RSS

Tag Archives: Bible College

Pointing Fingers in the Right Place

Does anybody have the courage to ask themselves the hard questions in life?  Presently I have gone back and forth in my own mind if I am even asking myself the hard questions that would truly improve my walk with the Lord. For example, all people have issues with different areas of their life and can choose certain ways to handle these issues.  One issue that many individuals are having when it comes to the Christian culture is the church.  Instead of church being a place of community, fellowship, and worship it has become a place that individuals make themselves feel better for being a Christian at least one day a week.  All of a sudden church has become a check on our to-do list instead of a group of people coming together to love one another and live life together, which Jesus has called us to do.

I was recently involved in a debate between friends and new acquaintances. It really got me thinking about the real truth behind people seeing what church is to them. A few of the people around the table were bible college students, pastors, and people hurt by the church growing up that lead them elsewhere in their beliefs.  Of course the topic of religion and Christianity came up and the conversation was heated.  From this debate I learned more about the church and the different ways church has made an impact on people.  Anytime people are involved in a church, individuals are going to get hurt, it’s just inevitable.  I found myself stuck in-between two sides of the debate.  There was the “on fire” Christians who are highly involved in the church and the non-churchgoers who have been hurt by the church early on in life.  I am familiar with both side of the debate (not just knowledgeable about both sides but experienced both sides) but really listening to the context of the conversation I came to a conclusion.

Nobody is asking the hard questions!  The debate was continually going in circles because nobody wanted to offend anyone on a personal level.  The only personal question that sparked a thought in my mind was asked by the individuals who were hurt by the church, “Do you really live the way Jesus wants you to live?”  Now to the Christians at the table the answer was textbook.  It sounded something like this; “I strive everyday to glorify God but will never be perfect because of the presence of sin in our lives”.  Good answer, but it really doesn’t help our cause as Christians.  The people who are hurt by the church or dislike the church still think we are hypocrites. This brings me to the question that should have been asked by the “on fire” Christians. Instead of turning away from the church, why didn’t you take on the challenge of showing others in the church that the life they are living is not honouring to God? Instead of turning away from the church, why join all the people who live to the world’s standards?  If you are hurt so badly by a group of people than why did you let them win?

There is a passage in the Bible that comes to mind when I need to get my thoughts back on track.  Proverbs 4:4-5: “Then he taught me and said to me, ‘Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live; Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth’”. Sometimes we come up with our own opinions and understanding about the way we should live our life, instead of focusing on the true understanding and wisdom of God.  The hard question that I need to ask is “Have I been in a daily walk with the Lord, or am I foolishly leaning on my own understanding?”

No matter where you are at in your life, please take a step back and ask the hard questions.  Even if it has nothing to do with religion, we always take the easy way out in life and just blame others for things that happened to us.  Who cares if others hurt you or me, if you truly want to take the next step in life, do something about it!  Stop pointing fingers at others and point it at you first.  You may find the answer you are looking for and it might just change your life.

~K.R.Morris

 
18 Comments

Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Bible, church, Doubt, Failure, Religion

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Don’t Judge Me!

The other day I received a phone call from a friend of mine who I used to go to community college with when I lived in Colorado. I had recently moved to Arizona and this was the first of my friends that I had heard from. Since I hadn’t spoken to her in quite a while she didn’t know that I had moved and was wondering if I wanted to do something with her that evening.

“Hang out, have some beers, and talk about old times.” She said rather excited to see an old friend again.

“I can’t.” I said sadly. “I’m in Arizona.” I explained quickly.

“Why are you in Arizona.” The question I knew was coming and the serious wish that I wouldn’t have to answer it hit me all at once.

“I’m enrolled in Bible College.” I said reluctantly.

“Why?” She asked as if I’d gone insane.

“Well… because I’m a Christian.” Again reluctantly.

“How long has that been going on.” She continued as if it was a phase.

“Pretty much all my life.” I said still feeling rather ashamed.

