Are You Their Saving Grace?

A few years ago I came across a music video program. It was playing Nickelback’s song “Savin’ Me”, which I like, so I decided to sit back and watch it. What I watched was intense. I came in towards the end of the video. After it was over, I immediately ran to the computer and went to a page where I could watch the whole thing. What I saw, for some reason, really struck me and got me thinking. It was one of those speechless things. I didn’t know what to say but “wow!”

It starts out on a busy street corner. This bum is just meandering around. Then you see another guy wonder on talking on his phone. The bum is looking at something over this guy’s head. Then he starts running for the guy. The guy steps out onto the street, not paying attention, and the bum pulls him back on the sidewalk just as a bus goes flying by. Then the bum walks off and this guy starts looking around. You see him looking above other people’s heads, waving his hand over them, as if he’s seeing something they can’t and trying to see if it’s real. Finally you see what he’s seeing. He is seeing numbers over the people’s heads. It’s easy to tell that the numbers represent the seconds these people have left in their lives. So he’s walking around, seeing how much longer people have to live. He even watches the seconds wind down on an old woman being loaded into an ambulance. He looks in a window, but can’t see his own time. At the end, he is watching this woman walk to her car. He can see that she only has seconds to live, and knows something must be wrong with her car. He runs up and pulls her away from her car just as a huge statue thing someone was loading way above a building falls on her car. As he walks away from her, she looks around. She can now see numbers above people’s heads.

Can you imagine? Knowing how much longer other people had to live, but not knowing how much longer you had? Knowing you could possibly save lives if only you knew how much longer you had to save them? What would you do with that? And how would you handle knowing when everyone else’s time is coming, but not your own?

This video really got me thinking. The truth is, we can’t see numbers over other people’s heads. They can’t see numbers over our heads. None of us knows how much longer we have on this earth. It could be a few more minutes. It could be fifty or more years. What are you doing with your life? Is your life safe? Not your physical life. I mean your spiritual life. And, most importantly, are you trying to make other people’s spiritual lives safe? You don’t know when your friend or family’s time is anymore than you know your own. Why take the chance?

The guy in the video had a choice. He could see the numbers. He could choose to save the people he could. Or he could choose to walk away and let them die. He knew when their time was coming. We have that same choice. We may not know the time, but we know the after. We know what will happen if people die without God. We know what can save them, even though we don’t know their time.

Even though the guy in the video had a choice, I believe he also felt the responsibility. How much moreso should we? The video is a work of fiction. Hell is no fiction. There is a real Heaven, and there is a real Hell. So what are we doing about it?

“Show me what it’s like
To be the last one standing
And teach me wrong from right
And I’ll show you what I can be
Say it for me Say it to me
And I’ll leave this life behind me
Say it if it’s worth saving me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JQiEs32SqQ

CHALLENGE OF THE DAY: We all have people in our lives we know are not living for Jesus. The more I think about eternity, the more I realize it’s just that. Eternity. Forever. I dearly love my family and friends. I don’t want to spend forever without them. But what am I doing to help them find Him? What are you doing? You’re going to see people today – at work, at school, at church – who need to know the incredible love of the Savior. You may be the only Jesus they see. So when they look at you, what are they going to think of Him? Think about that today, and let all your actions be with that thought in mind.

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Broken Down…And I like it.

**This is a guest post from a good friend of mine, Dan Jackson. Dan will be contributing to the blog on a regular basis. Dan is a great young man with a heart for God and a message to spread. I pray his words touch your heart and, wherever you find yourself, give you a chance for reflection, thankfulness, and, if necessary, strength to change. To be all God wants you to be.**

This is my first entry, and as such I feel like what I’m about to ramble on about would be rather pointless if I didn’t do some sort of introduction. My name is Daniel Jackson, and I’ve been a blogger over at www.ceolmahrgael.blogspot.com for around six years. Over the past few years, I’ve been trying, at times almost too hard, to discern God’s call on my life. I graduated from college in May of 2010, and immediately began trying to figure out what my next step was. When I wasn’t sure, I figured more school was in order. I spent a year in education classes—that was a bust. Teaching isn’t my thing. I have the utmost respect for those who are called to the profession, but that isn’t me. I also had the opportunity to go on a short term mission trip to the Dominican Republic in 2010. While there, I began to get some kind of sense that ministry was where I needed to go.

