An open letter to Phil Robertson


Let me start by saying I love you.

Not in the oh-my-goodness-your-show-is-amazing-and-your-family-is-awesome-and-I’m-so-glad-you-guys-are-Christians-I’m-a-huge-fan kind of way. I truly love you. Just like everyone else on this planet, you were created in the image of God. Before the foundations of the world, God said, “Yeah, I want that guy.” He knew exactly what you would look like if He moved in and enveloped every empty space of your being. He loves us all that much.

I’m not writing this letter to debate your relationship with God. That is entirely between the two of you. We are all the stewards of our own hearts. You’re a public figure, maybe even a celebrity to some extent, so it’s impossible for me or anyone else to know what your walk of salvation is all about. People like to judge you for the things you say and point out that we will know you by your fruit. While that is true, the whole point of the verses in Matthew 7 isn’t about the fruit, but making the tree good.

16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

People spend so much time trying to make the fruit good, when the problem is the tree. If the tree is good, the fruit has no other option than to be good as well. It’s just an automatic by-product.

Everyone is loved by God. That list includes terrorists, homosexuals, murderers, drug dealers, and atheists. If there was one person throughout all of time who had the right to hate anyone, it was Jesus. He lived a perfect life on Earth and did nothing but help people. He healed them, saved them, fed them, and always showed compassion. Yet, while the blood poured out of His body and He hung there slowly dying, He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Walking in unconditional love means exactly that. It doesn’t mean abusing the word love with an excuse that it’s our job to point point out someone’s mistakes and faults. Your recent statements speak volumes to your feelings towards atheists. It truly breaks my heart. God doesn’t see them as atheists. He sees them for their created value, potential, and destiny. He knows what they look like with Him living inside, and He loves that view.

We should also love that view.

When we become born again, we give up all rights to live for ourselves. We have no right to judge anyone. The more we hold onto our “rights”, the less we die to self and follow Jesus. People say we deserve this, or we deserve that. If we truly want what we deserve, we can go to Hell. That’s what we all deserve, but God longed to have His children back, so He sent Jesus to pay the ultimate price for our reconciliation. We now have the ministry of reconciliation, not judgement.

Mercy triumphs over judgement.

I hope this letter doesn’t come across as me trying to correct you. That’s not the intent. I want to encourage you to press more into Jesus every day. We don’t need to make controversial statements to get attention. When we enter into relationship with our Father, nothing else matters. We are complete in Him. He loves us with a perfect, selfless, undeniable love.

Let’s love others in that very same fashion.

I’m Sorry


I normally only publish on Mondays, but this is something that has been weighing heavily on my heart. I took a month off of Facebook and other social media apps. It was pretty awesome. Nothing legalistic or depriving myself of things as a religious fast. I just wanted a break. On a daily basis, we are bombarded with ads, opinions, and millions of people trying to prove their point/beliefs/convictions to the world. I see hurt, anger, and frustration on a daily basis. This is my apology to those who have been hurt, abused, or cast aside in the name of Christianity.

If our job was to beat people down in judgement, Jesus would have applauded the plank in our hands instead of pointing out the one in our eye.

Dear You,

I wanted to take a minute to just simply say, I’m sorry. 

I’ve been there. I’ve been the one to rant and complain about your actions without explaining the truth about your created value, purpose, or destiny. I’ve used the defense that, as a Christian, it’s my job to tell you the truth. I’ve heaped guilt and condemnation upon your head by abusing the word love. I’ve preached at you with the selfish motive of trying to change you. To point out how wrong your lifestyle is. 

I’ve completely discounted your views and beliefs because they are opposite of mine. I’ve called you names, argued your every point, and even decided to wash my hands of you, because you aren’t worth saving. I’ve said things like “Remove all negative people from your life” or “Life is short, don’t waste it with negative people” or even “You cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life.” Thankfully, Jesus never thought that way.

I’ve stood outside abortion clinics with huge signs that read, “Mommy, why do they want to kill me?” and “Babies are murdered here.” I saw you walking towards the entrance, and I tried to stop you. Not to say “I love you”, and show you how merciful our God is, but to shout in your face and call you a baby killer. Instead of seeing tears running down the face of an unsure, terrified, shamed, teenage girl, all I see is my agenda. All I care about is making sure you know how wrong your choices are. 

On social media, I’ve posted every scripture verse I can find that speaks against same-sex marriages. I’ve boycotted your stores, products, and creations because you’re gay. I’ve turned my nose up at the very mention of the word homosexual. I’ve seen you walking in the mall hand in hand with your partner, and made a point of glaring at you in disdain. I’ve closed the door to my church and drafted new guidelines that prohibit your presence. I’ve repeatedly enforced my belief that you will most certainly burn in Hell if you don’t repent and change your ways. I’ve scoffed, mocked, and ridiculed you as much as I can through statuses, comments, and blog posts. 

