Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rethink: Judgment

Judgment is kind of a scary word in the Christian World. It's very Taboo! Some people use it to do unimaginable horrors in "God's" name as well as cowardly avoid what God has for them by refusing to make choices.

So where does this leave us? Where do we fall on this pendulum of Christian thought? Is there a happy median between killing people or looking down on people and just ignoring people's sin b/c we don't want to judge? Absolutely there is! We have spent generations learning and being taught that God doesn't want us to stand up for ourselves, and we were taught wrong. Now a word of warning before you re-read that last sentence and begin judging; God is the supreme Judge and when He returns He'll definitely be doing the judging for everything.

So we've been taught that we just sit in our happy little church buildings and when someone says something just keep our mouths shut because if we say anything then we're being judgmental and God teaches us not to. Here is the verse from Matthew that is often misused for this.

Matthew 7: 1-6

Do Not Judge Others

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others.[a] The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.[b]

3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye[c] when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend,[d] ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

6 “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy.[e] Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

So it clearly says that we shouldn't Judge but it also says you'll be treated the way you treat says the standard you use to judge will be applied to you. So what if God is saying not to mistreat people for what they are doing! That changes a few things doesn't it? What if our idea of judging isn't the same as what we think? Seems that God wants us to treat others well. This idea leads right into Jesus talking about the greatest commandment in Matthew 22. If God wants us to love above all else, maybe treating others by talking to them about sin is love. God seems very clear that we should deal with our own sin before helping someone else with theirs.

So lets rethink Judgment. What if our idea of judgment isn't correct and it's more about treatment of the person with their sin than deciding and condemning the person for it. It's a good thought and worth the rethink!

God Rocks, JW

Monday, October 08, 2012

Rethink: The Trump Statement

Today I was reading an article by Johnny Moore based on Donald Trump's visit to Liberty University. It make me think about my last post, and I wanted to share what was said here. It helps prove my point, but in a more eloquent way. Enjoy!

"I inadvertently stirred up quite a theological controversy. I happened to, in a sense, agree with Donald Trump when he advised the Liberty University student body to “not let people take advantage of them.”

Instead, he said, “get even.”

Or, in its greater oratorical context, “Be tough. In the end – win.” At least, that’s how I, and lots of other people, took it. I didn’t assume that “getting even” had to imply mal intent; I interpreted the phrase through my own evangelical worldview, and I understood that within the dog-eat-dog world of corporate America you have to be fiercely determined, and competitive, to be successful. I do not believe that success is a sin.

Of course, as a Bible-believing evangelical, I do not believe that Christians should treat people maliciously, take revenge or fight with others arbitrarily. I believe we should show extraordinary restraint. But, when someone asked me if I thought God would “get even” with people, I decided to make a nuanced, theological point: “God would, and he did, get even.” In the end, God won.

They must have expected me to react the way some liberal reporters responded in the aftermath of Mr. Trump’s speech. It’s high time that Christians toughen up a bit. Christians shouldn’t be malicious, but they also shouldn’t let people run all over them.

The liberal press, which obviously couldn’t bear the thought of Jerry Falwell, Jr., and Donald Trump working together to halt the current assault on the American free enterprise system, immediately took to the Bible to try to drive a wedge between these patriotic allies. They wanted us evangelicals to go ahead and stay put (and quiet) in our nice little box.

After all, it’s much easier to take advantage of us that way. Yet, I believe, it’s high time that Christians toughen up a bit. Christians shouldn’t be malicious, but they also shouldn’t let people run all over them. Is it heretical to believe God is, and God wants us to be, tough?


Read the Bible.
It’s filled with God pursuing justice, settling scores with folks who messed with him, or who messed with his people, and – believe it or not - Jesus is “Exhibit A.” The prevailing view of Jesus, mainly among liberal Christians, might be that he was a blond-haired, blue-eyed, fluffy little self-help teacher who spent lots of time tip-toeing through the lilies, doling out softly worded pieces of advice to children, and saying things like, “can’t we all get along.”

However, Jesus was no “patsy,” (as Trump might say) and being around him wasn’t always like being cuddled up in a nice, warm Snuggie ®. Jesus was a tough character. The same Jesus who preached compassion is the same Jesus who publicly embarrassed his nemeses (the Pharisees) by calling them “a bunch of snakes” in front of a large crowd of people. The same Jesus who said, in a particular and oft-misunderstood context, that we ought to “turn the other cheek” is the same Jesus who made a royal mess out of the temple by taking a whip to a bunch of moneychangers. Does that sound like a cuddly Jesus who lets people run all over him?

