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Saginaw, Michigan, United States
A sinner who may come before God because of Christ

Friday, November 10, 2006

Out of the Mainstream

In the last few days I have been reading blogs and listening to some of the speeches from people who describe themselves as “liberal” or “progressives”. They are vehemently anti-Biblical Christian, filled with hate and venom for the “enemy” (i.e. those who oppose their beliefs), and care very little about the facts. Of course, if you read the “right-wing” or “conservative” blogs you will get the same thing. The interesting thing is that most people consider themselves “mainstream” – they want to believe that most everyone, the majority, believes as they do.

I remember once I was late taking my son to school. I drove like a maniac through the streets and as I pulled up to the entrance, there was a long line of cars. “Ahhh” I consoled myself, “I’m not the only one late”, and this brought me some comfort, and maybe some sense of redemption or forgiveness because I was not the only arriving after the bell. We are not naturally drawn to being alone, to being the outsider. We prefer to be part of the crowd.

Yet, as Christians, we should know that we are not in the mainstream. In fact, we should be a puzzle to the world around us. We should be opposing and at the same time supporting. We should be speaking at the same time listening. We should be convicting at the same time comforting. We should be responding from our faith and not from our ideology.

Putting this into action, then, can become messy. We may have to wash the sores of the man dying from AIDS while admitting to him that God says his sexual desires are a sin. We may have to love someone who wronged us terribly. We may have to befriend someone who smells. We may have to endure the venomous words of others while still praying that they be blessed by God through salvation of their soul, even if our hearts are secretly delighted with the thought of them burning in hell.

As a Christian who labels himself Evangelical, we should not place our trust in this world, yet we are still a part of this world. God did not call us to create Eden in America or in the world, only to do as He would have us do.

This nation is terribly divided politically. We are in the midst of a war, both hot, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and cold, in the secret cadres of Jhadists, but there is a greater war being waged in the spiritual realm, and in our hearts.

We need to cling to the fact that God is sovereign and we are here to serve Him, and not some ideology, political party, or even a nation (though we can serve Him through those). Do not get wrapped up in the storm.

Let us remember that God is both Just and Merciful. Lord, help us to be the same.

For His Glory,

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Monday, November 06, 2006

When one of us fails.

For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
Romans 3:22b-25

‘Ted Haggard, former president of the National Association of Evangelicals and former pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, has been in seclusion today as the evangelical Christian community reels from news of his admission that he lied to conceal his "sexual immorality."’
-Agape Press, Nov. 6, 2006.

This startling, sad, shocking, stunning news came out a few days ago. One of the rising stars of American Christianity had not only failed, but fell, no, plummeted into a sin that many see as one of the worst sins, one that is described as an abomination (Lev 18:22). That sin is engaging in sexual relations with someone of the same sex.

So, what should our response be to this?

On a personal level, we need to be in prayer not only for brother Haggard, but also his family, his friends, his church, anyone who is associated with him. We need to flood this whole issue in prayer, because it is so public and can so easily be used by the enemy, the evil one, to further besmirch the name of Christ.

On a congregational level, we need to assure our pastors and church leaders to be more open about their struggles. There seems to be tremendous pressure on church staff to perform, that failure is measured in dollars or numbers or performance. We need to take some of this pressure off so they can feel free to humble themselves and be strengthened in their weaknesses.

On a worldly level, we need to show the love of Christ to Mr. Haggard, but even more so, to the homosexual ‘community’. We need to show them that because they are imprisoned by their sin, their sexual desires, that this does not mean they are beyond the grace of God. Ray Comfort is right, we should not get in debates about specifics of sins but let the mirror of Scripture convict and convert.

This is actually a wonderful door that has opened. The world will be looking to how the Evangelical community responds to this. My hope is that they see an unbelievable response like the world saw from the Amish community when their daughters were senselessly killed and they put out their arms in love to the killer’s family.

Let us stand firm in His truth, but remember that we are not placed here to enforce God’s Law upon mankind. We are here to show God’s grace and mercy which came from Christ on the Cross and His Resurrection.

We all fall short. We all fail. Let us approach others with moral superiority but as co-conspirators, freed from our own transgressions, because of Christ.

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