Embarrassed by Christians

I do some work with Larkin Street Youth Services, a San Francisco-based youth ministry. Seven or eight Larkin Street kids came out to a game recently. One of them had a tattoo on her arm, and when she saw mine, she said, “Hey, what does that tattoo on your arm say?” I said, “It’s Latin. It says Solus Christus.” She asked me, “What does that mean?” And I said, “In Christ alone.”

“Oh,” she said. She sounded disappointed. But then she looked at me, and she asked, “Are you a Christian? Are you a Catholic?” And I said, “I’m neither.” Continue reading

Trashing God’s Name

Maybe we don’t love people the way we should love them, because we want to change them. We want that so badly. But we can’t change people! Only the Spirit of God can do that. When we try to change people, all we do is push them away from God.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of that in the church. Sometimes people get around Christians, and they feel a kind of guilt trip. Or they feel like they’re just being looked down on in disgust. They feel that way because they are always being told that what they’re doing is wrong. That has to change! Continue reading

A Drama Unfolding

How should Christians help sinners? Should we box them on the ears with our Bibles? How about loving on them? Isn’t that better than judging? How about trying to figure out truly why they are not living how they should?

There’s always a drama unfolding, behind every face. So why not truly look at somebody and ask, “Why are they doing that?” Continue reading

The Secret Is Love

Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. John 20:29

Jesus knew how hard it would be for us to believe without seeing. It’s as if he told us, “I know it’s going to be hard to do. I know it is. I know this is going to be really, really difficult. But when your soul feels real love, the love I’ve showed you, you’re going to be okay. You won’t miss it that you didn’t see Me, or walk around Palestine with me. It won’t matter that you didn’t see the miracles with your own eyes. You won’t miss it at all, because your soul will crave My love. And when you accomplish just a little part of loving others the way I love you, it’ll feel so good to your soul that faith will seem easy. You’re going to believe in Me.”

And I think that that’s what happens when you get together with other people and help build His kingdom. Continue reading

A Selfish Thing

I don’t think our flesh necessarily wants to be warmed by the hot water of the Spirit. That’s not the first place it goes. The flesh is a very selfish thing. In our flesh, we get irritated and we want to snap at somebody. In our flesh, we think it will feel good to let somebody have it. In our flesh, we’re just thinking in the short term. The problem is, when you do this you’re hurting somebody!

But the flesh doesn’t care about that, does it? The flesh says, “Sure it hurts someone, but it gets the irritation out of me.” Continue reading

Love, Not Judgment

Nietzsche said the last Christian died on the cross.

That is such a bold, yet powerful and piercing statement. Is it true? In some ways I feel that it is. And that’s painful! It’s not just how one man saw it, either. I think a lot of people see it that way.

In her comments on my last post, Lisa wrote, “So many people laugh at the ‘Bible thumpers’ and think they are complete lunatics. They lump all Christians together and view us with such a negative light. How can we change that?

I think we change that by changing how we do things. It’s so simple. We have to love, not judge. Continue reading

Walk in Love

It would be so cool to feel like I could walk down the street and be loved for who I stand for. I wish that I could walk up to people, and they would know I stand for Jesus, and not be wary of me. Now they say, “Oh, here we go, Bible thumper guy.” Or they say, “You know what, I hate you Christians because of how you act.”

Christ was loved by the majority of people that He walked around with. But His followers now are not.

There are times when people want to go to the Christian and ask for help. These are people with nowhere else to go. They’re struggling. They think, “Maybe he’ll pray for me. Maybe he can help me.” How do you think they feel when they go to that Christian, and instead of getting love and help, they get judged? There is immediate anger. Continue reading

The Consequences of Sin

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Jesus knows exactly who you are, and He loves you. He died loving you, knowing you as you are.

He just wants you to understand that. Recognize the love He has for you. He says, “Think about how much I loved you. If you ask me a question about sin, I’m going to give you an answer. But I loved you first. Remember that. I loved who you were first, as a human being.”

Sin brings consequences. Paul talks about it. There will be consequences if you continue to sin. I’ve written a lot recently about how to be a dad, and central to that is the love you have for your children. You love them so much that you’ll take their shame and embarrassment. Continue reading

Judge Not…

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Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37

We all have a deviant lifestyle. We all live in ways that fall outside the norm. We all have our own issues. And that’s why I think that judgments don’t need to happen.

I think it is okay to recognize sin. We don’t have to encourage it, and we don’t have to agree with it. But face it: we all have our own sins. That’s what we need to recognize.

I don’t see one place where Jesus said, “You know what? Your lifestyle stinks and you’re going to go to hell for it.” I never saw it. I never saw it.

Here’s what He said, “Judge not, and you shall not be judged.”

We need to recognize that there was already a death because of sin. So we don’t need to judge people. We need to love people. We need to love people because that’s what Jesus did. Think about it! He was perfect in everything He did. He was perfect, and He loved the sinner.

The Secret Is Love

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Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. John 20:29

Jesus knew how hard it would be for us to believe without seeing. It’s as if he told us, “I know it’s going to be hard to do. I know it is. I know this is going to be really, really difficult. But when your soul feels real love, the love I’ve showed you, you’re going to be okay. You won’t miss it that you didn’t see Me, or walk around Palestine with me. It won’t matter that you didn’t see the miracles with your own eyes. You won’t miss it at all, because your soul will crave My love. And when you accomplish just a little part of loving others the way I love you, it’ll feel so good to your soul that faith will seem easy. You’re going to believe in Me.”

And I think that that’s what happens when you get together with other people and help build His kingdom. When you love like Jesus, you will feel so good. You’ll realize His love. You’ll tell people, “This love I feel is not of this world. It’s like music. My soul connects with it, and it’s hooked. My soul knows it’s real. Somehow, I don’t know, I’ve never seen Jesus, but I feel Him. And now I know what my soul craves. I know why I’m here. I know peace.”

Part of the miracle is you’ll have peace in a world that doesn’t enjoy much peace.

There’s a lot of turmoil here. There’s a lot of second-guessing. And there’s a lot of selfishness. People don’t know what’s right and wrong, so they’re doing what’s right for them. They don’t have that peace that says, “This is right. Jesus is right.” They haven’t found that peace, so they become scared. They don’t know what’s really going on, so they become selfish and they say, “Well, this is right for me. Since I don’t know what’s right and wrong, I’m going to do what’s right for my own little piece of the world.”

I think that’s why Jesus left us with the example of His love. I mean, loving like Jesus is it. It’s the gig. I think it is the secret, man. It’s the secret to the church doing things the right way. The church is the secret of God, and the secret to the church’s existence is to love like Jesus.

Those who have found Jesus get it. They’ve got that inner peace. Sure they’ll fail. They’ll mess up. They can be selfish at times. We’re human beings.

But they get it. See you Tuesday.