Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Aggravation of Love

God loves you. Probably the most used phrase in all of Christian history, and for good reason. You could say that that tiny phrase is one of the irreducible cores of all of Scripture. God loves you. But like most phrases, when it’s been used enough, it begins to lose it’s meaning. If God loves me means that God has sentimental feelings of affection for me, then that’s super. But doesn’t He have that for everybody? Does this mean anything for my daily life? But what if the love God has for us isn’t just sentimental feelings of affection? I believe that God’s love for me isn’t a fact that I should know in my head. It’s an active, aggressive process that He wants to engage me in, one that will provoke me throughout the entirety of my life. His love seems to push and pull, beckon and seduce, challenge, and at times even appears to ignore. I can never take His love for granted because I never know how it will manifest itself at any given moment. His love makes my life an unpredictable adventure. Just when I thought I had this whole thing figured out, God sits me next to most chatty person in history at the coffee shop, and seems to whisper into my heart that His love has something to do with what’s about to happen. Because the experience of His love is constantly changing, my response is constantly changing as well. Sometimes I love God by singing to Him, sometimes by reading, sometimes by talking to a stranger, sometimes by simply trusting, and other times by being angry. The song I was taught to sing when I was young wasn’t joking when it taught that God’s love is like “a fountain flowing deep and wide”. Being loved by God is a lot like being carried down stream. It’s deep so my feet can’t reach the ground and control it. It’s wide, so I can’t reach to the side and escape it. It bruises me, frustrates me, cleans me, and calms me. It’s constantly changing and at the end, I will be in a very different place because of it. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Seeing is Believing

Tony here:
I was driving by a church recently and the sign out front had the quote from John 20:8…”he saw and believed.” It started me thinking about the image that we, as Christians, project to a world that desperately needs to believe. Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.” If those around us take that advice, they are basically ignoring what we say and are forming an opinion of us based at least partially on their observations of what we do. What are we, as Christians, doing to influence those around us? What do people think of us as individuals and as Christians? I did a little internet research on the perception that our society has towards Christians in general. I found a blog ( entry about a 2007 book by David Kinnamon called UnChristian: What A New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity. Kinnamon discussed 6 negative perceptions that non-Christians have toward Christians:
Christians are hypocrits
Christians are too focused on getting converts
Christians are anti-homosexual
Christians are out of touch with reality
Christians are too political
Christians are judgemental
The Great Commision says:Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Yet, how can we successfully make disciples or teach people to obey God’s commands when the world has such a negative opinion of us?
Ultimately, to me, the real question is, what can I do to make people see the love of Jesus Christ and the positive aspects of Christianity in my daily life? Because, no matter what I say, I know they will not believe unless they see.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

If You Were In Charlotte....

If you were in Charlotte, I would tell you to go to Price's Chicken Coop and order the fried chicken. Price's is a great "hole-in-the-wall" place in downtown Charlotte. There's no seating at Price's, you just grab your box of chicken and go. In my opinion it's not easy to excel at fried chicken, but they have managed to do it. Anything deep fried can be a shot to the system, so you might want to prepare yourself by eating spoonfuls of Crisco in bed before you go to sleep at night. I promise the chicken will be well worth your prep time and possible resulting coronary issues. Enjoy!