Saturday, March 31, 2012

Teachers Good and Bad (Part 2)

    In the previous post about false teachers, we noted that Pauls' defense of himself in 1 Thessalonians established a standard concerning how we should present the Gospel.  Clearly, what we say is important, but how we say it important as well.
    There are at least 4 ways people can communicate:  They can be true, false, corrosive, and kind.  Let me define the terms.
  • True - true.  That was easy enough.
  • False - not true.  Amazing insight, no?
  • Corrosive - Language that destroys. This is sarcasm, insults, communicating in a way that drips like acid,  destroying people, relationships, and any future possibilities of sharing the gospel.
  • Kind - Speaking the truth in love. Kind speech is honest, but the offense will never come from the manner or poorly chosen words, but only through the truth
Let's be a little more clear about four ways we communicate.

1)  We can say corrosive things that are false. This is also called slander. It’s not only mean, it’s not true.
When I was coaching, I would get vicious letters.  I finally started giving them to my AD, who read them and let me know if there were legitimate complaints.  As it turned out, these letters were both corrosive and false - not only were their criticism not true, but they dripped like acid on my self-confidence and our relationship.

2) We can say corrosive things that are true.  Simon Cowell used to do this on American Idol all the time. One of his quotes: “If your lifeguard duties were as good as your singing, a lot of people would be drowning.”  Now that was probably true, but...yikes.  Once when I was in high school, a good friend with no filter said to me on our way to the beach, “You have the skinniest legs I've ever seen.”  True? Perhaps. Corrosive?  Absolutely.  That was 30 years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday.

Let’s try some real world examples of corrosive things we can say that relate more directly to our faith.  First, some quotes from those who are not friendly to Christianity (I'm purposefully obscuring the speakers so as not to detract from the broader point.  The quotes are real).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sovereignty and Prayer

“Instead of making these great plans as if you have everything under control by your own power, you ought to say what you have been taught:  “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
 – James 4

There are things we pray for already knowing God’s will.   Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Gentleness, Goodness, Kindness, Self-control, Holiness, Purity, Faith, Hope, Forgiveness, Humility. You don't have to pray, “God, do you want me to have these??!?!”

James warns against "double-minded" prayers, prayers that waver when we doubt that God’s plan for our character is really the best option.
“Purity? Really?  Self-control?  I have to forgive her? I have to love him? That can’t be right. I’ve seen the gods of this world and they are self-indulgent, tough, and certainly not pure.  And look what a good time they are having on Jersey Shore!”
Then there are things we pray for without knowing God’s will: A new job…a spouse….College….. money…. government leaders...vacation plans….business decisions…. amajor purchase…health.

We may not know these with certainty – maybe we’re not supposed to.  We would never have to “step out in faith” if we knew with certainty.  We waver here when we doubt that God is sovereign no matter what we choose.
“How could you have let me do this?  I don't see a why out! Why did you let this happen to me?” 
Do we believe that God is truly in control, or are we confident that our perspective is the one that should win the day?  This prayer of faith is one in which we say, alongside Christ in the Garden, "Not my will, but yours be done."

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Crossing In Traverse City


How cool was it to host The Crossing last night?  I'll answer that - very cool.  I loved the members of the band - they were friendly, completely unpretentious, easygoing, and seemed genuinely interested in everybody they met. Throw in a love for Christ and others, and we have a winner :)  As my wife said afterward, "Well, yeah.  They're from Jesus People."  If you like the following video clips, go to Grrr Records.

video