Turn the Basket Upside Down and see what falls out!

Although the writing of this blog will do little to change the (forced) bowing down to special interest groups in America, it is worth noting the complete hypocrisy associated with these groups when it comes to Christians.

I do not need to spend much time listing all the law suits which have been brought by the gay community against various Christian businesses who have tried to refuse allowing that (gay) belief system to be practiced at or patronized by their business.  Bakers, photographers, florist, venues and others are on the list.  The most recent to hit the headlines was a farm wedding venue that refused service to a gay couple only to be forced to pay for their wedding and reception as punishment.

I’m sure those special interest groups are cheering at the “equality” and “justice” that has just been served.  But wait, what if the Christian community turned the tables on some of those special interest groups and decided to go and practice our religion at their venues and business.  I mean aren’t Christian supposed to spread the Gospel, preach and evangelize the world.  Maybe we should go to the gay bars or strip clubs and hold prayer meetings, preach loudly or hold worship services and try and cover up the naked dancers – because that would be us having the freedom to practice our beliefs at their place of business.  But try that and the cops will be called and you will be ask to leave or be arrested for disorderly conduct with a likely court order to “cease and desist”.

I don’t actually have to imagine the above scenario as it has actually happed just as described.  And just for the record, I do not propose Christians start doing this as it would be RUDE, CONTROLING and SELF-SERVING.  But let the gay community do it and it’s called fairness.  Really?  Yes really – – – – really really hypocritical.

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“I don’t want to do this”

Barbie and I were at a funeral yesterday.  It was one of those funerals that left you feeling uplifted and encouraged because of the clear testimony of the person’s life combined with the obvious amount of abundant grace exhibited by the family’s faith in God.  I’m only guessing here, but there must have been 2000+ people in attendance and the tributes to his godly life and testimony were strong and powerful. The highlight of the funeral was the wife’s account of the events surrounding his death beginning with her husband collapsing on the bathroom floor, the 911 call, the medics working tirelessly on him and the growing realization that her husband was dead.  She kept saying to herself “I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do this”!

The wife’s own testimony became all too apparent as she correlated this phrase to Jesus in the garden as He wept drops of blood telling His heavenly Father “I don’t want to do this – but not My will but Thine be done”.

I began to think about all the times I have said this phrase “I don’t want to do this” in the context of some task in front of me that was hard or painful to face.  There were times I pressed through the obvious deterrents to complete the task but there were all too many times I shrank back convincing myself it was not worth it or that it will be just too painful to endure.

I’m not talking about putting off going to the store or mowing the lawn on a particularly hot day.  I’m talking about those times I was confronted with some hard life challenge or life and death itself.  I remember when the doctors told us Brandi would most likely get sicker and sicker and die before she was 30, I didn’t want to do that.  Or after having packed up our family of 8 and going off to the mission field only to have it fall apart because of very painful betrayals and having to come back to Tulsa with “our tails between our legs”, I didn’t want to do that either.

How about those more self serving things like the Lord confronting me about dealing with lust and pornography, I sure didn’t want to do that.  Or learning to edit my angry reactions to people, I still don’t want to do that.

And then there is church leadership who is put in the hard place of watching congregants blatantly violate God’s laws whether it be in relationship to divorce, gossip, sexual sins or any of the other “trending” vices forbidden in scripture.  Understandably they don’t want to do that.  It’s uncomfortable to confront sin, hold people accountable and especially to take the oft commanded step of shunning unrepentant “repeat offenders” – we for sure don’t want to do that.

So I bring myself, my family, my friends and the church back to that place of Jesus in the garden who understood better than us all saying “I don’t want to do this” and yet His total commitment to pleasing the Father in His final choice “nevertheless not My will but Thine be done”!

In Memory – Eric Doy Raines – 1964 – 2014

What do Ice Buckets, Hobby Lobby and Snowflakes have in common?

Barbie and I have some dear friends who have adopted a snowflake.  What is a snowflake you ask?  Let me set the stage a little better before answering that question.  Let me first say that I am all for a cure for ALS, cancer, Ebola and any other painfully destructive disease (to include those not so painful).  I have thoroughly enjoyed the various “ice bucket challenges”.  I think my favorite to date is the one Shannon Ronit posted from Tanzania where the guy gave his donation and poured an empty bucket over his head as it had been years since he had seen an ice cube over there.  It is a wonderful cause and they have been successful in raising over 22 million to date from what I have read.

snowflake

My personal decision is not to donate or dump ice and my reason is very personal.  This money is for research and a portion of ALS research involves embryonic stem cells.  I know there is much ongoing debate out there on this subject to include the growing opinion that adult stem cells are just as effective as embryonic ones for research purposes.  But because of my personal view I cannot participate.

