Thursday, April 26, 2012



Matthew 7:1(NIV)
[ Judging Others ] “Do not judge, or you too will be judged."

Sounds pretty self explanitory doesn't it?  But, just like many things in the Bible we take them out of context, give them a world of their own, and use them how we sit fit in any given situation.

Truth is, we aren't to judge, that's God's job, but there are times, where we must tell people the truth, confront sin, or walk away from bad situations/people.  That is not judging, there is a difference.

Judging my easiest defintion (I'm putting this in my own words):  is me or you making an opinon or observation on someone or something where it is not our place or right, or we don't have all the facts or isn't any of our business to begin with.

Let me give you some examples..  You walk into a restuarant and see someone having a cocktail or glass of wine, some christians would make a judgement that person isn't a christian simply based on their opinion because they think drinking alcohol or any kind is a sin and wrong, yet in some cultures and even different parts of the US social drinking isn't a sin or even an issue like it may be in the area you live.  Another example, we can look at the way someone is dressed or has their hair cut or even them having piercings or tattoo's and we may think they aren't a christian or do not go to church because they don't look the way you do or don't fit your "idea" of what a christian should look or dress like.

These are just two small examples, but there are countless others, think about all the times you have judge a person or their situation based on your own opinions, or influence from something else, when you didn't know the sitaution, have all the facts, or things of that nature.  It's easy to stand on the outside and judge someone for getting a divorce, or not having a relationship with their child, or quitting their job, but maybe you didn't know that marriage was abusive, or maybe you didn't know the child kept stealing off the parents, or that the person was being mistreated at their job?

We don't know situations and it's not fair for us to judge others based on our own moral compass that changes as often as the wind direction. We all have opinions and most of us like to share them even when we aren't asked for them, but we must be very careful in judging a person or a situation withouth knowing the facts, the details, and reality.

I have been very guilty of this in the past and this is one of the things God has been working on with me to not be so critical or opinionated or even judgemental of others based on my own past experiences, or the way I was raised, or my own personal feelings or emotions.   

It is not your place or mine to tell someone whether they are a christian or not,  we can guide, pray, and teach people with God's word when asked, but we have no "AUTHORITY" from God to make someone a christian or not, we like to do that when someone dies who's not saved, we like to make them a christian, or on the other hand we try to say someone isn't a christian if they don't go to the same kind of church as you, or they don't use same bible as you, or sing same kind of music as you, or dress like you, or hold to the same narrow-views as you, I'm not making this stuff up, people are  really this way, and some of you reading this today may be too, but you're self-unaware or in denial.

My challenge for me and for you is to start thinking through things before we develop opinions or judgements about others or their situations.  First of all, if it's none of your business and doesn't relate to you,  tell me again why you care?  If it's not our business then our opinions are pointless anyway. Stay out of it, I don't know how many times I've seen people get mad at me or others about things that aren't even their concern, apply to them, and most of all their business.

  Secondly, if a person doesn't seek out your advice or counsel then don't volunteer your advice or opinion unless asked, and if you are asked, be sincere, honest, and objective in your advice/opinion and keep the extra to yourself.  I am an opinionated person and it's ok to have opinions but becareful with who and when you share them.  Your advice goes along way when it's not forced or pushed on somneone that hasn't asked.

Thirdly,  seek God in all things, the more we medidate on His Word and spend time with Him the more we will see things through His eyes and less we'll judge things or base our opinions on our own skewed views, past mistakes, or hurtful experiences and we can be objective.  God is ultimate judge, not you and me.  God knows all, and we usually don't know enough about a person or situation and yet our mouths spout freely about things we know little and we push people away, lose friends, and do God's job when we judge others unfairly.

I think Luke said it best with his take on "do not judge" from Jesus.

Luke 6:37
[ Judging Others ] “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spiritual Bullies

Spiritual Bullies

We talk a lot about bullying these days it seems.  A kid recently in my area 11 years old hung himself due to bullying, we see it on the news, on the internet, in the papers, and in our schools.  The issue is a hot topic and for good reason.  No one should bully or be bullied.  However, what about the church?

There are spiritual bullies in  our churches that we seem to put up with, accept, or ignore?  What is a spiritual bully?  Well I take a spiritual bully as someone who pushes their agenda, beliefs, opinions, or judgements on other people.  A spiritual Bully only likes and agrees with people who agree with them and support them, and condemn, put down, or arrogantly treat those who disagree with their belief system as less than christian, a hypocrite, bad chrisitian, or even a heathen.  They are legalistic and have a narrow-mind and can only see their view point, here their own voice, and tear down others who do not agree or line up with their "side".

I'm not making this stuff up.  You ever wonder why a church only has 10-15 people in it?  It's because the bully pastor or bully member(who runs the church) that's all the people that agree with them.  I know some churches are small and dying because they refuse to change, but many are dying because of the selfishness and arrogance of the person who only hears or sees their own voice and not God and pushes it on others.  Yet they do what they do in the name of God.  Well so did Saul(before he was Paul) when he persecuted chrisitans and had them put in jail, so did the Pharisees and religious leaders in the NT.  Doing something in name of God doesn't always make you right.

