Question 4: Is the Bible anti-gay?

John works with kids from the streets of Brisbane and has at times been challenged to think about and share Jesus’ views on sexuality. In this video John is winsome, compassionate and loving. John asks the questions: “How is the Bible’s take on sexuality authentic?” and “Is the gospel for homosexuals as well?”

 

If John’s message challenged you, provoked you or led you to ask questions regarding the bible’s perspective on homosexuality, you can check out a 20 minute bible talk asking the tough questions by clicking here!

Question 3: Would a loving God send people to Hell?

In this video my good mate Josiah talks about the firm but fair judgement that God expresses through Jesus Christ.

 

This is a really sensitive topic that haunts today’s churches. How can we communicate both the ‘love’ of God and the ‘justice’ that He brings? An answer to this question can be seen in a 20 minute Bible talk presented at Creek Road Church in Australia and the vod-cast can be seen here.

My failed VoIP convo about [R]eligion: If I had my time again!

So yesterday, I’m hanging out on Mumble  (VoIP) with some mates that I’ve met through an online game I play far too much of. They all know I’m in the Army and also studying to be a chaplain. ‘Gramps’ (her nickname) decides to ask me about ‘my view on religion’.

I figure this is my element and start to rattle off a few clichés like “I think it’s good to tolerate everyone’s religion, and therefore I expect people to tolerate mine” or “Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and I don’t expect everyone to agree with mine”. I did chirp in a doctrinal statement like “My personal beliefs are found in the Christian scriptures”.

And with that I was done. The conversation had moved on and someone was talking about their athiestic views (which were entirely valid and came from a well thought through position).

To be honest, I was pretty disappointed with myself. I had 2-3 minutes to talk about my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and what I think about the world’s religions. What I did talk about was a wishy washy, all accepting, blasé, water-down version of how everyone should stop arguing and live in harmony. Man I sound like a Greeny.

I left the convo feeling that I had failed not only myself, Jesus’ message, but also my friends. They genuinely wanted my opinion, and for some reason, I hardly touched on what I really thought about Religion.

So here goes. Gramps, If I had my time again here is what I would say about Religion.

To start: what religion isn’t! It isn’t a CRUTCH. It grinds my gears when people say ‘You’re a Christian because it makes life easier’. Or, ‘You’re a bad person and therefore need religion to control your behaviour’. I can understand why people might think these things, but Christianity hasn’t made my life ‘easier’. I’m still a bad person (maybe not by the world’s standards) even after my religion is considered.

Religion isn’t a means to violence and war. People have undoubtedly used religion to fuel war, and there have without a doubt been wars based on religion. This doesn’t mean that the bible condones it.

Religion doesn’t give ignorant people the right to fight with educated people about things like science. There are undoubtedly things that where written 2000-4000 years ago that contradict a modern understanding of science. The bible wasn’t written as a scientific account of the world. [Edit: It does however tell the story of how humans can become part of God’s family. It is divinely inspired, 100% of the bible is accurate, non-contradictory and scripture always serves a particular purpose, which is often not what people use it for. ie. to justify persecuting the LGBT community.]

This is what the bible says about religion:

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27.

I think the world sees a good religion as one that helps those around itself. Caring for the sick and needy. Helping the poor. A religious person is one who has a high moral regard, and cares deeply about how the present themselves to the world. They don’t talk trash, gossip, lie, steal, murder etc etc etc.

But that being said, it’s REALLY IMPORTANT to draw a line between Religion and God. Religion as the world experiences it doesn’t represent God. The local priest, trainee chaplain or crazy religious nut on Reddit.com fails to represent God in all His Glory. Some do a better job than others. But all fail at some point. So if your question is: ‘what is my opinion about religion?’ then my answer must be that “religion is trying to make a difference in the world based on a single persons, or groups ‘religious’ beliefs and values. This doesn’t have to be about a god or spirit or whatever, but I think it also includes people who hold so tightly to their beliefs that they make it ‘their religion’. ie. A animal activist that devotes their whole life to saving animals and would be willing to lay down their lives for that cause. That in my opinion is their religion. A soccer player who dedicates their whole life to being the best and will sacrifice friends, family and loved ones to achieve their sporting goals. That is their religion. I reckon some people have got their beliefs right, I reckon some have got their beliefs wrong, and 99% of everyone are somewhere in-between.

So why do I try and make a difference in the world through MY RELIGION. Because I’m called to be like Jesus. I and YOU and WE ALL are created to imitate Jesus. Yes, Jesus tolerated the other religions, but he didn’t accept their beliefs as truth. Yes, Jesus loved all the people around Himself, but He never let that love compromise who He was or what He stood for. He did this to the point of dying. He stood firm in His convictions. And this is I think the true message of Christianity, that Jesus died so that we can have a relationship with God. We should imitate Christ, in everything, including anything up to and including death.

Christ didn’t ‘do religion’ to be a good person, He didn’t do it for the money, cars, animals, women, fame or even for himself etc etc etc. He did it for God. His message and life was to show everyone else that life is all about God. For me, Religion is all about God. My opinion on religion is just this: its a means of glorifying God.

Maybe if your interested you could ask about my opinion on God and Christianity, the convo will be alot different and I’ll try and do you more justice in answering that one on Mumble. 🙂

Being a Good Husband 101: Paul’s Love-triangle of GRACE

Ephesians 5:21-28

It is Christ’s empowering GRACE that holds a MARRIAGE together… the result… is a MARRIAGE that REFLECTS the GLORY of GOD.

Would it surprise you that unlike the popularised unhealthy love-triangles we see in the media, Paul teaches that each marriage should have a healthy, biblical love triangle with GRACE as its foundation.

