4 Reasons Boycotting the National Anthem Hurts Rather Than Heals


It is a privilege to live in the USA, an honor most of us take for granted on a daily basis. While many still face prejudice, even that is quite tame to the immense freedom and prosperity all enjoy in our amazing country.

So our NFL players got the idea that kneeling during the National Anthem and saluting of flag would evoke change. Since they are boycotting the flag, are they also willing to boycott the freedoms that come with it? I think not.

From my perspective, the problem with NFLers demonstrating during the National Anthem is multi-fold:

1) The National Anthem, along with saluting the flag, is not the issue nor does it represent the issue.

The National Anthem resounds with powerful words of freedom and patriotism. Blood, sweat, and tears were shed for the words of that song to be more than just words. When people kneel when it is sung, it is disrespecting the sacrifice of our ancestors and legacy of their bravery. If you want to make a statement about racism and injustice, pick another way. It feels like you are throwing the baby out with the bath water here.

2) Americans are guilty of giving their sports heroes credibility in subjects they don’t deserve.

Yes, they are incredible athletes who have risen to the top of their sport. They are not politicians, historians, attorneys, orators or anything else they often try to represent. We must recognize this fact. Sure they have a right to express their opinion, but we should not give so much credence to them just because they can throw and catch a ball well. We empower their voice to be more than it really is, more than we ought to.

3) We have to be more direct in dealing with the problems.

Kneeling during the anthem doesn’t make change. It only causes controversy and divisiveness. Change comes when influencers of all races come together to find forgiveness and set the tone for peace and unity. Standing as one – a team representing a diverse group of people united for a common purpose – is far more effective in the fight against division. On the field and in every facet of life.

4) Boycotting the National Anthem is hypocritical.

You can’t boycott the symbol of freedom, yet partake in all its blessings, and be taken as an authentic voice of change. I don’t think racism is acceptable on any level.  However, protesting this way is not only ineffective but makes the situation even worse. The hypocrisy of the athletes has only brought more unhealthy intensity to the issues, and we are more divided than ever.

In this great country, we do have a right to protest. But we have a greater responsibility to love, to respect, to uphold each other. To stand as one nation under God, indivisible, for liberty and justice for all. With this pursuit, may the only knee we take be to the One who can bring us all together.

Five Christian Sayings You Need to Think About Before Using


I like Christian sayings. I like them when they maintain their meaning and don’t become cliche or just empty words. Here are five such phrases to consider:

1) I am praying for you- when we tell someone we will pray for them, we should definitely make sure that we actually pray for them! In fact, we should pray for them right then and there if we can. I don’t want to stand before God one day and He ask me why I kept telling people I would go to Him on their behalf and never did!

2) I don’t feel led– is it possible that this more times than not ends up being an excuse for what we really mean: Idon’t want to. We should be very careful to use God as our excuse not to serve. There might be times He directs us away from a specific role but be sure it is the Lord leading you.

3) I said the sinner’s prayer- in case you were not aware, there is not a specific prayer in the Bible for salvation. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pray and ask God to save you. We need to make sure it comes from the heart and is in our own words, confessing our sin and crying out to God. When I became a Christian, I didn’t have any script to pray. In fact, I wasn’t sure what to pray! I just cried out, “Jesus.” I am confident God saved me in that moment.

4) I’m forgiven, not perfect– of course this is true but when it is used as an excuse to justify your wrong actions, it is hypocrisy.  If you have to use this phrase then be careful you are not using it to justify your actions.

5) God is in control- again, no doubt that He is in control but when we use this only when things are overwhelming and believe we are in control the rest of the time then there is an issue. Also, God is in control should not be an excuse for you not to do what is right or what you are called to do. Or when we use this when we are in agreement with God but would never utter this phrase when God is calling us to do something we don’t like, then it is hypocrisy.

Top 5 Arguments Skeptics Give Against the Christian Faith

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Whenever you find someone who believes strongly in something, there will be those who also doubt it. As Christians, healthy questioning of what we believe is needed,  as holding to a set of beliefs only because they were passed down to us makes our faith shallow and weak. I have no respect for untested faith, where someone is unwilling to let their faith be questioned out of fear or laziness.

Now that doesn’t mean everyone who questions your faith deserves a voice. Apostates lurk the blog world, looking for Christians they can attack. Jesus spoke about these kinds of people. He told the disciples to “shake the dust off their feet” if the apostles encountered someone not willing to listen. It is not my responsibility to convince a bitter and angry skeptic to believe in the faith. Because they want you to enter their arena of attack, they will guilt you with words like “the burden of proof is on you” or “if you are a Christian then you will stay loving and humble,” while they have the freedom to curse, demean and berate you. They lure Christians to enter dialogue where their fellow antagonists wait to attack. They are not our targets to evangelize. We should heed Jesus’ words and feel no guilt for their faithlessness. The Lord will be their judge.

