Sometimes you just need to take a break from carnage that is modern politics. Over the summer, my church conducted a weekly Bible study series entitled “Faith over Fear”. Several of our Sunday School and Bible teachers taught on a particular “fear” topic. As one of those teachers, I covered “Fear of Delivering and Unpopular Message”, focusing on Jeremiah 1.
Delivering an unpopular message has become a daily occurrence for many of us. If you find yourself speaking against binary choice politics, Donald Trump, or the two major parties, you have probably found yourself at odds with untold numbers. However, in these times it is important to remember the big picture. The Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no greater call than to deliver His message.
Stand and Deliver
When teaching this lesson, I asked my group if anyone had been in a job for 45 years. One hand went up. Then, how about being in a job where no one likes you and no one wants to hear what you have to say? That was Jeremiah. Jeremiah was called by God to speak to his people, in approximately 626 BC. He spent the next 45 years calling out his people and proclaiming the wages of sin. This was not a message the people wanted or appreciated. In the end, Jeremiah would die, having been kidnapped, as a captive in a foreign land. Despite the personal toll, Jeremiah remained faithful to his call. Through the rejection, despair, and hostility, Jeremiah carried out his mission. What can we Christians learn for his example?
Modern Day Prophets
We are living in a world of moral relativism. God’s message of love, through Jesus Christ, is now considered hate speech. Even today, we remain a people with an unpopular message that is attempting to be silenced. How do we respond? What can we learn from Jeremiah’s calling?
In the course of Jeremiah 1, God makes four promises: 1) Being reluctant to speak the name of the Lord in the face of skeptics leads to more fear and marginalization; 2) Opposition will be real; 3) Those who are faithful will prevail; and 4) If you are faithful, you will know the presence of the Lord, and He will rescue you.
I am of the firm belief that as the church has attempted to conform to culture, the more culture has declined. By almost any metric, the number of self-identified Christians is falling. The number of unaffiliated and atheist continue to rise. The speed at which these numbers are changing seems to be directly correlated to disengagement and conformity by the church.
Christians live in fear of being labeled racists, sexists, bigots, homophobes, etc. The reluctance to speak the truth of the Word has led to fear and marginalization. Christians face real opposition to His message. However, in the face of the opposition, God commands us to be strong. Jeremiah 1:17-19:
“Now get ready. Stand up and tell them everything that I command you. Do not be intimidated by them or I will cause you to cower before them. Today, I am the one who has made you a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land-against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the population. They will fight against you but never prevail over you, since I am with you to rescue you.”
I like to think of these verses as God’s “Cowboy Up” speech. With God’s help, His message of hope and love will prevail.
Of Hope and Love
The message we are called to deliver today is the hope and love of Jesus Christ. Is it, at times, an unpopular message? Yes. Is salvation through Jesus Christ an exclusionary message? Yes. Will this message be offensive to some? Yes. Just because the answers are yes, does not mean we should refrain from sharing The Truth. And, what is The Truth?
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6-7
Therefore, proclaim it loudly and without fear. Proclaim it with love. We are called to share the Good News with the world. God has fortified us and we will prevail if we allow Him to strengthen us. Some things are more important than Donald Trump’s tweets, the republican and democrat lies, and celebrity gossip. Salvation hangs in the balance. This is the greatest calling of all.
Video: What is a Classical Liberal?
A short video making the point that the Left is no longer Liberal, having traded individualism for collectivism.
In one of their first animated video shorts, the Rubin Report discusses the vitally important topic of just who is a Classical Liberal.
OUR FIRST ANIMATED VIDEO! What is a Classical Liberal?
Liberalism has been confused with Leftism or progressivism, which is actually has nothing to do with classical Liberalism. Sadly the Left is no longer Liberal at all for it has traded individualism for collectivism.
The Rubin Report
Published on Jul 10, 2018
$.02: When is it OK to quit church?
