How We Must Refuse to be Angry

We live in an angry world.  Many within and outside the church are angry.  If we were to ask them why they could often offer reasonable answers.  Much that is should never be; and much that ought to be never is.  Both are angering.  But to live in anger, to embrace our anger, to become angry persons can never be an option for followers of Jesus.  If for no other reason because Jesus was not an angry person.  His way is not the way of anger. Instead, Jesus teaches them and us another way to respond to the people and the circumstances that can make them/us angry people.  Consider the clear teaching that Jesus gave throughout his ministry.  Clearly and …

WHY WE MUST REFUSE TO BE ANGRY

  We live in an angry world, both inside and outside of the church.  Everywhere you look or listen people seethe and smolder over the many things that displease them.  Church people rage against the culture, of course.  But also against each other whose differing views of the culture and how to respond to its non-Christian values and practices cause bitter divisions.  Out in the world, away from the church, it is the same story.  Political and social divides cut across every segment of the population and every sphere of endeavor. In view of that context, let me tell you why I am refusing to be angry.  First, though, I admit that I am sometimes a little, and sometimes more …

SUBMITTING TO THE AUTHORITIES

Over the weekend, the United States Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, cited the Apostle Paul as a form of support for our government’s draconian “no tolerance” policy that separates children from their parents should the parents illegally enter the U.S.  Aside from the unjust practice of punishing innocent children for alleged crimes of their parents, Romans 13 has been woefully misappropriated to justify what is arguably the opposite of Paul’s intent in this celebrated chapter.  That is my focus in what follows. [Since this will be longer than a more typical post here are the conclusions which I draw.  First, Romans 13 cannot be used legitimately to support any particular governmental policy or program, at any time.  Second, nor should it …

GOD WANTS A “PENTECOSTAL” CHURCH

God wants the church more “Pentecostal.”  The world needs the church more “Pentecostal.”  And, we will never be more than a faint shadow of “church” until we ourselves become way-more “Pentecostal.”  Thus, I am praying and hoping the church becomes more “Pentecostal.” If I wrote this 40 years ago, I wouldn’t be writing it now.  That’s because if I wrote this then, I would never have been ordained in my own church and might well have decided to do something else with my life.  I’m confident this is true for at least two primary reasons.  First, among the leaders of the church “Pentecostal” would have meant speaking in tongues, extraordinary signs and wonders, or at least claims for such, and …

PRAYING FOR AUTHORITIES “MISSIONALLY”

One of the most blatant and common ways Bible-believing people sin is when they (we/I) fail to pray for governing authorities.  The Apostle Paul urges, as a matter of priority, to pray for kings and all in authority (1 Tim. 2:1-2).  Later in the same passage he says, “I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting holy hands (suggesting sincerity, passion, urgency) without anger or disputing,” (v. 6). As I say, most Bible-loving Christians I know—myself included—disobey at this point with regularity.  Most of us do not pray consistently for leaders, but many of us do regularly express our anger and disagreement, and so lift up (un)holy hands in disgust over the outrageous things the government is doing now.  We …