Tuesday, June 30, 2015
God loves gay people. The church loves gay people. I love gay people.
The things Jesus said about love and the extent of our love for others makes it clear that we are to love everyone. In fact, when Jesus told the parable which has come to be known as the story of the Good Samaritan, part of the point He was making is that we are called to love all people. Jesus specifically crafted the story to help us understand the comprehensiveness of our love for others should extend to the point that we would even love people we may not be naturally inclined to love.
Over the years I have actually been criticized a few times by people who have suggested I am over-emphasizing the concept of love in my teaching. My response is that it is my intention to speak God’s truth about love—love cannot be separated from truth—with the same emphasis it is given in the Bible; and this is a very strong emphasis.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1Corinthians 13:13
However, God has designed sexuality—which is a good thing—to be expressed within a certain context. The context for sexual expression is one man and one woman in a marriage relationship.
It is, perhaps, a bit ironic with all the discussion these days regarding homosexuality that I have had more conversations—uncomfortable conversations—with Christian heterosexual couples who were not living within God’s boundaries for sexual conduct than with homosexual men and women who struggled with God’s boundaries regarding sexual conduct.
One of the issues that has made the topic of sexuality so caustic and difficult to discuss with grace, respect and love is that sex has become an idol in our culture. The fact that certain issues regarding sexuality are held to be “no longer up for scrutiny, debate or honest disagreement” is evidence that sex is an idol (i.e. a replacement for the real God).
I want you to know that before I posted this message I prayed diligently with the hopes that I would communicate truthfully, graciously and effectively. In fact, I have shared this same message on Facebook and last night I prayed by name for all my friends on Facebook. I even prayed for the families of some of my friends on Facebook who are now deceased. […And, by the way, this prayer time took a while. Lol! It was actually a very good and meaningful time of prayer.]
I know some of you will disagree with what I have written here, I respect your right to disagree. Please know I love you even if we disagree. But more importantly, Jesus loves you.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Love and blessings,
Saturday, June 27, 2015
For those of us who are trusting in Christ we have a truth from God’s word which is important for us to keep in mind. It will be helpful for us to allow this truth to shape our understanding and perspective of what happens in life.
The truth is that the problems and troubles we endure as we stand for Christ are small [this next part is critically important…] when we understand them in the light of eternity. Think about it: anything which is finite and temporary is small in the light of eternity.
Please know I am not trying to make light of anyone’s troubles. I would never want to do that. It is my basic inclination to “weep with those who weep.” However, I am trying to help put our troubles in perspective. What I am sharing is based on biblical truth, it is based on the truth that eternal life with God is real.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:16-18
Thursday, June 25, 2015
I read this line yesterday…
“According to a 2005 report in the British Medical Journal, people who retire at fifty-five are 89 percent more likely to die in the ten years after retirement than those who retire at sixty-five. We need to be alive to stay alive, simple as that.” Bold, Diamandis and Kotler
We were designed by God to be engaged, challenged, active and productive, at every stage of life. I do not interpret this data to mean it is unhealthy to retire from a particular job, however, I do interpret it to mean it is unhealthy to retire from life. I think those of us who are followers of Jesus would interpret this to mean that even when we retire from our jobs we will still be alive and purposefully engaged in the work of God’s kingdom.
Sunday, June 21, 2015
Fathers have an incredibly strong influence on their children. The influence can be largely negative or it can be largely positive but there will be an influence. And then these children grow up and go out into society and that fatherly influence has a still wider effect.
Fathers are important.
So… to all the dads who are caring, responsible, plugged-in, helpful and loving: Thank You! We love, appreciate and respect you.
Happy Father’s Day!
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Lucy smelled like she had been rolling around in something unpleasant and odorous. So, Taylor gave her a bath. She was clean. The odor was gone. She had a fresh, new, delicate scent… something like an Irish Spring. (Actually, I don’t know what an “Irish Spring” smells like but it sounds fantastic, doesn’t it?)
Once again, a problem was solved!
Then a few minutes after her bath, Lucy went outside and rolled around in the dirt underneath the bush you see in this picture.
…And I couldn’t tell, for sure, but I think she was laughing.
Sometimes—because of insecurity—I start to believe my dignity and value as a human being will be increased if I could only accomplish more or if I could be famous based on some impressive achievement.
You say, “Dan, you know better than that, don’t you?”
Yes, I do. But it is easy to get caught up in the value system of the world.
The truth is that we have dignity and value as human beings because we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and because we are individually known and loved by God.
Monday, June 15, 2015
I thought, "Isn't that nice?"
And it gave my self-esteem a boost. It felt pretty good to know my companionship was valued and appreciated. I smiled with a confident satisfaction.
A moment later I looked up and saw her stretched out in the booth, fast asleep. Apparently, having lunch with me is not just nice for Rachel it is also incredibly relaxing.
I'll admit my confident satisfaction has diminished a bit.
Friday, June 12, 2015
If you are debating an issue and the person with whom you are debating admits that his position is logically invalid and yet he says “but I’m holding this position anyhow” then it is time to immediately stop debating. There is no point in talking about the subject any longer. Do yourself a favor and either end the conversation or switch the subject to something inconsequential like last night’s episode of Judge Judy.
(By the way, the scenario I mentioned above may sound so silly that you would be tempted to think such a thing could never happen. However, something very similar to what I described actually happened to me.)
Our culture’s embrace of relativism has led people to believe we can hold illogical positions on issues or, even, deny reality without any consequences because, after all, everything is ultimately a matter of our own personal choice and we are the creators of our own truth.
I recommend you keep this in mind because it will be helpful: Whenever we deny truth, logic, or reality—in the long run—it will not go well.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
As I have gotten older and have a larger percentage of my past upon which to reflect, I have come to realize I have done a little too much “I’m-going-to-do-that-someday-in-the-future” type of thinking in my approach to life.
Today I was listening to a podcast as I was walking and the speaker on the podcast reminded me that sometimes people who do too much “someday-in-the-future” type of thinking never get around to this point: “Okay, let’s go. We’re actually doing it today!:”
I don’t want all of my adventures to be unrealized longings which only exist in my imagination of the future. It is time to write some of them on the schedule and get the plans in motion so they actually happen.
So… ballroom dancing lessons, here we come!!!
(Just kidding, ballroom dancing is not on the “someday-in-the-future” wish list.)
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
The Lord Jesus does something incredible in terms of our relationship with the Father. He makes it possible for us to be totally confident of God’s love. In fact, we can be so confident of the Father’s love that we can come to him boldly.
A little child does not cower in fear before his father (if they have a healthy relationship). No, he runs with reckless abandon and gleeful confidence into his father’s arms. The child is fearless because he does not, for a moment, doubt that his father loves him. Jesus makes this type of relationship possible for you and me.
“Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” Ephesians 3:12
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
This is a picture—from quite a few years ago—of my brother Cam and I modeling underwear we had received as Christmas presents.
I can’t recall for sure but I think my mom may have taken this photo. It must have been an incredibly proud moment for a loving mother, huh?
If God speaks to an issue He is right even if a vote is taken and everyone says He is wrong. With that in mind, the follower of Jesus is called to stand with God even if standing with God is very unpopular.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”—Jesus , Matthew 5:11-12