There is an answer…

All men have a bend towards sin, but there is an answer…

from Unchristian by David Kinnaman:

“No one goes to heaven because of what they do or do not do. Every human
sins
, and we all deserve Hell for that. But Jesus freely offers everyone his
grace.
…homosexual behavior is sin, but it is no different than if I sleep with someone
other than my wife or even momentarily have a sexual fantasy. God created
sexuality, it is good, but it can expressed in wrong ways. Every one of us, gay
or straight or whatever, expresses sexuality in wrong ways. It all comes down
to what you do with Jesus.”
(pg. 108)

I just finished chapter 5 of Unchristian called “antihomsexual.”
It was another hard chapter and humbling chapter to read.

I really had not put too much time or thought into the what the culture, as a whole, thinks about Christians relating to the topic of homosexuality.

Christians have
A. been wrong, too conservative, and mean
B. left people with the wrong idea of what we believe about homosexuality
C. left people with the wrong idea of how we should treat homosexuals
D. hurt people
E. wrong priorities

What we really believe is that homosexuality is a sin, yes, but it is no worse than any other sin.
And Jesus still loves and has mercy on homosexuals, just as he has had mercy on us and forgiven us of our sins.

Bad perception due to real problems within Christianity:
Christians have displayed a special and bad image for the sin of homosexuality. It is “the big one.” And Christians have irrationally fought harder against the issue of homosexuality than any other sin/issue.

We have come across as arrogant, uncompassionate, self-righteous, inconsistent, and uncaring to homosexuals. Our method has been ineffective, stupid and dumb. We have repelled young outsiders from church because of this issue. When this happens, it is apparent that we have lost sight of what is really important! Jesus Christ as their answer and salvation!
Stop fighting the sin and show the love, grace, mercy and compassion that Christ would!

Think about it. Homosexuality is a sin, but it is only a sin! You also sin!
We are all sinners. God’s gift of grace is what is important! Regardless of our sin, God still loves us.
Don’t avoid relationships with people because of their lifestyle. Make relational connections with homosexuals. Stop preaching at them and going to political war with them. Treat them as HUMANS, treat them as friends. It is sad I have to say this! Respect. Love. Grace. Show them Jesus. Build on real relationships.

all men have bend toward sin

We are all born with a sin nature. We all have certain weaknesses and bends towards certain sins. Homosexuality is no different. It is simply a bend towards sin. It is NOT a natural lifestyle. It is a chosen lifestyle. Just like sexual lifestyle ( of sleeping around) is a bend towards sin and a chosen lifestyle. It is nothing new.
We are all sinners in our own pleasures and vices. We are all born with the sin nature. But not, exactly born in the sense that the world claims, to be homosexual.

I am not anti-homosexual. I love and try to treat all people the same no matter what sins they fall for. God knows what sins I am bound by when I do not obey the Holy Spirit and resist temptation to sin. I was taught to love the person and hate the sin. This is a good moral to follow.

define hypocrite – chapter 3 of Unchristian

I’ve been reading Unchristian by Kinnaman, Barna research, Lyons, and other contributors.
It is a good book, so far very humbling to read but it is raising my awareness and passion about problems with the modern American church.

On particular topic that I want to blog about relating to the book is the term hypocrite.

Hypocrite is taken from an old Greek word that refers to wearing a mask. It is the idea of putting on an “act” or a “show.” The real person is behind the mask.

Hypocrisy occurs basically when you profess (or say that you believe) something that you do not really believe ( because your actions speak against what you say.) The reason it gets confusing is because it really is not hypocrisy when a pastor preaches against a sin with which he is personally struggling against.

It is not the belief that goes wrong (it is good to hold the belief against sin for instance) what goes wrong is the man, the person holding the belief. When he sins he goes against his belief, and becomes a hypocrite.

A hypocrite is two-faced. Says on thing and does another thing. Has double standards. In today’s world, actions speak louder than words.

The book goes on to say that the majority of the secular world view Christians as hypocrites. And that also they are “used” to hypocrites. The fact that the church of Christians is a church of hypocrites is no big deal to them. They see no difference between us Christians and the rest of the world…this is a huge image problem. They do not even care about our beliefs in holiness and living a Christian lifestyle, because they do not see it in our lives. They see us as hypocrites.

Encouraging this image problem is the church itself:
We have 2 main groups in the church today. These two groups are taking almost two different extremes.
First we have the older Christians who believe that lifestyle is extremely important. We should be living pure and holy lives that match up to Scripture.
Then we have the younger Christians who do not keep lifestyle as such a high priority.

Then the two groups collide, outsiders of the church see hypocrisy. The older Christians are teaching rules and regulations while the younger Christians are not keep or even trying to keep these rules.