Chris Sonsken of South Hills Church and founder Church BOOM penned a piece on Fox News that caught my attention on Twitter. It was a good column. Read the article here. The article addressed a Pew Research finding as to why people change churches. There finding as shown by Sonsken are:
- Sermon quality
- Welcoming environment/people
- Style of worship
Sonsken does a great job in arguing that there are biblically sound reasons for leaving a church and finding a new one.
1. It’s OK to leave if God calls us to leave.
2. It’s OK to leave for family and marriage.
3. It’s OK to leave a church if you have moved too far away to conveniently drive to your church.
4. It’s OK to leave if you cannot follow the church’s leadership.
5. It’s OK to leave if heresy is being preached.
Sonsken even mentions that unethical practices like abuse are reasons to leave, though not the norm for the majority of church swapping.
The reasons Sonsken gave are no cause for disagreement, and I’m sure his book Quit Church probably better articulates them.
Where I want to add my two sense on the matter is that I disagree with his assessment sermon quality is not a biblical reason for changing churches. The supposition that sermon quality is inherently a result of the person treating church like an object of consumption, as Sonsken suggests is not true. I believe sermon quality is an umbrella term for several reasons for not liking a Sunday message.
Too often people leave a church because of disagreement, not getting their way, or because the sermons are no longer deep enough. Often when we dig into the reason the sermons are not deep enough, it ultimately goes back to the person being offended or not having their faulty theologies endorsed from the pulpit. The same pastor who was previously deep enough becomes shallow once there is an offense. It’s incredibly difficult to hear from God in a sermon when we are offended by the person delivering the sermon.
This is true in many cases. A sin that is personal gets preached on and the offended party leaves. I don’t deny this to be the case. But I believe we should look deeper into the current trends of worship and focus on the mission of the church.
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-21 ESV
The church is to preach the gospel, but people accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior is only part of the mission. The Church is tasked with making disciples. The church is meant to teach. Not every follower is at the same level in their spiritual maturity or theological depth. Some churches, larger churches in particular dumb down the bible. In public education, this would be seen as lowering the bar. In church this practice could hold back believers in their growth. Small groups are a way to supplement this, and every church should employ bible study as a means to grow discipleship.
Many churches now are focused on metrics. This can lead to theologically watered down sermons and worship. Why risk offending that person who may leave with a sermon? But if a church is more focused on using a Sunday message to give a motivational speech using an out of context passage, what does it matter if they are doctrinally sound (in their written beliefs)?
There are a lot of heretical churches in America. We have issues like gay marriage to separate the sheep from the goats. But what about the sheep that suck? If a church has the right doctrine but is more focused on metrics than the power of the Holy Spirit, their head is in the wrong place. So it is biblically sound to change churches so that your head to remains in the right place.
That is not treating church like a consumer product. That is treating church like one’s means to grow spiritually, better recognizing the mission of the Great Commission.
That is my $.02 on the matter. I hope I added some meaningful word to this topic.
This post was originally publishd on Startup Christ. Startup Christ is a website for business and theology articles and columns.
Video: So, You Think You’re Tolerant?
Leftists like to fancy themselves as being tolerant and Liberal, but they fall way short in both qualities.
Leftists will tell you that they are the most tolerant people who have ever lived, they will also scream at you for being a racist, xenophobic troglodyte if you happen to mention that you’re a conservative. They are supposedly ‘Liberal’, being in favour of Liberty while demanding it’s polar opposite – socialism.
Yes, if there is one constant in the universe, its that Leftists cannot be honest about who they truly are. This is what we love about our wonderful opponents on the nation’s socialist Left, for they are nothing like another group that went by the same nomenclature who also screamed at people in the streets with the motto: Common Good Before Individual Good. [Gemeinnutz vor Eigennutz]
But let’s not talk about the epithets they project on their enemies, let’s talk about how they get along with everyone who just happens to agree with everything they say. A new PragerU video featuring Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report looked at who is really tolerant. He is a true Liberal that discovered that it is actually the Pro-Liberty Right that is more tolerant, go figure.
Jul 9, 2018
Are you tolerant? You probably think so. But who is tolerant in America today? Is it those on the left, or those on the right? In this video, Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report analyzes this question and shares his experience.