don’t call me a christian

Dont-Call-Me-a-Christian

 

[A Broken Image]

When I was a kid, my parents would take us down to the local beach. It was a small little place but we enjoyed going there from time to time. No one in my immediate family was a great swimmer nor were we enthusiastic about it either. But, at least three times during the summer, we would travel the 20 minutes it took to go down there and enjoy our day at the beach.

Since we were not big on swimming, we often found other ways of entertaining ourselves. My older brother and I would often build sandcastles. If you are a brother, then you know that you live in constant competition with your brother. I don’t know why that is but I know there is some unspoken law about that. That being said, my sandcastle always had to be bigger than his.

My brother, being older and wiser, would build his sandcastle much closer to where our parents would be relaxing, bathing in the sun. I, without fail, would build mine close to the waters edge. The sand was close enough to the water to be a little more muddy and as such, a bit more stable and so I could always out build him. My sandcastle was always bigger.

It is also without fail, my brother would warn me against not building so close to the water but I always ignored the advice. Then, after completion, I would mock his sandcastle and we would go for a quick swim. When we returned, my sandcastle was gone. The tide had come in just enough to wash it away and there was my brothers sandcastle, still standing tall.

I was, of course, devastated!

My beautiful creation was destroyed and my hard work was for nothing! That being said, I cannot begin to imagine how God felt when he walked through the garden, calling for the man, only to find his created beings hiding from his presence. They had fallen into sin. God’s creation, it seemed, to crash down, right before his eyes.

While I was growing up in the church, the christian world had its share of “shocks.” I still vaguely remember the suicide from a Christian musician artist and later two more christian artists who had engaged in an extra marital affair.

Here’s the thing, over the past month, I have read more “shocking news reports” than ever before! Here’s a small snap shot of what I have seen and read…
1] Mark Driscoll and Acts 29|
Mark Driscoll is the lead founder and lead pastor of Mars Hill Church and also began a church planting network, Acts 29 several years ago. Over the past few years, a high number of interns and elders have left Mars Hill citing Driscoll’s leadership as a concern. Driscoll has been flagged for plagiarism, leadership abuse and mishandling church finances.
Due to the concerns, Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church have been removed from the Acts 29 Network and Driscoll has since stepped down while an internal investigation is being conducted into the reports concerning him.

2] Vicky Beeching|
Vicky Beeching is a well known and well established worship leader, She has come out as being a lesbian. She has gone on record to inform the Christian world that she believes God loves her the way she is. This of course has led many to question whether or not to support any of her ministry, present or past.

3] Victoria Osteen|
The co-pastor and wife of Joel Osteen has made the announcement that when we go to church and worship God we should do it for ourselves. If taken at face value, it is a message of entitlement and happiness.

As a writer/blogger, I have already come across the numerous blogs that have been written about ALL of these issues. If, for any reason, you think this blog is going to launch into a debate about these people, move on.

I’ve come to find that when Christian leaders say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing, there comes a flood of responses. This leads to the question, how does God feel when his children fall and what should our response be?

[Should We Call Christians out?]

[Yes]
If we believe it is right to call out leaders for moral failures or sharing a “watered down gospel” then our theology is built around the idea that we need to “guard the truth” and “exposing the darkness.” (1 Tim. 6:20)

[No]
If we believe we don’t have that right, our theology is often built around “Not judging others.” (Matthew 7:1-2)

[WWJD]
A biblical approach is outlined in the gospel of Matthew 18:15-17
Go to the person IN PRIVATE!
If they are unrepentant, take the matter to them again with 2-3 witnesses.
If they continue to be unrepentant, bring the matter to the church.
If they are still unrepentant, remove them from the body and treat them as unbelievers.

Now here is the point, we do have the right to judge other believers. However, I wonder how many of us have actually personally met Joel Osteen and or Mark Driscoll and discussed these matters with them. If you are not one of those people who have done this, then you’re ignoring the Scriptures call, which could place you yourself in the same category as a “false teacher.”