I’m sure some might argue that “it’s only about 20% of the money that goes for that type of research” so what’s the big deal?  Well, it seems most Christians were very much in support of Hobby Lobby when they refused to provide those 4 out of 20 (20%) drugs that kill the already formed embryo.  They were glad to provide the 16 contraceptives.  Contraceptive means (from the Latin) against + conception and the four drugs that Hobby Lobby (and most Christians) opposed were ones which actually killed or prevented the already conceived embryo from surviving.

There is no easy or pat answer here but I just wanted to put it out there that we, as Christians, need to be consistent and this subject of embryos destroyed for testing or destroyed by means of the morning after pill need to be wrestled out and perhaps snowflakes can help.

Snowflakes are extra embryos which are put up for adoption by the couple who had them frozen in their own attempts at conception.  Our dear friends adopted snowflakes and had twins implanted this past April.  One survived and they are expecting a healthy baby girl early next year.

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I did think it was worth writing this blog to at least put this very challenging subject out there for thought, discussion and debate.  May the Lord Himself reveal His heart to us.

50 Shades of …. Why all the Fuss???

There has not lacked posts pro and (mostly) con in relation to reading or watching the book/movie 50 shades of Grey.  I even just finished reading a long thread discussing the discussion.  This blog will be simple and straight forward …. at lease for Christians.

If you are a Christian, there are countless verses dealing with avoiding lust and putting guards over our eyes.  I will not insult your intelligence to list them here.  If you doubt me, feel free to do the work of looking into scripture yourself (if what scripture says matters to you).  I will post one verse I rarely hear Christians use – Eph. 5:12 – It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. In context, this verse is addressing deeds of darkness and sexual sins in particular.  If we are not supposed to even talk about those acts, it is no stretch to include a prohibition against reading about or watching sexual sins and deeds of darkness.

In the discussion discussing the discussion, the question was asked why or if we should say something with the suggestion that we should mind our own business or that watching it is no big deal.  Here is again the simple straight forward reason to say something (to fellow Christians)  – Ez. 3:17-19 – 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman over the people of Israel. Listen to what I say, and warn them for me. 18 Suppose I tell you that wicked people will surely die, but you don’t warn them or speak out so that they can change their wicked ways in order to save their lives. Then these wicked people will die because of their sin, but I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 19 But suppose you warn the wicked people, and they don’t turn from their wicked ways. Then they will die because of their sin, but you will save yourself.

So you see, unless I want to be found guilty of the same sin of watching, reading or talking about acts of sexual immorality and sin (see previous paragraph) I must warn others not to talk about, watch or read about sinful sexual acts and deeds.

I hope that was simple enough.

PS – I have not read/watched 50, will not and simply know that it involves overt sexual sin.

PSS – the reason we are not supposed to engage in “sin” is because it separates us from God – and that is a bad thing.

PSSS – I have no objection to what occurs privately in between married couples – but that is not what this movie is about!!!

Added on 2/8/15 – release week of 50 Shades and SI Swimsuit edition – SI – Black and White – NO Grey here!

As 50 Shades of Grey comes out this week I am re-posting a blog I wrote about it last year. In addition I am adding this clear and Godly challenge to every guy out there to throw away or avoid looking at this year’s (as well all subsequent years) SI Swimsuit edition. It is pornography only worse because it has somehow garnered a semblance of credibility among “conservatives”. I will state this as plainly as I know how. These women did not just wake up one day and say to themselves “gee, I think I want to take my clothes off and become an object of lust for men”. They only do this because of the tremendous amount of money they make combined with what fame accompanies their unrealistic bodies being put on parade for the pigs who pay for this stuff. I can boldly say pigs because I have been one of those pigs in the past. But I have made a covenant with my eyes, not to mention my wife, that I will not contribute to the objectifying and trafficking of women. And anyone who says it’s not trafficking is ignoring the super highway of commerce surrounding porn of all types to include SISE. I personally have not “partaken” in years and was prompted to make this exhortation as the cover was flashed across the nightly news with a flag covering what they could not show on PG-13 television.