Courage

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This last weekend, I attended a Men’s Conference. The theme was, “Be Courageous.” The next day, I took a very difficult step and had a conversation with someone that was hard for me to have. It was a very, very significant conversation that I have wanted to have with the individual for many, many months. It is over now, and freedom ensued. It was a very uncomfortable conversation with someone I love. It is over now, and it may go down as one of the most courageous things I have ever done though the details will remain hidden. Some parts of life are simply too valuable to toss around in online formats (blogs, social media, etc.).

So, here is my question to you: What are you suppose to do?

You have known for some time now the step you are suppose to take, but you are stuck in a perpetual procrastination zone. In fact, procrastination is probably not the best word. The word procrastination only suggests laziness or poor priorities. No, I am talking about that thing you have been putting off, whether it be a conversation with someone or some other action, that you have not done because you are afraid. That is right, fear. Come clean and be honest. Maybe you are afraid of rejection, afraid of being judged, or even worse, condemned. Or maybe you fear the unknown, thinking that the potential of something bad coming from the considered move is much greater than the potential for something good. You might just be afraid of something changing, as if change itself is bad. Whatever it is, what have you not done yet that you are suppose to do? No matter what it is, you will live in a state of perpetual paralyzation until you step out and do the hard thing. God does not skip past stuff. He will stay put until you do what you need to do. He will wait for you even if it means you wasting His precious time and part of your life. If you do not make the move and take the step, it will cost you. Did you hear me? It will cost you. Who knows, there might be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. So walk the road and see where it leads. Decide today, that, before the week is over, you will take the step that the Holy Spirit is requiring you to take before He is willing to move on to bigger and better things. He is waiting for you. Get your gold. Be courageous and do what most people are not willing to do. Be rare. Be uncommon. Dare to believe that on the other side of this important move, there is God’s good blessing and favor. So step onto the diving board, hold your breath, and jump!

“Hey! Do You Need Some Help?”

IMG_0462.PNGActs 10:38 NIV
…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

Acts 9:36 NIV
In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor.

Yesterday, my senior pastor, Pastor Allen, told a story in his message that really challenged me. To be blunt, I was convicted.

He was once helping a friend move. They were moving furniture out of a 2nd story apartment into my his truck. To save time, they decided that rather than walk a couch down the stairs, one friend would hand it over the rail to the other. My pastor was at the bottom. The friend successfully lowered the couch to Pastor Allen. The couch was extremely heavy and he was having trouble carrying the couch over to the truck. Then, out of nowhere, a man pipes up, “Hey, do you need some help?” Of course he did! Pastor Allen was angered that rather than just taking the initiative and coming to help, the man merely asked from a distance. Was it not obvious he needed help? If the man really wanted to help, he would have ran over to Pastor and helped. This isn’t rocket science. One man per one couch is not good math, at least not when it comes to your physical body. Due to this frustration, Pastor Allen responded, “No, its’ fine, I got it.” He could have told the guy he needed help, but he was too angered that the man noticed the obvious need and did not take the initiative to offer aid without asking. The man, probably feeling pretty good about himself, went on his way without lifting a finger.

This got me thinking. It’s one thing to offer help, it’s another thing to actually do so. Sometimes we ask people if they need help because inside, we are hoping they turn the offer down. The asking gives us a potential escape. Most of the time, a person will tell you that he has everything under control. He probably doesn’t. Matter of fact, he may desperately need help and be overwhelmed, stretched too thin, and depressed.

Secretly, we hope people turn us down. I have done this. I know that I need to offer aid but I am hoping with every ounce of my being that the individual denies the offer. If I am honest, I do not want to help. I do not want to be incovenienced. I want to get on with my business, half the time lying to myself about the importance of my own daily agenda. All this time, something psychologically twisted is happening. I know the person needs help, so if I do not at least offer, I will feel guilty. After all, knowing the right thing to do is, most of the time, pretty simple. However, I also do not want to be incovenienced. In other words, I really do not want to help. So what do I do? Employ a strategy. Make sure I do something so that I do not have to feel guilty, but at the same time, do not do too much or I will be incovenienced. Solution? Simple! Ask if they need help. This way, she will probably, as a “good” American, turn me down (we reek with a spirit of individualism and independence), thus not inconveniencing me. Also, because I offered, I do not have to feel guilty all day. The best of both worlds, right? Guilty feelings eradicated and all my time still preserved for myself.

