People Don’t Like Being Told They Are Going To Hell

We need to think about how we say things to others who disagree with us about God.

In speaking to those who don’t believe in Jesus, as the Savior of mankind, let me assure you they don’t take kindly to being called lost, ignorant, deceived, or hell-bound. They find it condescending, judgmental, and hateful. If I were a nonbeliever I would not like it either. As a Christian, we have to understand this. We need to “feel” what they are saying and understand that it’s a strong statement we make when we say they are lost or going to Hell. That kind of pronouncement carries with it a lot of emotion and judgment.

We can not be flippant with those words if we want to show that we care. If we are offering the grace of Jesus, we can’t do it from the approach that they are wretched in need of a massive makeover to appease God and really, to appease us. They are no less human and no more unworthy than any of us. We dehumanize people so often with our words all in the name of God. I have been guilty of this myself but I don’t want to continue to treat people as less than human.

That in no way means I don’t believe all people of every race and status are in need of the gospel. Everyone deserves to hear about Christ and needs Him for salvation. My error is insensitivity. I haven’t been as sensitive to them in the words I have used to convey what I believe to be true. We are fools if we think they are not going to struggle with our belief that they are sinners and will go to Hell for eternity in judgment. I mean who wants to hear that! Yet, if we believe that those without Christ are bound for eternity from God then it is the greatest act of love we can give to do everything we can to help them see the way of salvation. Think about it like this: if another person saw me doing something that was harmful to myself and thy intervened, I may not appreciate it in the moment but surely it is an act of mercy and care! I often try to help people who don’t want to admit or recognize their issue(s) but to do nothing feels cruel. No one, I mean no one, is going to shake your hand and thank you for telling them they are going to Hell. Let’s put ourselves in their shoes. We have to think very carefully how we speak to those who are without a relationship with Christ. I suggest the following:1) Before you engage them remind yourself that you are no better than them and the same salvation you say they need, you needed yourself. Give grace because you surely needed grace yourself.

2) This goes with the first one but be humble. This is not about your pride or ego or another notch on your belt or winning an argument. You do this because you care about them so prove it in your words.

3) You should dialogue and debate with them but don’t let emotions or anger influence your words. I have been so guilty of this in my debates. There have been times where my ego got in the way or I let anger cloud my judgment. It undermines everything I am saying when that happens.

4) Be prepared for them to attack you. They are not going to like that you lean on faith and not reason. They are going to ridicule it and disrespect you. You need to be honest that you don’t have the proof they want to see and also that you don’t know all the answers. If they don’t believe then give them that right. Respect their decision. Your job is to share and not to convert. You cannot convert people because you do not have the ability to change their heart.

Let’s think through how we engage people with the gospel. Let’s treat them respectfully and lovingly. Let’s be patient with them just as others were patient with us. Hurting people in the name of truth is wrong. We should present the truth with sensitivity and care.

Five Things Every Christian Parent Should Ponder

1) God has given you charge over not only their bodies, but also their souls.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 implores us as parents to guide our children into spiritual truth. If you leave this to the “experts” at church, they may begin to see their faith as a Sunday thing and not something lived out during the week. After all, if parents don’t talk about “God-things” with them during the week, they won’t see it as important for their daily lives either.

2) Model for your children how a wife and husband should treat one another. 

My kids “gross” out when Christi and I show any PDA. You would think we were putting hot coals in their eyeballs! Yet, I know that behind their disgust are happy children who feel safe and secure having a mother and father who love each other. A young man needs to see how to treat a woman by the way his daddy treats his mom. A young woman needs to know how to respect and love a man by the way her mom respects and loves her dad. I hope my daughter will want to marry a guy one day who treats her like I try to treat Christi. There is a good chance that will be her standard and expectation.

3) Don’t just focus on their behavior, but focus on their hearts. 

