Stop Being A Nice Christian

Nice/nīs/adjective 1.pleasant; agreeable; satisfactory. “We had a nice time.”

Yes, I know that kindness is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). And no, I am not advocating that being a jerk online, or in person, is the way to go. But I do want to suggest that God is calling each one of us to much more than merely being nice.

It seems to me that being nice can actually be motivated by a fear of man.

We are afraid to speak up, so we are nice.

We want to fit in, so we are nice.

We know our convictions are counter-cultural, so we are nice.

We want people to like us, so we are nice.

In John 15:18-19 we read these words from Jesus:

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Jesus knew that there would be times when we as Christians would be rejected and hated because of our beliefs in the Word of God.

Here is a sobering thought, we could live our whole life never creating waves and being nice and have zero gospel impact in the lives of the people all around us.

When was the last time that you clearly and boldly articulated the gospel to a person that needs to know Jesus? When was the last time you took a stand for the truth in the middle of a conversation that was about gender and sexuality? When was the last time you graciously confronted a brother or sister in Christ due to the fact that they were engaged in a sinful lifestyle (Galatians 6:1)?

Let’s not be ruled by the fear of man and be willing to speak truth to a world that desperately needs to hear it.

Transgenderism

On Sunday, Jan 10th, I will be preaching about transgenderism.

Our Care Ministry is going to be hosting an event about the topic of transgenderism on Thursday, Jan 22, 6:30 pm.

Why are we doing this? We want to address this issue because we love people and we want them to know God’s Word and to experience it’s life transforming power.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 22, 2021

6:30-9:00PM

NEW LIFE CHURCH


In His Image is a critical and urgent message designed to equip the church to answer culturally controversial questions about gender and sexuality from a biblical perspective. Every church in America is filled with hurting people asking these tough questions: Can you be gay and be a Christian? What if someone genuinely feels trapped in the wrong body? Did God make me this way? Is change even possible?

This feature-length documentary presents much-needed truth with compassion and clarity through powerful personal testimonies, careful Bible teaching, and scientific evidence.

Please join us as we watch the movie together.

Following the movie, Denise Shick will join us via Zoom for a Q & A session.

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Denise Shick is the Founder and Director of Help 4 Families, a Christian ministry that compassionately reaches out to family members who are grappling with the emotional and spiritual issues encountered when a loved one identifies as transgender. She is the author of My Daddy’s Secret, When Hope Seems Lost, Understanding Gender Confusion—A Faith Based Perspective, and has published articles in The Federalist, American Thinker, The Daily Signal, and BarbWire.

The Dangers Of Living Inside An Echo Chamber

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22-23

The first thing we need to do is define what an echo chamber is. Wikipedia defines an echo chamber like this:

“An echo chamber is a metaphorical description of a situation in which beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition inside a closed system. By visiting an echo chamber, people are able to seek out information which reinforces their existing views. This may increase political and social polarization and extremism. Another emerging term for this echoing and homogenizing effect on the internet within social communities is cultural tribalism.”

An echo chamber is what happens to a person when they only listen to people who already think the way they do. People stuck in an echo chamber rarely hear an argument from a different perspective (politics, religion, etc.) But this problem is much more insidious than most people are aware of. Did you know that Facebook is keenly aware of the kind of news and information that you like and they begin to highlight these stories and minimize anything that you might disagree with? Watch this brief video to see what I am talking about.

So the echo chamber exists. But is this echo chamber really all that bad for us? If so, how? Let me give you THREE EXAMPLES of how the echo chamber is hurting you (and others):

  • You never learn from anyone that sees the world from a different perspective. Hopefully we have not become so arrogant to believe that we no longer need to learn new things or new ideas. We need to remain humble enough to admit that we simply don’t know it all.
  • You begin to see people that you disagree with as your enemy. Ed Stetzer writes this, “Christians are too good at blurting out what we believe and yelling and people who don’t like it. We’re often too quick to jump to social media to punish our keyboard with our anger and scream at any disagreeing person in our path. Our social media world has this way of making those who disagree with us look like complete idiots.” If you doubt it just think of some of the terms that get frequently thrown around (libtard, conservitard, snowflake, deplorable, and the list just goes on and on). Scripture is clear that those who are on the other side of the political aisle are not our enemy. Paul writes this in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
  • You damage your witness before a watching world. Let’s turn to the apostle Paul one more time. In Romans 12:14 we read this, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” Imagine how different social media would feel if everyone obeyed this command? Too often instead of the world seeing the love of Christ in us they get the feeling that the Christian’s primary emotion is anger.