Even though the Bible says to pray for our leaders, I’ve constantly attacked, belittled, complained about, and called you a devil worshiper, Mr. President. Instead of praying that God would quietly speak to your heart and show you His grace and mercy, I’ve made sure to convince all my friends that you are truly an evil man. I’ve verbally attacked the people who voted for you and believe you are a great leader of this country. I make it known that I only vote Republican and look down on anyone who disagrees. 

Again, I am very sorry for the severe injustice I’ve served you by not manifesting the glorious love of Jesus. Even while I was lost in darkness and living a life of death and destruction,  Jesus died on that Cross for me. He died for you as well. Don’t let my actions push you away from a loving God who wants a relationship. Forgive me, and give me the opportunity to love you, unconditionally.

Sincerely,

The judgmental Christian

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After a full day of attacking baby killers, thieves, drug dealers, drunk drivers, atheists, devil worshipers, prostitutes, terrorists, and homosexuals, most “Christians” will lay down at night and thank God that He saved them and they aren’t like any of those people. They will sleep peacefully, knowing their names are written in the Book of Life. Then, they will wake up tomorrow and make sure the entire world knows they are a Christian.

We aren’t here waiting for a bus ride into Heaven.

We’re here to love.

Passive Christianity


I want to get real with you today. No over-used cliches, catchy one-liners, or bumper sticker theology.

I had a blog post about faith and fear all lined up and ready to publish this morning. Then I watched a video yesterday from Todd White, and knew I needed to post something different. We’ll save the other one for next week.

I have so many things rattling around inside that I don’t even know where to start.

I’m tired of being a passive Christian. Let’s start with that. I believe Jesus paid a very high price to reconcile us back to the Father. What does that mean exactly? It means we can once again be in right standing with God. Back in the Garden as if we had never missed the mark. It means He didn’t pay that price so we can play church, sit around waiting to be swept into Heaven, or keep the amazing news of the Gospel all to ourselves.

My wife and I had a brief taste of what truly being a Christian is all about. I wrote about it HERE 

We were out there talking to people, praying for the sick, helping others. It was amazing. Then something happened. We allowed ourselves to get comfortable again, and all of that got placed on the back burner. We once again became passive. We started to get back to the old patterns of being concerned with just ourselves and our own little world. The flame that was ignited and began to burn brightly returned to being a dull ember.

And it sucks, to put it plainly. I tell my girls not to use that word, so let’s just keep it as our secret.

What are we doing? Are we so obsessed with our own lives, that we have forgotten why Jesus died? I don’t want to be standing in front of my King on THAT day and see someone I know in the other line that doesn’t lead through the pearly gates. Especially knowing I could have shared Jesus with them. We aren’t here to chase people down and beat them in the head with a Bible.

We’re here to plant seeds. We’re here to be a light. We’re here to love people.

All God is asking us to do is give up something that we were never created to be in the first place. Why is that so hard? He didn’t create us for us. He created us for Him. Satan has used our self, our flesh, to keep us from an intimate relationship with our Creator.

Jesus didn’t say deny satan and follow me. He said deny our self.

Last week, I heard a very well known pastor say God allows us to endure hardships in order to teach us lessons. That is simply not true. There was no mention of the enemy who roams around trying to devour us. No talk about how only good things come from above. Not even a tiny side note about our identity in Christ and how amazing God is as a father. It was all about God doing this or allowing that. Basically, God on trial.

If what the pastor said is true, why would we be given power and authority from God? Why would He say pray for the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons? We would be left wondering if God was trying to teach us something through the hardships. What would be the point in anything? “Well, I lost my job and my wife ran out on me. God must be trying to teach me something.”

NO. STOP IT. The enemy is trying to devour you and wants you to blame God.

Sadly, this mindset is being preached in most churches today. Well, at least the ones I’ve visited or watched online. And I believe it’s causing a lot of people to be passive.

Faith isn’t running to God when everything goes to hell. It’s a daily relationship with our Father. Even when we don’t “feel” it. We live by faith, not feelings.

If we don’t push all our chips to the center of the table and go all-in with God, we can’t possibly follow Jesus. Being a Christian isn’t about escaping this earth for a promised Heaven. It’s about waking up every single day and becoming love to everyone around us. We can’t say Jesus has our heart but hold back our life from Him.