Guarding the truth should occur within the confines of your own church and congregation as these matters arise. The disciples and early church fathers dealt with false teachings and false teachers as they arose.

Some people will call out Christian leaders left and right for preaching a “watered down gospel.” I’m not really sure what that means because, let’s be real, there is only ONE GOSPEL. If you can water down the gospel then its not the gospel so that should tell you right away that you should stop calling it a watered down anything.

Defending the truth does not mean we start with false teachings; rather the Gospel of Jesus is the starting point!

[Don’t Call Me A Christian}

As believers, we can easily get wrapped up in our own theology and allow our theology to be our starting point and our guide for life. Make no mistake-what you and i believe about God will ultimately determine how our lives are lived. How we respond to God is how we will respond to others!

The way we respond to God is how we will respond to people!

It is, without a doubt, a touchy and tricky topic when dealing with moral failures of leaders and false teachings. As Christians, we are representing Christ at all times. With that in mind, let’s remember these two things…

Who’s Getting the Glory?
Philippians 1:15-18|
“It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me.But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.”

Paul knew in his heart some preachers and teachers were sharing the gospel for false purposes. Some of them liked the idea of exerting authority over people and knew that authority allowed them the opportunity to manipulate them. Others saw the gospel as a way to become financially stable because they could appeal to the commands of tithing. What Paul saw in the midst of this turmoil was Jesus’ name being preached and through that, the Spirit’s work of regeneration was changing lives.

Follow the Leader.
John 21:20-22
“Peter turned around and saw behind him the disciple Jesus loved…Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”

A quick context lesson is this-Jesus reinstated Peter following his denials of Christ. Peter was then called to care and feed the flock of Christ and then Christ, in essence, informed Peter he would die a terrible death. Peter got fixated on John (the disciple Jesus loved) and asked, what about him? Or we could say, “Is it fair for me to die and not John?”

Jesus redirected Peter’s attention. Don’t worry about him, don’t worry about the plans I have for others; you need to do one thing, follow me. As Christians that is our call-to follow Jesus.

Jesus is in the midst of his people, redeeming, restoring and transforming us into his own image.

don’t call me a christian| written by mike monica

 

Check out these resources|

8 Things Christians Should Be Known For

http://jarridwilson.com/8-things-christians/
Was Victoria Osteen Really That Off Base?

http://chadashby.com/2014/09/04/was-victoria-osteen-really-that-off-base/

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marks of a movement

Marks-of-Movement-WEB

[Marks of A Movement]

Gen. 12:1“The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go the land I will show you.”

– Sometimes God tells us to go without telling us where. This is so we trust in the Person of God and not the plan.

Ex. 2:25 | “He (God) looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.”

– Our calling always begins with God’s love and his desire to reveal himself through us.

Joshua 1:9| “This is my commandment-be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 – The promise we are given is the promise we need, that God is with us.

I Sam. 16:11-12| “Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied, “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.” …”So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes. And the LORD said, “This is the one, anoint him.”

God not only looks upon the hearts of those he calls, he will give them opportunities to serve as he prepares them to lead. Look for those opportunities as you seek God’s calling.

Isaiah 6:8|Then I heard the LORD asking “Whom shall I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am, send me.”

– There are times in our lives we need to stop asking God where he wants us to go and we need to start asking God who he wants us to serve! 

[Prayer]

Today I share a special and specific prayer request. On the topic of God calling us out, my dear friends Dennis and Rachael LeCouffe have felt the call of God on their lives to serve as missionaries. Recently, Dennis and Rachael have been accepted as part of the ministry team for YWAM (Youth with a Mission).

Currently, Rachael and Dennis reside in Vermont and have begun a fundraising campaign to help raise the funds necessary to serve as missionaries. The Missions Trip in January 2015 and they will serve for six months in Mexico. The funds raised will cover the costs of travel, living expenses and medical coverage.

