Saturday, December 22, 2012

False Witness

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16

My commentary mentions that “suppressing the truth when known, by which a person may be defrauded of his property or his good name, or lie under injuries or disabilities which a discovery of the truth would have prevented” is the same as “bearing false witness.” For some reason, it seems we’ve made it acceptable to simply choose “not to get involved” to avoid having to take a stand for the truth when the truth might negatively impact a business or social relationship. The way I see it, if we know the truth and refuse to speak it, we are just as guilty as the person who is perpetuating the untruth. We don’t get to excuse ourselves because it’s a difficult situation.

2009 01 30 018

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Enough Already!

“Though they may surround us like lions
And crush us on all sides
we may fall, but we will rise
Not by my might, or my power, or by the strength of swords
Only through, your love, my lord
All we’ve lost, will be, restored”

                         from “Rise” by Josh Garrels

Just received word that a minister I knew from my youth committed suicide as a result of the stress he endured in the ministry. How many casualties will we allow? Unfortunately, the persecution the Bible speaks of seems to be coming from within the church more and more often. We should be ashamed. I am ashamed.

2009 01 30 012

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Resistance

“How do good men become part of the regime?
They don’t believe in resistance.”

from The Resistance (Josh Garrels)

2009 01 27 020e

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Justice & Mercy

 

The Lord God has told us

what is right and what he demands:

“See that justice is done,

let mercy be your first concern,

and humbly obey your God.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               - Micah 6:8 (CEV)

2009 01 30 010

Monday, December 3, 2012

Trusting

From Crazy Love by Francis Chan:

“When Jesus sent out His twelve disciples (Luke 9:3), He told them to ”take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.” Why do you suppose He said this? Why not let them run home and grab a few supplies? Why not allow them to bring some money along just in case?

Jesus was forcing His disciples to trust Him. God would have to come though for them because they had nothing else to fall back on.

This place of trust isn’t a comfortable place to be; in fact, it flies in the face of everything we’ve been taught about proper planning. We like finding refuge in what we already have rather than in what we hope God will provide.”

2009 01 27 010

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I Did it Again

Reminds me of a song (of course)…”Oops, I Did it Again”…except there was no “oops” about it. I went to church solely out of guilt…again. Why do I do that? Some might say it’s out of conviction or the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I’ve experienced both and I’m telling you that’s not why I went to church this morning. I went to “set an example" for my children and avoid the guilt that would have shadowed the remainder of my day. I don’t feel like I care that much about what others say or think about me, but clearly church attendance is engrained in me and I do care. I’m willing to go and sit through a service that makes my palms sweat and my stomach ache to avoid feeling…what? Unchurched, disobedient, unChristian?

I know in my heart what could “fix” this, but am I willing to go there?  It might not look acceptable to the Christians around me that I’ve known for years and years. Sitting amongst the “church family”, I wonder if we will ever “put off falsehood and speak truthfully to our neighbor” since we are “all members of one body” ?(Ephesians 4:25) The lack of truth and transparency has been at the root of my struggle with church for many years. I’m not na├»ve enough to think that all churches don’t have problems and I am well aware that the church is made up of non-perfect people. I can deal with that. What I can’t deal with is the unwillingness of people in the church to admit the presence of problems. It’s as if, by ignoring problems and creating our own reality in our minds, we can continue presenting a united “front” to the world that we’ve got it all under control. It’s crazy! The community knows we’re covering up the truth about who we really are…they’re not fooled.

2009 01 30 021

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Talk is Cheap

From The Cross in the Closet by Timothy Kurek:

“The sickening realization dawns on me that I have never really followed these ideals, all the while claiming to be a Christian. The people I condemned most heartily have shamed me by walking more closely with the faith I have proclaimed so boldly. Talk really is cheap.

If I am honest with myself, I have to admit that these people whom I have always felt prejudice against are better people than me. Living love is so much more tangible and powerful than speaking love. I feel inspired to follow suit. When I die I want people to remember me as the guy who loved everyone – because if I loved everyone, then I really will have followed the example of the Jesus I serve. Love your neighbor as yourself, the Bible says. How foolish I was to pick and choose only my fellow conservative Christians as neighbors.”