Jesus didn’t float on down to planet earth like a deflating balloon. He dropped down like an atom bomb, and his very presence was a provocation. Christians believe Jesus was perfect, and sinless, yet it seems like two images of Jesus emerge in the Bible.

One wonders if the real Jesus is the lover of lepers, or is it the tough-as-nails, Judean prophet with dirt under his fingernails “cleansing the temple?” Equally contradictory is the advice King Solomon once gave in the Old Testament, “do NOT answer a fool lest you become like him” to which he immediately followed by saying, “DO answer a fool lest he take advantage of you.” (Proverbs 26:4-5). What was Solomon’s point, and what can we learn from Jesus’ example?

We must be wise about “when” and “how” we react when someone has treated us unjustly, but we mustn’t be fearful of standing up for ourselves. Of course, Christians shouldn’t treat people maliciously and they shouldn’t fight arbitrarily, but Christians – like Jesus – should pursue justice, and they should – like Jesus – not let people take advantage of them. Jesus might have been meek, but he sure wasn’t weak. He had a steel spine; he spoke boldly and strongly. In the end he had lots of enemies who nailed him to a tree to shut him up.

Then, Christians believe, Jesus just raised himself from the dead – showing that he was in control of everything, anyhow.

I might just call that more than “getting even.”

Johnnie Moore is a vice president, professor of religion, and campus pastor at the nearly 100,000-student Liberty University. He is the author of a forthcoming book on Jesus and grace entitled: Dirty God: Jesus in the Trenches. Keep up with him on Twitter (@JohnnieM) or at

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Johnnie Moore."

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Sunday, September 02, 2012

Rethink: Turn the other Cheek

Over the past few months I've been thinking a lot about why we as Christians call ourselves Christians. We choose to not stand up for what we really believe in. The answer I often hear is that God calls us to "turn the other cheek." Sometimes I wish more people would read the Bible instead of listening to others. Often others ignore context in order to get a point across. Here's what it says in Matthew 5:38-40... [ Teaching about Revenge ] “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too.] Jesus is teaching on revenge. He isn't talking about people who tries to take away our religious rights out of hate. When I read scripture I see Christ calling those people out, especially other religious people. So again I ask, why don't we stand up for Christ? He clearly stood up for us when He died on a cross. I love Christian rock music. Recently I've been listening to a band called Icon for Hire. Here's a link to a video about this called "Make a Move" If you don't like loud Christian Music...please don't click on the link. So if we're going to rethink when/why we should turn the other cheek then honest questions need to be answered. Do we use Christianity as a crutch or an excuse? Do we shy away from people who disagree because we're ignorant about the Bible? She we even call ourselves Christians if we choose when/where/how we are going to be Christian depending on the situation or location. Christ would be appalled. Fortunately for us, He knew we'd do this and still chose to Die for US. So what's the answer? Well it comes down to 1 choice. Either don't call yourself a Christian, or suck it up and make the change. We're either going to do like the people in the Icon for Hire video and stand up for what they believe in, or we're going to run away and try our best not to make Christians look bad. Which one are you going to choose? How will we change the world if we simply stopped being second rate Christians? The world would be changed. Fortunately if you're reading this then Jesus gave you another chance; another minute to get it right. Let's make it happen! Let's rethink our excuses. God Rocks, JTW

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rethink: Leadership

Leadership today is very important. Leadership in our churches is even more important but for some reason is very much overlooked. So we need to rethink why we do Leadership, how we do leadership, and then is there a better way. Let's take a look at how we do leadership in our churches today. In most traditional churches we have the Senior Pastor in charge. He makes the choices and for the most part remains unchecked. Sure if he has some other pastors on staff they should be able to to call him on any issues, but often they feel like that's not an option. The question is, why do we do leadership in our churches this way? When I read through the Bible, I see places where people in religious leadership are often those that are caught in sin. In the NT, those are the people that Jesus calls out on a regular basis. So we find our leadership model from the people that Jesus called "snakes?" Seems to me that the theory that the man who preaches about God should lead us doesn't always work out in practice. So if absolute power corrupts absolutely, then why do we do this? If the gift of being pastor is meant to be used to be a pastor and shepherd and the gift of preaching was meant to preach, then shouldn't he be doing those things. Instead we've made his our leader who has to do everything. This isn't what God intended and it's time someone said it. We've given to much power for one person that no one has accountability over. So what is the answer, how do we rethink Leadership? Well if one person, even a great man of God, shouldn't have the power; then who should? Well the NT church often had elders that ran the church. We for some reason have abandoned this idea. Why not get a group of people that the church has faith in and that know God intimately. These people who made decisions as a group for the church. This way the pastor can be free to just live for Christ and lead others to Him. Someone with to much power would have the power to chose whom comes to God, whom goes to "his" church, and whom gets to worship Our God in that place. This isn't right and it happens way to often. Relationships aren't so easy to let go of, and making those choices should not fall on just one man's shoulder. I pray this helps someone. I pray that churches think before putting all the power in one man's hand. It's to much and hesitant choices could lead to destroyed leadership, split churches, and ruined faiths. Our relationship to God is the most important thing there is. We forget that when we put someone between God and us. Let's rethink how we do church; especially leadership! God Rocks, JTW