Please pray for them and if you would like to donate, you can do so here|

http://www.youcaring.com/mission-trip-fundraiser/missionary-outreach-program-fundraiser/203871

[Quotes]

1. If there is one thing that sets the life in the Spirit apart from the one trying to live by human effort it’s this, to recognize that everything comes from God and nothing comes from ourselves.

2. Rest in what Christ has done and let the Spirit transform your outward life into His finished work.

3. The reason the Old Covenant couldn’t succeed is because it was dependent upon people performing the work of God and remaining sinless.

4. The fact is that God established His works completely, and then formed creation around His completed work.

5. Yet God doesn’t measure faithfulness by accomplishments but by obedience by faith.

6. Grace is the completed work of Christ offered to us as the fulfillment of all that God desires for us to do and to be.

7. My most feeble effort, if it is a work of faith in God’s power, can accomplish wonders if God enters that work to accomplish His purpose. When we trust in His works, we will experience

8. The message of scripture is to rest fully on the assurance that our promise is dependent on Christ alone.

9. To walk in the Spirit is to walk by faith – trusting completely in the work of God.

10. The call of the gospel is to trust completely in Christ and allow Him to transform us into His likeness.

All quotes taken from, “It Is Finished.”  By Eddie Snipes (GES Book Publishing Carrollton, GA Copyright © 2013)

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

marks of a movement| written by mike monica.

all in for jesus|guest post

 

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, And all that I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, For I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 1:8)

 

The gospel is a scary thing.

 

God always calls us to the uncomfortable. Abraham, leave your relationships and your career and your home, and set out. David, the time for shearing sheep has been overcome by shepherding a people. Moses, I know the agony and fear and humiliation of your princely failures and the misery of your humbled life, but it is your pain which shall lead many to a land of great promise. Ezekiel, the definition of your ministry shall be its ceaseless failure. Jeremiah, to the painful pit of your abandoned dreams I will lower your beaten body and raise your beautiful soul. Hosea, the entirety of your life in its betrayal shall be the beautiful redemption I offer and the tragic rejection I receive. Peter, how would you like to stop fishing, and start finding? Paul, out of great success and unmistakable brilliance I shall summon you to the simplicity of my cross and the wonderful shame of my sufferings.

 

The gospel is a scary thing.

 

So God says, do not be afraid of them…them. And who are they? Abraham fear not the kings around you. David you have fought the lion of the wild but do not fear the lies of man. Moses dread not the clamor of a dangerous crowd but come up to the stillness of a consuming God. Hosea let the brokenness of your marriage be redeemed by the revelation of my Word. Peter, fear not the questioning glance of a slave girl but share the gospel to a searching centurion, a vast multitude, the frightened faces of an exhausted gathering. Ezekiel, want to see some dry bones be called so no more? Paul, how would you like to go from killing others to dying for them?

 

The gospel is a scary thing.

 

Jeremiah is afraid. He is afraid because he sees not the infinite power of the gospel’s God but the inadequacies of its messenger. Ah Jeremiah, Jeremiah, says the Lord. What I have planned, pursue. I will not make you old. Moses, I will not fix your speech. Paul, I will not heal your hurts. I will conquer the fears of a frightened people not by consuming their worries with personal wonders but fixing faith on a fearless Christ.

 

Perhaps I will not cure your cancer. Perhaps I will not heal your marriage. Maybe I won’t save your son. Maybe making ends meet isn’t important. I might not be the God of your security. But doubtless I shall be the one of your salvation.

 

The gospel is a scary thing that takes us to scary places and makes us lose nice things, safe things, pleasant things, comfortable things. The gospel is scary because prior to this unspeakable redemption there is most often certain ruin. Who is called without chaos, or summoned without suffering? Was the invitation of Jesus to come, or stay? We cannot live our lives as if we can or could or should determine the where, when and how of our redemption. If He says to come, can we then act as if called to remain?