Since then, I’ve spent all of my time and energy focusing on going to Seminary. That was the be-all, end-all that needed to happen. I can’t serve the Lord outside of the Church or working on professional ministry, right? I returned to the Dominican Republic this past February, where I felt my call not only affirmed, but almost fine tuned. I felt called to a life of missions. As such, I planned my seminary education accordingly. Over the past few months, however, various things in my home church life coupled with what I’ve experienced while serving God abroad have really left me in quite a predicament. I felt this immense pressure to always do what I was “supposed” to do. I was living under that burden so much that I completely lost sight of the Son and grew deaf to His voice. I realized that I was deaf to Him in a moment that seemed like it was too late: while working at a Christian camp. It terrified me. What was I doing? What was I doing wrong? I didn’t know. I had no idea what God wanted me to do, or how He could use someone like me to effectively minister. I tried my hardest to shrug it off, while at the same time becoming so engrossed in things that I felt like I couldn’t live without: relationships, religion, saying the right things, looking the part, and leading worship. It slowly started killing me.

In what I assumed to be a headlong pursuit of God and His will in my life, I also allowed the expectations of this world and those in it to run my life. I’m quickly approaching my twenty-fourth birthday, and it hit me for the first time ever: I didn’t know how to live life the way I wanted. Not even that—I didn’t know how to follow what God wanted. Chaos ensued in my heart. Earlier this year, I was let go from my position of youth director at my church. I don’t believe it was handled well, and as such I was left angry, hurt, and bitter. I didn’t want to be those things, but I couldn’t help but wonder “if they’ll do this to one of their own, no wonder people don’t want to come to Church.” Cynicism reigned supreme in my life. Mixing cynicism, expectations of others, and not knowing where I was going was a definite recipe for disaster.

I was supposed to actually move down to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary this coming Sunday. As of this morning, I’m not going. So many things have led to that decision. Last night, when I realized that the money situation wasn’t feasible, I finally allowed myself to let go of it. After the initial let-go, things started coming to my attention. I’m in no way ready for Seminary right now—and it took God slamming the door in my face to realize it. This isn’t the first time in my life that I’ve had this happen. There is so much in my life that I’ve allowed to have dominion over my heart that the term “out of fellowship” doesn’t even begin to cover it. I was living a lie. The smiling, pastor in training, seminary-bound worship leader Dan was a farce. I’d become the very thing I claimed to despise—a Christian Atheist; a follower of a set of religious rules and guidelines. I’d become something I vowed never to be: a label. The inside was governed by jealousy, rage, lust, self-hatred, mistrust of God…the list could go on. Those few things alone shame me. There wasn’t any love—certainly not the love I should have for the Christ who saved me. I figured that all of the negativity I’d allowed to cloud my view of the Church would evaporate when I went to seminary. Truth is…it would have made it worse. My heart was set on a destructive path. I was going to fully transform into what Jesus tells us not to: a whitewashed tomb. I look great on the outside, but the inside is rotten.

During my breakdown last night, I cried out with what little energy I had left to Jesus. I’m not really one for dramatics, but I had no hope left. Thankfully, He heard my cry (okay, sobs).  I felt the presence of our Lord for the first time in months. What does that feel like, you ask? Peace. Love. Calm in spite of chaotic circumstances. The past was just that—the past. The aforementioned sins were counted as no more. I’m looking at this divine intervention in my life as a second chance. Well, maybe not a second chance; more like a five-thousandth chance. I lose count. The point is that our God is true to His promises. One of those promises is that He’ll never leave us nor forsake us, no matter the circumstance. I was convinced with all of my heart that I was on the right path, and regardless of how I felt inside, I was going to serve God and others. My spiritual health wasn’t a concern to me, when it clearly should have been.

The point of this long-winded introduction is to show that there is nobody too far gone, too screwed up, too “wrong” or deemed “less than” for God and His love to reach. People may look at me and say “you don’t know me; you don’t know what I’ve done.” To that, I say I’m no different. God’s love isn’t exclusive. There is more love and grace in His little finger than all that this world could offer. And for that, I am SO thankful. Tony Campolo once said “I’m not who I was, I’m not yet who I’m supposed to be—but I’m on my way.” It’s just that. Forgiveness and salvation in Christ isn’t just a magic pill or spell that we say to be transformed. It is a daily renewal; sometimes hourly. His mercies are new every morning. His love never ceases, never fades, never wanes.

The only label we should be concerned with is the one that says “Child of God.” That label covers everything that we think will remove us from His presence. Over the coming months as I reevaluate where God wants me to be, I’ll daily be striving to live in, not up to, that label. A child of the King. Will you?

