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Sunday
Jun252017

Justice Without God Is Not Justice

1 Corinthians 1:25 “This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God's weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.”

I have contended for some time that most of the race baiting is not done by racists but by people who are progressives on race and culture. We perpetuate the race issues because we talk race all the time, everything you hear in the media, and out of the mouths of most liberals is race words, race ideas, racism, and race problems. No one is naïve enough to believe that race doesn’t play a part in the fabric of our society, but at what point are we going to stop talking race and start talking human beings? Take, for example, Dr. Greg Boyd, lead pastor at Woodland Hills Church in Maplewood, Minnesota. Dr. Boyd is filled with the wisdom of justice, which is justice that precedes the wisdom of God. No where in a recent Facebook posting did he refer to the wisdom of God in his thoughts on race, but referred to the verdict being unjust. Here is what he said following the jury verdict of the Philando Castile trial:

 I’m not going to get political. I’m just going to be honest.

My heart is pounding. In anger. In sorrow. In fear (over what this might lead to).

I know that, unlike the jury, we don’t have all the facts. Got that.

But I honestly wonder, what on earth could Philando Castile have done differently to avoid being killed — for malfunctioning taillights?! He did everything right.

He was courteous.
He informed the officer he had a permit to conceal and carry.
He told the officer he wasn’t reaching for his gun, which his girlfriend repeated.
Yet, he was shot dead – with his four-year-old daughter and girlfriend in the car.

I’ve got four black grandchildren. I see their faces when I think of Philando.

I personally don’t doubt officer Yanez believed his life was threatened. Just look at the way his voice and gun shake in the livestream on the Facebook page of Castile’s girlfriend. But what cause had Philando given Yanez to feel so threatened – other than being black?

Being black was the reason the officer shot him. Dr. Boyd as a Christian never mentioned the officer’s struggle with all of this, and how badly he might of felt in the end result of this shooting. The justice wisdom is usually a one-sided opinion and it never takes into account that there was more than one victim of this tragedy.  Officer Yanez will live with his decision the rest of his life, and his career will certainly be affected forever. Dr. Boyd as a pastor did very little to help anyone grieve or find forgiveness and comfort in his comments - he is simply telling everyone that once again, race matters.  Does race matter to God? Does He say: “Oops, here is another case of why I shouldn’t have created the various expressions of human beings. I should have made them all black or all white or all yellow so things would be a lot easier with sameness.” The issue isn’t about creation; the issue is about us and how we accept the differences between cultures and races. Race is something man made up, and it is his creation, not God’s.  God distinguishes between humans in two ways:

  1. Jew and Gentile
  2. Saved and Unsaved

God doesn’t use terms like Caucasian, Negroid, or Mongoloid - terms defined by anthropology. These of course are the terms that define skin pigment and often represent regions from which people originate. However race has become one of the most divisive forces in the world. The word "race," means common descent, and was introduced into English in about 1580, from the Old French rasse (1512), from Italian razza. Our common descent is that we are all a creation of God, and His design for people sprang from a common genetic pool with a few creative exceptions. Every human is a creation that has the capacity to know God, and to be like him. Sinfulness has made race the distinction of privilege and the foundation for hatred. History of course has contributed to our prejudice and we perpetuate our racial differences by a flawed interpretation of how we are defined as a people created by God as one people. I understand this perpetuation by those who do not believe in God, but for people like Dr. Boyd, there is no excuse.  Are we to continue to define people by skin color?  Dr. Martin Luther King would have disagreed with how we judge each other and use race to continue to divide people from people. You may disagree with me, but when children of all colors play together there is no division, they are simply children playing. What happens as children grow?  Their family influences them and their culture influences them to create the divides that race creates.

Philando Castile’s death was a tragedy, but it was not a race thing like it has been made out to be. It was an over reaction by a police office who was fearful of a gun in Castile’s lap.  It was a tragic reaction, but it was not racially motivated.  So why do we keep making it about race?  The wisdom of justice is not doing our society any favors, and Christian leaders should be tapping into God’s wisdom to understand justice, sin, forgiveness and even reconciliation. Do you know why I say this?

Because without God changing the heart of people there can be no change in how justice is administered. The justice of God was administered at the cross and it is there that the wisdom of justice is defined.

I know that making that last statement isn’t going to solve the problem of race, but it is where we get the wisdom of God to help us deal with our differences of race. I think when we promote a justice without God we are being used by man’s system of justice/wisdom to solve problems without God’s help.

James 3:17-18

17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”

Keeping it honest and truthful…. K

 

Friday
Jun162017

When Politics Become God

Romans 1:26

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.

