In the wake of this most recent horrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, so many people attempt to find a reason for such evil. Unspeakable suffering, pain, and hurting take place in lives everyday. As we attempt to understand with our finite minds something infinite, we must understand that without Faith and Hope, we will struggle to explain the existence of evil to those that jeer at a proposed “Lack of the existence of God”, they say “Where is your God? If he exists, why would he allow these things to happen?”. Jimmy’s post below on Hope, truly resonates. While we can offer up a myriad of “explanations” as to why such things happen, or why evil runs rampant, I was reminded of this rebuttal to the demand of a scientific explanation of God’s existence, that I came across a few years ago. A little lengthy but truly worth the read……..
You hear a lot of talk now days about living a life of purpose.
With all of these helps, have we really learned our ‘Purpose in Life’?
Do you know your purpose in life? Have you made that discovery?
Grace Community Church in Houston Texas, is currently involved in a fund raising drive to erect huge crosses at each of it’s two Houston locations. One on I-45 south at Dixie Farm Road, and the other on I-45 North at it’s The Woodlands Campus.
The planned crosses would stand approximately 200 feet in the air, possibly making them the World’s Largest Crosses.
Pastor Steve Riggle has declined to speculate how much they will cost or what the timeline for construction would be.
Is this really necessary?
I mean…couldn’t that money be used for something much more productive?
Color me perplexed.
What do you think about this?
I’ve been re-reading Philip Yancey’s book called What’s So Amazing About Grace? In the beginning he shares this story that a friend of his told him.
A prostitute came to me in wretched straits, homeless, sick, unable to buy food for her two-year-old daughter. Through sobs and tears she told me she had been renting out her daughter– two years old! —to men interested in kinky sex. She made more renting out her daughter for an hour than she could earn on her own in a night. She had to do it, she said, to support her own drug habit. I could hardly bear hearing her sordid story. For one thing it made me legally liable—I am required to report cases of child abuse. I had no idea what to say to this woman.
At last I asked if she had ever thought of going to a a church for help. I will never forget the look of pure, naïve shock that crossed her face. “Church!” She cried. “Why would I ever go there? I was already feeling terrible about myself. They’d just make me feel worse.”
“What struck me about my friend’s story is that prostitutes much like this woman fled toward Jesus, not away from him. The worse a person felt about herself, the more likely she saw Jesus as a refuge. Has the church lost that gift? Evidently the down-and-out, who flocked to Jesus when he lived on earth, no longer felt welcome among his followers. What has happened?
I’ve pondered this question for years. What has happened? How have we as the church lost our way? When did it become about being right instead of being refuge? When did it come about posting our credentials? When did it become about creating mocking names about offering children to Molech? When did it become Ok to mock and jeer those we disagree with or those we agree with who aren’t as mean as we want them to be? When did Jesus tell people to take their plank and shove it? How many people have walked away from the church because those who made it up forgot how dirty they truly were? Somehow, we’ve lost our way as a church. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the blogosphere where people can hide behind any name they want and say whatever they want to say. Someone can call 15 year old girls painted whores of Sodom and write Tabloid titles because they don’t have to see the pain they are causing people. Somehow, the political party you belong to is more important than the family you belong to. If we believe we are criticizing children of God then we are family. If one is not criticizing God’s children then we’re violating all sorts of Scriptures not in the criticism but in the name calling. Lines are being drawn not about salvation but about what is worn on Sunday’s to church.
And the whole time people who’s lives are being blown apart just keep on dying. They just keep on living the wrong way because Darn It, I AM RIGHT!!! One camp picks apart a person in the other camp because he doesn’t go far enough down the Theological trail with them. They may agree that one goes to Heaven by believing on the work on Christ but down the path they disagree so it’s Ok to tear each other apart. I wonder, does this make you as sick as it does me?
Here’s what the Apostle Paul had to say about it,
The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
I wonder how many people have been devoured by someone who “was right” and “justified.”
My wife and I were talking about assumptions. We both know a guy who a lot of people assumed was less than smart in college. He did nothing to change this assumption and in fact he encouraged it. I knew a girl who was a virgin but people assumed she was a little loose with her morals. She never did anything to persuade them differently. Both of these people felt that most people had their own assumptions and agenda’s and attempting to change someone else’s mind was and is a waste of time. The guy that Erica and I knew believed that if people took the time to get to know him they would realize he wasn’t dumb and the people that didn’t take the time to get to know could think whatever the heck they wanted to think.
