No Apologizing

"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

Are Christians Sociopaths?


Are Christians, particularly Christians in America, sociopathic?

What started as an off the cuff remark I made during a recent sermon at my Church (Legacy Church, in Kansas City, MO) has begun to legitimately haunt me (you can hear the sermon here)…

Christian… Sociopath… These are two words that on the surface seem completely incompatible.  Acts 11:26 tells us that the term “Christian” was first used of disciples in the Antioch church.  This was initially used as an insult in that people were saying they were “little Christs”.  In other words, they were just like Jesus, who because of His great love for people, voluntarily died to pay for the sins of the world. On the other hand – the dictionary defines sociopath as “a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.” Another says that “Sociopaths are interested only in their personal needs and desires, without concern for the effects of their behavior on others.”

How can someone who is living a life that is reminiscent of a man whose critics admit was at least a good person and moral teacher exhibit behavior or attitudes that are patently selfish and apathetic to others? However, in spite of the apparent contradiction, I think if we are truly honest with ourselves, the answer is closer to “yes” than any of us who call ourselves a Christian would like to admit… And it tears me up inside… Let me allow this clip from Atheist Magician and Comedian Penn Jillette to begin to explain what I mean:

“How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” There is the rub… Way too many “Christians” fall in a daily routine and are comfortable to coast through life without a broken heart for their friends and family who, if what we believe is really true, are destined for an eternity without God… Well… to be honest that is the essence of selfishly living life “without concern for the effects of their behavior [or lack thereof] on others”, isn’t it???

We certainly shouldn’t be comfortable with it… But sadly I think that may just be the problem… our comfort.  Because we are relatively comfortable, especially in comparison to most of the rest of the world, we just get into auto pilot and unintentionally slip into apathy.  It’s not a conscious thing, but it occurs anyway… and it’s tragic.

Penn said “There comes a point where I tackle you… and this is more important than that.” Because people’s eternities are so important, our “social conscience” should remind us that we have a “moral responsibility” to love those around us enough to take the risk of offending them or losing a friendship to in a sense “tackle” them by sharing the truth about Jesus

Let’s pray to God for forgiveness for our sociopathic tendencies and begin to live a life that actually reflects our name-sake, Jesus… and refuse to scoot through life uncaring and unaffected by the many people we know who do not yet have a relationship with Him.

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Well…it took no time at all


I was reading through the news today about the tragedy in Aurora.  I saw a few comments on a story that talked about James Holmes and religion.  I guess it was only a matter of time before this was tied to Christianity.  So lets look at some of the comments and titles we are seeing online:

“My heart goes out to victims of Christian Terrorist James Holmes”

“James Holmes, Colorado shooter, described as ‘normal’ Christian”

“Meet James Holmes: A Presbyterian Christian”

“Shooter James Holmes – a WHITE and a Christian – mass murderer”

These are all on page one or two of a Google search that yields nearly 123 million hits.

These titles don’t include comments on these stories which range from passive aggressive to downright nasty regarding the forgiveness of James Holmes.  There are some Christians who, despite what the Bible says, argue the Holmes is going to hell no matter what.

All I can do is shake my head.  How do we get to a point in history that a heinous act is associated with Christ?

This goes back to the whole discussion of Christian or not Christian.  Someone who professes salvation, or possess salvation.  The argument being used here is so logically flawed it is ridiculous.  The logic being, James Holmes attended church, therefore he is a Christian.  It would be the equivalent of saying, Robert attended a football game, and therefore he is a professional football player.  Another analogy, Robert attended an atheist conference, and is therefore an atheist.

While attendance to events CAN BE an indicator to something you are interested in, it in no way makes you.  Bible scripture is clear that this is the case.  Matthew 7:23 demonstrates that there will be people who cry to the Lord claiming that they knew Him, and he will say depart from me, I never knew you.  These are people who clearly attended church, but it did not make them.

The other attack is focused on the forgiveness of God.  They are using this as some sort of argument against God.  Can you imagine?  The audacity of God to forgive someone who has sinned.  I for one am thankful that He does and that He will.  Lets say that at some point in the future that James Holmes is lead to Christ.  He is truly repentant of his sin, and has faith that Jesus died on the cross for his sin’s.  Would James be saved?  Would James go to heaven?  YES HE IS AND YES HE WOULD!  There are two points that speak to this:

Remember the thief repented and had faith just before he died on the cross with Jesus.  He joined Jesus in paradise on that day.

