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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Brain Tumors, Hell, and Pecan Trees






In September of 2014, I wrote this blog announcing to the world I had a brain tumor.  On the day I learned I had a brain tumor, I discovered a new pecan tree that had sprouted from the roots of one I was loosing, despite having pampered it.



The new tree reminded me, God brings dead things to life. 

 It was a beautiful sight having just returned home with a stable report from my second annual checkup. The tree has become a symbol of my struggle. Reminding me, God is good.

Lots happened over those three years.  Besides daily pain, I've experienced a misdiagnosis, a cancer diagnosis, brain surgery, temporary relocation for proton beam radiation treatment, recovery. In three years I witnessed a 100 year blizzard in Boston. A thousand year flood, trumped by the following year with Hurricane Matthew. Visited the Grand Canyon.

A daughter moved out, a couple of friends (whom I was sure would outlive me) died, a couple of friends finally conceived, an aunt passed away, and a granddaughter is on the way. 

I answered God's call to the ministry, went fishing for men in Tanzania, got ordained and left a church I loved to teach at another. 

I'm overwhelmed by what God has done and shown me in three short years. But every day, when I get home, a pecan tree reminds me God is good. 

In my meditations, I've learned to
beware of the "ations" when interpreting God's Word.

God's Word isn't for mere admiration, justification, or gratification. It is for salvation, not just to, but also from a God of perfect love. God's Word cannot simply be read for His pacification. It should be practically applied. Practical application of God's Word, will be nothing more than a speculation, unless there's a dedication, to the implication of God's word. And confirmation, will become nothing more than a fascination, if we succumb to the temptation, to use our imaginations to interpret God's word. Scripture interprets Scripture. Jesus doesn't want mere infatuation. He wants our total love, in Action.



Intentional efforts to make Christianity a custom fitted truth for this generation's cult of personality, has become impossible to ignore. 

Much of what God has said and done, is being ignored, making God appear more approachable. Obscuring part of who He is.

So, in an effort to highlight God's grace , we sacrificed the truth. Hell disappeared and famous pastor author, Rob Bell, declared "Love" the winner.

We've taught we should hate the sin while loving sinners. I believe that's true. It only makes sense, after all, none of us are perfect. Still, let's not forget or pretend the harsh reality is unbelievers, not sin, suffers in Hell. They suffer, not for having never obtained perfection, but from having never embraced perfection. Pretending that isn't the truth, isn't loving.

1 Corinthians 13:6 teaches that love rejoices in the truth. The truth is God is good even when the report is bad. In every moment, in every circumstance, which we we are unable to change, but wish we could, God is good.



 When He destroyed Sodom, He is good. In the flood, when He wiped from the Earth, every living thing except those He saved, God is good. Even in the moment He created Hell, He is good, justified, and righteous. He is holy and worthy of glory, honor, and praise.

God is perfect. Every attribute of His divine nature, every aspect of His eternal power, is a transcendence beyond our comprehension. He created and defines love. He hates sin. Therefore, He loves perfectly And He hates perfectly.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Romans 5:9
Our salvation comes not simply from what poured out of Christ, but also from what God poured onto His son.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:2
The greatest act of love the world has ever known, simultaneously wrought in wrath against all that God hates.



The pecan tree has really grown. In many ways its more lovely now than the first tree I had lost. Here's the thing,
It's not the same tree. 



As I have grown, I'm not the same person. The more Christ reveals Himself to me, through His word, the more I hope to one day become completely unrecognizable to myself. He must increase and I must decrease.

I'm overwhelmed by the love shown by the inventor of Love.
Who has, by His Word, shown me God is Love, but love isn't God. God can be our everything, but everything can not be our God. 


Every time I see the new tree, I am reminded God is good.  He saved me for a relationship with Him. 
He's done miraculous things in my life. He saved me from cancer. He shown me marvelous and beautiful wonders.

I cut the old dead pecan tree down. It was stealing life from the new tree and rejecting everything I did. So, I burned what I planted, and watched my time and resources go up in smoke, knowing whatever beauty or love we see in this life comes from a good God.  And knowing, God's never looked more loving, or more beautiful to me, than when He saved me from the Hell I deserved. 







Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Greatest Hinderance to Church Growth : Gray Elephants

Ask practically anyone in ministry and they will tell you what they see as the greatest threat to the church. Of course, they'll usually offer the greatest solution... their  style of worship.
Theories on what most threatens the church can range from Isis to a dogmatic orthodoxy. 
Let's not forget Jesus said, the "gates of hell will not prevail against " His church. While I find hope in those empowering words, I'll not pretend the church is without her adversaries.
It's not Islam, or Isis that scare me. Neither the darkest, vilest, shameful acts pose a threat to those Paul calls " more than conquerors". No particular style of worship, or denomination offers a solution to what I call, the Gray Elephants.


Gray Elephants, the things the Bible neither labeled as black or white. The amounts it never quantifies. The permissions it never grants or denies. The things that inspire the questions, " how much of something can I do or have? Is this a sin? Maybe there's no right answer, but for sure those are the wrong questions. How can we draw near to Christ, while focusing on how much of the world we can still cling to? 

Don't feed the Gray Elephants.
1 Corinthians 10 
12Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 

Unchecked strengths are our weaknesses waiting to exploit us. By thinking we can handle things in moderation, gives us the illusion of being immunized from the effects of sin,  rather than just being saved from it. Once we let pride remove our borders, we use our strength to move away from God. In the wake, families break up, pastors fall, churches close.

Do we want 
to live simply delivered or live completely devoted?
Are we only liberated, or wholly dedicated?
Let's Look at 1 Corinthians 10
31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God
: 33 Even as I please allmen in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
It's that dedication, our love for God and fellow man, causing our light to shine through the denying ourselves. Likewise, it's the lack of such causing us to stumble or causing others to. There is no greater threat to our walk or our ministry.
Elephants, just like our compromises and liberties, begin small, yet have a tendency to grow into massive uncontrollable beasts.

Eat the Word.
Feed the sheep.   
Starve the Gray Elephants.
 




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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Gazing into an Empty Tomb

Today, Christians all over the world celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ. No doubt, defeating death is a cause to celebrate. Christ endured death. We had invented death in a collaboration with Satan, and together perfected it with the cross . On it, Jesus took our punishment, so man might once again be joined to God.  


Easter sounds so simple 2017 years later.  Here in America, we will all go to a egg hunts, eat a lot of ham, and blow up social media with our family photos. I enjoy it every year.


Sermons tend to be better at Easter. After all, today many people will come who rarely attend. Over the years, I've heard all sorts of metaphors come from the Easter celebration. Can anything offer more hope than an empty tomb? 


Every year, like the early followers of Christ, we come to gaze into an empty tomb. It's where you go from here that matters. Before the resurrection, most of those followers scattered in front of the cross. After meeting the resurrected Christ, those followers embraced the cross.

Christ life is an example we must live by. His life, His example includes His death. Jesus said " It is Finished"



For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

2 Corinthians 5:21



"It is finished", are the words on which eternity pivots. Spoken on the cross, Christ calls us to death and life. We cannot have one without the other. Death to this world must come to have life in Christ. We cannot hope in our resurrection without embracing the cross. "It is finished" echoes through the ages, not as the ending of life, but death to hopelessness.


Rarely is it taught at Easter, but tucked away in the resurrection story is the great commission. Jesus returns from the dead to give us one task. Preach the Gospel. Tell the world about Him. What He has done for us is finished. What we do for Him cannot be. Once we meet the resurrected Christ, serving Him who saved us  must become more than annually gazing into an empty tomb. He came that we might have a full life. May we look outside the tomb, embrace His cross for us, and follow Him. 


Happy Easter

   


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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Aynor's Churches: The Good,The Bad, & the Ugly.

 I grew up, in what I considered to be the buckle of the Bible Belt. It was a stigma I could live with. Honestly, I was proud  of it. I went to high school  in the little golden town of Aynor, S.C. Aynor, is a two stop light town, surrounded by family farms and rural area residents, who boastfully self proclaim the place to be, " God's Country".
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I remember pledging allegiance to the Bible, the Christian Flag, and the American Flag, during vacation Bible school. Promises, I intend to keep.

