Okay, I’m certain I’ll get a little hate mail on this one, but at least read through the whole thing before you jump to a conclusion one way or the other.
This is a topic that is highly volatile and charged with emotion. There are some “Christians” (I put it in quotes because that is what they term themselves, but their actions reveal otherwise) who picket the funerals of openly homosexual men/women with signs such as “Burn In Hell Homo”…yeah I’m pretty sure that is not Christlike in any way shape or form, enough said!
On the other end there are some “Christians” (in quotes because they refuse to accept the Bible as authoritative) who make their decisions based upon emotions and what feels right or easy. They don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings and in doing so reject God’s Word. This group is a little trickier. Often, their arguments sound compelling, are dripping with good intentions, and often relate to a person very close to them who struggles with homosexuality. The most recent example is that of Brian McLaren. At one time McLaren was a solid, evangelical pastor who believed in and preached the truth and reliability of the Bible. Today, Mr. McLaren questions the veracity of almost all evangelical doctrine and theology (Heaven, Hell, Salvation, Christ alone for salvation, etc…). He recently performed his son’s gay marriage and in the article (McLaren and same-sex marriage) regarding the event he made this very telling statement:
“I was a good kid, I believed what I’d been told. And as a pastor, I started having gay people come out to me and what became clearer and clearer to me is that their experience was not explained by the theology I inherited. And that it would be unjust to continue to uphold what I’d been taught. Maybe I could say it like this: My call to love God and love my neighbor was in conflict with what I’d been taught the Bible required me to say and do.” – Brian McLaren
McLaren says that when his or others experience or feelings didn’t line up with Scripture then it must be Scripture that changes, or at least the application of Scripture. When in truth the point of Scripture is to show US where WE are wrong and guide us in the right path:
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT
I’m going to wrap Part 1 up this way, If you begin to select the sins you see as “damndable” you will never select any sins that you struggle with, only those you see in others. This violates the the very underpinnings of how Christ commands we are to deal with sin, “…first take the beam out of your own eye…”, “…let he who is without sin cast the first stone…”. If, in constrast, you begin to select the sins you see as “acceptable” where and when do you draw the line? You begin to develop theology and practice based upon what is palatable and easy instead of what is true. This violates Jesus clear teaching on following him, “…take up your cross and follow me…”, “…deny yourself and follow me…”. Jesus Christ has neither called us to be judgmental nor comfortable.
I put the word never in quotes because I believe God changes minds and hearts, but at this stage in my life and ministry, I don’t see me ever using the pulpit of good news to push the politics of the populace (man that was good, someone should tweet that!). Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing men like Jerry Falwell and other like him who felt called to be politically active and vocal, but I don’t feel similarly called. Here’s why:
- Politics, by their very nature, are incredibly divisive, and when people talk politics it often leads to arguments and hurt feelings. Accepting the message of Jesus Christ is hard enough, why put another potential obstacle in someone’s way?
- Rarely do politicians and politics veer into that which is Biblical and holy, therefore, rarely do I comment. However, when it/they do, it is my duty to comment and bring Scripture to bear.
- I never want to abuse my position as a pastor to manipulate or attempt to convince someone to vote “my way”.
- I have known many wonderful Christians who are Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, and yes, even some Liberals. Bottom line, your party affiliation and governmental beliefs won’t get you in or keep you out of heaven.
- No politician, political party, or political agenda will ever change someones eternal destiny. Why would I waste the 40 minutes I have each week to communicate the life changing message of Jesus Christ talking about something that will not matter in eternity?
I’ve given 5 reasons why I’ll ‘never’ talk politics from the pulpit and actually rarely talk politics in public. However, notice reason number 2. Over the last two weeks the two prevailing parties have put forth their “platform” or “agenda” if they get elected, many of the issues raised go beyond the political arena and address values, morals, or culture. These things are expressly and precisely talked about in the Bible. God’s position on these issues are clearly laid out in his Word, and it is my duty as your pastor to share those with you, and your duty as followers of Christ to bend your will to His.
- My challenge: Read each of the posts carefully, then study the Scriptures on your own. Then, use your vote to support the candidate that most closely resembles your values and you believe will do the best job for your country.
- My promise Everything I write will come from a foundation of Scripture and not my own personal political beliefs, who knows, I might change my own mind! I will not go on any hearsay or rumor, but only talk about what has been expressly written down in each party’s platform
- My hope: That this will give you God’s view of things and remove much of the emotional arguments for or against.
Have a great one folks and here are the topics/values I’ll be covering, if you’ve got another one you think fits, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll take a look at it!
What’s Governments Role According To God?
Does it Matter What We Do In the Middle East?
What About Welfare?
‘Christian’ or ‘Mormon’, does it matter?
Is There Such A Thing As ‘Gay Marriage’?
Is God a ‘Capitalist’, ‘Socialist’, or something else?
I’m Back…with my overwhelmed, excited, anticipating, travel weary, football ready, totally blessed, no excuses self!
Overwhelmed: I will never be able to fully and completely express how thankful I am to you for this time. It has drawn us closer together as a family and recharged our batteries for ministry, thank you!
Excited: I can’t wait for Sunday, I’m so chomping at the bit to be back, 3 months is WAAAY too long!
Anticipating: I’m so thankful to hear that everything went so well this Summer and I’m looking forward to hearing all the great stories on Sunday night.