Remember that Paul (Saul) was VERY active in the persecution and murder of Christians before being converted.  We can, for example, place Saul as the martyrdom of Stephen in Acts. He went on to become the Apostle of the Gentiles.

Remember Nineveh, and how God spared them when they repented after Jonah preached to them.

The Ten Commandments do not give favor to any one sin.  So in God’s eyes a lie is as evil as murder.  What does this mean?  That, in God’ eyes, our sins against God are as evil as that of James Holmes. It means that WE ALL need salvation because of those sins, or stand condemned before God on judgment day.  On that day there will be no difference between some one who has spent their life helping children but did not possess salvation and James Holmes.  We ALL need that salvation.  That includes James Holmes.

Don’t get me wrong, I am as outraged at this as everyone else is.  However, I am thankful that I am forgiven.  Let’s not forget the parable of the lost sheep and remember that “there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who do not need to repent.”  James Holmes is a very lost sheep.

A religion on trial


Careful gang….that is not our cross.

Every once in a while I stumble across something that I feel is important enough to talk about that may not be involved explicitly with apologetics. This is one of those things. Last week I started to look into writing a post about scientology. I wanted to do this primarily because it is commonly described as the fastest growing religion in the world (this has been proven to be a lie). Thinking that this could be a future apologetic opportunity I figured I would get a head start.
So I started watching a few documentaries last week when the whole thing with Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise broke. Why is this relevant? Tom Cruise is VERY high up the food chain in Scientology. The story goes that Katie split and is divorcing Tom because Suri is now of age to join the Sea Org or get more involved with Scientology. Katie is asking for sole custody. This is critical, because if Tom Cruise fights back for joint custody we could very well see the religion (or cult) of Scientology on trial.
This is a fascinating prospect as Scientology has fallen under intense scrutiny for the way that it handles those who leave Scientology. Basically, they have a practice of forcing relatives to disavow other relatives that leave the church. There are stories of emotional abuse, physical abuse, and the worship of an alien named Xenu. Rather than spending my time talking about Scientology (the cult) I would rather focus on the implications of this upcoming trial.

– A religion on trial is not a very promising prospect but in order for Katie Holmes to prove the point that she is protecting her daughter from Scientology she will have to prove why she is wanting to protect her daughter from Scientology. This means that Scientology goes on trial. Some people may cringe at the notion of a religion being on trial in an actual court of law. I am not sure that this is a bad thing. Besides…when was the last time you saw a mother stripping her kids from a bible believing Christian father who wanted to get them more involved with Church?
– Scientology as a cult will be completely exposed by this. While most people would say that it already is, this will be the kind of exposure the average person will see because it will be all over public news.
Christianity has been on public trial since about 30 A.D. Really, God has constantly been on trial before a disbelieving human race since the fall of man. The odd thing is that Christianity gets lumped into a broader category of religion when things like this happen. Statements like “all religion is garbage” generate from public spectacles like this, which is unfortunate. Scientology shares nothing in common with Biblical Christianity. As a matter of fact Christianity stands alone in several aspects when compared to different religions.
So what do you think? Is it a bad thing that Scientology is about to go on trial?

The hurt of suicide


This week was the first time that my life directly intersected with the hurt of suicide.  It will not be soon forgotten.  At first I wasn’t sure how to process what had actually happened.  As I slowly started to digest these events I came to the most inevitable question that those close to a suicide (or even who spectate from afar): Why?

Most will typically commit suicide because they feel there are no other solutions and no hope.  I found one description online saying that the reason could stem from either financial or personal (relational, low self-esteem) difficulties.  I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of hopelessness that one would have to feel to wake up one morning with the desire to end it all  – much less follow through with that desire (especially one that has a loving family).

Adding to the hurt of the act itself, is a frequent religious response to the act.  It is my understanding that the particular family impacted by this was Catholic.  This compounds the hurt because according to that religious tradition is the teaching that they are damned to Hell solely because of this decision.