With that said, we should still be aware of what skeptics are saying, especially in the questions they raise. Not all skeptics are close-minded and antagonistic to the faith. Here are five questions I see skeptics raising:

If God is a good God, how can He allow so much suffering and evil in the world?

shutterstock_492404062.jpg    One thing we cannot deny is evil exists in our world. Atrocious things happen to people that are seemingly undeserved. Yet, God is working in suffering; some of the most powerful testimonies have come from those who have endured great tragedy. God often raises beauty from ashes. It is God that gives us the hope that things can be better. We also need to remember that sin entered the world through disobedience and tainted all of humanity and the world. Disease, pestilence, drought, natural disasters, murders, bigotry, and all other catalyst of suffering are the result of sin. Some shake their fists at God, but it is we who brought this upon ourselves.

How could I come to church or believe in what you say when the church is full of hypocrites?

shutterstock_388569646.jpg   This is not totally false. Many hypocrites come to church every Sunday. I would argue it comes with the way a church is set up. Church welcomes all to come, including hypocrites. I wonder if anyone has been a part of any gathering, social club, or civic group where some didn’t poorly represent the greater identity? Poor examples don’t necessarily undermine the core as being strong and faithful. While the church should preach against hypocrisy and hold those accountable who practice it, people choose how they will live. There will always be those who confess Christ and live opposite of Him. The problem with this argument against the faith is it fails to acknowledge those who do live out their faith well. Not all live hypocritically, and as long as there are faithful servants of Christ, then the church is not lost. This argument is simply an excuse to justify their own unwillingness to set foot in church and to deny the faith. God transcends His followers as He is perfect and they are flawed and broken. Every Christian will make mistakes and be hypocritical in some manner.

Isn’t Christianity a crutch for people to avoid facing the realities of this world?

shutterstock_327126659.jpg    Karl Marx claimed that religion is “an opiate of society.” Skeptics argue in the same vein that faith is “pie in the sky” thinking, an unwillingness to deal with injustices in the world honestly. For a Christian, hope is found in Christ. It is not wishful thinking but the only reality that we can cling to that is consistent, loving, and pure. It is not a crutch or an escape; rather it is hope. Claiming that Christians are weak because they cannot face the harsh realities is a skeptic’s way of denying hope. What is life without hope? Faith is believing there is hope beyond what you can see. Some the most courageous people who have ever lived have been so because they clung to there faith. They faced incredible obstacles because God gave them strength to do so. They were not in denial of their sufferings but found hope in them through Christ.

How can you claim that Jesus is the only way to God?

shutterstock_218152.jpg     This is a big one. If God exists, why do Christians see their way as the only true way to God. Truth is, we don’t claim it. We do not exclude other faiths or deny their access to the true God. Jesus did. He said that He was “the way, the truth,and the life, and that no person comes to the Father but by Him” (John 14:6). Jesus made Christianity exclusive, and, as His followers, we do the same. It is through Jesus that one can be saved. It is not a popular belief, but it is the Gospel. Popularity has never been our goal. Narrow is the way and few who find it, says our sacred text. Many get tripped up by this, but we trust in the word of our Lord that says He alone is the way to God.

If God is real and Jesus is alive, then why doesn’t He do a public broadcast across the globe telling who He is and His intentions for us?

shutterstock_559280869       Silence is deafening for skeptics. They can’t get past the fact that God would be so “aloof” with His creation. At one time, God did walk among us. But through man’s disobedience, humanity was banned from His garden and presence. Now through Christ, we are reunited with Him by faith to one day see Him “face to face” again. When Thomas touched the scars after the resurrection, Jesus told him that he believed because He saw with his own eyes but “blessed are those who have not yet seen and still believe.” Skeptics are unwilling to acknowledge faith, but it is faith that saves us and brings us into right relationship with God. One day, God’s presence will be overwhelmingly evident to all. There will be no more skeptics on that day. “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord”—from the most faithful to the vilest to the most bitter atheist.

This list is far from exhaustive, but these are questions I encounter often as I talk with those who doubt our faith. We will never be able to “talk” anyone into salvation, but that should not stop us from sharing our faith and doing all we can to answer their questions. Not to do so shows a lack of care and willingness to help them see. Yet, many skeptics have one agenda: to ridicule and belittle the faith. They do this because they must. They need to justify their doubt lest they are proved wrong and condemned. Show them grace, but do not waste your time. Instead, find those willing to listen and spread the Gospel!

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.