 

Paul was shown how much he must suffer (Acts 9:16). Moses was told that pharaoh wouldn’t listen (Ex. 3:19). The first revelation of Ezekiel’s ministry was its ultimate failure (Ek. 2:1-7). The gospel is a scary thing because it is the endless reminder that grace is not the continual improvement of our circumstances but the radical resurrection of a ruined soul.

 

When Jesus reinstates Peter, there is a sacred second between a man and his Redeemer. Jesus says, Peter, I won’t give you the life that you want, the relationships you desire, or the safety you might crave. I will show you how you will die (John 21:19). And after giving undoubtedly the most depressing pep talk of human history, Jesus says with unshakeable optimism, “Follow me!” (21:19). Almost no one in the scriptures begins a powerful life for God with a pleasant one. And almost anyone who creates a restful life – David, Nebuchadnezzar, Solomon, Pharisees – ceases from a redemptive one. Maybe Jeremiah was less afraid of being young and more frightened of never growing old.

 

The gospel is a scary thing. Fear God only, it says. Even the demons do that – and shudder at the thought (James 2:19). Everyone else is pretending. The gospel is a scary thing because in a culture which trains us to cling to life we are encouraged to abandon the same. The gospel is a scary thing because like Eve we would rather feel the faithless fruit in our hurting hands than ponder the uncertainty of a life giving garden. I think the gospel is scary for a lot of reasons. But most of all it is frightening because it returns us to the garden – the everyday Eve experience. The gospel is scary because it means that my life isn’t based on the person living it but the One who gave it.

 

 

I don’t know who “they” are in your life. But God says to Jeremiah, you preach.

 

I’ll plan.

______________________________________________________________________

all in for jesus| written by james backing

*Originally appeared as A Jeremiah Journey on ssamegodnewme.wordpress.com

 

 

who is jesus| jesus is our light

Foreword|

Perhaps one of the greatest questions we can ask ourselves as believers is how we should respond to others. In doing so, we are given the opportunity to reflect the heart of God to an unbelieving world seeking after answers.

Jesus, while he was God in the flesh, used every opportunity to reflect the heart of God towards others. In one particular Scripture (John 8) Jesus is outside of the Temple holding a Bible study when he is encountered by a mob of angry legalists who desire to end the life of a woman caught in adultery. It is here where Jesus reveals just how God responds to us and how we are called to respond to others as we walk in the light.

John 8:12|    

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

1] Respond with Love.

The teachers of the law caught a woman in the act of adultery. What do you do when you find someone in sin? When we walk in the light, we don’t expose their darkness for dark purposes. The teachers of the law made the woman stand before the group in hopes of punishing her and trapping Jesus. When we find someone in the act of sin, we confront the sin in hopes of exposing the person to the light. In love, we have to address the sin with the person to show them how their actions offend God. In Matthew 18:15 it says, “”If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” As followers of the light, we can bring light even into the darkest of situations by the way we handle it.

2] Respond with Grace.

The teachers of the law announced this woman’s sin publicly. They made her stand before the group as they explained her wrongdoing to everyone. Can you imagine the shame, the fear, and the guilt she experienced? When we know about the darkness in a person’s life do we humiliate, shun, and embarrass them? Followers of the light do not. We have to address their sin, but taking it to the crowd is definitely not a way to win them over to follow Christ. Followers of Christ have to be mindful of our response when people’s darkness is announced to us. Do we sit and listen? Do we laugh? Do we criticize? Do we marginalize? Do we gossip about it with others? What did Jesus do? He reminded the crowd, as we should, that only the perfect ones among us have room to condemn. I love how He says it in Matthew 7:5, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Strong words of warning for us. We must be careful of how we respond to reports of wrong doing.

3] Respond with Faith.

Reminding someone of their darkness will not draw them closer to Christ. Sharing the truth about the power of the light will encourage them to turn away from the darkness of sin. Jesus did not condemn the woman or the teachers of the law. His actions gave room for the Holy Spirit to convict each of their hearts. The accusers put down the stones and walked away. The woman was given directions to leave her life of sin. In that moment, Jesus spoke these words to the people, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Every sinner can walk away from darkness and have light.