The South offers a culture and tradition enriched in hospitality, and honor. Church is a big part of that culture. The South affords a comfortable setting to become a "Christian". Then again, when did Christianity become comfortable? Honor and hospitality are cheif among social graces, but they offer no redemption for society. They introduce no grace for individuals. I fear, a false sense of spiritual security has infected our community. As biblical illiteracy increases in our congregations, our churches have become places of social interactions, rather than, places where souls are rescued. Acceptance now trumps repentance. It's not a style of worship that scares me. What's lacking is the of depth of teaching God's word. American worship now often requires an entertaining factor. We blur the line between the sensational and the spiritual. Not because of our style, because of the lack of devotion to the word of God. The South might be the Bible Belt, perhaps the increasingly unopened, definitely the unapplied, Bible Belt. Of all the ministry, I've been involved with, nothing has been met with more spiritual opposition than the effort to take God's word to our schools. I praise God for that. Mainly because His word tells us to. Not only for that, but because, I know this will cause growth.

For the last week, I have had more tgan  a taste of reality. I've had a helping helping. Here are some of the things I learned by helping bring a release time bible class to Aynor.


The Good:
There's lots of God's people in Aynor still committed to sharing the gospel by teaching the word of God. Call me old fashioned, but I'm pretty sure I can make a biblical case  for that being the only way. Of course, I'd have to use the Bible to do that.
Lots of people gave sacrificially and independently from church. A couple, who recently relocated from West Virginia, gave $1000.00. As far as I know, they have no family here.
Even one, unchurched, high school friend, sponsored a student for an entire year. In the thirty years we have known each other, nothing had caused us to hug or cry together. This did.
Of the few churches that gave, all gave overwhelmingly generous gifts, considering the size and dynamics of their congregations. It was refreshing to find people, who not only value God's word, but have faith in the promises found inside it. We now have enough money to fund the high school ministry. Prayers have been answered.

The Bad.
There are churches who would have liked to give in our area that could not. It's simple mathematics. In terms Bible Belt people will understand " you can't get blood out of a turnip ."  Low attendance is low offerings. I remember these places as once thriving.  Now they have the discouraging choices of advancing the kingdom through local missions or keeping the lights on. I fear, they have a harsh reality ahead of them. If you are a child of God worshipping at these facilities, you should not just leave. However, you should not just stay either. This world is not our home. Make sure what is keeping you there is more than the temporary sentimental mortar of what once was. Do not allow the bricks your grandfathers laid become an anchor in complacency.  Do not allow temporary walls to prevent pooling together  your eternal family's  resources. Make your foundation on the Rock of your salvation that calls you to rescue your brothers and sisters, who are still lost. The church, the true church, will sow seeds beyond the soil of it's southern traditions. They will plant beyond the graveyards of dying church campuses. We haven't even started funding our middle school. I pray for a vision and clarity for the church.
The Ugly.
There was an incredible lack of interest from some pastors and church leaders. To be fair, there were some legitimate concerns from some pastors who were being cautious. I get that,... well sorta. In my mind, all legitimate concerns were overly cautious at best, or lame excuses at worst. Any problem could have been worked out, provided they got involved with a passion to let the Word of God speak for itself. 
While I will not betray a confidence in those candid conversations to protect the congregations, I will tell you my thoughts on what I encountered. 
Some of it was a lack of interest. There were pastors who never even returned a phone call. Some of it was plain old pride. They couldn't lead and wouldn't follow. Some of it was laziness. They had means but lacked vision to press forward. One pastor friend said," I'm not going to support it,  it's personal." Seriously?  Over and over,  I heard, "we are already helping the Fellowship of Christian Athletes". I didn't know whether to ask them, "if they understood the difference or did that mean the kids who aren't in sports can go to hell?" There was plenty of ugly apathy to go around, but the most alarming fact is some pastors weren't simply unsupportive. Some rather seemingly opposed this effort. 

The ugliest person I've found  in all of this has been myself.  Constantly, I've questioned my conscious , asking God to prevent me from having a judging self righteous spirit. 
I keep telling myself, I don't know hearts or where people are in their walks. I can only judge fruits not hearts. I can and must stand on God's promises while falling on God's graces. Yet, I still found myself, for the first time in my life, feeling like a liar. I have been blatantly dishonest to my friends. I pretended to be understanding while I'm totally oblivious as to why they won't help. I can't understand the lack of passion or urgency in the heart of people, who say they belong to God, for evangelizing the youth of its own community outside its doors. If it were any other mission, I might could understand. These young people belong to us. These are our responsibility. We are supposed to be brothers and sisters devoted to God, His word, and His people. If we can set aside our differences to cheer and support the same school athletes, but cannot collectively minister and deliver the word of God to all our youth, then heaven help us. What are we worshipping? What are we teaching? 

wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?
by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 
psalm 119.9 ". 

