Why Pride?

Yes, I recognize some of you will be triggered just by the headline.

Too bad.

The dictionary defines “pride” in two primary ways:

  1. a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
  2. confidence and self-respect as expressed by members of a group, typically one that has been socially marginalized, on the basis of their shared identity, culture, and experience.
    “the bridge was lit up in rainbow colors, symbolic of LGBT pride”

Okay, the first definition can’t apply, because what do LGBTetc have “from one’s own achievements.” They maintain that they were “born that way.” So what’s to achieve?

So I guess definition #2 is why this particular group of “socially marginalized” people celebrate Gay Pride Month?

By the way, where’d the GPM come from? Glad you asked:

Two presidents of the United States have officially declared a pride month. First, President Bill Clinton declared June “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month” in 1999 and 2000. Then from 2009 to 2016, each year he was in office, President Barack Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month

So the United States has Veterans Day. We celebrate Martin Luther King Day.  We bang it up on Independence Day.

The LGBTetc folks get a month?

Thirty days to celebrate pride? Pride in what? Being what you (according to you) were made?

Perhaps it is pride in the fact that some of these folks can picket and sue businesses that, for religious reasons, can not in good conscience cater to their “needs”?

As in all things, the press focuses on the bad stuff that happens in the “Pride Parades.” Perhaps there has been a parade of gays somewhere that wasn’t at least in parts obscene, and the press didn’t cover it. Perhaps.

Of course I’ll hear the theory that it commemorates the triumph of the gay spirit over things like the Stonewall Riots.

Let me be clear…as a human, American, and an unashamed Christian; I declare it is totally wrong to harass or harm a person of the gay etc persuasion.

Let me upset some friends by typing I have no problem with homosexual marriage. It’s a piece of government paper…period. I still shake my head at how many people starved, how many missionaries had to return home, and more negative things that happened because Christians poured so much money and effort into fighting gay marriage. Why?

Doesn’t make any sense to me.

Just like Gay Pride Month makes no sense.

But…since we have it, I think I’ll start working on a Child of the Sixties, alcoholic, Nam Vet, Ex-convict Day. I don’t even need a month. A day will suffice.

Because, after all, when I got off the freedom bird at Travis Air Force Base on July 9, 1969 the first round-eyed  (oops, that’s probably a no-no) girl I saw – a gorgeous, stereotypical blonde California chick (hey, might as well go for it) was screaming at me, “How many babies did you kill in Vietnam?”

So my feelings were hurt. My identity was falsely challenged. I didn’t feel safe.

So aren’t I a victim too?

Or…maybe…I should just get over it?

Summer Camp –

youth camp

I’m amazed…

Amazed I’m in the family of God, redeemed, forgiven, justified…

Amazed I get to spend time bragging on Jesus to teens…over four years of my life have been spent speaking at youth camps over the last four decades…

Camp is an amazing thing. Monday I’ll begin the first of 7 weeks of camp preaching for 2019 (5 teen, two family).

The crucial ingredient of an effective Christian camp is good, committed counselors. The best speaker with apathetic counselors makes for a horrendous camp;  an okay speaker with great counselors will work well.

Good food, good discipline, and good acoustics are key ingredients. If a worship band is used…they should be quality and interested in facilitating worship; not putting on a show.

Notice I’ve not listed “programming” yet?

Doesn’t matter what programming you have…if you don’t have a good (meaning Bible-based) speaker, good counselors, and the other things listed it doesn’t matter what kind of programming you have…

I also think camp can be a dangerous thing; if everyone is pushing for “decisions” rather than asking the Spirit of God to work in His way and His timing. I am not against altar calls; I am against “easy” altar calls. Why?

I read the Bible. And I notice that Jesus always made it easier to say “no” than “yes.”

Again…I am not diametrically opposed to “invitations,” as long as the invitee is the Spirit and not someone doing “business as usual”.

I also am leery of the “heads bowed, eyes closed” approach. I “get” it…I just can’t imagine Paul, or Peter…or Jesus…doing such a thing.

I want and I believe the Lord wants young (and old) people to stand out and stand up for Jesus and the Gospel…so why “start” them in secret??? “No one is looking around, just raise your hand if…” Please understand – I am not hammering the motives of anyone who gives invitations like this; I just question the methodology.