There are two questions that need to be answered when discussing suicide, particularly of one who has claimed to be a Christian.

First, is suicide is a damnable (i.e. unforgiveable) sin in and of itself?  In other words, will a true Christian who commits suicide be barred from Heaven.  Second, is what does the Bible offer to those who are so hopeless and feel so helpless before the suicide ever happens?

Can suicide alone automatically condemn someone to Hell?

This is an issue that must be addressed due to the religious doctrine of the Catholic Church.  For hundreds of years they have created a stigma around suicide that it is a sin that will not be forgiven and thus anyone (Christian or not) who commits suicide will be sent to Hell.  There is no biblical support for this opinion.  To the contrary, there is ample evidence to support that once a Christian possess salvation, they have been absolved of all sin!  This would include the sins you have committed in the past, the sins you are committing now, and the sins you will commit in the future.  There are many scriptures that support this doctrine (Eternal Security/Perseverance of the Saints) let me briefly call out three:

Colossian 2:13-14:  When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 

Notice the use of the word “all.”  It does not say that God forgave us of the sins we did commit only, but ALL sin that we have and will commit.  There is a finality to this verse that indicates that the sin we have and will commit was nailed to the cross.  As Jesus said…IT IS FINISHED!

Romans 8:38-39:  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If the Colossians verse does not do it for you then perhaps Romans 8 will.  Could Paul have been any more explicit?  Nothing can separate a Christian from God, NEITHER PRESENT NOR THE FUTURE!  Notice the Paul specifically mentions death.  Not even death is powerful enough to separate us from the Father and the Son.

Romans 8:1-2:  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Again Paul could not have been clearer.  As Christians we face no condemnation and are free from the law of sin (and death).  The outworking of the law Paul references here is the condemnation that we all would face from God were we not in Christ Jesus.  This ultimately results in spiritual death- eternal separation from God.

The final picture that is painted… Once we have accepted Jesus’ payment for our sin (which places us “in Christ”, we have been forgiven for them ALL, past present or future, we will not be condemned.  At the moment one is joined to Jesus in this way, there is nothing they can do to separate them from God.  Suicide, being a sin, cannot separate a Christian who commits that sin from God.

There is something else that needs to be discussed here and that is the stigma associated with Christians who commit suicide.  There are many would make the argument that “true” Christians cannot commit suicide.  The premise of this argument is that “true” Christians find their hope in Jesus.  1 Peter 1:13 tells us explicitly to set your hope on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.  If a Christian has lost hope then it would appear that the only way it could be rationalized is that they never had hope, and were never really saved.

This thought process is a fundamental breakdown of the basic understanding of sin and the role it plays in our life.  If you conclude that suicide is a sin, then it must be considered in the same light as all sin.  We as Christians will still struggle with sin until we reach Heaven.

We are to strive to become more and more Christlike, but we will fail at different points in our life.  With that in mind one must conclude that there is NO difference between a Christian who lies, and a Christian who commits suicide, or a Christian who commits adultery in their heart and one who commits suicide.  In the eyes of God there is no difference.  James 2:10 states this as directly as possible “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”  In the eyes of God there is no difference between the one who commits suicide, and the one who lies about why they were late to work.  Many may scoff at this notion because in their eyes it may represent an extreme.  However, God does not  think like us  He deals in perfect judgment.  There is no difference in His perfect judgment between the two.

I believe the reason for this stigma is the finality of the sin.  In suicide we see the ultimate in finality.  It’s a permanent “solution” to a temporary problem.  We see the hurt caused to the family of someone who commits suicide.  The emotions involved, both anger and grief over the action are on full display.   The Bible states that there is only one sin that is unforgivable and that is the denial of the Holy Spirit (i.e. never believing in Christ – cf. John 3:18).  Nowhere does it mention that suicide is an unforgiveable sin.

What hope does the Bible offer?

Suicidal thoughts can end up enveloping someone just as quickly as adulterous thoughts do.  The Word of God is designed to offer instruction for life and comfort in our time of need, no matter the circumstances of that need.  Without exception, we all hit a time where we are depressed.  We hit a point where we believe nobody gets it.  We hit a point where we feel like we are alone on this planet.  As I write this I am reminded of the footprints in the sand poem.  What a simple but powerful demonstration of how God works in our lives.

