Speech
  • Peaceful and Gentle
  • Consideration for Others

He closes: “Our duty as we relate to an increasingly secular and ungodly culture is not to lobby for certain rights, the implementation of a Christian agenda, or the reformation of the government. Rather, God would have us continually to remember Paul’s instructions to Titus and live them out as we seek to demonstrate His power and grace that can regenerate sinners. Changing people’s hearts one individual at a time is the only way to bring meaningful, lasting change to our communities, our nation, and even the whole world.”

I hope you’ll read the article and seriously consider God’s word as it applies to our personal and church lives and conduct. I am.

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Posted by on November 25, 2011 in Current Events, God's Word, Obedience, Purpose

 

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Storming the Gates of Hell. Like a Dove.

A couple of nights ago I watched the most wonderfully refreshing video on sharing your faith in a very winsome way. Greg Koukl teaches simple, easy and effective ways to engage people in spiritual discussion without defense or offense, without anger or anxiety. (This may not sit well with the “Turn or Burn” crowd, but they should be rethinking their no-win strategy, anyway.) This WILL resonate with those going through The Faith study by Chuck Colson or anyone who wants a NORMAL and relational way of discussing important topics.

I first read about Mr. Koukl’s book, Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions on Justin Taylor’s blog. It hosts the video I watched.

From there you can watch Part 2 of that same evening event on Vimeo, where you’ll also find other videos of similar teaching by Greg. You might also check out his organization and Web site, Stand to Reason.

Learning these tactics is critical for today’s Christ follower—with our culture bent on discrediting anything Christian and radical Islam raging across our campuses, we must be prepared “in season and out” to give solid reason for what we believe AND how best to do this. Understanding these tactics and using them is one of the best weapons against the enemy in our supreme endeavor to persuade folks off the path to hell. And we don’t have to go all commando to do it!

I hope you will make time to listen to the videos or buy the book. Let me know if you put this into practice and what your experiences are!

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2011 in Missions, Relationships, The Church

 

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The Guts and the Grace

Well, it seems there is a great convergence going on. You know: when multiple things come together and form one powerful thing.

It’s like when you experience something; there is a tug at your heart. You start to ask God about it. Then you read something in a devotional, then an article, then read something similar in another book; you take notice, it’s growing. Then you hear a sermon on Sunday, and have a conversation with a friend on Monday; it’s coming together. Two or three blogs you subscribe to seem to be discussing variations of the same theme, then your sister calls you and says the speaker at the conference she’s at is teaching on the subject. You turn to the next chapter in your Bible the next morning, and God’s talking about it, too. It’s becoming clear. Do you think He is speaking? 🙂

My friend and worship pastor likens this phenomenon to tributaries in the rainy season all rushing in to form one big, brown, raging Class V river. Convergence.

This has been happening to me, and yes, the topic is still “Sin.” Why do people not even like to say the word? In reality it’s an archery term that means “missing the mark.” I don’t have any trouble at all telling people I missed the mark. I messed up. Why then do we have a problem saying, “I’ve sinned”??  Maybe a dose of reality would help:

In my last post I quoted from James 5 where we are told to confess our sins to one another and pray for each other so that we may be healed. “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” I didn’t read on farther that day, but I did today. The last verse in that chapter reads, “If anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

Wow. That’s pretty powerful. Sin is not only something we should watch out for in our own lives, it is something we should watch out for in the lives of our sisters (and brothers) because it could cost them their lives. I have friends who were “brought back.” This means their friends went after them when they were messing up. Had the guts to do it. Loved ’em enough to do it. I hear those stories and cry. As a “prodigal daughter” three times over, I don’t recall being pursued like that. I don’t remember anyone trying to rescue me. Though perhaps people tried and I was just too stubborn, willful, self-centered, and rebellious to hear. But I do know that there were times when not only was I not pursued, I was shunned. And I wonder how many times I turned an ignorant or a blind eye to my sisters who needed me to have the guts and grace to come after them…

YET — look at the blessing the rescuer gets according to this verse! Having been the drowning, I would like now to be the rescuer. Do we have the wisdom and desire to see and remove the log in our own eye? Do we have the guts and the grace to help a sister out with the speck in hers?

My prayer is for this “convergence” to become one mighty, raging, unstoppable river — sweeping in believers in to its swift current and causing a cleansing, a renewal, a keen and quick understanding of sin, of confession, of repentance, of redemption and of so much love for one another that we cannot bear to see a sister washed ashore and left behind. THIS should be what the church is all about.

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Grace, Sin, The Church

 

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Sin? What Sin?

In the American church there is a practice commanded of us that people rarely obey. We are to confess our sins to one another so that we may be healed. I think there are many who walk around dealing with physical and spiritual illnesses unnecessarily simply because we refuse to acknowledge, let alone confess, our sins.

This morning I read John Fischer’s blog, The Catch, in which he discusses this. He concludes, “It is far worse, and does greater damage to others and the truth to hide your sin than to bring it out into the open.” Here is a link to the full post:

Claim and Shame

I believe real healing will come to believers who start to sincerely confess their sins to one another, and that revival would break out in any church that started acting like one, especially in this area. And if many churches started acting like they were part of The Church, there were most certainly be a sea change in our Western culture. I would seriously like to be part of that.

Would you?

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2011 in God's Word, Sin, The Church, The Heart

 

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