What we should learn is balance.
First to the older Christians, return to grace. Return to mercy. return to realistic image of man. We are all sinners. Outsiders do not want to be a part of a church of rules and regulations. Focus on relationships, building trust and fellowship. Return to worship.

Perfection is not the answer. That is not what Christianity is about. If it is perfection you are seeking then you are reducing Christianity down to a list of moral benchmarks and judgementalism. This sucks because no one is ever going to be sinless, no one is perfect. This only scares outsiders away. Our faith is a relationship not rules! Stop presenting ourselves this way. Present Jesus! The forgiver of sins.

To the younger Christians, remember the commandments of the Lord. Think about the image you are portraying with your life to outsiders. We are sinful man, but we do not have to be slaves to sin. We return to Christ. We return to purity. It is God’s grace not rules and regulations.

This is disobedience and inauthentic. People view us a fake when we live just like everyone else, when they do not see the difference between us and the world. We need to live in accordance to Scripture, live the difference. Live in but not of the world.

As a whole, we need to return to accountability and transparency. We are struggling between being fake and being superficial. Is that the Christianity we want. This is Unchristian. This is bad. But this is where we stand. This is what outsiders of the church are seeing.

We need to return to authenticity and restoration. Instead of fighting a culture war, let’s transform by restoring people. Let’s fight poverty, crime, and addiction. Not the people. Let’s take real action.

Being completely honest and realistic we see that we are never going to not be hypocritical. Think about it we are sinners. We have a sin nature. The big picture is that we are sinners saved by grace. We are trying not to sin, but we will. And the difference to outsiders is that we are authentic. We are imperfect but we are full of grace and forgiveness. We admit our sin and show people where our source of restoration comes from, God.

We need to out of our high thrones or high pews. We need to let God humble us a bit. We need to see the outsiders. They are outside of our churches on the streets just a few feet away. But we are too good for them. How sad is that!?! The church has lost a lot of respect due to our arrogance and pride. Our inabilities to reach out to those on the street who really need you!

Perfection

what it means to be perfect
Yeah, we all wish we were perfect. Although it is impossible.
We try to make everything right. If only everyone was happy and everything in my life were in order. There would be no problems and everyone would be happy. …yeah. That is a dream.

why we are not perfect
Sin. We are born into a sinful world as a sinful man. No one is exempt. Except for this one guy…

How Jesus was perfect
Jesus was perfect because he never sinned. You ask, “but he was born unto man, therefore a ‘sinner’…right?” No. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit born of a virgin. He was not born of man, but of God. Was he a fully man? Yes. Fully God? Yes.

Jesus
Although Jesus was fully God; he was also fully man and faced human temptation.

This is Mind-blowing!
In other words He lived perfect life but as a man he had to rely on God’s help and dependence to live perfect. He wasn’t just perfect because he was God but because he always let the Spirit control His life. But also because he was God. All human beings will inevitably fail at attempting to always be controlled by the Spirit.


What it means to be a Christian and pursuing perfection

Sanctification – process of us becoming more like Jesus Christ. Our life is a process. We are seeking completion, perfection, dependence on God. Our goal is to be more like Jesus. We will not achieve perfection on this earth because of our sin nature but in Heaven we want to hear God say “you have done well and and faithful servant.”

Challenge to be perfect
mat 5:48, we can’t do it without His help

**Disclaimer- not sure that I agree completely with this image about “morphing” and all but the idea that letting the Holy Spirit work through us.

Rejecting Truth

It is immoral to reject truth when it is offered to you.
It is just alike any other sin.
It leads to more sin.
One must close off part of his/her self in order to to reject truth.
One calcifies their own heart when you deny the life of goodness and truth that God offers.

Becuase God is truth, those who reject truth are rejecting God.
Brannon Howse in “UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF TRUTH” makes a good point: “Because God is truth, postmodernism is false because man did not create God. Postmodernism is the belief that truth is created by man and not discovered. How can man create God?”

He shows how rejecting truth leads to cultural decay and a failing nation.

Co-Resurrection – My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers

Here is a devotional from My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers
My take on the issues are in italics.

Co-Resurrection –
The proof that I have been through crucifixion with Jesus is that I have a decided likeness to Him. The incoming of the Spirit of Jesus into me readjusts my personal life to God. The resurrection of Jesus has given Him authority to impart the life of God to me, and my experimental life must be constructed on the basis of His life. I can have the resurrection life of Jesus now, and it will show itself in holiness.

I have been reading Chamber’s Utmost for His Highest, as part of my devotional this year. There is some mind-blowing stuff in here. Some days I get absolutely nothing out of them, because I simply just do not understand what Oswald is trying to say. Some of this devotional is difficult reading, but I think that this is beautiful and challenging. We are so dependent upon Him! You see the beauty of Christianity is that God reached down to us, to save us, to heal us, forgive us. Without Him we cannot experience forgiveness, holiness, or grace. The resurrection, that we had nothing to do with, we get to claim and experience with Him. He saved us! How humbling it is to think about it as a co-resurrection!