Before we expose a secret sin of someone else’s, or participate in gossip, or remind a believer how they used to be pause and allow the light of life to remind you of the day when you turned from darkness to light.

Reflection|

Have you been responding to sin in a way that draws people closer to Christ, or pushes them farther away? Have you leaned more toward condemnation or have you prayed for conviction. Ask God to show you how to respond in a way that allows Him to shine when you are confronted with darkness.


 

Jesus is Our Light| Written by Tesha Fritzgerald

Be sure to check out Tesha’s blog @ www.kickhellout.com/blog

 

 

who is jesus| jesus is our water

Foreword|

Sally was pretty sure she was going to get into trouble and that thought made her nervous. As she looked out to her classmates scattered on the field and then down at the new black patent-leather Mary Janes she’d begged her mother to wear this morning; her mother’s warning invaded her thoughts, “Sally if you wear these new Sunday shoes to school, you better be extra careful, because if they get ruined I don’t know what I’ll do.” Sally shivered as the open threat found its mark. She didn’t know what her mom would do either but she looked back at the field full of expectant classmates and knew she had a chance to bring a few kids home with a well-placed kick.

 

She motioned she was ready to the pitcher and gulped as the large red ball bounced, shuddered, and finally rolled its way toward her. Sally clenched her fists and moved to kick the ball with all her might – but at the last minute, with her mother’s words echoing in her head, she held back and the ball skidded off her right foot and into the bleachers on the right hand side.

 

Dejected, she turned to walk back to the bleachers and looked down to see the dull mark made by the ball streaking off the right side of her shoe. Ruined. Ruined, she thought as she leaned over and tried to smudge the mark away with her thumb. Then, as the groans and laughter of the other kids died down, she suddenly shot upright and turned to the field screaming, “DO-OVER!” The other kids quieted and as they turned to look at her she yelled again, “I WANT A DO-OVER!”

 

It was the greatest thing a kid could ever yell. Everyone would take their places again and the kid doing the over would take his place as if nothing had ever happened. A fresh start. A clean slate. Don’t we wish that we still lived in a world of do-overs?

 

But as adults the stakes get higher. We’re no longer simply playing kickball and scuffing our Sunday shoes in the schoolyard. We are sinning. Sin creeps into our lives and drives a wedge between us and our relations, us and our friends, us and our God.

 

Sin not only separates me from God, sin hinders my growth as a Christian. I cannot continue to develop if I don’t face the truth about myself, own up to it, make the choice to change, and ask for forgiveness.

 

Wouldn’t you love to look toward the heavens and yell up to God,” I want a do-over!”

 

The truth is … you can.

 

When Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in John Chapter 4, He perfectly illustrates the do-over.

 

In this verse

 

“… but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

 

~ John 4:14 (NIV)

 

Jesus explains to the Samaritan that His Holy Spirit is the water that leads to eternal life. The Samaritan isn’t expecting it. In fact, here she is at the well mid-day, perhaps even after all the other women of the village have come to take what they need for their families. She hides from them in her shame only to encounter a Jewish man. Do you think she was crestfallen when she saw Him? Probably. She only needs to draw some water and waited this long in the day to do it so she wouldn’t be seen and now, not only does she come to find this man here, He addresses her! He seeks her out. She can relax a little because He releases her embarrassment by speaking to her. By speaking to her, Jesus offers her Himself. Grace, in the form of living water.

 

Jesus asks her about herself and when she lies to cover the truth, uncovers it for her but, with no condemnation. When God holds a mirror up to you – “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.” (John 4:29a) – and even though He sees through your shame and your sorrow, He accepts you for who you are. What greater freedom can we ask for? It may be the most profound do-over ever witnessed.

 

There may be no greater feeling in this world that that of knowing we have another chance. No matter what we’ve done. No matter what we’ve suffered. No matter the pain we’ve caused. If we confess it to Jesus and repent, Jesus forgives us and restores us to a place where we can resume our progress to become more like Him. He pours His Holy Spirit into us and wipes us clean.