Failure, Schmailire

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with scoffers. But they delight in doing everything the LORD wants; day and night they think about his law. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season without fail. Their leaves never wither, and in all they do, they prosper.”

-Psalm 1:1-3

Sometimes when I’m reading, things just jump out at me for no apparent reason. Verses tend to do that to me a lot. I don’t kow how many times I’ve read the Psalms. In Bible college you kind of lose track of things like that. But I just started reading through Psalms again, and this verse did that miraculous jump thing. The part that hit me the most was the last part. “And in all they do, they prosper.” I thought back over my life. I do my best to live as God wants me to. I delight in doing what God wants. I spend most of my days nowadays thinking about Him and His will for me. But does everything I do prosper? I don’t see it through my eyes. I see many things I do fail miserably. But God says that if I follow Him, delight in Him, meditate on Him, then everything I do will prosper. What gives?

Then I got thinking. Maybe prosper in this sense doesn’t mean what I think it means. To me, something that prospers is successful. It’s big. It’s worthwhile. Everyone knows it, and everyone wants to do it. It’s a big hit. That’s what I think when I think of prospering. But God always has a way of taking words and meanings we thought we knew and twisting them around to mean something maybe not different by meaning, but different by perspective. Maybe His view of prosper is far different than mine.

For God, something that prospers can be a failure. It can be a success. It is not the winning or losing that makes it prosper; it’s the  lesson learned and the experienced gained. Psalm 1:3 says “In ALL they do…” Last time I checked, there were no exceptions to “all”. So everything I do, whether in my eyes it’s a success or failure, is somehow going to be prosperous in God’s eyes. That’s an encouraging thought. I fail a lot. But if I remember that, in my failure, God can somehow use it to prosper me or someone else, then it’s not really a failure at all. Erego Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

We may not understand it. We may not even like it. But we can trust it, because God causes EVERYTHING to work together for good. And everything has no exceptions.

CHALLENGE OF THE DAY: Sometimes we get so caught up in our failures, we forget to learn from them. No experience is worthless. We are all made up of successes and failures. God takes it all and makes us beautiful in spite of them. If you’re feeling like a failure today, do yourself a favor: Let It Go! There’s nothing you can do to change it, so waste no more energy on it. Brush it off, pick yourself up, and take back your day! You only get one life, and it’s way too short to live it in regret. You are worth the hard work it may take.

LOBLA

Tuesday Tickles #1 – Sarah’s Lament

My sister is great, lol. She continually makes me laugh. Back in 2010, she worked in the bakery of a local grocery store. Since she worked nights, she used to get bored. It was dangerous when she got bored, because it meant I was getting ready to get a full course of spam texts begging me to go visit her. Normally I would comply. One night, though, I was working the cafe at youth group and couldn’t go. I told her I couldn’t. The following is what a received via a great number of texts that drained my battery. So, I present to you, readers, my first installment of Tuesday Tickles. The name of the store has been asteriked out to protect my sister’s rep, lol:

Sarah’s Lament

“Oh, what cruelness must I have committed in life for the gods to have given me this fate! Cursed I am to die alone and ignored whilst my kin goes about their own merrymaking! Here will I stay slowly watching the darkness near bringing with it my dark fate of loneliness! Oh, cruel world of spite and malice, I throw myself upon your pityless mercy! Let not the darkness come but end me now and let my find peace within my own poisoned soul! Let death come with its calming presence and release the heavy shakles of my own making! Heavy have they become so that I can no longer raise my hands to bring food to mine own mouth! Slowly doth my body fade! Wasted away whilst others fatten! Oh, twisted gods, I doth not understand your wrath! Have I not done what you have asked? Have I not tried in every way to appease your every command? To HELL with you then! Do what you will! I am cursed, but on return, dark gods, I shall curse you! May your subjects fall because, my malicious gods, you forget; without us, you are nothing! It is our belief in you that fuels your power! Escape I shall your vicious prison and to the people I shall go! Thine own followers shall hear of your true nature and their back you shall see, I swear it! By mine own blood I swear this. Take heed, twisted gods, for my words shall ring true! For the rest of mine life I shall spite you! Spite you to hades I say! This I swear!

And…breaks over! Thank you for watching! Tune in next time to the continuing saga of “Escape from the ******** Bakery”

(Then, when she got off at eight…)

Wwwhhhoooo!!!! And bells toll as the maiden is released from her shackles and smells the fresh, clean scent of FREEDOM!!!

