Tuesday, June 7, 2016

God Loves Gays

June is the one year anniversary of the historic Supreme Court order to make same-sex marriage legal in the United States.  When we strip away the courtrooms, activist organizations and verbal arguments back and forth there are people at the heart of this decision.  Precious people, who are made in the image of God with priceless eternal souls. 

The two main groups of people caught in all this are Christians and homosexuals.  I am in the Christian group and want to say two things to my neighbors and fellow citizens who are homosexuals.  First, as a follower of Jesus, I want to apologize on behalf of other believers who may have rejected and cursed you or talked to you with an attitude of self-righteousness.  They were wrong.  No excuses.  I hope you can forgive them for their foolishness.  Second, I want to say with deep sincerity, God loves you.  He loves every lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and questioning person.

Though less than 5% of our nation is practicing homosexuals, a super-majority are talking about this issue and many with deep-seated convictions.  This puts the LGBTQ community under the microscope, whether they want to be or not.  No doubt, with the positive coverage this movement has received over the last year, their numbers are likely growing.  Yet, with this affirming culture fostering a sense of freedom to explore one’s sexuality, there can be a downside. It can produce a sense of inner confusion and doubt. 

Our Creator made us in His image, which means we were born with a natural instinct to seek and know Him.  However, we also were born with an inclination to live our lives our own way rather than God’s way.  This attitude, in effect, leads to inner guilt and shame producing a lack of peace, spiritual restlessness and inner turmoil.  It is the predictable effect of going against what we were made for.

Homosexuality is a lifestyle that has been around for over 5,000 years of human history.  It also goes against God’s design.  For countless millennia God has been calling men and women out of this practice and giving them transformed lives.  He sent His Son Jesus to suffer, die and rise again to give them a new identity.  Not an identity based on gender or sexual practice, but one based on the person of Jesus Christ.  The Scripture says, “. . . if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  All this is from God” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).  When a person surrenders their life wholly to Jesus, in turn they receive the purity, beauty and perfection of the Son of God poured into them.  Today, you have a choice.  Change your identity.  Turn to Jesus and let Him give you a new heart, new mind and a new future.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Jesus & the Value of a Woman

Among the nations of the world there are many that do not allow women to drive, own property or even vote.  Not to mention the global multi-billion dollar sex trafficking industry that traffics women 98% of the time.


Despite where the world still is in its treatment of women, it has taken a tremendous leap forward in the last 100 years.  In America, their place and value is nothing like it was in 1850.  However, long before the establishment of the women’s suffrage movement they had a powerful advocate in the first century - Jesus.  Here are five ways in which He gave value and purpose to all women.   



Defense.  Jesus had celebrity status easily gathering crowds in the thousands around Him.  They hung on His every word.  Through His platform of influence He defended women when society tried to demean and dismiss them.


Challenging the status quo.  Jesus put His life and reputation on the line challenging the unjust ways in which women were treated during His day.  Though knowingly opposing cultural rules He became a voice for the voiceless.       



Equality.  Jesus demonstrated that women were as equally valuable as men.  He saw no difference in a man’s worth over a woman’s.  Both were created and loved by God.   



Compassion.   Jesus showed kindness toward women of all ranks in society - upper, middle and lower classes.  He offered peace, hope and freedom to all women who would choose to believe in Him with all their heart.



Accountability.  Even though Jesus offered promise to women, He also called them to repentance.  He realized true freedom is not just found in changing laws or cultural ideals.  He offered liberation of the soul through forgiveness of sin.  When women are delivered from sin they receive a new mind and heart and a new future that lasts for eternity. 



Jesus and those who follow His example offer a message to women around the world.  Those in abusive relationships, oppressive cultures and feeling on the fringe of society, can find worth in Christ.  While publicly standing against one woman’s accusers Jesus said to her “‘Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?’  She said, ‘No one, Lord.’  And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more’” (John 8:10-11).  As Jesus championed this lady’s worth, He calls upon all men everywhere to honor the God-given value that women inherently posses.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Weakness of Power

President Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”  No matter if someone is a leading political official, the top of a successful company, or even a parent they all have something in common.  Their position comes with power.

The need for responsible management of power is essential because it is in our human nature to use it for personal gain, and that is when self-preserving actions are taken to assert and retain it.  In the short term, these moves may bring success, however, in the long term they will bring destruction. 

These scheming efforts result from a poisonous cocktail all power-hungry people drink. It is a potent mixture of pride, arrogance and selfishness along with a shot of greed.  Interestingly though, rather than securing their position with power moves, over time, it weakens it so what they have built will mercilessly be ripped from their fingers in embarrassment and shame.     

Imagine if someone occupied a seat of power from the mindset of serving rather than receiving, humility rather than pride, generosity rather than greed?  What if they never operated out of a self-preservation motive?  What if they did what was right, good and just even if they knew it might cost them their position?

There is an example of someone who did lead that way – Jesus.  In three years, He rose from an obscure carpenter to one of the most powerful and influential figures of His day.  Today, nearly 2,000 years later, His name is known worldwide and the movement He started, Christianity, numbers in the billions of followers. 

Jesus made a startling statement that reveals His unique style of leadership, “For even the Son of Man [Jesus] came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). 

What would happen to our world if people in positions of power led in the example of Jesus?  Imagine the difference it would make.  May those with great power exercise great responsibility.  May leaders choose to humble themselves before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, calling upon Him to change their hearts and thereby change the culture of the family, organization or nation they lead. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Day God Died . . .

The day God died. The statement itself sounds odd. How could God die? Is not that what makes God, God? Immorality? Yet, when we speak of the annual Easter celebration we are talking about remembering His death.        

Jesus was considered by many of His followers to be God of heaven and earth in human flesh. Then He died a scandalous, torturous death. No doubt it left His followers confused and perplexed. How could someone who claimed to be God and did all sorts of miracles to verify it literally die before their very eyes?

Every one of us is uniquely born for a purpose. Some totally miss it while others fulfill their destiny. Jesus was no different. Before His birth it was spoken that "he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). This divine mission would bring hope to hundreds of thousands during His own generation and billions over the next two millennium. However, this mission had a high cost. It required Jesus willingly lay down His life under the most inhuman of circumstances. The provision for this forgiveness of the sins mandated it

Sin is many things. It is the pride, selfishness and rebelliousness of a person’s heart. It shows itself in practical ways through lying, sexual immorality or unforgiveness. Ultimately, it is a darkness that lay in each heart human that required the greatest force in the universe to advance against it - Jesus and His cross.

He humbly laid His life down on that cross and only He could have done it. As God Himself, He was sinless, perfect, without any fault. One sinner could not provide forgiveness for another sinner. Only a perfect man could provide forgiveness for an imperfect one. Jesus was humanity’s only hope. He lay Himself down to become mankind’s sin-bearer. He who was without sin willingly bore the sin of the world.

God gave of Himself, for His own creation. Why did He go to such lengths? Love. He saw where the path of a self-righteous and wicked heart led. The destruction it created in this life and the eternal pain in led to in the next. Compelled by love God died . . . then rose again. Yes! He rose from the grave defeating the power of sin while securing forgiveness for all who call upon Him in belief and repentance. Let the greatest power in the universe sweep clean the darkness of your soul today and bring new life.