Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Chapter 1: We Have Our Work Cut Out For Us

       This is subject has been something I have spent a lot of time thinking on and believe that as a follower of Christ it is time that I say something. Now I know that there are a lot of people that see the things that I am about to touch on and think to themselves "what do we do now?" I can tell you that this will not be a bashing of Christianity but moreover a pointing out what is wrong and how to fix it biblicaly. With all of that lets jump right in.
       Our work is cut out for us in more than enough ways. I am a person that enjoys to watch, read, and listen to debates between atheist and Christians. From my time doing this I have heard God called all kinds of names like immature, impotent, childish, and even an ethnic cleanser. If these things offend you as a believer then good they should but let me ask you what are you doing to make his name look good? I know that is not our job to make God look great, he does this all by himself, but we sure can make him look bad by how we live if we are suppose to be the representation of him in this world. In these talks I have heard time and time again that if you want to be an atheist just read the bible. As followers of Christ we would say the exact opposite but let me ask, if you gave someone a bible and told them to read it would your life line up with what you are asking them to read? Now I don't want anyone to think that I am mad at any atheist or have hate in my heart for them at all, if anything I would like to thank them for calling us to the mat and pointing out things that we are failing to do. See when I listen to them I hear them not just making scientific claims why God doesn't exists but also how the followers of this belief are contemptible people who, as one of them put it, should be made fun of. So with all that what is the work for us to do and what are we up against? Lets look at it.
       Well first lets go back in time and look at the black marks on Christianity. 1) The Roman Catholic, who I am not singling out, went through a bad time when they use to excommunicate people for saying things like "the earth went around the sun" or translating the bible to English or many other things (the list is long). 2) The crusades are in my opinion one of the worst things against us. Even though there may have been political ties to them it is obvious that the church at that time was for it and put its stamp of "God approves of this" on it. 3) Slavery! In America, our chance as believers to get it right on a new land, the church at one time stood up and said "hey there is slavery in the bible so it must be right". Now I know that not every believer did this but come on any believer doing this is just wrong. 4) The civil rights movement. Again I know not every believer stood against the rights of the black community but any of them that did should have looked at Galatians 3:28. Worst is there are still people now a days saying that interracial couples are wrong. These are just some of the things that we as believers are already working against but lets look at what is happening now and see what we can do better.
       Now I know we are not facing anything as bad as the list I gave above, to which we need to just come out and say sorry we were wrong, but we do have things to face. Let me start with just in house things like denomination bashing. I like how Ravi Zacharias put it in one of his open forum talks. Ravi said "unity doesn't mean uniformity." We as a body need to stop trying to make other parts of the body just like us but instead embrace them and make sure we are whole. When we do bashing on each other we cause the world to look and think "they talk about love and unity but look at how they treat each other." (I have heard people say what I just typed in my personal life). We need to be more focused on how we can complement each other rather than how to compete against one another, when we work together we show the world that we are truly his followers (Jhn 13:35). Next is the gospel we preach. I want to say with this point, cause it goes along with my earlier one, that it is important to preach the right gospel. I am not talking about difference in the theology that we may hold I am talking about plain out GOSPEL. See if there is anything preached that takes away from who God is or makes him something he is not then we should lovingly call this out and bring it to the light. If the main focus is not on the overwhelming grace of God through the person of Jesus Christ dying on the cross for the sins of the world then it needs to be dealt with. I do know that there is more in life than just that but we should always make sure that that point always is in front of us. Finally plain old living a holy life. We need to make sure that we are not just making God look bad by the way we live. It is imperative that we as followers of Christ do just that FOLLOW CHRIST and not just by words but in actions too. We must stand firm on the word of God and live a life that causes people not to make fun of God but shows that with God in our life we are better people.
       Look we must stop giving ammo to people to walk away from church and God by how we act. It is sad that today alone I was told by a youth at the church that I attend that he has a friend that doesn't like church cause of the hypocrites, the worst part is the kid who said this his dad is the pastor of the church he is talking about. Again I know that statements like those may be excuses to just go do what they want but let me ask you if we are able to take that excuse away shouldn't we? My final thought for us are these: What would it look like if we as believers lived out the bible holistically? Would there be any of these arguments between denominations? Would so many still reject what we preach? Would we finally see a revival in our nation that we have been praying for? What can you and I do better to make God look good?