 

Do-over!


 

Jesus is Our Water| Written by Felecia Clarke

Check out Felecia’s work @ A Life Sanctified

 

 

who is jesus| jesus remains our freedom

John 8:36|

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

Just consciously consider that! Like all the Holy Scriptures, John 8:36 is overwhelmingly astounding, particularly when you meditate on it continually from time to time. If you are going to direct your focus on anything, then you are bound to give that something your utmost time, attention, and consideration. That applies to the entirety of the Word of God, and John 8:36 is no exception. Yet, it does not take long for the revelation of John 8:36 to come bursting forth; literally exploding within your spirit by the Holy Spirit; disclosing the sovereignty of Jesus’ all-surpassing power of authority to “make you free!”

Certainly, John 8:36 is Jesus’ direct statement, not narrated, but uttered from His own mouth! Consequently, all four Gospels recording the life, lifestyle, and experiences of Jesus, The Christ, the Anointed One, are narrated from either eye-witness or second person accounts, and are divinely inspired of the Holy Ghost. Nonetheless, there are multiple passages in the scriptures (usually highlighted in red) whereby Jesus is speaking directly, and positively John 8:36 is one of them. Also, John 8:36 specifically affirm, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Notice the Word does not say, “set you free,” but rather “make you free!” No one can change, delete, or add to what God has said. Similarly, no one can disqualify you from your freedom purchased and freely given to you by Jesus, as He is the sole Liberator.

In the beginning of John, Chapter 8 Jesus enters into the temple early in the morning and begins to teach the people. Obviously, His speaking and teaching is with authority, power, and demonstration of the Holy Ghost. Also, as usual, the Pharisees and Jews are present, and some with their negativity, who do not have ears to hear and yet refuse to hear. In John 8:12, Jesus testifies, “I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Yet, the Pharisees respond, John 8:13, “You are bearing witness about yourself, your testimony is not true.” Therefore, because of their negativity and refusal of heart to hear what Jesus said earlier, they also refuse to hear what He says later. So, on the other hand, they miss the opportunity to hear the essentialness of the truth (they could have taken part in) spoken by God the Son in John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” They could have been free that very moment when the Word was spoken had they received it, but they deliberately refused to hear the Word.

Further, you may continually hear the statement, “I thought only God can make you free!” You are right! Only God CAN make you free! Jesus, the Son, is just as much God as God is Himself. Remember, God highly exalted Him (Jesus) and “bestowed on Him the Name that is above every Name,” Philippians 2:9; and because He “bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors,” Isaiah 53:12; and further, “God, Who at sunder times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, Whom He has appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds…” Hebrews 1:1-2. The Amplified Bible states, “…Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things…” So, Jesus, God the Son, Who is appointed lawful owner of all things, has definite authority and power to make you free. John 8:36, Amplified Bible states, “So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free.” You are really (in truth), and unquestionably (incontestably) free!

Conclusively, Moreover, this is the provision of John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed:”

• You are not tied or attached by cost in any way or form

• You are not a prisoner or slave; you are not bold to any person

• You are allowed to make your own decisions with your freedom of choice

• You are not limited by rules and regulations to anyone or any thing

• You are not affected by something adverse in the natural or below

• You are available for something, specifically, something good and beneficial

• You are a person the Son made “free indeed!”

[So, rejoice in the freedom you have received by the Son Who has made you free indeed!]


 Jesus remains our freedom| Written by Mamie L. Johnson

“Joel Osteen is a fraud!” So am I.

[This is a guest blog post from Steve Austin]


 

I read a story recently about a guy who had been in ministry nearly all of his life.  At one instance, he gathered a major crowd (composed of fans and foes) to see him perform a great “miracle”.  He was only a teenager at the time.  Later in his life, as he had moved up in ministry and it seemed that God had “promoted him”, he was garnering all sorts of attention from not only his words, but also his fortune and fame.  He was “God’s man”, yet living a very lavish lifestyle, and it would seem that it all went to his head.  My heart was broken as I read the lurid details of his affair and the murder and cover-up that followed.  How could anyone trust this guy ever again?  How could he ever be considered as “leadership material” after such a scandal?