-Is that not hilarious?? She is so creative! I loves her!

Our Future Tense = God’s Past Tense

A man is in a foreign land. This land is full of enemies. Due to the death of a leader, the responsibility for millions of people has fallen on him. It is his land. He knows that. It is his people’s land. His people know that. It is not his enemies’ land. His enemies know that and melt in fear. But the man has a problem. All the most experienced fighters among his people have died. He is left with a new generation who has known nothing but the nomad life. Fighting isn’t exactly what they’re good at. But he knows they have to fight if they’re going to take back their land that they are just stepping on for the first time. First time, yet it was promised to them hundreds of years before. It’s now time to claim that promise. A bunch of nomadic, non-warrior people vastly outnumbered by enemies with fighting experience and walled cities and a most definite advantage. Sounds like the beginning of one of those hero underdog stories. And that’s exactly what it would be, if the advantage the enemies had was one that really mattered. This man knew their advantage meant nothing. It wasn’t him that needed to be convinced. It was everyone else.

Have you figured out who I was talking about yet?

Good job.

You have to feel for poor Joshua. Here he was in a place he knew nothing about, save what was told to him since childhood of a good land promised to his people hundreds of years ago. He’s trying to fill the shoes of the great Moses, who led his people, the Israelites, out of bondage in Egypt, through forty years of wondering in the wilderness due to the ignorance of the people, and is left with a group that has done nothing in their lives but walked. Fighting? Yeah, right. Maybe little skirmishes here and there, but nothing close to the scale of what they were facing. And now, their first huge obstacle was before them. Jericho. With walls so thick people had HOUSES in them. Gates securely barred (ironically because they were fearing for their lives, thanks to the miracles of God on behalf of the Israelites they heard tell of ). No one goes in; no one goes out. Oh, how he must have been feeling!

But remember…I said that Joshua knew the tactical advantage his enemies had meant nothing. Who needs experience and forts and weaponry! How in the world could Joshua think that? It seems insane to us. It may have seemed insane to him, as well, had it not been for a visitor. A strange vistor, too. Comes out of nowhere with a sword drawn! You can’t blame Joshua for asking “‘Are you for us or for our enemies?'” (Joshua 5:14) I’m not sure how comforted Joshua was at first when the visitor answered, “Neither.” Ah, well. Everyone loves a Switzerland. But then the visitor continued, and it got good.

“…but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.”

Faceplant.

Joshua falls facedown to the ground. He’s a smart cookie. He knows who this visitor is. We may have visions of (forgive my irreverence) hot, winged men with trumpets and flashing swords gleaming in the sky when we think of messengers of the Lord, but since Joshua didn’t know who this man was at first, I’m going to gander a guess that the man didn’t have wings (insert some stupid red bull joke here).  In reverence, Joshua asked the man, ‘”What message does my Lord have for his servant?”‘ Ah, but Joshua has to do something before he can receive his message. Forgive the pun, but he’s about to follow in the “footsteps” of his predecessor. The messanger said, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” Of course, Joshua complies immediately.

The statement that comes next, I believe, may be one of the most important statements ever uttered. Not for its insightfulness, depth, or humor, but for its verbal usage. I know, I know. All of you who despise grammar just groaned at the very thought of anything to do with a “verb”. Yet the tense of the verb the Lord uses in His message to Joshua is very profound. As many times as I have read this story, I never paid much thought to verbal tenses. You can bet I’m paying better attention now, for this is awesome. I thank Mark Batterson for making it a point in his book The Circle Maker (an incredibly amazing book that will make you look at your prayer life in a whole new way!). This was the Lord’s message:

“See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.” (6:2)

Did you catch that? “I HAVE delivered…” PAST TENSE!! Now, when we are using verbal tenses, we don’t use a past tense verb unless it’s something that’s already happened. This hasn’t happened yet. Jericho is still standing. There’s been no battle. Joshua still doesn’t know what he’s doing.  The people still don’t know what they’re doing. His enemies are still huddled in the fetal position in their walled hidey-holes.

Oh, the sovereignty of God! When it comes to foreknowledge, we totally don’t give God enough credit. When our problems come barreling down the track at 100 mph with us as helpless as one of those women in old movies the bad guy would leave tied up on the train tacks, we rant at God like He hasn’t got a clue in the world what’s getting ready to happen to us, let alone see how He can possibly help us. We forget. In our fear, in our frustration, in our deepest heartache, we forget. We forget that, not only did God see this train coming, but He’s already seen where it’s going! And, not only has He already seen where it’s going, He knows where it’s going to end up! He’s already got the before, during, AND after in place long before we even hear the whistle!