As I have listened to talk radio and watched TV news I hear the same story over and over and over again. We have to stop the rhetoric on both sides of the aisle, and begin to work toward a better America, not a divided America. Even though that is true, the problem isn’t in our divisions, the problem lies within our refusal to honor God. God is the one who has turned us over to our passions and passions without God will end up in what happened in Alexandria, Virginia this week. Politics in general spins things out of control, and there is no way to stop the ramifications of these political views. Social media and media are the virus carriers, and I blame them for the hatred that is being promoted.

When we have comedians like Stephen Colbert building his comedy routine around Trump every night, it’s dishonest and disrespectful and encourages viewers to hate Trump.  There is no middle ground anymore, you are either left or right, and there is nothing in between. The level of political frustration is at the highest it has ever been, and it is caused by the hype of what is said through these media outlets. Personally I believe it is designed this way by the left to keep people agitated so much by hearing the negative spin that they are hoping it will move our frustration to changing the administration in the next election. 

Most politicians also contribute to the unrest because they are so focused on being partisan that nothing gets done for the sake of the country, it is always done for the sake of their party. None of this is new as politics have always divided people, but in the past there was always some kind of moral base that kept people sane. Today that base is gone and what has replaced it is a self-centeredness that wants its own way. Many of my spiritual mentors in the 1970’s said that the division between what is right and what is wrong would continue to split our society. Eventually there would be no middle ground, you will have to be on the left or on the right, and there is no room for anyone in between. Were they right? Many of those early mentors went on to say that the truth would be compromised in most churches, and ministry would become a self-promoting entity that focused upon good public relations. Pastors would not rightly divide the truth of God, but use it to promote an agenda of their interest. They also said that the divide would continue to grow between people and all spiritual emphasis between light and darkness would mingle into gray. 

Those early mentors also said that in order for the church to gain any foothold in society again we would need to see a significant revival in our society. That revival would be based upon the cross, the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the denial of self, a return to fearing God and a strong belief that Jesus would return soon. 

This revival is not about power, signs and wonders, (even though that may happen) it is about a heart change. Signs and wonders are only confirmations that God is at work, but the real change must come from within. A transformation must take place where God is once again sitting on the throne of a person’s heart, and then we have a chance to make a difference in our world

Like anything in life that is worthwhile, it takes sacrifice and hard work. Taking time to pray, seeking God to change our lives, making us self aware of our own sinful ways, bringing us to repentance, and then committing ourselves to a life of serving Jesus. That is hard work and full of sacrifice, but without it we become like children at play, only concerned about the next game we want to play. 

Romans 1:26

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.

Keeping it honest and truthful..K

Sunday
Jun112017

Preaching To The Choir

People that listen to Christian media, go to church or attend conferences are 95% Christians. So I thought I would see how well our churches are doing. 

7 Startling Facts: An Up-Close Look at Church Attendance in Americans:

1. Less than 20 percent of Americans regularly attend church, half of what the pollsters report.

 

While Gallup polls and other statisticians have turned in the same percentage—about 40 percent of the population—of average weekend church attendees for the past 70 years, a different sort of research paints quite a disparate picture of how many Americans attend a local church on any given Sunday.

2. American church attendance is steadily declining.

 

In 1990, 20.4 percent of the population attended an Orthodox Christian church on any given weekend. In 2000, that percentage dropped to 18.7 percent and to 17.7 percent by 2004. Olson explains that while church attendance numbers have stayed about the same from 1990 to 2004, the U.S. population has grown by 18.1 percent—more than 48 million people. “So even though the number of attendees is the same, our churches are not keeping up with population growth,” he says.

3. Only one state is outpacing its population growth.

 

Hawaii, where 13.8 percent of the state’s population (1.3 million) regularly attends church, is the only state where church attendance grew faster than its population growth from 2000 to 2004. However, church attendance in Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee—all of which have higher percentages of church attendees than Hawaii—was close to keeping up with population growth in each respective state.

4. Mid-sized churches are shrinking; the smallest and largest churches are growing.

While America’s churches as a whole did not keep up with population growth from 1994 to 2004, the country’s smallest (attendance 1–49) and largest churches (2,000-plus) did (see graph on page 52). During that period, the smallest churches grew 16.4 percent; the largest grew 21.5 percent, exceeding the national population growth of 12.2 percent. But mid-sized churches (100–299) - the average size of a Protestant church in America is 124 - declined 1 percent. What were the reasons for the decline?

5. Established churches—40 to 190 years old—are, on average, declining.

 

All churches started between 1810 and 1960 (excluding the 1920s) declined in attendance from 2003 to 2004. The greatest attendance decrease in that period (-1.6 percent) came from churches begun in the 1820s, followed by the 1940s (-1.5 percent).