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Lets set the Record Straight

Ok let's set the record straight! I'm tired of hearing the word Bigot used to describe Christians on a regular basis. A Bigot is a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion. This is according to So the question I ask people when I hear them use this word is; How are Christians bigots? Often I hear that they won't accept my way of life, or they hate me because I'm gay. Ok so if the definition of a bigot is someone who is utterly intolerant then this means they act with hatred toward the person because of their beliefs. So again, how does that apply to Christians? I'm sure some people who follow Christ are stupid enough to run their mouths and not show love to someone because they believe differently. So let me set the record straight. Just because we don't believe like you do does not mean we hate you or want bad things to happen to you. Just because we won't vote the same as you doesn't mean we hate you because you did vote that way. The sooner this idea can get through to some people, the better! If you're going around with your ant-christian shirts, making videos where you verbally attack people, or having protest where you're yelling at people for what they believe...then guess what; you fit the definition of bigot. If your a christian and you've chosen to run your mouth and speak for all those Christ followers and verbally attack people for what they believe; then you're the bigot. You don't speak for all Christians, so if you're not going to show the love of Christ while disagreeing with others beliefs; then shut your mouth! Our media is very good at dividing us and making us feel very passionate about what we believe. That would be good if it didn't cause us to put love on the back burner to make sure we get our way. Lastly, Jesus hung out with those that did not believe what He did. He did it often and showed them love. Did he change his beliefs to appease them, of course not! We don't have to either. We can choose to love on people who want gay marriage, vote for abortion, and even hate us. Luke 6:27 says "But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you." We forget that verse sometimes. I hope this has helped and stay strong. God Rocks, JW

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rethink: Strategy

Since we're rethinking the church we should start with why and how we do it! We need a strategy for why we're trying to reach people so that we'll know how to do it. It's been my experience in most all churches that I've served in that people are passionate, love Jesus, but completely lost on exactly what they should be doing. This may sounds weird or even harsh, but it's easy to fall into this trap when all our ministries are silos. We go from day to day carrying out our ministry without an overarching purpose for our churches. So the answer is clear; we need a Strategy. My wife and I have been in ministry for 12 years and we've heard a few people talk about this, but with few answers. Recently we went to the Orange Conference. This was amazing and helped with an answer. We need to talk about what the purpose of the church is, get everyone on the same page, and monitor each other to make sure we're on purpose. Does this get to happen in most churches...sadly no! I know this seems really easy, but it's extremely hard. It'll involve some hard conversations. It involves listening to others and allowing others to have some say so in your ministry. What your ministry ! Yes, this is the ministry of the church. This isn't ours, it's God's. Let other people in! Ok well if I haven't lost you yet, then that's good. It means you want things to change and you want your church to be more. Our churches need to keep God's life changing message the same and change our methods regularly. We need to do whatever it takes to reach those without Christ. This means we need a strategy. I'd start with figuring out why you do what you do. Start with your main service; why do you have that service. It could be, for example: To show church is different, to reach the lost, for Christians, or simply to get people to know more about your church. Whatever it is, do it amazing. We've spent to much time being sub-par Christians and people are noticing. Time to stand up and be a Christ follower! After you've identified what you want your church to be about and what your main entry point is about, move on to what you want people to be. Do you want them to be disciples followers, do you want them to know more about the bible, have a quiet time, what do you want. Now you've got a goal, but it's to far from your starting point. You can't make that jump no matter how hard you try. You need stepping stones in the middle to get you there. So decide on steps you need to get to the goal. Maybe it's programs, maybe it's just creating some way to disciple people, or maybe it's just to make a small group for different types of people. If it gets your people closer to your goal, does not violate scripture, then let's go for it! So your strategy is easy. You figure out a purpose, find a starting point, decide on the goal or the end point, now just get all those in between steps you need to get to your goal. Now go change your methods and reach more people. We live in a culture that expects awesome, and how is there anything more awesome than God's amazing message through His church. God Rocks, JW

Monday, October 03, 2011

Let's rethink church

This is the intro of a series where I'm looking at how we do church, why we do church the way we do it, and more importantly talk about what we can change to be the hands and feet of Jesus to more people.

Don't read this and think I'm down on the church because I know the church is how God speaks to people. I don't see a lot of people asking why or what's the purpose of what we're doing.

I'll be looking at different things we and others do at church, examining if we should be doing that, and then discuss different ways we can change what and how we do things if needed.

I welcome any comments or ideas on how these things could be changed. Let's discuss this and make the church a brighter lighthouse for those that need Him.

God Rocks, JTW

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Tinker bell & my 2 year old

My daughter is 2 years old. This means that I unfortunately have to watch Disney things. Most of them are frustrating but sometimes I hear things & God teaches me right then & there. We were watching a Tinker bell movie today & tinker bell fixed some holes in a roof so a little girl could spend more rime with her dad. There was a long, complicated process through which tinker bell did this involving hoses and boots. It was very inventive and she went to a lot of work just to make sure this little girl could spend time with her very busy father.

It was at this moment that I asked myself if I do this for God? Do I go out of my way to help others so they can get to see & experience God? The little girl so wanted her father, & honestly I wish we all had such furor for God (our Father) as this little girl had. Maybe if had a love for Our Father & a willingness to change people's lives then we'd spend less time trying to convince people of God & more time being the example they'd desperately want to be!

Just my little thoughts on How Tinker bell can influence our life for Christ!

Monday, January 31, 2011

What have we come to without love for one another?

34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

Where have we come as a Christian nation when caring and loving on others as Christ did is now legislated? Today I find myself confused. Has God ever put a passion for helping others in your heart? Well I have that and my passion is leading students to learn more about what it means to be a Generation that wants to change the world for Christ. Well one thing I believe is that they must learn to care for others and serve. Well I've learned that sometimes giving to others involves sacrifice, but it's never more than we can bare.

Today I learned that we've come to a place as a Christian nation that I thought I'd never see. I saw that passion become legislated. This is what I mean; you give your time, effort, all that you have to help others and others from the outside complain. At what point should intentions and the fear of others overshadow serving?

Christ's work was overshadowed by the legalistic people of the day and their fear put on his intentions. It lead him to the Cross, but it did not stop his message. Has our nation come to the place where we're so in fear of what people will think or what we do that we can't allow Christ's followers to serve and to give as Christ did?

What do we do? Do we sit back and wait for God's greater plan to work out while Christians are afraid to share their faith, give to others, or even carry a Bible because someone might see their intentions and bring harm to them? I don't know and that makes me afraid. What should I be willing to give up? At some point where do Christians say enough is enough?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Would you do it?

I have a quick question that will take you a long time to answer. The question is...would you do something if you were sure that God was telling you to do it? It seems like a no-brainer for sure, but it deeply disturbs me. Here's why, I think about what that would mean. I've made leaps and jumps for God in my life without knowing if He would be there, but he always has been.

Recently I was faced with something that I know God was asking of me. I was posed with this question and it become a very hard one. Would you do something if you knew God was telling you to do it. Most Christians I think would say yes without question; at least until they find out more information. What if it meant you would give up your life. Some people would be lost right there, but others are willing to give up life for God's service. What if it were more day to day than this though. What if you had to give up your job? What if you had to give up your family? What if you had to give up your spouse? What if you had to give up your home? What if you had to give up your reputation? What if you had to say yes when even those that walk daily with Christ told you they wouldn't do it? When it comes to the day to day this fundamental question gets very hard.

I've been a Christ follower since 1993 and would never go back. I'm also a student pastor and love sharing God's word and God's truth with this generation. Recently when I was posed this question I had to make a choice. I decided to sit back and wait. I let the situation that I knew God was saying for me to jump on, just walk away. I don't know if I was just wanting the easy way or if I wasn't ready to stand against the things I may have to give up for that thing.

Here's what I decided and what i'm doing. If anyone ever reads this and finds themselves in this situation, then I hope this helps. Every day since the day I let it happen I've been sad and angry at myself. I understand if you're reading this, you know what I mean. I've decided to keep my eye on what God has asked me to do from a distance. I have multiplied my prayers in this situation and have added this situation to every prayer i have right now. I've not decided to pray that God put me in the situation, but instead for God to change either me or those around me to make it happen. Have I given up? NO! There might be a day really soon where God decides to make this happen and give me a chance to redeem myself. If not I'll be happy knowing that God changed my heart to let me know what I should do now.

Keep me in your prayers for this situation is very hard on me!