If this is God's Country, His people will sow His seed and reap His harvest here. 

Please continue to pray for this effort. 

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

This Year, I Resolve to Lose my Life.

Every New Years admirable goals get set, big dreams get dreamt. Lofty ideas are entertained in the hopes of a better year. No doubt, today, from many pulpits flowed positive messages of how we to change our lives this year. I'm sure sound advice on how to keep promises to ourselves were learned today. It's to be expected, after all, the Bible teaches us to set goals.  Many verses teach us to be proactive in our lives. Like this one. BloggerImage

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance.~ Proverbs 21:5

We should set goals. Hard work is  the path of success, is a truth. I'd never suggest otherwise. I'd never deny most of us have untapped potential. Certainly, loosing weight, breaking addictions, and getting control of your finances, are worthy goals. I hope and pray this year brings the betterment of us all. I certainly make plans and have goals.

Realistically, the majority of today's words and strategies will soon be forgotten. Many of 2017's resolutions will quickly fall by the wayside. So much emphasis will be placed on our plans for our lives. Oh, the things we will attempt to make our lives better . Yet, I'm reminded Jesus said in Luke 9: 24 -25

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.  What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very lives BloggerImage

What if this year, we resolved to give up the futile attempt at being in charge of our own destinies? What if instead of focusing on our own successes , the goals we set were for bettering the lives of others? In other words, loving our neighbor as much as ourselves. How much better would our lives become if we strived to give our dedication to God as liberally as God has given us His grace? If what we desire is an abundant life, we must diligently plan to live in as much obedience, as a fallen creature can, to word of God. What if, rather than creating the best version of ourselves, we lost our lives, finding ourselves in Christ? I plan on following Jesus every day for the rest of my life. You coming?

3 John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

May the goals we set for today, lead us into a soul satisfying, productive, participation of God's plan, of loosing our lives, proclaiming the way, the truth, and the life, in Him.

Happy New Year.




Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What the Manger Holds

Decades of Christmas memories travel in and out of my heart and soul this time of year. It's no wonder either. With all the sights, sounds, and smells there's bound to be sensory overload. It' funny how such a small and seemingly insignificant encounter, with practically anything, triggers our inner faculties, this time of year.
Maybe it was all the lights that reminded me, but I remember how I used to love decorating at Grandmas. No matter how cold it was, I was going to get strawberries, pound cake, and ice cream when we finished.  She would play Christmas records as the tree went up. Looking back, it probably was to keep me from hearing the frustrated words of my grandfather as he fixed the lights. Oh, and I can still smell the distinct aroma of her attic lingering on the ornaments since that was their home eleven months of the year. She had a ceramic nativity scene. If I was a good little boy, I could place baby Jesus in the stable. After Christmas, we would wrap it up in tissue paper and put it away to keep it from breaking. It's one of my favorite childhood and holiday memories.

You know, some Christians don't celebrate Christmas. History tells us it was a pagan ritual that church officials changed so newly converted people could celebrate Christ birth rather than the winter solstice. Knowing the history doesn't create a problem for me since the Bible says this:
Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Ironically, Christians celebrate the work done on the most pagan of all alters. An alter made for mankind's own system of death. Man brought death and murder into the world and created a device to accomplish death in its totality. The cross denied all dignity to it's victims while automatically increasing their torture. The  cross was built by men of the world for the oppression and enslavement of those who challenged a world system. It was an instrument of fear, death, and torture before God touched it and changed it.
God changed it so drastically, that the
once ultimate symbol of death and oppression, is now the greatest symbol of hope and eternal life.
That is happens, when God touches things, He changes them.

At Christmas, I can't help but think of how He has changed the manger. It's become a symbol as well. Before Christ touched it, it was nothing more than a wooden feed sack. I wonder how many miss who it is in the manger. 

Around 700 years before Christ was in a manger, the prophet 
Isaiah, wrote these words we say every Christmas. 