6. The increase in churches is only 1/4 of what’s needed to keep up with population growth.

 

Between 2000 and 2004, the net gain (the number of new churches minus the closed churches) in the number of evangelical churches was 5,452, but mainline and Catholic denominations closed more churches than they started for a net loss of 2,200, leaving an overall net gain of 3,252 for all Orthodox Christian churches. “In this decade, approximately 3,000 churches closed every year; while more churches were started, only 3,800 survived,” Olson explains. In the 21st century, the net gain in churches has amounted to only 800 each year.

7. In 2050, the percentage of the U.S. population attending church will be almost half of what it was in 1990.

So what is the future of the American church? Does declining attendance mean declining influence? If present trends continue, the percentage of the population that attends church in 2050 is estimated to be at almost half of 1990’s attendance - a drop from 20.4 percent to 11.7 percent. Olson’s projections for the years leading up to 2050 are less than encouraging. He estimates a drop to 16.6 percent in 2010, and 15.4 percent in 2020.

http://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/139575-7-startling-facts-an-up-close-look-at-church-attendance-in-america.html/5

This is just one website that lists the data collected about the Church in America.  I believe that some of the decline is due to the emphasis on making the Church popular to the culture, compromising on the exclusivity of salvation in Christ alone.  On the other end of the spectrum - people who have heard the same message for years make up the majority of those attending our seminars and conferences. My question is simple. Why do we preach to the choir more than we do to the non-churched crowd?  It’s because it is easier to build a ministry and monetary support around like-minded people than it is to reach the non-Christian. That is the truth!  It is much harder to convince the non-believer to believe than it is to convert a believer to believe in what you believe.  Preaching to the choir is the norm in most churches. Even blogs like this aren’t for anyone who is a non-believer: it is designed for those who don’t want to fit in to the status quo of a compromising Christianity. 

It is easy for any of us to be a back seat driver on the reasons the church fails in reaching the masses, but part of it is in the design of the modern church. We are designed for the believer, not the unbeliever. The church I attend most of the time focuses on the ideals of Christianity but does not have a strong design around the idea of reaching the unbeliever. It is a choir church, and therefore the messages are for the choir. The seven reasons happen because those churches became choir churches, and in time the choir gets old and irrelevant.

Christianity is at its best and thriving, when it is confronting, convicting, and conversing with the culture around it. When it makes people uncomfortable and comfortable at the same time, the Church is at it’s best. 

Preaching only to the choir will make a church unbecoming to the rest of the non-choir people.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

Tuesday
Jun062017

Political Correctness Is A Mental Illness

 

 

I am sorry, but there isn’t anything smart in being politically correct. I am defining mental illness in this case as the inability to process reality according to the standards of God’s Word.  The ideas behind climate change, open borders, sexual neutrality, transgender rights, and college campus safe places are all part of an open agenda to shape the next generation’s ideas about how life should be lived. The push is for no distinctions between anything, which is what is behind all the politically correct language. The agenda is clear, if there are no distinctions between gender, ideas, class, and values then there is no distinction between right and wrong. This is why political correctness is a mental illness. When you take away the ability to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong you take away the values that society needs to have a safe and nurturing society.

A sign that was displayed in the aftermath of the London Bridge murders tells me that people want peace, where there is no peace: “Love all, Hate none.”   This is the problem with a politically correct society; they don’t see the dangers of an enemy. You can love your enemy, but you don’t give an enemy access to your home. You can love your enemy, but you can’t give them access to your public squares where they will kill more unsuspecting victims. You can love your enemy, but you don’t let them develop their own laws inside the borders of a sovereign state. You can love your enemy, but you don’t keep inviting more of them to make their way into your country to ignore your laws and refuse to assimilate into the culture of that land.

After the London attack and the recent Ariana Grande concert we saw an emotional crowd that made a determination that they were “not going to give in to the terrorists”. That is a noble stand, but it doesn’t fix the problem. The problem exists within their system, and until that is fixed, be prepared to do more emotional concerts because terrorists live for the attention they get from killing innocent people and the aftermath of fear. Political correctness is a mental illness because it was political correctness that got the United Kingdom in the mess it is in today.

In his book, People of the Lie—subtitled "The Hope for Healing Human Evil"—Dr. M. Scott Peck provides a simple yet profound definition of evil: "that which does harm to life or liveliness." Many Muslims who come to the West are good people who want a new start, and many are fleeing countries where their lives are at stake. Yet the philosophy behind Islam come with them, and Islam’s bottom line is not to make peace with the West but to conquer it and destroy our way of life. The scripture is clear - we hate evil we don’t tolerate it nor do we give it an opportunity to spread in our land. Read it for yourself how we are to hate evil.