2009 01 30 017

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Meaningless Offerings

Isaiah 1: 13-17 (NIV)

13Stop bringing meaningless offerings!

Your incense is detestable to me.

New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—

I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.

14Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals

I hate with all my being.

They have become a burden to me;

I am weary of bearing them.

15When you spread out your hands in prayer,

I hide my eyes from you;

even when you offer many prayers,

I am not listening.

Your hands are full of blood!

16Wash and make yourselves clean.

Take your evil deeds out of my sight;

stop doing wrong.

17Learn to do right; seek justice.

Defend the oppressed.

Take up the cause of the fatherless;

plead the case of the widow.

Or, in other words (The Message):

13-17"Quit your worship charades. I can't stand your trivial religious games: Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings— meetings, meetings, meetings—I can't stand one more! Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them! You've worn me out! I'm sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning. When you put on your next prayer-performance, I'll be looking the other way. No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I'll not be listening. And do you know why? Because you've been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody. Go home and wash up. Clean up your act. Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings so I don't have to look at them any longer. Say no to wrong. Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless.”

2009 01 30 002

Monday, November 26, 2012

Feeling Called

From Crazy Love by Francis Chan:

“Most of us use “I’m waiting for God to reveal His calling on my life” as a means of avoiding action. Did you hear God calling you to sit in front of the television today? Or to go on your last vacation? Or exercise this morning? Probably not, but you still did it. The point isn’t that vacations or exercise are wrong, but that we are quick to rationalize our entertainment and priorities yet are slow to commit to serving God.

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). Jesus did not say, “If you love me you will obey me when you feel called or good about doing so…” If we love, then we obey. Period. This sort of matter-of-fact obedience is part of what it means to live a life of faith.”

2009 01 23 002e

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sharing

This video makes me wonder why our churches build multi-million dollar buildings for meetings…

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Are we really a family?

Often I hear people refer to our “church family”.  In City on Our Knees (the book, not the song), TobyMac says, “Members of a family sometimes have their differences, but in a strong family, people are secure in each other’s love, even in the middle of conflict. That’s what holds everything together. That is the foundation.” Do you suppose that explains why some churches fall apart during times of conflict? Perhaps we were never a strong family to begin with? And then I wonder…in a large church, how can the church as a whole be a strong family when there are family members you’ve never even met? 2009 02 20 010bw

Monday, November 19, 2012

Playing it Safe

2009 01 29 015e

“Lukewarm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don’t have to trust God if something unexpected happens – they have their savings account. They don’t need God to help them – they have their retirement plan in place. They don’t genuinely seek out what life God would have them live – they have life figured and mapped out. They don’t depend on God on a daily basis – their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn’t look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God.” –Francis Chan (Crazy Love)

It’s the last sentence that gets me every time…

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Anchor of my Soul

“Anchor of my soul, you’ll sustain. When I’m in the storm, you’ll remain good to me.”

 

Anchor

 

               Love the lyrics..they’re listed on the You Tube video.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Splinters

 From The Cross in the Closet by Timothy Kurek:

“Conservative Christianity teaches us to love everyone; however, that love can take many different forms. It seems to stem from an “I’m right, you’re wrong” biblical perspective, which imposes only two rather limited options: Insist others conform to your spiritual world view, or ignore those who don’t.

When Christians begin to question whether option one and two might both be false and consider the possibility of a third, or even fourth option, they are often swiftly labeled by their fellow church members as heretics – or emergents, if you prefer the religious lingo – and are told to either accept “in faith” one of the first two options; or they are pressured, like splinters, out of the church body. More and more, these splinters are leaving organized religion, and now I just might be one of them.”

2009 01 23 004e

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Place to Land

2009 01 27 022e

Some days I feel as though my head will explode. The thoughts and questions won’t stop coming and I have to release them somewhere to keep my sanity. After blogging for 3 years, I’m beginning to realize that a blog might be the best way to let go of the thoughts and have them land in a diary of sorts. These are merely my thoughts and questions. Read them if you like. Comment on them if you like. Please be kind. There is no agenda here. Galvanized Garden is simply an outlet. Welcome to the garden…