“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

Advertisements

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.

What is a Christian’s Role in the World

by G C Forsman

Everywhere you look, there are Christians being persecuted.

Hindu Extremists Refuse to Let Christians Buy and Sell in India

Christian Couple Attacked for Refusing to Recant Faith

Priest Beheaded as Crowd Cheers

School Shuts Off Mic as Valedictorian Voices Faith

Here in America, we know our country was founded on Biblical Principles. However, that doesn’t matter to people today. The church has always been persecuted. Jesus said “Remember the word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20, NKJV)

Murder is being committed in incredible numbers and justified a choice.

Doctor Found Guilty of First Degree Murder in Philadelphia Abortion Case

Second House of Horrors, Abortion Clinic is Investigated in Texas

“You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13, NKJV)

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you.” (Jeremiah 1:5, NKJV)

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” (Psalm 139:13–16, NKJV)

Gay Marriage is Accepted and Glorified

College Professor Demands Students Support Homosexual Behavior

Franklin Graham: No One is Entitled to Rearrange God’s Divine Order

The Homosexual in America

Selling Homosexuality to America

Gay Marriage Ruling Already in Use in Other Cases

State , Gay Couple Sue Christian Flower Shop

“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22, NKJV)

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–10, NKJV)

Where Does That Leave Christians?

How should the Church respond to a culture that seems increasingly hostile toward Christianity and Christian principles?

We need to stop trying to inform people about the past, and start making an impact for today. As we see our culture, and the world, deteriorating into a moral-less ball of confusion it is our job to point the world to Christ. Resist the idea to run away from the world and cry “poor me.” We cannot seek special protection as a persecuted minority.

We seem to forget that right after God listed all of those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God, He added, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11, NKJV) We need to engage the culture in a different way, our authority and power as Christians is not derived by any government institution; it is a gift from our Father in Heaven, The Almighty God. We must defend the truth lovingly, cheerfully, with a child-like charm and innocence.  Allowing others to see Jesus in all we do and say.

In a 2000 sermon, John Piper draws out six truths from 1 Peter 2:9-17 about how Christians should be involved in society and culture.

________

1. We were once all in darkness, along with the whole world.

Notice the phrase near the end of verse 9: “Him who has called you out of darkness.” We were once in darkness. The darkness of sin and unbelief and ignorance about God and his ways. It was the darkness of deadness in sin, as Paul says in Ephesians 2:5. This is the condition of our culture and our society. And we were once a part of it by nature. Why are we no longer?

2. God called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

This truth comes from the same phrase in verse 9: “Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” We are not by nature smarter or wiser or more courageous than those who remain in darkness. The difference is that God exerted toward us an absolutely undeserved and compelling kindness: he called us. Paul put it like this in1 Corinthians 1:23-24, “We preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” It was the omnipotent call of God that wakened us from the spiritual sleep of death and opened our eyes to the power and wisdom of God in Christ. Let us never forget: Free and powerful grace alone is the decisive reason that we are able to see the darkness of our culture and be free in some measure from it.

3. God’s aim in calling us out of darkness is to send us back to (but not in) that darkness to “proclaim his excellencies.”

Now all of verse 9: “But you are a chosen race, A royal priesthooda holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” That is why you have been called out. That is why you are God’s people, a chosen race. We exist to display with word and deed the excellencies of God. This is the way God’s call came to us. Freely we received, now let us freely give. Our witness is not the same as the call of God. But God’s call happens through our display of God’s excellencies. When we speak and show God’s excellencies to others, we provide the truth that God may grant the blind to see. If we say nothing, they will see nothing. Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17). And new birth is “through the living and abiding word,” the gospel (1 Peter 1:23-25).

4. God’s aim is that the way we make his excellencies known to the darkened culture around us take place both by avoidance and by engagement.

This is very crucial to see. Some err here by stressing one to the exclusion of the other. One group is swept away with social action. Another is absorbed in personal holiness. The Biblical way is both/and, not either/or.

Notice verse 11: “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” This is the avoidance ethic. And it is absolutely right and necessary. There are things in our culture that we should simply avoid and abstain from.

But notice verse 12: “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Here we are “among the Gentiles.” Here we are going on display to the Gentiles. Here we are not just avoiding their effect on us, we are aiming at having an effect on them with positive action. “They observe your good deeds and glorify God.”