So what does God want me, as one of his sons, to do from now on? Just do it. Walk over and help with the couch. If they want to cuss at you and talk bad about your momma, fine. But chances are, the person being helped with feel extremely blessed because you did not fake a selfish heart with a pretend question. So, today, this week, next week, next month, don’t play the ‘help’ game. Dive into people’s small daily affairs and help. And when they ask why, you might have the chance to tell them that you love helping because that is how Jesus lived his life. And who knows what conversation that might spring. All things are spiritual. How sad that some of us are simply too “spiritual” for this. Jesus wasn’t, but somehow we are. Get up from the table. Lay aside whatever prideful or apathetic garments you may be wearing, and pick up the rag (John 13). Quit trying to get out of helping people by asking. It sounds good. The question may placate your nagging conscience. But you know what was in your heart. God knows. So, quit asking and start helping. Only then are we going see Jesus in the dirt of the day.

Christianity and Homosexuality

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Today I read in the Picayune Item that for the first time in our cities history, a same-sex couple has filed an out-of-state marriage license in a local court here in Pearl River County. I want to share a few thoughts regarding homosexual/lesbian relationships.

1. Homosexuality is a sin. Period. A close examination of 1 Corinthians 6:9 in the Greek as well as a casual reading in Romans 1 (as well as many other passages) reveals this to be true. Marriage has from the very, very beginning been between a man and a woman. Too many mental/theological gymnastics are required to justify homosexuality in light of the Scriptures. I have read an entire book that was devoted to doing such a thing, and in the end, it drastically failed due to a gross oversight and lack of consideration for the original Greek regarding 1 Corinthians 6:9.

2. No matter who, what, when, or where, a Christian is called to display/demonstrate the love, kindness, compassion, truth, and heart of Jesus Christ toward ALL people, including those of a different sexual orientation. In other words, anger, hatred, hate speech, or a simple cold shoulder is anti-Christ. One can love the sinner ad hate the sin (thank you St. Augustine for this distinction).

3. In Genesis 1 and 2 (two different variations of Creation), God created a woman and gave her to the original man. Marriage from the very beginning has been between a man and a woman. Now, I understand that if a homosexual/lesbian is not a Christian, then they understandably will reject this creation narrative. So, I suppose, what I am writing is more for Christians. However, I find something to be true of almost every same-sex relationship that in my humble estimation, serves as extra-biblical support for the truth of God’s word. What truth? That God’s design from the very beginning is that marriage is only between a man and a woman. So what is the “something to be true” that I am referring to? Simple observation reveals that in almost every homosexual/lesbian relationship I have every come across, one person in the relationship always assumes the male role and the other assumes the female role. Of course, this itself has been challenged in our day. The basic idea is that there are no moral, spiritual, or natural distinction to be made between a male and female. In other words, gender-roles are nothing more than a social construct. The word of God reveals that there are two genders, distinct from one another, that are meant to reflect God in different ways. In a male same-sex relationship, usually one man takes on a more feminine posture. In a female same-sex relationship, usually one woman takes on a more male posture. I understand that this is not a politically-correct observation to call attention to, but the truth is undeniable. There is a bit of irony in this. In order for two people to try and make a same-sex relationship work, they have to, to some degree, mimic God’s design. In rebelling against God’s revealed order for marriage, they incidentally affirm His design.

If you are a Christian, you are not allowed to take the moral position, “To each man his own.” Or, “Whatever makes you happy.” Or, “Whatever is right for you is right for you.”

Note: I would have spent more time analyzing 1 Corinthians 6:9, but for the purpose of this blog, I didn’t.