From UnChristian to Christian

My reflection on Chapter 9 of UnChristian:
This is my final reflection on The book Unchristian. I wish that every Christian will read this book (or at least all my posts reflecting on this book, lol 🙂 ) It was a good read and well worth the time. It has got me thinking a lot and the book has a strong impact on my soul. I really hope we can change our perception over the next 10-30 years of what it means to be a Christian!

In sum, it all comes down to this: being more Christ-like!
We must learn to respond to people the same way Jesus did!
The more mature we become in our faith the more we are able to see our need to continue learning and growing. expect persecution but understand who your real enemies are. It is not flesh and blood but of spiritual warfare. Satan and his demons want to see you miss the mark in your faith. They want to distract you from the main goal. (your relationship with Christ!)

When you respond to cynics and opponents of your faith consider defending God’s fame. Not your own image/fame! maybe this will be humbling, admitting you might be wrong, but bring glory to God!

Connect with people with relationships! Spiritual influence occurs more often in the actual relationships you have with people. God has put people and opportunities in your life to have an impact on! Jesus said that we would be known for our love in these types of relationships.

Be Creative! Just as Jesus was a master communicator, we have the oppurtunity to be creative in our relationships, in the way we communicate, and the way we share the Gospel. Breaking through to our audience is something that modern day Christians are lacking today. We need to find fresh ways to communiate the Gospel to a society that no longer has a background in the Bible! Ask the right questions, engage minds, get people to think for themselves about the Gospel. The Word of God is sharp and the Holy Spirit will turn that Word in thier minds, but we have to get their attention!

One of the biggest eye-openers, and heart changers is simple servce. Jesus did it. And Christian leaders that make an impact are servants. We need to cultivate a deep passion for outsiders and trly love on them with all our hearts and serve them. Put them first. Show them justice and love. This will require sacrifice, but it is nessicary!

Learn to listen. All humans are craving attention and real relationships. Do not make the relationship about you. But listen and love them!

As I said before it comes down to Christ-likeness. Have we lost sight of the main thing?
Is Jesus, the main thinkg in your life. Once you build upon the rock of Jesus – you mature and become more Christ-like and develop all of the things also talk about in this post. So to start get your relationship wiht Christ right. When we act like Jesus, when we look like Jesus….(guess what?), people will see Jesus and they will want what we have. They will desire to be around us. THey will come to know Jesus, in just the little Jesus in us, but the real thing!

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Social justice…and politics

How does this relate to Dominion theology and what are the concerns (pros and cons?)
How does this relate to our political stance?
Should a conservative and/or liberal Christian work together for social justice?
How does fighting for social justice relate to post-modern society?

So if we are Christians fighting for social justice, does that make us extremists?
Do people have a reason for concern when they call us out for believing in Dominion theology?
Should we be followers of Dominion Theology?

I believe that we do not have to be extremists. I believe that we should not take an incredibly extreme belief in Dominion theology. Sure at one level we do have a responsibility to take care of the earth. God has in fact put man at the highest level and given us that responsibility.
But we do not have to try to rule the world through politics and we do not have to follow New World Order Conspiracies. We should not put all our eggs in one basket, especially if you are basing the own Dominion theology around one verse of the Bible. There is a healthy responsibility God has placed on man to rule over the earth and take care of it, but not necessarily force everyone into Christianity.

If we are fighting for social justice will we come across as liberal Christians? should we join the democratic party in order to get some of these social justices?

Forget politics. This should not be about politics. If you are conservative, liberal ,Democratic, or Republican – you can agree that we have a duty to fight for social justice, it is Biblical, not politial. We will not come across as ‘liberal’ Christians, if we are fighting for the right things and doing what is the right thing. For example, if we are fighting poverty, yes we give money and food to the poor, but (this is key) we also have the oppurtunity to share God’s love and the Gospel message with the people we are ministering to. If we are “making the Main thing, the main thing,” then we will not be fighting social injustice to fight social injustice, but we will be showing and telling God’s love. Iti s about sharing the Gospel and fighting injustice. Not just one or the other. And the amazing thinkg is that we can work together on this! Calvinist, Arministist, Obama, McCain, anyone who truely claims to be a Christian! It is time to stop fighting about petty in0-church doctrines and truely live it out in the real world, with people who have never heard any doctrine!

