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Courage is not Bruce Jenner

This article was found at this web address: http://theveritasnetwork.org/2015/06/02/courage-is-not-bruce-jenner/#more-10022

I wanted to share it here, on this blog.  Read on:


 

Courage is not Bruce Jenner

June 2, 2015 by Greg Gibson

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the media onslaught of the Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn Jenner) cover story in Vanity Fair.

This has been a media storm in the making for the past few weeks; however, it was just released yesterday that ESPN would jump on the sails of this storm and make Jenner the headline of their upcoming annual ESPY Awards.  I’m not trying to add to the onslaught, or be an evangelical voice gagging in the wind of this news.  No.  Not my intention at all.

I want to challenge ESPN, and everyone who will listen, on what courage actually is.

FIRST, DON’T FORGET THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE.

I first heard the news yesterday as my family was preparing for dinner.  SportCenter was on in the background, and I heard the news that Jenner would receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for the courage “to be herself” and change her identity.  I immediately had two responses:  Shock and speechlessness.

I was, first of all, shocked that ESPN would be reporting this on SportCenter—a family friendly television program.  This announcement from ESPN is coming directly into my home, directly into the ears of my family and children, and directly into our living room.  What I think would be family-friendly sports became a classic case of the medium becoming the message.  ESPN is jumping on the bandwagon of using every medium to host this conversation.  Just the other day, I’m watching a Harry Potter movie marathon on ABC Family (because HP is awesome), and a commercial comes on for a new show about a transgender dad and how this family is now coping with the gender change of the family’s patriarch.  Again, this is on ABC family.  I’m shocked.  I can’t even watch good ol’ Harry without seeing the medium becoming the message.

I was speechless at this announcement because of the use of the word “courage” to define this person’s actions.  This is one thing with which I have no words.  Farewell ESPN.  Farewell any respect from true sports fans.  Farewell any allegiance to your brand.  Farewell.

I’m not saying this to be the Christian who boycotts anything and everything gender related when I don’t see eye to eye with the announcement.  And I’m sure I’ll watch ESPN all of the time.  I mean, seriously, they are hosting the NBA Finals in a few days.  But when it comes to respectable sports journalism, farewell brothers and sisters—if you had anything left in that world, you don’t anymore.

Your definition of “courage” has left me speechless.

For ESPN, the medium truly has become the message.  As I sit and listen to SportsCenter, and attempt to be entertained by the athletic prowess of athletes (male and female alike), I bombarded with their attempt to bring in a message that has nothing to do with sports.

COURAGE IS SELFLESS, NOT SELF-FOCUSED.

As ESPN has now defined “courage” as a man’s decision to become a female, my heart continually sinks into my chest.  I want to weep for our country, but I can’t.  I’m still in shock.  I want to plead with people to see the sin and depravity in this type of thing, but my flesh wants to fight… and defend the truth of the imago Dei.  I want to act like Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane.  I’m ready to fight, but the Spirit reminds me to pray.

The imago Dei is a latin phrase which means “image of God.”  This is, at its core, an attack on God’s greatest and most prized possession—humanity itself.

May we remember that courage is not self-focused, as the world news and ESPN wants us to believe.  “Oh, how brave it was for her to truly be herself,” they say.  Even the first tweet by Caitlyn Jenner was self-focused, talking more about how this gender transformation has made her “feel.”  Friends, this is not courage.  This is a far cry from it.  This is self-exaltation masked in the rhetoric of a popular magazine cover story, and ESPN is jumping on the bandwagon coining it as “courage.”  This is far from true courage.

[True] Courage is selfless, not self-centered.  Not self-focused.  Not self-exalting.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is a young family moving across the world to become missionaries so the nations might know Him.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is someone **standing outside of an abortion clinic pleading with people for life.

