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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Draw a Bigger Circle

Circle

Representatives of a Roman Centurion approached Peter, asking him to come speak with their commanding officer. Peter felt God’s leading to go with them, but still struggled to obey, since religious tradition forbade Jews mingling with Gentiles.

Nevertheless, he at last gave in and traveled to the the centurion’s home, where to his surprise, he found a large number of Romans gathered to learn about Jesus. Upon seeing the crowd he replied, “Now I realize that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation, whoever fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34)

As a result of Peter’s insight and obedience, the entire Gentile world, (i.e. most of us reading this post), opened wide to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What if Peter had been narrow-minded and prejudiced? You and I would be lost today, that’s what. It’s so important that we keep our hearts open toward those who look, think, and behave differently than we do. Bigotry can assume many forms, including racial prejudice, national arrogance, and religious intolerance. When we find ourselves excluding all but a limited number of like-minded people, we know it’s time to step out of our narrow space into the greater world.

Pastor Paul Daugherty of Victory Christian Center Tulsa put it this way: “Draw a bigger circle.” I challenge all who read this blog to begin to associate with folks who are different than themselves. Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” But you don’t have to visit the ends of the earth to grow in love. Just travel outside the confines of the narrow circle you currently inhabit and meet all those other beautiful folks Jesus died to save.

David

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Pharisees

Pharisee

Pharisees. Bad Guys of the Bible. Whether we’re reading the Word or watching Easter movies, we love to sneer as they diss Jesus. We shake our heads in disgust when they criticize him, twisting his words, and putting him down.

Yeah, the Pharisees were bad dudes, but they’re not extinct; you can still find them in churches today. Churches? Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t. You see, Pharisees are and always were religious people. They’re the folks who pick at the Pastor’s sermons. They cut down sincere, influential ministries, dismissing them false prophets and editing their words until they say things they never meant to say.

The Pharisee spirit is encapsulated a “holier-than-thou attitude.” It’s the elevation of judgment over mercy, the imposition of the Letter of the Law over its spirit. Instead of reveling in the diversity of the members of Christ’s Body, Pharisees condemn all who disagree with them, calling them heretics and cultivating the “us-four-and-no-more” attitude that’s responsible for the array of denominations we see today.

I’ve noticed some negative posts on Facebook lately. They pick at a ministry that touches some 40 million people monthly, through television and other media, which is led by a self-effacing pastor whose books have impacted over 30 million, and include five New York Times best-sellers. Amazingly, this minister is responsible for leading over one million people to the Lord. And yet folks disparage him, talk about him as if he were the devil, and act as if they knew more about the Gospel and how to present it to a lost world than he does.

If there was ever anyone who had a right to criticize others’ ministries, it would have to be the Apostle Paul, who alone wrote the majority of the New Testament. And yet Paul himself says, “Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Rms. 14:4)

Yes, Jesus himself said, “Judge not, that be not judged.” (Mat. 7:1) Which makes me wonder: how much nicer a place might the Church of Jesus Christ be if we simply obeyed its Founder and cut each other a little slack?

David

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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