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Jesus Does, and So Should You (Overcoming Itching Ear Syndrome)

Jesus Does, and So Should You (Overcoming Itching Ear Syndrome)

Jesus does, and so should you. In life, it’s vital to keep the main thing the main thing. The whole point of identifying with Christ as a “Christian,” is to become like him in character. If we miss this point, we miss the whole point. A person who says they are a Christian, but who doesn’t have a commitment to Christ-like character, is like a couch potato identifying as an Olympic athlete.

If Lady Gaga is a “Christian woman,” then I am an eighteen-year-old, Native American female astrophysicist.

Last week, while dressed like a prostitute in the middle of a concert, Lady Gaga stopped mid-song, extended her middle finger, and shouted a four-letter word to the President and Vice President, calling VP Pence the “worst example of a Chrisitian.” The crowd roared in approval. Then, in an amazing instance of the pot calling the kettle black, Gaga identified herself as a “Christian woman.”

VIDEO: Lady Gaga stops a song to shout out a four-letter word, and then calls herself a “Christian woman.”

 

What’s wrong with this picture? What’s wrong is that the majority of people don’t understand that being a Christian means being like Jesus Christ. We want six pack abs while gorging ourselves on cheese doodles. 

If Lady Gaga is a “Christian woman,” then I am an eighteen year old, native American female astrophysicist. Does saying so make it so? Hardly.

In today’s politically correct, self-identifying world, it’s easy to self-identify as anything we like — but is that enough when it comes to being a real Christian? Watch it yourself, here. Her claim to be a “Christian woman” is about the 1:05 mark:

Yup, I get it. You may say “nobody is perfect,” and you’re right. Yes, there are conservative Christians who haven’t represented Jesus well. But there are liberal Christians just as guilty. Hypocrisy is hip these days — but that doesn’t make it right.

Using someone else’s failures as an excuse for our own does nothing to shape Christ-like character in us. Poor conduct from others is no excuse to continue as we have been, or for ignoring blatantly bad behavior from hypocrites. We’ve each got to call out bad behavior, starting with ourselves.

It’s one thing to behave badly. But real Christians, when they recognize their bad behavior, apologize, repent, and get back on their horses. If that’s not happening, something is wrong at the most basic level.

A genuine Christ follower has a growing concern for personal purity and Christ-like character. He or she has to exhibit, at some point and in a growing manner, a genuine, obvious commitment to being perfected — to becoming more like Jesus Christ in character. If that’s missing, genuine faith is, too.

 

WHAT YOU’VE HEARD IS WRONG, AND HERE’S WHY

You’ve heard them, I’ve heard them, and you may have even said them. They’re popular pithy phrases people toss out these days, and if you’re not careful you’ll believe what you hear (and perhaps even promote). The only problem is that the phrases are entirely false, and here they are, in all their splendor:

“Don’t judge.”
“Jesus didn’t judge.”

In today’s “I can believe anything I want and still be anything I want to be” world, the above statements seem credible — until we go to the book where we get our concept of the historical Jesus in the first place. There, we find that not only did Jesus judge, and not only is he going to one Day judge again, but that anyone who claims to follow him must do the same. Don’t take my word for it. Take it from the Good Book yourself:

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:1-2, NIV).

Did you notice that Jesus will be judging — and that real Christ followers must do the same? See the words “correct” and “rebuke”? Do we understand what they actually mean? In order to correct, something must be out of whack. In order to rebuke, someone must be off base. These words describe judging people.

Yes, my friend, Christians must judge people. Have the humility and the courage to confront your own sin, and use the same when confronting the sins of others.

Jesus judged people his first time around (remember the cross?) And, Jesus will judge again. There is no escaping it.

2 Timothy 2:3 gives the reason we should judge, especially in today’s politically correct, upside-down, wrong is right world:

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3).

 

ITCHING EAR SYNDROME, AN EPIDEMIC

America has become the land of the free and the home of the brave, to our detriment. We want freedom without restraint, and are brave to our own embarrassment. We are a nation where itching ear syndrome has spread far and wide. Plug your ears and stand your ground, or you will be infected . . .

Jesus judged. If you claim to follow him, you must judge, too. If you reject this, and buy into the “don’t judge. Jesus didn’t judge” nonsense, you don’t have the most basic concept of what it means to really identify with Jesus Christ.

It’s time to stand up, speak out, and be courageous. Judge, because the time has come and itch ears abound. Start with yourself, and it will go a long way in helping you judge with love and compassion, not just the expression of truth.

 

AGREE WITH ME? DISAGREE? EITHER WAY, I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU . . .

 

It’s Not About the Hand You’ve Been Dealt – A Huge Lesson From MLK Jr.

It’s Not About the Hand You’ve Been Dealt – A Huge Lesson From MLK Jr.

If you’re not careful, you could go through life thinking your circumstances determine your impact and legacy. In reality, you have the ability to shape not only the circumstances of your life but also those of many, many other people — no matter what your circumstances. Life isn’t about the hand we’re dealt, but about how we play each hand. Your decisions, not your circumstances, matter most.

MLK, Jr. changed the world from a remarkably tiny office. He did it without a fax machine, a computer, a smart phone, or a social media account. How, and what lesson is there for us, today?

One of my life’s most transformative moments was our 2016 family visit to Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. co-pastored with his father from 1960 until his 1968 assassination. Amazingly, the pulpit, chair, and platform from which he preached are still used in the sanctuary. Yards away, the body of the small giant lay (he stood only 5’7″ tall) along with that of his wife, Corretta Scott King. That my wife and sons (then eleven and nine years of age) were with us, made it especially significant. My prayer is that the trip forever inspires them to be leaders in the thick of the leadership vacuum gripping our nation.

Life isn’t about the hand we’re dealt, but about how we play each hand.

It was from this small office at the now-named Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, in Montgomery, Alabama, that Dr. King organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott:

TINY OFFICE, HUGE IMPACT: From this office, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. prepared for and organized the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, which lasted from December 5, 1955 – December 20, 1956. The boycott led to a United States Supreme Court decision declaring Alabama and Montgomery segregation laws unconstitutional.

 

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

King didn’t let the size of his office determine the breadth of his influence. Neither should you let your influence be determined by your circumstances. Far too often, we get it backwards. What if King let the size of his office dictate the scope of his impact?

 

Four Questions to Ask Yourself:

  1. Am I waiting for someone else to lead when I know what needs to be done?
  2. Am I following, supporting, and encouraging the leaders in my life?
  3. Have I mistaken circumstances as more important influential factors than my decisions?
  4. Am I distracted by lessor things than what matters most?

King-Sized Impact, 1954-1960: Dr. King’s only time as a Senior Pastor was served at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church (now Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church).

MLK Jr. served as co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, with his father. He served from 1960 until his assassination in 1968.

The same pulpit from which Dr. King preached from 1960-1968, at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Our trip became a turning point in my life.

 

Your family needs you. So does your neighborhood, your church, and your nation. Don’t let your circumstances dictate the size of your impact. Commit yourself to be an agent of positive change. You’ll end up influencing your circumstances, and the people around you, rather than your circumstances limiting you.

 

HAVE YOU MADE THE MISTAKE OF THINKING YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES, RATHER THAN YOUR DECISIONS, DETERMINE YOUR IMPACT? NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME TO CHANGE YOUR THINKING — AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

Heroes and Underdogs #16: The Power of Addictions

Special Message by Pastor Bob Tome and Pastor Reggie Hunter of Recovery House of Worship

Even though God called Samson, his life-long problem was his unhealthy relationships with women. He did not admit he was powerless over his problem and that his life was unmanageable. But there is hope. His hair grew again, and you can change too!

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