Bullies in our churches and pulpits are nothing more than modern day Pharisees who are using religion and God for their own selfish agendas or misguided ignorance.  You don't go to the same kind of church I do, then you are less than me.  You don't use the same version of the bible that I do, than I am right and you stupid.  You don't worship with the same kind of worship music I do, then you are not as good of a chrisitan as me.  We push agenda's and relgious doctrines and spiritual opinions on people.  When they have nothing to do with the Great commision of making disciples or the Greatest command of loving God and loving your neighbor(others).

Do you think a lost/unsaved person cares about what version of the bible you use, or whether you sing "old hymns of the faith" or contemporary praise music? You think a lost soul cares about your views on the end of times, or speaking in tongues, or eternal security, or  if you're baptist or church of christ, or methodist? 

I am not belittling any one subject, but spiritual bullies focus on the minors and miss the majors.  They push opinions and miss grace.  They throw out their harsh words, agruments, and pride yet miss loving people, accepting people where they are, and showing them the love of Christ.  People need to know you love them and God loves them, before you can teach them doctrine or basic bible truths.
It's a process.

We all have a right to our preferences, choices, and things when it comes to matters of opinions and just because you bully someone with your opinion as if it's gospel or doctrine, doesn't make it so.  Bully are insecure people, they are scared or afraid, so that is why they bully, or it has everytyhing to do with the way they were raised and taught.

People who grew up in churches where the preacher screamed and yelled, think that is the way preachers are suppopsed to preach and if they start preaching they do it because that think that is only way to preach.   People who grew up in country very traditional chuches think that is the only way you can worship and anything new or modern in church is blaspheme or wrong.  That is where I begin to wonder are people truly following God or are they following tradition? A mentor? Their Family? 

God isn't a bully and He doesn't want His church to bully people.  If anyone has a right to force people to beleive something or do something it's God, and He gives us free will to choose Him, but also some freedom in the way we do things, and we need to stop making every little thing wrong, a sin, or a test of fellowship with others.  Stop being a bully and a modern day pharisee and start preaching, teaching, and sharing in love, and stop worrying about everything being a sin or sending you to hell.  Read God's word and pray with an open mind and heart.

My advice don't put up with spiritual bullies, if you have them in your church, deal with them, or move on.  If their heart as hard as their head, it may be a losing battle especially if they are in leadership and church isn't willing to deal with it.  But for everyone else,  Love God, Love other.

Luke 6:37(NIV)
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012



Psalm 62:8(NIV)
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

That's a tough word isn't it?  It's easy to trust when we have all the facts, can see with our own eyes, or we know the person really well, but it's alot harder to trust in a situation when we don't have all the facts, we can't see or know everything, or we don't know the person or situation well.

I am not advocating we trust everyone, but I am advocating we learn to trust until someone gives us reason not to, and I'm also advocating just because someone we love or care about breaks our trust, doesn't mean everyone will.  Most of all, I am suggesting that no matter what this world throws at us or what obstacles stand in our way we CAN trust God!

Trust in a simple definition means "to have faith or confidence in someone or something".  We need to learn to trust people or we are going to be some of the most negative, bitter, pessimistic, or skeptical people in the world.  However, we also need to use discernment, common sense, and God as a meter to measure who is worthy of our trust.  Don't trust the loud mouth with your personal feelings you want kep secret,  or don't trust the a family member/friend to be dependable when they have tract record of being undependable or inconsistent or dishonest or selfish.

What I really want to talk about today is learning to truly "TRUST" our God.  God wants to move us, motivate us, stretch us, convict us, or teach us and we resist His prompting from the Holy Spirit because we are selfish, or fearful, or distracted, or don't want to give up control.  How can we say we love God or serve Him or have surrendered to Him when we won't trust Him?  I am here to tell you that sometimes God is going to want you to do something, go somewhere, or be a part of something that will not make sense to you or sometimes your family or friends?  Especially those like me who are "called" to ministry, you might find yourself alone in some situations just you and God because family or friends think you're crazy or losing it.

I am sure that is how people felt about Noah building an ark in the middle of no where, or Abram picking up and leaving his homeland and not even knowing where he was heading, or Moses for going back to Egypt to lead God's people out of Slavery, etc..plenty of stories in the Old and New Testament of God calling people to TRUST HIM and though it might not make sense on paper, or to family/friends, or to the world, God had a plan, a purpose, and wanted those He called to Trust in Him.

God is not going to set us up to fail. God is not going to punk us or play a practical joke on us.  If God wants us to do something, It's for a reason and we must decide whether we want to TRUST Him and be obedient, or we want to resist him, fight him, run away, ignore, or make excuses.  I've tried running from God, He found me. I've tried making excuses, I ran out, and I've tried to resist, but to no avail.  If God wants you to do something or calls you to something, He will be faithful to you until you are ready or willing to accept. 

Our job is to Trust God.  Do you trust Him for salvation?  Do you trust Him for grace?  Do you trust Him to Provide?   Do you trust Him to protect you and/or your family?  Either you trust God all the time in all areas or not at alll, you can't pick and choose when to trust Him.  Think about it, if a  person is untrustworthy, then they are untrustworthy in all areas, if you got a friend who lies to you, then you probably aren't going to trust them in anything. 

However, God is trustworthy, always! Forever!  Trust in Him in all areas of your life and allow Him to bless you, work through you, use you, grow you, teach you, and love you!

Titus 3:8(NIV)
This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone