Sunday, April 5, 2015

Why does the "Religious Right" continue to play into the enemy's hands?

The latest fuss du jour in US politics is a law that some states are trying to bring in that would allow, as I understand it, a business to refuse to serve certain types of people on the basis of "religious freedom". OK ... I'll pound this home with a mallet: it would allow businesses like florists and bakeries to refuse to cater gay weddings.

This, of course, has brought the predictable polemic on all sides of the equation, and sadly, it's one more notch on the enemy's rifle-butt. Because the "ambassadors of Christ" are once again allowing themselves to be portrayed as hate-mongers and people who quite possibly need Jesus are being driven away.

What did Jesus tell us to do?

Spread the Gospel.

Love one another -- even the ones who disagree with you and may well hate you.

Make disciples of all nations.

DON'T YOU SEE THE OPPORTUNITY? If someone walks into your business and they evidently hold a world-view different from yours as a Christian, YOU HAVE A CAPTIVE AUDIENCE! Take the job, and while you have them there, witness to them about the glory of Jesus, God's love, and the miracles He's done in your life. Tell them what a sinner you were until you met Jesus. Give them one of those "Power in your Pocket" versions of the Book of John. Exude love and welcome and, above all, NO JUDGMENT.

Maybe they'll walk out and not do business with some religious freakazoid. Maybe they'll nod politely and wait until you're finished. And maybe ... just maybe ... perhaps way off in the future ... they'll consider that Christian who didn't turn them away, but who cared enough to share his/her deeply held belief and the good news that was too good to keep to him/herself.

To my mind, that is the true nature of "religious freedom" -- not a defence, but a powerful weapon of attack: the bright light that darkness cannot overcome.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

It's Friday ... but Sunday's comin'!

Gotta share this ...

It's nicked from a weekly letter John Fischer sends to his member/partners, of which I am one, and it was nicked from a famous sermon by Tony Campolo, who based (not nicked) it on a sermon by an old black minister at Mount Carmel Baptist Church.

(If you don't read John's daily postings on "The Catch", I really recommend subscribing or at least having a look.

This is John's writing, as he paraphrases and gets to the meat of the message. Read this, and get ready to start jumpin'!

In celebration of our yet to be answered prayers and as we face into Friday … let’s listen to what the real black minister from the Mount Carmel Baptist Church has to say to you and me as we enter into the drama of God’s salvation. 

It is Friday, and you and I are acutely aware of the darkness of the cross and of all human suffering. But the power of God is pulling usthrough suffering into glory. We know in our bones that Friday is not the last word, not the last day.

The old, grey-haired black minister starts out softly and it is a simple sermon—with only one line. For half an hour he preaches that line over and over. For a half of an hour he stands us on our ear with just one line: “It’s Friday, but … Sunday’s comin’!” 

In a whisper he begins, “It’s Friday; it was Friday and my Jesus was dead on the tree. But that was Friday, and Sunday’s comin’!

Picking up the volume just a bit, he says, “It was Friday. The cynics were lookin’ at the world and sayin’, ‘As things have been so they shall be. You can’t change anything in this world; you can’t change anything.’ But those cynics didn’t know it was only Friday….butSunday’s comin’!”

“It was Friday! he begins to bellow. And on Friday those forces that oppress the poor and make the poor to suffer were in control. But that was Friday! … Sunday’s comin’!”

Now the old preacher is shouting, “It was Friday, and on Friday Pilate thought he had washed his hands of a lot of trouble. The Pharisees were struttin’ around, laughin’ and pokin’ each other in the ribs. They thought they were back in charge of things, but they didn’t know it was only Friday! … Sunday’s comin’!”

As he ends his message, he just tips his head back and yells, “IT’S FRIDAY!” 

And all of us within this prayer ministry yell as one, “BUT SUNDAY’S COMIN’!”