Travel Weary: If I don’t see a plane again for 6 months that will be just fine with me.
Football Ready: The Tailgate Party on September 9th is going to be phenomenal! It’ll be the perfect opportunity for you to invite your unsaved, unchurched, or de-churched friends to experience the life changing reality of Jesus Christ…and have a really great time. You’ll need to bring your lawn chairs and your favorite tailgating items. The atmosphere will be part tailgate, part open-air-concert, part service, and all AWESOME!
Totally Blessed: Last Sunday Dustin presented a tremendous message about Elijah and how to come off of the mountain. I really hope that you took the truth he presented to heart, I’ll be adding to it this weekend. I’ll be talking about how we can gain a better perspective on our life and increase our potential for blessing.
No Excuses: I know a lot of us traveled this Summer and missed being a regular part of church. This Sunday is your chance to get back in the rhythm. School has started, it’s actually rained a few time, pre-season football is in full swing, so you know Fall is just around the corner. Let’s pack out Friendship this Sunday and kick it off right!
I do believe without a doubt that the next 6 months will yield some of the most exciting moments of our lives and in the life of the Friendship, don’t miss it!
God Is Up To Something BIG!!!
10. They make an amazing spicy chicken sandwich!
9. I totally love their waffle fries, especially with a little extra salt.
8. Their chicken nuggets are like sweet, golden-brown, deep-fried pieces of heaven!
7. I love it when their employees say, “My pleasure!” when they give you your drinks.
6. My wife is in complete love with their Splenda sweetened lemonade.
5. I personally enjoy sitting in long drive thru lines, it’s my thing.
4. Those cool “dip or squeeze” ketchup packets.
3. The brownies…need I say more?
2. I’m a sucker for cows.
1. I was hungry
After all of the tense conversations over the last few days I thought I would add a little levity to the conversation and encourage everyone to take a deep breath. Especially you Christians out there, we expect if from the world, but we’ve gotta remember that God’s more concerned about people’s hearts than where they get or don’t get their chicken.
Love God, Love People, Change the World!
Hey all you Friendship People! I thought I’d take a few minutes and talk with you guys directly. Here are 7 things I want you all to know…
- Man, do I miss you guys! It’s half way through our time apart and its killing me. I must confess I secretly get on Facebook just to see pictures of what you’re all up to. I’m so looking forward to seeing you all on August 19th!
- We are having a fantastic time! Our time in the Mediterranean and in Europe was absolutely awesome! I’ve posted a few pictures below that I thought you might all enjoy. I think we can all literally feel the stress falling off. Plus, notice the really good-looking company I keep!
- I’ve been reading through the New Testament, and my passion and love for the church of Jesus Christ is stronger than it has ever been! I know that some of you were a little worried that being gone this long would dim my passion…NOT A CHANCE, it’s burning white-hot!
- Don’t miss REST. The series starting this week with our buddies from City Community is going to be phenomenal. You will not want to miss even one week. And, yes, I know some of you have been “Playing Hooky”, you better be there this week…I know who you are 🙂
- You all knocked it out of the park with Summer Break! I am so amazed with the number of children who came, but even more thankful with the 20+ children who gave their lives to Christ. We told the leaders of Next Level Church, the place we are going to down here, about it and they were just as excited as I was. You guys are amazing!!!
- Don’t miss the Meredith Andrews Concert. Meredith is a great Christian songwriter and singer. We are absolutely blessed that she is going to be there, as she usually plays to crowds of 1,500+ at her concerts. Plus she is a personal friend of Dustin and Sarah, so pack Friendship out for me, standing room only!
- I’ve got the preface and the first chapter of my book written. If enough of you are interested I’ll post the preface on the blog in the next few weeks. I’d love to get your feedback on it.
Okay, 1 freebie…I’m dying to see what the Colts are going to do this year! Anyone else?
Love your guys,
Your Absentee QB, Dave
Well, I’m sitting at the Indy airport and waiting for our first flight out of the US through New York. As usual the plane is running behind, but I know that the flight will be easy and relatively painless. As we think about this incredible opportunity that you and God have afforded us we have talked a lot as a family about what we will enjoy most:
– The beautiful Greek Islands
– The gorgeous cathedrals of Rome
– Walking into buildings that have stood (or kinda stood) for thousands and thousands of years
– Relaxing as a family, and just enjoying each others company
– Being able to read books just for fun and not for school or a sermon
All of these we have truly looked forward to, but we did recently ask the question, “What will you like least about our sabbatical”. After a couple of quiet moments, we all agreed what we’d miss most are the people in our lives.
– Friends who we’ve spent hours hanging out with
– People who we’ve loved and invested in
– People who love and have invested in us
– Celebrating each week with Friendship Church
– Hearing all about what is going on in your lives
I’ve heard it said, usually by a very grumpy pastor, that ministry would be great if it weren’t for all the people. To be honest, I think that statement is just STUPID!! Was that honest enough? Yes, ministry to people can sometimes be tough, draining, and downright frustrating some times…BUT the reward is you get to see people make life altering decisions to follow Christ, help a family get back together, assist people in getting their broken lives put back together. No, ministry is great BECAUSE of the people!
We love you all, and keep checking back as we’ll try to keep this as updated as possible.