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 …

HEALING FOR GENOCIDAL HEARTS

24 years ago, over a 100 day period of time, nearly one million people were slaughtered in Rwanda.  It was not war, per se, and it was not a fascist government eliminating the opposition, per se.  Rather, it seems to have been anger and hostility smoldering beneath the surface, stoked into full flame by calculating leaders, spreading lies and fears, suspicion and schemes until erupting into murderous frenzy that was not spent until much of the country was turned into a cemetery.  After all these years, in numerous locations, many of them churches, the clothing, skeletal remains, and sometimes even corpses of the dead remain preserved, frozen in time, as a memorial to what happened.   Every April throughout the country …