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
9:6-8

Yet, somehow we miss who it is is in the manger. 
The Wonderful Counselor, the prince of peace, we are ok with that, but  everlasting Father and mighty God? In a manger?
It's no mere mortal in the manger. God is who he is. You ask how is that possible? He was God's son. How does that work? I could tell you, God is not subject to the laws He creates.He is all powerful. I could tell you, He is outside of time and space. I could suggest, He has the ability to separate himself. Honestly,  I just don't know.  Just like, I don't know how any of God's miracles happen. Just like, Mary didn't know how a virgin could conceive. The only thing I can tell you is what Gabriel told her. "Nothing is impossible with God." Jesus is God according to lots of scripture in both Old and New Testament. So He's God and He's God son, cause He says so. And that is something only an all powerful God could pull off. 


 In the manger, there are parts of Jesus story you can't hear for the ooos and the awes in the background. There's angels singing, and nicely dressed, freshly bathed shepherds, worshipping a Wonderful Counselor.  It's serene and tranquil, the way we tell it. There's more to the Gospel message than peace on Earth. More than Christmas candles burn inside the hearts of men, where the Gospel ignited more than an emotion of joy.  
The manger story is beautiful, but it's not the beginning, the end, the middle, or even the climax of story of Christ. It was the things He said and did that made this story worth celebrating. It is who Christ is making this story holy. So many still miss who He is and miss what Christmas is. 
Christmas was the execution of an ongoing rescue mission, planned from the foundation on the world, to glorify the Father, by setting the captives free. The Christ of the entire story, many turn away from. 
So many that aren't saved love Christmas. Don't they?
For many people, the manger is all of the story of Jesus they have. Truthfully, the only part many want. Like Paul Harvey would say, "you need the rest of the story." They need to know the manger is as empty now as the tomb is. And it is the full life, between an empty manger, and an empty tomb, that we must focus on.

Remember Ricky Bobby's prayer from Taledega nights? "Dear sweet, baby, Jesus lying in a manger..." nobody turns away from baby Jesus do they?. Because if we are honest, what we really want, is a god we can wrap and unwrap when it is convenient. A god we can take in and out, when we want, and place in a setting of our own choosing. In short, a God we control instead of a God we obey. The problem is, we end up with an idol we decorate the mantel of our minds with, rather than, a God who decorates our lives.
See, in the manger, Jesus doesn't require anything of us. 
There He doesn't teach: turn the other cheek, love your enemies, love God with all that you are, or love your neighbor as yourself. He doesn't command us to: carry our own cross or the gospel. In the manger, all the scars Jesus took to save us are covered by swaddling clothes. We never allow our imaginations to visualize the manger in the shadow of the cross. Gruesome imagery of an infant child tattered and torn, mutilated, nailed to a cross, is just too much for our feeble psyches to take in. Yet, it is only in knowing nothing was less holy on the cross, than was in that manger, nothing was more sacred, or more innocent, more precious, more pure, in that manger, than was nailed that cross, that we can have the gift of knowing what the manger holds for Christmas. 
Oh, the manger is part of a beautiful story. A beautiful celebration of our savior coming from heaven, dying to save us  and he will return again. If there is anything to learn from the manger it is the transformation, the difference Christ's touch makes.The manger was nothing more than a wooden feed sack until Christ touched it, until Christ was in it. If all you know about Jesus is the manger story, then you missed He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.  BloggerImage

He shows us the way through the cross, He shows us the truth by His resurrection, and gave us His life, as an example to live by, so that we might live with Him. The only reason we even know about the manger is because there was a resurrection!. He who hung on the cross touched it and it changed, like everything He touches changes.This is story of a beautiful gift, the living word of the living God, sent to a lost world.
But the most beautiful part, there's no end to this story. And here's the big question, what part are you gonna play in the story?
Are you going to to spread the love of Jesus anywhere and everywhere? 
Are you touched by the manger, or 
Has he who touched the manger touched you? 

May the the season continually remind you of Him,
Merry Christmas.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Truth About Pins.

Safety pins. I'd don't think they were intended for political purposes. Neither is this post. I think there's merit and corruption in both parties. What I don't see, is honestly about lawlessness, inequality, racism, or  greed in our citizenship. So, I'm not picking on a party or anyone. It's the behavior I'm calling out. We shouldn't ignore it if it's unproductive. We shouldn't reward it if it's bad. We should stop it if it's wrong. All of it should be analyzed. You have to admit, there's irony in college students wanting to draw an imaginary ring on a campus for a "safe place" while condemning those who want a wall around the country. Education has never been a replacement for common sense or intelligence.