Our goal as parents is not just to get our kids to act right in public. It’s not even to get them to act right at home. We want to go deeper with them. God desires for us to show them the importance of right motive behind their actions. Why do they do what they do? How does the Gospel motivate their thoughts and behaviors? If we just drill into our kids the need to do right things without teaching them the importance of proper motive then, at best, we make them legalists — at worst, hypocrites.

4) Train your children to be measured by grace and not by their performance.

In Exodus 34, God reversed Himself to His people as a God who is compassionate and slow to anger. Yet, God also punished the wicked. His approach is balanced between grace and discipline. Your children need to see you love them for who they are and not what they do. Our kids don’t need to feel we care for them less if they don’t “perform” properly. We give them grace not because they deserve it, but because God has given grace to us. If our kids think we care more for them when they are less of a bother to us then we teach them their value is earned. This flies in the face of what the Gospel teaches.

5) Teach your children to be sensitive to the effects of sin and not desensitized to them.

Everywhere we turn our eyes are filled with immorality. Whether it be commercials, shows, Internet, news, magazines, or billboards, we are inundated with sex, violence, and all kinds of debauchery. Unless we are extremely intentional, we will become desensitized to the effects of these images on our souls. The effect on our children should scare us. If our children become desensitized then sin will become commonplace, and they will live lives of compromise and justification. This is an epidemic in our world today.

Why So Angry? Support For Christians Struggling With Anger

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19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

Is it wrong to be this angry? That really is the question is it not? Anger is not necessarily a negative emotion. It really depends on the “why” and the “how” behind your anger. I would suggest your goal not to be to eliminate anger but to better understand the dynamics behind it so that you can better manage your anger.

So first of all, WHY do we get angry? What leads us to get so upset that our blood boils? See if one or more of these do not relate to your struggle.

  • To hurt yourself– you mess up and you cannot stand it. The perfectionist in you raves about the fact that you can’t always get it right. So you direct anger at yourself. You self loathe. You hate feeling like a failure as a spouse, parent, worker, or in general. So you have this self hatred that exists and brews in you.
  • To achieve control of the situation– quite often we get upset that a situation or relationship is not going the way we want. We feel like it is out of our control. That can cause us to feel panicky. Some, in moments of panic, run and hide. Others feel cornered and lash out. Anger is our attempt to gain control back in the situation. To manipulate the situation more to our liking. I find this to be a major cause of many people’s anger issues.
  • To feel powerful- no one likes to feel small. For some, feeling small brings the demon out in us. We lash out with sarcastic venom or passive aggressive subterfuge or barrages of curse words. We tear them down so they feel much smaller than we just felt. You may not realize in the moment this is what you are doing but if you take time to evaluate your outburst of anger honestly, then you might find that this is the culprit.
  • To fight injustice- we might call this righteous indignation. Jesus showed anger towards injustice. When the money changers were using God’s house as a way to make a fortune, Jesus got very angry. So angry he turned their tables over! (See Matthew 21:12). This anger comes from a deep conviction of what is right and wrong. It is our moral center. It is our desire to stand up for what God values. It is outrage towards injustice. This anger is a proper reaction to injustice as long as it is under control, less we act unwisely.

So there are four reasons we get angry. If you are like me you can relate to all four of them. Question now is how do we better manage our anger in a way that honors God and is healthy for us.

HOW to deal with your anger:

  • Don’t ignore it or try to suppress it– this never works! Our anger just builds up until it becomes a major explosion. Think about a tea kettle being heated on the stove.The water begins to boil and steam is produced. Steam creates pressure and pressure needs to be released. The kettle releases the pressure through a top spout. The kettle can literally whistle in relief as the pressure is released. When our anger builds, we feel the growing tension of it in our soul. It stays there growing until eventually we let it out to purge ourselves of the tension. The more we let it build the greater the impact of release. It feels good to relieve the pressure, so in our moment of anger it fees right and good to us. Afterwards we see the destruction it left behind. We have to deal with our anger. We have to get behind it to deal with its source: fear.
  • Recognize that Fear is the real issue- some of us are terrified of being hurt. We fear being devalued or taken lightly. We fear our voice not being heard. We fear losing control. Fear is the source of much of our anger. In order to properly deal with our anger, we need to tackle our fear. God’s word tells us He did not give us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Rather we are to have self control. We are to control our fear and not wait and try and control our anger. When it gets to anger it is too late. We need to deal with the fact that our fear is us being minimized. Instead of defending our worth in hopes they buy it, we need to better understand where our true value comes from. This means dealing with our insecurity.
  • Don’t let insecurity put you on the attack- Anger is a defense mechanism. We deeply feel our own failings and insecurities and it can overwhelm us, so we lash out defensively so the feelings will stop. Insecurity is like a raw wound in us. You would react violently to anyone trying to jab their finger in your wound. Anger is our attempt to get  that person to stop exposing our insecurity. Where does our insecurity come from? There might be many reasons you experience insecurity: past rejection, demanding relationship with your parents, divorce, broken relationships,  or your personality tendencies. Regardless of where the insecurity stems from it is in understanding your value in Christ that you realize you don’t need to get so  angry in order to defend yourself and your honor.

Anger is not always the wrong response to life but often it indicates a greater issue that exists. Be honest with yourself about why you get angry. Is there one of the above reasons  that resonates with you the most? Consider how to deal with the source of that anger. Have courage to face your insecurities and fear head on. Knowledge is power and your being aware is a great step. You can do this with the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit behind you.

Dax

 

Christian Your Views Are No Longer Tolerated

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.  Acts 5:29

Things are changing rapidly in our culture. We have hit a tipping point. For years movements like the LGBT have been preaching equality and winning over society.  Sexual freedom is glorified more and more. The idea of waiting to have sex until marriage has become taboo. Tolerance is being rammed down our throats at every turn. It is no longer enough that these lifestyles be allowed in our culture.  They have become bolder in their demands. There is a demand for it to be accepted.

People are losing their jobs for speaking out against these lifestyles. Christians are being seen as bigots because they are unwilling to accept what they consider to be immoral actions. Society will not allow Christians to love them without agreeing with them. Yet, this is our calling.  People don’t like feeling guilty so the rise in anger increases in order to try and shut the mouths of Christians. Here is the reality. Persecution is coming.

More and more momentum is building to tolerate every group but Christians. It is ok for you to do about anything you want and it be accepted anymore. Morality has been replaced with anything goes mentality. The loud voice of our culture preaches toleration for everyone except those who disagree and take a stand. That will not be tolerated. It can’t be. If someone disagrees hey might have to face the possibility it is wrong. That will not be allowed.

The tipping point is here. It used to be just angry dismissal of Christians. Now if one speaks out publicly, their job is on the line. Very soon society will demand churches conform or there will be consequences. Government will bow to the pressure of the majority and begin to take freedoms away from the church. It might be our tax exempt status or a censorship of sermon topics or forcing ministers to marry those of LGBT community. It might be all of these. Is there a day coming when Christians will face jail time if they don’t conform? I think it might.

So what are we to do?  Stand up. Count the cost. Hold firm to our conviction. Trust Jesus to the very end. We don’t want to start a war but we are already in a war. We can’t compromise. We can’t lose faith.

And while they spit at us and call us names we are to love. Not retaliate. We are to pray for them and show them kindness even if they seek to destroy us. It is what Jesus did.

We must obey God rather than men!

Last Week Of Jesus- Monday

Jesus Cleanses the Temple12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. Matthew 21:12

Mondays can be depressing. Jesus would agree. On this Monday, the beginning of His last week on earth, He is in His Father’s house. To His dismay, there are money changers and sellers of pigeons in the temple, making more than a buck off of people trying to worship God.

This angered Jesus. He went to see God’s people and what he saw was anything but a sign of sincere faith and worship. The word tells us Jesus got really mad. He had righteous indignation to the degree that he flipped their tables over and sent their things flying. Did I mention the temple would have been packed? It is the start of Passover week, the most Holy Week of the Jewish calendar. Jesus made quite the scene on this start of the holiday. As the sheckels flew, clattering on the floor, no one could miss Jesus message.