Psalms is truly an incredible book in the Bible.  In it we get a candid look at the prayer life of David and others.  It includes bouts with depression.  Take for example Psalm 31:9-13: Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.  My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction,  and my bones grow weak. Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors and an object of dread to my closest friends— those who see me on the street flee from me. I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. For I hear many whispering ,  “Terror on every side!” They conspire against me and plot to take my life.

This is the reason that I love Psalms.  It is David being completely honest and open with God.  WHO HASN’T FELT THIS WAY?!  What we see in the book of Psalms is that David wasn’t afraid to say out loud everything that he was thinking:  All of the pain, all of the anguish, all of the anxiety, and all of the hurt.  But David always had one more thing to say with each passing moment that he was in aguish… he knew that God would sustain him.  Verse 14 of Psalm 31… “But I trust in you, Lord; I say, ’You are my God.’”

1 Peter 5:6-7 sums up the Psalmists’ experiences in two verses:  “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may Exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.”

There are a number of verses that can help you in your time of need.

Psalm 9:9, 22:24, 27:4-5, 46:1, 56:8, 116:1-2

This is a great sampling from the direct and honest prayer of David.  These come from the depth of his soul as he cries out in anguish to God.

Finally, if you are reading this and you are thinking about suicide, or know someone that is, please call for help.  Call a pastor of a local Bible-believing church and speak with them. www.iamsecond.com can point you to one.  You should know that God loves you.  We are not talking about the kind of love that is fleeting, or abusive, or anything like that which may have exacerbated your present circumstances.  His love is perfect.  He will never abandon you.  He will always love you.  If you don’t have a relationship with God, know that He wants one with you.  Hebrews 13:5  – Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

We are not talking religion, we are talking a personal one on one relationship with the creator-God of all of the universe.

A tale of two Christians


There are perhaps hundreds of examples (or even thousands or even hundreds of thousands) of when two Christians come to a different conclusion on the same topic.  Some of these differences could be as simple as disagreeing on who wrote the book of Hebrews, or something as complicated as the creation account in Genesis.  Having been in the apologetics game for a little over two years, I have had my share of disagreements with Christians on some theological matters.

Over the last two months we have had the ability to literally watch this unfold on national TV.  It was so subtle, that I doubt many of you tied these two events together to compare and contrast these two Christians.

What am I talking about?

About two weeks ago, President Obama, declared to the world that, based on his understanding of his faith, he believes homosexuals should be allowed to get married Here’s exactly what he said:

And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others.

But, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband and hopefully the better I’ll be as president.

Compare and contrast this to Kirk Cameron, who stated the following when asked about same-sex marriage:

I believe that marriage was defined by God a long time ago. Marriage is almost as old as dirt and it was defined in the garden between Adam and Eve: one man one woman for life – ah till death do you part. So, I would never attempt to redefine marriage and I don’t think that anyone else should either. So do I support the idea of gay marriage? No I don’t.

Could there be a sharper contrast between two people when it comes to applying their faith?

One Christian is saying that same-sex marriage is okay because the Golden Rule says to treat others the way you would want to be treated, while the other affirms that marriage is defined by God, and is between one man and one woman.

These are mutually exclusive ideas, so one has to be right and the other wrong.  How are we to gauge which one is correct?  Since both claim to be Christians and because the Christian faith is rooted in the Bible we should look to what the it has to say about the topic, right?  Additionally, we have to assume that both hold the Bible to have some sort of authority, since both quoted it.

According to scripture (Specifically Acts 17:11) we should be like the Bereans and test everything that is taught against scripture.   Based on that, we have 3 specific points that we must review in order to come to an educated conclusion about these two different viewpoints: 1. What does the Bible say about homosexuality; 2. How does the Bible define marriage?, 3.  What does the Golden Rule mean?

So what does the Bible say about Homosexuality?  How does it describe God’s thoughts on it?

Lev. 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”

Lev. 20:13, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act”

1 Cor. 6:9-10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Rom. 1:26-28, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.”

