“Those People” Need Christ Too

by G C Forsman

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they’re tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks your

 ~ Casting Crowns

As Christians, we are doing an absolutely horrible job of sharing Christ with with world. I have thought this for some time now, and a recent post (An Open Rebuke… Er… Letter to the Western Church) by my friend Daniel M. Klem got me to thinking.

Certainly there are great people that God is using to make a difference, but what about each and every one of us who claim to be Christians?  Are we doing our part? How many people have you spoken with about Christ lately? How many Gay people have you convinced that Christians do not hate them? How many times have you crossed the racial lines to show the love of Christ? Do your actions show others that Christ really does make a difference in your life? Do your actions make others want what you have, or do they drive people further from Christ?

Paula White said, “God doesn’t focus on your current state, He speaks to you from your future! He knows your potential!” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we saw the potential in each other instead of everything that’s wrong with a person. Maybe if we spent less time talking about people, and more time praying for them things could change.

Make an effort to love others through Christ as they are,
and leave it up to God to transform their lives!
~ Paula White

Zimmerman Trial: Reality?

by G C Forsman

Now that everyone has had a night to sleep on it, let us take a realistic look at the Zimmerman trial.

In recent history, there have been a few trials that have captured the country’s attention and caused division among the American people. OJ Simpson, Casey Anthony, and now George Zimmerman are prime examples.

The days of news and information are long gone, Walter Cronkite must be appalled by what is happening in the media. Today’s newscasts are News Entertainment Shows, with the emphasis on entertainment. Have you stopped to think about why there is so much unrest about what happens in the courts?  Let’s take a little journey, keep an open mind, we can figure this out.

OJ Simpson was crucified by media and others.  He was tried and convicted before the trial even started.  Casey Anthony was declared the most horrible woman in history, and George Zimmerman was branded a racist.  Was their portrayal accurate, were they deserving of  the infamous notoriety? News media filled our heads with so-called facts about what happened, when in reality their comments were based on pure conjecture unclouded by actual facts.

As these trial began, we thought we knew what the outcome would be. None of the presupposed outcomes were delivered. The actual facts delivered in the courtrooms did not match the media hype.

Now let’s look a bit deeper into the Zimmerman case. This was a horrible tragedy, a young man’s life was ended before it ever got started. According to the media, Martin was an innocent youth walking home from the store.  According to Zimmerman, Martin was entirely to blame for the situation. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

The media built a story that Martin was a good boy and the victim of racism. Information that came out in other markets claimed that Martin was a troubled youth on drugs, involved in a jewelry store robbery and the break in and robbery of a local home. In actuality, it is possible that both of these played a role in this situation? Is it possible that Zimmerman had racist issues despite having white, hispanic, and black heritage? Is it possible that Martin was acting suspiciously, and possibly known in the neighborhood as a young wanna-be gangster?

The real question in the Zimmerman case is about the stand your ground law. Does a person have the right to protect themselves and use whatever force they deem necessary to provide that protection? Is it possible to see into a person’s mind to determine whether or not they believed their life was in danger? Should the law be changed or abolished?

We all need to take a step back, stop attempting to make everything about race, and look at reality. In a recent poll on television, the “news entertainment world” has deemed that racism is once again growing in our country and that division along racial lines is worse now than it has been in quite a few years. Why is that? Who or what is driving people on all sides to foster hatred for each other?

God has been being systematically removed from our society in earnest since the 1960s. Without faith, there is no hope. And without hope, people wallow in the pool of darkness that has become our society unable to see good in anything or anyone. The morality of our society is unraveling at an unprecedented pace and instead of placing the blame where it belongs (on ourselves for allowing the moral decay of our nation) we blame everyone else. We refuse to take responsibility for our actions, and seek any reason we can conjure up to point at someone else because we could not have possibly been so stupid or morally inept to have caused any of this mess ourselves. Search for God while He may be found, turn from the wickedness, and begin anew. Allow God to show you the love and peace your life should have, and allow Him to use you to show that love and peace to someone else. Love, peace, and morality will begin to grow exponentially, and our society will begin to turn around.

Top 5 Lies Christians Believe

by Nicole Cottrell

Retrieved from http://www.churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-blogs/154842-nicole_cottrell_top_5_lies_christians_believe.html?p=1

The apostle Paul wrote:

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4

We are all susceptible to believing lies at any given time. The world is magical at presenting its counterfeit products as the genuine article. One would assume that because Christians are followers of the Truth, that we would be less susceptible to such lies.

