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Posts Tagged ‘judgemental Christians’

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  – Galatians 6:1-2

I’ve been through church crisis one too many times. The longtime head pastor of my church that I grew up in passed away due to cancer. Our popular youth pastor was fired abruptly because the new pastor that came in wanted a whole new staff in place. My good friend became an intern for our church (after just becoming a believer) and had an affair with one of the staff members. He took his life soon after. The accountant at my last church embezzled almost half a million dollars. My current pastor had to resign due to extramarital affairs. Yes… the church experiences death, scandals and affairs just like the real world. I must note that in most of these situations, the church handled them very poorly (something I’ve experienced personally as well).

But how are we doing as Christians in handling these situations? Do we deal with those caught in sin in a loving way? Do we restore them gently back to Christ with the truth of the gospel? Do we act Godly when the media tears into us or do we get defensive and attack back? All I know is Satan loves to attack the church when things are going well. All the situations I described above happened when the particular church I was at was at their peak and experiencing tremendous growth. We forget that when we became Christians that Christ warned us that we would face persecution. One of the things I know is that Christians today do not handle persecution well. Look at the Chick-fil-a and Duck Dynasty situations and see how defensive Christians get when our views are spoken against. I’ve been embarrassed how Christians have reacted in the media about gay marriage and other topics that go against our beliefs. Do we not trust that God will ultimately prevail?

Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.  –  Acts 11:19-21

God works during times of despair. He redeems and restores and takes these situations and uses them for his glory. The church isn’t perfect and it isn’t about one man or a building. It’s a living organic body of messy believers that come to together to grow and worship our Lord. We treat Pastors like rock stars and put them on a pedestal so high they could never meet the expectations we put on them. Pastors are just messy people being used by God. But God isn’t going to let his church fall. He is still faithful even when we are unfaithful.

What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.”  –  Romans 3:3-4

I have been impressed with my current church and how they have handled our current crisis. They are doing it in a loving biblical way. My last two churches were clueless in dealing with people caught in sin and usually let them leave without any restoration. When I heard the news in church, the first thing I did was look at myself. I took this as a warning sign that I myself am a step away from falling into temptation and sin. I am thankful for my community and that I can come to them about anything that I may be struggling with. I am thankful for my church and that God called me to be here during this crisis so I can see firsthand his redeeming power at work. I remember when my last church was going through its scandal, I was quoted in the paper at that time by saying “God is bigger than this”. My viewpoint is still the same – God has got this and He will prevail.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world – John 16:33

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Love

I support loving people as they try to figure out God. I support Christians who understand grace and forgiveness. As a fellow brother in Christ, I urge my fellow believers to stop being cruel and judgemental and stop engaging in culture wars. Allow people the freedom to understand and grow. Love people for who they are and where they are at so that they may experience the Love of Christ.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Matthew 22: 37-40

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“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

Matthew 13:44

This verse shows the correct response of someone who understands God’s crazy relentless love for us. I will admit I wasn’t a huge fan of this chapter. The majority of the chapter is Francis Chan describing a list of lukewarm Christians. The list goes on and on. So was my frustration because the chapters drags on too long or because I saw myself in this list? I definitely know I’m not the perfect Christian. The chapter gives some valid points on how lukewarm Christians can be a distraction to those who want to sincerely follow Jesus. I have the same frustrations with Pastors and churches that are more concerned with numbers and preaching a “seeker friendly” message to attract viewers or with Christians whose faith is just for show. Jesus spoke in parables to weed out those who weren’t interested in the truth of the gospel (not because He didn’t care about them).

I think for me, I don’t want to just be living for God out of conviction or to live up to a standard. I don’t want a desire to just be “good enough”. All I have to do is think back to when God rescued me and how patient He has been with me since then to know He loves me. I want to pursue God with my whole being and have all my actions flow out of a heart for Him. I know the only way to live this life for God (and not of one who is half-hearted) is to truly love Him. I pray everyday I am in awe of how great and how good God is.

“We love because He first loved us”

1 John 4:49

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I really enjoyed seeing many of the Olympians in London give God praise and honor for their victories. Many did this despite being on a big stage with a huge television audience. As Christians, God puts us all in positions to share our testimony or witness to others. This morning I got up and heard Christian music in my living room. This guy that is staying with me was on his knees with his eyes closed and hands in the air. At first I though it was a bit too much, but then I immediately felt conviction. How often do I praise God like this? I got my heart straight with God at church and gave him thanks for putting this guy in my life to encourage me in my own walk.

I got on Facebook briefly tonight and saw this picture all over the place. It was like a huge celebrity showed up in town. A guy named Paul Jr was speaking at my old church. I will be honest with you.. I don’t know who this guy is. But there were enough people at a church excited about this guy that I felt I should know him. Apparently Paul Jr is a new Christ follower and he has a great testimony. I think he appeals to bikers and to those who don’t know Christ that watch his show – God will use anyone to share the gospel. But I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit I don’t always see the “attraction” model of church and their ways of reaching the community as effective.

Western churches and the mega church have become a big thing here in the U.S. It fits todays culture of serve as many people as can. The “attraction” model church believes in luring as many people through the door (advertisement, billboards, guest speakers, etc) as you can and hope somewhere within an hour service (but not too much than that because we wouldn’t want to bore people) someone will hear about Jesus. Now I don’t have a problem with preaching to the masses. Jesus did it and Peter preached a sermon that saw thousands come to Christ. I have been to crusades that many came forward and received Christ. But the problem comes with discipleship and the process of sanctification. I personally see the ‘attractive’ model as giving only a prelude to the what the gospel can truly do for someone who desperately needs Christ. Very rarely do you see much put into growing the members of their church within their ‘programs’.

I’m not bashing the church today. I attended a mega church for years and spent most of my Christian walk comfortably sitting behind the church walls waiting for people to walk through the door to witness to. I bought into this and saw churches with small attendances as ineffective. But today I have seen more effectiveness in my own witnessing outside the church in the community. Churches today scratch their heads at the lack of tithing. They want to know why Christians have a higher divorce rate and why we put more effort into our accomplishments at work than in our time with God. They see the numbers grow but they aren’t seeing the maturity. Are churches today putting too much time and effort in their gimmicky flashy ways of talking about Jesus and not enough in the A to Z gospel sanctification process? Is the gospel message not attractive enough? I’ve always been cautious of throwing immature Christians in the spotlight (especially celebrities) to be the God story of the week – even though their stories can be inspiring. What happens when our golden boy spokesman Tim Tebow that we created blows it someday? Then the non-believers laugh at us and the judgemental Christians annihilate him (and I personally know all about this..). All I know is that I felt Paul Jr and his bikes got a lot more glory and honor than Jesus today (and mainly from Christians of this church that claim to already know Jesus) and I saw a lot of church leaders patting themselves on their backs for the big numbers that came in. True gospel change can be a slow and long process and I personally would like to see more emphasis put into that than smokes and billboards. Broken people need people to walk alongside them and show them love without any judgement. Jesus preached to the masses, but He spent most of His time with the few teaching and training them to be true disciples. These are just questions that come to mind from my own experiences in the flashy church. Despite the ‘great things’ I did and patted myself on the back for, I still ultimately needed Jesus for change.

We have a broken world out there with hurting broken people. We as Christians need to go out there and find them, not sit back and wait for them to come to us.

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