How does this relate to our post-modern world?

Agian, we have to keep the Main Thing (Jesus Christ) the main thing. In a society of relativism, it seems likely that people will want us to join their campaigns for justice. And outsiders of Christianity might want to join our campaign for justice. Both of these situations are great. We can and should work with non-Christians in our fight for justice. But we cannot loose sight of what is most important, the Gospel. We as Christians do have a doctrine that we cannot forget about, that is the message of Christ’s love for us at Calvary. We need to be clear that we believe in doing what is just but we also have to be clear about why we are doing it! That is to show God’s love, to be God’s light. Present the Gospel as well as minister for justice!

Social justice…and church today

I wanted to continue the discussion from a post I made a week or two ago. I promised to open up some questions I left unanswered….here are some of those questions:

Does the NT also address social justice/issues the same way the Old Testament does?
How does this relate to us today in modern world?
Why should you care?
What social justices should we be concerned for/ fighting for?

The OT addresses social justice. I think that is clear in the Deuteronomic law as well as in the prophets. For example, caring for the poor and needy widows and children. Does the NT continue to address these topics?
Yes, indeed it does! Who did Jesus minister too? He lived among the poor.

Look at James:
“Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, and the rich in being brought low because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field” (1:9-10).

“But be doers of the word and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like” (1:22-24).

“My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, ‘Have a seat here, please,’ while to the one who is poor you say, ‘Stand there,’ or ‘Sit at my feet,’ have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (2:1-4).

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,’ and yet you do not supply these bodily needs, what is the good of that?” (2:14-16).

“Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous one who does not resist you” (5:1-6).

We should care about this because the Bible tells us to. Because we should follow Jesus’ example. And because there are real issues of social justice that need to be dealt with today.

Here in America, we have it all. And we are well off!
And we are well aware of the issues at hand around the world.
We know that we are wealthy and we know that not everyone else in the world has all the luxuries and toys the we have.

God is calling us to not be complacent and to share our wealth with those in need world wide.

Complacency has a way of creeping up on us all. Those of us in America live our lives in comfort, free–for the most part–of concern for the rest of the world.
Just as in Amos’ time,
the scene in Israel during a time of prosperity (mid-8th century BC). On the surface, things probably looked great. Religious services were well attended. Unfortunately, God’s message wasn’t getting through. The heartfelt relationship to God had grown cold.

It is like that in America. This is why we should care and be concerned!

What issues can we deal with?

Criminal Justice

Economic Justice

Environmental Justice

Health and Family Justice

International Human Rights and Justice

International Peace and Conflict

Racial Justice

*disclaimer: I copied this list from http://www.uua.org/socialjustice/issues/index.php
And I do not agree with all their solutions listed in their hyperlinks….
The list is a great tool and for my use is to show you that Christians need to take a stand and put action to our words and God’s Words!

I leave you with lyrics to Tree63 song “The Revolution”:
Who will feed the hungry if we don’t?
There’s people losing their lives ‘cos we won’t
If we believe but we still do not follow
Then maybe we don’t believe

If we could only love this world like we’ve been loved
Then all the world would know what love is really made of
We live in plenty, there is more than enough
For what the world needs, but not for our greed

Another world is possible yeah
Another world is possible yeah
The revolution’s far from over – it’s not over, it’s not over

Once upon a time a small seed
Died in the soil and became a small tree
Now it’s a forest still growing silently
And waterless earth turns green

Another world…

Full stomachs and both parents
and a church that acts like it
really believes that the Good News
is is good news for everybody everywhere…

Social justice

I have written blog posts about this previously but
today it seems even more real and more concerning!
I am going to be blogging more about this in the future as well,
the topic:
social justice.
Why has it been so real to me recently?
I have been reading the prophets a lot recently!
It is not just in Amos, although there it is prevalent!
Just read in Isaiah, Micah, Malachi – social justice is a foundational point to all of the prophets and the ideas are not just limited to the prophets!
In fact the prophets were only building on the foundations of the Mosaic and Deuteronomic law!
Which also speaks about fighting for justice!