“Wow I would never have guessed.” She said again. Feeling like I had, for one reason or another misrepresented my God when I was around her, asked why she wouldn’t have guessed and I got an answer that has stuck with me and changed the way I think about calling myself a Christian.

“You didn’t judge me.” She said outright. “When I talked to you about how I was living with my boyfriend you didn’t tell me that I was going to hell because I’m a sinner. You talked to me about how my decision was not good and that I would have issues in the future with it and you explained your view but you didn’t judge me. All the time I knew you, you didn’t ever condemn me for my unbelief of God. You didn’t treat me like an outcast when you saw that my arms, back, and neck are covered in tattoos and you never once thought that you were better than me. I would never have guessed that you were a Christian.”

I realized after this answer that I didn’t hate calling myself a Christian because of the fact that I was ashamed of the gospel of Christ which is the power of God for the salvation of all those that believe (Romans 1:16), I’m not ashamed to identify myself with Christ because even in my relationship with this friend I told her that I believed in a creator and why logically I thought that was the only answer. Even after this conversation she wouldn’t have thought I was a Christian. Because I know that I’m not ashamed of God I have come to the conclusion that I am ashamed to identify myself with a race of Christians who judge people.

To this race of Christians I say “you have no excuse, oh man; every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” (Romans 2:1) If you take this verse to any Christian or any person they will inevitably say… “I don’t judge people.” Every time some one says that I feel like they are saying, “I’m not like those that judge people. That would be bad.” I’m not sure if you all noticed this but that statement is judging people who judge! Do you understand my frustration?

A "What Would Jesus Do?" (WWJD) bracelet

Image via Wikipedia

I am reminded of a popular saying that I heard for the first time in high school which was something to the effect of “Don’t drink, smoke, or chew, or roll with those who do.” Its interesting to me to realize that the same people who brought this little rhyme to my attention also had another common expression referred to as W.W.J.D. standing for what would Jesus do. Well, assuming that Jesus continues the patterns that he began in the bible, he would walk right up to Zacchaeus and ask him to hang out some time. This makes me wonder, where it is in the Bible that says I shouldn’t do things with sinner and if it isn’t in the Bible (I dare you to look for it) then where in the world did our youth group leaders come up with this idea?

~Ray

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Bible, Religion

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Failure is NOT an Option

As my first post for this blog I thought it necessary and beneficial to lay some groundwork as well as clear the air. I want to make it clear to all our readers that failure is not an option. I think that it’s only honest to let you know that I’m talking about all kinds of failure here. Moral failure, physical failure, spiritual failure, grammatical failure, philosophical failure, etc… etc… etc… In your comments to our posts, in your daily life, and even in your drive through orders at McDonalds – Failure is simply not an option – It’s a requirement.

One of the most liberating statements that I heard during my journey through Bible College was that failure was a requirement. We, as fallen individuals, will fail. There is no way around it and that’s okay. I had spent the majority of my life fighting failure. I spent countless hours working to avoid failing a test, a relationship, a moral conviction, and especially my parents. And I spent countless more hours lost in grief because I had failed at not failing.

Hearing that failure was a requirement and realizing that this concept wasn’t new revelation but that it was the foundation of the gospel was a breath of fresh air. Scripture had been trying to get this through my brain for years. “All fall short of the glory of God”, “There is no one righteous, no not one”. Scripture had told me that I was a failure from the beginning and I had ignored it. Now don’t accuse me of being a Calvinist yet. This post is not my stance on Total Depravity. I had ignored the fact that I was destined to fail but I had also ignored the magical, brilliantly beautiful, gospel truth that failure was okay. That it was covered by Christ’s blood.

This renewed realization of the simple rudiments of the gospel changed my life, ministry, parenting philosophy, and self-esteem. It gave me freedom to fail and then learn from that failure rather than wallowing in self-pity and grief until the shame cycle drove me back to the same failure that had started the whole process. Now, instead of surprised or disappointed by my own failure, I almost get excited because I know God is and will continue to use failure in my life to teach me and mold me into the person he wants me to be. You see we often learn more from our failures than from our successes. As frustrating and counterproductive as that may seem on the surface it’s true.