If you are a Christian and you’ve got a problem with this person or that person, let me tell you something. It’s not them. It’s you. You’re the issue. I’m not saying they didn’t do some bad stuff to you, but their stuff shouldn’t have the power to potter and mold you.

If we become free from our self, then we are free from everyone else. Our war isn’t against people. Paul says to regard no one in the flesh any longer. We have to see people through the eyes of God.

I’m tired of being lukewarm and passive.

Who’s with me?

Time of Need


I’ve been working hard on my second collection of first-person Bible stories entitled, I Believe. Starting Monday, I am probably going to post just one article per week until I get this project finished. I really want to buckle down and have this available for sale within the next couple of months. One very cool note is that I was able to get an amazing blogger/author/pastor to write the foreword for me. I’ll post more details later.

I wanted to give you another sample from this new collection.

 

Time of Need

Every day of my life is filled with pain, torment, and a quickly fading sense of hope.

Sometimes, I don’t even try. There are so many here who are desperate for healing. I see mothers, holding small children in their arms, pleading for someone, anyone, to help them. I watch as husbands fight with reckless abandon for just a chance to have their wives healed, but that chance never arrives, and their efforts are in vain. Countless numbers of blind people wander around, hoping, praying they will one day regain their sight. It’s so sad.

On my worst days, I wonder if there was something I did to inflict this condition upon myself. I am unable to walk. I’ve been crippled for almost forty years. What was so horrible that I might have done to deserve such punishment? I fall into a darkened pit of self-pity, looking for anyone to blame for my situation. Then I stop myself and look at the obvious.

If God was the cause of my affliction, why would He send an angel to stir the pool so the sick could be healed? When the waters are aggravated, the first one to step in is instantly cured of their illness. That doesn’t sound like an angry or hateful God to me. It sounds like a God who wants to take care of the people He created. It sounds like a God of love and compassion.

Over the years, I’ve watched as blind people stepped out of the churning waters and saw their loved ones for the first time. Some had children, and they were overcome with joy as if their son or daughter had just been born into the world. All they could do was stare in wonder and amazement. Then they would all cry and laugh together in celebration of a miracle.

I’ve witnessed lepers hesitantly step out of the pool as if they couldn’t believe what had happened. Having for so long been shunned and abandoned as the outcasts of society, I’ve watched them break down in tears as they experienced the warmth of a hug again. The touch of another human being. Smiles from those walking by instead of fearful and hesitant glances.

And then there have been others, like me, who were unable to walk. They were eased into the moving water by those anxious to see a miracle, but stepped out under their power. I know it’s wrong and selfish, but I always wish it were me instead. I’ve tried so many times to make it into the water. I get so close, but then someone steps in front of me and becomes healed right before my eyes. I’ve dealt with so much bitterness, but I’ve started to realize I may never walk again. Maybe I should just accept the situation, and quit fighting it.

Where would I go? I have no close family. I don’t have any friends. No one wants to hang around a person if they can’t walk. It only slows them down when they want to do something. I discovered early on that certain people don’t want anything to do with you if you have nothing to offer. It’s sad because most people don’t even take the time to get to know me. Outward appearances shouldn’t matter, but, unfortunately, they do. They see a cripple, someone with a serious need, and that becomes awkward. To engage in conversation might require more than just a casual hello.

To be continued…

 

Do we truly want it all?


I don’t want to admit this, but I will. I’m all about being open and transparent with my readers. You aren’t going to Google me and find a skeleton party in my closet. I want to be honest with you.

I love Golden Corral.

There. I said it out loud. Whew. That wasn’t nearly as difficult as I imagined inside my head. I’m a sucker for an all you can eat buffet. GC, Chinese, pizza, etc.

I love the variety that a buffet offers. It’s usually impossible, but I try to get a little taste of everything. In the past, I would polish off four plates and not think anything of it. These days, however, I stop myself at two. I’m in my forties now. I can’t eat like I used to. Don’t you just (insert verb of your choosing here) people who can eat all day long, and not gain an ounce? Tape worm or metabolism? I don’t know.

When it comes to the Gospel, Jesus makes it crystal clear what’s available to us as believers.

The Gospel isn’t a buffet where we pick and choose what we want, and discard the rest. 

Why would we not want it all? Christianity is divided into so many different denominations, doctrines, and beliefs, that’s it’s impossible to keep up with them all. Most times, each church or ministry has one main focus. They operate in one small portion of the Gospel.

Some are driven to help the poor.

Some focus on discipleship.

Some on healing.

Some have deliverance ministries.

Some completely ignore the gifts of the Spirit.