All too often, especially in camp situations, students are exhausted, emotionally drained, and a well-meaning but careless speaker can provoke “decisions” born of peer pressure, tiredness, and emotion rather than birthed by conviction and drawing of the Spirit of God.

So I ask prayer that I’d be bold in preaching, clear in communication, discerning in one-on-one counsel…and that the Wind of the Spirit would be pleased to change us.

Do you agree, disagree, or not understand my observations of camp ministry? I ask you to make the time to “comment” so we can, together, learn from each other.

Actions (to include forgiven actions) Have Consequences

I’m ready a great book that I will review later.war story

Just read a line that is so important for Christians to understand.

Yes, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.

Yes, the only unforgiveable sin is unbelief.

But if you get pregnant out of marriage; you can ask forgiveness; and you’ll receive it…but you will still be pregnant.

You can run with the wrong crowd, be at the wrong place, and get arrested. You can ask forgiveness, and you receive it. But you may still have a criminal record.

The line from the book:

“Love and forgiveness do not, however, suspend consequences.”

 

 

Simple…

upside down stamp

Our nation is in trouble.

That needs no explanation.

The freedom of worship…for Christians…is on life support.

What can we do?

Other than pray; I’ll not give a list.

But perhaps you will join me in a simple strategy to remind others and perhaps open doors to conversations?

I know much of what we now do is online.

But if you pay bills, send cards, return surveys…

Use stamps with an American flag.

And put the stamp on upside down.

The US Flag Code states:

 “The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.”

Yeah, “dire distress” and “extreme danger” fit.

So…consider joining me in this simple thing…

 

 

There Are So Many Colors in….God?

Jesus Christ is, was, always will be God. He lived a sinless life, and then offered Himself as a propitiation for my sin by dying the death I should have died. He was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection. He has ascended into heaven; but He’ll be back. To be His child one turns from sin and trusts Christ and the gospel alone.

Those statements are nonnegotiable. They are in the die-on-this-mountain category.

Tongues are not for today. Tongues are for today. Once saved, always saved. One can lose (or give away) salvation. This is the correct mode of water baptism; no, this is…Pre-trib, post-trib, mid-trib, don’t give a trib etc etc etc

The statements in the paragraph above are not…at least to me…die-on-this-mountain stuff.

Neither is how to study the Bible. Neither is what style of music is “acceptable.” Neither is translation preference. ad nauseum.

But..oh…we who claim the Name of Christ certainly can at least make it appear that comparatively trivial things are vital…and if you don’t concur with me on topic a or topic b then you are at best wrong, at worst heretical.

Please.

As culture deteriorates, we who follow Christ are going to have to hold hands with other Christ-followers though we may not see eye-to-eye on “secondary” issues.

It’s going to get increasingly lonely to love, serve, and honor the Lord.

We really do, we really do, we really do, need each other.

And we need to recognize the message of this song:

“Chance” Encounter?

Yesterday I had an appointment to be seen by a traveling nurse who would take blood, height, weight, blood pressure, urine etc for a new life insurance policy.

She met me at Midland Ministries, we chatted briefly and she began her work.

As she was sticking the needle in she asked, “Are you the same Jack Hager who spoke about prison and choices in Polo, Missouri years ago?”

Yikes!

Turns out she was an employee at the high school and came to the assembly (for several years basically all I did was travel and do school assemblies and follow-up evangelistic events throughout the country)…near as we can figure it was 1981!

The nurse said she came to the follow up meeting at First Baptist, Polo and remembers being amazed at how many teens had shown up; and how many responded to the challenge to trust in Jesus.

Wow.

I don’t remember that evening meeting.

But I do remember Polo.

Because after school a student asked if she could interview me for the school paper. Of course I said “yes.” During the interview I asked her to come to the evening meeting to get “the rest of the story.”

She came…and after I shared the gospel God drew her to Himself.

And Fran later married a pastor and continues to serve the Lord with her husband and family.

Oh..and I still have a copy of the paper that included her interview somewhere in my files.

I don’t particularly enjoy getting poked for blood.

Yesterday was an exception!