Giftings Gone Dark Side – The Supreme Omniscient Pew-Sitter

I will be the first to admit it. I’m a bit of a cynic at times. I catch myself sitting in church services with my cynic aura threatening to spill out into the seats around me quite often. It starts as a small critique. “If the pastor emphasized this or that more in this sermon, it would be brilliant!” Or, “If the worship leader would make room for God’s Spirit in this moment rather than moving on to the next song, this would be a divine appointment for a lot of people.” I’m sure all you fellow cynics know the feeling I’m talking about (if you don’t know you really are a cynic, maybe not). It starts as a small difference of opinion. Then week after week it turns into an opportunity to find every single flaw in any aspect of a local church you can find. This can be masked as a sincere desire to change the world for the better (more on that in a minute). Or it can be masked as pride because you alone know the proper way to run things. Maybe you had the right classes in Bible school. Maybe you’ve been a Christian for longer than the pastor has been alive. Maybe you were a pastor at one time too. Whatever the case, if you’re like this now, your natural gifting from God has soured and it’s starting to stink up the church. Continue Reading...

God Loves Bad People

Every religion emphasizes that God loves good people. Jesus proclaimed something much more radical: God loves bad people. – Philip Yancey How bad does someone need to be before we feel the burning to desire to call on the hammer of justice? The extremes are easy: genocidal maniacs who torture and rape children would definitely make the list of bad people who deserve to burn in hell; someone who blurred the truth about something trivial usually makes our list of people who just need God’s grace. But where’s the line between the two? If you feel like I’m baiting you into a trick question, you’re right. You might say, “There is no line; it all depends on the person.” Or better yet, you might even say, “Every person, no matter how bad, needs God’s grace and salvation.” And I think that’s the right answer. But I want to turn this back in on ourselves, on our own hearts. After all, if we can’t experience the grace God has shown us, how will we ever show that grace to others? Continue Reading...