Some preach the Bible, but stay away from Holy Spirit.

Some chase after signs and wonders.

If those of us, who call ourselves Christians, can’t even agree with each other, why would a non-believer want anything to do with what we say we have?

In Mark 16:17-18, Jesus says this:

And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.

And in John 14:12-13, He says:

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

What did Jesus do while on the Earth?

Healed the sick. Made the lame walk. Cast out demons. Raised the dead.

I don’t know what He means by “greater things”, but I want in.

There’s a catch, though. I know why everyone is not on board with all of these things.

Too often, we base faith on our experiences and not on the words from Scripture that were penned in red. 

We might pray for someone to be healed, and they aren’t. We say healing isn’t for today.

We beg, plead, and lay hands on a still child, but they don’t come back to life. We say raising the dead is absurd.

We command evil spirits to leave someone, but nothing happens. We say casting out demons doesn’t work.

We quote Biblical promises, post them on our Facebook and Twitter all day long, and believe they are true, but yet we don’t truly believe the very words that Jesus spoke.

It doesn’t matter what we have or haven’t seen. None of that changes the truth of God’s Word.

Faith isn’t receiving news that a loved one has cancer, freaking out in fear, and then begging God to do something. Faith is knowing that even when someone we love is stricken with a horrible disease, the Gospel doesn’t change. It’s knowing that only good things come from above. It’s knowing that the enemy is here to kill, steal, and destroy.

And it’s believing that we have the power inside of us that raised our Savior from the darkened tomb.

Let’s seek first righteousness and His Kingdom. Let’s walk in faith. Let’s do it all together

But, that was Jesus


Stop saying that!

We use the phrase as an excuse when we don’t see things happen.

Jesus was a human, born of woman, grew from a child to a man, got baptized by John the Baptist, and left the Jordan River filled with the Holy Spirit. Then he modeled the Christian life for 3 years. He said to follow Him, so I know it’s possible.

In John 14:12, Jesus said:

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

He didn’t say only a few would do those works. He said whoever believes. That’s all of us, Church. He didn’t say give it a shot and see what happens. He didn’t say try it, and if it doesn’t work, don’t ever try it again.

No, He said if we believe in Him, we will do the things He did, and greater.

I don’t know about you, but I want that. All of it.

Just because we don’t see the results we were looking for, it doesn’t change the truth of His words.

Faith is looking past our experiences and believing the words written in red are true.

Believers gotta stop freaking out


This was my Facebook status earlier today.

Why should it truly matter if people say Xmas or Happy Holidays? If we’re fighting that, it just reveals that we are moved by what people do or say. Stop shouting “Keep Christ in Christmas” and “He is the reason for the season.” If we’re saying those things while judging others, our witness is a big fat zero. Live a life that demonstrates God is on the throne of your heart. Walk in love.

As believers, we get so caught up in what this world is doing, that we tend to forget about why we’re actually in the world.

In Matthew 24, Jesus talks about the end of the world, the last days. Verse 12 says,

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

I’ve always assumed that verse is talking about people who aren’t saved.

What if He’s talking about believers?

It’s a very sobering thought. In simple terms, “iniquity shall abound” means there will be a lot of sin. Well, look around. It’s pretty obvious that’s happening.

And the more people sin, the more judgement they receive. And sadly, it’s usually from those claiming to be Christians.

It’s becoming less and less shocking to read through comments about a controversial topic on someone’s blog, and the worst remarks are left by Christians. Argumentative, arrogant, holier than though, and sometimes just straight up spewing hate towards others.

It’s sad.

We spend so much time being right, that we forget God has created us to love people.

I brought up some points on Tuesday with my post, Stop trying to prove God exists.

We have to stop taking things so personal. We act as if  homosexuals, atheists, Buddhists, and agnostics are our problem. News flash: THEY AREN’T. Our biggest problem is us. We have to get over us, and follow Jesus.

If God acted like us and allowed everything bad on this Earth to affect Him, He would be a complete basket case. I’m pretty sure He would have to be admitted to a psych ward. He isn’t capable of freaking out, not just because He’s God, but because He is love.

If we are walking in relationship with our Father, we aren’t going to care what people say or do. It shouldn’t ruffle our feathers or influence our attitude in any way. We don’t have to jump on the boycott bandwagon or write a million letters to our senator.

If you squeeze an orange, you are going to get orange juice. If you squeeze an apple, apple juice. Too often, a Christian gets squeezed, and everything but Jesus comes out. Hurt, anger, frustration, judgement.

Let’s not allow ourselves to be hurt by the world. Let’s hurt for the world, and show them Jesus.