 ** my comments added here.: (-This can be done in a peaceful way, but I must admit there have been times when protesters outside of abortion clinics have been less than civil and less than  Christian in their behavior…  just pointing out the truth.)  ** my comments added here.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is Jim Elliot and 4 other missionary friends giving their lives to take the gospel to the Auca Indian tribe of Ecuador.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is a mom who forgoes a career to stay at home with her children.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is a young dad who forgoes his hobbies to be home every night he can to be emotionally, spiritually, and physically present in his home.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is a young barista standing up for Truth in her coffee shop.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is a young high school student standing up for Truth in his biology class.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is a mom and dad attempting to parent their teenager to pursue dating, sex, and marriage differently—to date different.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is a young couple standing against the tide of culture and intentionally pursuing marriage at a young age.

[True] Courage is many things, but it’s not Bruce Jenner.  What is often veiled in a post-Genesis 3 world, is glorious in eternity.  May we remind of ourselves of that truth.

[True] Courage is not self-focused, self-centered, or self-exalting.

REMEMBER, PURSUE TRUE COURAGE, AND PRAY FOR THE CONFUSED.

True courage is personified in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Where Adam failed in the Garden of Eden (and where the rest of humanity fails), Jesus flourished.  But it wasn’t a selfish act, or a self-exalting act.  It was a selfless act.  He died for the sin of humanity.  He gave his life for His Bride—the Church.  This is true courage.

Never forget the source, the wellspring, from which true courage pours like a summer storm.  It is only found in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then it bleeds into our lives as we abide in Him.

As we remind ourselves that there are brothers and sisters serving all over the world for the sake of the gospel, may we pray and become heartbroken for those who are confused.

My prayer is that the Church would not verbally dry-heave at this announcement.  My prayer is that She would be heartbroken.  May we not consume ourselves with the messages of this world.  May we not confuse the attempted symbiotic relationship of the message and medium with the True message.  Jesus is the hope of the world.  May we live this way.  May we pray towards that end.

And may we never forget what true “courage” is and what it isn’t.

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What Happened to Sin

I thought this author made some great points, so I wanted to share his article here on my blog.  Original article by:

In the opening paragraph of his book Whatever Became of Sin?, Karl Menninger, one of the founders of the famed Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, tells a funny but very significant story.

On a sunny day in September, 1972, a stern-faced, plainly dressed man could be seen standing still on a street corner in the busy Chicago Loop. As pedestrians hurried by on their way to lunch or business, he would solemnly lift his right arm, and pointing to the person nearest him, intone loudly the single word ‘GUILTY!’

Then, without any change of expression, he would resume his still stance for a few moments before repeating the gesture. Then, again, the inexorable raising of his arm, the pointing, and the solemn pronouncing of the one word ‘GUILTY!’

The effect of this strange accusatory pantomime on the passing strangers was extraordinary, almost eerie. They would stare at him, hesitate, look away, look at each other, and then at him again; then hurriedly continue on their ways.

One man, turning to another who was my informant, exclaimed: ‘But how did he know?’

The United States was founded primarily as a result of people wanting freedom of worship and fairness in government. There is no question that the United States was founded as a Christian nation.

For nearly two centuries the mainstream Protestant Churches and the Roman Catholic Church taught that man was guilty of sin and needed to repent. In the second quarter of the 20th century, liberal Protestantism began putting less emphasis on sin and the negatives of the Christian Faith and concentrating on the positives. In the 1950s, Norman Vincent Peale, famed minister of the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, concentrated on the power of positive thinking, which became the title of his bestselling blockbuster.

Peale asserted that by concentrating on the positive things of life one could overcome the many fears of failure and develop the self-confidence needed to capitalize on his/her true God given talents and achieve success. He was criticized by many theologians and medical doctors of preaching false hope, but he was enormously popular. He was followed by Robert Schuller, founder of the Chrystal Cathedral in Orange County, California.

Gradually, mainline Protestantism has concentrated on the positive aspects of the Christian Faith. It has been the evangelical churches that have continued to stress the sinfulness of the human race and the need for repentance.

Does it really make any difference in everyday life whether or not sin is focused on? My answer is a resounding “yes.” And here is why.