Over and over in the New Testament the writers stress that we were created and converted to be engaged relentlessly in a life of public good deeds. Indeed, Titus 1:14says that Christ died to “purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” The term “good deeds” does not mean sitting at home watching wholesome videos instead of going out and watching dirty movies. Good deeds means designing ministries for caring for AIDS orphans in Africa, and feeding the malnourished, and housing the homeless, and teaching the illiterate and ignorant, and freeing the addicted and fighting crime and visiting the prisoner and befriending the lonely, laboring in the cause of protecting the unborn and relieving the crisis of unexpected pregnancies, and a thousand other visible ways of doing good to others in the name of Jesus (see Titus 2:7-8;3:8Hebrews 10:22Matthew 5:16).

My point here is that, in relation to our sin-riddled culture, we should pursue both avoidance and engagement; both purity of heart and merciful involvement, both personal holiness and public justice. In short, we should with the mind of Christ be both culture-denying and cultural transforming. The transformed mind steeped in scripture will discern when and how.

5. Submission to cultural institutions (like the state, and places of employment and family) is not canceled out by our freedom in Christ (and our citizenship being in heaven, and our being “strangers and exiles on earth), but our submission is put on a whole new footing of submission to God.

You see the call to submission in verse 13: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution.” Christians are not self-assertive rebels who kick against the pricks of regulations in government and business and schools and home. We are eager to be supportive and compliant wherever it does not compromise our commitment to Christ our king.

But notice the words in verse 13, “for the Lord’s sake.” Or: “On account of the Lord.” Once we may have been submissive out of fear, or out of conniving for advancement, or out of greed, or out of laziness, or because we believed that these earthly institutions really were our master. But that is not how Christians submit now. It is for the Lord’s sake.

Verse 16 is Peter’s interpretation of those crucial words: “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.” We are free. We are not slaves to any human institution. So why submit? Why not drive at any speed we want? Why not pay whatever tax we feel like? Why not come to class late? Why not wear perfume to the first service and park in the most convenient place for ourselves? Why not come in at whatever hour you please as a teenager? Why submit to a hundred rules and laws and guidelines in our culture and work places and schools and homes?

The answer is, God freed us from these institutions as masters, and then sent us back into them to declare his excellencies as his servants, not the servants of man. We submit in freedom, for the Lord’s sake. Everything is on a different footing. All is from the Lord and for the Lord. Christ died to purify us for good deeds and we enter the world and the culture with a view to displaying the glory and the excellency of this great Christ.

6. Finally, Christians honor all persons, and seek to do it in different ways that are not the same for each, but appropriate to their roles in life.

Verse 17: “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.” There is a special kind of honor for the king. There is a special fear for God. There is a special love for fellow Christians. But there is an honor for all persons, including the wicked.

Matthew Henry wrote:

The wicked must be honored, not for their wickedness, but for any other qualities, such as wit, prudence, courage, eminency of employment, or the hoary head. Abraham, Jacob, Samuel, the prophets, and the apostles never scrupled to give due honor to bad men (Commentary on the Whole Bible [Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., n.d.], 1019).

So in conclusion, let us not simply be a passive and apathetic people priding ourselves in our avoidance ethic. Let us live in the power of the grace that called us out of darkness into light and let us turn back to that very dark and dying culture and declare the excellencies of the One who called us, and let us be rich in good deeds, so that people might see the kind of Master we serve and give him glory on the day of visitation.

Paula Deen: What is the Truth?

by G C Forsman

It seems nearly everyone is talking about Paula Deen.  A good friend encouraged me to read both a summary of charges against her, and Ms. Deen’s Deposition. After that, we had a healthy discussion on the topic.  I thought you might be interested in what I found.

Here is a summary of charges:

Paula Deen, while planning her brother’s wedding in 2007, was asked what look the wedding should have. She replied, “I want a true southern plantation-style wedding.” When asked what type of uniforms the servers should wear, Paula stated, “well what I would really like is a bunch of little n*ggers to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around;

Black staff had to use the back entrance to enter and leave restaurant;

Black staff could only use one bathroom;

Black staff couldn’t work the front of the restaurants;

Brother Bubba stated his wishes: “ I wish I could put all those n*ggers in the kitchen on a boat to Africa”;

Bubba asked a black driver and security guard “don’t you wish you could rub all the black off you and be like me? You just look dirty; I bet you wish you could.” ;

Bubba on President Obama: they should send him to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, so he could n*gger-rig it;

Bubba shook a black employee and said” F your civil rights…you work for me and my sister Paula Deen;

The manager of the Lady & Sons restaurant threatened to fire all the ‘Monkeys’ in the kitchen. When Paula found out…she slapped him on the wrist and suggested that the employee visit her mansion so he felt special and could be massaged.

And you can read Paula’s deposition here.

I found it interesting that the woman who brought the charges is white. I, as many others, assumed it was a woman of color, and a disgruntled employee. This manager employee (from Bubba’s restaurant) claims to have witnessed the abuse for years, thinking that one of the employees directly involved would say something.  But then she realized that these employees were enduring the abuse in order to feed their families.  Finally reaching her limit, she blew the whistle.

Between the charges, and the deposition, it seems Ms. Deen was interested in duplicating an experience she had at a restaurant (where middle aged black servers were used, dressed in black pants, white dinner jackets, and bow ties) for her brother’s wedding. The rest of the charges are alleged against her brother and a restaurant manager in her employ.  I was surprised to discover (via the EEOC) that an employer can treat their employees as horrible as they want, as long as they treat everyone the same.

Let’s be realistic. Although it should not be, we all know there are many people out there who use racial and other slurs. I do not think there are many people who can honestly say that they have never said something stupid in their lives. If someone wants to discontinue supporting Paula, they are well within their rights to do so. Everyone, on both sides of the issue, is being terribly sensitive. Free speech gives us the right to say any dumb thing we want. The question is “Should a person’s life (white, black, gay or whatever) be destroyed because of something stupid they said?” If that’s the case, I think most of us would be in ruins. As individuals, we can stop buying products from people if we don’t like them, but the PC police shouldn’t ruin a person’s life.

The other question is “Did Paula Deen know of the alleged incidents and ignore them, or was she unaware?” It does seem that Ms. Deen trusted her brother much more than she should have. If employees, and a consulting company, thought Bubba was the problem at the restaurant, and the restaurant was losing money, why didn’t she do something?  I understand wanting to trust and support your sibling, but would not it help him more if the problems could be resolved and the restaurant began to turn a profit?

Everyone is responsible for their words and actions.  Does not Ms. Deen have the responsibility to know what is going on in her restaurants, and take appropriate actions?  Do we believe that she knew and did nothing?  Is it possible that she really did not know because of her busy schedule? Is the politically correct movement out of control? So where does that leave us? It seems apparent that Bubba has issues. Is Paula deserving of all the destruction coming her way? Should people be crucified over words spoken? Many would contend that Paula knew and did nothing. There are also those who believe her apology was not sincere. How much responsibility does the media have in this situation? Was Paula standing by her brother, or covering for him? Being from Georgia, should Paula been more sensitive to the racial issue? Did Paula both know about and perpetuate the environment of racist hostility and sexual harassment?

I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I believe there is good in everyone. Since this is a civil suit, it seems that it is Paula’s word against the word of her accuser.

Wealth is measured in many ways. Did Paula allow money to become her measure of wealth and forget to store her treasures up in Heaven? One thing is certain, this will play out in the public eye. It is my sincere hope, however this plays out, that everyone will learn something about loving their neighbors.

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/

To God be the Glory

By G C Forsman

Delight yourself in the Lord,

and he will give you the desires of your heart.

(Psalm 37:4, ESV)

I have said before that we should be sharing what Jesus did for us with others, and tonight I want to do just that.

This week has been amazing and miraculous. But before I get to that, allow me to give you the back story.

I used to joke that it would be nice to work on the weekend, and have the week off.  Then God gave me just such a job.  I worked 54 hours straight starting at 3:00 pm on Friday, and ending 9:00 pm Sunday.  While working in this position, I was afforded the opportunity to teach a Bible Study every Sunday.  During one Bible Study, I was asked a question and I answered with the word of God (Leviticus 18:22). For standing on the word of God, I was rewarded by being fired from my job.

It is my understanding that when you get fired you cannot collect unemployment, and thought surely the company would protest paying me.  Somehow God removed all obstacles and unemployment payments began after the normal one week delay.  Almost immediately I found a part-time job that allowed me to continue to cover my financial responsibilities.  As I began my job search, I interviewed for a great position only 5 miles from my home. I was notified that I have been selected for this position.

So… God gave me a good job that I used to joke about having.  I stood on his word and was persecuted for doing so.  God responded by providing all of my needs, and then delivered even a better job closer to home.  He is truly amazing!!  I give God all the glory.  I know He protected my family and I, and that He rewarded me for standing on His word.

I know there are those who would disagree with God’s word, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

It is important to know God’s word… It is more important to know God. It is a relationship, not a religion.