What a fraud!

A fake!

A phony!

He must have been ministering with bad intentions the whole time!

Yet, David was called, “A man after God’s own heart.”

……………pause for station identification………..

I wasn’t going to post a blog again until July 1st.  I have been trying to do the whole “no social media, no blogging” thing for one month, which I have failed miserably at.  The first two weeks went pretty well, but then came our seven-year anniversary, then Father’s Day, and then my wife’s surgery….so I was keeping up with others and keeping others informed of what was going on with us.  HOWEVER, I still feel that my semi-break was beneficial, if for no other reason than it has made me more conscious of what I post on social media, as well as what others post.

………………back to your regularly scheduled program……………….

 

During my time away from the blog, I have completed the first rough draft of my book and one of the reviews I received last night was extremely thorough and even included a “This book is comparable to these other titles” category, where similar books were listed.  Those of you who know me well know that I have not ever been much of a fan of Joel Osteen (to say the least), but God gave me a big glass of “shut up juice” last night as I saw that an Osteen book was at the very top of the list of “comparable books”.  I have been talking to a friend/mentor lately, who asked me about my feelings toward Joel Osteen.  I really had no good reason why I disliked him so strongly, other than “he’s too perfect”, with his curly black hair, Texas drawl, and chiclet teeth.  My friend asked, “But have you ever listened to one of his sermons?  Have you ever read one of his books?”  Of course I haven’t–why would I watch or read a guy I don’t like?  He’s obviously a phony!  Right?

I was wrong.

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.  Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.” –Philippians 1:18

Paul wrote this, while in chains, in prison, to those who were complaining about a certain group of people they believed to be preaching with bad motives.  Paul was in prison.  Rejoicing over the fact that, no matter who was preaching it, the Gospel of Jesus Christ was being preached.  Others were taking the time to devour their neighbors instead of preaching the Gospel.  The Gospel of love that is unconditional, grace that knows no bounds, acceptance for the outcasts, and peace in the midst of strife.  Yea, remember that Gospel?

So, in taking the time to judge Joel Osteen for the past several years, I have been WRONG.  Whether YOU personally like him or not, I was wrong.  Whether he lives what may appear to be too lavish of a lifestyle or not, I was wrong.

I was wrong.      

I was a fraud.

I think back to the days when I was a teenage youth leader, hooked on porn.

Or when I was living in sexual immorality during my time in ministry school.

Yea.  I was.

I did.

I was a fraud.

So you argue, “The difference in David and Joel Osteen is that David came before the Lord with a contrite heart…” and “Your examples of your own sin, Steve, are from the past, and this is about a lifestyle change, not a one-time deal…”

True?

How about now, when I have just one drink too many and go from doing “everything in moderation” to tipsy.  Does it mean the work we have done here with Grace is Messy is worthless and fraudulent?

  • Did my sin nullify Christ’s work on the Cross?
  • Did my mistake(s) cancel out the Truth of the Gospel?
  • Did God’s grace end there, at my failure, since there were other more perfect people standing in line, waiting to preach the Good News?

1] Here’s the Sad News: “The World” runs from Christians most often, because we are so quick to devour one another.

2] Here’s the Good News: God isn’t looking for a perfect person, He’s just looking for someone who’s available!

Question: When my book is published, will people then say that the only reason I ever had this blog in the first place was in hopes of becoming famous?  I pray not.

Remind me, Gracious God, of the words David wrote in the 19th Psalm:

But who can discern their own errors?
    Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
    may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
    innocent of great transgression.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.


 

Joel Olsteen is a Fraud so am I| Written by Steve Austin

This blog originated at Steve’s blog @ http://graceismessy.com/