The real truth, however, is that Christians believe many lies. We sometimes don’t even realize that they are lies because they are wrapped up so nicely with what appears to be a “Bible bow.”

There are hundreds of lies Christians believe, either collectively or individually. I chose these five lies because I have personally seen them infiltrate the church, the lives of my friends and family, and my own life.

Here are the Top Five Lies Christians Believe (according to me):  

1. Church is not necessary.

In other words, it’s OK to be a lone Christian.

I was a lone Christian for many years. I knew no differently and I honestly didn’t know any better. Somehow in my daily reading of scripture, all the talk of the body and fellowship just flew right past me.

The saddest thing is that it was my lack of accountability and relationship that pushed me to my furthest point away from God. I would wake up every morning and feel hopeless and alone.

2. All Christians need to do is be “good” and act “nice.”

That is what a “good Christian does.” This lie is one of the enemy’s greatest weapons. He wants us to believe that if we just “act” a certain way and keep up appearances (i.e. do good works apart from grace) that we will be OK.

Satan wants to convince us that we are capable, in our own strength, to accomplish God’s will, thereby rejecting the Holy Spirit. We ignore the Holy Spirit and all of His available guidance, power and counsel. We treat the Spirit as either insignificant to create change in our life, or simply irrelevant. We believe wrongly that we can “make it happen.”

Yet, it is through the Spirit that we are empowered to do God’s work. Likewise, our salvation rests on knowing Christ, loving Him completely, nothing else.

God will not ask if you were a nice person when you stand before Him. He will want to know if you knew His Son.

 3. God doesn’t care about your small things.

He is much too busy with all the big issues. I have personally struggled (and still do struggle) with this lie.

Somewhere along the line we convince ourselves that God has got a lot on his plate and so we don’t bother Him with our silly little lives. We pray for others, sure. Or make our own requests known only when they are “big” things, and even then we doubt He might care or actually hear.

But oh how He cares.

He knows the number of hairs on your head. He does not just tolerate you or put up with you. He delights in you. He is overjoyed to hear your voice, calling out to your Abba.

He cares about the details of your lives just as much as the “big picture.” He desires you to let Him into the small spaces where He can take up residence and bring peace.

4. We believe that only pastors or those in “leadership” can, in fact, lead.

Churches use words like pastor, counselor, minister of whatever or lay person. They are essentially stating that you must be a professional to serve or lead within the body.

The beauty, however, of the Body of Christ is that God calls ordinary men to do His extraordinary work.

You do not need a seminary degree, a certificate of training or a title from your church’s administration to serve, disciple or equip those around you. You need three things: willingness, faithfulness and the Holy Spirit.

 5. God wants us to be happy.

Happiness in scripture is usually mentioned in terms of a fleeting moment or a temporal, earthly event. Neither the scriptures or Christ (or anyone else for that matter) ever tell us that God wants us to “be happy.” He wants us to be a lot of things: righteous, holy, godly, pure, sanctified, etc … but “happy” ain’t in the list.

It’s cliche, but man is it true: God is more concerned with our holiness than our happiness.

Americans tend to think more in terms of happiness and immediacy than joy and steadfastness. We want God to just rain down good feelings and good times.

The truth, however, is that being happy and content in our daily lives is a byproduct of following Jesus with an obedient heart, but it is not the reason we follow Him.

We give our lives to Him because His sacrifice demands a response. In turn, as we engage with Him and let the Spirit lead, He offers us the abundant life. Abundance in Christ, however, is not synonymous with happiness.

In fact, I would argue that in some ways, being a Christian is actually harder than not. The reward, blessing, peace and fruit, however, far outweigh our temporal sufferings.

I would say that #3 and #5 are personal struggles for me. I am constantly battling lies within my mind, either self-perpetuated or flaming arrows from the enemy. Either way, recognizing lies for what they are is the best cure. The result is freedom, and ultimately that is what I’m after.

Which of the five lies, if any, have you believed or currently struggle with?

What lies would you add to the list?

SUPREME COURT: GOD & BIBLE ARE IRRELEVANT

A great article from Jay Younts at Shepherd Press
June 26, 2013

supremecourtmain
In two 5-4 decisions, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the person of God and his Scripture are no longer relevant with regard to the institution of marriage. In the place of God, the Court has ruled that the will of men determines what constitutes marriage.

The court’s decision is built on a moral foundation less stable than quicksand.

Let’s be clear, these verdicts are more about the failure of the church to be salt and light than they are about the failure of the Supreme Court. For at least three generations the church has allowed her children to be taught that God has no part in the educational process. It began by teaching that God has nothing to do with math, science, economics, literature, or civics. This soon spread to the teaching that God has nothing to do with morality and history.

The court majority swept aside the view of marriage that has been upheld throughout recorded history. The court’s replacement view was not even a consideration twenty years ago. Arrogance moves with astounding haste and lack of caution.

[Read the rest of the article at Shepherd Press.]

Read more: http://kirkcameron.com/2013/06/supreme-court-god-bible-are-irrelevant/#ixzz2XTfXBmP2

Syrian Christians: ‘Why Is America at War with Us’

Syrian Christians are asking why the United States supports extremists who want to turn Syria into an Islamic state.

That testimony came during a congressional hearing on Syria’s religious minorities Tuesday.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who chairs the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights, called on President Barack Obama to defend the rights of Syrian Christians.

In an opening statement at Tuesday’s hearing, Smith said statistics show “that Christians are even more fearful for their lives and safety than other segments of the Syrian population.”

Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, testified that Islamic insurgents are targeting Christians for “ethno-religious cleansing.”

Christian Solidarity International CEO Dr. John Eibner, who also testified at the hearing, said displaced Christians are asking him, “Why is the U.S. at war against us?”

Eibner told the panel he recently returned from a trip to Syria where he met with “many resilient and courageous Syrians, mainly displaced Christians and church workers.”

“Victims recounted to me the religious cleansing of Christian neighborhoods in Homs and Qusair by armed jihadists who threatened them with death if they did not leave their homes,” he said.

“A Christian woman told me that before she fled Homs, she had seen the beheading in broad daylight of an Alawite girl who was pulled off a public minibus by armed jihadist,” he said.

Eibner said the United States should work with Russia to negotiate a peace rather than help Sunni Muslims turn the country into an Islamic state.

Retrieved from http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2013/June/Syrian-Christians-Why-Is-America-at-War-with-Us/

Obama Administration ‘Strongly’ Opposes Religious Freedom in the Military

By Gina Meeks

Retrieved from  http://www.charismanews.com/us/39871-obama-administration-strongly-opposes-religious-freedom-in-the-military

In a statement of administration policy from the executive office of the president released Tuesday, the Obama administration stated that it opposes a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would protect the religious freedom of men and women in the armed forces.

In a section titled “Expansion and Implementation of Protection of Rights of Conscience of Members of the Armed Forces and Chaplains of Such Members,” thestatement says, “The administration strongly objects to section 530, which would require the Armed Forces to accommodate, except in cases of military necessity, ‘actions and speech’ reflecting the ‘conscience, moral principles or religious beliefs of the member.’

“By limiting the discretion of commanders to address potentially problematic speech and actions within their units,” it continues, “this provision would have a significant adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment.”

Alliance Defending Freedom Litigation Counsel Kellie Fiedorek says this position is unconstitutional.

“Service members shouldn’t be denied the very constitutional liberties they have volunteered to defend,” she comments. “It is clear that the Obama administration opposes constitutional religious freedom for service men and women, and this is the latest example of this administration’s hostility toward religious service members.

“Antagonism toward people of faith—namely Christians—in the military is real, and it is disappointing that the president is unwilling to support laws that protect and defend the basic liberty of religious freedom.”

Nursery Worker Teaches Toddler About Gay Marriage

A 3-year-old boy has been taught by his nurseryschool teacher that when he grows up, he will be able to marry a boy or a girl. The boy’s identity is being protected, but one of his parents wrote a letter to a local newspaper about the incident.

The letter said, “Many of your commentators have speculated as to what the wider implications of allowing same-sex marriages will be on society. I was given a stark illustration of this at the weekend. In response to my three-year-old son’s question as to what marriage was, I told him that it was when a man and woman loved each other very much and wanted to spend their lives together. My son then told me that ‘boys’ could get married, too. As he doesn’t read the newspapers, I was keen to understand how he had formed this view. Apparently, his carer at nursery, a homosexual, told the entire class that he had great news: when they grew up, they could get married to a girl, or a boy. Surely, my son is too young to have this discussion? If I were to complain, however, I would be labelled a bigot.”

Legal experts have warned that, if same-sex marriage is introduced, there would be a legal duty to teach its importance in sex and relationships education. The experts also say parents would have no legal right to withdraw their children from curriculum lessons that promote same-sex marriage.

And teachers who disagree with endorsing same-sex marriage could face legal action. A bill to legalizesame-sex marriage in England and Wales is currently being considered by Parliament.

Retrieved from  http://www.charismanews.com/world/39861-nursery-worker-teaches-toddler-about-gay-marriage