Social Media Echo Chamber

So what can we do about this? I certainly don’t think this is the complete solution, but it sure is an interesting idea. Knife Media is a news outlet that is trying hard to give just the basic facts when it comes to the news. They are trying to stay away from spinning a story in way that reflects their biases. Let me tell what I think will happen if you were to start reading your news from an outlet like Knife Media. You would find it either boring or disappointing. The reason this is true is that many times we are just looking to have our preconceived views about what is going on in the world validated by someone else. Is it possible that we have been so impacted by the echo chamber that we actually want to hear the spin?

Another suggestion is that we detox ourselves for a period of time from the news. (TV, iPhones, laptops, newspapers, social media, etc.) One writer stopped watching the news for a period of time and then recorded how it made her feel. Here are just a few of the changes that she experienced:

  • Had a greater sense of calm and peace
  • Felt closer to God
  • Less anger
  • Slept better

“Apparently studies have shown that the ratio of bad news to good news is about 17:1, which means that 95% of news is negative.” -Lisa Mainwaring

Perhaps the best idea is that we open ourselves up to people who think differently than we do. Listen more than we talk (or type). Try to see things from the another person’s perspective. This does not mean that we compromise the truth or that we become intellectually soft. No, it means that we humbly admit that we don’t have all the answers and we still want to learn and grow.

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas about how we can deal with the echo chamber that is closing in on us.

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This is crazy. You can go HERE and see your ad profile on Facebook. It will reveal to you how Facebook tailors ads based on their understanding of who you are. It will also show you if Facebook thinks you are liberal or conservative (or somewhere in-between) when it comes to politics. Facebook makes these types of determinations based on what you click on and what you ‘like.’ Fascinating and a bit frightening. Big brother is watching.

Above pic taken from feedingonchristdotcom

Islam, ISIS, Immigration & Christianity

Ten thoughts about Islam, ISIS, immigration and Christianity.

  1. Christians should be looking to care for and love immigrants as they are coming into the United States. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ -Jesus
  2. We need to speak kindly and compassionately about immigrants. Every immigrant is made in the image of God and is therefore of immense value and worth. As Russell Moore points out, “We might be natural-born Americans, but we’re all immigrants to the kingdom of God (Eph. 2:12-14).”
  3.  Loving immigrants and vetting immigrants are NOT mutually exclusive. It does not make a person Islamaphobic if they believe in vetting and want to make sure that our country is safe.
  4. We should not ban Muslims from entering our country. We should absolutely  ban anyone who supports radical Islam.
  5. ISIS is a real danger and this is true because it takes Islam seriously. Loving our neighbor does not mean that we stick our head in the sand when it comes to dangers that we (and our country) are facing.
  6. I think it is odd if a person posts online a lot about loving immigrants but they don’t know their next-door neighbor. I think the reason we are tempted to do this is because posting stuff online is much easier than loving our actual next-door neighbor.
  7. I think it’s sad if people argue and complain online about immigration and yet don’t actually do something to make the lives of immigrants better.
  8. We should stop the name calling when it comes to people who disagree with us. In most cases we don’t know the heart of the person we are disagreeing with and slinging insults only further divides us.
  9. It seems crazy to me that many Americans still seem naive about the intense hatred that radical Islamists have for the United States of America.
  10. Call me captain obvious, but there is a difference between immigration and illegal immigration. One is OK, the other is not (Romans 13:1-7).