>Way Too Convicting…to me…

>This was a tough read for me from PETE WILSON

REVERSE JUDGEMENTALISM

Several months ago I learned via a phone call that a particular religious group was going to be picketing at our Cross Point Nashville campus. This religious group based out of Kansas is famous for showing up at churches, religious organizations, and funerals of service men with what I consider to be vulgar picket signs. A few of the signs I’ve read before have said…

-Thank God for 9/11
-God hates fags
-God hates Jews
-You’re going to hell

I don’t know any other way to describe them but as religious bigots.

They didn’t show on that particular Sunday. They did come to Nashville, as expected, but stopped at another church. There was a part of me that was really looking forward to confronting them. I’ve rehearsed my speech to them in my head over and over.  I was a bit embarrassed though by just how harsh my rehearsed speech had become.


I remember hearing Matt Chandler say, “We must be gracious to the grace killers.”

I honestly hate that. I really do. I deeply struggle with this concept.

Grace to sinners? Yep.

Grace to screw ups? No problem.

Grace to self righteous, pride filled, judgmental types? Ummmmmm, not so quick.

I’ve found that it’s much easier for me to show grace to the homeless drug addict then it is the person who thinks our music is too loud at church.

It’s easier to show grace to the unwed pregnant mom then it is the lady whose barking about the church not doing enough for her kids.

It’s easier to show grace to the guy whose had the affair then it is the person who thinks Christians should never watch TV.

The problem is if you don’t extend grace to the grace killers….well…. you are them.

>Chew on This Re: Judging

>”Why do we usurp God’s right to judge?…It is for God alone to judge, to
justify or to condemn. He knows the state of each one of us and our
capacities, our deviations, and our gifts, our constitution, and our
preparedness…according to the knowledge that He alone has…And how do
you know what tears he has shed about it before God? You may well know
about the sin, but you do not know about the repentance.”

Dorotheos of Gaza

>Living Broken in Brokenness

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This is taken from an article titled “The Gospel-Driven Organization” by James Tonyowich, PhD in the “Christian Leadership Alliance.” It is well-worth a slow read:

“We ourselves are broken. When God called Isaiah, he responded, “Woe is me! I’m ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips … ” (Is 6:5). Peter’s initial response to Jesus was, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man” (Lk 5:8b). St. Paul counted himself “the worst of sinners” (1T 1:16).

“The Gospel frees us to know the truth about who we are: broken, sinful creatures.

“As former Westminster Seminary professor Jack Miller used to quip, “Cheer up, my friend! You’re far worse than you think. And God is far more loving and kind than you ever dreamed or imagined.”

“If we do not have an understanding of our brokenness, it is an indication that we do not understand the Gospel and we and our organizations will probably do more damage than good.

“Not only are we broken, we work in a broken world filled with broken people — many of whom are Christians. Years ago, Richard Lovelace, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary professor and long time church renewal figure, taught me what I consider the most valuable lesson I have ever learned for ministry. “It is very difficult,” he said, “to tell the difference between wolves in sheep’s clothing and very confused, very broken, very angry sheep.”

I added the “bold” to the sentence that slapped me in the side of the head…

>"Well Known" or "Well Done"?

>James MacDonald hits it out-of-the-park (after hitting me in the mouth and heart!) with this:

“Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, Perry Noble, John Piper, Mark Dever, CJ Mahaney, John MacArthur, Francis Chan, Rick Warren, Craig Groeschel, Wayne Cordeiro, Andy Stanley, Ed Young, the list goes on and on. Well known pastors, fruitful leaders, each with their own area of exceptional competence, each with an influence and an impact that appears far greater than my own in one or many ways. And those are just a few of the names that come to mind . . . names of people I don’t know or hardly know. Then there are friends whose ministries also exceed my own, Jack Graham, Bill Hybels, Greg Laurie, Jim Cymbala, David Jeremiah, Bob Coy, etc., another long list.

Man I get sick of hearing about these people. Every day they are blogging and writing and preaching and holding conferences, and making an impact and building the kingdom. Hey!!! HEY, Look at me, I’m doing something too! When do I get my name in lights? When do I get my head above the crowd? If we are not careful we can trap ourselves in a game of comparison and even criticism. “Yeah, well he may be reaching a lot of people, but he’s not doing it right,” or “Really? You think that is an appropriate way to talk to God’s people?” Or “I would never be as arrogant, or self-promoting, or compromising, or . . . ?” Here’s how I have slain the dragon of ministry comparison:

1) We are on the same team: Rejoice!
Anyone who believes in the necessity of the new birth and the authority of the Word of God is on our team. They may play the game a little different but if we are for the King and the Kingdom we should be able to delight in any wins they experience as wins for the team. It’s a great heart check to get yourself to the place where the blessing of God upon other ministries truly causes your heart joy. Cultivate the capacity to express genuine thankfulness whenever you hear of a fellow servant that is making an impact upon a needy area for Christ. I know I can’t be there, and I am so grateful that he or she is. “Rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15).

2) All is not as it appears: Reflect!
The Bible makes it clear again and again, (e.g., 1 Corinthians 3:13) that there will be surprises at the judgment seat of Christ. Big is not only not better; it might not even be blessed by God. The demands faced by high profile ministers can be crushing and we should not allow ourselves to see their roles as more satisfying than they really are. I can honestly say that the bit of fruitfulness I have seen has been as much a burden as a blessing. Beyond that, all that appears fruitful is not necessarily so, and some things that appear less effective on the surface are being greatly used of God. This should cause all of us to examine our own motives and ministries so by God’s grace we can be on the right side of that final surprise. “The last will be first and the first will be last” (Matthew 20:16–that verse has always scared me).

3) Jesus Himself is the prize not “success:” Rest
Yes, I love to serve but I must always remember that I serve because I love. The great commandment is about being in relationship with God and others, not about bearing fruit or building ministry. I have to continually wean myself off the addiction of ‘doing,’ things for God and on to the dependence of being in relationship with Him. I can’t speak for what others are doing but I know that in the end I want to log my best hours as Mary not as Martha. The goal of ministry is to get people deeper and deeper into a God glorifying, soul satisfying relationship with Christ. I want to be about modeling, enjoying and resting in that as my highest calling. “Be content with such things as you have for He has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

In about 10 more minutes (or so it will seem), we are gonna be standing before Jesus Christ and the words we will be longing to hear are not “Well known,” but “Well done!” Let’s believe that others are going for that too, whether we know their names or not and let’s rejoice when we see others fruitfulness, reflect upon our own motivations for serving Christ and let’s rest in the knowledge that . . . “Promotion does not come from the east or the west, God is the judge, who sets up one and puts down another” (Psalm 75:7). :)

>Judging Right and Judging Wrong

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Without opening the whole debate, it amazes me how many people know, sort of, one Bible verse – “take a little wine for your stomach’s sake” and try to justify their use of beverage alcohol on this very out of context verse.

But there is another verse that is well-known by many, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” Of course, read in context, Matthew 7.1-5 which begins with that well-cited quote, declares that the way in which we judge others will set the standard for how we are judged. (7.2, “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”)

We must judge. Hopefully all of us over 18 are carefully judging presidential and other candidates. But if we judge from an attitude of trying to prove our point, to put someone down, to appear superior; we are judging with “wrong motives.”

If we are judging (and, reminder, we begin by judging ourselves) for His good, for the good of the kingdom, for the good of people, we are judging correctly. John 7.24 records Jesus as saying, “…but judge with right judgment.”

How do we know if we are judging “rightly”?

My take – if it hurts us to judge; we are probably okay, but if we enjoy the judging, we are probably way off base.