Murder, Ever Feel Like It?

29 12 2008

Let me first say that the title of this is intentionally ridiculous. It’s meant to be an attention getter. Recently, Ray Boltz made it public that he is actively living a homosexual lifestyle. Without getting into the endless debate as to whether homosexuality is moral or immoral, I’d like to bring to some attention to his newest single that he has released. The new single is titled “Don’t Tell Me Who To Love” (the songs lyrics are posted below). The first verse of the song is really good. He reflects on a court case that took place in 1966, regarding inter-racial marriage. I am pleased with the progress that our country has made in regard to racial equality. This is illustrated with the election of Senator Barack Obama to be the next President. 

I’m not going to even address the second verse of the song, because when reading and listening to it I am assuming what Boltz is meaning. Unfortunately, he doesn’t clearly say what he means. The most likely assumption is that he is referring to homosexual marriage, but since he doesn’t specifically define what he is meaning I’m not going to assume.

What I do want to bring the most attention to is what Boltz communicates in the chorus of the song. Boltz justifies actions based on feelings! “Don’t tell me that’s there’s something wrong because I feel like this.”  What? Does he really mean that? Has he really stopped to think about what he is communicating? In case he hasn’t stopped to think about what he is communicating, allow me to flesh it out. Based on that line of logic, I can do whatever I want to, because I feel like it. I can murder because someone makes me mad. I can help someone out because I happen to be in a good mood. I can do “filll in the blank” because I “fill in the blank.” Would that hold up in court? “Sorry you honor, I just had a bout with rage that’s why I beat that person to a pulp, so I didn’t really don anything wrong. Don’t judge me.” The judge would throw me in jail so fast! Yes, the line makes a good rhyme, but it would be a horrible method to determine right and wrong! 

Our culture is failing to think with the lump that’s in most cases 3 feet above their rear end! Why do we accept junk philosophy like this? My wish would be that this post would encourage you to take a logical look at the way you make decisions. Do you make decisions based on the way you feel, or based on a fundamental truth that you believe in? 

SONG LYRICS: “Don’t Tell Me Who To Love”

written by Ray Boltz (c) 2008 Shepherd Boy Music/ASCAP

VERSE ONE

The year was 1966 and they were wearing their wedding bands

She was black and he was white and some people didn’t understand

The judge said that’s not legal, the preacher called it a sin

But they couldn’t stop them cause he loved her and she loved him

CHORUS

Don’t tell me who to love, don’t tell me who to kiss

Don’t tell me that there’s something wrong because I feel like this

I know what’s in my heart, that should be enough

Don’t tell me, don’t tell me no, don’t tell me who to love

VERSE TWO 

Maybe you’re in love today and you’ve been making wedding plans

But there is someone in your way shouting things cause they don’t understand

The judge says that’s not legal, the preacher calls it a sin

Oh you just remember they were wrong before and they’re wrong again 

REPEAT CHORUS

BRIDGE 

Now there always will be hatred and voices that condemn

Oh but I believe that true love is gonna make it in the end 

REPEAT CHORUS (fade)





Joined the Cult

9 10 2008

So I have now officially become a member of one of the fastest growing and most vocal cults in our country. I now have a Mac. Recently, I began to make the switch from pc to mac and I’m learning it’s harder than I originally anticipated. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the Mac, but there are some things that I’m still struggling to get used to. I’ve been told by a buddy of mine that for a week or so I’ll be frustrated and then one day everything will just click. I’m patiently waiting for that day.





“I Love You More.”

30 09 2008
Last night I went to see “Fireproof”, and for the most part it was a great movie. Of course, like all low-budget movies, there was some acting that left something to be desired. For the most part the characters did pretty well. I must give credit to Kirk Cameron for doing a good job as well. I know that not everyone has seen the movie yet, so in no way will I spoil it, but I do want to share something that stood out to me.

The Christian life is illustrated in an amazing way through marriage. When Cameron’s character throws his computer out and leaves the simple note “I love you more”, I was blown away! He was telling his wife that he loved her more than anything. I began to think of how God has communicated with me. The all-powerful God, the God who owns everything, and reigns over everything chooses to love me more. He goes so far to show His love that He sent Jesus to purchase my life back from sin. In the same way that Cameron discards his computer and leaves roses, Jesus has discarded my sin and left righteousness. In the same way that the character left a note that said “I love you more”, Jesus has left the scriptures that testify “I love you more.”

As I consider what my response to this kind of love should be, I am overwhelmed knowing that I can not respond in an adequate way. The amazing thing about the love of God is that it is not contingent on who I am nor is the maintenance of His love contingent on who I am, it is all based on who He is. My prayer is that God will change my love. Cause me to love Him and not His blessings.

 





Culture of a Kingdom

17 07 2008

This week as I study Isaiah 8-9 I’m reminded of how practical the scriptures are to life in 2008. During this time in history (of Isaiah 8-9), the kingdom of Israel had been divided into two nations. During this time the people of the nations were mostly in two categories: full blown idolatry or on the fence about what they believe. Isaiah prophesied to the people in the name of the Lord by communicating that if the people did not turn from their wicked ways God would destroy their kingdoms. Naturally, the people ignored Isaiah’s preaching and continued in sin. Isaiah then prophesied at the end of chapter eight that the nation would end up in a cloak of darkness for a long period of time. Sounds depressing! However, chapter 9 opens with a promise that the end of Israel is not to be in darkness but that a great “light” is coming to restore the people. We know Isaiah was referring to the Messiah come in the person of Jesus who brought light in that He rescues His people from their sin.

