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Archive for the ‘Just A Thought’ Category

Does God Hate Sinners?

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Love for Enemies
(Matthew 5:43-48, NET Bible)

5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, 5:45 so that you may be like your Father in heaven [Emphasis mine], since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 5:46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? 5:47 And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? 5:48 So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Written by missional girl

January 16, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing

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it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing. (Macbeth, Act V, Scene V)

While Macbeth is way off about the nature of life, this quote could certainly represent the nonsense that has broken out over Rob Bell’s latest offering Love Wins.

I won’t make judgments about the merits of his book. Nor will I attempt to label him a heretic.

I don’t, however, like his writing style much. I like books that stir the pot and ask good and honest (however difficult) questions. But to what end do we question in circles, begging thousands of readers to pay their money to chase us around and around and around…you get the idea.

Living with loose ends is a brutal reality that every Pollyanna Christian will have to embrace. God does not always answer our every question. But if one is going to tackle such a serious theological topic like hell, at least be clear about where you stand on the matter. If you don’t know where you stand, make that clear to the reader.

Written by missional girl

April 18, 2011 at 3:26 am

Posted in Just A Thought

Lessons from Piper’s Leave

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I have always appreciated the ministry of John Piper despite disagreeing with some points he is most passionate about. Hearing that he is taking a leave from ministry to concentrate on his marriage will certainly be the talk of pastor-blogging worlds and hopefully saints will not use the issue to score points against him.

My approach to the whole subject is to learn from Piper’s admitted mistakes so that I don’t make them.

1. Jesus Christ, not my ministry, is my life. I am frightened at how easy it is to blur the lines between the two. I nearly shipwrecked my faith and health while in college because I confused Jesus with doing stuff for Jesus. Not cool.

2. Should I marry, my number one ministry should be my husband and children. No I don’t feel like such a stance violates my personhood. But if Jesus Christ is truly my Lord, He’s not expecting me to gain the world and break my covenant with my husband and children. Male church leaders also need to heed on this one. Your wife is the woman God gave you, not the local fellowship of believers you pastor.

3. Do not get caught up in “leader hype.” Every leader, no matter how godly we are or strive to be, is perfect. Piper’s transparency about how his marriage was being impacted by ministry activities is something that should be applauded. He could have done what some high profile pastors have done the last several years and claim that God was showing him that he needed a new wife who would excuse his issues. If nothing else, Piper’s example should lead all of us to ask hard questions about why we do what we do and how what we do impacts our covenant relationships.

Written by missional girl

March 29, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Christianity According to Shmuley Boteach

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According to pop rabbi Shmuley Boteach in his latest book about the late Michael Jackson:

I talked to him about one of the things that most distinguishes Judaism from Christianity. It is not the belief in Jesus as God or deity. Rather it’s the belief in the perfection of Jesus. When Christians ask, “What would Jesus do?,” they are using a model of perfection to guide their actions. And I think that makes a lot of people feel that they can never attain that high station of perfect action. I think in America we don’t like ourselves. We harbor a high degree of self-loathing because we are not realistic about, and we dismiss, our humanity.

Later, he adds:

In Judaism there are no perfect figures in the Bible. They are all flawed. The greatest of prophets, Moses, can’t get into the Promised Land because of sin. We all struggle to do the right thing amid a prediliction to do otherwise. Christians define righteousness as perfection; Jews define righteousness as struggle. We wrestle with our nature; we try to do better always. We acknowledge from the very outset the tendencies within us that are altruistic, that are greedy, that are giving, that are self-absorbed, and that are selfless.

I would only say that there is a difference between celebrating the struggle of humanity and idolizing human effort. The Hebrew Scriptures certainly acknowledge the struggle of human beings to love God and their neighbors as they keep the covenant with Almighty God. That we struggle is no shock. Of course we do; we are sinners. There is no one who does good, not one (Psalm 14:3). The power is not in the struggle but rather in the recognition of our limitation and weakness. Did not the Apostle Paul remind us in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Christianity, on the other hand—biblical Christianity, does not revel in the reality of human frailty and depravity so much as it glories in the perfection of the Lamb of God. Remember: the sacrificial system was a shadow of Christ’s work on the Cross for humanity. Did anyone quibble about the requirements for sacrificial lambs and other offerings? I doubt it. In addition, the bedrock of Christian theology celebrates the uniqueness of Jesus as Lord, Savior and yes, Yeshua ha Maschiach.

We who are Christ-followers and lovers look to Jesus because He and He alone did what no human being could do in his or her own strength: fulfill the Law, something no “good Jew” or well-meaning Gentile could do—then or now.

Written by missional girl

September 27, 2009 at 8:33 pm

The Danger of Theo-Branding

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The problem with theological branding is that we become too territorial about our story of how our pet theologians interpret the revelation of God, losing sight of the grand and unified theme of God’s great salvific story: Jesus.

Only when we idolize our own stories at the expense of others the Lord Jesus has Himself written onto the pages of HIStory do we lose the plot of the greatest story of all.

Written by missional girl

March 1, 2009 at 1:17 pm

When God Interrupts Your Regularly Scheduled Program

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God rocked my world and my expectations by opening a door for me to return to teaching in a private Christian school when that was nowhere on my personal radar. I knew that I would be transitioning back into ministry of some type but I never planned to return to teaching.

How did I respond?

By going with the divine flow and walking through the door that He literally tore wide open for me. How this fits with the dream of my heart that I know He placed there is beyond me at this point. But God is as much about the journey as He is about the destination.

How do you respond when God does the unpredictable in your life and ministry?

Written by missional girl

September 7, 2008 at 8:52 pm

The Victory of Jesus

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The victory of Jesus’ earthly ministry was won in two places: the wilderness and Gethsemane.

Written by missional girl

September 6, 2008 at 2:06 am

Posted in Just A Thought