Last Week of Jesus- Tuesday

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36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40

It is Tuesday of the last week of Jesus life on this earth. Jesus is departing Bethany and heading into the inner part of the city of Jerusalem for Passover. While He is starting the two mile journey from Bethany, Jesus engages in discussion with those on the road. At one point He encounters the Scribes. The Scribes, lawyers of the Pharisees, pose a question to Jesus. Their intent is not pure. They are not seeking to learn from Jesus’ wisdom nor are they just inquisitive. Rather, they want to trip Him up so that they can “catch” Him in a contradiction or blasphemy.

They ask him which is the greatest commandment. Instead of choosing one, Jesus brilliantly encapsulates all ten commandments by alluding to Deuteronomy 6:5 (Shema). By telling them to love God with their whole being, He captures the essence of the first five commandments. He then refers to loving your neighbor, which undergirds the second five commandments. These two commandments sum them all up. The scribes couldn’t disagree with His logic. They were unable to trip Jesus up and in turn He made a profound statement summing up what two pursuits are the most important for us in life… to love God and to love your neighbor.

We make our faith much more complicated than it should be. We make it about a list of do’s and do nots; about rules and regulations; traditions and rituals. It transcends that.

Here is how I suggest you should live.You might be shocked on my prescription but I think God would back me on it:  I have two things for you to do and from there do whatever you want. I mean it, no boundaries. Live like you want with no pressure. Don’t try and live in accordance with a bunch of rules and regulations. Do whatever you want to do. I am serious. I just want you to simply follow two principles. Just two. After that you are completely free to do what you want. Two things: Love God with all you are and love your neighbor as yourself. If you do these two things you don’t have to wonder if you are living right. You don’t have to wonder if you are doing enough. You don’t have to measure up to any other standard. Just love God with all you are and love others as much as you love yourself and from there do whatever you want.

Church if we take Jesus seriously and begin to live out these two principles it will transform not only us but the world around us. Your biggest obstacle here is yourself. The biggest threat to our obedience to these two greatest commandments is that we love self too much. I don’t want you to hate yourself. As Keller said, “humility is not thinking less of yourself but rather thinking about yourself less.” Jesus is not asking you to not enjoy life or to do nothing for yourself. He is asking us to think of self less so that we make room for what should be priority in our life as Christians, to love God and to love our neighbor.

If we don’t love , then who out there is going to take us seriously? If we live the same way they do then how can we say we have anything different worth taking notice of? They need to see our love for God and love for them as consistent and genuine. If not then we are guilty of being what they call us, hypocrites.  We show our faith to be ingenue and not worth considering. Love is the key.

We need to put more effort into responding to our God in love. We do this by praying to Him, worshipping Him, and obeying Him. Those three acts speak love to our God. Find time to do those outside of Sunday. As you love God more you will begin to care more and more about others. What could you do this week as an anonymous act for someone else that shows them love and care? There are hurting people all around you. Plenty of people need your care today. Take time to do an act of kindness for them in the name of Christ. Don’t do this on display so that you get the glory. Let your actions and words point them to Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

HYPOCRISY OF ABORTION

“I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”
― Ronald Reagan

I have come across this quote from Ronald Reagan several times over the years. It leads me to contemplate the hypocrisy of abortion. You might say it’s the choice of the parent. Even for the parent making the decision of life or death, it is hypocritical. By hypocritical I mean behaving in a way that suggests one has higher standards in action than is really the case. Let me explain: Parents contemplating abortion would never have been willing to give that power of choice to their parents. They would be horrified by the very thought of their life being left in the hands of their parents to choose whether they live or die. To say that I am fine with my parents having the ability to choose whether to have me or not is ridiculous because of the fact that they DID choose to have me. When I know what the decision will be of course I am fine with saying I would allow them to have a choice. That is without risk for me. The only other option is to say: I would be fine with my parents’ decision to abort me. If that is your answer then you lie to yourself or you find absolutely no value in being you.

Abortion murders something priceless so that we do not have to deal with the consequence. I can think of no other area in life where that kind of thinking is acceptable among moral people. To write off a person, everyone being of great value, as an obstacle to what we perceive as our enduring happiness is beyond egotistic.

We are so easily manipulated by sheer numbers. It is amazing how we allow the masses to help justify such atrocity. If enough people can buy into a belief then it must be right? If others feel this way then I must be justified in my action. That was the ploy of Hitler! He convinced the masses to feel right about what was so extremely wrong.

It comes down to this: we are deciding the fate of a person so that we may live as we wish. But one might say: the obstacles of having the child are so great upon me. Are they great enough to allow you the right to take their life to avoid the potential burden? How blind we are as a nation to God’s will in this!

It is hypocrisy to say you give value to life at all if you advance the cause of abortion.

Psalm 139:13-14

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.