People around the world are suffering more now than at any time in my lifetime, and probably much longer: brutal religious wars resulting in human atrocities carried out by masked militants; long-lasting civil wars, accompanied by girls and young women being gang-raped with family members forced to watch; wars of words and armaments between nations of the Middle East, resulting in the loss of life and property, with refugees by the tens of thousands left homeless; disease that resists the marvels of today’s healing remedies; homelessness and poverty, even in well-established and wealthy nations; hunger; child abuse, resulting in scared lives that never heal; shootings in schools and on college campuses; overflowing prisons; racial violence; violent crimes; dishonesty in business and government; and the list goes on and on.

But the peoples of the world, including we who live in and love the United States, have become increasingly permissive and secular. I suspect that every reader of this column, and its writer, would respond in much the same as the man in the opening story: how did he know? And we probably would add, and who else may know. Know what? Our sins — sins we have managed to keep to ourselves. Little by little we have become accustomed to, and stopped finding fault with, sin — our own and the sin of others. We as a society do what we want, find ways to justify what we are doing, and ignore the consequences.

Think with me about the Ten Commandments: (1) You shall have no other gods before me. (2) You shall not make for yourself a graven image. (3) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. (4) Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. (5) Honor your father and your mother. (6) You shall not kill. (7) You shall not commit adultery. (8) You shall not steal. (9) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (10) You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife . . . or anything that is your neighbor’s. (Deuteronomy 5:6-21)

For those of you who are less religious, take a look at the last six commandments, starting with the fifth; they deal with how we treat one another. If we were to stress the importance of these, the sinfulness of violating them, and the need to repent if we do violate them — think what a different world this would be. Remember that “repent” is a military term that means “about face,” that is, turning around and going the other direction. Just saying “I’m sorry” is not enough! We need to change what we are doing.

Add to the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament the two Great Commandments of Jesus: (1) Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and (2) Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:28-31)

Many people today find fault with evangelical Christians, not wanting them to influence life, religion, or politics. But it’s time for us to turn back to our Judeo-Christian roots and spend more time and energy talking about the detrimental consequences of sin and our need as individuals and as a society, regardless of our personal religious convictions, to look to the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament and the two Great Commandments of the New Testament for direction and guidance in these chaotic times, even though it may not be politically correct.

What has happened to sin?


Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-b-bradshaw/what-happened-to-sin_b_5815160.html

 


The Battle-cry of the disciple of Christ

I read the following passage recently and it greatly resonated with me. It is based on Romans 1:16-17, which reads:

“16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

The passage below, written by Dr. Bob Moorehead should be the Battle-Cry of all those who claim to be disciples of Christ. Please read on:

“I am a part of the fellowship of the Unashamed. I have the Holy Spirit Power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.”
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking, miserly giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, praise, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first ,tops, recognized, commended, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by presence, learn by faith, love by patience, live by prayer, and labor by power.
My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, back up, let up, or shut up until I’ve preached up, prayed up, paid up, stored up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until He returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes.
And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My colors will be clear for: “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”

-Dr. Bob Moorehead

 

I am making every effort to make this my personal statement of my determination to know Christ, and make Him known.  Who will join me?


Knowing God’s Will by Greg Laurie

I found this in my reading today….it was just too good to pass up.  This is by Greg Laurie. Enjoy!

 

We have all asked the question at one time or another: How can I know the will of God? We wonder, does God still speak today? Is He interested in me as an individual? Does He indeed have a master plan for my life? If so, how do I discover it?
There are things we can do that will cause us to hear His voice more easily and to grasp His will more quickly. We are not just victims of chance, hoping that our luck won’t run out. We have our Creator, who has a special plan for each of our lives.

And just as God spoke to men and women in Scripture, He wants to speak to us today.

Of course, there are a lot of voices vying to be heard these days. There is the voice of our own conscience. There is the voice of our friends and loved ones. There is the voice of the devil. And of course, there is the voice of God.

Learning to know which is which is important. God has said that we can know His will and His way (see Genesis 18:17; Isaiah 30:21).

Jesus said, “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15 nkjv).

