"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
Tag Archives: Christian
April 4, 2011Posted by on
Last week I pointed out where Jesus called us all murderers… so you should know what’s coming next: Raise your hand if you have ever cheated on your spouse. Okay hands down. Now, I am willing to bet that those of you who didn’t raise your hand….have cheated on your spouse. My Pastor gave a really good sermon on this topic. Rather than recounting his sermon (you can listen to it here)…I am going to focus on a certain aspect of the sermon.
7th commandment…You shall not commit adultery.
After you have digested that statement for a moment read Matthew 5:27 – 28.
27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
After you pick your jaw up off the floor, consider this:
When most people think of adultery they are thinking of the actual physical act of being sexually intimate with someone other than their spouse. To limit adultery to such an act would be to fail to recognize what adultery is in God’s eyes. Yes, according to God… looking at a person of the opposite sex with lust is adultery.
Many atheist and agnostics will harp on the fact that there are a number of Christians who do in fact commit adultery on their spouses to try to disprove the God revealed in the Bible. Except when they talk about it they are talking about it in the physical sense. The truth is that a super majority (if not all) commit adultery on their spouses according to the standard of God. This is nothing to be boastful about… and it certainly is not my intent. But even still, the failures of His followers do not in any way discredit the claims of Christ.
We cannot limit our view of adultery to the physical act. Adultery must be viewed as both the physical act and the act committed in your heart when you lust. But through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit there is hope and forgiveness and help to follow God’s standard more closely.
Paul summarizes it this way in Galatians 5: So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whateveryou want.
Job 31 says:
1 “I made a covenant with my eyes
not to look lustfully at a young woman.
2 For what is our lot from God above,
our heritage from the Almighty on high?
3 Is it not ruin for the wicked,
disaster for those who do wrong?
4 Does he not see my ways
and count my every step?
February 24, 2011Posted by on
Okay….so I am always on the lookout for how celebrities describe their faith. I find it interesting. 9 times out of 10 they end up creating a God that does not exist in the Bible. Then along comes this excerpt from a book where Bono from U2 is being interviewed about his faith. Actually the interview is from September 2010…but never the less it is an incredible read. The following excerpt is from the poached egg and can be found at this link.
Bono: My understanding of the Scriptures has been made simple by the person of Christ. Christ teaches that God is love. What does that mean? What it means for me: a study of the life of Christ. Love here describes itself as a child born in straw poverty, the most vulnerable situation of all, without honor. I don’t let my religious world get too complicated. I just kind of go: Well, I think I know what God is. God is love, and as much as I respond [sighs] in allowing myself to be transformed by that love and acting in that love, that’s my religion. Where things get complicated for me, is when I try to live this love. Now that’s not so easy.
Assayas: What about the God of the Old Testament? He wasn’t so “peace and love”?
Bono: There’s nothing hippie about my picture of Christ. The Gospels paint a picture of a very demanding, sometimes divisive love, but love it is. I accept the Old Testament as more of an action movie: blood, car chases, evacuations, a lot of special effects, seas dividing, mass murder, adultery. The children of God are running amok, wayward. Maybe that’s why they’re so relatable. But the way we would see it, those of us who are trying to figure out our Christian conundrum, is that the God of the Old Testament is like the journey from stern father to friend. When you’re a child, you need clear directions and some strict rules. But with Christ, we have access in a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament, on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combination is what makes the Cross.
Assayas: Speaking of bloody action movies, we were talking about South and Central America last time. The Jesuit priests arrived there with the gospel in one hand and a rifle in the other.
Bono: I know, I know. Religion can be the enemy of God. It’s often what happens when God, like Elvis, has left the building. [laughs] A list of instructions where there was once conviction; dogma where once people just did it; a congregation led by a man where once they were led by the Holy Spirit. Discipline replacing discipleship. Why are you chuckling?
Assayas: I was wondering if you said all of that to the Pope the day you met him.
Bono: Let’s not get too hard on the Holy Roman Church here. The Church has its problems, but the older I get, the more comfort I find there. The physical experience of being in a crowd of largely humble people, heads bowed, murmuring prayers, stories told in stained-glass windows
Assayas: So you won’t be critical.
Bono: No, I can be critical, especially on the topic of contraception. But when I meet someone like Sister Benedicta and see her work with AIDS orphans in Addis Ababa, or Sister Ann doing the same in Malawi, or Father Jack Fenukan and his group Concern all over Africa, when I meet priests and nuns tending to the sick and the poor and giving up much easier lives to do so, I surrender a little easier.
Assayas: But you met the man himself. Was it a great experience?
Bono: [W]e all knew why we were there. The Pontiff was about to make an important statement about the inhumanity and injustice of poor countries spending so much of their national income paying back old loans to rich countries. Serious business. He was fighting hard against his Parkinson’s. It was clearly an act of will for him to be there. I was oddly moved by his humility, and then by the incredible speech he made, even if it was in whispers. During the preamble, he seemed to be staring at me. I wondered. Was it the fact that I was wearing my blue fly-shades? So I took them off in case I was causing some offense. When I was introduced to him, he was still staring at them. He kept looking at them in my hand, so I offered them to him as a gift in return for the rosary he had just given me.
Assayas: Didn’t he put them on?
Bono: Not only did he put them on, he smiled the wickedest grin you could ever imagine. He was a comedian. His sense of humor was completely intact. Flashbulbs popped, and I thought: “Wow! The Drop the Debt campaign will have the Pope in my glasses on the front page of every newspaper.”
Assayas: I don’t remember seeing that photograph anywhere, though.
Bono: Nor did we. It seems his courtiers did not have the same sense of humor. Fair enough. I guess they could see the T-shirts.
Later in the conversation:
Assayas: I think I am beginning to understand religion because I have started acting and thinking like a father. What do you make of that?
Bono: Yes, I think that’s normal. It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.
Assayas: I haven’t heard you talk about that.
Bono: I really believe we’ve moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace.
Assayas: Well, that doesn’t make it clearer for me.
Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics; in physical laws every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It’s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “as you reap, so you will sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.
Assayas: I’d be interested to hear that.
Bono: That’s between me and God. But I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I’d be in deep s—. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.
Assayas: The Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.
Bono: But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there’s a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let’s face it, you’re not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That’s the point. It should keep us humbled . It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.
Assayas: That’s a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it’s close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world’s great thinkers. But Son of God, isn’t that farfetched?
Bono: No, it’s not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn’t allow you that. He doesn’t let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet. I’m saying: “I’m the Messiah.” I’m saying: “I am God incarnate.” And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You’re a bit eccentric. We’ve had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don’t mention the “M” word! Because, you know, we’re gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you’re expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he’s gonna keep saying this. So what you’re left with is: either Christ was who He said He was the Messiah or a complete nutcase. I mean, we’re talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we’ve been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had “King of the Jews” on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I’m not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that’s farfetched
Bono later says it all comes down to how we regard Jesus:
Bono: If only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my s— and everybody else’s. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that’s the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.
February 19, 2011Posted by on
I love the Ten Commandments. What an interesting study into the natural and moral law of God. My Pastor has started a series on the 10 commandments (to listen to the sermons CLICK HERE). Each week he is going through a commandment. I am posting this a couple of weeks behind but two weeks ago was the first commandment.
Now the first commandment is the one that typically is used for the reason that the 10 commandments cannot be displayed on public property. In recent history this has become one of the more controversial commandments, not only because of the First amendment debate but also because of the implications to everyday Christians who think that this only applies to worshipping Buddha, or Zeus or whatever… Just like the transformers, however, there is more to this than meets the eye. Much of this is taken from the sermon, so if you take a listen…many of the points here will sound familiar.
Commandment 1 – You shall have no other gods before Me. (Exodus 20:3)
Everyone has a god. Now, some one of you are probably thinking “I have a god and it is God”. Others, like atheists, say I have no god, nor do I believe in God. Still others, like Kenneth Copeland will tell you, you are a god or you can become one (Mormans). In order to rightly explain this we have to look at each one of these…
Christians – Most Christians will tell you that they don’t worship Buddha or anything along those lines so they follow the first commandment. That may be, however, the furthest thing from the truth. The truth is that anything can be a god to you…even yourself. Your god can be…
– Success and Money (Luke 16:13). Yes you can worship one and not the other. The question is which is the priority in your life… From which do you place your significance and security? The money you make (or have banked) or God?
– Society (Galatians 1:10). You can worship others opinion of you. The question to you…which one carries the most weight for you, the opinion of others or the opinion of God?
– Pleasure (1 Timothy 5:6). You can worship doing whatever feels good. You basically put your personal pleasure before God. Living with a boyfriend… going out to party… pre-marital sex… Homosexuality… So the question…Which most affects your decision making, personal pleasure or living with God?
– Family (Luke 14:26). Yes you can replace God with the worship of your own family. Now I can hear the Atheist (and some Christians) exploding right now. What Jesus is saying is that God comes before family. Our love for Him should look like contempt for everyone…even your family. So now the question…Which takes prescedence? Your family… or God?
– Yourself (Proverbs 14:12). Ahhhhhh worship of one’s self. This covers a broad perspective. Check this out…Ever heard or caught yourself saying the god I know would’nt judge people for (fill in the blank with something that is expressly mentioned in the Bible)… CONGRATULATIONS! You have created a god that doesn’t exist in the Bible, instead, you have created a god in the image of yourself. Go back up to the Pleasure god.
Atheists – All atheist’s have a god to worship. It can be any of the things listed above, but it could also include nature, or science. Nature in the fact that they could worship protecting the environment, or the “Science” that claims that nature was able to create itself (evolution). But even if you are an atheist or an agnostic, and you don’t buy into global warming or evolution, you more than likely worship one of the things listed above. More than likely you worship yourself. You might be thinking is that you determine your own destiny, or moral values, or world view. This would make you a god in the most basic sense.
The first commandment is a call to worship only God. To put aside all of the things that could distract you from being with God and focus on him. If you are a Christian…your god can be anything that distracts you from the one true God! If you’re an atheist, your god HAS taken you away from Him already! Simply denying he exists doesn’t take away the fact that He is truly God.