 

Batman Begins

Image via Wikipedia

 

In the last couple of years I’ve adopted this phrase in my home, in my ministry and even with my peers. Failure is a requirement of life. When students in my ministry fail morally or spiritually, I jump at the opportunity to encourage them and teach them to grow through failure rather than be controlled by it. When friends fail I do everything that I can to be the one that is there to dust them off, pick them up and send them on their way. In the movie “Batman Begins“, Bruce Wayne continually remembers a quote from his childhood that His father had told him; “And why do we fall, Bruce?… So we can learn to pick ourselves up” (I bet when you started reading this you didn’t realize that Batman’s father and I are super close and have the same parenting philosophy.)So… as you continue to read this blog, as I hope you do. And as you continue on your own journey through life, always remember that Failure is never merely an option… It is a requirement.

~James

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Failure, Philosophy, Religion

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Friendly Fire

I want to vomit. I just left my pastors’ offices and was yelled at for over an hour about how horrible my thoughts were. Two men who I had listened to and respected for 19 years were now picking me apart as if I was the biggest threat to modern evangelicalism. I was told that I was undermining the integrity of the church government, causing the church’s senior citizens to grow angry, and challenging the teaching of my pastors. I sat in shock of the charges brought against me and I wondered how my passion for theology could have caused this response. Let me back up a bit…..

I love doctrine. I mean, I am that guy you will see reading a 1200 page book on systematic theology and just be lost as I savor the sweet ineffable characteristics of the divine. I remember in Bible College when I sat through two semesters of theology and didn’t learn a thing, because I had been embracing these topics for years prior to this scholastic endeavor. I wrote entire papers on theological topics using only sources from my own library and easily got good grades on these papers. I knew exactly what I believed about almost every doctrine and could explain to you not only the logic but the biblical texts behind my conclusions.

I say again, I was that guy.

I didn’t study the attributes of God for some mere intellectual purpose; I did it because nothing was as satisfying to me as learning about who God is, and why He does what He does. I would lose hours reading Paul’s epistles as he would tell other churches about the gospel and how it rid them of the need for actions to prove your worth to God (justification), how it had nothing to do with my abilities (unconditional election), how I could not even recognize God without His initial call (total depravity) and how God always held every situation in His hands (sovereignty). These were the doctrines that demanded my attention, and emotion. And with this ongoing pursuit now exceeding 2 years, I was now being told my passion was misplaced.

John Calvin

John Calvin

My pastor had told me that the doctrines I held so dear and found so much joy in were extremely offensive and were in fact completely wrong. I made my stance known with biblical support but instead of being heard I was threatened. I was told I would never teach any age level at the church again, nor could I be trusted anymore. My heart sank. As I sat in the church bathroom after this intense meeting I questioned so much. I wondered how these people could tell me my pursuit of the knowledge of God was un-welcomed and that the uttering of the word “Calvinism” may as well have been me shouting the word f*^#. I had called this church my spiritual home for just under two decades and now I was being shunned as if I had leprosy. I didn’t know what to feel.

We in the church often kill our own wounded. Such was the case at this church. We find the person who has questions, who is searching and we shoot them at point-blank range for the audacity to question what tradition has taught us to revere. We will repress the passion and drive of the person who is asking dangerous questions because we already have the answers from a theologian five centuries prior.

As I sought answers on theological questions and began developing my stance on key issues I was never encouraged to search, I was only told what was right and what was wrong.  Christ bid me to reach for Him, the institution would have me digress. I found comfort in the nature of God Himself, and I was told my conclusions were invalid. I left this church. The scars would last for a while, but God grew me through the pain. The thing I learned through it all is that sometimes the church is more in favor of tradition that longing for the person of Christ. How many casualties are we racking up from friendly fire?

~ Aaron

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 12, 2011 in Bible, Calvinism, Religion

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: