Monday, September 27, 2010

Fear of Religions?

We live in a remarkable time in which the world has become global as the nations are now living in our cities and next door to us. I believe the hand of God is providing an amazing opportunity to demonstrate the love and life of Christ to the nations. We need not fear nations or religions, as we are a people that should have the utmost confidence in the compelling nature of the gospel. My concern is we miss this opportunity as a result of fear and prejudice. I want to share with you a provoking blog from a friend of mine, Bob Roberts Jr., that addresses this issue.

The Fear of Religions in the U.S.?
Guest Blog by Bob Roberts, Jr. (

It frustrates me - Burn a Qur’an - Build a Mosque - everyone gets all over that and up in arms - try to build a bridge and do something - some people just don’t care. Inactivity in this scenario will lead to more tension and desperate acts that continue to polarize us.

Does it make any sense that we are so ready to bow our backs, express rage, and even take up arms - without first extending a hand? Both can hurt - but only one has a shot at averting a crisis - the one who extends their hand.

You can’t ignore what is going on in the world today - you just can’t. But you can connect and serve others in love and tell them about Jesus and live Jesus out in very real ways. The 8 million Muslims in the US aren’t going away. The 1.5 billion Muslims aren’t leaving planet earth. The 10 million Jews in the US are here to stay - and Israel is not going away as a nation. The 50 million evangelicals in the US aren’t going away - neither are the nearly 2 billion Christians on the planet going away anytime soon. Getting along and building bridges is not an option. The only other option is to be driven by fear. Let’s explore that option . . .

When driven by fear we isolate ourselves from the very people that we are afraid of. It causes us to vilify them, get a wrong image of them, and ultimately it leads to stereotyping. I am happy for the future - that there will never be another generation born in the world that isn’t global. I think that will help bring the tension down a lot. Sometimes I think the biggest thing we have to do is keep everyone 35 and above calm until the younger generation who are more suited for this world can assume leadership. Not saying 35 and above have nothing to offer - I’m in that camp - but we have so allowed ourselves to typecast peoples, cultures, religions, and world - that even if our positions are right we don’t know how to articulate them. It’s like having Witherspoon debate Dawkins on the existence of God. No, we need CS Lewis debating Dawkins.

Fear unaddressed ultimately leads to violence. Our security is in the size of our gun - I’m from Texas - we have some tribal thoughts on things like this. I began to observe a few years back - wars fought repelling tyrants are the only ones that people win. Wars fought out of fear trying to repel ideas and worldviews - never win. Vietnam is a perfect case study. We are becoming so similar in so many ways to Vietnam - but not because of the war but because of economics.

I believe there’s a lot of fear coming and going from every tribe and faith on this planet right now. The only solution is to engage one another. When driven by fear - as followers of Jesus - we cannot love deeply and truly. How can we tell people about Jesus? How we can we show them love? Call me naive - whatever you want - but God forgives us if we don’t do everything we can first to bring down the tension.

We are at a point in history where we fear religion more than God - we are at a point in history where we will either hunker in the bunker and justify our own violence, or reach out and try to first, at least, treat the other person with respect.

How I wish we took Jesus and Paul literally in how they dealt with people of other religions, worldviews, and people caught up in sin. If we did - I believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ would spread and every person would hear, and lives would be changed . . . Naive? Maybe - but here’s the reality - fear or love - you pick it - and you pick your future. Come gather at with people who want to get along who don’t all agree with one another - but want to shake hands and come out serving a broken world together.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Faithful to His Promise – Pt. 5

When contemplating the very character of God, the key truth to be embraced is that God is faithful to His word. This was vital for Joshua when God called him to lead God’s people into the Promised Land. God told Joshua three times to “be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:6-7,9). The Hebrew word to “be strong” means to be unbending and resolute. The word “courageous” carries the idea “to have heart”. These terms reveal that God meant for Joshua to be brave and to be established.

God’s presence is found in His precepts, His commands. God expected Joshua to walk in His word and this was to be a priority in his life. Joshua was not to turn from God’s ways, either to the right or to the left. God’s word was to be in his mouth and Joshua was to declare it. He was to meditate upon God’s word day and night. The Hebrew word for “meditate” meant to hear over and over again, a repeated sound. It came to mean to not only hear repetitively, but also to read repetitively. Basically to meditate is to internalize.

Believers are to speak God’s word to themselves, which produces faith and in turn, worship. Embracing God’s truth helps battle our own perspectives at times. Martyn Lloyd-Jones notes, “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?” (Spiritual Depression). Meditating on God’s precepts reminds us of God’s faithfulness and to live by faith rather than by our own feelings, thoughts or even circumstances. David practiced this when he declared in Psalm 103, “Bless the Lord, O my soul”. David had to tell his soul to worship because of the truth of God’s faithfulness. God’s words need to be continually placed before us and by so doing we are strengthened and led into worship and obedience.

God’s commands were to be the guiding force of Joshua’s life. It is the same with us today. The gospel has power that transforms both individuals and society. God’s commands are to be life shaping and not merely an intellectual assent. Martyn Lloyd-Jones states, “According to the New Testament, faith always includes the element of obedience. There is no value whatsoever in a supposed faith that does not lead inevitably to a changed life” (Romans: The New Man).

God’s own faithfulness is the essential source of our life of faith. His faithfulness releases us to live radically because we know His word brings real transformation. Are you living in a way that clearly reveals that God is faithful?