The idea all through the apostle Paul’s writings is that after the moral decision to be identified with Jesus in His death has been made, the resurrection life of Jesus invades every bit of my human nature. It takes omnipotence to live the life of the Son of God in mortal flesh. The Holy Spirit cannot be located as a Guest in a house, He invades everything. When once I decide that my “old man” (i.e., the heredity of sin) should be identified with the death of Jesus, then the Holy Spirit invades me. He takes charge of everything, my part is to walk in the light and to obey all that He reveals. When I have made the moral decision about sin, it is easy to reckon actually that I am dead unto sin, because I find the life of Jesus there all the time. Just as there is only one stamp of humanity, so there is only one stamp of holiness, the holiness of Jesus, and it is His holiness that is gifted to me. God puts the holiness of His Son into me, and I belong to a new order spiritually.

This is so good and so true! This so awesome, yet again- challenging. The Old is Gone and the New has Come. We are alive to Christ and dead to Sin. We are new creations. We have redemption through Christ’s blood. It is a fresh start! But it is through the Holy Spirit. And we must let go of our pride and remove stumbling blocks that get in the way of letting the Spirit take over. Not everyone is willing to let go of their self and their pride and simply let God take control. The Holy Spirit will work and it will invade…how sad it is when my lost friends know the truth and they close their heart off from the truth. They are not set free by it. they harden their hearts and they run from reality.

What Americans believe about sin

http://www.ellisonresearch.com/releases/20080311.htm

Ellison Research recently released a study about American’s viewpoints on sin. It is pretty exhaustive and interesting study.

It showed the vast majority of Americans (87%) believe in the concept of sin. “Sin” was defined in the research as “something that is almost always considered wrong, particularly from a religious or moral perspective.”

Some personal highlights:
“One of the biggest differences in whether people believe in the concept of sin is actually not even religious, but political. Among political conservatives, 94% believe there is such a thing as sin. This is also true among 89% of moderates. But only 77% of political liberals believe in the concept of sin.”

“Evangelical Christians are far more likely than almost any other group to include numerous behaviors under the definition of sin, and the difference between evangelicals and other Americans is often quite large.”

Under the “ Definitions of Sin, by Religious Perspective… ” table the “Not Born Again” category of people were less likely to defined any of the actions as “sin.”

CULTURE

This study is pretty impressive. It is very interesting and worth a lookin at. It tells us about hte culture we live in. There are some things/meta narratives (like Sin) that even non-religious peoples understand.

Easter: Only by His Blood

I don’t typically post on Sundays, but today is special. Today is Easter.
I want to talk about blood, but not any blood. Just the saving blood of Jesus Christ. That is what today is all about, remembering and celebrating Jesus Christ’s death. His death and bloodshed for our sin. With Christ we are forgiven.

The importance and power of blood

without the shedding of BLOOD there is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).

God presented him [Jesus] as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—(ROM. 3:25)

the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 Jn 1:7)

Jesus is the propitiation for our sins. Christ died for our sins so that we may live in Him. This is the essence of the Gospel. We are forgiven only by the blood.

After looking at Christ and why he died, we only have 3 choices:

1. Accept Christ’s blood and death for our sins. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Deity.
2. Reject Christ’s blood and death for sins. Think he is crazy. Jesus is a lunatic. Jesus is delusional.
3. Reject Christ’s blood and death for sins. Don’t trust Christ and His Word. Jesus is a liar. Jesus is deceiver.

For the Saint: Abusing the Blood
This is primarily, one of the greatest struggles a Christian can have. It is the struggle of the flesh as a sinner saved by grace. Psychologically, we know that God has forgiven ALL our sins. And we gladly accept this gift, that is Christ’s blood. We know God is sovereign and that we cannot lose our salvation from sinning (in general). So we have a struggle:
Abusing grace
But while we fully accept God as a forgiving God we should not forget He is also a Just God. He will judge us according to our actions here on earth. In Rom 6 chapter Paul lets us know that we do not have a license to sin. This how many abuse God’s Grace. If you read Philippians 3:18-19 It will tell you the consequences.
(My Rant:)
We have to live right! No longer should we live as abusers to grace. We need to step up and live right. Don’t hug all of Christ’s blood! He died for others too, so instead of selfishly indulging in our own sinful pleasures, we should be going onto the World and telling other’s about Christ’s redeeming blood that saves!

I want to end this blog with three amazing hymns/worship songs:
(In Christ Alone
Nothing But The Blood
Power in the Blood)