Thursday, February 23, 2012

While Rome Burns

Found an interesting article today. It is short. Read it, and come right back. I will be here.

Welcome back. Pretty thought provoking article, wasn't it? I thought so too.

Lately, I have been spending more time than usual on Facebook. Too much? Maybe. But I am seeing something. I am seeing people who I look up to who are pastors, professors, and Christians. I see them bickering. Blasting liberals. Blasting conservatives. Hating the President. Hating this, that, and the other. Today I posted a verse of Scripture on my FB status. No commentary, just a verse from the Bible, Matthew 8:11. My first reply was a comment from a minister remarking about Universalism. I wasn't making a universalist claim. I don't think that is what the verse stands for. I wanted to engage him in a debate. But I stopped myself. I'll tell you why in a moment.

A pastor who I have admired for many years and consider to be a mentor made this statement on his FB profile. "If the Bible is Pro-Life, Pro-Traditional Marriage, Pro-Economic Freedom, Pro-God and there are 300,000-400,000 "evangelical" churches in America, why is the nation controlled by a media and Democrat Party that is Pro-Abortion, Pro-Homosexual Marriage, Pro-Big Government Controlled Economy and Anti-God?" 

Reality is catching up with us, fellow Christians. We have wasted so many years debating and arguing and vying to be right that we have lost our credibility to the world. And why not? It seems we would rather shoot our own wounded and alienate them rather than lead them to grace, forgiveness, and restoration. We have created and perpetuated a narcissistic theology of trying to receive "God's best" and forgetting to help others in need.

"Who has time to help others? We have a church to grow."

God help us, before it is too late, to rise up and be what you have called us to be: salt and light. It seems we have become more like castor oil and strobe lights instead. We are sickening and confusing the world we are called to reach. They come to church for answers, and they find even more confusion.

Who am I to point my fingers, you may say? I am part of the problem. I have eighteen years in the ministry arguing, debating, condemning, immersing myself in "church growth," seeking financial "blessings," and shirking anyone who stood in my way. Believe me, I am reaping what I have sown. Believe me. Very little remains from the life I once had. Except for a great deal of pain and burned bridges.

Because of grace, I am being given another chance. My main prayer is that I don't royally screw it up this time around.

You can have your debates and political hate fests. I am focusing on the things that matter: loving God, loving others, and sound biblical preaching. Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” John 13:34-35 (emphasis mine).

When people look at us, do they know we are His disciples? When they look at me, do they know I am His disciple? Based on the article we read, it would seem not.

I pray that going forward, they will. 

By God's grace, they will.

They will know.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

No Sunshine When She's Gone

Today I said good bye to my sweet Little Miss Sunshine. She passed away this morning. She was old and tired, and it was her time. I miss her already. My animals really get into my heart; they always have. Sunshine was no exception.

In 2008, my family and I rescued her from a very neglectful situation. For most of her life, she had been used for breeding. When she passed the fertile age, she was simply turned loose. During her time alone, she was hit by a car. A family I knew had found her and nursed her from the brink of death, but they couldn't keep her. We took her in, even though she was still in bad shape. Sunshine had a tumor the size of an orange on her kidney. She lost the kidney, but remained vibrant and sweet. I am happy to say that she lived like a queen for the last 4 years of her life. She was deeply loved, spoiled, and pampered. She knew it, too.

Her health had been failing. I made an appointment to take her to the vet this morning, but she had passed away by the time I woke up. Now she is with the Lord and at peace.

Sunshine, thank you for brightening our family with your sweet little face, your cuddling, and your snoring. I will miss you terribly, but I am glad you are no longer in pain. I love you and will never forget you.