Categories
Inward life

Why we become ashamed of the gospel

“… for I am not ashamed of the gospel …” (Romans 1:17)

What might move a follower of Jesus into a Peter who denies his savior?

The gospel calls us to be DIFFERENT, and in our world, no one likes to stand out from the pack. Just look at rebellious youths, even they all look alike (just don’t tell them that.)! Sure, the “outliers” exist…but by definition they are unique. And. Only sociopaths have no problem being rejected by others. We naturally want community, which we unnaturally pursue through conformity. to be unashamed about the gospel is to be willing to stand out and stand a part from the world.

The power of the gospel is UNCONTROLLABLE. Most of the power in the world is predictable and once it’s understood, it can be controlled. No one wants to catch a lightning bolt, but everyone knows where the location of the light switch. The power of the gospel is never subordinate. To be unashamed of the gospel is to also be humble about our own power.

The calling of the gospel is to PURITY and HOLINESS, to a life that strives to sin less. I suspect most of the time we are ashamed of the gospel because it is a light that reveals the darkness in our hearts. To be unashamed of the gospel is to admit to being sinful, imperfect.

Categories
Fellowship

You should tell more lies

… there is nothing false about [Jesus]. (John 7:18)

I’ve seen people tell lies–“white” ones too–for the following reasons:

  • To ACCOMPLISH their agendas.
  • To AVERT undesirable, yet deserved, consequences for their actions
  • To AVOID conflict with others.

The first group is far too practical, they will say whatever works in the moment in order to get what they want. Justification is easy when the ends justifies the means. Rationalization is even easier when the final goal is good (for example, carrying on the work of the kingdom). An elder of a church I once said, “telling a white lie is ok if it benefits everyone involved.” I chuckled, with as much gentleness as I could muster (which wasn’t much, given the situation), I said, “that simply isn’t true, there is no teaching in scripture that supports this thinking.” These people know what they want and will say anything to get it.

The second group is far too irresponsible and they love their comfort. Rather than own up to their mistakes, they seek to dodge the consequences they deserve. “It’s only cheating if you get caught” is the mentality.

The final group is far too accommodating and they love their “peace” with others too much. The bitterness and resentment in their hearts keeps them from showing actual grace. Instead, a superficial counterfeit is used instead. It’s easy to keep the peace when we get to keep the war alive in the privacy of our minds.

 

What gets in the way of you telling the truth?

Categories
Fellowship

What good comes from telling the TRUTH?

[Jesus] is a man of truth. (John 7:18)

Why should we tell the truth, what good comes from it?

When we tell the truth, we follow Jesus’ example. He is our model, the shape our souls ought to take is his. The spiritual life is about becoming more like Jesus. This means fighting off the powerful temptation to bend the truth, even just bend it a “little.”

When we tell the truth, we keep our integrity. All the money in the world cannot buy back a shattered integrity. Telling the truth keeps our conscience clean and our sleep constant.

When we tell the truth, we earn trust from others. Without trust, true community is impossible. Without trust, influence is shallow. We are not called to live isolated, powerless lives. To connect and live with impact, we must live authentically.

When we tell the truth, we deserve trust from others. In our broken world, appearances are powerful. The force of some personalities naturally gain trust from others The triumph of people skills and charisma is this: like-ability gathers false support. Not only should we earn trust from others, we ought to actually deserve their trust.

We we tell the truth, we help others grow. It’s easy to play it safe and it’s common to avoid conflict. I’m not suggesting we look to start up confrontations every chance we get, but how many people are missing out because we lack the courage to say the tough thing?

When we tell the truth, in situations where we are tempted to cover up our errors, we face the true consequences of our actions. In these painful moments, especially when we choose to face them, we learn powerful lessons.

 

Let us commit to telling the truth, in all things, so that we might become more like Jesus and grow into the person God has designed for us to be.

Categories
Inward life

How human is your gospel?

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12)

I want you to know
In a world obsessed with gaining glory and self promotion, Paul’s example is vastly different. He is clear and direct: his teaching was not from people, not even himself. His authority came from God.

>As a leader, when do you relish your influence too much?

Not of human origin
How we love to add to the gospel! Sometimes, we teachers, think it is not interesting enough, so we add conjecture and interpretation and present it as fact. More common, for all believers and followers of Jesus, we add our rituals and unwittingly create soul damaging ruts. DO THIS, DO THAT! Such additions undermine grace, seeking to earn and repay the extravagant gifts of God.

>In your teaching and in your judgements of others, how have you added to the gospel?

Received by revelation from Jesus Christ
God spreads, and it’s our responsibility to listen and maintain our faith with discipline and perseverance. It’s easy to get caught up with the business of life–especially in the the face of success. However, we must not neglect our interior lives before God.

>What is the condition of your spiritual life right now, is your heart postured to hear God?