Proverbs 8:13 “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”

Ecclesiastes 3: verses 3 and 8

A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 

A time to love and a time to hate,

A time for war and a time for peace.

Jesus told us to love our enemies, and that is what we are to do, but we are to hate the evil our enemies practice. We love our enemies but we are to be wise and not let that enemy overtake us because we are kind. Jesus loved His enemies, but he overturned the tables in the temple and threw out the moneychangers due to their practice of evil. You don’t live and tolerate the practice of evil among your people. I blame the governments of the world because they have ignored the warnings of people like our President who has repeatedly tried to create a safer America. Our politically correct crowd is so blind all they can see is discrimination, racism, and bigotry. This blindness is a sickness which risks the killing of innocent people over the common sense of trying to crack down on the kind of people we let into our country that want to kill us. Now tell me, isn’t that mentally sick? Let’s let people come here who want to blow us up. Now that makes perfect sense, doesn’t it????

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

 

 

 

Wednesday
May312017

Associations can Make or Break Your Success

Proverbs 14:7

Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge.

Most of my early life I hung out with the wrong crowd. It was a crowd that was determined to destroy, steal, and use drugs/alcohol. That crowd taught me the great lesson of not hanging out with people like them. It has been over four decades since I have hung around with this wrong crowd, and today I want to look at the associations we are currently keeping and whether or not they are healthy.

What I have learned over the years as a pastor and Christian leader is that you have to protect yourself against the attacks of the following:

Time Wasters: These are people or situations that will not add value to your life. They will only drain whatever resources you have, and if allowed to be in your life, you will be emotionally bankrupt. These are the situations that will keep you from accomplishing your goals in life.

The Influence of Negativity: There are always two sides of life, the negative and the positive, and you can never avoid the negative. It is a part of life and it gives you a perspective on what is wrong and what needs to change. Don’t ignore the negative, but instead use it to find solutions to make the changes that need to be made.  Negative people, however, will ruin a good day. I think the best thing to do in countering a negative person or a toxic environment is to ask the question, “where is our hope?”
The negative things/people will always be with us, but as we learn from what is wrong from the negative, we can focus on the hope that everything can change if you place your hope in God.

Dishonesty is a Cultural Norm: There are so many areas of living in our culture that you cannot trust. Advertisers lie to sell a product, politicians lie to garner support, religions lie to persuade a following, and culture lies to deceive a crowd.  Sounds defeating doesn’t it?  The truth of the matter is we cannot trust what humankind does, as motives, ambitions, and narcissism all play a big part in how we are influenced by others. To be sure that we are ‘getting what we are being told’ is to test it. Who or what benefits from what is being said?  Is there a hidden agenda that needs to be discovered and exposed? What has been the track record and the side effects of the issue at hand?  So many things to be aware of, and you must start your inquiry by becoming self-aware. If you are easily influenced, conned, or persuaded, then that is your first line of defense, so know your limitations. Don’t go grocery shopping when you are hungry, your appetite will deceive you into buying things you don’t need. Being self-aware is the first step to stay free from becoming gullible to a cultural influence.

Opportunists: These are people who want a relationship because you can offer them something they don’t have or they need.  I have relationships in my life that only call me when they need something, yet disguise it as friendship. The only reason I am tolerated or considered a friend is because I provide something they need. These are the people or friendships that you probably need to apply some relational distance. Toxic people are everywhere, and toxic people will always find a vulnerable person to plague. Ministry often is filled with toxic people, but these are the people you provide a professional setting for - never invite them to your home or into your inner circle. You will be sorry.

The Unteachables: These are the people that no matter what you say or do they will never be satisfied with you as a person. You always come up short in their eyes. People who are never wrong and have an opinion about everything are shortsighted people who feel inferior in their environment. They compensate their feelings of inadequacy with information and knowledge, overwhelming all others in the group. Churches are full of know-it-all people who are not willing to learn from others, they always want to teach others from their vast wealth of knowledge. These people can be the worst enemy to a project because they always want their way. Why? Because they know better, and are smarter than anyone else in the room, of course. 

If you choose to engage with any of these five people types, prepare yourself to live with frustration, anxiety, and defeat. Remember, you are not God, and you are not all-knowing, all-powerful, nor always present, because that is what is required to deal with these five. It is safe to say you will encounter them every day, but how you linger with them will become the real story. Living life is often like a triage worker - you do what you can at the moment of contact and pass them on to God and others who may be more equipped to handle their intrusion.

Associations are important because they will make or break how you excel at living a life of excellence for Him.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

 

 

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