God wants to speak to you and guide you, but perhaps it seems like there is just an icy silence from heaven when you ask Him for direction in your life. In Romans 12:1–2, we find some prerequisites for God’s guidance:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (nkjv)

This passage contains what we call a conditional promise, and a great one it is. The promise is that you can know the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. The conditions are that: one, you must present yourself to Him as a living sacrifice; two, you must not be conformed to this world; and three, you must be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Notice the order. It doesn’t say you can know God’s will and then decide whether or not you want to offer yourself to Him. First, you surrender to Him. That is your part. Then God will do His.

First, we learn what we need to stop doing: Don’t be conformed to this world. The word “conformed” that Paul uses refers to the act of assuming an outward appearance that does not accurately reflect what is inside. In other words, Paul is saying, “Don’t masquerade as if you belong to the world.”

So much of this world’s thinking can cloud our reason as to the will of God. We need to remove the barriers to hearing His voice.

When he says we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, this could also be translated, “experience a metamorphosis.” We need to go through this process as our mind is renewed.

Our minds are going to be renewed and transformed as we spend time in fellowship with God and His people. When we saturate our lives and thoughts with the Word of God, then and only then will we know the will of God for our lives.

Let me (Shannon) interject here: I have another example of a conditonal promise found in the bible: 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Ths is a very familiar passage, but it also proves what Greg is saying:  if we first humble ourselves, then pray, then seek God’s face, then we repent

THEN
          God will hear our prayers, forgive our sins and heal our broken land.  If you think about it, I’m sure you can come up wth more conditional promises in the bible…Ok, enough from me: back to Greg’s Devotional:

The Psalmist said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105 nkjv). One of the clearest ways to discover God’s will for your life is in the pages of Scripture.

Knowing what the Bible says and saturating yourself in it will help you discover the will of God for your life. Neglect of it will cause you to not know the will of God for your life.

Sometimes, knowing the will of God will be easy, but sometimes it will be more difficult. Remember, God’s Spirit will always work through God’s Word.

Don’t just wait for impressions. Study the Bible, and His Spirit will lead you through His Word to understand it in its proper context. And with all of that in mind, after you’ve prayed, then make your decision.


Believing God by Grey Laurie

In my reading today, I came across this devotional by Greg Laurie.  I thought it had a great and profound message, so I decided to use his devotional for today’s post.  Like we talked about in LifePointe on Sunday night: Who is it that will say that we can’t reach the men in our church, our community, and our nation?  It’s the Devil, our enemy and HE IS A LIAR! 

Enjoy Pastor Laurie’s devotional and everyone have a wonderful day.  I’m praying for you…and please pray for our men’s ministry!

-Shannon

 

Believing God July 1, 2010 –

“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” —Hebrews 11:6
There always will be people who will tell you that you are going to fail, that you never will amount to anything. I had a teacher who wrote on my report card, “Greg Laurie will never amount to anything, because all he does is sit in class all day long and look out the window and daydream and draw cartoons.” Was it true that I did those things? Absolutely. But I wasn’t real encouraged when I read what my teacher wrote on my report card.

Yet throughout my ministry I have heard the same kind of things. I was 20 years old when we started what is known today as Harvest Christian Fellowship, and people said, “You can’t start a church. You are too young. That will never work. You are not qualified.” Later, when we started our crusade ministry, people said, “Oh, that won’t work. Crusades are over with. No one wants to go to crusades anymore.” Everything we have done, we have had our opposition and our naysayers. In fact at this point in life, I have come to expect it. If I don’t get opposition I wonder what is wrong. Where are the critics? Where are the people telling us we can’t do this?

I am not advocating false bravado. I am not saying that we should be presumptuous. But I am saying that as followers of Christ, we should take some steps of faith and see what God will do. I would rather try and fail than never try at all.

Some people always will be critical and throw a wet blanket on everything. And sadly for those people, things seldom happen. But for the ones who are willing to take the risks, God can do some pretty amazing things. What risk is He asking you to take today?

Copyright © 2010 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.