So here we have two examples, two from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament.  All provide a clear example of what God thinks about homosexuality.  Please understand that I am not passing judgment on those that are homosexual.  This is God’s Word.  God’s Word is pretty clear.  Homosexuality is a sin, an abomination, and a detestable act.  There doesn’t appear to be any gray in this area.

How does the Bible define marriage?

There are several (and when I say several I mean numerous) Bible verses that speak directly to marriage.  A quick sampling includes Genesis 2:22 – 24, Proverbs 5:18-19, Proverbs 12:4, Matthew 19:4-6, 1 Corinthians 7:1-16, Ephesians 5:22-23, and Colossians 3:18-19.

The one that really sticks out is Hebrews 13:4 where the author writes Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

According to the author marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure.  God will judge those that do not keep it pure.  This includes those that are adulterers and the sexually immoral.  Adulterer is a fairly well defined and specific term.  Sexually immoral however, appears to be more general or a more encompassing phrase.  What does it refer to?  In the New Testament it typically refers to any sexual sin.  This would include homosexuality.  Here the Bible appears to be very clear that all must honor marriage (clearly defined as man and woman throughout the Bible) and to keep the marriage bed pure (excluding all sexual sin including homosexuality).

What about the Golden Rule?

This verse can be found in Matthew 7:12.  A basic summation of the Golden Rule is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  This is exactly as the President stated.  But what does it mean?  I found a great explanation of this in a commentary written by Matthew Henry.  From the golden rule we can derive 3 things: 1. We must do that to our neighbor which we ourselves acknowledge to be fit and reasonable; 2. We must put other people upon the level with ourselves; 3. We must, in our dealings with others, suppose ourselves in the same particular case and circumstances with those we have to do with and deal accordingly.

So what does all of this mean?

As Christians we are called to obey the word of God.  The Bible is considered the word of God thus we are called to obey it in its entirety.  This means that a Christian’s response to gay marriage must encompass all of the above, and not just one component.

It is clear from the scripture above that God considers homosexuality a sin.  It is also clear that marriage was designed by God to be a covenant relationship between a man and a woman for a lifetime.  We are also called to treat others the same way that we would want to be treated.  However, the way that Obama uses the Golden Rule redefines it in a way that basically says “I wouldn’t want someone else to tell me not to get married so I can’t tell someone else that they cannot get married”.  The use of the Golden Rule in this manner opens a Pandora’s box.  One could simply replace the “get married” with anything they like and the Golden Rule would apply (I wouldn’t want someone to tell me not to sell drugs to kids, so I don’t think drug trafficking should be illegal). I’m sure that President is a bright guy, but this line of “logic” is obviously absurd.

Where the Golden Rule does apply is in how we deal with those who are homosexual and support gay marriage.  We are to treat them with the same respect that we would want to be treated.  We would share a kind word with them in the same manner that we would like to have others share with us.  We would help them when they need help, be there for them when they need it…the list goes on.  Part of this includes loving them enough to tell them when they are doing something wrong.  This would be similar to a loving parent telling their child that what they are doing is wrong and they will get hurt if they continue to do it.

You see, it takes no love at all to condemn someone through silence or endorsement of something that is not good for them.  In the same way that silence can kill someone who is addicted to drugs, an open endorsement of something that is clearly wrong and sinful can be emotionally, physically and spiritually destructive.  That takes absolute love and the absolute application of the Golden Rule to tell someone that their choices are putting them in danger (see the Omega Study for empirical evidence as to why we are calling homosexuality and same-sex marriage “dangerous” – and that’s even ignoring the spiritual aspects of the issue).  The application of the Golden Rule here:  I would want/expect my friends and loved ones to tell me when I am doing something wrong, thus I would tell my friends and loved ones when they are doing something wrong.  The key here is to do it in a way that is loving and caring.  In this context a Christian who says to a homosexual, “I love you and I want what’s best for you… The lifestyle you have chosen is patently dangerous and because what you are doing goes directly against the Word of God, it is a sin…” demonstrates more love for that individual than the person who says “Do whatever makes you feel good…it’s all okay.”  The ability to stand in front of someone and state the truth is pure love and is the ultimate application of the Golden Rule.

We are not saying definitively that President Obama has rejected the Christian faith in its entirety – Whether the President is an evangelical Christian is a discussion for another time.  Specifically, in this post, we are simply pointing out that the logic behind his use of scripture as justification for affirming same-sex marriage is ignorant and misguidedly faulty at best and dangerously deceitful and manipulative at worst.

…And Now I cheated on my wife!?


This...is what adultery looks like.

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.

 27You 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?

Just an old fashioned love song…


Folks…lets talk some music.  I grew up listening to straight rock and roll. Bands of my choice, Led Zeppelin, and any grunge group (real grunge…Nirvana, Soundgarden and the like).  Over the last 5-7 years I had completely given up on new music.  There was no music worth listening to in my eyes.  No passion, no emotion.  Everything sounded the same and was littered with the same trash.  

So over the last couple of years the combination of church, my wife’s obsession with K-love and KB I have slowly started to give Christian music a try.  At first…the music was boring with a capital B.  I thought…maybe I just don’t get it, and there was just a general lack of feeling no emotion when listening to it.  In my mind in order for it to be good…I have to feel it.  I have to hear the emotion in the song, and the music.  I have to feel the emotion being poured out.  Over the last year I have finally started to feel the songs.  I am not sure what the change is.  I would like to think that Christian music is finally starting to break the cage and beginning to push the boundary without compromising the true intent of what it is meant to be.  A couple of songs have recently caught my ear, and it is changing my perspective of Christian music.

Undone (FFH)

Revelation Song (Phillips, Craig and Dean)  

So tell me guys…what’s your favorite Christian song?

WHY ARE YOU ACTING THAT WAY?!


The use of the Lords name has become as casual as casual day on Friday.  You cannot turn on a movie or a TV show where God or Jesus Christ is not used flippantly or

Sometimes...even I wonder

 frivolously.   For that matter some Kids movies are known to use God’s name in a flippant manner.  People who write these things, or say God in a way that is not reverent do so because to them…God’s name is no different saying “couch” or “chair”.  Take for example the movie Pulp Fiction.  God is said 34 times in a way that is not reverent at all. Jesus Christ… an additional 4 times.  I wonder when God or Jesus Christ is used in vain during this movie if anything is actually added to the movie.  This means that God’s name was taken in vain at least every 3 to 4 minutes.  While Pulp Fiction may be an extreme it is an illustration of how socially acceptable it has come to take the Lords name in vain.

Commandment 3 – You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain.

Rather than dwelling on the obvious uses of God’s name in vain let’s focus on some things you probably haven’t considered.

As a Christian…are you taking the Lords name in vain when you say “I am a Christian”, and then act to the contrary?  I ask this question knowing full well that we are not perfect, and that we will make mistakes.  What I am talking about is willingly committing sin, either privately or for all of the world to see.   I would argue yes.  Consider this.  As Christian’s we are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).  We are Christ by name.  If we represent the name and we act in a way that is irreverent to that name… we have taken that name in vain.  It really is that simple.  So in this since it goes beyond the spoken word in into our actions. Yes…you can act a certain way…and take the Lord’s name in vain.

Take for example the common mistake of a Christian saying that God doesn’t belong in a work place, and then proceeding to act VERY un-Christ like.  It could be lying, or backstabbing someone, or demeaning someone in front of the office or what not.  Then this same person talks about Church or being a Christian or how passionate they are about Christ.  I am sure we have all seen this person, or you are thinking about someone in particular as you read this…I know I am.  The question then becomes…is that person taking the Lord’s name in vain?  Even allowing for grace, we are all going to sin, and make mistakes.  I am in no way advocating that we have to be perfect.  But never the less…these actions are taking the Lord’s name in vain. (check out this funny, yet powerful illustration, by BlueFish TV)

We as Christian’s must be cognizant of our own representation of God’s name – In fact, the word “Christian” literally means “little Christ.”  Others, who see us use God’s name in vain, usually call it being a hypocrite.  But the effect of these actions are on the level as dropping the worst, profane use of God’s name possible because the impact is the same.  The holy name of God is tarnished in the eyes of unbelievers.

U2’s Bono interview about Christ


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.

Christians in a rock band?

 

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.

I have many gods….but only one God


YOU! Are the most common god...

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.

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