In Ephesians 5:22 (and following) Paul is teaching how husbands and wives should relate to each other. Jesus Christ is supposed to be the head of every marriage. And it’s Jesus Christ’s GRACE that enables husbands and wives to love each other.

So what are men told to do? Well it almost sounds easy… Paul says LOVE YOUR WIVES. But how does our love as a 21st century men compare to the perfect example of love that’s found in Jesus? Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… (Eph 5:25)

Do you ever imagine your wife being attacked and you boldly standing up for her. Or a car veers off the road and you push her out of the way to be crushed yourself? I do. But how often do we get the chance to love our wives like that? If taking a bullet for our wife isn’t what Paul’s on about, then what does he mean by lay your life down for your wife?

One of the biggest misconceptions that men take into marriage is that it’s the man’s job to change his wife. And it’s simply not true. Blokes have an in-built desire to control everything.  Paul teaches that men must love their wives to the point of giving themselves up. AND THAT’S ALL. Love your wife as you love yourself Paul says. Paul doesn’t say, Love your wife while she is perfectly submitting everything to you… but he simply says Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”

So practically, how are we supposed to love our wives? Well it all comes back to Paul’s love triangle of GRACE. Men, you need to first learn to be loved by Christ. Experience His gracious love for you. Then and ONLY THEN can you show that love to your wives. As husbands we need to reflect on Christ’s love for us, and deflect that love toward our wives.

We need to take a vertical experience with God, and shoot that out as a horizontal experience with our wives. Men need to submit to Christ, and learn how to rely on his GRACE and MERCY. Then once you experience that gracious love of Christ, you can reflect it to your wives.

We can find the perfect model for love and submission in Jesus Christ. And that model is best displayed His relationship to the church. Christ is supposed to be the head of the marriage union. I urge you all, whether married, soon to be married, or hoping to one day be married. Keep the word of God at the center of your life, and continually submit yourselves to the Lord, and love the Lord because He is the head of the church, and your marriage. It is Christ’s empowering GRACE that holds a MARRIAGE together… and the result?… the result is a MARRIAGE that REFLECTS the GLORY of GOD.

A Life of Sacrifice – Paul Washer Video

So I don’t know a lot about Paul Washer, but I have heard his name thrown around a bit. Having done no more than 5 minutes of Googling to get an idea of what Washer believes, teaches and preaches. I found (as always) a mixed response from the reformed community. Some say he’s great claiming that he teaches “a person is saved through faith alone, but the evidence of a person’s repentance is by walking with Jesus”. Whereas others say that “he makes the deadly error of confusing the FRUIT of repentance with the ROOT of repentance”.

I’m second year at bible college so I’m not going to make any great assumptions largely based on other peoples opinions. But I did find this video quite compelling. Here Washer speaks very passionately about going out and DOING the GOSPEL! In my opinion the best quote from the video:

I’ve never heard an old man wish that he’d spent less time with his wife and children and I’ve never met an old preacher who regretted spending too much time in prayer… Paul Washer

ENJOY!

If you liked Washer’s message you view more like this at HeartCry Missionary

Lecrae – A Rapper’s Testimony about Jesus Christ

I’ve been following this guy for a while now. While I don’t really rate RnB and Hip Hop music as a genre, I can appreciate the effort that Lecrae has put in to developing some really influential and inspiring Christian music.

This is a short clip of his testimony. Well worth a watch. As far as theology is concerned I think he is pretty well rounded. His music and lyrics are Christ and Grace focused with a push to live a life that responds accordingly.

Below the video is a link to one of his songs. Probably my favorite. Let me know what you think.

Le Crae – Just Like You

[Insert your deepest darkest thought here]

How would you feel if your deepest and darkest thoughts were transparently projected over YouTube. What would you do if your secrets were shown to your friends, family… to the world.

[Insert your deepest darkest thought here].

The bible shows that we all have inappropriate desires. You most definitely have desires and secrets that you try to hide from the world. What are your desires? What things have you done that you would do anything to keep secret?

Ten years ago, I felt helpless to control my desires. My need for self-gratification left me in a state of dis-repair. No matter how hard I tried too improve, I found myself in a downward spiral. Every time I thought I’d found a solution to my lack of satisfaction, I would find another way of hurting myself, or someone around me. In the time that I spent with a complete disregard for God’s purpose for my life, I collected physical, spiritual and emotional burdens which are still with me in today’s walk. Like me I’m sure there’s tonnes of solid Christians who would agree that the addictions, behaviours, and attitudes of their youth still weigh heavily upon them today.

So whether you are like me and are still dealing with the decisions you made ten years ago, or you are in the midst of making decisions that you just know aren’t right, now is the time to grasp to some truths that can potentially liberate you from the unhealthy desires of your heart.

Maybe it’s something that you haven’t done, but something that has been done to you. What is it that you couldn’t tell anyone because of shame, guilt or fear? Who hurt you so bad, that you feel guilty because of it?

Mike Wilkerson, author of Redemption, writes this:

“it’s not our raw experiences that determine our lives but the meaning we make of them – the stories we tell an the stories we believe. Out of those stories we live our lives”.

Mike encourages his readers to look at abuse, addictions and other assorted troubles through the lens of scripture.  The problem isn’t that God has abandoned us in our pain, but that sometimes we refuse to face it without him.

It’s important to know that God hasn’t just rescued us from our sin, but also our fear, our doubt and our guilt.

I’m not writing to give you the answers, but just to point lost people to the bible. It does have the answers.
A good place to start is to realise that despite how you feel, God loves and cares for you.

Psalm 23

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.