What angered Jesus to this degree? He could not take those using His Father’s name for their own selfish gain. He was angry to see them claim faith only when it benefited them. Today, we can be guilty of the same. We follow Christ when it is convenient. We will serve Him if it fits our schedule. We will worship Him if it is in a church setting. We will pray if it’s meal time. We go through the motions and pay our dues but are we all in, sold out to Him?

Jesus disturbed the temple. He kicked the anthill and sent the money changers and animal sellers running. We need to be disturbed by Jesus today. We need Him to unsettle us. To move us out of complacency into pursuit of Him. We need Him to stir up our affections for each other, to love more than we do. We need Him to break our hearts for the lost around us so that we are compelled to share. Jesus unsettle us today. We don’t want to be complacent!

As we start this week before Easter, may God renew in us a passion for Him. Don’t settle for anything less!

Why God Do You Let Them Die?

 


Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am, in order that they may behold my glory.    John 17:24

Now a disclaimer here before you read. I am speaking only about those who are in Christ below. Without Christ death is the grand finale of condemnation. We are correct to feel despair for the death of a person without Christ. May it be a reminder to us of the urgency to share our faith so no one has to die without hope.

Here is something I have come to terms with: What we want God to do and what we get from God often does not agree. I want to personally admit that for myself today. Perhaps there is no more obvious example of this than when it comes to our prayers for the dying. We weep and beg God to save our loved ones from death but often they die anyway. Forgive me if I sound insensitive but that is our reality. I recently experienced this with my own dad. He was in ICU for two weeks and everyday it seemed he got slowly worse. It was torturous for us. We begged God to save Him. We had others come in and do the same in their prayers. Hundreds were interceding in prayer for him. We cried out in faith, knowing God could save him. But on December 18th he breathed his last breath. I had to process again why my prayers and the prayers of the faithful didn’t seem to be enough to save dad. Did God not care? Was He too busy to help one hurting family out? Did I not have enough faith when I prayed?

Most of us feel the way I did after my dad’s death but we don’t dare say it. We don’t want to come across as doubting or that we are angry with God. Even in our despair we feel the need to defend God. We are left with so many unanswered questions though. We are unsettled in our spirit and struggling to find solace that they are in a better place. In our minds, a better place to us is with us!

What I think we need is perspective. Perhaps we are missing a big piece of the puzzle.  We so desperately want our loved ones here that no other option seems justifiable in our desperation. We can’t see beyond our own pain and grief. Surely God would want to give them back to us. But what if Jesus feels the same way that we do about them? What if he so wants our loved one to be with Him that no other option is acceptable. In His prayer for his people, Jesus reveals His desire for them:

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am, in order that they may behold my glory. John 17:24

He wants them to come home. He yearns for His people to be with Him in glory. Sure God respects this life and allows us to live it but He wants to be with His people as His ultimate desire. When you see it clearly you know this to be glorious news. Jesus wants to be with me! He wants us to enjoy the paradise He has created for us. He wants us to be in His presence. It is hard not to be selfish and want them here but what are we keeping them from? If it is time for them to be welcomed home what could really compare to what they are about to gain in Christ?

When a loved one is suffering in the hospital, who knows the pain and agony that await them if they were to live. Sometimes I think death is an act of mercy from God. We want them with us so badly that it is hard to conceive death as mercy but God doesn’t want us to suffer needlessly. He rewards us by bringing us home. The doctors told us that if dad survived his quality of life would be poor… most likely life on a ventilator. I would not wish that on my dad. I would not want to keep my dad from going home.

James compares this life to a water vapor, here and gone in an instant. Ever wonder why God made life so short? Again, I see it is an act of mercy. God doesn’t want us living a  long time without having the opportunity to walk fully in His presence. When we can see it this way we recognize death for what it is, a gift. Even if it comes suddenly or unexpected, we must not go into despair, knowing that are loved one is with Christ.