On the flip side, we also know people who try to cultivate an image that they are smart–by this I mean in the upper echelon of brain function–when in reality they are average or below average. They work very foster people’s assumptions about their intellect.
All of this caused me to stop and think about who’s responsible in these situations. Are all three people guilty of deception? Are all three “guilty” of nothing? Are the assumers the guilty one’s? My friend had an interesting post about assumptions today which in some way ties into this, I’m sure (warning there is profanity at his site).
The thing about assumptions is they are necessary. I get that. But they have to be held as assumptions and not fact. Until we can test them and prod them we have to remember they are nothing more than an assumption. They may be accurate, but they may not be. They may be completely wrong.
One of the things that always cracks me up is the assumptions I hear about Mars (the community that I chose to live covenentally with here in Grand Rapids). “Our congregation is young, we only play CCM as worship music” (this one cracks me up the most as we often play only hymns). One guy actually says we’re offering children to Molech but I think he might have a brain disorder. There are so many assumptions and so many of them are wrong. When I point this out to people they act as though they have to be right even though I am the one living here.
It kind of makes me wonder, how many of my assumptions are way off base. Don’t get too comfortable because the next obvious question is about your assumptions.
Read the Biblical account of Peter denying Jesus here
I have a lot of moments frozen in time in my life. Some of them are fond memories. The moment my daughters actually came into this world, different memories from my wedding day. Graduating from college. I also have some memories that aren’t so good. The day my dad called to tell me that my mom had passed, my “big” car wreck. I’ll spare you all the gory details of my more personal failures and the frozen moments spent hurting people close to me.
Have you ever wondered about Peter? Seriously, have you ever wondered what Good Friday was like for him five years after Christ’s death? Did he have the moment frozen in time where he betrayed Jesus? Did it play in his mind, over and over again? He was human, it had to.
As I age, I ponder the wisdom that comes with age and I realize the price that is often paid for it. I often find myself pondering the early church fathers, especially the disciples. We like to hit on Peter but the truth is they all denied Christ. When they would take part in communion how did the movie in their mind go about the last supper? When Peter would hear whatever invectives he used to deny Christ was he instantly transported back to that dark night? Could he smell the fires that were lit around the court yard? Could he feel the bile rise in the back of his throat? What about when he went to put the clothes that he wore that night back on was he transported back to that moment?
Whatever personal regret and demons he may have wrestled with, it certainly didn’t stop him form sharing the gospel. They didn’t stop him from actively making the disciples of all men. At the end, his fervent belief in Jesus as Messiah cost him his life.
Maybe that is the ultimate message of Peter’s life. He was a living illustration of the fact that we don’t have to live in our “frozen moments.” Jesus died and rose again so you and I can live with a hope. We can live with forgiveness. We can live in a right relationship with Him. We don’t have to agonize over past failures because He paid the price. The debt is paid. Christ conquered death. That is the beauty of this weekend. Jesus died and rose from the dead. His tomb is empty.
Because of that, you and I can live the lives He has called us to live today. Whatever it is, that haunts you at night when no one else is around, whatever it is that you look back at with great regret, you can be free of it. Christ has paid for it. You’ll never be able to make up for it anyhow. Let it go. Jesus died to save all of you, He paid all of your debt. May you rest in that truth today as you celebrate Good Friday in your corner of the world.
Ok…I have to admit…when I first heard all the negative reports about the ‘sex’ series from Relevant Church, I thought that it was probably all just a bunch of hooey from people who are looking for fault.
I have always been for pushing the envelope, being edgy and all that…but…is this taking it a little too far? Is this really what we want the world to see of us as the body of Christ? Does this really belong in church?
I have a lot of friends who are not Christians…and I have to be honest here…they are laughing at this ’30 Day Sex Challenge’. It has become a punchline in a bad joke.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that the body of Christ needs this kind of attention.
I am all for helping marriages stay strong, and for couples to have a healthy sex life, but shouldn’t this be done in a small group setting?
That is just my opinion…What is yours?