Stop trying to prove God exists


Not sure if these are going up everywhere, but here in the South, there are some billboards appearing that are causing quite a stir. The one I’ve seen people talking most about shows a girl writing a letter to Santa. It says, “Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is to skip church. I’m too old for fairy tales.”

Christians are going crazy about it. Arguing and fighting on Facebook, Twitter, and all other social media. It’s so sad. Why does something like this get believers in such a frenzy?

This is one of the main reasons Christians get bashed. Arguing, fighting, judging people over silly stuff like this.

There are several reasons I believe this is so silly.

1) We don’t need to prove that God exists. 

If we could prove the existence of God to everyone, there would be no need for faith. We aren’t supposed to live by feelings, but by faith. We can’t allow what people don’t see to influence what we do see. It’s that simple. We prove it by walking it out.

2) Debating with unbelievers only causes more division.

I used to argue and debate with people all the time on social media. In the last year or so, I’ve come to understand that I was only doing those things to prove something. I would fight to be right. That’s crazy. My life is no longer mine. I was bought with a price. I don’t have rights anymore. It’s called denying myself and becoming love. Arguments and judgement don’t bring people to Christ. Love does.

3) We shouldn’t be so easily offended.

This is related to number two above. The Bible says to be imitators of God. God is love. We are to become love. Love is plainly defined in 1 Corinthians 13. One of the big attributes is that love doesn’t seek it’s own. Or as the Message version says, “Love cares more for others than for self.” We would only be offended with something like this if we’re still holding onto our self, our flesh. How can something that has died be offended, hurt, or moved in any way? Do we think God is up there on the throne rocking back and forth, biting His nails, and trying to figure out what to do about these billboards? Of course not. Then why should we?

4) We need to live the Gospel.

For too long, the world has heard what we believe. It’s time we start showing them. If we’re fighting with everyone, why would anyone want what we say we have? Christians are known more for what they stand against, than Who they stand for. And by that, I don’t mean we have to picket, boycott, or fight against anything that isn’t Christian. If we stand for Christ, we walk in love.

 

Church, we need to redeem the time because the days are evil. Is our time better spent arguing over billboards, lifestyles, and evolution, or giving Jesus to everyone we meet?

Let’s stop the debates. We know Who God is and what He’s done for us. We don’t have to prove that to the world.

We just need to love the world.

Why?


Why are we so consumed with how the media, government, and atheists treat Christianity?

Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood. At the Cross, Jesus said “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

The same applies today.

Until they become born again and renew their minds, they have no idea what they’re doing. They are lost sons and daughters for whom Heaven went bankrupt for. God wanted His kids to come home.

Don’t let what they don’t see influence what you do see.

Let’s walk out true Christianity and give people what we say we have.

Stop waiting on God


This world is a mess. There is no denying that fact.

My heart broke last night as I watched some of the rioting in Ferguson after the announcement of the grand jury’s decision.

It broke for the protesters who were burning cars, looting stores, and shooting guns. It broke for the parents of Michael Brown. It broke for Darren Wilson and his family. This incident changed all their lives forever. I’m not here to debate about whether or not the system failed, and who should or shouldn’t be blamed. I’m here to talk about us.

I see so many Christians pleading with God, wondering why He hasn’t come, asking for intervention, searching for signs of the end times. We have to stop doing that.

He has given us authority. If we are believers, His Spirit lives inside of us. If we were meant to just walk around the planet wondering when God is going to do something, then answer me this:

Why do we have the power of life and death in our tongue?

Why did God say people perish for a lack of knowledge?

Why would we reap what we sow?

Sounds to me like we’ve been given power and authority. This world is ruled by the devil. It’s his domain. We are basically living in Hell on Earth. Sin and death are all around us. We need to redeem the time and stop wondering when Christ is coming back. If we are praying for His return just for an escape from all this evil, then it’s all about us, and we’ve completely missed the entire point of the Gospel.

Jesus said to deny ourselves and follow Him. He didn’t sit around in fear, praying God would hurry up and beam Him back up into Heaven. He healed the sick. He gave hope to the hopeless. He fed the hungry. He raised the dead. He loved the unlovable. He left a legacy on this Earth that we are to follow.

Let’s quit being so Heavenly minded, that we are Earthly bummers.

Let’s be so Heavenly minded, that we are Earthly amazing, and people want what we have.

This reminds me of the line from Matthew West’s song, Do Something.

So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”

We were created to manifest the image of God, which is total, complete, unconditional love. And it starts with the person standing right in front of us.

Stop waiting on God, and start becoming like Him.