God is a God of justice, love and compassion.

I will be posting more later to build on this but I wanted to stress the idea in this post that OT stresses the importance of fighing for social justice.

In later posts I will address these questions:

Does the NT also address social justice/issues the same way?
How does this relate to us today in modern world?
Why should you care?
What social justices should we be concerned for/ fighting for?
How does this relate to Dominion theology and what are the concerns (pros and cons?)
How does this relate to our political stance?
Should a conservative and/or liberal Christian work together for social justice?
How does fighting for social justice relate to post-modern society?
How does it relate to the emergin and emergnat churches? Should we be concerned?
Can we take stands for social justice and not loose our foundational, essential theology?

Core Training 3 – Passions, Holy Discontent

At the Core Training (by Youth Specialties), we learned about Bite Back, which is an operation put together by Compassion International. I posted about this recently.

Today’s post, I wanted to share a few other topics that we learned about at Core. The reason I bring up BITE BACK Campaign again, is because it is built on some great truths.

Today’s youth, Gen Y, are very passionate. They are not too concerned with what older generations have said about “the way it is supposed to be” or “how it always has been, always will be.” It is a generation ready for change. And they want to bring this change.

In the past (for about 100 years or so), Christian camps have divided on theology. Conservative theology v. liberal theology. Conservative theology was founded around saving lost souls. While liberal theology was based on “helping people, showing God’s love.”

The beauty of Gen Y, is that they are not concerned with in-church fighting/debating. they see that both “saving souls” and “showing God’s love to everyone worldwide” as both being equally important. For the most part, Gen Y, does not take a side or fight about it. These young, Christians want it all. They want both. They are passionate enough to take it on and do the work too! There are countless stories across the country of young Christians taking on large -scale projects in to fight for their “holy discontents.”

They stand up for the things that really get them frustrated, fired up, and ready to take action for CHANGE. They feel discontentment about certain issues. And this discontentment is a holy one, because it is frustration and love for teenagers who are worlds away, in unfortunate situations. Bite Back is just one campaign where we are looking not only to save souls, but help defeat Malaria.

We met a young girl who puts on “fashion shows” to fight cancer. All of the models were cancer patients. 🙂 Her passion was administrating this event. Her heart was for the cancer patients. her love was Jesus Christ.

My youth group is working a few strategies to fight Malaria.
First we are going to put on a worship event. At this event, there will be a cover donation. We will explain the Bite Back campaign. We will rock out for God in worship, it’s our passion. The attendees will donate for the Bite Back campaign.

Second we are going to run a fund raiser in the school system. Yes, even people in the secular school will be on board to give money to fight these social issues. And by offering the community an opportunity to fight for this we will have a chance to seek local relationships and see people come to Christ!

Anyways the idea is that our generation is ready for CHANGE. We have Passions and talents. We want to use them not only to save souls (which is of the utmost importance) but also to help the change the world, fighting our holy discontents, and social issues that are not fair.

Core Training #2 – Bite Back

Bite Back campaign is mobilizing youth around the country to purchase mosquito nets to protect African children from malaria. Many people don’t know but malaria is killing more children in Africa than AIDS. Malaria is extremely preventable and not very expensive to remedy.

This campaign gives us all a social issue to fight for. It gives us hope. It gives us a chance to be responsible as God’s blessed children and share these blessings with others.

Bite Back is easy and anyone can do it. For just $10, you can provide a bed net to protect a child for about three years. But you are also paying for insecticide, and medications. That is a lot for just $10. I would encourage everyone to fight for this! You can make a donation today here. Or you can become an activist and spread the word about this campaign with the resources at this website.

To learn more about Malaria – here are a few more informative websites.

Here is a video from Youtube about Bite Back: