Thursday, June 27, 2013

Something for the local church I walk with

I do often feel the weight of speaking into things that may be troubling the flock I've been called to undershepherd, such as yesterday's Supreme Court rulings affecting traditional marriage. So, let me do that...

Realize this: I'm not trying to write a sermon here. I'm simply attempting to give some extremely practical advice on thinking through these socially confusing things, and having our hearts set at peace by the Lord, our minds on things above and our responses to be loving and just, biblical and helpful.

  1. This is not necessarily a Christian nation, but we've long (generally speaking) held to a Judeo-Christian ethics, and our laws were shaped by that. That's changing. But, God is not changing. The Church suffers in many nations where God is not regarded at ALL. We are blessed to worship in peace, and we have the responsibility to live our faith as the Body of Christ. What the government does to make that easy is good, but we cannot have the expectation for governments of men to always consider the will of God. In other words, have the right expectation.
  2. Remember, God is sovereign.  
  3. If this upsets you on a political level, don't make it about the faith -- what I mean to say is don't make it seem like America is Israel. We're not. But, do write to you representatives. 
    • Write well worded letters, being gentle in your presentation (as such befits any lady or gentlemen), erudite in your affirmation or complaint, and clear / brief in your presentation. 
    • All of this validates you as a clear thinking citizen AND treats people rightly AND insures it will be read. 
  4. What typically happens in a nation to strike down "Christian" rights also typically rouses the church into needed reflection, action and renewal. In other words, be thankful God is pushing us out of our laziness and apathy. 
  5. Do your homework. 
    • Get in the Scriptures! What do YOU believe? Are YOU agreeing God or simply getting caught on the wave of one social response or the other? 
    • Read articles and think through them (such as the one linked below), but always let God have the biggest and most final word... and let that word sift into YOUR OWN HEART before trying to drill it into someone else's. 
    • Family, listen... too often we are afraid of thinking things through, or afraid of finding out what God might say about something (because WE might need to change) or afraid we'll say the wrong thing or afraid of nearly everything under the sun, with the exception of God, which is who we ought to have some reverent fear of, right? Think through things with Him! Do your homework! Then, as we discover where God stands, stand with Him, and do not waver. 
  6. On the particular subject of homosexuality, remember this: 
    • YOU are a sinner, too, even if this is not your particular sin. Remember this, as well: SEXUAL sin needs to be the topic on table; all sexual sin. 
    • We should be talking about how God's heart is for sinners, but against sin, and we should be careful to say He hates our sin too. 
    • Something that would be refreshing is to look at your own heart and see what things legislation rarely affects, such as greed, gossip, lust, anger, etc., etc. 
  7. Because we are people who communicate constantly, be careful how you communicate. 
    • One thing, in particular, I'll caution us all to realize is this: IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOU THINK. It's what God says that's important. BUT... GET THIS BUT ... we must lovingly communicate what God says. Some folks like to yell and scream when they present what God's word says: "GOD SAYS __________!!!!!" I think, when we remember we are sinners, we can stay true to the truth AND say, "Thus saith the Lord..." 
    • Secondly, sharing deep and precious truth is difficult to do with cliches and quips. That means social media is not the perfect forum, for all it's filled with is quips and cliches. Those are great for thought-provokers, but not all that good for rebuttal or tense conversations that deal with belief and practice.
    • Be committed to BOTH being understood and understanding others. That means we've got to listen to what people are saying and respond to them, rather than fighting to make our points or "win" the conversation. What if we win the conversation but quench the Spirit in the process? Not good. 
  8. So much more to say... I'll leave off for a bit. Don't let social issues overwhelm you; rather, be indwelled by Him who is greater than he that is in the world. Remain faithful to the Lord; be devoted to your calling as a believer and wait upon the Lord.

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