Does this not describe the culture of the kingdom in America today? People are either in idolatry to their wants, desires or on the fence about what they believe. When we feel like we’re in an uphill battle in ministry, we must know and place our hope in the great “light” that is coming in the person of Jesus. In the same way that He came the first time to remove the cloak of darkness from His people, I believe He will do that again! Oh, that I might live in the hope and promise of His return to rescue me from my darkness!





thirdPlace

18 03 2008

Yesterday afternoon I needed to do some reading so I decided to try out the newest coffee bar in Tyler. Caffe Tazza officially opened for business January 1st of this year. Caffe Tazza is not commercialized the way Starbuck’s has become, and the coffee is amazing. You’ll pay about 30 cents more for a cup of coffee, but you get free refills and free internet. Starbuck’s by contrast charges per cup and has a contract with T-Mobile for internet. I’ve wanted to have a place here in town to go read, reflect, and chill for a while. Maybe now I’ve found my “third-place.”





Cowards on Board

12 02 2008

When you read through the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), sometimes you come to a story that just baffles you. Like this morning! I’ve been reading my way through the life of Jesus according to Mark. Jesus had just finished teaching another large crowd. He did it from a BOAT! Jesus was awesome! Joel Osteen has nothing on Jesus! He inspires in an arena, Jesus is a man’s man and taught from a boat! Anyway! As the story goes, Jesus finished teaching and instead of going back to shore where the crowd was, He wanted to go to the other side of the lake to get out of the boat. While crossing the lake, Jesus fell asleep and a bad storm came up. I grew up in Southeast Texas, on the coast. I know exactly how it is when a storm out of nowhere just shows up! It can ruin a day if you’re not prepared. This storm seemingly came out of nowhere, and it scared the diciples to death! The scripture tells us that they went to Jesus and woke Him up saying, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

They ran to the One who they believed could help them. This totally reminds me of my dog that I had growing up.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my dog liked me, and if dogs have the capacity for love then he loved me. However, when he got hurt or was afraid he without fail tucked his tail and ran to my mom. He believed that she was the one that could take care of him. That could make him stop hurting or make the scary situation go away. The reason he felt that way was because she spent time with him. She held him as a baby and did all the little things all his life to earn his trust. The disciples had been walking with Jesus and had come to believe that He had their best interest in mind. Jesus woke up, calmed the storm, and then set His sights on the disciples.

The scripture tells us that He rebuked them for their lack of faith. He called them cowards, and said “Have you still no faith?” It’s almost as if Jesus was saying, “after all this time together, after hearing me teach you over and over, and after you’ve seen the miracles that I’ve done you still don’t have faith?”  Unfortunately the disciples still didn’t get it, Mark tells us they said, “Who then is this,cowardly-lion.jpg that even wind and sea obey Him?” What is your fear in life right now? What is your storm that is threatening you? The jacked up thing in all of this is that the disciples actually ran to Jesus when they were afraid, but the scripture tells us that they were shocked that He did something about the situation.

I don’t think that the point of this story is that we shouldn’t be afraid in life. I think there is something called “healthy fear.” I think that the message in this story is that amidst all the chaos that is this world, Jesus is still on the throne. He is still in charge. I think back to the beginning of the Great Commission where it is recorded that Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” There are times in life that we are to be afraid, but all the time we should remember that God is in control and can bring peace to the cowards.





Harvest Is Come

7 02 2008

Jesus focused a lot of His teaching on the topic of the “kingdom of God.” He teaches what the kingdom is like through parables. In Mark chapter 4: 26-29, Jesus is recorded as describing the “kingdom of God” as a man who scatters seed on the ground, then this man lives his life day after day as a farmer, and then one day the farmer notices the harvest has come so he begins to bring in the harvest. When  you first read that,  you have to wonder, “What the heck Jesus was trying to teach?” 

I think there is a very practical truth that is found in that description. The scriptures teach that one of the responsibilities of being a follower of Jesus is sharing the message of the gospel with the people in this world. We are like the farmer. Our job is to spread the message of the gospel in our specific garden. I’m not able and probably not welcome to sickle-2.jpgspread the message of the gospel in places that others are able and welcome. A farmer does not go spread seed in his neighbors yard. No, he spreads it in the area that he has influence. Our job is to spread the message of the gospel in the areas that we have influence. The kingdom is grown through people taking opportunities to spread the seed of the gospel in their circles of influence.

I think the next part of the parable is awesome! Jesus said, “He (the farmer) sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.” In the same way that the farmer doesn’t understand everything that goes into his plants growing, you won’t understand everything that goes into someone submitting their life to Jesus. God is always working/weaving things together for His good pleasure.

Even though we know that God is working/weaving things for His good pleasure, we must pay attention to how the seed we spread is doing. Jesus said, “But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” We must pay attention to the people we are attempting to influence because when they ready, we must bring in the harvest.