>One Letter That Changes Everything

>Great stuff from the STUFF CHRISTIANS LIKE GUY

“So why are you airing our dirty laundry in front of the world? They already hate us, why give them ammunition?”

Someone online told me that a few weeks ago about something I wrote concerning us Christians. Their fear was that I was adding more fuel to an already ugly fire. Their concern was that the world already feels we’re hypocritical or fake or unloving, do we really want to agree with them? And I honestly thought they were asking a very smart, kind-hearted question. Should we really admit our bumps and bruises and failures?

The easy answer is yes.

Like the show Burn Notice having LeBron James do a cameo now that he plays for Miami, the answer is simple. Yes. Yes we should be honest about our mistakes. Yes we should be real about our stumbles. Yes we should be open about our faults. But there’s something else at work that I want to discuss. Something a little devious. Something I realized recently.

Satan likes to throw shame at the very things we are called to share.

He likes to tell you that failure is something to put a coat of paint over. He likes to tell you that no one will ever understand. He likes to tell you that if people really knew you, they wouldn’t love you. He likes to tell you to push things deep and into the darkest spots of who you are. He likes to fan the flames of regret and ask you to hold heavy things you were never meant to carry.

Why?

Because he is afraid.

In God’s hands, your mistakes are not open cuts, they are healed scars that tell stories of great hope. They are not wounds to lie about, they are words other people need to hear. They are warning signs on roads your friends and family and neighbors are on. They are lighthouses in the midst of stormy weather. They are neon signs he uses to point the way toward repentance.

They are something to share.

I believe that when we roll up our sleeves and reveal healed scars, we reveal a God who makes us brand new. I believe that when we tell friends the truth about regrets, we tell friends about a God who knows no condemnation. I believe that when we tear off the wrapping paper of hurt, we show the gift of hope inside.
I believe in the power of share.

I don’t know what you believe about those two words, shame and share. They are so closely wound together and yet so opposite. They share everything but a single letter. The “r” is the only thing that changes “shame” to “share.” One little “r,” but it changes everything.

To me, the r stands for reborn.
To me, the r stands for renewed.
To me the r stands for redeemed.

One simple r, one continuous decision to chose share over shame. A one letter difference, but what a difference it makes. We see it when Christ returns. When overcome with doubt, what do the disciples do to verify the truth? To know that hope is real and returned?

They touch his scars.
Roll up your sleeves today.
Don’t hide. Don’t give in to shame.
Share.

>The Danger of Christian "Retreats," "Camps" etc…

>As I read the following cartoon this morning I thought of the students/adults with whom I spent this last incredible weekend at the NWTFC Bible Quiz Tournament.Then I again prayed that this first morning back in the “real world” that those who had made commitments to would follow through with them rather than cave to the pressure of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Peanuts

Whether a four-day event, a week of camp, or even a missions trip; the reality is Spirit of God can seize those days away from peers, negative garbage, etc to cause people to truly hear from God. But then it’s back to the war zone…

Much like when I served in Vietnam and “R & R” (Rest and Recreation) came up. One moment I’m riding on the Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicle (ACAV), the next I’m on my way to Sydney, Australia for seven days. Once arriving there I spend all the time focused on partying (long before I got converted!), but in the back of my mind…five days, three days, 36 hours, 7 hours…and the dreadful knowledge that I would soon be back in the Nam.

Thus the burden is on the speaker, staff, counselors etc at such spiritual events to NEVER make it “easy” to make a “decision” for Jesus….to NEVER get into body-counting “decisions” as a way of determining whether the event was “good,” and to tell the attendees that the camp or whatever is NOT real life…it is rather a taste of heaven, and that the most dangerous time of our spiritual lives is the first several days after what is often referred to as a “spiritual high.”

And the burden of the person who MADE a genuine commitment to Christ to deepen their relationship and obedience is to focus on the gospel, and on walking in faith and trust that this time it will work…even as Spirit of God works within us…IF we get out of the way and, duh, ask Him to!

The life of a disciple (which is what the great commission tells us to make, rather than “converts” and/or “decisions”) is, at its root, one HUGE decision to repent and trust the gospel; followed by a gazillion moment-by-moment decisions to obey.

And, when those inevitable stumblings come, we run to my most-needed verse…First John 1.9. Reminds me of an early DC Talk song…Watch the following video and remind yourself that “If we confess (“agree with God”) that we have sinned, He is faithful and just to FORGIVE us our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

>Seize the Moment to Confess

>
Basketball coach Rick Petino confessed to an adulterous affair and made this very wise observation:

Pitino said:

“When you have a problem, if you tell the truth, your problem becomes a part of
your past. If you lie, it becomes a part of your future.”

When the Spirit of God convicts me of specific sin, if I run to First John 1.9 it is gone (more than in the past, God chooses to remember it no more). If I ignore, suppress, deny; it remains in my present, and my future.

When the Spirit of God convicts a lost person of their sin and guilt before God, if they run to the Cross and the Gospel it is buried and gone; if they suppress…they may never have another opportunity.

“Today is the day of salvation,” “now is the accepted time.”