God already knew the Israelites were going to take Jericho. That’s why the messenger didn’t say, “Well, IF you follow all the directions I’m about to give you, you will take the city,” or “IF the people get scared enough, they’ll run like pansies and the city is all yours!” Nope. God said, “I HAVE.” He already paved the way. Joshua just had to walk the path to victory.

In our lives, there are issues we are facing that we can’t see a way out of. We’re oppressed, depressed, repressed, or any other kind of press there may be that causes pain. Sometimes our problems seem so overwhelming we can’t see God through the trainyard. But He is there. You may think He has no clue, but your problems are not a surprise to Him. He knew about them long before you did. And the good news? He’s already set up the solution! God is a God of precedence. All you have to do is keep walking. Know He’s waiting on the other end, cheering you on. He can’t wait to see you! Just keep walking. God has delivered this problem into your hands. You’ve already conquered it through Him! You just have to keep going. This, too, shall pass. It always does. And, as long as you keep your eyes focused on Him, it always will.

CHALLENGE OF THE DAY: Sometimes the road is very long when we are facing tough issues in our lives. We’re all fighting something. But take heart! The victory is already yours! It doesn’t mean the problem will be easy. It doesn’t mean it won’t hurt. And there’s no guarantee of how long it will take to get through it. But if you keep pressing on, you will be delivered the victory. It’s going to require work on your part; God didn’t just Big Bad Wolf Jericho to the ground. He laid out the path. The Israelites had to walk it in an act of faith and obedience – a testimony of their love for God. It’s the same for us. But oh, how much easier it is facing the train knowing God’s already waiting on the other side!!

A must-watch video for those facing the issues of uncertainty and fear, wondering where God is:

Soapbox Saturday #3 – WHEN THE HOURGLASS STOPS MOVING!!

Some of you who are going to identify in this rant with me may already have guessed the nature of the rant just by the title. For those of you who think I mean hourglass as an actual timekeeper – I’m sorry to disappoint you, but you’re wrong.

I HATE IT WHEN THE STUPID HOURGLASS ON THE COMPUTER STOPS TURNING!

Do you know why I hate it? Because I know what it means. When that little hourglass is turning, it means all is well. It means life is dandy, roses are red, violets are blue, and my computer is still loading. But when it freezes…it’s like a game of freeze tag. When someone yelled “FREEZE!”, that meant exactly what it implies: you need to stop immediately and not move a muscle. Apparently, computers have their own little game of freeze, except that they are the only ones playing. They are the ones that internally yell FREEZE and then stop moving completely! It really is quite the selfish game they play, because they leave me in the dark. What if I wanted to play? But oh, no, they don’t care about that. All they care about is randomly making it to where you just stare at it as the hourglass stops moving a few seconds after you saved a huge project. We all get the same look: our eyes get bigger, our jaws drop a little, and a low moan escapes our lips: “Oh, no, no, NO!!” Then, like it’s going to do any better than trying to press remote buttons harder when we know the batteries are dead, we start forcing our mouse around, trying to get it to move. Then we hit a few keys. When we’ve established that the computer is indeed playing the best game of freeze imaginable, we have the same thought: “I wonder if my project saved??”

There’s an easy answer to this question. If you still have more than a day before your project is due, then it saved fine. Your computer just wanted to see your eyes bug out. But if your project is due the next morning…it didn’t save. Don’t even bother hoping. Murphy must have been the best lawyer imaginable, because his law is flawless. Completely loophole-free. “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.” He must have had the gift of prophecy and saw our technology.

In closing…computers are a great thing. They save us a lot of time. We tend to take them for granted…until that freakin’ HOURGLASS STOPS MOVING! I’ll tell you what, I may have typed slower on a typewriter, but I don’t remember ever having one crash and losing data on an important project! So take THAT, HOURGLASS!!

One of the funniest videos I’ve seen about this particular subject. Actually, it’s the only video I’ve seen about this particular subject, but it’s hilairous nonetheless!