Who knew, safetypins would become a national political symbol? Why not firing pins or hitch pins or hair pins? How about we make our symbol, bowling pins? That way, they could roll over us and knock us down. They'd like that, except ,we'd always stand up again. 

Symbols are overrated. They go to or over our heads. Before you start using one, you might want to research it .Apparently, some people are now wearing a safety pin as an indication they are a safe person to talk to following a tight presidential election having no idea the symbol has been hijacked. Research it. It has multiple meanings. Most of the rest of us had no idea talking in America was so dangerous. As long as you don't mess with our stuff, most of us are safe to talk to. If we are honest, we are kinda thinking, maybe it's pointless to talk to those wearing safety pins. Don't tell anyone, but up until last Tuesday, America was unified  and everyone, not wearing safety pins, agreed on everything and were safe to talk to. If reality was a hotel, it would be in a ghost town. You can't have this much diversity without some division. Here's the truth, when two people are in perfect agreement, the opinion of one of those persons is no longer warranted. You can learn lots from people you don't agree with, but you'll have to leave behind your sensitivity. 

The Bible teaches 

Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy. Proverbs 27:6

Everyone, who tells you exactly what you want to hear, isn't your friend. Often, those who love you the most will do the complete opposite. If you don't recognize this experience, you are either oblivious or sheltered. Society can't wait for you have the pleasure of removing a knife from your own back and the revelation it was left there by an enemy you thought was your friend.

We live in a country where, at least for the moment, you have rights.
Under the First Amendment, freedom of expression affords you have the right to act like an emotional train wreck, who can't take defeat. You have the right to exude weakness or coddle it. You have the right to exaggerate the truth, or ignore the truth. As long as you're not under oath, you have the right to lie. You have a right to believe a lie. My personal favorite is there's more than one truth. It's the most popular. The rest of us have the right to call it like we see it. In other words, we have the right to speak something that is offensive. It's quite easily done, just slip up and praise Jesus or say something remotely patriotic.


I have the right to love anyone I choose. We can love someone we disagree with. Ask any parent parenting. Love doesn't, ignore, sugar coat, or exaggerate truth in life lessons. Oh, it might in the niceties of trivial questions like " How do I look?" But, it doesn't lie in matters essential to survival. So I'm saying this in love, but some are likely not going to like it .

The truth is so brutally honest, many times, it's dangerous. It's pointed. It pricks you in the heart. Everything a safety pin doesn't do. But a safety pin, it's cute and relatively safe. Like the blue pill from the Matrix. (Funny the symbolic colors and nature of those red and blue pills. Walking in a comfortable alternative reality, you take the blue pill. Walking in truth, you take a red pill.... hmmm. But I digress) Anyway,  the problem is the truth ain't, so much. Pretty, that is. Often, it's ugly enough people turn away from it. 

It happens to the best of us. Literally. It happened  to Christ. I'm reminded of these words from John chapter 6.

"After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him"
It wasn't the Pharisees that left. It was the disciples. 

Why? Go read chapter 6. Because He told the truth. He called people out in their motives. They took offense. In verse 61, He calls them on their offense and gives them more truth. The all knowing God of scripture, knew they would be offended at the truth, knew they would leave, ahead of time, and he said the truth anyway! The inventor of love, did not coddle their emotions, change his approach, his tone, the message, the word, or anything to make them stay. He didn't backtrack,  BloggerImagehe moved forward without those uncommitted. He did not intentionally offend, but it was the truth. It needed to be said. And love doesn't lie. He is the way, truth, and the life.

You can sacrifice the Truth. Though, it will take something bigger than safety pins. You'll need hammers and nails. We've  done that already, and God hijacked their symbol of death, turning the cross into a symbol of life. There's only one way to know the difference between the real thing and a knock off. Inspection.Symbols have never been more than those displaying them. That goes for name brand goods, safety pins, or the crosses adorning necks or on towering steeple of a church. Maybe, it's time to respond to the Truth differently. Maybe, it's time to do like twelve men did with the truth . Walk with it and change the world. It wasn't safe for them. It won't be safe for us. Do you love enough, to be offensive as Christ?








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