“I Finally Met People Who Walk The Walk”

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How important is the way we live our life? Just read the comments of Sandra Bullock who plays a Christian in her most recent movie, “The Blind Side.” If she were to meet you and watch your life would she have concluded that she had just met the real deal?

“One of my biggest issues has always been people who use their faith and their religion as a banner but don’t do the right things, yet still go, ’I’m a good Christian and I go to church and this is the way you should live your life. ’ And I’m like, you know, do not give me a lecture about how to live my life when you go to church every week but I know you are still sneaking around on your wife. And I told Leigh Anne (Tuohy) in a live interview, one of my largest concerns getting involved with this project was that whole banner-waving thing because it scares me, and I’ve had experiences that haven’t been great with people like that. I don’t buy a lot of people who use that banner as their shield. But she was so open and honest and forthright with me I thought, wow, I’ve finally met someone who practices but doesn’t preach. … I now have faith in those who say they represent a faith. I finally met people who walk the walk.”

—Sandra Bullock, star of The Blind Side, describing her interaction with Leigh Anne Tuohy, the real-life evangelical Christian whom Bullock plays in the movie

[worldmag.com, 11/21/09]

WHO Is the Legalist?

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Doing my research for this week’s “One Another” message. Came across some interesting comments by Warren Wiersbe that I had to stop what I was doing and post them!

“The legalist is not interested in bearing burdens. Instead he adds to the burdens of others.”
“The legalist is always harder on other people than he is on himself, but the Spirit-led Christian demands more of himself than he does of others that he migh be able to help others.”
“Instead of trying to restore the erring brother, the legalist wil condemn him and then use the brother to make himself look good.”
“The legalist rejoices when a brother falls, and often gives the matter wide publicity, because then he can boast about his own goodness and how much better his group is than the group to which the fallen brother belongs.”

What I felt was eye-opening was that so often the more conservative Christian is usually painted as the “legalist.” But Wiersbe’s comments show that those who are less conservative and would never consider themselves as a legalist actually fall into that camp more than they realize.

How often does the cussing, drinking, slouchy, smoking, long-haired, inked, pierced, hand-waving, coarse, metal band loving, Obama loving, ‘R’ rated movie watching, ‘I-have-my-freedom-in-Christ’ Christian publicly or privately take pleasure at the failures of the straight-laced, anti-TV, hymn singing, jacket & tie wearing, beehive hairdo, teetotalling, no movie watching, Obama hating, muzak listening, squeky clean, white sock wearing, never said a dirty word Christian?

Both camps or brands of Christians mentioned above are harder on the other brand of Christians than they are on themselves. Both camps seem more interested in gloating than restoration. Both take smug pleasure in the downfall of the other, thinking they “deserved it” and are quick to post about it!

The point is this — we are ALL more legalistic than we realize or would like to admit! Let’s move away from us/them attitudes and move toward the writing of Paul in Galatians 6:4 — “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others.”

Why I didn’t give my money

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Recently I attended a political candidate forum. Before the candidates were given the platform the host of the organization talked about the goals and aspirations of the organization. Eventually he explained that those goals and aspirations would be a lot easier to attain if they had more money. Any donation would be appreciated or I could pay the prescribed amount and be considered a member for the next year.

I sat and listened to him and considered the goals and vision of the organization. I thought about each one of them and whether they aligned with my personal goals and values and concluded that I really didn’t know if I agreed with them well enough to contribute money. In my mind, I was thinking that giving money would be a vote of approval and a way of saying that I wanted to be a part of what this group was doing.

Then I had this thought. Is that why CCC is having financial problems? Are there people who regularly attend and participate that aren’t sure if they agree with our vision and values enough to contribute financially? Were my thoughts and feelings that night what others think and feel on Sunday mornings?

Two weeks later, I am still processing that experience. Thinking about it, pondering and considering what we do as a church and how we communicate all that to everyone else at CCC. And realizing — there are no easy answers. There are no quick fixes. This is going to take time.

May God give us the grace and wisdom to learn from our experiences and come to conclusions that put Him on center stage and minimize our efforts and pitiful strength.

My Jesus is too human

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I have been reading from and about Psalms 23. Perhaps one of the classic works on this psalm is Philip Keller’s “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.” My mentor of over 30 years gave me a copy of this book back in the 80’s — I started to read it today. (embarassing!) But I don’t think this book could ever be more important to my walk with Lord than it is right now. I have been struggling with some questions as of late that I have never deeply dealt with before.

God has been faithful to meet me in His Word or through others saints who have tread similar paths and lived to write about it. I haven’t gotten the answers I need yet, but I feel God is leading me toward them.

Part of that journey included coming across this excerpt of Keller’s book,

When He was God incarnate amongst men, He declared emphatically, “I am the good Shepherd.”

But who was this Christ?

Our view of Him is often too small — too cramped — too provincial — too human. And becasue it is we feel unwilling to allow Him to have authority or control — much less ourtight ownership of our lives.”

Is your view of Christ too small, too cramped, too provincial, too human? Talk to me. Walk with me.

Great Christian Paradox

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I am a fan of J. Hampton Keithley III. Don’t know him personally, but I read his work regularly. And use it. And grow from it!

In preparing to teach from Galatians 5 on ‘serving one another’ I found this juicy excerpt of his.

Here lies a great Christian paradox. It is interesting that Paul, having warned these Christians against becoming slaves again to the Law and the flesh, now urges them to become servants, slaves to one another (5:13) which includes, of course, being bond slaves to God (1 Cor. 6:19; Rom. 12:1). This paradox is tremendously instructive:

    Slavery to one another and to God is nothing at all like slavery to the flesh or to the Law.

    Slavery to flesh and the Law result in death, misery, and frustration. It causes us to be consumed, torn apart by one another.

    On the other hand, slavery to God and one another results in true freedom and maximum blessing.

    Slavery to sin is involuntary and never neutral. It is degenerative and destructive both to self and to others.

    Slavery to the Law is voluntary, it is man choosing to save himself. As such it is foolish, burdensome, but also completely helpless to change our lives from the inside where it really counts.

    Slavery to God and to one another is voluntary. But it is a product of love and the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, it becomes a source of glory to God, and joy, peace, and blessing to self and to others.

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