**This has been a Soapbox Saturday message. The intent of a Soapbox Saturday message is not to offend  or retaliate. It is meant as a light-hearted attempt at airing what ails you. If you would like to have your own Soapbox Saturday featured, email it to livelikethat11930@gmail.com. Remember Soapbox Saturdays are for entertainment and must not include cursing, crude, derogatory, or malicious content. **

For Me, It Stops Now

As I sit here in tears, what I am writing is coming straight from the depths of my heart. My heart and spirit have been crushed several times over the past year and a half. Each time I got back up and soldiered on. Last night, a chance encounter with someone tore off a scab and left my heart bleeding again. I do not fault the person the discussion took place with; we have known each other half our lives, and they had, as my friend, a right to lay out their questions and concerns. While I do not agree with the delivery and the way it happened, I do appreciate the questions that were asked. They gave me a chance to examine my life, motives, and spirit again, and to make sure this right place I thought I was in was still indeed the right place for me.

My conclusion: I am in the right place.

It is difficult to discuss what I am truly feeling, because my life has moved on from where it was a year and a half ago. I have grown, and I have found a new place where I belong. It happens. It hurt like nothing else to have my loyalty questioned, but I stand by my decisions. While there are many who may not agree with where I am and what I’ve decided, the ultimate responsibility is on me. The only thing I am answerable to God for are my decisions. I cannot help how my decisions make someone feel, and I can’t be responsible if someone takes what I’ve done in a way I never intended it, especially after I’ve made it clear that the way it was taken was not my intention at all. All I can do is make sure my conscience with God is clear and try to help the hurt person understand my position. If there is a refusal to accept my position, then it’s just going to have to end there.

Sometimes the Christian life feels like a big, “Do as I say, not as I do” principle. Most of us, as Christians, are amateurs at showing the love of Christ but pros at destroying each other in the name of it. We try to make people be and believe like us, and when they don’t, we feel there’s something wrong with them. Maybe if the point of this relationship was to make them like us, we would be in the right. But it’s not! There’s only One person we should be helping them emulate, and here’s the thing: IT’S NOT US! It’s not about us. It has never been about us. It never will be about us. This whole thing we call life is only about Jesus. That’s it. This constant war we have going on within ourselves – our very own civil war – is SELFISH! It’s selfish, and others outside of the church know it. So what’s their incentive to join our happy little family?

None of us is perfect. I fully realize that. Even as Christians, we are all going to screw up. Sometimes the screw-ups are small and barely get noticed. Some of them are massive and church-divisive.  And someone is always going to get hurt. But God can always turn bad to good. It may not make sense to us, but He’s God. We don’t have to understand it. But when we choose to lash back and try to make sense out of something that just doesn’t make sense, we yank control of the situation out of God’s hands and place it firmly in our imperfect ones. And boy, do our imperfect ones ever make a mess of things! We try to “fix” each other and, when we can’t fix, we cast out, then try to justify our decisions. Sometimes they are justifiable. Other times they’re not. Especially with issues that are enough to divide a church.

Here are my thoughts: If you feel you made your decisions for the right reasons, ESPECIALLY when it involves other believers, you shouldn’t be trying to justify yourself. We defend our justifications under such terms as “damage control” and “covering our bases”,  but the fact is that it’s not your base to cover. If you feel you made the right decision, and there are others that disagree with you, then fine. That is between them and God, just like your decision is between you and God. But to go out of your way to make sure people hear your justifications for your decision, even after they tell you they don’t want to hear it, is out of your realm of responsibility, and (I know I will probably get slammed for this, but I’m going to say it anyways) show’s a lack of faith in God to settle the situation. If you are fearful for your reputation or your church, then your faith is in the wrong place. You are not trusting God to fight for you. God is going to take care of what’s His. He will not let it fall. If you made the right decision, then you need to let the chips fall where they may. Don’t try to be another believer’s conscience. They have the Holy Spirit for that.

I know it’s going to look like I wrote this with an agenda. And certain situations have probably forced my mind into this mode of thinking tonight. But it’s time for me to speak my piece, and this is it. We have GOT to stop this fighting amongst ourselves. We have GOT to stop tearing each other apart. We have GOT to stop tearing our churches apart. No matter what you think of a church or a pastor, it doesn’t mean God can’t work through them because you don’t approve of them. And it doesn’t mean you have the right to accuse or demean or defame that person or congregation to anyone else. No one can change what’s been said or done, but we all have control over what is said and done from here on out. What will the outside world see of us now? Can we put aside our differences: our thoughts on decisions made, our difference churches, our hurt feelings, our wounded hearts – and love each other for who we are in Christ, not where we worship Him? Can we let it go? Or will the battle continue? Will the city on the hill become a memory while the world watches on and Satan revels in his victory?

I’ve made my decision. What’s yours?

LOBLA