Tag Archives: christ followers

I Admit it, I’m an Alien

Spending most of our time with fellow Christ-followers can cause us to approach our lives as though we live in a bubble. One indicator is when our conversation centers on how shocked we are at the condition of the world and the depravity of the people around us. Christians are aghast that non-straight people want to get married.  We are stunned that some choose to end the life of a child while it is still in it’s mother’s womb. We are incredulous that everyone doesn’t agree with our political stance.

We have to stop expecting those who do not follow Christ to behave as though they do. Make no mistake: We are a minority and the majority is not impressed with our morals. They will continue to do as they do – regardless of how shocked we are or how much we complain about it.

Remember, we don’t belong here. I go back to 80’s Christian rock band, Petra, when they sang, “Not of This World”.  We are not at home here; we are citizens of another place. We are aliens. Not of the outer space variety but of the heavenly kingdom variety. Philippians 3:20 reminds us, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)  No wonder we don’t feel at home – we are not at home.

While we must share the Good News of Christ, we will never change our unChristian culture into a Christian culture. The quickest we can expect things to get perfect is the moment we make it home.

So behave yourself as a short-term visitor – an alien. That’s what I am, I admit it.

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take care of your body

On Sunday, Rich Whitter delivered a great message at Cross Community about how God has decided to making his living place within us, how we are the temple of God. We were reminded that God no longer lives in houses made by human hands (Acts 7:48). He now lives in us. I’ve been thinking about that ever since. He told us that we are the temple of the Living God.

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I went to some meetings for pastors. We were visiting an unnamed city and state, but rest assured, the culture was a bit different that what we are currently accustomed to.  Our current location emphasizes, sometimes to a fault, physical appearance. I was taken aback by the number of overweight people present. I don’t mean to be cruel, but the average weight of the people in this group was well over average. Again, these were pastors and leaders. Without being too judgmental, I think this may reveal several problems. At least many people perceive this to be a problem. I don’t like it when people characterize Christ followers and especially pastors as lazy, fried chicken eaters. We may really be hindering our effectiveness in a world that is so health-conscious.

While some people have health issues that prevent them from losing weight, many people lack the discipline it takes to be healthy.

We are the temple of God, shouldn’t we take care of ourselves? We want to feel good and be strong and have good health because we are God’s house. We want to live long lives so we can accomplish more for God. Doesn’t it make sense that we should stay in some kind of reasonable physical shape? We can glorify God more through our bodies if they are healthy.

You only have one body – take care of it, because it belongs to God.


where’s the passion?

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Holy Week, sometimes referred to as Passion Week. Beginning with Palm Sunday and extending to Easter, we recall the Passion of Christ, the road He walked that led Him to the cross. It’s a great time for Christ-followers to get re-focused on matters of faith and worship.

Leading into this season of ministry, there are many times that I ask the question, “where is the passion?” Obviously, Christ cared enough and was committed enough to do whatever it took to save us. But it seems, at times, that there is a lack of response on the part of those of us who have been saved. Allow me to explain:

On any given Sunday, during music and worship, I am amazed at how many people have no response. I mean they either just stand or sit there, expressionless, unmoved. They don’t sing, or in any other way engage in the music. I realize one can worship by listening but there is no getting around the idea that we are told in scripture to sing, clap our hands and worship God. Outward worship is simply a way to express love for God, it is a “spilling over” of what is in our spirits. I wonder, do these people sense anything in their hearts? Are they, in any way, moved in their spirits? Sometimes I preach about God’s love, His sacrifice, His intense desire to know us…and there are times when there is no response. In these times, I have to ask, “where is the passion?” This explains why the average Christian will not be in a local worship gathering at church tomorrow.  Recent research indicates that church attendance doesn’t mean what it used to for Christ-followers. Where is the passion?

The real issue isn’t with what is happening or not happening in corporate worship gatherings. I think Sunday is just a snapshot of the rest of life. I believe that the cares of life have acted like wet blanket on a fire. Stress kills passion. Pain has a way of burying it. Distractions prevent us from feeling and discouragement prevents us from expressing love for God.

One of the more disconcerting parts for me is, people don’t seem to hold back in their passion for other things.  Tonight’s NCAA Basketball Final Four will blow up Facebook and Twitter. This certainly is a season of political posturing – most people will gladly let you know where they stand on the issues. But spirituality has become taboo for many people in our culture – including those who have been saved from hell by God. It just shouldn’t be this way.

I am asking you to reconsider your approach and response to God, especially during Passion Week. He gave everything for you. How does that make you feel? Can you contain those feelings on the inside without outwardly expressing them in some way? God doesn’t need your passionate worship, but He wants it – and certainly deserves it.

Tomorrow, I will preach a message at Cross Community Church entitled: Pasión por la Vida. It will describe how passion for eternal life for you and me drove Jesus to the cross. And I plan to challenge the people of our church to be passionate in their response to the Passion of Jesus. Join us if you are able.


devision tears us apart

I know I spelled it wrong, but I think this alternative spelling better describes what happens when we divide: our vision is lost.

I hate church splits. I hate political splits. I hate family splints. The only kind of splits I like are banana.

“A house divided against itself” has been attributed to Abraham Lincoln, but Jesus said it first (Mark 3:25). No matter how many times it is stated, its truth remains. Divide and you die.

One of the things I dislike the most about this time of year is the elections. It gets so old listening to candidates rip one another, with no constraints. It is such a joke that, during the primaries, people in the same party can be so absolutely hateful to one another, can assassinate one another’s character and then once the general elections come around, they team up to hate on the guy from the other party. No wonder no one believes the incessant commercials.

I think irreparable damage is done when Christian leaders debate one another in a public forum over doctrine or methodology. Seriously, who wins when a couple of opposing rival pastors squabble over predestination or worship music style? I tell you who wins – the devil. Once again, no wonder people don’t believe us when we try to share the love of God with them. We can’t even share it with each other. Our vision to win the world to Christ is lost.

Too many local churches are divided. That is why they won’t succeed.

In a recent message at Cross Community Church, missionary Jonathan Augustine gave us a prophetic word from God: “There is absolutely nothing that can stop this church from reaching this community for Christ IF YOU ARE ONE.” The Word hit me like a ton of bricks. Lack of resources can’t stop us; lack of time can’t stop us. The only thing that can stop us is lack of unity.

I agree, there are some things that we just can’t tolerate.  Not everything goes. But my observation is, way too much unnecessarily divides us.

I say to fellow Christ-followers, we are better united than we are divided. I say there is more that unites us than divides us. And I remind you, Jesus told us that we would be identified as Christians by our love for one another (John 13:35).

In the words of the vintage classic rock band, Thunderclap Newman, “We have got to get it together now.”